Date: August 4th, 2012
Venue: Hevy Festival, Kent
Interviewer: Jack Bastard
London hardcore upstarts Feed The Rhino make a return to Hevy Festival following the release of their new sophomore effort, ‘The Burning Sons’. After yet another demolishing set, we caught up with them after their performance to talk about the new record, how the set went for them and to discover what Feed The Rhino is really all about:
DP!: You came off tour with This Is Hell. How did that go?
Oz: Amazing, yeah. It was our first time in Europe which was an amazing experience. I’m really glad we did it with such a nice band and such a good band. I’m looking forward to seeing their set later on.
DP!: It was a pretty long stint, wasn’t it?
Oz: Yeah, it was like a month pretty much solidly, but it was good. It was really cool and we get to go out and do it again next month. We’re go back on to Europe and UK with Gallows for over a month so we’re really looking forward to that.
DP!: Your new album ‘The Burning Sons’ just came out. How well has it been received so far?
Oz: Really good.
Chris: I’m Chris, the drummer. I’ve just arrived.
Oz: Yeah, ‘The Burning Sons’ has been really well received. We couldn’t be happier with the reception. We didn’t really anticipate it. We were so focussed on making the album that we wanted to make.
DP!: Because you produced it, didn’t you?
Oz: That’s right, yeah.
DP!: Did that help with the whole Feed The Rhino vision?
Oz: It helped with the fact that I’m in the band and that there’s no better insight than someone who’s actually there writing the music. It’s not like going into a studio with a producer and telling him what you want because we’ve already got it there. It makes life easier in that sense.
Chris: We were writing with the production in mind as well, so we knew how it was going to sound when we were writing it so that helped. We would write bits that were going to sound a certain way and we’d do this bit here and discuss it.
DP!: So it really was one whole vision.
Oz: Yeah, absolutely.
Chris: We wanted to make a massive record and spent the right amount of time on individual aspect. Right from the playing to the drum sounds to everything.
DP!: How would you describe the record? Is it a movement on from ‘Mr. Red Eye’?
Chris: It’s a massive movement on, without a doubt. With ‘Mr. Red Eye’, we’d literally formed the band and within five minutes we’d written an album and knocked it out really quickly. When Oz joined the band we had most of it written, so this is the first proper album that’s written by everyone.
DP!: Because you’ve been touring ‘Mr. Red Eye’ for a while.
Oz: Yeah, because when it was released we’d already been touring it for ages. We were doing a lot of shows before we released it and then there’s the whole press lead up and everything. By the time it was released, it was almost like an old album. I always worry people think that we don’t like ‘Mr. Red Eye’ and that’s not the case. We love ‘Mr. Red Eye’, but this new album feels like this is actually us now.
Chris: From a personal perspective, when I listen to ‘The Burning Sons’, it makes me feel like ‘Mr. Red Eye’ is in a massive shadow.
DP!: So it’s kind of a refinement.
Chris: It’s a massive refinement. It’s got different aspects and different parts to it. It’s a lot more grungey.
Oz: Not only refined, but we went for it a bit more as well. So, on ‘Mr. Red Eye’, there’s songs like ‘Nowhere Lane’ which is kind of like moody, dark stuff. You know we were like “we should put a bit of that stuff in there”. With this new record we were like “no, we’re going to do a proper 3 minute mellow song” and not write it as just a little interlude. We just went all out on it as opposed to putting just little bits in there and wrote a few tracks that were holding off and not full throttle so the ones that were massive stood out more. There are tracks on the album, on ‘The Burning Sons’, that are way heavier. I think the album as a whole is much heavier. But, that’s the route we wanted to go down; a bit darker and heavier.
Chris: The album is more of a journey.
Oz: I think the best albums are always ones that take you on a journey.
DP!: So is it more self-indulgent?
Oz: It’s self-indulgent, but it is for the listener as well. It’s whatever you want it to be. I think if you’re not self-indulgent and you’re writing music to please other people…
Chris: Then it’s not a true record.
Oz: You’re losing the battle straight away. That’s what I said when you asked me about the reception. It genuinely didn’t cross my mind a lot of the time. And obviously you hope people like it, but we didn’t go “we’ll do a song like this because it’ll keep the fans happy”. We don’t like that.
Chris: We didn’t work it out like and be all mathematical about it. Without being cliché, the writing process just came together. It did write itself to a point.
Oz: And that’s why it took so long as well. Because we didn’t go “right, we need to get this done. We’ll do a fast two minute song and bang it out”. There was none of that. It was like, right we’ve got an idea then it becomes this and then decide if it’s going on the album. Is it good enough? Will we play it live?
Chris: We actually went from finishing one song to knowing the vibe of the next track we needed to write.
DP!: But, at the same time, it must be really great seeing kids already singing along to the new tracks.
Oz: Absolutely mind-blowing.
Chris: That’s the ultimate buzz I think.
Oz: That was one of the things that made us realise that we’ve got the album right. We toured a lot and built up and we’re really appreciative of the fan base we have and we have amazing crowds, they always go mental. But, when we dropped the first song off ‘The Burning Sons’ called ‘Left For Ruins’, people are already singing along. We’ve never had that before.
DP!: Was it difficult working the new songs into the set? I saw you before you released ‘The Burning Sons’ and that set was solid. Was it hard working out how it flows?
Chris: We’re still playing around with it.
Oz: We were playing around with it 10 minutes before we went on today. We’re just trying stuff out and seeing what we’re comfortable with what we’re playing. We keep ourselves interested. The new stuff is a lot more technically demanding, so you have to be clever about how much of it you can put in and where you put it in.
Chris: I think you need to hear the album before you see us live.
Oz: I think, also, I don’t know whether I want to play ‘The Burning Sons’ back to back. It is what it is and I like to be able to come into it and go like “right, we’re going to play ‘Left For Ruins’” which is insanely hard to play. It may not come across as it, but it is a technically hard song and then be able to go ‘Mr. Red Eye’, something more simple. I wouldn’t want to lose that.
DP!: So, what’s next?
Chris: Yeah, we’ve got the tour with Gallows in September.
Oz: Looking forward to that Gallows tour.
DP!: Who are you looking forward to seeing at Hevy?
Chris: Well, I just came from Devil Sold His Soul.
Oz: Mallory Knox. I can’t wait to see them. They’re an incredible band. And then bands like Glassjaw and The Descendants. I was literally listening to them like 15 years ago.
Chris: The Chariot will be cool.
Oz: Norma Jean, Andrew WK.
DP!: You said you listened to The Descendants. What makes Feed The Rhino? Who were you listening to?
Oz: Stuff that people would never really expect.
Chris: It’s a collection of bands.
Oz: I think we have influences all there in our sound, but no one else notices them. We tell them and they’re like “what?”. So, the bands that I think are deep running through our veins are Queens Of The Stone Age; Rage Against The Machine; Deftones; Hendrix. They’re the people we’ve all loved and listened to. But I just don’t think people realise. It’s kind of a bit frustrating that people always throw that bloody Every Time I Die thing out. The thing is we don’t want to be like that.
Chris: We are by no means a metal band but we have got a lot of elements. We all listen to metal. We all like metal, but we don’t want to be another metal band.
Oz: Or a hardcore band. We want to be a rock band.
Chris: We’re just a new heavy rock ‘n’ roll band, with elements of everything else that we listen to. Anything that was generally heavy, that we’ve grown up and listened to, we’re tying all that in. But also the clever parts, the soulful stuff, the blues stuff. Then stuff like old 70s rock bands like Led Zeppelin.
Oz: There’s a lot more of that in the new album and I think people can see that we don’t want to be a band that just bangs out another rock song.
DP!: Have you ever written something and thought ‘hang on this is too much like one thing’
Oz: I can’t really say we do that too much. We want it to be natural and as organic as possible. It should. If we play it and we look at each other and it’s working then it’s good. If it’s right, we know it’s right.
Chris: If we write too much, we take it out. If there’s something missing we work on it.
Oz: If it’s not 100%, there’ll be someone in the band who will point it out.
Chris: We’re all very opinionated people as well.
Oz: We’re all very strong-minded people and that’s why it took a long time to write.
You can also read our review of the band’s festival performance that day by clicking here.
Written by Jack Bastard
Interview by Jack Bastard
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