INTERVIEW: Provoker (06/03/2017)

If you’re into hard hitting, adrenaline fuelled, riff laden hardcore (and why wouldn’t you be?) then you’ll need to be picking up Provoker‘s debut EP ‘The Long Defeat’ for one of the best debuts released in 2017. We managed to catch up with Richard Worrall from the band to talk about their self-produced EP, how the band formed and what their plans are for the rest of the year and beyond.

DP!: Hey guys, thanks for talking to Dead Press! Provoker are brand new to our ears, can you explain the sound of the band and convince everyone to go out and listen to your debut release ‘The Long Defeat’?
Richard Worrall (Bass): You should go check this record out if you want to hear some refreshing heavy, passionate and aggressive music that really means something. I guess we’d get classified as “post-hardcore”, but if you’re into any form of instruments being punished and throats being ripped in the name of giving a fuck, hopefully you’re going to enjoy this record.

DP!: The band has formed from members of Attention Thieves, Munroe Effect, and Elephantis – how did you all come together to form Housefires – and then on to Provoker? Was it all happy endings before your new chapter?
Richard: With the former three bands, I think it’s fair to say they reached their logical conclusions – I know from mine & Jack‘s last band Munroe Effect, we had some great times and achieved way more than a band using 7 time signatures in one song ought to, but not every band is supposed carry on forever. Eventually you have to look at what you’re putting in to a band and whether it’s the best use of your creative energy & time on the planet.

Housefires was a slightly different story – that was Joe & Ollie‘s band, which was in full swing until a series of unfortunate events culminating in losing a member to Leukemia, which really puts trivial day-to-day band drama into perspective. Long story short, after some downtime, Joe & Ollie hooked up with Jack and I, who were newly available, with the intention of continuing Housefires… but by the time we found Angus, it was clear from the difference in sound & energy that this wasn’t the same band and we needed to treat it as a fresh start. So here we are!

DP!: How does your new band differ to the defunct previous bands? Do Provoker have the longevity that they didn’t, or does the British hardcore scene offer a better platform in 2017 than it did previously?
Richard: I don’t know about longevity or the hardcore scene, all I know is that when we get in a room to write or a venue to play, there’s a vibe. I’m excited for what will happen, I’m excited for what the other guys are going to bring, and none of it is dependent on critics or sales figures or how this plays into a future that is yet to be determined. I’ve over-thought bands and future plans in the past, and it feels good to have a hefty counterweight of the current moment this time.

DP!: Why did you decide to release ‘Admission’ as your first single? You all lose a lot of blood in the video, is this a sign of what’s to come from the live show and general band aesthetic – fast-paced, heavy blood-fuelled post-hardcore?
Richard: So ‘Admission’ was actually the first song we wrote together. We recorded it as a single and shot a video well over a year ago, before we had committed to the idea of a new band. We went on to re-record the song in a lower tuning as part of the EP, but the video still worked, so we went with it.

Come to a few shows and you will definitely see real blood, sweat and potentially even tears (although maybe not ours). The challenge with this band is trying to capture the energy of a live show in a recorded format, so if anything the video is a mere teaser of what’s to come!

DP!: What does 2017 have in store for Provoker – shows, shows and shows?
Provoker: There will definitely be shows! We’re hoping to get over to some shows in Europe in the Autumn, too. But writing and getting another release lined up is pretty high on the agenda, too. Everyone is mega proud of this record, but with 5 tracks we know there needs to be more for people to sink their teeth into. We’re just getting started.

DP!: What have you learnt from the music industry before that will help the band now? Does each member have different experiences to bring to the table?
Richard: I think the past has given us all a healthy blend of optimism, cynicism and laissez-faire with regard to the “industry” side of things. It matters, but it’s not the focus.

Personally my biggest lesson has been that the music industry side of things sits firmly in second place, at least. I’ve seen a lot of people spend way too much of their attention trying to chase down managers, agents, labels etc. and in the past I’ve certainly been one of them — the problem with that is firstly that it distracts you from what actually matters, i.e. producing art that speaks to people, actually matters to them, that they want; and secondly, it’s folly because you have to remember these people don’t hold the magic wand of success, they can make big things happen very quickly but if you haven’t got something going on in the first place, it’s not going to work out no matter how much rocket fuel you add. So instead of trying to give industry dudes what you think they want, I think a way better approach on all accounts is to concentrate on making good music that people want to hear – get that right and the industry stuff should come relatively easily, but even if it doesn’t, you haven’t failed.

DP!: ‘The Long Defeat’ has hints of Polar and Create To Inspire to my ear – who would you say your influences are?
Richard: Thanks man, we’re actually playing with Create To Inspire at Southampton Joiners on 15th March! It’s interesting that most people to hear the record have heard different influences so far. I would say there are some over-arching bands that unite everyone, stuff like Underoath and Norma Jean are probably the more prominent themes, but individually everyone has slightly different tastes that overlap to a certain degree. It’s funny because if you had heard the original demos and then observed as each of us has added our parts and pulled things in a different direction, there’s a new set of influences at every turn, it’s a real cooking pot.

DP!: How far can a band with the heaviness of Provoker progress in the current musical landscape? Does the success of a band like Architects who have kept their creative and heavy sound, inspire you to dream as big as possible?
Richard: I think it depends on how you measure that. Fans? Sales? Years? Money? Records? The answer is I don’t know, and I’m excited as fuck to find out.

‘The Long Defeat’ is out now and you can order it on the official Provoker Bandcamp (here).
You can keep up to date with the band online by following them on Facebook (here) and Twitter (here).

Interview by Mike Heath (@MikeBeef)

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