Scottish metalcore titans Bleed From Within are one of many bands who already had an album campaign in the works and ready to go just before COVID hit us, and thankfully it’s managed to work in their favour.
Despite being able to perform any of the songs from the their fifth album ‘Fracture’ to a live, physical audience in front of their faces now more than a year since its release, the band have managed to secure critical acclaim for the record, held a hugely successful livestream called ‘Viral Hysteria’, and bagged a slot on Lamb Of God‘s virtual event too.
Shortly after their set at Download Pilot, the first time any of these songs got aired to a live audience, we spoke with drummer Ali Richardson about the record, keeping busy in lockdown, work on yet more material, and more.
DP!: Download Pilot is actually happening, which seems crazy. How did you find your set earlier? Were you at all anxious to get back out there?
A: There were definitely nerves, man, and I think everyone felt the same after chatting with some other mates that have played today. The first show back is always going to be a bit like that after such a build up, so, aye, I’ve been shitting myself for the past few weeks, haha. But, yeah, it all disappeared once we got up there and we saw the audience and the intro started so we could focus on the set.
DP!: Yeah, and it was quite a big crowd that you guys managed to pull in as well.
A: It was nuts, honestly. I’ve been chatting about the energy that we felt from the crowd today. I know it was just 10,000 people out there today but it felt like full capacity main stage Download Festival to me. It was mind blowing. It’s a feeling that you just can’t replicate anywhere else and it’s a drug that I’m hopelessly addicted to. I’d say that it was worth the wait, but honestly I’d prefer that there be no wait at all, haha. It was insane, man. What a comeback. It’s a very special event that we’re honoured to be a part of.
DP!: You guys did a livestream a little while ago to coincide with the release of your latest album, ‘Fracture’. How was that experience? I imagine it’s vastly different and rather weird when compared to a show.
A: Aye, it was weird. It was kind of like a music video where you just couldn’t make an ass of yourself or make any mistakes. You had to be on it, so essentially it’s like you’re recording a live album but with absolutely no audience and you still have to give it your all. It was a learning curve for sure and it was a new experience, but we rose to the challenge and we delivered. The fans loved it and it opened us up to a new audience. With the footage we got from that we supported Lamb Of God with their virtual event and it was incredible and opened up a lot of doors for us. With all things considered, it’s been a really positive year for us behind-the-scenes for the band, so we’re just looking forward to the future now and getting on with it.
DP!: Do you think livestreams are something that will stay around in a post-COVID world?
A: I think there’s always been a market for virtual live events like that. I think the pandemic has helped to put those kind of events in the limelight a little bit more, and I think with livestreamed performances I can see some bands doing a tour but then maybe when they finish in London, their hometown, or some big venue and they’ll then livestream that specific date of the tour for a worldwide audience to watch and enjoy. It’d be especially helpful for those bands who can’t get out of Europe or whatever country it may be to tour, whether maybe Brexit stops that or COVID restrictions or finances, or anything like that.
I get why people might not like them, because it’s a crowd energy kind of thing. I know there’s a lot of people out there who will be like “I’m never paying for a ticket for this”, and I’m just like “Shut up man, and get with the times”. At the time we did ours and even still now bands are just trying to do their best and survive. It was a financial reward for us in the sense that we sunk so much into the performance but because of that level of production we managed to get something back from it. It’s helped to tide us over until we could return here today and back onto the stage in front of a real-life audience.
DP!: Your latest album, ‘Fracture’, came out quite early into lockdown. Was that album campaign already in the works before then, or do you think in hindsight it might’ve been better for you if you’d sat on it a little bit longer?
A: Nah, not at all. We had kind of committed to that date beforehand with the fans so they knew when it was coming, and the label came to us and asked “Would you like to push it back?”, but we had no idea when it was fucking going to end, and it still hasn’t today. We stuck to our guns and put it out when we did, and, to be honest it gave us something to do through the year; we had something to promote, we had something to shout about, we had our livestream ‘Viral Hysteria’. It opened a lot of doors for us and there’s been a lot of business developments behind-the-scenes as well as the album stuff, and it was all because of ‘Fracture’ and when we chose to release it that these things were able to happen. While the world may have stopped we’ve definitely been moving forward, and we’re all geared up and ready to go now. I’m very proud of the album, I’m proud of how it was delivered, and I’m proud of the amazing response to it.
DP!: Other than stuff with Bleed From Within how else have you been spending the past year? Have you picked up any lockdown hobbies?
A: No, not really. I’ve been one of the lucky ones who’s managed to keep their job. I work in merchandise and e-commerce, so if anything my work actually went through the roof. A lot of focus was put on that, bands needed to sell more merch to stay alive and make a living, so the day job definitely helped to keep me busy throughout and the band hasn’t taken its foot off the pedal either. We’ve got a lot of new songs in the works at the moment, and so, yeah, it’s been a very, very busy year for me personally.
DP!: You mentioned that there’s some new songs in the pipeline. What’s the situation there? Are you gonna drop them as some stand alone singles, or an EP maybe?
A: Oh, you’ll just have to wait and see I’m afraid, mate. I’m not giving any of that away right now, haha. But, yeah, new material is getting worked on for sure and we’ve been shouting about that online a bit recently. As I say, we’re just keeping moving things forward right now because there’s a lot of momentum with us. I think we’re in a good place with all things considered. Obviously it’s been a horrendous year for the industry, and unfortunately there’s no end in sight with it. That’s why we put the album out when we did. We’re making plans and sticking to them as best as we can.
DP!: What else is planned for Bleed From Within at the moment that you can talk about?
A: We’ve got Bloodstock in August, so we’re back there on the main stage. If you saw the set today then that’s a taste of what to expect when you see us there. Then we have a tour at the end of the year, and we’re finishing at the Garage in Glasgow which I’m so excited about. It’s one of my favourite venues and it’s looking like it’s going to sell out. Fingers crossed it can all go ahead, because that’s all we can do at this point.
DP!: Any final words?
A: To anyone who has listened to ‘Fracture’, thank you so much. To anyone who came and checked us out here today at Download Pilot, that was some unbelievable energy. Thank you for supporting the band so much, keep an eye on us. Oh, and go and get your fucking vaccine.
Bleed From Within‘s fifth album, ‘Fracture’, is out now via Century Media Records.