Liverpool conceptual metal up-and-comers Loathe have gotten themselves a sizeable cult following – and for good reason. Built off the back of their dark experimental jams and exhilarating live show, you can believe the hype.
Whilst watching DragonForce on the big screen backstage at Download Festival, we had a chat with guitarist Erik Bickerstaffe about line-up changes, how their concepts come to be, and when we can expect to hear some more new music from them.
DP!: So there’s been some line-up changes recently! Feisal El-Khazragi from Holding Absence has jumped on board…
E: Yep, he’s joining us on bass. He told us that he wasn’t going to be part of Holding Absence anymore, and we’ve been mates for a while anyway. At the same time our old bassist Shayne had said he wasn’t feeling it any more, so Feisal came on to play bass. We started practicing with him, I went over and we started writing, and it just clicked. It just made sense.
DP!: But you and Holding Absence are all still mates anyway, right?
E: Oh, yeah! Everything’s fine. It’s nothing to do with us really. We didn’t poach him away or anything like that!
DP!: You guys used to be quite mysterious, going by alter-egos and Kadeem (France, vocalist) wearing a mask. Was there a reason why you abandoned all of that?
E: We just kind of thought that it was unnecessary. We just want to be ourselves instead of going under all of these names. It wasn’t what we wanted to do anymore. It kind of started out that way because we saw Ghost and they all have no names and stuff, mixed with Slipknot with their masks and that.
DP!: Is theatricality still part of Loathe?
E: Oh, it definitely still is. It’s always gonna be a Loathe thing. The theatrical elements of what we do are always going to be there. It’s ingrained into our system now, and it’s what we’re all into anyway.
DP!: Your releases tend to be based on concepts. Have there been any concepts that have been abandoned along the way?
E: Erm… I don’t think so. I think it usually stems from one idea, and then we just pick it apart and reassemble it. I don’t really think we have ideas that we don’t use, because it’s always kind of just the one.
DP!: Who comes up with the ideas?
E: Sometimes it will come from one person, and sometimes it will be a group idea. We’re all fairly creative in that sense, so it’s very easy to come up with concepts in a group.
DP!: Do you choose the concepts before you begin to write the songs, or is it more that you write a song and then base a concept off of that?
E: Sometimes it’s different. Right now we’ve thought of a concept. We haven’t written any songs yet, but we’ve got the idea. That’s what we’re doing right now, but it’s a mix to be honest. I think it started off that we wanted to do a concept album and we had some songs written, and we changed a few things with certain songs to make them feel part of the story.
DP!: You have teased about some new music recently. Anything else that you can tell us?
E: I’d love for it to be out as soon as possible, but it’s never as soon as possible. Realistically I’d think it’ll be next year. We’ve got like five songs so far. I’d like to do an album, but we don’t really know yet It really depends on what the labels say, and we need to get together and decide what we’re going to do. Personally, I’d love to do an album. It’s more monumental, and more of a statement.
DP!: How are you feeling about your set a little later today?
E: We’ve never played here before. It’s ridiculous. I can’t believe that it’s real. We did Slam Dunk a couple weeks ago, and that was amazing as well. The stage that we’re playing today is about the same size as the stage at Hatfield, so it’s not as if we’re worried. We’re just really excited to play.
DP!: Anyone you wanna catch over the weekend whilst you’re here?
E: Meshuggah, obviously, and we’re watching DragonForce right now. And Guns N’ Roses because, to be honest, you’re an idiot if you don’t watch Guns N’ Roses. They’re one of the biggest bands in the world, and it’s the original line-up. I’ve got to go and catch ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’, of course.
The band’s latest EP, ‘This Is As One’, is out now through SharpTone Records.