Date: August 4th, 2012
Venue: Hevy Festival, Kent
Interviewer: Zach Redrup
Format: Written / Audio
What many people may not know is that a great deal of bands on the live circuit constantly still run full-time day jobs alongside managing their band commitments, using holidays from work to head on the road or work in the studio. Lincoln metalheads Martyr Defiled are one of such band, working relentlessly to build the huge reputation they have as a hard-working band today. With a new EP titled ‘In Shadows’ just a few weeks away and their set at Hevy marking their open air stage debut, we spoke with frontman Matt Jones and sticksman Richard Duffin to talk about all of the above and more:
DP!: You guys played your set at Hevy earlier today, how did you find it?
Richard: Brilliant. It was really, really good. Starting your set as early as 1:00pm, you sometimes worry that everybody might still be suffering from the night before and not wanting to hear that sort of metal at that time. But luckily it was really great.
DP!: It was your first time on an open air stage too, what was that like? Usually you’re playing in small clubs.
Matt: Yeah, it was weird. You look at all of that stage and you’re like “What do I do? I don’t know where to go”. It’s strange ‘cause you’re kind of like trying not to stick in one place and trying to move around a little bit more. It just feels very different and the atmosphere is very different. It’s still a good atmosphere and you still get a vibe off of the crowd. In a small club, it’s a lot more in-your-face but in open air you’ve got to bring a lot of it in yourself and a lot more reliant on you interacting and making people get involved. Obviously we’re in a big festival and a lot of people are here to see a lot of different bands. We’re not competing with anyone, but you’ve got to do your best and be the very best that you can be. It’s cool, but it’s kind of weird yet exciting at the same time.
DP!: You were filming for a new music video during the performance today too, so I guess that’s another incentive to get the crowd moving too.
Matt: Of course.
DP!: You also played at Ghostfest a little earlier this year. How did that go for you?
Richard: Yeah, it was amazing. Matt came away from it with a war wound.
[Matt shows a large stitched up cut up his shin]
DP!: Ouch, that looks nasty.
Matt: They had to do 9 stitches on the one side and a further 10 stitches on the other side.
Richard: Yeah, he basically thought that he would go in, jumping on top of the crowd, but ending up splitting and cutting his leg on the crowd railing.
DP!: So you did what Andrew WK literally advises and partied hard?
Matt: I partied hard, absolutely.
Richard: The set was amazing though. It was really, really good. Festivals are amazing. They’re brilliant for a band of our size because you get an opportunity where there’s a large collective of people who all like our niche style of music. Obviously, underground metal isn’t a mainstream genre. You get all these people in the same area who get an opportunity to know what they want to hear. So we get them all there and it’s like “That’s what I want to do every night”. That’s the dream, and we get the chance to do it. Places like Ghostfest, Make A Scene and now Hevy are the main ones we’ve done this year. It’s amazing, we love it.
DP!: You’ve got your new EP ‘In Shadows’ in just under a month’s time. Are you guys getting excited to finally get it out there?
Matt: Very much so. It’s been so long since we’ve released something solid out there. We’ve done singles and we’ve done some music videos, but it’s an actual physical CD to give to people that they can grab and hold. You can see it in magazines and get some reviews and feedback from the critics and fans. It’s a big thing and we’re really, really excited to get it out.
DP!: How do you think it stands against your other releases ‘Collusion’ and ‘Ecophagy’?
Richard: I would say that the sound itself has gone in full circle. When we first started writing and ‘Ecophagy’ was what we were about, I think it’s personally quite an energetic EP. Maybe it’s not quite as fast or as technical as ‘Collusion’ is, that was kind of what Martyr Defiled was about when we first started writing music. We went off the path a little bit going into ‘Collusion’, which I still think is a good album. I know that some people aren’t a huge fan of it, but I think it’s a good album and it’s got some solid songs on it. We’ve kind of come back to where the natural progression would have been after ‘Ecophagy’, that’s where I would put ‘In Shadows’. It’s where we would’ve gone and we’re happy where we are now.
DP!: You’ve got the £2 tour coming up too. How did the idea of that come about? Usually people paying around £10 for your shows.
Richard: Exactly what you just said. We sometimes get some random one-off shows where we go down there and we really don’t know a lot about the show, but we turn up and it’s like £10-£15 a ticket on the door. We all work hard for our money, so we know that’s a lot of money to go and spend to go and watch a band. It’s absolutely humbling and amazing to know people have spent that amount to watch us, but we wanted an opportunity where we just want people to hear our music. That’s why we’re selling the EP at the cheapest possible cost to make sure that our costs are covered. We’re not looking at making money, it just costs that much that we can’t afford to be so much in debt from it. It’s exactly the same with the £2 tour; we’ve made it so we’ve got a fee of how much it’ll be for the van, petrol and driver to get us around the country. That’s our guarantee to make sure every promoter will make it back. I think we’ve sold enough tickets for each show to cover us already.
Matt: The promoters are all friends. It went out to a few agents, but it’s mostly just done through favours owed and favours given and people that we know. We’ve done it more as a tour on a personal level than on a more professional level.
Richard: That’s why there’s no tour support as well. Costs are kept to an absolute minimum so that promoters can just get local bands to help promote them as well and with them. We just really wanted money isn’t an issue and £2 is the bare minimum we could say to charge to see us whilst everyone is still breaking even. We just want as many people to see us as possible. There’ll be cheap CDs and cheap merchandise too. We just want to get it out there.
DP!: Speaking of merch, you brought that t-shirt out which was like a peace sign that Your Demise had and they kind of kicked up a fuss. Did they ever get in touch with you personally about it?
Matt: Oh, yeah.
Richard: That’s all water under the bridge now. I mean, we didn’t do that to intentionally piss them off or annoy them. It was more of us thinking of ideas of what we wanted and we all between us kind of came up with the zero and no fucks given. So we started doing the zeros sign like an ‘ok’, and it just fell in that we realised that Your Demise obviously had the peace sign, so we thought “what if we had a design like that but change it to a zero?”. It also fell in that the YD and the MD worked, so we were like “oh yeah, we’ll do a rip”. We didn’t mean to piss them off, it wasn’t intended like that. Obviously they got a bit mardy about it, but by the time everything was ironed out, it’s all cool now. All water under the bridge.
Matt: *does the zero fucks given sign* That’s how many fucks we give.
Richard: Yeah, zero. Zero fucks given really.
DP!: You guys all run day jobs as well alongside the band. Is it difficult to run the band alongside them?
Matt: It’s not easy. It’s definitely not easy. We’re blessed enough to have people; bosses, co-workers, colleagues, friends that are all quite supportive of us and what we’re doing. Work tends to fall in, it always tends to work itself out. Like my boss tells me what to do, sometimes he’s there and tells me I can pick it up when I need to. Everyone else kind of follows a similar thing.
Richard: Yeah, essentially all of our tour time is taken up on holidays and then unpaid time off of work. We want to tour as much as possible, but literally there’s no time off. I don’t get back off tour and then have a week before I’m back in work. Literally I could get home from tour at 2:00am I’ll be back in work at 7:00am that day. It’s hard, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.
DP!: Have you got any final words to say to our readers who check this interview out?
Matt: Please, please pick up our new EP.
Richard: Yeah, we really wanna get it out there, please. We just hope people want to listen to it in the exact same way. We love what we’re doing and what to carry on doing it for as long as possible.
You can also read our review of the band’s festival performance that day by clicking here.
Written by Zach Redrup
Interview by Zach Redrup