As Skindred’s first headline tour in support of their latest ragga-metal masterpiece, Union Black, was coming to a close (you can check out a full review of the aforementioned show here) we caught up with one of the support bands, Blackpool based pop punk five piece Me vs Hero, to discuss what the bands plans are for the rest of the year.
So you’re on tour with Skindred at the moment, how’s that been going so far?
Sam: Fantastic, absolutely fantastic, we’re playing to so many people every night, getting loads of new fans.
Bigger shows than normal then?
Sam: Yeah, totally.
Stephen: The biggest shows we’ve ever played by a mile.
Does it put more pressure on you when playing with a band like Skindred?
Stephen: They do raise the bar a bit, but it’s great, they’re so encouraging as well, they tell us to go out there and have a good show and have a great time, it’s quite inspiring.
What are the plans once the tour is over?
Sam: We got a music video coming up, I think we’re doing We’re Not Going Home [discussion with band members about the choice] we’re not entirely decided on what song yet, but we’re going to do one.
You’re currently writing your new album, how’s that been going? Will it be heavier or a little bit different?
Sam: It’s going to be more of the same. When we did our debut album we went towards a poppier sound rather than a heavier sound, and the sort of stuff we’re coming up with at the moment is just sounding a lot more riffy, the last one had riffs but it was more about chord progression, this time it’s more about the riffs, you know, a little bit faster, a little bit heavier and hopefully, generally better.
When can we expect it to be out?
Sam: Hopefully end of this year, start of next year. We’re just in the writing process at the moment, gotta get a lot more songs written, then we have to demo them, record them then get it on a label and get it out.
Pop punk at the moment seems to be coming back quite a lot; Blink reformed, the other American bands like A Day to Remember and Four Year Strong are getting bigger and even the UK scene’s getting bigger with yourselves, Deaf Havana and others. Do you feel any pressure to stand out?
Sam: No. No pressure, I think it actually helps us.
Stephen: I think it’s just do your own thing, there’s a lot of really good English pop punk bands, we did a tour with a band called Summerlin, they’re great as well, you got bands like Save Your Breath, too. Obviously the American bands are great but we just do our own thing, we’re not going to listen to anyone else and copy that, we’ll just do what comes out but that’s just the sort of stuff we’re into. We’re not going to release an ambient Jazz album, but it’ll be different.
Sam: The only band we take off is Limp Bizkit, really. That’s who we try to sound like the most. (Personally, I think Sam was being slightly sarcastic here, obviously).
And they’ll be at Sonisphere with you as well.
Sam: Yeah, me and Fred Durst go way back… Never met him.
Stephen: I’d love to have the money; if we can have the money then I’m not really bothered by anything else. (More sarcasm)
Sam: Yeah, money and red hats that’s all it is for me. (I think this time he was serious, maybe?)
As usual illegal downing plays a big part in the music industry today, how does it affect you or are you just happy to be heard?
Sam: Happy to be heard. It’s just, everything costs so much money these days, it’s hard for people to avoid illegal downloading and it’s hard for people to pay for it. To hear that many bands as well, the music industry’s just not the same.
Stephen: When I was growing up most of the bands I heard people had on tape, they’d listen to the album and record them, but I would never have heard of those bands if it wasn’t for that.
So it’s always been around?
Stephen: Yeah I mean I probably wouldn’t be in a band if that didn’t happen.
Mike: As long as people pay to come to shows that’s all that matters.
How do you guys get by at the moment? Are you all working?
Sam: Yeah we all sort of work when we’re off tour, some work whilst on tour, it’s quite hard for an upcoming band to be able to afford to keep doing it. Everything we earn comes in and goes straight back out; promotions, press all that sort of stuff. We all have places to pay for, not me, but everyone else; I still scrounge off my parents.
Is that the dream then, to make a living from this?
Sam: That’s the goal yeah, it’s not easy. It’s not the pretty picture you’d imagine.
Stephen: Obviously That’s the aim, I’d rather be able to just about live off it and play shows that I really enjoy playing, than playing huge ones I don’t. I wouldn’t want millions of pounds, I don’t care about that.
Sam: Oh I’d love to have millions of pounds, but if it only came down to the fact we could only afford to live and play in the band then that’s amazing.
You have Sonisphere coming up again, is there something about that festival or are you happy to get on any bill?
Stephen: It’s the first year for me so I’m really looking forward to that one, you have All Time Low, Four Year Strong there’s a lot of pop punk being represented, but then you have the big four, Limp Bizkit and all that so yeah, I’m really looking forward to that.
There’ll be a lot of clashes at Sonisphere, why should people come see Me vs Hero?
Sam: We’ve been quite lucky with the way we’ve been placed on the bill as we won’t clash with anyone who we share a similar genre with, you either like us or the other band, so we’re really lucky in that respect. If people are really into Pop Punk and beat downs hopefully they’ll come down and check us out. Festivals are fantastic for bands, especially upcoming ones, they have access to thousands of people that you wouldn’t normally have access to, even if they pick up your name and it sticks in their head, it’s fantastic.
Stephen: So many bands that I like I found at festivals where you’re just walking past and pop in to see what’s going on, so hopefully people will do the same with us.