We had a chat with James Cook and James Britton of Welsh metallers Anterior during their UK tour supporting Sylosis.
Rocksins: The metal scene in the UK is thriving right now, do you find it hard to stand out?
James Cook (Drums): I’d say so, I think every band nowadays has to work harder. There’s a new wave of bands coming out now is so much more technical. You’ve got all these kids watching Youtube, when I started you didn’t have all these drummers doing all this shit. I see these kids and think “I’ve got to step up my game”
James Britton (Bass): We just did a competition getting kids to play some of our solos, and these little 15 and 16 year olds just scared the shit out of us. It’s quite hard just to be different now because everyone and their dog is in a band now. How many bands are in the UK? Fucking thousands!
James Cook: We’ve got Chapters opening on this tour, most of them are about 20, and they’re phenomenal. It’s really good to see young guys going out there and playing.
RS: You did your first headline tour this year, how was that experience?
James Cook: It was shit! Haha, nah it was actually REALLY good.
James Britton: It was the first tour where we’ve been able to play a full hour long set. We went to places we had never played before and to see a crowd somewhere we’ve never been is quite impressive.
RS: You played some new songs on the headline tour, and your new album has just been released. How have people been reacting to the album?
James Cook: When we played it before the album was out, there was already a great reaction; at one gig a kid was standing there going nuts singing along to words he didn’t know. And now we’ve got people shouting “play this, play that” from the new album!
RS: Loads of people have been talking about the merch theft that happened on this tour (with Sylosis), how important is merch sales to a small band like yourselves?
James Britton: It’s everything.
James Cook: It’s your bloodline.
James Britton: We pay for the design and we pay for some of it to get printed, Jagermeister endorse us so they pay some of the cost, but when you’re out and your pay is covering your van and just about covering living cost for one of you. The other 4 still need food, you need petrol for the van, you need to pay your crew, you need to pay hotels and when you get home you need to pay rent. So merch literally is everything to us.
James Cook: The people who stole the merch have basically stabbed us in the back and stole money out of our pockets.
RS: Another thing affecting young bands is illegal downloading, what are your views on that?
James Britton: Illegal downloading is affecting album sales, and if people are downloading as opposed to actually buying albums, then the label haven’t got incentive to paying for our albums and keep us on, because people aren’t paying them and they aren’t making any profit. But I suppose everybody does it in this day and age, I don’t know how the fuck you could stop it.
James Cook: A lot of people have said on Facebook that they have downloaded the album first to hear if they like it and then went and bought it. When I was a kid I loved having albums and looking at the artwork and reading the thank you’s but with stuff like iTunes it’s not the same anymore, no one is really bothered about having a physical copy.
James Britton: It affected our artwork actually; we really made it really special to make people want a copy of it.
RS: What about things like Spotify, obviously your label, Metal Blade, pulled out of Spotify…
James Cook: We were never actually told about that, I was telling a family friend to listen to our album but he couldn’t find it on Spotify… I don’t understand why Metal Blade have done it, to be honest.
Keep checking back for part 2.