Interview with Josh Mckeown and Sam Rondeau-Smith of Palm Reader at Sonisphere 2014


We had a good old chat with Sam Rondeau-Smith and Josh Mckeown from Palm Reader last month after their performance at Sonisphere. We talked stage antics, laying floors and LSD.

This is Lisa Fox from Rock Sins I’m here with Palm Reader.  Can you introduce yourselves guys?

SR:I’m Sam.

J:I’m Josh, I shout at people.

You shout lots and really loudly.

J:Yes, as much as I can.

So how’s it going?

SR:Yes it’s been good fun.

How was the show for you guys?

SR:Pretty enjoyable, yes, yes, it was good fun.

You had to think about it for a second.


J:It wasn’t that long ago…

Yes I know you’ve pretty much just come off stage haven’t you?

SR:It’s weird it’s the first festival we’ve had that we’ve been able to stay like the whole weekend But we’re playing on the last day so it’s sort of like all this build up to kind of half an hour odd that you don’t really remember.

That goes by ridiculously quickly I would imagine.


J:I remember it, it was good.  I enjoyed it.

SR:It’s kind of like waiting a year for your birthday and then you get so drunk you can’t remember a damn thing.

Well you remember it…

SR:And people just tell you the next day that you spat a lot and offended people.

So you guys are playing Hevy Fest this year and you’ve played Soni…


…both of those festivals got cancelled last year and you’re now playing both of them.

J:And it’s because we’re playing them…

Are you the resurrection-ists?

J:…why they’re doing it again, yes.

SR:You’re welcome.

J:Well we got a call from Bruce Dickinson and he just said, “Do you want to come play my festival?”.

SR:I think he’s putting heavy on as well.

Did he think that you were palm readers, is that what he was getting confused about.

J:He loves it.

SR:Probably yes.

J:He loves it.

SR:Probably, he can’t get enough of us.

J:He loves it.

So what do you think about like the festivals that are coming back?

J:I think it’s a good thing.

SR:Yes.  Definitely.

J:It’s obviously a good thing.  There’s a lot of people that are here enjoying themselves and that’s never a bad thing.

SR:Yes definitely, there’s a lot of festivals that all sort of seem I guess kind of the same because they’re all heavy music but there’s definitely a different feel about all of them.

Yes I think so and you know each one’s got it’s own little vibe.

SR:Yes definitely.  Especially with like, between, the difference between the smaller ones and the bigger ones, like you say between Hevy and Download, there’s a pretty massive difference.

J:Yes it’s lovely isn’t it?

SR:It’s good.

The fact that we’ve got the sun is amazing as well.


Although being Brits I suppose we’re not that used to it, eh?

J:I mean it did rain at one point so I’m clinging on to that.  I mean we can keep the misery going from that one for a little bit.  I’ve been complaining, it’s sunny but yes it rained yesterday, come on.

SR:Too pasty for the sun.

Well that’s the trouble isn’t it, you know, you go out in it and then suddenly it’s mad dogs and Englishmen and you’re all burnt and it’s horrendous.  

So have you seen any bands over the weekend?



J:A few, yes. Saw Prodigy, saw…



SR:Babymetal, phenomenal. It was the only time I’ve looked round and seen sort of a good few thousand people just kind of go, “Yes.  Alright”.

Alan Day does take some risks with his booking and I think that was a risk but it’s really turned out quite well.

J:Yes it’s you know quite transferable music, people just like to go mental at a festival so it’s always going to go well I think.

Maybe you need to get some Japanese dancers on stage with you guys.

J:Just put some metal on it, make it palatable and you’ll be fine. Polish it.  Done.

You did the Impericon tour earlier on in the year.

J:We did.

What was it like to be asked to do such a great tour and to be, you know, backed by such a good brand?

J:It was exciting but it was relatively daunting at the same time because we hadn’t done a festival, a festival or in fact a tour of that sort of, I don’t know that kind.  It was a lot more professional than we’re used to, we’re used to sitting in the back of a van.

SR:Yes we’re used to going on tour for twice as long and playing to half the people. Whereas like every night it was sort of like at least 100 people and for us that’s incredible and to be playing like nicer venues.  Things like that, you know it was just a bit weird having people to perform to.


SR:I think it just spurred us on, we were all really, we all really enjoyed it.  Really cool.

J:It was good, it was quite fun watching people’s expressions when we started playing, they’d be….


J:…because the bands we were playing with were quite sort of straightforward I guess, easy listening in comparison and they would just look with confusion but delight at the same time.


J:They’d love it…

It was quite a young crowd, but they responded well.

SR:There’s usually an element of either people sort of like really getting into it and being okay with it, or there’s the, oh fuck I didn’t realise there was another band on. Kind of thing, just oh this is loud.

J:There was a few people that liked us but didn’t know why they liked us.


J:Let’s put it that way, it was confusion but it was good.

So maybe you were the Babymetal of that tour?

J:I wish.

SR:I look pretty good in a skirt.

There you go, there’s the plan.  So album two, tell me about album two.

J:Better than album one.

SR:It’s kind of hard to explain really I guess, it’s just we sort of took what we’d done before and did, I don’t want to say we took what we did before and did more of it, because it is different, it’s a lot different I think.  It’s just on the whole a lot better, it makes the first one sound really fucking juvenile to be honest.  Which is good.

J:Yes we had a lot more time than we did on the first, we learnt from our mistakes and we gave ourselves more time to write and record and release as well, so.  So hopefully the whole campaign, including writing, recording, releasing and touring should be a lot, I don’t know, less stressful.

SR:Less panicked I think…

J:Yes less panicked.

SR:…like before, with the first album we didn’t have, we had a drummer for two weeks before we went into the studio.

J:Yes that was fun.

SR:You know, whereas this time we’ve been on tour with each for a year, so.  You know we’re a lot more together.

J:We’re a lot more comfortable with what we’re doing and a lot more aware of what we’re doing as well, that’s definitely, yes.

SR:It was the second time we’ve been back to the Ranch as well with Lewis and we were there for longer so it’s just all, yes like you say, just time I think was the biggest thing.

Yes.  That’s quite interesting that you said you had more time to write it because usually have forever to write their first album and then the second one tends to be rushed, but you’re doing it the wrong way round.

SR:No we wrote an EP before the first album came out and then our manager was like, “Yes just make an album”.

J:Yes we took the time to record it as well, we went in recorded an EP and he just said, “That sounds like you can write an album so do that”, and we were like okay so that’s another six months of, and we’ve got to release it soon, okay.  Fuck, let’s write some songs.

SR:Yes.  That, yes it just happened.

So what have you guys got going on for the rest of the year then?

SR:We’ve got a few more…

J:We’ve got some bits and bobs

SR:I don’t think we’re that extensively booked up until like the end of the year or anything.  We’ve got, after this we’ve got 2000 Trees next weekend, then we’ve got a couple of shows with the band ’68 which we’re really looking forward to.

J:Formerly Chariot, yes.

SR:So that will be really cool.  And then we get to do a little, little mini tour of the south coast with our bezzy friends in Baby Godzilla, which we’re looking forward to. Yes it’s going to be really, really silly, just silly.  Not serious just silly.

Are you going to start hanging off of things and running around?

J:I don’t know if I’ve got the stamina for that sort of thing.

SR:There’s not really much point is there, you know, like trying to compete, it’s kind of, we just have to do something different I guess.

J:I’ll just stand completely still.

SR:Yes maybe if we go polar opposite it might, might have equal impact, maybe.

I saw a band once that played with their backs to the audience in the dark and they were all hooded.


So that was quite interesting

SR:Ghost or some…

No it wasn’t Ghost, oh s they’ve got Sunlight in their title, I can’t think.

SR:Dragged In to Sunlight?

Oh yes. thats is

SR:Yes they’re wicked. Yes them playing in a, like a cathedral and there was just smoke and blue lights.

And then they’re the most normal blokes when you talk to them. Bizarre.  Or you could do a Pink Floyd and build a wall and perform behind a wall.

SR:Yes, they used to have like speakers going round like the whole crowd as well.  My dad saw them at Kingston Polytechnic.

J:Fuck off.

SR:They had, between songs they had like this thing of like just a bloke walking round the crowd.  It’s kind of pointless really.

J:What the sound of a man…

SR:Yes just opening a door and walking round.

J:That’s crap isn’t it?

SR:It was the 70s everyone was high.


J:Let’s go back to the 70s and do some LSD.

Yes.  So there’s a final question and I’m obviously interviewing you guys for Rock Sins, what would you say is your biggest rock sin?


Well it’s up to you.

SR:What do you mean like, just…

It can be a sin, it can be a guilty pleasure, it can be…

J:I’d say goes to bed earlier.

Your sin is going to bed early?

J:Yes because that’s not very rock and roll at all really.

So your rock sin is not committing rock sins?



J:Or not as many as I probably should.

SR:I enjoy my job.

Your music job or your real life job?

SR:No, no, my real life job, I don’t think it’s that bad.

J:Yes I quite enjoy it.

SR:I don’t work a shitty nine to five but…

What’s your real life job?

SR:I’m a floor layer.

Oh very good.

SR:So yes I guess I don’t hate the man.  He’s not trying to bring me down, if anything he’s trying to pay me so.

Well what you could do is like you could start laying the floor while you guys play, that would, you know the floor cannot be there, and then you build the floor.

SR:They can’t afford me.

Fab.  Thank you very much.

SR:Plus they’ll be getting us to play.

Thank you for chatting guys.

Palm Reader’s next show is this Sunday in London (Sunday 7th September 2014) as they support the mighty Dave Lombardo (of Slayer fame) and his new project Philm alongside Hawk Eyes and Earls Of Mars at The Underworld in Camden. You can follow Palm Reader on Facebook at the following link –


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