Interviewed by Danny Draper
Photos: Altercarnated Photography
On a lovely warm evening in Camden, I sat down with Inner Eden. A band from from London via Birmingham. We talked about themselves and their dreams for Inner Eden and also matters concerning the internet, music in general and testicles….
How are you all doing?
Jay: Fucking tired!
Christina: Happy now I’ve got a drink!
You guys have a gig coming up at the Scream Lounge with ForeverNever and Orestea, you’ve gigged with them before, are you looking forward to playing with these two bands again?
Jay: Definitely, we’ve known ForeverNever for quite a while and Orestea as well, we’ve played with them down in Guilford a while back. They’re both really good bands, (they’ve) got interesting music. It’s kind of got a decent vibe to it and I think we’ll fit in quite well on the bill. Obviously Croydon being the hometown of a couple members of the band and where Eden started out, it’s going to be a massive, massive turn out for the band. It should be an absolute killer show.
Hans: We’ve got to plug the scream Lounge as it’s a really nice venue. We’ve played the scream lounge a few times, there’s always a nice atmosphere, always a decent turnout and it looks to be a very good evening.
Jay: We’ll the video we’ve just released was actually filmed out the back of the Scream Lounge in one of their showcase rooms.
What’s the affiliation?
Jay: There’s no affiliation really…
Christina: Watering hole.
Jay: We just happen to be local to it. I like to have a beer every now and then, as long as it’s a day ending in Y. It just so happens, that it’s the closest to where I happen to live. It’s a really nice venue; they’re really trying to push bands – Terrorizer, Grindhouse nights down there. They’re trying to do a lot for unsigned bands and they don’t take any money off anyone. If you’re an unsigned band, they put the gig on, everything goes to you, and all they want is bar take. They don’t ask for anything which I think is fucking fantastic.
Hans: Yeah, we brought Annihilated down at the start of the year. They’re first gig 21 years or something and they were just amazed, at the end of the evening. It was great for them; reasonable turnout a Saturday night and it warmed them up for an overseas festival, at the end of the evening, a hand over of 120 quid. They were absolutely gob smacked.
Would you consider it a second home then?
Jay: Anywhere that serves beer is a second home!
Hans: I think as far as me and PJ are concerned it is home
Christina: It’s the living room!
Jay: I mean we’re quite lucky in Croydon. It’s a quite a good atmosphere, you are really spoilt for choice down there, within spitting distance there are four or five rock/alternative venues, there’s something there for everyone.
Hans: We played with Edguy back in March, and we had the gig in the Scala with Esoterica and a lot of people came up, we had a pretty healthy turn out for both gigs.
How was playing with Edguy and White Wizzard?
Jay: It was great fun. The White Wizzard guys are absolutely fantastic; we helped them load their equipment in! They were like “This is the first time on a tour we’ve not had to load our own equipment in, what’s going on?!” They were absolutely fantastic. Edguy, had a quick chat with them, they all came out to see the other bands that were playing, a really good atmosphere for the day.
John Rae: We also had a really good turnout with the crowd for that one.
Hans: It was one of those gigs where, most of the gigs in town start early and sometimes where I’ve been up there to see bands, I won’t mention the bands because it’s quite embarrassing, I won’t even say Kamelot.
(Jay and John share a shocked sigh!)
Hans: The misses dragged me up! You get in there and it’s like six-thirty – seven o’clock the first band are on and it’s empty and you feel really bad for them, you know? I remember us thinking “Oh it’ll be fifty-sixty people” and then poking my head around the curtain and going “Oh shit!”
Jay: We sold so much merchandise as well which we quite surprised about to. Between Edguy, White Wizzard and us, we become the sore thumb on the bill as far as music goes. But yeah we did really well. We are with O Merch, the same guys as Opeth
(I was wearing an Opeth t-shirt)
Do you have any plans for a tour or are you just playing locally at the moment?
Jay: Um, no. John’s actually discussing some things with some friends of his at the moment.
John: I’ve just had a meeting tonight so I’m trying to organise something, though I can’t say anything at the moment (Nothing?) No, no juicy gossip at the moment.
Jay: But there are some very big shows in London coming up.
John: Yeah, we got a few good bits and pieces in the pipeline. We want to hit Europe a bit more now. Once people see the promo and get the new recording sorted out, which is going to be happening in about three-four weeks time. Full length video straight after that, then we’re hoping to start hitting Europe then. That’s where we kind of need to be aiming, going to mainland Europe.
How is the reception out in Europe at the moment?
Jay: There’s a DJ out in Finland, what’s his name?
John: Someone from a Radio station in Finland called RadioRock.fi. A bloke called Klause Flaming; he’s the main DJ there. He’s been playing us several times. I’ll give you the card you don’t have to write it down!
Jay: With Finland the metal is great over there.
The whole eastern side…
Jay: Yeah, they’ve got it nailed over there…
John: No, no. Your getting two things mixed up here. Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. They are two different things. But Scandinavia is a great place.
Hans: I mean, for us now the line-ups a great line-up, really sorted. It’s amazing to have Christina on board. And now it’s really all starting to take its place. The thing that made a big difference is when Christina joined and all of a sudden, people really sat up and took notice. No disrespect to previous members but people said “Actually, that’s the singer you need”
Jay: A lot of industry people as well straight away after we announced Christina joining the band flooded our inbox of people saying “This is just fantastic”.
Adrian and Christina joined the band this year. For Christina, how is it being in Inner Eden compared to being in different bands?
Christina: Well, its early days yet. So um…
John: It’s alright, I’ve got my glasses on you can’t see me!
Christina: It’s early days yet, but so far it’s pretty similar really in terms of the calibre. Of previous bands I’ve been in, they did creep up to have a good following and a lot of touring and gigging and festival slots. And I’m hoping this is going to be either to the level of that but obviously taking that and grow to be a lot more. I’ve never really done anything as a solo singer; I’ve always done dual vocals. So this is also a new playing field for me, taking to the stage and being the front person on my own, and getting out there and showing what I can do.
Jay: Definitely take it by the scruff of the neck!
Christina: I’m really looking forward to getting on the road with these guys and having a good time knocking out places in Europe.
You all do have very impressive CV’s from previous work. Do you think as a collective though, you are a more grounded band with clearer ideas and goals?
Jay: Most defiantly. As a lot of people play in bands or starting out in bands or are in bands currently will know, when you start off you have great aspirations but unfortunately nothing like hard work pays off in the long run, it’s when the outcome is different and you can see a lot of pit falls, there always going to be there no matter who you are, what band you’re in, it’s not pretty. If they had told me that when I was growing up and wanting to be a rock star. “Yeah it’s going to be Hotels, limousines, Rock’n’roll.
TV’s out the window…
Jay: Yeah. It does help though; our expectations are much more realistic. You’re well aware of the hard work that’s got to go in, and it’s not fucking easy. You’re juggling your daytime job, your career, your finances, and your music, your writing, promotion. It’s like doing two jobs at the same time. The music industry is accepting us; a lot of places are now thanks to the internet, where everyone seems to think they’ve got a voice. Like an arsehole, everyone’s got one doesn’t necessarily make it a good thing.
Jay: But we’ve had a lot of great people on the internet as well who are pushing the band. It’s a double edged sword, there are good and bad sides to both of them. But I think the experience is defiantly helping.
Hans: I think the one thing about experience is that and this is certainly really striking compared to previous bands I’ve been in, where even though it is a load of people with impressive CV’s there is no kind of music leader. So people are actually mindful of the fact that we’re trying to songs as opposed to one person saying “Actually, I must have my limelight here”. Where there’s a solo because Jay really thinks the song needs one, there isn’t this “I must always have this showcase”
Jay: I really think there should be more solo’s…
Hans: Yeah there should be! There are no excessively long, overblown songs. The productions a lot more balanced because we’ve got a much more mature attitude there. Everyone knows they play a part…
Jay: It’s about the band, not the individual musicians in the band. It’s all for the better of the music.
I agree with that.
Jay: You take Opeth for example and you look at some of the early stuff and it can be classed as one dimensional. But you see how they’ve grown and it is just down to the fact that they’ve been doing this. As with Kataonia as well, you look at the stuff they bring out now and not that I’m comparing us to Katatonia or Opeth – Get that one in there! But it’s the fact that as you do get the experience and you get the line under your eyes and you do progress and it’s for the better.
Things change, views change…
Jay: Definitely, defiantly. It’s got a much more mature aspect to the song writing and the music that you’re putting out there. It becomes more focus for the band and not your personal ego trip as Hans was saying…
Hans: The last thing that makes a big difference, this is actually something that when we were auditioning and Christina came along and something really kind of said she like the idea of. A lot of bands kind of waste a lot of time in rehearsals. There’s a lot of hanging around and jamming and stuff like that. But we actually do a lot of work away from the rehearsal studio. And that’s probably one really big difference is that our keyboard player Ade lives up in Birmingham. That doesn’t mean that we only ever hear from him at rehearsals. If Jay writes until there’s a song, Ade records his parts, burns them and then sends them down so that when we meet up for rehearsals it’s productive
Jay: Chris as got her own vocal booth at home as well
Everyone’s always working away from the band?
Jay: Yeah, all the time.
Christina: That’s something you only gain out of experience of being in previous bands, we’ve all learnt that it’s a trial and error situation. You grow and you realise “No, I need this equipment at home, I need to be more professional, and I need to be able to get an idea down like now!” Not wait till Saturday or Sunday when I’m in rehearsal and think, what was that idea again? It’s a waste of time, it’s not productive.
Hans: The reality which Jay said, we’ve got jobs and those sorts of commitments. You’ve got to kind of balance it so you don’t blow yourself out. And it’s nice to turn up to rehearsals and feel really fresh in rehearsal. You haven’t over done it, just going over the same material which you could do at home and do a really good job off. You turn up to rehearse to perfect something new, or really work towards a decent set for a gig. And that’s really nice and refreshing.
How are things going in the studio? Are you writing and recording at the moment?
Jay: Bit of both actually to be honest with you. We’ve got a fuck-load of new material on the go at the moment. Some of it’s been sitting there for a while, there’s certain material that now Christina’s come in, there’s been some stuff that we’ve been wanting to work on for a while we just need someone who had the voice and the vision to bring that into reality which is great. And Ade, he’s come in there with his experiences and he’s also a great songwriter. So we’ve got a lot more material that’s growing together. We’re working on that at the moment; I believe we’re in the studio beginning of September. We’re hoping to push one song in particular which is the single, which is the one we’re doing the video for as well, but there’s also going to be some other tracks we’re going to be putting online. It’s nice to get something consistent coming out.
John Rae: But from the old stuff, from our original recordings etc. to the next stuff that’s going to be recorded, musically, there’s going to be a completely different approach that people will say, it’s a completely different band because there’s going to be a big jump from the girl next door, to Satan with a voice!
Jay: Santa if you’re dyslexic!
John Rae: Even musically, there’s a load of input from Hans and Ade. And the new vocals etc. it’s going to be a different beast.
Jay: The old fans will love it as well. It’s not going to change direction where it’s entirely different, but we’ve been able to take it to that next level which we’ve wanted to do for a long time anyway. So it’s nice now that we have the line-up that we now feel we can be effective band.
Han: We’ve basically got three, ninety-eight percent completed songs, one fifty percent completed and mountains of ideas. So there’s a lot there that’s just about ready to be finished. But for us we’d like to get out there and gig it a little bit so you really comfortable with it and then make a recording. But even the existing stuff, when we did the Scala gig, people were coming up to us saying “Even the songs we know, sound completely different” And weather it’s some renewed sense of urgency or something.
Jay: Chris went away and scrapped all the old vocal patterns, all the old vocal lines, literally just torn them out. What the band was feeling at the time, with Chris coming in there’s a whole new drive, whole new motivation and vision on the songs. She’s literally re-written everything, and for the better.
John Rae: And for certain people to turn round after the show and say “I like those two new tracks you done”. They were the same old tracks, with different vocals! And it changed the whole thing and made the songs sound completely different. People didn’t even recognise the songs, which is kind of cool.
Hans: What’s been really quite interesting, before with both previous vocalists’ everyone used to go on about being a female fronted metal band. And fair enough, it’s just a tag, a label we’ve been given. But for a lot of people it really kind of sticks in your throat, they really hate the idea of it.
Jay: I do.
Hans: And people aren’t saying that anymore and there’s no difference. Maybe back in the old days, Ade and Jodie with a lot more vocals because of volume because Jodie wasn’t that kind of singer. It was very much guy does the gruff vocals, girl does the nice vocals. And you fall straight into that trap, into that genre. And weather you sound like the musically you become pigeonholed. I think that the big thing for us is that people can’t say that and they’re not and they just saying Inner Eden – Metal band, not female fronted metal band. And that’s a big thing for us, because I hate the idea of someone just saying “I don’t like female fronted bands”.
Jay: You know we happen to have a vocalist who is female. You don’t look at Iron Maiden and go, oh; it’s another one of them male fronted bands. It’s a metal band. If it happens to have a female in front of it, then so fucking what, you know?
John Rae: She’s got a pair of bollocks on her, so there you go!
Christina: I’ve not seen them yet! But I’ve been told by John that there are some testicles there.
John: The nads are there! The nad factor!
Jay: Nad metal!
Christina: It’d be an interesting story, where my previous band parted ways. I actually made a choice to not do the harsh vocals. I was like “No, I’m just going to focus on my clean vocals” and two years went by and I tried loads of different projects working with absolutely amazing people, really talented people but it just wasn’t working for me at all. Then I found theses guys, answered an ad. I thought I’d go along and I’d try it out. The track that I first I tried out, I only did clean vocals. But the moment I stepped into the audition with them I was like “This is going to have to have more”
Jay: I’d actually played some gigs with Christina years back. I used to be in a band called Axis of Evil, with John, before you try and get out of this one! And Chris was in Interlock at the time and we did some gigs together. And when our vocalist left I said to John, we got to find this Christina because she did the clean, she did the harsh. But she had so much stage presence it literally blew me away. I contacted her at the time and she was busy. So, pain in the arse!
Christina: A year later
Jay: So we carried on and this came up again, she replied to the advert. I didn’t put the band name in anything like that, basically just what we were looking for profession.
Christina: I knew it was you!
Jay: And then straight up – You’re not Inner Eden are you?! And then she was like “I wanted to apply before but I was just so busy with that project”.
Hans: The audition process was a real eye opener for me actually for me.
Jay: Yeah, it wasn’t a casting couch.
Hans: And most previous auditions had been painful. But we went about it by not saying who the band was, making the song available without vocals, saying if you’re really stuck we can provide some vocal ideas, but gave them a blank canvas. We had about six or seven through. Some were really amazing.
Jay: There were about thirty applicants. Some from the States, some were from Sweden. Some wanted to fly in but, we thought it would be unfair, and luckily the volcano thing happened as well so, all of a sudden, they can’t get there.
Hans: Christina’s was the last one to arrive. So we’re kind of gearing up for an audition with four or five people ready. The idea was we were only going to get people we wanted to hear. And it was six hours rehearsal, an hour slot per person.
Jay: A question and answer session as well.
Hans: Christina’s submission came in and everyone was like, excellent! The only downside was that Christina was the first person, and no disrespect to any of the others who were brilliant. We actually said to one person, it’s a shame we can only pick one vocalist. And with Christina coming in first, it was almost like going through the motions, like “Can we just get to the end of the day and find out if Christina wants to join?!”
John Rae: The standard was very high this time round. People turned up and they’d done their homework. It was one of those ones where, people turned up on time, they wanted to do it, they made a lot of effort, they worked hard on it and the standard was high. But Christina, at the end of the day, was what we were looking for.
Hans: My friend who’s in another band was looking for a vocalist and I said I know a couple of really good vocalists! So it was a really good process.
Jay: And the nice thing was when we let the other guys know they all emailed straight back saying we wish you the best, you guys rock. And we’ve seen some at gigs since then and they’ve turned up to watch the band.
Hans: To get a new vocalist and five new fans out of an auditioning process, you’ve got to be quite happy. So it was a really good process. And we didn’t make it too difficult for you having a gig three weeks later?
Hans: Yeah, we didn’t make it too hard!
Have you guys done the video shoot now?
Hans: We’ve done the promo shoot, which is a taster….
Jay: That was a bloke called Alex Flo????? He did the Arch Enemy DVD with Paul Smith, Phrygian, and Bullet for my Valentine. A couple more mainstream people who I won’t mention! He’s a great guy and he actually believes in the music so he didn’t actually charge us! He actually wants to work with us. We’ve got the full video coming up which is with one of the new songs which is After All. That’s going to be the full video. Don’t look at me like that, I’m shit with names!
Christina: It’s called All That’s Left by the way!
Hans: The DVD is just a snippet, to find out what we sound like and to introduce Christina. For a freebie, he really did us proud.
What’s next on the agenda?
Jay: Another pint by the looks of it.
(Laughs all round)
Hans: For us, next we want to get a really decent gig in London. We want to make sure we keep ourselves a hot enough profile. We want to get the recording done, absolutely perfect this time around – the two older songs and the newest song so we’ll have a decent length recording to be working with. But it’s also really focusing on some high profile London gigs. Edguy was great, Scala gig was great. We want to keep momentum going.
Jay: Europe as well, I mean we’ve met a few bands around Europe, Czech Republic, Estonia. It’s so great, I’ve played there before and over there people will travel thirty miles to go and see a gig because you are there and it’s such a good feeling.
Are we talking more local gigs or supporting local bands?
Jay: It’s going to be a combination of both. The guy we’re in talks with is a bit of a big booking agent over there. He played over here, we looked after him, and not that he wants to repay the favour attitude. We’re not one of those bands that are stuck up. I’m pretty grounded, I think we all are. Same as you, it’s about having a couple of beers, playing music that everyone enjoys and to get on with people. I think the one comment in the Scala gig, I was sitting there chatting to him and he said “Been in England for a while now guys, why are so many bands up their fucking arse?! You guys are just sitting there having a couple of beers and a laugh” in our dressing room that was a toilet! We’re doing it for the music, not for the hotels or anything. We all enjoy what we do.
Hans: I remember that when they came over from the Czech Republic and it was exactly that. There’s a bit of gear onstage, you get on with it. And we’re the only people getting up there, helping them, making sure they’re set up, chatting.
You’ve got some really good endorsements from some high profile companies.
Jay: Yeah, as you mentioned in the beginning, a lot of that does come from the fact that we have been doing it for a while. From the CV that came beforehand. Blackstar, we used them at Bloodstock last year when we played that. And I phoned the dude up straight away and said “Dude, this shit is fucking awesome man!” It’s totally fucking took my face off! Next thing I know, I’ve got a Blackstar sitting in my studio. So for any guitarist who gets that far, they are the fucking bollocks, and I don’t take endorsements cause I’ve been offered endorsements from other companies before and I turned them down because I can’t see myself playing it and I didn’t like it. But with Blackstar, the British sound is there. Too many bands want to sound American. This shit is fucking British through and through, absolutely lovely sound.
Where can people find or buy your music at the moment?
Hans: We’ve got a big web presence, there’s no material to sell. But the website is www.inneredenband.com, we’ve got a facebook group:
www.facebook.com/?ref=home#!/pages/Inner-Eden/39888837116?ref=ts and MySpace www.myspace.com/innereden
John Rae: Hold on, let me put the beers down first!
Hans: On these websites there is up to date news…
Christina: There are samples on the myspace.
Hans: Yep, there are sound samples and the promo up on youtube.com.
Jay: We’ll be bringing USB keys to gigs as well. At the end of the day the music world is changing. We actually got offered a couple of record deals, digital only record companies. As tempting as it was, I’m still a firm believe that Rock and Metal is still the only type of music that you want the CD or the Vinyl. And you can do that with commercial shit like your pop music and hip-hop rubbish where people go “Ah, that’s a great song. I’ll put that on my Ipod” A week later, whatever’s at number one again. I think with Rock and Metal, people want to keep that, I’ve still got my CD collection.
John Rae: Look at how vinyl’s coming back. Now rock bands are doing a thousand this, three-thousand that. And they sell out very quick. People want to see the products in their hand, not a website where you put your parent’s credit card in and push the button and then you get stuff.
Jay: You got to meet in the middle. The music industry has changed and morphed into something different. There are people who want it expendable, and there are people who want something to keep. The digital label deal was a deal where they didn’t want to produce any physical CD’s and as a metaller I can’t do that. People want to take the artwork, I know I do!
Hans: You know there’s something wrong with digital when you can go on Amazon and you can buy a Dream Theatre album for a quid or pay thirty-two quid for a another CD which is based on tracks.
Jay: A quid for a Dream Theatre album?
Jay: I hope you get 80p back!
Hans: I remember going on Amazon to see how much it would cost to download Grand Finale and went… yeah! That’s the problem in some respects; you do need to look at the old fashioned way. When we played with White Wizzard. Off all the bands we played with, their merchandise flew out. Back patches, Limited Edition Vinyl, old style baseball shirts….
Christina: T-shirts are the way forward.
Hans: The old fans love stuff like that you know. Sweatbands, all that stuff.
John: Used condoms!
Hans: I still like breaking out my old gatefold vinyls. And the same with CD’s and I even think with digital downloads, if there was a way of getting the artwork across to people because that’s what you need.
Jay: The option needs to be there, some people haven’t got the time. People want speed, they want something and they want it now. As metal and rock has always been you’ll get people who like it for a while and then grow out of it. There the people that want things and why should they have to wait? But then you have the true fans that will wait. I remember as a kid, I would order CD’s and I wouldn’t sleep until they arrived. You wouldn’t even put it in straight away, you’d look at the inner sleeve, gatefolds man!
John: Look at him he’s a right addict insn’t he!
Jay: You know what I mean! I used to love that, and you’d out that in there and that would not leave your CD player, if you’d take it out it was boiling hot it’d been in there for that long! And people still want that. The music industry’s ignoring Rock’n’Roll.
Hans: Also the days where you really cared about the artist. You’d pick up an album and you really cared about it. And it’s a shame. I download quite a bit and pay for it.
You miss having something actual and real there…
Jay: Definitely. It’s all about the physical product. Like I said about the merchandise with O Merch, It’s like some of the great stuff they do like the box sets. Some of the Opeth stuff was amazing and the price it was going out for, I was thinking I’d have to re-mortgage my flat! But people want it and that just proves…
That the demand is still there…
Jay: Definitely, I think it is. People wouldn’t buy the shirts otherwise. But you want to go buy of the band, because you know that the band is surviving on those sales, that’s how they’re paying for diesel. And it’s nice, it’s not just to help the band out, you’re walking out there wearing that shirt and you’ve watched that band all night and it’s yours…
And also to spread the word of this band…
Well, I’ve come to the end of my questions, so is their anything else you’d like to add?
Christina: Thank you for inviting us out for an interview!
Jay: Err, can I know in advance if he’s (James – Photographer) wearing a Carcass top in future so I don’t wear mine!
Hans: Definitely keep looking at our website because the idea for us is that we want to keep stuff coming constantly. New material and new stuff to keep the interest there. Hopefully it’ll be one of those sites where you check back and theirs no updates.
Christina: We’re hoping to do some video pod casts as well. It won’t just be facebook status update. We’re going to do some cool little video clips just to keep you updated on what we’re doing. You know, maybe my testicles will feature in their somewhere!
Inner Eden are a lovely bunch of people with level heads and an honest approach, keep and eye out for this band as I feel that there are big things to come for this metal band!