NIGHTMARE WORLD INTERVIEW
Interview by Jo Blackened
Sam Shuttlewood: Guitar
Pete Morten: Vocals
Joe Cleary: Guitar
Billy Jeffs: Drums
Nick Clarke: Keys
David Moorcroft: Bass
Hey there fellow Londoners and thank you for your time today. Please can you state your name & position in the band…
Sam Shuttlewood – Guitars
Dave Moorcroft – Bass
Can you tell us how you guys started and the meaning behind the name?
Sam – The band was originally formed after I met Billy in the early 2000s and we started jamming together. It was a little while before we thought about creating a band though. Nick was a friend of Billy’s and we started playing with him as well. Before too long, we had a full line-up and started rehearsing original material. Then it all fell apart for a few years before I reformed the band and released the No Regrets EP in 2009.
What made you decide to create/join a Power/Melodic/Progressive metal band?
Sam – We just started writing music that we would want to hear and that we enjoy playing. We are not trying to fit into a particular genre. So, it came from all the things I used to listen to, and still do. This includes all the classic metal bands like Sabbath, Priest and Dio, 80’s hard rock/hair metal like Europe, Whitesnake and Def Leppard and then later I got into more power metal stuff like Stratovarius and Hammerfall. I absolutely love the neoclassical stuff that Yngwie does (not his recent output though!).
Dave – I’d bought the EP a few years earlier and really enjoyed it. I didn’t give a lot of thought to the genre. Sam sent me some demos when he asked me to join the band and I liked what they were trying to achieve.
Is this a genre you’ve always been into?
Sam – Our style is just a melting pot of all the bands listed above, and a few more. The aim is to write catchy melodic metal songs which also have lots of power. So we try to write heavy riffs and combine that with vocal harmonies and I hope the result is something that a few people here would enjoy!
Dave – In terms of rock/metal yea. I listen to so many different styles of music but I got into rock/metal bands at a very young age.
Dave – We had discussed a few different options but two things we wanted were a vinyl release, and exposure in Europe. Pure Steel seemed passionate about the music and that’s what we’re after. We’re hoping to reach people who will actually enjoy and buy the album or come to a show instead of just “liking” our social media pages.
What is the concept behind this album and its artwork?
We first started back in 2006, releasing your EP ‘No Regrets’ in 2009 and it’s taken 6 years to release our debut album “In The Fullness Of Time” which is being released this month on 15th May via Pure legend Records.
You must be really excited about this! But I have to ask…why the long wait?
Is it hard to find time to record when working with such an established musician such as Pete Morten [Threshold, My Soliloquy]?
Dave – Not really, it’s probably helped having recorded at Thin Ice as him and Karl appear to work really well together, but it’s just a case of booking time when any of us are free. Pete is very organised and dedicated to his work.
How would you describe your sound to those who haven’t heard your songs?
Sam – It’s the more melodic side of metal; harmony vocals, keyboards, but with a solid backbone of heavy drums and loud guitars!
Do you have any personal favourite tracks on this album?
Dave – I’d probably have to pick Damage Report, being the first track I played on in the studio after joining the band.
Sam – Probably No Regrets and Memoria.
What was the process of writing/recording of this album? Do you all contribute equally?
Dave – Sam’s probably the best to answer this one as the album was pretty much written by the time I was asked to join the band. We did however spend a lot of time discussing production/arrangements and tried a few different layouts of some songs in the studio.
Sam – In general, I would write the basis for the song on my own at home, that is, the riffs and the song structure and then I would refine this with Pete and Nick. We spent a lot of time on the arrangements to make sure they were as good as possible. Pete wrote most of the vocal melodies on the newer songs; the older ones I wrote most of the choruses.
The album was produced by Threshold guitarist Karl Groom (Threshold, Edenbridge, Dragon Force) and mastered by Peter Van’t Riet (Symphony X, Transatlantic, Epica). How did this come about and was it important to work with these guys to create your desired sound?
Sam – I wanted to record the album at Thin Ice as we recorded the EP there and were really happy with the results. Karl Grooms engineering/production work speaks for itself; just check out the last few Threshold albums. Karl was very open minded with his approach and we tried quite a few things out in the studio ‘on the hoof’ and it ended up working well. We spent a long time making sure the mix was as good as possible. The drums sit quite high in the mix which is what I wanted as I love to hear the drums punching through like many classic 80s albums. It is a record that sounds better when you crank it. Nick and I travelled to the Netherlands to oversee the mastering with Peter. He did a great job and it showed to us how important mastering is.
You recently released a teaser video for the album and posted up a studio update back in 2010. Do you have plans to record an official music video?
Sam – We are planning to release a video in the near future. It is at the top of our priorities to get this done because it can really open a band up to new fans. Even though 1 million views on YouTube probably equates to about 2 album sales though hah.
You were recently giving away free copies of your EP ‘No Regrets’ at the Threshold’s gig in London @ The Underworld. Do you find giving away free merchandise to fans as beneficial and what made you decide to do this?
Sam – We had quite a few copies of the EP lying around and we thought that as Pete is in Threshold, it might get us some new fans if we give some of the concertgoers a free EP. It isn’t something I would always do, but it made sense at the time. I hope we gained at least a few fans that night.
What do you think of the British Heavy Metal scene generally and how do you think it’s changed over the years?
Sam – I think there has always been a very healthy underground metal scene in the UK, but more for extreme type bands. For the melodic metal style that we play, there isn’t much exposure really, though it has improved in the last 15 years. Mainland Europe seems much more receptive to melodic metal than the UK though. I’m not quite sure why that is. The press in the UK seem to shun it. There are some great small magazines such as Powerplay, but the bigger ones don’t seem to be interested. I think it is a shame that Bloodstock seems to be focusing on more extreme metal these days with less melodic stuff. We will focus our efforts more on the mainland European market for sure.
Dave – I’ll be honest I’m so out of touch with it, I’m a bit of a recluse these days. I don’t get to many gigs anymore but I have heard some really good albums this year so from my point of view it seems pretty strong. In terms of how it’s changed, the whole music industry has been struggling for years, it’s pretty impressive that the metal scene still has so many good bands.
Where have you guys played live so far? And what have been your favourite venues to date?
Dave – There will be announcements very soon regarding upcoming shows. We didn’t really want to tour the songs until the album was complete and people could buy it if they liked the show.
What do you like to do when you’re not focussed on the band? What are your favourite ways to relax?
Dave – I’ve always loved getting out in the countryside with the dogs, I’m literally obsessed with motorcycles, and I’m a big fan of boxing.
Lastly, is there anything else you’d like to add or say to our readers?
Dave – I hope you all like the album, keep in touch via the wonders of the internet/social media and hopefully we’ll see you at a show sometime soon. Thanks!