Bleed From Within
Interview with Craig “Goonzi” Gowans
April 4, 2014
Interview by Lee Carter
Photography by Graham Hilling
Whilst on the London stop of their support tour with DevilDriver, I caught up with Bleed From Within’s guitarist Craig “Goonzi” Gowans to chat about the tour, their label change and their music.
So we’re here at the Electric Ballroom today. So how’s the tour been going for you guys?
It’s been amazing so far. Like, the response has been incredible. We’re only three days in, like, Sylosis they joined the tour before we did but the fact that the last two has been amazing so far so it’s been good to get back in the UK since that’s where our crowd is. Looking forward to tonight.
Any stand out shows at the moment?
Last night was pretty crazy in Cardiff. It always starts off kind of quiet because the crowd are still coming in but by the end of the set it’s always insane. It’s always crazy in Wales for us. It’s always crazy in London as well because it’s always… The biggest shows in the UK is in London.
Graham (photographer): Should be a big one as well. There’s a lot of people queueing!
I love this venue. We’ve played here a couple of times and I love the stage.
So it’s almost like a second home then for you guys?
Yeah. Apart from your crazy accents!
So you’ve touched upon it, but what has it been like sharing the stage with Sylosis and DevilDriver?
I think it’s such an amazing lineup; every band’s different. It’s all metal bands, but it’s all different. And it’s two amazing bands. It’s an honour to share the stage with a band like DevilDriver. Everyone knows that name; they’ve been around for years and are well-respected in the metal scene. It’s good to be able to kind of live up to that and be able to play in front of their fans. And we’ve been good friends with Sylosis for a good few years now, so it’s good to be back on tour with them. They’re such an amazing band. Our drummer’s actually filling on drums for Sylosis on this tour so he’s got a double set. So he’s pretty fucked every night.
So no partying then?
I wouldn’t say that, I wouldn’t go that far!
So he plays two shows and he’s still got the energy at the end of the night…?
We’ve taken it easy so far, but we’re in London so you kind of have to, don’t you?
You’re in London, you’re in Camden – it’s got to happen!
So what can we expect from you guys tonight?
Loads of hair, riffs, heavy fucking metal, man. If you’ve seen us before you know what to expect.
That was a brilliantly succinct sentence there. That should be a tagline. Okay, so you’re new album “Uprising” is your first album on Century Media. So what prompted you guys to sign with Century?
Well if you knew the band before Century you’d know that we were in a bit of trouble when it comes to that side of things. Things weren’t going great. But we managed to get out of that, after a long legal process. Century Media, they were really into us and we met them a few times at festivals in Germany. They wanted to sign us without even hearing any demoes for the new album. They had that much faith in us. Everyone at the label, like, you’re friends with everyone there. It’s not just people that work for you. It’s people that are actually into your music and care about your band. It’s good to have that team behind you. It’s been going really well with them so far.
So you were signed with Rising Records first, weren’t you?
So what was the issue with them?
I can’t talk about that unfortunately, like, I’ve signed a legal document that says I can’t talk about that stuff.
Fair enough… A hint?
I don’t know. Listen to our new album. Listen to…
So when you signed with Century, did it prompt any new bits of creativity?
Definitely. It spurred us on. Because before that, everything was kind of looking bleak. We didn’t know if were even going to be a band anymore but that kind of picked us up and made us want it even more. We never ever thought that we would split up, to be honest, that was never a thought on our minds. But it definitely inspired us to keep on doing this and write the best music that we’ve ever wrote.
So I’ve listened to the album – it’s excellent. It seems be themes of a defiance, given that you’re lead single “Uprising” gives us an impression of rising up and above things. I guess that was inspired by the troubles you’ve experienced?
That’s up to you. That’s up to the listener’s interpretation!
Excellent. So over the course of your three albums, so when you’ve started off with “Humanity” and now we’re with your third album, there’s been subtly changes in your style. Is that a natural progression or a conscious effort to morph and change your sound?
I definitely think it was a conscious effort there because, I mean, I can’t even listen to the old albums. I don’t we’re the same band anymore. We were just young kids back then and we didn’t really know what we’re doing then, not that we know what we’re doing now! But we’ve got more experience and stuff. But definitely it was a conscious effort there. But I can’t even… You listen to the two albums back-to-back and it just sounds like a different band.
There’s definitely some production changes that I’ve noticed. So this – the new one – sounds…
I think it’s the first album that we’re actually happy with the production on it. We got to do it our way the first time, pick the people that we wanted to produce it.
So on your second you were kind of more guided towards what the label wanted rather than what you guys wanted?
Okay, obviously third album-in, how do you choose your setlist from all three albums?
We don’t really. We just play most of the new album, to be honest. But the thing is when you’re doing support tours, is that you’ve only got thirty minutes so you need to pick your five or six best songs and we think our best songs are on our new album. But I mean on our headline tour we always play older songs when we’ve got the time. But tours like this when you’re only playing thirty minutes, you don’t have time to play everything you want. We’re playing one old song on this tour just to mix it up a bit but it’s mostly new songs.
What’s going on for Bleed From Within this year? Any festivals apart from Radstock?
No, that was cancelled before this tour and has been already. But yeah, that’s not happening. We have got a few festivals, nothing that we can announce yet but at the moment it’s all about writing for us. We’re doing an IndieGoGo campaign for a new four-track EP. It’s going to be two new songs and two covers. It’s going to be crowd funded and there’s a campaign online that you can go and check it out; there’s loads of perks you can buy and stuff. But that’s the main focus right now; writing the songs for that and recording them in the next couple of months, I reckon.
Can you shed some light on what the covers are going to be or are you going to keep a surprise for us all?
One of the covers we’re choosing, and the other cover is going be chosen by the fans. There’s going be five covers that you can chose from. Whichever gets the most votes is going to be on the EP, but we’ve not actually decided on one yet. We’ve actually had a lot of arguments in the band and stuff about it, but we’ve not actually decided. I think we’re gonna try and get that done by next week and have the poll up for the covers. That’s coming soon.
We’ll be expecting an announcement soon about that?
Yeah. And we’ll post the announcement at about half-past six, so in like half and hour’s time you can check it out. There’ll be a guitar teaser demoing some riffs and stuff.
Brilliant. So apart from that, any future plans? Further beyond that?
Just writing the next album. It’s probably going to be released early next year and we’ll be recording it at the end of this year. So that’s the going to be the main focus for the last half of this year’s; writing that album and concentrating on that.
Have you got any ideas for it or is it mainly still focused on the four EP?
No, we’re about halfway through writing it. The music anyway. We’ve just started putting melodics and stuff. We’re about halfway through writing the music. But we’re doing two completely new songs for the EP, and in the meantime we didn’t want that to affect the album writing so we’re just taking time out of that to do the EP right now.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the overall sound of the new one or is still too early days?
I guess it’s from where “Uprising” left off. It’s the same kind of heavy groove metal. It’s just what we love doing. We’re not trying to think about it too much; just see how it comes out. It’s sounding amazing so far. I can’t wait to let everyone hear it.
Graham: When are you recording that?
Not until the end of the year, probably. I think October, though nothing’s booked.
Look forward to that one. Final question, anything you’d like to say to the Metal Rules readers?
Thanks for all the support and keep riffing!
Beautiful. Thanks very much!