One of the best things about http://www.thesoulofaclown.com is that every now and then you get the opportunity to discover a band that just blow you away. That was certainly the case when we reviewed the wonderful debut album from Colt 45. It was made even more special to discover that they were a UK based rock band. We were therefore very glad to get the opportunity to speak to their drummer, Adam Lewis and find out a bit more about one of the hottest new bands in the UK at the moment:
• Tell us a bit about the band members?
Neil plays guitar and is our lead vocalist. He has an Old English Bulldog called Winston that comes with us on tour. Gareth plays bass and backing vocals and has a part time income through his work as a Kim Jong Un impersonator. I’m Adam, I play drums and backing vocals and I’m going to be a daddy for the first time in April which I am very excited about.
• How did you all get together?
Neil and Gareth have known each other for years, they grew up together in Workington and started COLT 45 in 2008 after their previous bands split. I joined in 2010 after seeing them play in Carlisle and being really impressed. Neil and I shared a love of all sorts of things and when their old drummer left I got the call. We wrote our first EP at the first few practices and started touring. After our second EP we signed to Visible Noise who put both records out as our first album, Coughing Up Confessions in 2013, then did our full debut, The Tide Is Turning which came out at the end of July after we finished up our best summer of festivals and touring so far. We’re just about to start touring again for the rest of this year and that brings us up to date!
• How tough is it for a young rock band trying to ‘make it’ these days?
It’s not easy, that’s for sure. Like it or not, the future of mass music consumption is streaming and digital, so if you think it’s gonna be an easy ride to stardom and racking up millions of sales, it just doesn’t happen like that anymore. Fortunately, there always will be people keen to experience live music, and own physical format – such as vinyl, CD’s and cassettes. We’re all big vinyl heads and there’s about a million CD’s in the van, but album sales across the board are declining, and streaming / subscription is becoming more and more popular. Strike a balance – use the internet to promote yourself, gig as much as possible to network with other bands and share fans / contacts / gigs etc. There’s no manual on how to ‘make it’ and we’re still learning the hard way (the only way). The first couple of years we pretty much booked all our gigs through The Unsigned Guide – it’s worth every penny and you’ll have a list of quality, reliable contacts in there. So I’d recommend getting that. If you start your band to ‘make it’ in the first place, you probably aren’t going to. Do it because you love it and treat anything that happens along the way as a bonus. That’s still our mantra and that way you can never be disappointed.
• You’ve recently released your album “The Tide Is Turning”, what was the song writing and recording process like?
Song writing wise we work together in our rehearsal room really hard on all the arrangements before we go in, and there was very little difference in terms of structure to the demos we did before going in. One of us will have an idea for a riff or chord pattern and we’ll just thrash it out in the room until we’re happy. Neil writes all the lyrics. Recording, we’d worked with Romesh Dodangoda (Motorhead, Bullet For My Valentine, Kids In Glass Houses) twice before on our EPs so we already had a connection and a relationship with him. Pretty standard – bass and drums went down more or less live, then guitars layered over and vocals on top. Being a three piece we don’t like to stray too much from how we perform the tunes live, we want to be able to do everything that’s on the record when we play live too.
• As we said in our review (https://thesoulofaclown.com/2014/08/24/colt-45-the-tide-is-turning/) we absolutely loved the album, how proud are you of it?
Very, it’s the only thing we’re bothered about when we go in the studio – are we gonna love listening to it? We do, so we’ve done what we set out to. We think it’s a solid record, and the response has been amazing, we really couldn’t have asked for a more positive critical response. Love playing the record live too!
• If you were doing your own review, how would you describe your sound?
If you like guitar music, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to enjoy COLT 45. There’s a lot that goes in to the pot – punk, pop, rock, hardcore, indie – mainly from the 80’s onwards. We often get compared to bands like Manic Street Preachers, Gaslight Anthem, Alkaline Trio…if that sounds like your sort of thing give us a whirl!
• To us, there was a ‘Gaslight Anthem’ feel to many of the songs, would you agree?
Not massively. I mean we’re all big Gaslight fans, but I wouldn’t say they had any greater influence to the songs on this album than say Alkaline Trio or Brand New or even Richard Hawley. We’re stoked by the comparison though, because they are a fucking amazing band on record and live.
• Who actually are the band’s biggest influences?
The lives and times of Neil Harper, Gareth Jenkins and Adam Lewis in Cumbria and beyond, plus a whole stack of great music our folks were good tasted enough to be in to when we were growing up
• Just recently, there has been a few bands with a ‘similar’ sound emerging in the UK e.g. you, Electric River, Magpies & Vagabonds. Is there any hope of a new rock n roll scene developing?
Good bands will always be there, simple as – it’s an old one but it’s true – “rock n’ roll will never die” and all that. But it’s bands like ER that deserve to enjoy the sort of success and opportunities that we’re after too. We’ve known those guys a few years now and love touring with them, they work so hard and their songs are absolutely amazing.
• We’re always keen to find new bands, so are there any that you would recommend at the moment?
The Roughneck Riot from Warrington. Amazing folk-punk band we’re good friends with. The Hostiles from Scotland – quality ska punk. Youth Salute from Workington – great alt rock. Peasant’s King from South Wales have just joined the Visible Noise roster and they piss over everything on the Radio 1 daytime playlist. The Lucid Dream who we share a rehearsal room with in Carlisle, awesome psych rock. If you don’t know The Computers, you need to make that your next move after reading this. The Sun Explodes, also from Carlisle are a great prog metal band, and their drummer is fucking unreal. We’re lucky to see loads of amazing new bands when we’re away touring. Get down your local venue and check em out.
• What are your current touring plans?
We’ve got a lot coming up actually. Birmingham, London, Lancaster coming up in the next couple of weeks. We’re playing Nightmare Festival and then we have a couple of dates on The Computers tour in Manchester and London which are going to be amazing in November. http://www.facebook.com/wearecolt45 for latest tour dates.
• What can your fans expect from a Colt 45 show?
Three blokes playing our instruments like it’s the last time, every time.
• Finally, if you could tour with any band, who would it be and why?
Probably the Manic Street Preachers, they’re a real collective influence and we just love how they’ve done their career completely on their own terms, always independent from everything else that’s going on too. I reckon their fans would love us, and if they know their shit they’ll be digging our band name.
One thing that is very apparent from speaking to Adam is that Colt 45 are clearly a band who love their music and have a genuine passion for what they do. This desire and enthusiasm is probably what makes their album such a joy to listen to. So make sure you get the album, see Colt 45 live and then get around to checking out some of Adam’s recommendations (that’s what we plan to do and hopefully you might see some of them covered on this site soon!)