We’re very much about the live show… so it was important to get as much of that raw energy across as we could.
Syren City are five Bristol boys on a mission to bring riff-music to the world, one hammer-on and drum-fill at at a time. With a new lease on the way they write music, 2014 looks to be a turning point for them and their corner of Bristol noise. We spoke to the band about DIY, Riff City and their second offering ‘Escape’.
So you’re just about to release your second EP, but it feels more like your first?
Yeah, ‘Escape’ is our second official release, but it kind of feels like a debut. We released ‘Welcome’, basically, as soon as we’d written a handful of songs, and as fun as it was, we’d only been together a couple months so hadn’t really found our feet yet. Now we’ve been together a while we feel like a different band. We spent months writing, re-writing and selecting the songs we wanted to record, as well as spending time finding the right person to produce this EP. We’re very much about the live show and write with that in mind, so it was important to get as much of that raw live energy across as we could. We came across Todd Campbell and knew he was the man for the job. He plays in the band Straight Lines, who we’re big fans of, and his dad Phil is also the guitarist in Motörhead, so having him pop into the studio with words of encouragement was pretty cool!
Awesome, apparently you’ve all got pretty different influences, how does that translate when writing and recording?
We’re quite an eclectic bunch, which seems to work in our favour. We all come to the table with a very different outlook and our individual styles, backgrounds and differing musical influences are what make both our writing process and the resulting sound unique. Simon [vocals] tries to mix things up lyrically too. On this EP we have songs about addiction, oppression, the ignorance of certain religious groups, namely everyone’s favourite the Westboro Baptist Church. The song ‘Our Disease’ is an ode to the group of friends we’re privileged to be surrounded by, all of which are talented beyond belief and driven with ambition, but at the same time are some of the biggest wreckheads and emotionally turbulent folk you’ll ever come across.
One interesting thing about you guys is making your own (pretty slick) videos…
We’re very much a DIY band, we don’t have management, we tour in our hatchbacks and yeah we make our own videos. Like most other bands nowadays everything is done on a shoestring, but we try not to let the lack of budget be a drawback — instead we see it as a challenge and an excuse to get creative. We are also lucky enough to have a talented filmmaker in our midst, Mr. Louis Catlett [drums], who works for Rataplan films along with an old friend, Josh Holdaway. We had a lot of fun shooting the latest video, ‘Our Disease’. It’s one of our darker videos and we wanted to get experimental with some weird imagery without the limitations of having too rigid a storyline.
Bristol is a great place to be, with talent everywhere and passionate music lovers that come out to every show.
You and some other bands have really been making waves with Riff City lately, how did that come about?
The whole ethos of Riff City is to celebrate the incredible and diverse music scene here in Bristol, and what better way to do it than throwing massive free shows in a brilliant, prestigious local venue. We were lucky enough to get involved in it from the start. Like-minded musicians got together with the goal of putting on shows and promoting great music, regardless of sub-genre. Russell Prosser [ex-Failure To Follow] has been the driving force behind the scheme and Tim Bailey and the guys at The Fleece have been awesome in hosting the events for free. Bristol is a great place to be, with talent everywhere and passionate music lovers that come out to every show, doing a lot for the scene. The aim of the Riff City ‘brand’ is to put Bristol on the rock map and to showcase its talent to the rest of the country. Promoting events under the RC banner has helped this along immensely, our show with Turbowolf in April was a Riff City-sponsored event, as was our buddies in Heaven Asunder’s massive show with Upon A Burning Body. If everyone keeps at it and things keep going the way they are then it won’t be long ‘til word starts to spread and Bristol as a whole will get the acknowledgement it deserves.
Big plans boyos, so what’s next?
Action figures! Maybe plush toys. We’ll definitely be hitting the road with the new record; we want to visit as many towns and cities as humanly possible, across the UK and hopefully further afield. We’re in the process of booking that, as well as already writing the next release, but first and foremost we’re excited to play the new songs from ‘Escape’ live for people to hear for the first time. The record is out in September, but we’ll have advance copies available for one night only at the August Riff City event.
Check out ‘In The Ashes’ right here: