Monday, 20 March 2017

Abode: Intelligent, Well Crafted, Riff Laden-What's Not To Like?

Photo by Richard Reines.
There is a famous story about a music journalist who went to see Buzzcocks supported by Gang of Four. He was so amazed by Gang of Four that he left at the end of their set, missing Buzzcocks, so that nothing would diminish the significance of what he had just witnessed. In about 2004 I went to see punk band Capdown supported by Douglas but first up on that night was a band I had never heard of, Adequate 7. I was so impressed that I went to see them another ten times before they split up in 2006! The moral of the above stories is obvious-get to gigs early, if you don’t who knows what you might miss!
In early March I made the journey to Colchester Art Centre to see Idles on their UK tour. Getting there early I happened to hear first band up Abode soundchecking and was really impressed, but that was one song, could they keep it up for a whole set? A while later I had my answer..'Yes they could'! A tight, exciting band they never let the energy level drop in a set packed with well crafted, musically interesting riff laden tracks. For some reason I haven’t put my finger on yet (look, sound?) they reminded me at the time of Rush!
Afterwards I chatted with singer/bass player Max about trying to get a band interview together and they kindly obliged!     
Could you give us an overview of Abode? How did you meet? When did you start?
Max: We all knew each other from high school and all lived around Manningtree. Since then we kinda thought it’d be cool to jam together a bit. We spent some time in the college studio just messing around, which is where we first did anything musical together. We properly formed as a band around April 2015 when we decided who was gonna play what, and we remember having a go at a song I wrote in high school and it sounded surprisingly awesome! There was something so invigorating about collectively creating a cool sound with your best mates.
Had any of you been in bands before?
Max: Our drummer Tim’s been in a couple of previous bands that started to build a reputation locally and further a field, but not for the rest of us. I had a funny experience playing guitar for my high school’s pop choir band, which was a pretty exciting thing at the time as it was the first time I’d ever played in front of anyone, let alone in a band. Thankfully I got some important experience of it! Sam (synth) previously produced under his own solo projects in his spare time, but nothing to the likes of being in a band.
Has the line up stayed pretty stable?
M: Yeah pretty much! We had a couple of members at the beginning drop out but we’re really happy and tight, and couldn’t ask for anything better!
I saw you supporting IDLES in Colchester, what is the music scene like in that area? Are there plenty of opportunities for young bands to play?
M: Thanks for coming down to see us! We had a great time. Colchester is a really nice place, it’s got some great venues (our favourite is the Arts Centre) and great bands. It’s kind of a weird one because almost all our friends are from the Suffolk area, so we’ve always had a great reception in Ipswich, but we’re super glad to be getting into the Colchester scene! There are lots of great opportunities for new bands in Colchester, such as The Bull’s Jam nights and the Art Centre’s showcase nights.
It looked like you've built up a good following when you played the Art Centre!
M: It’s great to see all these people come along to see us, there’s nothing more exciting than getting to do what you love in front of such enthusiastic people.
Are you pleased with how things have been going, I noticed on your Facebook page that you had played Camden and Milton Keynes recently?
M: We’re overwhelmed, in fact that’s an understatement! We’re so happy with how everything’s going at the moment - supporting AIRWAYS at Camden Assembly was a fantastic experience. The crowd were just phenomenal, and so were AIRWAYS! Having these opportunities have been great to grow as a band, and just shows that you should never stop pushing. These recent shows have developed a demand for merchandise, something we’ve never done before and always wanted to do.
Who would you list as musical influences?
Sam: My musical influences come from a more of an electronic background. Three of my favourites are Pendulum, Nero and Muse. These groups have definitely influenced my style of writing and playing.
Max: I grew up listening to a lot of Led Zeppelin, Muse, Radiohead and Rammstein, which I think probably shapes a lot of my song writing.
Adam: The 1975 and Being as an Ocean are a huge influence on me as an artist, with a lot of their sonic aesthetic blending into my style of playing.
Tim: My influences range from a diverse background. Ranging from Big band music to modern chart music. My main influence as a drummer would have to be Dave Weckl. His style and technique is something that I will continue to strive to achieve. My guilty pleasure would have to be either Memphis Mayfire or Enter Shikari.  
When we spoke you said that members of the band had various musical interests including rock and techno. Have you tried to synthesise them into your sound?
M: Yeah I guess! The electronic side mainly comes from Sam - he’s very much into stuff like Pendulum and Nero, and uses a lot of sounds inspired by those groups.
Did you have a fairly clear idea of the sound you were aiming for from the start or has it evolved?
M: Not really actually, we started off with just the fun of creating music together, and kinda just let the ideas flow. From there our music just naturally developed, which is really cool to think about considering how we started!
You've a couple of tracks up on Bandcamp, what are they about?
M: ‘The Manipulator’ came about after reflecting upon past friendships, and kinda grew from there, delving into the psychological processes that can leave a once strong relationship nothing but a memory. ‘Wanted’ is a much more positive song that focuses on the feeling of procrastination, and how overcoming it can be a massive breakthrough in one’s life. I wrote this song when it was super sunny last summer, and I just felt the crazy urge to go outside and enjoy myself! Kinda cheesy really, but I guess we felt it carried weight!
What sort of subject matter do you explore more generally in your music?
M: I think at the moment lyrically we tend to focus a lot on finding out about the psychology behind human emotions in social situations. However, who knows, that may change at any moment! We really like to focus on the instrumental aspects of music really, I guess for me at least, I find music itself the most amazing thing known to man, and it’s power can be absolutely crazy.
What sources do you draw on in lyric writing? Books, films, your own experiences?
M: I guess a lot of it comes from our own experiences, and for me movies can be a big influence as I’m a massive movie guy. Overall though I think it’s other music that inspires us the most by far - for us, music has the strongest voice.
How does the creative process work in Abode? Is there one main songwriter or is it very collaborative?
M: It kinda comes from different places really! For instance, one of us may come up with a cool riff, and another will find a chorus that works well with it. I guess I structure most of the parts together, but it’s definitely a group effort.
Live or studio-which do you prefer? Or are they complementary?
M: Sam and Adam say they like them both equally, but I definitely prefer live! I honestly find it the most fun and exciting thing to do in life, so I guess you can’t really top that!
Tim: Like Sam and Adam I don't personally have a preference with live or studio, they both have lots of pros and cons but we enjoy both. But you can't beat the feeling of performing your music live to an appreciative audience.
What are your plans for 2017 -are you going to be out playing live, what plans do you have for releases?
M: We definitely want to release a lot this year as well as hopefully playing loads of new cool places!
What bands and writers have you been enjoying lately?
Adam: I have been enjoying a band called Cloakroom and another called TTNG.
Sam: I’ve been extremely enjoying a band named Arcane Roots ever since I saw them at Brixton. A band named ‘Fightstar’ recently, their latest album is ridiculously good. I’m also really excited about the Pendulum Reunion activity.
M: I’ve been listening to a lot of Half Moon Run, who have a really chilled out musical sound. Also been listening to a lot of Northlane as well, they’ve got some awesome riffs and synths!

Big thanks to Abode. Find out more here

1 comment:

  1. On a beautiful spring evening towards the end of April 2017, at the legendary Fiddler's Elbow venue in Camden Town, I saw Abode play "live" for the first time. What a breath of fresh air these young guys are. Superb self-penned songs, great musicianship, bags of confidence and an abundance of charm. What else could you ask for from a new band ? It was the best gig I have seen in the last ten years! Having played in bands myself over many years, I have seen them all, but I have never seen a band who are the "complete package" at such a young age. Abode are special and are destined for greatness, mark my words. Can't wait for the next gig ! Steve B