Soldierfield Speak To SonicAbuse

You may not have had the chance yet to explore ‘bury the ones we love’, the debut EP from Soldierfield, an act who have taken the monumental sonic assault of Black album Metallica and thrown it into the mixer alongside acts such as Machine Head, Alice in Chains and Five Finger Death punch. Indeed, as the band themselves readily admit in this exclusive interview for SonicAbuse, the influences are myriad, but what will draw the listener in is the overwhelming confidence with which Soldierfield have approached their task, and the natural diffidence with which they have carved out a niche for themselves in the crowded world of melodic metal, seemingly without even breaking a sweat.

The EP impresses not just musically but lyrically and artistically too. Front man Leigh had already gained SonicAbuse’s attention with his work in Order of Voices, and here his strong voice and heart-felt lyrics add the necessary depth to Andy Trott’s ambitious anthems, and when you back that up with an instantly eye-catching cover (courtesy of Matt Grundy) you are faced with a debut EP of killer quality and unmissable metallic moments. You can expect to hear much more of Soldierfield over the coming years, but in the meantime you owe it to yourself to check out ‘Bury the one’s we love’ at your earliest convenience and we are proud to present this interview to you introducing the mighty Soldierfield…

Firstly could you tell us how the band came to form?

Andy – I spent some time last year knocking up some rough demos whilst looking for a singer. Nobody really tripped my trigger so I got in touch with Steve about producing the tracks for me as instrumentals, more as a showcase for potential singers, and he mentioned that Leigh might be interested. Having heard RTA obviously I jumped at the chance, Leigh really liked the demos, boom, Soldierfield was born!

Leigh – Boom indeed! I just happened to hear the demos from Steve and really liked the vibe of the tracks and thought I could definitely contribute positively so I mentioned to Steve that if Andy wanted some vocals I’d be happy to work with him. We just made it all about the songs and they came together really easily. I thought the potential in the demos was massive.

How did you come to choose the name Soldierfield?

Andy – Well I wish there was some deep meaning behind it but the actual truth is that I told someone on the phone that I was in Soldierfield when I actually meant Somerfield, the supermarket chain. It just kind of stuck really? Now we’re just waiting for the legal team at Chicago Bears to come crashing down on us!

Leigh – Shh Andy!!

You must have been writing at quite a pace to develop a full-on five track EP of such quality so quickly…

Andy – The guts of the music was born around the Summer of 2011, I knocked up about a dozen rough tracks, bounced them around with Leigh towards the end of the year and by January we knew we had something really good with its own mix of crunch and melody. Once Steve became involved and started adding the drum parts, the whole vision burst in life. We probably finished most of the writing around March and then it was into the studio in May.

Leigh – Yeah the writing came very easily, we actually have another 5 tracks fully written that didn’t make the EP cut, all perfectly good songs but we always wanted quality over quantity for the EP. The next release will be an album and it’s again coming together really easily.

It’s quite rare to hear a band who can juxtapose such heavy music with a really strong sense of melody – your influences must be very varied?

Andy – Where do I start with influences? From the off I wanted massive melodies and hooks but bolted on to a wall of noise from the guitars and drums. I could peel off a hundred influences from my perspective, legends like James Hetfield and Scott Ian to current guys like Zoltan Bathory and Robb Flynn and then throw in all manner of rock royalty from Dimebag to Jerry Cantrell to Chris De Garmo and Michael Wilton…. Got to mention Dave Sabo! And Nuno! Ha, I’ll stop or we’ll be here all night. Drum wise, it was easy, give me that Machine Head, Five Finger Death Punch Armageddon and I’ll be happy.

Leigh – hehe!! Same really too many influences to mention as a singer but I’ve always had a real fascination with melody and heavy music, I don’t think enough heavy bands have enough melody for me and enough melodic bands have enough heavy bits! I guess you always run the risk of not doing what everyone else is but I’m comfortable with that.

The cover art for the album is very striking – was it important to you to have a strong visual identity from the off?

Andy – Definitely! We’re a new band so we wanted to hit people with everything so the visuals had to back up the music. Go big or go home and all that. We’re just piecing together some ideas for a video for one of the tracks at the minute which will be a continuation of that theme and that mentality. Matt at Diecast did a great job from our skeletal ideas!

Leigh – Agreed, I’d worked with Matt before on the Rise To Addiction stuff and really enjoyed working with him so proposed we get him in, he did a great job and got the concept from the off, we wanted ‘Soldierfield’ to be really striking so the visuals matched the quality of the music and I’m happy you like it, we’ve had great feedback so far!

The EP was produced by Steve Wray and he also added guitars and programming – it sounds like he was integral to the recording process? How did you come to work with him in the first place?

Andy – In a previous life, Steve and I played together in a band called Swampdiva and I’d always liked what he and Leigh had done in Rise To Addiction. They had the kind of bottom end sound I wanted and I knew that he had produced their second album. So, when the time arrived for the Soldierfield demos, he was an obvious choice for knob twiddling duties. We gave him the songs in their original state and he helped trim a bit of fat off of them and instead gave them a bit more muscle with the programming and a couple of choice shreds. Now he’s on board as a full member, we’re really looking forward to him joining in the writing process for the album.

Leigh – I love working with Steve we have such a great time recording and playing live so I really liked the idea of him producing the EP – good choice Andy! I knew it would sound great. The fact he contributed to the music and added leads simply meant he was hooked and is now a fully paid up member!!

How long did the EP take to write and record?

Andy – I did the music over the Summer months, Leigh knocked out the vocal ideas in about a month or so towards the end of the year, the title track was a bit of a last minute “hey, this is good, we HAVE to put this on here” surprise. The recording was all done in a 2 week blast in May. We all got stools, Steve got a swivel chair. I’m just saying!

Leigh – Yeah I really went with my gut feeling on the writing side, kept it all very natural and didn’t over think anything, I’m a prolific writer when I get going and the Soldierfield songs came very easy and I didn’t question it hehe! I did all my vocals in 2 days for the EP, again I was really well prepared but kept it simple and made sure the vibe was there, Steve did a great job producing me.

You’re already working on a full-length album – what ideas do you have in place already?

Andy – Writing is picking up speed all the time now, there’s 3 or 4 pretty much down as finished demos and I’ve got a hard drive full of ideas and pieces. Steve has dropped a whole load of ideas into the pot as well so we’ve got plenty to go at, some of the guitar riffs are gonna be massive. If you think of ‘Bury…’ as the starter, the main course is coming up and it’s gonna be beefy.

Leigh – How do you add to that? What’s for desert??

What inspires the lyrical content of the record – are there any particular elements that fire you up?

Leigh – I wrote the lyrics around a loose concept, Andy helped refine words and the concept as we recorded. Without giving too much away the EP is set within a failing world and some among us have changed and some fight not to; the struggle is epic and the hope is we’ll find ‘the path to see the light’ before its too late.

With the music industry in turmoil, how difficult is it to be a new band starting out now?

Leigh – It’s very difficult, the music industry is definitely in a state of flux with many labels not making money and therefore not bringing along new bands…that said we’re in it for the music, people like the EP a lot it seems so all we can do is our best to make that number multiply. It’s great we have support from people like yourselves; we just have to get the word out there. We’ll keep writing, pushing the band where we can, calling in favours and playing live, all the things a serious band does  I have to thank Anna & Larry at Metalbox Recordings for signing the band off our rough demos and really helping to push the release.

It seems the Soldierfield have very clear aims and ambitions – what do you want to achieve with this band?

Leigh – The same as most bands I guess, critical acclaim, album sales, high profile tours and the odd £ in the bank! I’d love to pay off my credit card bills!! In all seriousness the music is very important for Soldierfield and with the people involved we can make some great music now and in the future and have some great fun along the way.

Where is the best place for people to find out more about Soldierfield?

Any final words for your fans?

Leigh – Thanks for all the support we’re really grateful!! We’re a new band so help us spread the word, pick up the EP and come out and see us live; I don’t think you’ll be too disappointed!

‘Bury The Ones We Love’ is out now and you can read our review here.

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