Internal Conflict Speak To SonicAbuse

Interviewing Sean and Adam (guitars and vocals respectively) from Internal Conflict is rather like interviewing Beavis and Butthead. The two are clearly excited after their heart-stopping performance at Hard Rock Hell Metal earlier that day, and the words just tumble out, the diabolical duo often talking over one another and completing each other’s sentences. Therefore, piecing it all together (especially when you throw in the occasional intervention from Balls Deep who were lurking in the vicinity like four lurky things) is rather like trying to do a 10,000 piece jigsaw where the only motif is a field of sunflowers (don’t pretend you don’t know which one I’m talking about here). Taking in the band’s development, performances and album art the interview frequently deviates into all sorts of weird places, offering a glimpse into the gloriously surreal inner workings of Leicester’s finest metal band.

Photo: Jola Stiles

So, ‘rising tide’ is now over a year old I think…

Adam: Almost two years now… eighteen months.

Sean: Some of that material was written way before the album, so songs like ‘another day’, they’d been written around 2012. We’ve got them recorded on my computer and datelined, so ‘Another day riff’ – November 2012…

Adam: That was when I first joined… god!

How did the writing process for the album go – did it take time to develop the songs?

Sean: Yeah, sometimes a song can take ten minutes and at other times it can take six months – it all depends on the song. When we were writing the album, the song ‘baying for blood’, that happened so quickly. We needed another song and we just put it together, wrote the song in two practices and it went straight on the album.

Adam: When you get those moments of inspiration…

Sean: …You’ve got to capture them…

Adam: …Yeah, that was what was good about that song. We had a few influences, then the riff became the song, it was great.

Sean: It all depends on what I’m listening to that week!

Adam: We’re working on new songs at the moment and, for example, a certain song can come together quite quickly and then we re-arrange it and it took a little while to come together… for example the new one we played today…

Sean: …Our drummer loves to re-arrange all the stuff. He’ll just take everything that we wrote and tell us that he’s changed pretty much everything and I’m like “it’s completely different…’ and he’ll say “I know. But it’s better!”

There is a certain amount of challenge as a songwriter when you write something and it’s your baby and you give it to the band and immediately they turn around and tell you they can do it better…

Sean: Sometimes it’s really hard, but you have to realise it’s for the greater good. Sometimes you get wounded by the fact that something you wrote is ripped apart and changed, but at the end of the day, when you hear the completed song, you realise that they were right.

Adam: You’ve got to have a filter. We’ve got the Dan filter and we go through the process, the song comes together, it takes a little while, but we’re always really happy with the end result, so that’s cool.

Sean: Even when we come in to put vocals on and Adam asks to change something… because we’re always so busy doing guitars and drums and going mad and Adam will ask us to make it so vocals sit better over the top.

Adam: Yeah, a lot of times I’ll write stuff and they’ll ask me not to do a certain thing and it’s good it works….

Sean: In a totally passive, non-aggressive way like “Can you not do that?”

Adam: “Fewer “Yeahs”!” But you know, it is a joint process and we all get involved.

Sean: It’s like being married to the four other dudes in the band…

Adam: It’s called a partnership mate!

Sean: So it’s like “I’m pissed off at him and I’m siding with him…” but at the end of the day…

Adam: Is that what it’s like is it? Is that what it’s like…

Now you find this out!

Photo: Jola Stiles

Are the lyrics mainly down to you or is it more of a group effort?

Adam: Well, a lot more now, people’ll say here’s a bunch of lyrics, and what I’ll do… I just sit and write loads of stuff, all the time. And once something kinda sticks, then it’s time to go through the notes and put them into a song. I don’t know how other people do it, but I can’t really write a song without music, but I’ve got diaries full of poems, limericks, words… I get pissed off and write a load of bullshit. So I’ve got all that and then we we’re writing, it’s like “that line works…” so something completely different can come out of it as well. So it is me getting my shit out, but at the same time it’s very much what everyone goes through – it’s not selfish.

Sean: Do you remember that session at Pete’s house… we were trying to write lyrics…

Adam: We were trying to write the chorus…

Sean: And I was writing all these lyrics down and passing them to Adam and Adam was just sat there going “no… It sounds like you’re in an emo band” and I was handing him dark poems about anger and… they’re just looking at me like I need therapy!

Adam: It’s funny when you’re getting older… when I was younger it was very much “these are MY lyrics!” Now we all kind of sit with the lyrics and we looked at him like “you’ve got problems dude, why are you singing stuff like this?!” It’s all good!

I always felt there was a slight hardcore edge to the vocals that you do and I wondered how far you felt there was room for social commentary or whether you prefer metal to be more of an escapist art form that steps away from that sort of thing? [At this point Balls Deep walk past, staring in horror at the question…]

Adam: Kind of a bit of both… It’s one of those things… As much as I do like… if you get on my Facebook I am very political and I’m always complaining about things. But I don’t particularly like it when you get bands that… tell; you how to think, I guess. I mean you get bands like Rage against the machine – I love that kind of thing, but at the same time I don’t want us to have to constantly justify what we say… So we do the social commentary thing to an extent, but it’s not like we’re telling people not to vote for someone or that they must do something. It’s not really anyone else’s business. [At this point Balls Deep get over excited and start demonstrating what we can only assume to be unrequited love for Internal Conflict] Get fucked! This isn’t going out live you know! Nice try lads!

Sean [recovering the situation]: You kind of want to give people the information and let them go out and find stuff out for themselves. So we offer a view on something, perhaps, but then, hopefully, people will go out and make their own minds up. I do it loads – I listen to Podcasts – for example I listen to Joe Rogan’s podcasts and when I listen, I’ll find something or someone intriguing and then I’ll go and listen to more of their stuff.

Adam: And that’s it, at the end of the day, you can find your own conclusions from lyrics. They are sometimes very personal to me and then, at other times, they’re a general feeling, a layman’s view of the world, I guess. We’re not going out there saying people should listen to us because this happened or that people shouldn’t go out or whatever – we’re not telling people what to think, we’re generally pissed off at the world… it’s the usual clichés, you know?

Sean: It’s your vehicle to express your feelings about the world…

Adam: …Yeah, but at the same time it’s not just about me… it’s about the band and we talk, we talk about what we go through in life and try to put that in the music.

Sean: I know it sounds silly but I can remember specific riffs that I wrote and I know the feeling that I had when I wrote those riffs – I was pissed off and every time I play that riff it takes me back to how I felt when I wrote it.

[At this point general chaos erupts as Balls Deep once again loom large on the horizon]

Adam: [laughing & loudly enough to be overheard] Balls Deep there, ruining our interview like they’re ruining their music!

Balls Deep: That’s what we’re trying to do…

And what is it you’d like us to say about them in our review!?

Adam: They’re all a bunch of bastards!

Balls Deep: Yeah we are!

Sean: Talented bastards… but still bastards!

Hmm –they are bigger than me…

Sean: We’ve got two members of our band in the gym now…

Adam: What do you mean two?

Sean: Dan and Matt – they’re down the gym every day…

Adam: I think this interview’s gone a bit off course now – people don’t need to know our fitness regime!

That’ll be the headline: Internal Conflict – Fitness Regime! Straight Edge!

Adam: No, no!

You’ve got a really powerful visual style and, apart from the logo, you’ve got the cover for ‘Rising Tide’ which looks awesome, who in the band is responsible for that?

Adam: That was drawn by a guy called Ryan Marsh, he’s from Leicester, Swampbaron I think his Instagram is.

Sean: He used to work at Alchemy gothic…

Adam: He’s a cool-as-fuck guy…

Sean: He did one of our t shirts a while back. He sells designs on line via Facebook, we used one of his designs for a t shirt and when we came to do the album cover, we knew what we wanted on the cover – as soon as Adam came up with the Rising Tide lyric I was like that’s the album title – it has to be.

Adam: Yeah, I think we were all pretty unanimous on that…

Sean: So that was the album title and we needed the cover, and I think it was Dan who just found the picture?

Adam: No, I think I found the picture and I’d always had this image of like a woman’s face in waves of water. I always had this image and this idea and he gave us a few pictures for inspiration and he came back to us with that. He’s a good bloke Swampbaron is his Instagram and he’s fantastic.

Sean: We’re going to hopefully use him again for some t shirts.

Adam: It’s nice to have good visuals. We’re not really a band to put our faces on things. As much as you see bands who love a photo, we have the promo shots…

Sean: We’ve definitely got faces for radio…

Adam: In an accidental way… it’s not really a choice we’ve made, it’s not something we planned, it’s more that we’ve got these great images…

Sean: The only thing we’ve got going for us is our discount Chris Hemsworth on guitar….

Adam: Thor…

Sean: The ladies love his long, flowing, blonde locks! Even when they look at pictures it’s like “Who’s the really cute guitarist?” and I’m like “they’re definitely talking about him!” No bitterness there… Matt’s going to be the hair model for sure…

Adam: [Long suffering sigh] We’re definitely going off subject here… stop talking about Matt like you fancy him!

Sean: It’s my unrequited….

This is going to come out brilliantly…

Adam: That’s exactly what I… This is all being written down, you know what I mean? Settle down! We’re talking about our image and you’re just pining over Matt…

Sean: Matt is the image! Matt is Internal Conflict…

 

Adam: [desperately trying to return the conversation to more sensible ground] It’s one of those things – you have to have good visuals as much as you can and we’d like to do more. We do like to pride ourselves that when people see us that there’s something to watch as well hear – you have to go for it, you know? Bands have different ways of presenting themselves, but we just like to jump around…

Sean: We want people to walk away from an Internal Conflict like they’ve witnessed something. Like “That band didn’t leave anything behind. They left everything on stage.” It goes back to when you watch bands from… you know punk bands or metal bands – all those early bands who used to give everything and come off stage dripping with sweat. When you see a band that are pampered you think “that’s not real!”

Adam: You’ve got to go for it!

Sean: Yeah, you’ve got to go for it because if you come off stage and you feel like you haven’t given everything, then you haven’t done your job. The music that we play…

Adam: …If you’re not bleeding or you haven’t got a bad back afterwards… If you come away thinking you didn’t put everything in, you’re disappointed.

Sean: Every time at the end of our set when you start throwing that box around, I’m like “don’t throw it on my guitar!” He’s punching it…

Adam: I kicked it like a football today and it really fucking hurt!

Sean: I’ve got a little pedal board, stomp box thing that I kinda jump on to and there were that many people in the crowd that I thought, I’ve never done a stage dive before…

Adam: It did cross my mind

Sean: Then I realised that my wireless pack had fucked up and I was tethered to a cable…

That’s your amp head falling…

Adam: Then you’d be upset!

Sean: We’ll see what happens in May…

Adam: the Night before Uprising…

Sean: My wireless will work that night!

Internal Conflict’s stunning debut album, ‘Rising Tide’ is available now. Head here for more details and here for the band’s Facebook page.

 

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