Left For Red Speak To SonicAbuse

Formed in the depths of the Midlands, Left For Red describe themselves as purveyors of ‘Modern metal with a progressive twist’. Their acclaimed debut, ‘all things known and buried’, appeared in 2015 and the band have not only played at Bloodstock (2015), but have also shared stages with the likes of Crowbar, Beholder, Evil Scarecrow, Chimaira and more. On stage the band are ferociously tight, performing songs that deftly mix powerhouse riffs with killer hooks. Off-stage, however, corralling the band for an interview is like herding proboscis monkeys that have spent the last few hours sniffing glue with their oversized appendages and thus what follows represents the band as legion, a conglomerate who speak as one whereas, in actual fact, the five-piece are so energetic, even in discussing their music, that the words tumble over one another and voices blur into a jumble that requires a degree of unpicking that would fox a nuclear physicist.

The first thing I wanted to ask is more for you (name) than the band – by virtue of working in both PR and with the band, is that something that has proved beneficial for Left for Red because PR is a difficult thing for any band to do well…

That’s how it started really. It was us trying to gain contacts and that was the easiest way to do it. Obviously there’s gig swapping to get promoter contacts, there’s organizing press and just trying it, basically, and trying to build up as many contacts as possible. Obviously it worked. Vicious nature are playing today, Balls Deep, Internal Conflict, we’ve got Obzidian and Pelugion tomorrow… us… so yeah, it works.

You did your debut LP, ‘all things known and buried’, how did you approach the writing and recording of that?

It’s more like one of us will have an idea, then we’ll all jam together in the studio. It’s very much a band effort really. It was quite weird recording that album, because we already had some songs done, so it wasn’t really written as an album from the off if you know what I mean. We had the songs and then we had to write three songs to go on the album and do more because the songs were already there. But the second album we’re going to do, it’s all written together. So this time, it’s being done from scratch so it’ll be… not more coherent but… with the first one we did a lot of the songs live quite a lot, whereas this time we’re going in fresh. We haven’t played the songs live, we’re just writing things, so there’ll be another couple of years before you hear the songs!

It’s challenging for an independent band to find the finances and time to go into the studio. Is it something you’re going to do in blocks or are you aiming to do it in one sitting?

We’re going to do it in blocks. We were with Tom Gittins of Monochrome productions, and he’s quite good with us, really. He really does put up with us! But, because it’s so expensive, he lets us do it how we want, so obviously you can go in and do a bit, and if you want to go in and do a big chunk, you can. So it’s quite good for us. I think it works better like that in sections, as well, because you don’t get fatigued. Also you can go away, listen to it and come back. When you’re recording in one block, you become deaf to what you’re listening to.

There aren’t very many bands who have really heavy riffs and yet really melodic vocals – have you found it challenging sometimes to find line ups where you fit comfortably?

Strangely I think it works better because we have metal fans, we have rock fans… we have fans from everything really, which is what we have in the band. We are the metal band for people who don’t like metal! I think there are some people who would prefer harsher vocals, but then there a lot of people who like it as it is, so it’s one of those things. We can mix it up and give it a bit of balls every now and then, but we all listen to different stuff, some of us are in to quite harsh stuff and I think we mix that well and that’s our sound. You’ve got the harshness of death and thrash metal, and then melodic elements, for example Phil likes Guns n roses and Iron maiden so it’s light and shade. Like life!

Eight years later, we’re still here!

You’ve done the first record, you’ve had a lot of opportunity to tour and do different gigs – how do you feel you’ve developed musically?

Just a bit more… I was going to say mature but… there’s a bit more to the songs, they’re not so straight forward, there’s a bit more going on I think. We think about it a bit more, we used to think “Right, that’s enough!” We’re actually demoing the songs properly now and going through the tracks a bit more meticulously, we go back through different things and develop things… try to save a bit of cash( !) It’s going to be a little bit heavier, a little bit more aggressive but just a little bit. There are still the big melodies there, but somehow it’s that little bit heavier, it’s more pacey, it’s got a bit more bollocks about it! You’ll still be able to dance to it… just dance faster!

That’s one of the advantages of more modern technology, you can record in a lot of detail at home as opposed to the days of crappy four track tapes – how do you produce your demos?

Crappy four track tape! Well, it used to be! We just record on my phone or something, just very basic, but we also have a digital four track so we’ve started using that. We’ve gone forwards…

…a little bit…

Yeah! Well, we’ve got an electronic kit now as well so we can play that into the four track. Back in the day you’d record something you’d be there pressing play and record on a bunch of different tape players… we’d have to put a hoodie over the tape player to keep the recording clear!!!

Actually, that’s only three years ago!

On the one hand it’s easier to get yourselves out there via social media and digital platforms but on the other hand you’re competing with many other bands for attention – how have you approached reaching a wider audience?

Have you seen us?!

We don’t blend in very well! We are quite unique in our sound. The melting pot that we’ve put together – some of the heavier riffs and then the cleaner vocals, I think yeah, we’re quite unique as a band and people latch on to that. Just doing something different, we hope it’s something different and that’s what we aim for. So we don’t aim to be the next Machine Head or whatever, we only want to be the next Left for Red. We want to sound like this and we try to be boundary-less. It just sort of happens with what we do and I think we connect quite well with the audience as well. We don’t just… fuck off! We talk to people from the stage – we interact with the crowd and we try to put on a show…

Not like Kiss though…

Not yet…

You’re not going for the leather codpiece? Because that could work!

I wanted a Lady Gaga type thing, but health and safety wouldn’t allow it!

You have put a lot of work into the presentation because you’ve done a number of videos and so on and that’s a lot of investment for an independent band…

Pretty much we come up with an idea and see if someone can do it for us. I think we’ve got better. A lot of our ideas, you think that it’s not going to be possible on our budget, and then you work out what you can do… once the ideas get flowing, it’s quite cool I think. For ‘Utopia’ it was like a Jason Bourne / 007 sort of idea but we had to make it work on zero budget… then we did the “reborn” video  in a pub and all we did was put loads of beers on the floor – it was like “there we go…that’ll do!”

With regards the forthcoming album, is there a time frame at all?

Well, it’ll start recording this year about May, so I think we’re looking at the middle to the end of next year… hopefully! With a bit of a luck… we’ll see what happens. Before we all die, hopefully… but not long before!

Transcribing this is going to be a nightmare!

It is going to be a nightmare… but at least we’re all fully dressed!

Any final words… other than codpiece?

Just, yeah, check us out! Hold on…

You have a prepared  statement? Who are you, Donald Trump?

Actually remember, if you ever see Morrisey punch him in the face (with a piece of meat) and buy our album.

And you can see us at these dates [waves phone, fleetingly, in front of my face]

Live Dates

Apr 09 Mosh Against Cancer Coventry 2 Coventry, United Kingdom THE ARCHES VENUE Tickets & More
Apr 29 Dementia Aware Fest Birmingham, Uk The Roadhouse Tickets & More
Jun 18 Mayhem Charity Bash Wolverhampton, United Kingdom The Giffard Arms Tickets & More

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