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Stereoboard Talk To Sons Of Icarus At Their London Crobar Gig (Interview)

Thursday, 25 April 2013 Written by Anna Ghislena

The Crobar in London has got to be one of those serious drinking holes that most up-and-coming rock bands aspire to play in given half a chance. It is, however, only a few, that get that unrivalled opportunity to silence it’s famous jukebox and rattle the punters’ eardrums with a live dose of their own repertoire. Since winning the 2010 Marshall Ultimate Band Contest, Sons of Icarus have played Download Festival and Sonisphere Festival in 2011 and have toured with the likes of The Answer, Orange Goblin and Black Spiders. Now, on their own UK tour, the band was granted three dates of residency in the tiny Crobar, the second being tonight followed by the third in May next month.

If you have ever fancied having a band rock out in your living room, then this is what Sons of Icarus achieved tonight as their short but outstanding set rebounded off the narrow walls. With their 'You Want It All' four track EP already out there and a new album ready to go in the latter part of 2013, Andy Masson, vocals, guitar; Alex Masson, bass, vocals; Mike “Quilly” McQuillan, drums and Steve Balkwill, guitar, delivered a selection of high octane heavy rock and roll songs that set your ears on fire with super charged riffs at a blistering tempo.

I was lucky enough to catch up with the band after their set to ask them more about their new album and what inspires them.

How important was it to win the Marshall UBC back in 2010 and how has this affected your progress to date?
It has helped a lot as we are still involved with Marshall.  Paul Marshall always seems to have time for us even though he’s always dealing with big artists such as Slash, he’s always got time to reply to a text or whatever and we have still been asked back to play at the other Marshall contests since then.  We are still using the exact same gear that we won then and having that equipment really spurred us on to become efficient as well as being good for our egos!

The new album is due for release soon. What was it like working with producer Dan Weller (Young Guns, Enter Shikari)?
We talked to a few different people but our manager put us in touch with Dan Weller who was also guitarist for Sikth.  When we met up we knew straight away that we were all on the same level.  He works so hard and wanted to gets so involved, pulling songs apart and putting them back together, he knows so much about music and the way we want our instruments to sound.  It was so intense and took a month to record the album.  When you go through something like that you become very bonded.

What did you write about on the new album? What themes have inspired the tracks?
The new album has some awesome riffs, solos and is melodic at the same time.  We are pleased with the way it has come out.  Non-stop riffage can get a bit tiring to listen to so we have a good mix.  Lyrically, it’s hard to say.  All of it was about transition, written about the times of moving on to University; of growing up and getting out into the world.  Girlfriends and ex-girlfriends are quite predominant themes as is struggling against deadlines.  It’s about people around me (Andy) and I try to put myself in someone else’s head sometimes,  Basically, general life shit.  I really like it when someone approaches you after a gig and says that they really liked a particular song because they related to it in a way that wasn’t intended in the first place when the song was written, and we like that.

Which tracks are you most excited about?
“Please Come Home”, “Make Amends”.  There’s a guitar solo on there that took a long time to write and learn.  It took a week.  There were blisters everywhere!  Then we needed one last song and threw in a bit of a wild card with influences from The Parlor Mob, an American band we were listening to at the time.  It’s a little bit prog, with big melodies, big riffs, a little bit Mars Volta perhaps.  We are really excited to see how people will react to that song.  We’ve only played it a couple of times.  It’s got three time signatures in it which is a lot for us.  Technically it is one of the most complex songs we have done but it demonstrates our diversity as a band.  We can all play but it’s not always about the riffage.  We can write some really nice songs too.

What did you grow up listening to?
We all grew up on different influences.  Andy and Alex are brothers and grew up listening to Little Feet and Steely Dan.  I (Andy) was already playing guitar at the age of fourteen and doing Green Day and I remember the day when I fell in love with rock and roll.  The guitarist in the band I was in played me some AC/DC and from then I obsessed over them for about five years.  I still know every single song, how to play it.  They are amazing.  I (Alex) can play all the bass lines, I was shit at guitar so I played the bass instead.  I (Quilly) used to be in a Rage Against the Machine cover band and a jazz band too so my background is all over the place, I like a lot of drum and bass too, it fascinates me how backwards it is.   I (Steve) liked Orange Goblin, Westlife, QOSA, Led Zeppelin, Judas Priest, Blue.

Apart from your new album, what else do you have for us to look forward to in 2013?
There are lots of gigs coming up. From here we’ve got nine or ten coming up and more that are unannounced.  We are busting our arses doing these gigs all over the country so, fans, come and see us.  We are living on beans and spaghetti hoops. There’s some good three for one offers in the Co-Op by the way!

What music do you listen to when you are not writing your own material?
Usually some really heavy shit. It usually depends on what the time is and how drunk we are. Well, Quilly is always sober. He’s the only one with the driving licence! We always take the opportunity to listen to Hootie and the Blowfish, so it depends on the mood. Captain Beyond is also a good one, proper stoner/prog rock. It is a journey, a whole movement.

What do you think the best thing about the current music industry is?
Er, next question!  No, there’s a lot of new music and a lot of bands out there but the industry just doesn’t seem to want to see all these artists who have more talent than some of the signed artists.  The best thing about the music industry is that we get to hang with awesome people like the unheard of bands we have recently played with.  Social media is the best thing for these bands but also the worst thing given the competition it creates.  We are all on the same journey and it’s great that we can meet up from time to time, have a beer, watch each other play.  That’s probably the best thing and wouldn’t change it for the world.

Favourite Current Band?
Parlour Mob, Clutch, Orange Goblin, Dead Sara, Black Spiders, Muse. People always say there are no good bands out there. That must mean they don’t have radio, TV, the internet or perhaps they are just ****s!

Post gig munchies. What is your favourite recipe?
KFC!  Bonus Banquet.  I (Andy) am very partial to a late night falafel and halloumi wrap. And venues ….. stop giving us hummus! No-one eats hummus! Every rider we get is hummus and beer, it’s weird, sometimes there is nothing to put it on, no bread! We love food but hummus is like edible cement or eye dribble or cold porridge. 

So finally, what do you wash the falafel and the kebabs down with?
Guinness or whatever is in our hand at the time. Anything with caffeine in for Quilly! Ha ha!

Sons of Icarus are still touring the UK throughout April and May. Their next date at The Crobar is 23rd May 2013 and entrance is FREE. The new album is due for release later this year. It’s title is to be confirmed.

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