Ahead of their undoubtedly aggressive takeover of the Fulford Arms on 29 November as part of their national tour, we caught up with Baby Godzilla’s Matt Reynolds to talk nicking band members, their Reading and Leeds appearances and expecting the unexpected.
By Jane Howkins
How did you guys get together?
We’ve all been friends for a long time. Before we started we were all in separate bands that occasionally gigged together (all of which are fairly easy to find online if you have a penchant for detective work and fancy a laugh). As my old band was beginning to wind down I went on a bit of a poaching mission and picked the best members out of these bands (namely Tom on drums and Paul on bass) and organised a jam session of sorts. We essentially just spent an afternoon attempting to play Queens of the Stone Age songs together. Jonny joined a little later (he was in another band that we liked and we sort of ‘tricked’ him into hanging out with us). So the moral to this story isn’t exactly noble, but if you want a good band you have to be a bit ruthless!
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t heard it?
Something that lies between hardcore and prog – prog for the ADHD generation.
You released an EP last year called ‘Knockout Machine’. What influenced the making of the EP?
It was written at the same time that we were starting to write our first album (which is due for release next year at some point). We ended up with a tonne of disgustingly heavy songs on our hands and we decided that they belonged on an EP together. We basically got impatient, but what we wound up making was this 5 track, 10 minute long EP that was relentlessly brutal, I still really love it. The songs were all about feelings of futility and disenchantment with our surroundings, which tends to be a theme that crops up a lot.
I’ve noticed that comparisons have been drawn between you and ‘Every Time I Die.’ Would you say that you’re influenced by them and their peers?
That’s a really flattering comparison because we love ETID, in a way I’d say that we are influenced by them because they’re one of the bands that we listen to, but it isn’t our intention to replicate any band in particular, we strive for a sound that is all our own and pull influences from all over the place.
You toured with Enter Shikari in 2013. How did that come about?
Playing everywhere and talking to people. When you’re starting out you can’t afford to be too picky about your shows, and eventually if you’re lucky you just get talking to the right person at the back of a dark empty gig venue, which sounds seedy and it kind of is. We landed on our feet with the Shikari boys, they’re a band that we really love and respect and now we get to call them our friends (which is still a bit weird).
‘The Great Hardcore Swindle’ was released by Enter Shikari’s record label. Do you have any plans to release more songs with them?
That was a project that we felt very honoured to be a part of, it was actually the first ever non-Shikari release through the label. I’m not sure what those guys have planned next for Ambush Reality but I’m fairly confident that it will be awesome as always. Keep your eyes peeled!
The Great Hardcore Swindle
Directed by: David Louis Lankester
This summer you played the Reading and Leeds Festivals. Did you enjoy playing them?
Playing those festivals has been a huge dream for a very long time and they really didn’t disappoint. We played to a (miraculously) packed out tent for both shows and it just felt incredible, people were singing back the words and just going nuts. They’re definitely two of the biggest shows we’ve played to date.
What other bands did you manage to watch at Reading and Leeds?
Pretty much all bands that we’ve already mentioned in this article! We went to see Enter Shikari smash it on the main stage and we had our collective minds blown by QOTSA. We also got to see Every Time I Die play on the same stage as us just a few hours later! Other big highlights included Letlive and Frank Turner’s hardcore band Mongol Horde.
You’re doing a number of gigs around the country, including York. What have been some of your favourite shows to play?
We’re doing a tonne of smaller cities and towns on the next run, and we’re getting to play lots of places we’ve never been before which we’re incredibly excited about (and also a little nervous to see if anyone turns up). We haven’t been to York in ages but we always have a wicked time when we’re there, the last time we played in York was at a cocktail bar called Gibsons, we played with our friends in We Are Knuckle Dragger and their vocalist Aran knocked himself unconscious. It was one of those really odd locations for a heavy show that really shouldn’t have worked but just did. We also hid half a drumstick in a castle wall that we hope to retrieve upon our return.
What can people expect from one of your shows?
Now that would be telling, and to be honest I don’t even know! It tends to be quite freeform, anything goes! Come see us on the tour to find out!
What plans do you have for the future?
After this tour we’re going to be working towards getting our album released (it’s all ready and recorded). Then it will be gig, gig, gig until our legs give way, we’re sacked from our jobs and our girlfriends leave us for more attentive lovers. Then, when we’ve nothing left, we will (In the words of Brain) try to take over the world.
Any last words for the fans?
See you on the road next week, you crafty wrong-heads!
Baby Godzilla play the Fulford Arms on Saturday 29 November 2014.