Leeds rockers Forever Cult have been smashing it over the past couple of years with festival appearances and national tours under their belt. We chatted with bassist Alex Greaves to find out about touring with Fizzy Blood, their new single Usurper and how on earth he ended up in St Albans.
By Jane Howkins
You recently released a new single called Usurper, and it sounds great! What can you tell us about that? What’s the title a reference to?
Well “usurper” is just a cool word, innit? It’s the first tune we’ve written as a 4-piece, since Wilko joined on guitar in the summer, so its exciting for us because it feels like the start of something new. It’s given us a new lease of life.
Are you planning on releasing an album or an EP at any point in the near future?
We’re writing more now, quicker and better, than we’ve ever done. It’s been a change of approach but we’re writing more together as a band and it’s feeling really good at the moment. We start recording new stuff next week. It’s looking like it’s going to be another EP. I don’t feel like we’ve ever been so happy with material before recording, so we’re excited to see how it turns out.
You’ve just completed a UK tour with Fizzy Blood. How did that come about, and were you fans of the band beforehand?
Yeah, we’ve been pals with Fizzy Blood for ages and played a fair few gigs together before. Our drummer, Snowy, lives with Jake and Tim from Fizzy and we’ve always been part of a similar scene in Leeds so it made sense for us to go on tour with them.
Do you have any good tour stories? What are your favourite places to play?
The best part of touring is ending up in places that you just never would do normally. Would I ever end up in St Albans under normal circumstances? Probably not. But I did. Got to sit in a cool pub all day drinking sweet Stellas and then I got to play a cool gig. That’s the best bit of touring. We always love playing in Leeds obviously, but other favourites include anywhere in the North East. It’s our second home. Kieran is from up there and so is Scott who runs Clue Records so we’ve always played there a lot and we’ve made so many good friends up there that it’s always good to go back.
We first heard of you just before Leeds Festival 2016, and knew we had to come down and see you live after hearing a few tracks. Do you have any festival plans this year?
Ah cool! That was our first festival and I think we’d been a band for about seven months when we played that which was crazy. We’ve got some festivals in the pipeline to be announced. Hopefully we’re better now than we were then.
You’ve been supported quite heavily by BBC Introducing in the past. How did that come about, and do you think that support has been integral to increasing your fan-base?
BBC Introducing is just such a good thing all round. I think it’s pretty integral to any new band doing well in this country. We ended up playing Leeds and Reading through it and we’ve been played on mainstream radio numerous times thanks to their support. I think the music industry takes it a bit for granted here when actually it does so much to help up and coming music of most genres. If it’s good, they’ll play it.
You’re originally from Leeds. What is the music scene like there at the moment, and are there any other bands you can recommend from the local area?
Leeds is ace. I grew up here and the scene has always been thriving and now is no exception. There’s loads of great stuff.
Team Picture have been going a couple of years now I think and I honestly think they’re one of the most exciting bands in the country. I haven’t heard many bands doing stuff as interesting as they are doing. Their latest single Little Secret is absolutely unbelievable.
Dead Naked Hippies are new and are really great: drums, guitar, vocals, shouty, riffy, catchy. They’ll be doing some great new stuff this year, I think.
There’s too many to mention properly: Mush, Treeboy & Arc, Colour of Spring… Go check ’em out.
What sort of stuff are you influenced by, and what have you been listening to at the moment? We hear a bit of a grunge influence in your sound, as well as the obvious punk one.
I don’t think we’re influenced by any bands in particular. There’s stuff that we all love like Wavves, Arctic Monkeys, etc. which probably influences our sound a bit but hopefully most of the stuff we do just comes across like us. We never thought of ourselves as grunge until we started getting labelled that way not long after we started out. We thought we were a loud indie band (laughs). None of used any guitar pedals for almost a year. It was just turn up, get drunk, plug-in and play. I guess that’s where our punky side comes from.
What can people expect from a Forever Cult gig, and why do you think people should come and see you perform live?
They can expect to hear Forever Cult songs presented in a loud and abrasive manner.
Any last words for the fans?
Listen to Usurper and then be our mates.
Usurper by Forever Cult is available now.