They’ve just got themselves a new drummer and things are looking up. I had a chat with Newcastle metallers Convolution about influences, the metal scene, what the future holds and much more.
What made you pick the name Convolution?
Carl: I’d love to just say that I randomly thought of it, but to be honest I was listening to some Gojira and there’s a song that Randy Blythe from Lamb Of God is on, and I heard him say Convolution. I was thinking, what does that mean? So I checked it out and it was about continuous brain activity – a thought within a thought, just constant. I liked that, and I suggested it to the lads and next thing you know we thought ‘aye, we’ll go for that one’! That’s how it worked.
You mentioned Lamb Of God and Gojira there, what kind of musical influences have had a profound impact on you as artists?
Danny: Porcupine Tree for me, and Fear My Thoughts. One of the best metal albums I have ever listened to is Isolation by Fear My Thoughts. That vocalist is unreal. He can do anything he wants and his lyrics are class as well. Love Fear My Thoughts, check them out. I like Perfect Circle as well, and I wouldn’t class them as heavy metal, it’s more chilled out atmospheric rock.
The new song Cale, what is that about?
Danny: I read a book called Left Hand Of God by some guy, he’s really good, I forgot his name! It’s absolutely awesome. The way it was written, it is fiction but it is actualy believable that it might happen in a time. Thomas Cale is who the character is and it’s basically about his life and how it can relate to people nowadays.
Are you happy with the recording itself?
Danny: I was, but vocally I feel I could have done more. I think we could have done bit more but we were stretched for time.
Carl: There was a couple of things I felt I could have put in. When I do recording I can always put harmonies in and things like that, but because it was the first time we have properly recorded it, I didn’t get the time to do it.
What’s the typical recording process for Convolution?
Carl: It’s all over the place.
Danny: We’ve only done it a few times. It’s basically at his (Carl’s) house, we get slashed, then you go ‘drums, cool. Carl then throws down guitar parts wherever he wants then the bass jumps on top of it.
Carl: There’s been a few times when Danny has come up with a riff because he plays guitar. We’ve got a song called Gunner, and the main riff was Danny’s.
Danny: Basically it was pomp. It was basically taking out the zeros and making it hard hitting – it’s awesome, absolutely crushing.
Carl: I remembered the notes from what he (Danny) had shown me and the next week we were like ‘oh, what about that riff that I had?’ So I played it and he said: ‘that’s not what I played, but it’s better!’
Danny: Everybody just throws ideas in.
Carl: It’s not just one person, it’s all open in the band. If I come in with a full song, generally what happens is I’ll take it and say this is my idea and this is the formation of it. Then we’ll pull it apart and say this riffs good and this riffs shit. We’ll try and work it out that way.
Are you happy with the metal scene in Newcastle at the minute?
Carl: There’s some awesome bands in Newcastle that we have played with, which we are constantly trying to get more gigs with. Thea and A Thousand Lies, Arcite, Fyreon.
Danny: This whole thing about every band is an enemy is just bullshit, absolute bullshit. You’re going out and you’re going to have a laugh and meet some mates along the way. That’s it basically.
Bell: People that you help up on the way, you’re going to see them on the way back down. You don’t need to piss them off on the way up or they’re going to kick you in the arse. It should be like a massive family thing.
Carl: The thing is, we’ve done gigs with bands before where they’ve been absolute arseholes. We’ve had some gigs when we’ve played, we’ve ended up drinking with them afterwards, like A Thousand Lies. I knew the singer from school.
Danny: Me, Carl and Chris Nesbitt from A Thousand Lies all lived in New Hartley which is just down the road from Seaton Delaval, we knew each other back then.
Carl: Getting into Slipknot and things like that, [feigns silly voice] ‘ooh have you heard this band? It’s scary!’ The first Black Sunday we played we saw Nesbitt and we said: ‘what the hell are you doing here?’, and he said ‘I have a band!’ I thought, let’s get some gigs, and it just carried on from there. We’ve had some hangovers with them. It’s better to stick with the bands rather than making people enemies, there’s no point.
First time I saw Convolution was when you were supporting Sarah Jezebel Deva. What happened to the flowery shorts?
Carl: I wanted to keep them!
Bell: I was rocking a pair yesterday!
Carl: He was standing on the other side of the car yesterday and as I got around the corner I was like ‘how did you get my fucking shorts?’
Bell: It was complete coincidence that I had the same shorts.
Danny: It was my fault the shorts went, because I’ve got chicken-legs. I can’t be wearing Hawain shorts and big boots because I’ve got chicken legs. So I pretended I lost mine and I’ve still got them at home. They dissapeared, but we can bring them back if there’s popular demand. We’ll have a facebook vote or something!
Carl: If you look at one of the photo’s you can see that on that gig I was wearing one Converse and a welly. [laughs]
How long have Convolution been going now?
Danny: 2009. April 1st. 11.30PM. You weren’t ready for that were you?!
Do you have any goals as such for this year?
Carl: This year we’re going to get our EP sorted. We’ve got enough for an album now. So we’re going to get an EP sorted first. We’ve got a couple of live tracks from a gig that we did at Hyem bar. Then we’re going to get an album sorted and get some merchandise sorted and then go on tour. We’ve got a few bands that we want to tour with. Thea and A Thousand Lies.
Danny: We’re proper tight with them, that’s why they keep coming up. They’re sound guys.
Any ideas when the EP will surface?
Danny: As soon as possible basically. There’s about four songs left to do. We’ve jammed them out but when you jam them out and you hear after, they’re not the same. So, we’re going into that stage where everything is set up into positions where they should be rather than being so precise and going over, doing it again and again. Just do it, feel as though it’s live, because we are a live band.
Would you prefer recording live in a studio as opposed to layering?
Danny: I’d prefer live. I feed off everybodys energy. Whereas, if I was in a recording studio with the booth in front of me and the little shield, it’s boring.
Carl: When we did the guide tracks we were all jamming and we had the energy there and the energy was in the recordings. As soon as it’s recorded, it’s a recording. Everybody else is just watching Danny or me because we’re both doing the vocals, and I’m meant to be doing a gruff shouting voice and it comes out tame.
Best gig yet?
Carl: Black Sunday II probably. This is before Brian joined, which is a terrible, terrible shame because it was a really good gig. I think that was down to the fact that we hadn’t played before to 300 plus people. And the PA was ridiculous. The monitors were working and the sound was great, the guitar was chuggy, the bass was slapping and we had a really really good sound, so I think we just fed off that. Personally that was my favourite gig.
Carl: There was another one we played in Trillians with Thea for their EP launch. There was lots of people there, the energy was there and it was great. We were getting good feedback off the crowd.
Bell: The riverside was great too.
Danny: Yeah, it was a shame it was still light though. English people don’t do anything until the sun goes away!
Bell: People might have been self-conscious, but by the end when we did Cale, you could see everyone nodding away.
Is the stage banter an integral part of Convolution too?
Danny: I don’t think we think about it, because it just happens. It is who we are.
Bell: It’s just the personalities, and you cannot suppress it.
Carl: Sometimes we’ll be talking about the gig beforehand, and we’ll try to plan to be serious and be proper metal. [laughs] Then something will happen when we go on. He’ll (Danny) will smirk or I’ll nearly fall on my arse or something like that, and it just changes. Then we’re like: ‘ah, what the hell!’
Danny: I think people feed off that as well though. Without it, it would be like Meshuggah being politicians. Exactly, it wouldn’t happen.
Do you think people take themselves too seriously sometimes?
Carl: You get some bands that are serious onstage and they won’t have a laugh at all. Most bands I’ve seen, that is pretty standard. Then you get ones with a bit more life like Stuck Mojo in London last year. Everybody was leaping around and it was one of the best gigs I have ever seen.
You got to be serious in the studio though right?
Danny: To an extent, but what can be serious about a grown man going ‘gurgh, gurgh, gurgh’? [growls].
What’s next for the band?
Danny: We’re writing new material. We’ve got another four-tracks that we haven’t even really touched. We’ve got the idea of them down but we haven’t jammed them out to see what the craic is. So we’re waiting on them, see if they unfold and then after that – van, touring, simple as.
Carl: We want to get further than Newcastle.
Danny: The video man!
Carl: Dave from Thea does media production and he said he really liked the band and would like to do a video for us. So it was like: ‘yes please’.
Danny: Then we can enter festival competitions and, if push comes to shove and somebody says ‘put them on because we can’t get anyone else!’ then hopefully that will be the starting block.
Message for anyone who hasn’t seen the show?
Danny: Energy, and it’s all about the live shows.
Carl: If Red Bull was an entity it would be Convolution onstage.
Coils – could you explain?
Spiral out of control while we ride, the sphere of eternal revolution, you must decide to release the coils of our Convolution. Don’t see things in black and white basically, and stretch your horizons. That’s basically what it’s about.