Young Alt rockers Dead! are tearing it up right now. Exposed Magazine caught up with guitarist Sam to find out what it’s like starting a band at Uni, getting signed and having shrapnel pelted at you on stage…
Hi Sam! Where are you in the world?
The Isle of Wight visiting my mum. It’s a bit different from Download!
Just a bit! How was Download?
Amazing! We played 3 sets; 2 to huge crowds and one to a load of industry people backstage. You’d think they would be boring but they got down and moshed!
Your live show gets messy, what’s your best live memory?
It’s not so much great memories, but more wired ones that always stick out. Like shows where we have nearly died. We have broken a lot of bones falling off things whilst on tour. One of the weirdest experiences was when we were mid-set and the dickhead of a sound engineer started lobbing pennies at us. He was hammered and then just wandered off after! That was definitely a strange one…
Indeed! If you could make a band from dead musicians who would it be?
Well I would say Cobain but probably not the best shout. How many albums are we doing?
I would say a hefty 3, it’s a full career…
Oh…well I would still have to say Kurt Cobain anyway and put him with Keith Moon so they could do a Royal Blood kind of thing.
So, you guys met at Uni right?
Kind of yeah. We knew each other from the Isle of Wight and we thought going to Uni was a good way to meet other bands. It wasn’t really working out with our old singer, so I got in contact with Alex. I knew he would be an excellent front man and I wasn’t wrong!
What did you study at Uni?
Well I did Music Tech along with the others in the band. Our bassist is the only one that finished Uni I believe. I only really went for the loans! I studied Music Tech because it was the most hands-on course I could do that related to being in a band. I lost interest in it when all of the great techniques in the studio seemed to be fluky. They would say: ”I just put the mic down that way one day and it sounded amazing so we kept it in”- it wasn’t for me really.
Moving on to your music, what is the new single “You’re So Cheap” about?
It’s just a bit of fun really. It has a 90’s sound that we are all loving at the moment. It’s really diverse compared to our older songs and that’s exactly what we aimed for. We wanted to add a bit of Alt Rock to our sound.
And the video?
We shot it quite cheap with some footage of us in Soho before we’d signed a record deal. I think people expected us to put out a huge budget music video, but we’d already made one and it seemed like a fun statement to go against that idea. It keeps people on their toes.
Do you have plans to release anything else this year?
We are definitely working towards an album, but we don’t want to rush it. We’re not going to just throw one out, we’re waiting till we have the right songs. We have just signed to Rise Records in the US. It’s cool because they are one of the few labels that have a real cult following and in the days of Spotify, it’s not that common to find a label that has its own audience.
What your favourite place to play?
Probably Glasgow. It’s always mental!
Do you have any advice for young bands trying to make it?
Just get out and do it! It’s cliché but you’ve just got to have a go and work hard. I have lost around 9 jobs for this band and you will lose girlfriends and mates but if you really want it, you will make it work. The reason we are home right now with our mums is because we have missed their last 5 birthdays – it’s the sacrifices you make. If you want a safe job, you can be a manager or something.
Sam’s Do’s and Don’ts for starting a band…
Don’t approach management! If you’re working hard and making waves, they will come to you.
Don’t rush out an album! If you don’t have a fan base, don’t put out an album, stagger your releases.
Do work hard and get booking! Be prepared to come home from a 13 hour shift and spend 2 hours booking a tour.
Do work on your branding! This is something I wish we did a bit more a few years ago. Now, we think about every detail of what we do, from the clothes we wear, to what we say in interviews, to what we post online. We are more than just the music, were getting the brand across. Like it or not, Facebook is here to stay and it can help your band. Just posting a picture a day to hook people in – it’s their to be utilized!
Words by Lewis Budden.