Interview by Jason Guest
Photos By Dan Archer
Jason: Hi. Thanks for taking time out for this interview. To begin can you tell us about the band’s development? How does your recent material differ from the band’s early material?
Adam: We formed in 2008, but never really got going until 2010. We started off as a straight forward rock quintet, who tried to play music like what we enjoyed, regardless of how similar it may have sounded. Our sound was heavily influenced by bands like Black Stone Cherry, The Answer, Richie Kotzen, (Birmingham’s own) Rattlesnake Remedy and Guns n’ Roses. Support tours with Magnum, Gun and Skin reinforced the idea that we were a classic rock band and to be frank, we got tired of the comparisons we were getting.
Josh: Our first EP, New Addiction was the best farewell we could have given to the ‘old’ Liberty Lies. Personally, we are very proud of what we did on that EP, it cemented what we were all about then and what was to come, our stamp in time for everyone to look back on. Reflections is a culmination of everyone’s past influences and experiences. The album is influenced by bands like Fair to Midland, Tool, Thin Lizzy, Sevendust, Biffy Clyro and the more modern Guns n’ Roses (The Axl Rose Experience). We like to look at bands who perhaps think outside of the box and aren’t afraid to experiment.
Jason: 2011 saw Matt and Wolfie joining the band. What did they bring to Liberty Lies? How has their presence in the band affected the band’s sound?
Adam: After the departure of Matt Jones (Bass) and Dan Newman (Guitar) the time seemed right to reinvent ourselves. We were initially worried about auditioning players as we were not only looking for great instrumentalists but people with drive and ambition similar to those who remained in the band. We found that in abundance with Matt and Wolfie. Both came from different musical backgrounds from the original three in the band, they both influenced our music tastes and the band’s sound, opening musical doors that we might never have found if they hadn’t introduced them to us.
Josh: We were already on our way to changing our sound but these guys took what we had and rebuilt it, challenging us to think outside of our comfort zone. Every second of the Confessions Of An Effigy EP shows just how far we had come with Matt and Wolf in just a few months. It was a recording that was made out of necessity, as people had only heard our first EP and were coming to shows expecting that, which they were not getting. Both of the tracks were a big leap from the old Liberty Lies and they weren’t a ‘safe’ move for a band of our level to make. Some people didn’t understand or like parts of it, but many people loved the new direction. It has since become a bit of an unspoken rule that we try anything and everything. No idea is too out-there for us to try and quite a few made it onto the album.
Jason: How do the band write? Do you all bring ideas to the band and jam them out or is there a main writer or writing team?
Josh: There is no particular formula to how we write, sometimes we will get in our practice room and go through some ideas that we like, it could be something we have heard in the day and thought “Wow, that bridge would sound cool here” or it could be a totally new idea someone has thought up that we try. The band as a collective is really comfortable with one another and if an idea doesn’t work it doesn’t matter. It can be a long process, but it’s definitely the best way to make sure we are all happy.
Jason: Who writes the lyrics? And where does inspiration come from for them?
Adam: We all write together. Once the music is done we will sit down and brainstorm ideas for lyrics before spending hours piecing it together. We have a crazily high quality control system and it can take weeks/months until everybody is happy with all the lyrics and music. We are quite strict on ourselves and sometimes spent hours trying to thrash out just a couple of lines.
The songs aren’t necessarily about us, but they always mean something. Sometimes we’ll create a story and having a narrative running through it like we have in ‘Someone Else’ and ‘Reflections’. But there are tracks like ‘The Difference between Hope and Faith’ which are more personal to us. We take a lot of pride in our lyrics as we have all been influenced by some great lyricists in the past. We know that they can really help to give a song that extra bit of enjoyment if people can take meaning from what we write.
Jason: Who are the band’s inspirations? Are there any that have had a significant impact on the band?
Adam: Musically, we are all quite different in what we are influenced by. Having gigged and toured together, I think we have the same inspiration for where and who we want to be. It was a great experience to watch how Shinedown and Halestorm were run and the example they set is definitely something we would like to emulate. Everybody is really professional, every member of the crew knows their role in the production and the band spend their days making sure they are prepared to give the best show that they can. Eating and drinking the right things at the right time is an important lesson that we learnt. Also seeing the way that they dealt with their fans, you have to stay grounded regardless of success and remember who put you there. We have gigged with bands that have much greater egos than both Halestorm and Shinedown have and they haven’t done anything worth noting. It was an amazing tour and it really surprised us how great both bands were to us and how they have stayed in touch to see how we are getting on.
Jason: You’re about to release your debut album, Reflections. (Ed: Jason’s review is here) Where did you record the album? And why choose that studio?
Josh: The album was recorded at Longwave Studios in Cardiff. It was a great experience, we spent three weeks locked away in a brand new city and worked on our music every day. We had our own apartment where we lived for the whole time there, so we’d spend the days at the studio and the nights going through little sections, working on ideas and watching films. Little opportunities like this are ones we wouldn’t get to do if we weren’t in this band. Just one of many amazing things we have been able to do. When it came to recording though, the producer was always more important than the location.
Jason: Who’s the producer? And why did you choose to work with him?
Josh: We recorded with Romesh Dodangoda. We had all been aware of his work for some time and he was always at the top of the list to record the album. He has worked with the likes of Funeral for a Friend, Kids in Glass Houses and The Blackout. He approached us and said that he was keen to work with us, which was also a big plus. He has a very modern sound to his recordings, which was definitely something that we were looking for. It is always a big risk for a band like us on such a small budget, but having spoken to Romesh, he really understood what we were trying to do and knew he would be able to deliver it.
Jason: When completed, how much time will you have spent on Reflections?
Adam: It will be about three years by the time we release it, but until the summer it was completely different to the way that it is now. Once we had finished touring in February 2012, we had a complete overhaul of what worked and what didn’t. We demoed everything throughout the summer and took what we liked into the studio. There are parts on the album that has been written since around 2010. Tracks like ‘Phobia’ and ‘Spoken Silence’ have spent a lot of time being reworked, as we were not happy with them and they perhaps didn’t fit in with the style of the rest of the album. Compare this to tracks like ‘Reflections’ which come together just a few weeks before we record it, which was also too late to be demoed. Once we had finished that track, we knew it had to finish the album as it summed up the whole record.
Jason: What was the vibe like in the studio for the band?
Adam: It was awesome. Despite being quite a young band, we have quite a lot of studio experience. This time around, we found exactly what we were looking for and were experienced enough to know what works and what doesn’t. By living in Cardiff, it gave us an opportunity to leave everything else behind and solely concentrate on the record, it’s not something that you can put just 50% effort into.
Josh: Romesh has a great musical ear, he can tell instantly what works and what doesn’t. He’ll often be blunt and tell you your idea is great or a load of rubbish. He also wasn’t afraid to throw ideas into the hat.
Jason: What are your hopes and expectations for the album?
Josh: Because we are still fairly unknown to many people, it is going to start off quite slowly but we think that the people who pick it up will love it. It’s bold and different to a lot of the stuff currently out already. It was important for us to make this album the right way. We weren’t going to record in Birmingham because we could drive their everyday, if it’s not the best studio that we could find. Same goes for record labels. We have no problem working by ourselves until the right deal is found.
Adam: We get asked a lot, why did we not just record another EP? We have released six songs previous to the album; we had done everything else that we had wanted too. EPs and singles have a limited shelf life, so we didn’t want to waste another four good songs by releasing them early. Hopefully this album can be listened to for a long time; people can appreciate the light and shade you get with a full length album which is sometimes lost with an EP.
Jason: Is there anything on the album that you’re particularly proud of?
Adam: We are proud that we have been ambitious and not tried to settle. It hasn’t been done quickly and cheap, we’ve all took on extra jobs to be able to fund it and I think it shows in the end result. One of the songs we are most proud of is the title track, ‘Reflections’. It is a seven minute anthemic outro for the album, which rounds off the whole of the record. It continues on the concept we have going on within the album, with that and ‘Someone Else.’
Josh: We’re also proud that we have been able to entice some big names to work with us, the likes of which wouldn’t normally work with unsigned bands. As well as Romesh, we have got Paul Jackson who is creating the artwork for the album. He has done some of our favourite band artwork and has worked with acts like Alexisonfire, Young Guns and Bring Me the Horizon. It was important for us to also get the physical album looking right as well as sounding right. With Paul on board, we don’t have to worry about that.
Jason: You are about to make a video. Which song is it for?
Adam: Yeah, it is for the first single from the record, ‘Someone Else’. It is always hard choosing singles, especially as we never write a song which has to tick all of the boxes that TV and Radio play require. It is really quite different to what most UK bands are doing at the minute. If it gets the play it deserves, we are sure people will really love it. It is definitely one of our favourites to play live; it has a lot of energy.
Jason: Who’s the director? And how did you come to be involved with him/her?
Adam: We are working with Video Ink. We have never looked into making a video before, so it was all a bit foreign. For what we wanted, the company ticked all of our boxes and we are excited to shoot it. It is always a bit nerve-racking when talking to video companies. We are musicians, not actors and for our first video we didn’t want to be doing anything stupid. Luckily in this one we just have to perform. We wanted the company to give a different idea to the track than what we wrote it about. It’s great to see another person’s perspective on your music. The concept to it looks great and having seen their other work we think people will love it.
Jason: What are the plans after Reflections is released? Do you have any gigs lined up?
Adam: We have a couple of shows lined up with our friends in Heavens Basement and we are also heading up to Wakefield to play Twitrfest. The album is being launched at the Slade Rooms on 29th March, which will be our biggest headline show yet. After that, we intend on touring as much as possible and hopefully supporting some more bands around the country. Any information on gigs and tours you can find via our Facebook or on Twitter. You can also follow us all individually, to get a bit more insight in to what we get up too.
Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Is there anything you’d like to add for our readers?
Josh: Thanks for reading and the support we have received over the last few years. Pick up our album on April 1st, we think you will enjoy it! You can start pre-ordering it soon via our Big Cartel for hard copies very soon. It will be available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and all the usual places in April!
And you can visit Liberty Lies here