Hi Tony, Mark, Col and Ben! For those who don’t know Daylight Robbery how did you form, who’s in the band and how would you describe your music?
Mark – Hi Woody, thanks for taking the time out to speak to us. Tony and I first talked about this a couple of years ago. We’ve known each other since we were kids and we first wrote together when we had a very early incarnation of the band – we always found that we had a good relationship for song-writing and we knew at some point we’d work together properly. So a couple of years back I had some free time and got in touch with Tony to see if he wanted to demo some songs I’d got down. We got them down and we’re blown away at how they sounded.
Col – That’s when I joined up. On the demos were Cross Your Heart, While You Were Sleeping, Shame on You and Real Love is the Answer. It was obvious that these were just great songs. A couple of radio stations played them on heavy rotation and suddenly we were being asked to play gigs and play festivals. However we hadn’t got a product to promote, so we got into the studio to record a full album as soon as we could.
Mark – That was weird wasn’t it! Our first gig was at The Robin 2 and a week later we were opening the Z-Rock festival – real trial by fire stuff! As far as the album goes, we wanted the album to reflect how we sound live – big vocals, big harmonies, big guitars, big drums, massive choruses and great melodies.
Col – We’ve totally ignored your question about who’s in the band haven’t we (laughs). Well, obviously I am the most important, gifted, best looking member of the band…
Mark – .and what do you play?
Col – Bass.
Mark – erm…nuff said (laughs). I play guitar and sing backing vocals, Tony is our lead singer and we have Ben on drums.
Col – Tony, you’re very quiet! How would you describe our music?
Tony – Heavy, mega-melodic rock or melody with muscle! Take your pick!
Mark – (Laughs) Well, you’ve just summed it up better than all the stuff we were coming out with!
You guys are very much still in full force promotion of your critically acclaimed album ‘Cross Your Heart’ and you have a string of live dates happening over the next few months. Is being an active ‘live’ band important to you or would you be happy being a studio band?
Col – Playing live is the best part of being in a band, there is nothing like getting a great crowd reaction to a song we’ve put together. We are lucky in that our studio and live sound is pretty much identical – so we always tend to go down very well live as it sounds very similar to our album. Music to us is about connecting with people and we get a great buzz from winning over new Daylight Robbery fans.
Tony – Absolutely… they are both part of the band experience. So yes, we write and record and get music out there so that we can give our fans something to access, then hopefully share the songs with them live. I wouldn’t want to be in just a ‘studio’ band as much as I love recording new songs.
Mark – Same here… I love being in the studio – writing and hearing a song evolve is a great experience. I find it frustrating as sometimes there’s not the time to undertake what you truly hear inside – but as long as everyone likes the final result, it’s fine. Playing live is where it’s at though for me.
You’ve managed to land some big name support slots since the band’s formation like Uriah Heep and Wolfsbane. Do you have any other support slots lined up or any other live dates we may not be aware of yet?
Tony – Well, we’ve just announced the slot with Rage of Angels in September as a warm-up for a festival we’re doing with them.
Col – That should be a great night. Supporting acts like Uriah Heep, Wishbone Ash, It Bites and Wolfsbane has been great for us, as it has showcased our music to large audiences who naturally wouldn’t go and see a band like us. On the forthcoming live front we performed our debut London show in May. We have earmarked the next few month’s for songwriting and recording and then have dates in Bolton, Wigan and Mansfield in September. There are loads of shows currently in the pipeline and we hope to be able to play to our fans in Scotland and Wales later in the year.
I believe you are part of a new melodic rock festival happening this September in Mansfield called Skyfest? How did this come about?
Col – We are signed to Skyfire management who have been showcasing and promoting our music for the past few months. They’ve been big supporters of ours and we were offered a slot on the first day. It promises to be a great 2 day festival with bands like Pretty Maids, Rage of Angels and VEGA playing.
Tony – That’s right, we were asked pretty much as we were signed if I remember correctly. As a rock fan as well as musician, it’s great to be involved in these events.
What do you think of the Skyfest line-up and is there anyone you’re particularly looking forward to seeing perform?
Col – The great thing about festivals is the broad spectrum of music on show and there are always pleasant surprises from bands we have never heard previously. Summers, VEGA, Moritz, Estrella and Knock out Kaine all played with us at HRH AOR recently but we never got a chance to see them, so hopefully this time we will. We also played alongside Sweden’s Coldspell at another festival a year or so ago so it will be good to catch up with them again and also our good pal Al Barrow (Magnum) who is playing bass for Rage of Angels.
Tony – For me, Rage of Angels and Pretty Maids as well as Vega. It’ll be great to see and meet all the bands involved… I’m really excited about it.
Mark – You’re right, meeting the other bands is always good. At every festival we’ve been involved in – all the bands are really cool and ready to help, support and have a good laugh with – trading war-stories is always an experience! I’ve not yet seen Vega properly – so I’m looking forward to that.
You have just performed at the first HRH AOR event in Rotherham. I know you guys were keen to get on the bill when it was announced but unfortunately it didn’t seem like you would be playing until you were drafted in fairly late on. How did you land the slot?
Mark – As HRH/AOR was already fully booked, we had secured a place on next year’s event. However, we spoke with the organisers about an available slot at HRH/AOR 2013 and we ended up taking it.
Col – Getting that slot on the main stage along with Dante Fox, Romeo’s Daughter, Danny Vaughan, FM and Tesla was great.
Tony – It was great news when securing that gig – we had a fantastic time and met a lot of great folks from our past, present and hopefully our future.
Unfortunately I was unable to attend in the finish, but I’m hearing the festival was well attended and most people had a great time. What was your HRH AOR experience like?
Tony – Simply Awesome! It certainly looked like a full house when we were on stage. The HRH guys run a very tight ship and are a very professional organisation. The main hall was immense and the outfront sound was great for all the bands. I did hear a few remarks about the Prog stage being cold – but we dropped in after our set to see IT BITES who we played with last year and we were just happy to be there so didn’t really notice, but I guess an former foundry is a difficult place to heat up.
Col – Absolutely, we have to congratulate the HRH organisers for putting on a great event. We were very well looked after and the fans had similar great experiences. The stage crew were especially good and we benefitted from a great front of house mix. It was a real buzz to play on the main stage, where we were lucky to play to a huge and enthusiastic crowd, our 60 minute set was over before we knew it but we felt we had really connected with them and had won over lots of new fans. There is no better feeling when a complete stranger walks up to you in a Daylight Robbery T-Shirt they have just bought from the Merch Stand and tell you they really enjoyed your show and have also bought your album, priceless! It was also kind of nice to be representing the Midlands which is the true birthplace of Rock, in what was a very international show, with bands from Scandinavia and the US playing.
I know you are still promoting ‘Cross Your Heart’ but you have been playing some new songs in your live sets. Is there any news on when you plan to record and release your second album?
Tony – Well, we now have a three month gap to finish writing and start recording. We will be raising the bar with DAYLIGHT ROBBERY’S second album which we are really excited about. The songs will be HEAVY, MELODIC, BIG AND BOLD! So hopefully summer-time for the single…later for the rest of the album.
Col – Cross Your Heart has been a major success for us, a bit of a runaway train to be honest, as we have generated major momentum off the back of the press and complimentary reviews it has received. We have been busy writing for the next album and already have five songs in the bag, three of which featured at our set at Hard Rock Hell AOR.
Does the new album have a working title? And can you talk us through some of the new Daylight Robbery songs, titles, how they were written and any stories or meanings behind them?
Tony – Its all Top Secret, Woody… we can tell you but we will then have to kill you! (Laughs). We’ve played 2 or 3 of the new songs recently. ‘Samarah never Sleeps’ is a ghost story with the idea taken from a Japanese movie. ‘Fallen Star’ we played at HRH which was really well received – a classic tale of the downside of success but I tried to keep the lyrics personal to the listener. As far as the title goes – we have a theme running through some of the songs so it may be something that links them all together – you will have to wait and see (laughs).
Col – As far as writing the songs, we tend to write to a formula where Mark will come up with a bunch of riffs and chord progressions assembled into a general song structure. Tony will then apply his lyrical and melodic gloss and then the bass, keyboard and drum parts will be added in the rehearsal room where adjustments will be made and improvements spawned to achieve the finished article. ‘Samarah Never Sleeps’ is an obvious single which many fans have stated is our most killer song to date.
I remember Tony saying with the debut album you wanted to capture the live sound and energy of the band on record. Something you definitely achieved and it gives the songs a rawer and more organic feel. That said, the newer songs I’ve heard sound more commercial and more polished. Will the new album have a more polished sound to match this?
Col – We always want to be able to come across the same live as in the studio, but as our music evolves our song-writing is taking on a more refined feel, compared to earlier songs on the Cross Your Heart album like Shes’s Got Me Understood, Line of Fire and 1000 Points of Light, which were more edgy and stripped down. The new album will have more songs like While You Were Sleeping and Cross Your Heart on it as we feel those are the future sound of the band.
Tony – We were really happy with ‘Cross Your Heart and Hope to Die’. However, the new material will need to be ‘bigger’ from a production perspective as the songs we’re writing will be huge slabs of melodic rock!
Mark – Absolutely. We’ve found a nice level as far as the writing goes whereas we will try to keep it ‘live’ sounding, however the songs will have evolved and as Col said – songs in the vein of While You Were Sleeping and Cross Your Heart feel the best for us… we’ll see though – probably best to ask us when we’ve finished!
Is there any Daylight Robbery gossip you can divulge?
Col – One piece of news is that David Billingham will be joining us on keyboards. It’s been a pain doing the last few gigs with a click-track after the departure of Duncan Cook who played on the Cross Your Heart album. Another fact that fans may not be aware of is the keyboard solo on the track ‘The Perfect Storm’ from the album was played by our good friend Jez Prosser, who by the miracle of technology recorded it via his home in Dallas, which was a nice touch as he’s an old friend of ours and I’ve no doubt would have been the keyboard player now had circumstances been different.
Mark – Col actually writes all the songs and just allows Tony and I just take the credit for them (Laughs).
Tony – We’ll be playing with Rage of Angels at Lucy’s Bar as a warm-up for SKYFEST in September as well as other dates across the country.
Is there anything else you would like to add for the readers of Midlands Rocks?
Col – Just a big thanks you to all who have supported us over the past two years by buying our album, attending one of our shows or liking us on Facebook. It’s a hard and unrewarding business at times, but it really makes the difference when someone genuinely appreciates what we do – rock fans are definitely the most loyal and knowledgeable going. Finally a big thank you to yourself Woody for your support over the last couple of years as well as promoting good old Midlands rock to the masses!
Tony – Thank you, thank you and thank you for checking us out, buying our album or coming out to see us live. The union between the band and the listener has never been so important as this financial Hades cripples everyone so we thank you all for you help and support. Finally, to you Woody – The Godfather of Melodic Journalism we thank you as always for help and support.
Mark – Just a humble ‘thank you’ to anyone who’s seen us, bought a CD or just appreciated the music. Thanks to you as well Woody – as always, your time is appreciated. Ben, anything to say mate?
Ben – I hit things with sticks! (Laughs).