Pommey Metal - Episode 1

In the first episode of my new feature all about the metal scene in the UK, I introduce you to an unsigned Brit band who are wreaking havoc on the UK: Bury The Archive.

So this is my new feature that I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, 'that would be a great idea'. Then I sold it to our esteemed editor, and here I am now thinking 'how the fuck do I pull this off?'

So to start off I'll tell you that I'm one of the UK-based contributors to Metal As Fuck, and my 'great' idea was to give you guys a taste of the metal scene in the UK each month. For a small island where the majority are obsessed with pop and grind, we've got a lot going on in the world of metal. The underground scene is breaking through into the mainstream, and more of the larger venues are picking up tours from metal bands from all over the world.

Not living in London means that I invariably have to travel to get to gigs, usually East to London, West to Cardiff or North to Birmingham or Manchester. Ultimately though, I don't give a shit as long as I'm getting to experience some right on good music! But things locally are looking up as well, with Bristol, where I live, just about to have a festival, BrisFest, where, for the first time ever there will be a metal stage on the harbourside. This is a big deal. Usually only those bands that fall into the mainstream get to play this location. I have no doubt that with our stuffy local council someone will get fired after the weekend's events, but it's one up to the metal scene in Bristol, at last!

So, for my first instalment of what I'm hoping will be an exciting glimpse into the UK scene, I went and met up with an unsigned band who are ripping apart the local metalcore scene. 

Bury The Archive are five guys from Bristol. They’ve just released their debut EP (A Knife In The Back Never Felt So Good) and are planning to take the world by storm. I first encountered them live back in April at a show they were headlining and can honestly say they made me sit up and pay attention to the local music scene again!

I caught up with them in a pub often frequented by the more metal residents of Bristol, The Crown, to find out more about them. Danny Taylor, probably the most outspoken member of the band (although he has tough competition from the other four!) and the band’s vocalist gave me a run down of how the band was formed.

“We were all in bands before and we went to a house party of a good friend of ours. I was really drunk and Barnes (Christopher Barnes – Guitar) basically asked me to join a band with him, he’d written some music that he played to me on his phone, and I agreed. I didn’t know about this until the next morning though when I got told by my friend Joe, ‘You joined a band last night’ and I said, ‘I joined a what!’. He was like, ‘Yeah you’re in a band’ and he played the music to me on his phone while I got dressed. Then I got a text about an hour later from Barnes saying ‘Do you want to practice tomorrow?’ Practice got cancelled, and we practiced the Sunday after, and a month after that we played our first show.” 

As for the other members, “Matt (Matthew Waldock) worked with us anyway and was always helping us out at shows and unfortunately our bass player couldn’t do it anymore so he left, and Matt was like, ‘Well I play guitar, I can play bass, it’s fine’. Then our guitarist left because he didn’t have the commitment for it, luckily Barnes lived with Phil (Philip Wren), I pretty much lived on their sofa. Phil stood in and we advertised for a guitarist, sorry about that, we had 15 people apply and we kind of all sat there and said ‘Phil?’”

Nick Emes, who already new Phil and is now the band’s drummer adds, “Then I got drafted into this cracking vibe. My first rehearsal I was told, ‘You need to learn all these songs, we’ve got a gig on Saturday!’”.

To sum it all up Danny tells me, “Basically we poached all the best people with the nicest personalities in Bristol.”

Asking about why they decided to be called Bury The Archive, I’m told “We thought of all these names like Griever and Our Church Descended. Then I just said Bury The Archive, because we had archives in the way we were all in bands before.”

They played their first gig on 1st July 2008, a date that Danny will never forget.

“We were playing this show and I was all happy because it was a summer’s day and I rode my bike and fell off some trails and snapped my collarbone at about 3pm, we had to be at The Croft (a local gig venue) for 7pm, so I left the hospital at about 5.30pm, refusing to let them know I’d hit my head, wore a hat like Michael Jackson to cover it up and went to The Croft. The tablets were amazing though, I had a bottle of cider and thought I’d had a wicked night but I was actually just sat in the corner just like (pulls a spaced out face)!”

I ask about how the band deal with a gig if only a few people show up.

“We still put on the same show, it doesn’t matter if there are only two people, make sure they enjoy it, we’re there to put on a show at the end of the day.”

I can’t say I disbelieve this statement from Danny either. When I’ve seen Bury The Archive play Danny is all over the place, running through the crowd to the back of the venue, and even out of the doors to pull people in and get them dancing. He’s a party animal with a microphone and I don’t think even an empty room would stop this guy from killing a gig! When I asked which band they’d like to support, among the various answers Danny came through with “I’d quite like to do a show with Lostprophets and show Ian Watkins how it’s really done.” And I don’t doubt he would! 

The band have played a lot of shows, in the two-plus years since they started, and with the kind of energy they’ve got on stage, I figured there had to have been a few mishaps that would get everybody laughing their asses off.

Danny starts the influx of answers.

“Phil had gastric-flu and was really ill. We turned up for this gig and he was like I can’t do it, so we decided it was OK we could do it as a four-piece. So we go on as a four piece and Matt’s been like ‘Yeah, let’s fucking do this, don’t you worry!’ Thirty seconds into the set he’s on his ass! The whole crowd was laughing, we were laughing, I couldn’t do any vocals.”

Matt manages to finish the story between gutfuls of laughter, “Thing is, if I’d been really serious about it, it would have gone down horribly, but the fact that I was pissing myself going. ‘What the fuck have I just done’ meant everyone else did.”

Nick remembers another gig that caused him to practically shit himself, “We were on the stage playing this gig and Danny was trying to get a foot-up from Phil, I was thinking, ‘What’s he doing’. The next thing I know he’s got his legs wrapped up on the lighting rig and he’s swinging upside down. I’m looking around thinking ‘if this thing comes down, I’m dead, he’s coming straight on top of me!’

OK, so injury and hilarity can be expected from these guys when you see them live... be warned, people!

Having just got their debut EP and being darn impressed with it, I asked them what they were hoping to get from it, “The world... at my feet!” replies Danny! OK, silly question. How does it feel when they find out people have bought it though?

“It’s really nice when you go on Facebook and people say ‘I’ve just downloaded your EP, it’s really cool’. We worked really hard to do it, we were in the studio on 8 hour shifts sat playing guitar constantly, and to have people finally go ‘it’s great’ means the world.” Matt’s sincerity is backed up by a more serious Danny telling me “I got a text saying, ‘Bought your EP’, and it made my day, in fact it made my week! Just one person sending that to me and for the whole week I was just made up. We all work constantly, we work like 45 hour weeks, then we play and you kind of forget about things like that, so when you get a message like that it makes you feel warm inside!”

The EP is called A Knife In The Back Never Felt So Good, not the most common of song names. Nick explains how he came up with the name:

“Basically it’s about somebody trying to backstab you, and how you can think of it as a compliment. That you should be thinking, ‘You obviously think enough about us to want to try and put us down’, and I thought A Knife In The Back Never Felt So Good” Matt adds, “Whenever somebody puts you down you can just rise above it and carry on.”

They've a video recording in the diary, a UK tour planned and getting airplay on UK’s Kerrang! Radio along with being the Featured Artist of the week very recently. With all this going on I finished up by asking them why they are Metal As Fuck...

Matt: “You know why we’re metal as fuck? Because we’re not whiny little Bitches!”

Well, I’ll say no more!

See you next month!