Currently Unsigned: XII Boar

We head over to England in the latest in our series on top notch independent metal bands...

Well, here we are again, doing the legwork and rooting out some of the finest unsigned acts on the planet for your reading and listening pleasure. And who's this, come to spread the good word today? Who are you, and what role do you play in your band? "Hey! I’m Dave Wilbraham, drummer extraordinaire for the band XII Boar".

A drummer, you say? OK. Who else is in the band? "Well, we’ve got the legendary Tommy Hardrocks on lead guitar and vocals and the equally fabulous Adam ‘Bad-Dog’ Thomas on bass and vocals".

The quintessential power trio. How long have you been together? "We formed in 2010 and jammed for about a year before releasing anything publically in January 2011. So I guess we’ve been a ‘real’ band since then".

And how many releases do you have under your belts to date? "At the moment we’ve released two EPs (XII released in Jan 2011 and Split Tongue, Cloven Hoof in Jan 2012) and a 7” Single entitled Truck Stop Baby which has just been released to the world. We’re actually about to head to the studio in record our debut full-length album, so things are starting to get exciting!" 

Exciting and a little bit busy, I'd imagine! And with this impending new release in mind, have a think about this: Being unsigned in 2014 has different connotations to being unsigned in 1994, or even 2004. How important do you think record companies are in today’s modern world of social media et cetera? "Sure, record companies are still important but I think their purpose has definitely changed in the last decade or so. At one stage a record label was a band’s only way into the public eye and a professional product; but these days bands can do all that themselves. There’s so much you can do yourself from simply just sitting on your arse in front of a computer. You can record, mix and master your demo at home, design the artwork, make the website, create a video and upload the lot to the internet in an instant to an audience than spans the entire globe! But obviously though any old Tom, Dick or Harry can do this so the problem now lies in an oversaturated market. This is where I think the record companies come into play, giving a band the tag of a being on a respected label automatically gives them a ‘seal of approval’. It means your potential listeners will have an expectation that the music you create is good enough to merit a record deal, and for many that preconception is all they need to go check out your band. Of course labels still have a much bigger pool of resources, contacts and connections that unsigned bands don’t, but I think there’s a lot more these days that bands can do from home to start out than ever before provided they have the funds. Take a band like Dopethrone, they put out their first two albums completely off their own back and they blew up over night! Suddenly they’re playing Roadburn and are on everyone’s best of the year playlists. To reach that next level though, labels are still necessary; which is why we’re definitely looking!"

There's no harm in looking, as they say. And good luck with the search! So to extend that topic a little further, how important is any of the ‘traditional’ impedimenta of the record industry in 2014? Are band managers, distro companies, merch companies and PR reps just other means by which a band can lose money or does each separate part of the machine still have something to offer the unsigned band? "They definitely have something to offer, I mean they are the guys with the connections to the right people. In a world where there are a billion bands out there waiting to make it, people higher up are more likely to take a tip from someone they know – PR reps, managers, etc – than a stranger emailing them out the blue. Yes it’s another expense, but is it worth it? Probably if you get the right people! As for merch and distro companies I’m not so sure, I think bands can cover these themselves. People aren’t afraid of the internet anymore and buying stuff online via PayPal is just a day-to-day occurrence, I’d imagine more things are sold online than in shops now! So selling and shipping merch direct to fans is even easier than ever, the only advantage of merch/distro companies is getting your shit in shops, which is no bad thing, but for a lot of bands merch is their main income so you need to make maximum profit on it. I think a lot of bands these days (particularly young bands) get their millionaire Dad’s to be their manager and think that by throwing a load of money at something means they’ll be superstars. Fuck that! Sure, investing money into things gets you places but fans - and certainly metal fans – notice these things. They want quality, dedication and passion; something that you can only get by loving what you’re doing and putting in the hard work from the roots up".

So, hard work it is then. In which case, what for you as a band has been the most effective means of getting your name out to a wider audience? "The internet". 

Simple as that? "Without it, we’d be nothing! When we first started out we hit up every stoner/doom/metal blog we could find and emailed them links to our music. We gave away everything for free because we just wanted people to hear us and take note. We put it on Bandcamp, Facebook, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, et cetera – everything basically! It’s definitely a great way of reaching people you wouldn’t from live shows. Obviously though gigs are still a crucial platform, you tend to make more diehard fans that way. We’ve also had decent coverage from the UK’s metal media – we’re been in rotation on radio stations like Kerrang and been featured a few times in Metal Hammer magazine and Terrorizer which have done us great things".

And the least? What really isn't worth the time or effort? "Playing a show in Hounslow".

Harsh, but almost certainly fair. I went to Hounslow once. It was closed. (BOOM-TISH!). If you don’t have a manager, how many hours a week do you spend on non-playing activities as a band? Do you do that stuff anyway even if you have a manager? "It kinda varies from week to week promotion-wise, but all our previously releases we have recorded and released ourselves so we’ve put in plenty of hours overall!" 

Again I guess we're back to that mantra - there's no substitute for hard yakka!  Now to the more interesting stuff – any tour/release plans in the near future? This is the chance to plug your shit! "Hell yes! Well, we’ve just returned from Germany after playing a show with the mighty Crowbar and we are just days away from going to the legendary Parlour Studios to record our debut full-length album. We’ve demoed it all already and let’s just say, you’re in for a treat! After that we’re heading out into Europe again to both Spain and Norway, and then we’ll be touring round the UK until the release of the album, hopefully at the end of the year.

Upcoming tour dates:

29 August – The Anvil, Bournemouth, UK

w/ Karma To Burn, Desert Storm & Thuum

06 September – Sala Taboo, Madrid, Spain

w/ Horn of The Rhino, El Páramo, MotherSloth, Forced Rejection & more

12 September – Sandnes Rockeklubb, Sandnes, Norway

w/ Arabrot & Egg 3

03 October – The Firehouse, Southampton, UK

w/ Death Ape Disco, March the Desert, Tricorn & more

04 October – Pi Bar, Leicester, UK

w/ Temple of Lies & more

05 October – Asylum 2, Birmingham, UK

w/ Sir Admiral Cloudesley Shovell, The Wounded Kings, Undersmile, Limb & more".

Well, you certainly plugged well there! Possibly the most extensive plug we'll ever print! Apart from on a stage somewhere, where can people learn more about you? "We’re on everything, but the most up-to-date is our Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/xiiboar

But check us out on the following too:

http://www.xiiboar.com

http://www.youtube.com/xiiboar

http://xiiboar.bandcamp.com

http://www.twitter.com/xiiboar"

Well, there can be no excuse for anyone, ever, saying that they've never heard of XII Boar from now on! Anything else the readers of Metal as Fuck need to know about your band? "Our name is pronounced 'Twelve Boar' and we play Metal n’ Roll".