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LANDSCAPES: exclusive end of the year update

LANDSCAPES are a modern hardcore band hailing from Somerset, UK  (sorry guys, I know you hate this whole modern / melodic hardcore labelling ;)). I finally managed to see  them live at this year’s Fluff Fest, which turned out to be of their best live reminiscence ever. In this interview below we discussed the Czech fest, a little mix-up during their appearance at UK’s Outbreak Fest, SOUL CONTROL being cool dudes, featuring hardcore bands in Kerrang, and tons more. Scroll down to check it out.

LANDSCAPES will be doing a string of UK shows with THE GHOST INSIDE and STRAY FROM THE PATH in February and March. Go here and here to see the details of these treks.

Ufff… I finally moved my ass to ask you a few questions. Welcome! [smiles] Thanks for taking this interview.

No problem at all! I’m sorry it’s so late!

What I remember about you the most was your Fluff Fest performance earlier this year. You blew me away, I must say. How did you like the fest, the people, the other bands? Did you hang out for the whole festival? Was it your first time in Rokycany? Tell us everything [smiles].

Thank you! Fluff Fest completely blew us away! I was an absolute privilege to have had the opportunity to play it and it made it even more special to us as we’d not played Rokycany let alone Czech Republic before! I particularly liked the festival as it was completely vegan. The line up of bands on the bill was huge and to us it was a highlight to the year. We all found our own little home there and met up with some great people we had been meaning to meet for a long time. I can only hope we will get asked to play there again someday.

What were some of the highlights of the fest for you personally?

For me I would say the food blew my mind, that incredible tent that did all the tea was amazing and the people there were really friendly and great to hangout with.

What other European fests would you recommend for a Fluff Fest lover?

I couldn’t with all honesty, there are a bunch of festivals all over Europe that appeal to all types of people, but Fluff Festival has something special about it which puts in on a totally different level to me.

Wow. Very nice to hear that, mate.

When I saw your post stating that there is a rumor that you “showed up late to Outbreak fest because we wanted to play higher on the bill”, I smiled. Why do you think people say such things within such hermetic scene? Are there a lot of wannabe-superstars bands around you that would do such thing?

Ha! I think there is a lot of shit talk in the British Hardcore scene these days. Maybe there always has been but lately it’s become more apparent to me than I ever noticed before. There was a lot of stuff that had fucked up at Outbreak with regards to bands having to pull out due to being originally told that they would be flown to England from America in return for playing at Outbreak, obviously this didn’t happen which changed the entire type of show it was set out to be. In the end, from our point of view, it was full of fed up, bitchy, aggressive hardcore fanatics, unwelcoming to the idea of a band like us putting a foot out of line. I say a band like us because of the fact we are coined with the term of being called a “melodic hardcore” band. Even I dislike the term but I guess it turned things against us when we showed up 20 mins late despite us clearing it with the promoter over the phone before hand.

We had caught wind of a fair few comments made regarding us over that weekend even before we had got there which was disappointing for me as I had flown back into England just to play this one show. The funniest part about that rumour is that we don’t like playing high up on bills. I still get nervous as fuck about playing at shows and my instant thoughts when arriving at a venue is – when can we just play so that I can relax after. As if we’d be that petty over where we play on a bill.

The bottom line is it was all dramatized which none of us could give a fuck about. I think if anything, we were just sad to see people we thought were friends turn very weird with us. I always thought the hardcore scene was supposed to be a community where you could express your musical taste with freedom but it appears that the times have changed.

Yeah, but you’re not UK hardcore outlaws since then, right? [laughs]

[laughs] Fuck knows! I haven’t heard anything more on it since so I don’t think so. 

Looking back at you previous shows, you’ve been touring with many different bands. Was there someone who you made the best connection with? Who turned out to be super dudes? [smiles]

The best band we have ever got along with on the road by far is SOUL CONTROL. Those guys are some of the friendliest, funniest, welcoming, kind hearted, like minded characters we have met to date. We haven’t toured with them but we have had the pleasure of playing a fair few shows together. Hopefully we’ll change that someday soon.

Ok, here’s a tough one. Don’t get me wrong, but you’re a hardcore punk band showing up on BBC Radio 1 and receiving features in Kerrang [smiles]. Personally, I think it’s awesome, but  there is some many punks that would say it’s a sellout, because you should stay low, keeping it DIY, etc. What’s your opinion on that?

I guess this kinda goes back to the same kind of situation as the Outbreak thing. Selling out would be to assume we are making money which is a ridiculous assumption. We’re a non profit band. We toured 3 weeks through Europe in 2011 and received not a penny from a single venue for playing those shows. Every member of LANDSCAPES has forked out of their own pockets in order to create, record, press and tour as much as we can. Sure, we have been given some great opportunities like playing BBC Radio 1 and getting some great coverage in some magazines but that is all thanks to a great friend of ours who works in press. We know our roots and we don’t intend on trying to make ourselves world famous, we’re just 5 guys like anyone else. To anyone who has said that about us, I have a question for you; tell me one band who would say no to any of those opportunities? Everyone who has a band wants as many people as possible to hear their music.

 I couldn’t disagree with you, man [smiles]. So basically what you’re trying to say is the only bands that say NO are the ones that have never got any opportunities? [smiles]

I’m saying any bands that are offered those opportunities wouldn’t say no in a million years. In all of those magazines we have been featured in you will find bands like VERSE or BRUTALITY WILL PREVAIL in there or even on the same pages. We’re not the only hardcore band featured. It’s something all bands want to aim to get in order to help reach people who may not have heard your music yet which I think is fair game. 

Ok, let’s leave the unpleasant subject [smiles].

Why did you dropped Broken Night Records after releasing your 2010 EP?

We didn’t drop Broken Night Records, we still work with them and are still great friends. Andy Boswell (Co owner of Broken Night Records, ex THE LEGACY drummer & ex GOLD KIDS Drummer) drove us on the last summer tour. We were approached by City Of Gold at the end of 2011 and were offered to do an album which we had been wanting to do for a long time and Broken Night Records couldn’t afford to put us through that at the time so it was agreed we’d take on City Of Gold.

I see.

You released your full length on July 2nd. Are you satisfied with the feedback you got? What was the biggest surprise that happened to you in the “Life Gone Wrong” era?

The feedback has been great! We’re really proud with the album, some people were disappointed with how it sounded compared to the EP, but 2 years had gone by since that record, our views on how to write had changed and I had lost my voice the previous year so when it came back I had a much lower tone. But it’s made me work harder with my voice and I’ve learned a lot from it.

 I think some of the best things that have happened to us during the “LGW” era, to put into a quick list is: 

Playing Fluff Festival and Hevy Festival, playing a BBC Radio1 live session, Matt Davies from FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND, Joel Birch From THE AMITY AFFLICTION and ARCHITECTS all backing our album. That’s been the most fucked up, insane stuff that we noticed anyway!

What’s next? What are your recording plans now? 

We’ve started writing new material, but… well we’re not in any rush to just put another record out. We’re still in the “LGW” era so to speak and well, the end of the world is right around the corner! What better an album to listen to huh!? [smiles]

When we come to releasing our second full length, we intend on it being something very special so for now, it’s more about touring more.

 Will you be sticking to City of Gold Records for your next release?

If I’m completely honest, I’m not 100% sure. Whatever happens will take it’s own path I guess.

Ok. Getting back to touring for a while…. You did some shows in October. What events and cities were you stoked about? Are there any cities that you hadn’t been to before on the trek?

I don’t think there is a corner of England I haven’t been to before [laughs]! The October tour with HILDAMAY was fun! I think our favourite show of the tour was in London at the Garage. We had a great time, loads of people came along and we even bumped into someone who came all the way from Budapest just to see us at the show! That totally blew me away! Csaba! We love you!

I attended the GALLOWS gig for the first time on September 30th. I smashed my head and have to say it was fun [smiles]. Did you have a chance to attend to their show this year? Were you excited to support them in October 20th? What do you think about the new line-up and the turn in Frank Carter’s carreer?

I hadn’t seen GALLOWS play since Wade had joined and if I am completely honest there was a huge part of me that didn’t really want to. Frank seemed like a huge part of what made GALLOWS who they were and with a title for an album like Grey Britain the last thing I expected was for an American to take his place despite Wade’s iconic stature in the music scene. Never the less, I have to say GALLOWS were just as exiting to watch if not better in a lot of ways, it surprised me and I felt guilty for doubting it before. Especially as we were supporting them at The Underworld in London. They still have huge presence which I am really pleased for them.

Frank’s new musical project is equally as good, it’s not my taste in music but I get the aesthetic he is aiming for and I think he does it really well. 

When can we expect another run outside the UK? I bet both Warsaws, Poland’s and Indiana’s, can’t wait to host your gigs.

Our main focus has never been to tour all that much in the UK. Weirdly, October was our first ever UK tour. Our first ever tour was through Europe and we intend on keeping that mind set prominent.

However, we won’t be returning to Europe now until the summer of next year as it stands, unless of course there is a demand for us to return sooner! Everything is being booked by Beckie Sudgen at The Agency Group so if there is anyone interested in booking us of course feel free to get in touch with us or her and we can try and arrange something [smiles].

How’s Somerset scene doing these days? How tight is your neighborhood when it comes to hardcore punk activism?

[laughs] Well there isn’t much happening in terms of punk or hardcore punk in my town, the rest of the guys who live in Frome, Somerset have it a little different though as it is also the home of some of the members from MORE THAN LIFE. Weirdly enough we’ve never played a single show with those guys though and normally hardcore shows rarely happen there. For us Bristol is the closest city of which has some sort of scene but it is still very hit and miss on crowd turnouts. I think that is mainly the reason why we have always been enthusiastic about touring and playing shows elsewhere so much.

Any local bands, zines or other initiatives you’d like to recommend?

Well southwest of the Uk you have bands rising up like VALES, THE LONG HAUL, THE COLD HARBOUR, and best Zine ever is this thing called A Short Fanzine About Rocking which is based southwest as well. I enjoy the little write ups in there.

How did you decided to take this way of creating hardcore music? Heaviness and rawness mixed with epic, almost ambient sounds, very strong, but sentimental and emotional at the same time. What inspires you to create it that way?

The whole band is fairly versatile with musical taste, we all wanted to make a band that sounded similar to bands like GO IT ALONE and MODERN LIFE IS WAR. But we didn’t just have hardcore bands in mind when it came to seeking influence. For example I love BJORK. Her creative mind when it comes to music is truly incredible. She does exactly what she wants to do and nobody tell’s her what she can or can’t create. Her lyrical content is deep and dangerous yet she has the ability to sing it so gracefully. But when she wants to emphasize on a stronger point she knows how to open up her lungs and belt it out. I admire that about her.

Are you a big NINE INCH NAILS fan? I saw your shirt at the Fluff Fest and was wondering what do you like most about them?

[laughs] This is a debatable comment but personally, what’s not to like about NIN?! I mean, Trent Reznor is a KING! The Downward Spiral is such an influential and vital part of musical history. At the time it broke boundaries that very few were prepared to risk and in a lot of ways many people are still not entirely sure if they like NIN. To me The Downward Spiral changed how I saw music and it’s still very much a timeless piece of art. Plus, lets not forget JOHNNY CASH covered Hurt… Imagine having someone like JOHNNY CASH cover your song!? So fucking mental.

Trent Reznor, I salute you.

[laughs] I’ll send him your best [laughs].

[laughs] Thanks!

Thanks so much for your time. Hope everything will turn out your way in the coming months. Would you like to add anything else?

Only to thank you for being patient enough with me, thank you for being so interested in us and thank you for actually giving me some great questions.

Also thank you to everyone who has supported us from the start and also newcomers who are just joining in now. It means the world to us and we hope to hangout and catch up with you all sometime real soon!

LANDSCAPES merch is available at this location.

Guitarist photo by EveryDayIsWar. Fluff Fest photo by Blitzkid Photography.

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