After a particular vicious set at the Liverpool cavern I caught up with Speed Theory and amidst the flight cases, drums and the madness of bands coming off stage or preparing to go on; we covered everything from the trials of touring, Download 07 to old school metal bands.
Coop: You guys aren’t drunk by the way, before we start?
Wes: No we're not inebriated in the slightest. (Cue laughing) Were just very taken by the moment.
Coop: So you’ve just finished the set now-went well?
Jay: Yeah it was good like.
Wes: Yeah it went amazing I felt we really got across to the audience. The people that were in there were really enjoying it. You could tell they had waited a long time for us to come down. You can’t always get there do you know what I mean?
Jay: Thing is though Hollow Earth Theory were really good too.
Coop: let’s do a little memory lane for a second, let’s go back to were you guys first got together and that was like 2004?
Wes: Yeah, we’d been together for like 2 years.
Coop: That was just like a three-piece?-was the stuff then similar to now?
Wes: Yeah, but there are many changes.
Coop: Did you play many gigs with that line up?
Jay: A few, this is probably Stu's (Bass) tenth gig.
Coop: So the stuff before was basically the same?
Wes: Yeah, but you put your own twist on it y’know? We wanted Stu to be comfortable in the band, give him more artistic freedom.
Coop: So you give him that with ‘Hit The Dirt’?
Jay: Yeah, cos at the end of the day he’s in the band now-he’s got 25% of the say.
Coop: The first E.P you cut was ‘Vengeance’? What was that like-how many songs were there?
Jay: you had ‘Cancer’ you had ‘Tic’.
Coop: So you just carried them over to ‘Hit The Dirt’-did you rework them in any way?
Jay: A little bit, a little bit. Well a lot of people liked the ones on the E.P so we figured there wasn’t much point in changing them too much; so we kept them virtually the same and put them on the album.
Coop: At the ‘Vengeance’ point did you play any of that stuff live?
Jay: Well we were playing most of the songs live off the ‘Vengeance; E.P-but we wanted to do an E.P first to get peoples feedback. Luckily it was all good.
Coop: What was the feedback?
Wes: We won demo of the year in Metal Hammer, so we didn’t want to change the songs o the album because we felt we had something special.
Coop: So what changes when you win something like that?
Wes: It gives you a bit of pedigree-opens a lot of doors, you go from being “Oh I’m in a band” and people are like “Well that’s nice” to “Were in a band, were doing this were doing that we’ve won these awards” people take more of a notice.
Coop: What happened at a gig level?
Jay: Yeah, more people came along and you got that little bit more excitement.
Wes: Last time we played the Cavern for example, we had one or two people that had heard about us before.
Coop: So it acted like a calling card pretty much?
Jay: Yeah, yeah.
Wes: We’d already had the Metal Hammer thing by then, now more people are coming back, now we have a gang, hopefully next time we play the Cavern we have more and more-you’re just building them up.
Coop: So with ‘Hit The Dirt’ what did you want to accomplish?
Wes: Well it didn’t hit me immediately with the album that there’s something interlinking with all the songs, it doesn’t get too samey-we tried to mix it up. You’ll hear a different type of guitar solo in each song.
Coop: Was that deliberate?
Wes: Well, yeah it just happened at the time, but as things progressed we tried to think about different ways. Every songs a different person, because every persons different. Some songs are about people dying for various reasons, it’s more about y’know on the front cover you’ve got someone being executed and each song is kind of like a different period in time.
Coop: So is it a concept album?
Jay: Musically no, lyrically yes. You could pick out a song and the emotion from it. Having this theme of everybody being different means you can explore.
Coop: Live you do notice different styles going on its maybe not always straight metal.
Jay: Yeah we tried to vary it-even during recording we tried various amps and guitars-like ‘Cancer’ you’ve got to mellow it down but then bring it back up again-more of an optimistic feel; whereas some songs are monotone for a reason.
Wes: We tried to be more daring, try things we wanted to do. I think we achieved that. It’s about putting it out there. We're not telling people to recycle or anything like that – it’s making people feel inspired. Making you feel as though you pick yourself up.
Jay: Thing is you want to make music to make people pay attention, we don’t want someone to stick on an album and within five seconds be chatting to their mate, we don’t want to make ‘Lift music’. I couldn’t care less if people hated it-because a least at the end of day they have an opinion about it-that means they’ve actually listened to it and formed an option
Wes: Exactly. Where we’ve had chances to sell-out we haven’t.
Coop: How so?
Wes: We wanted it to stand on its own two feet.
Coop: That’s an incredibly mature outlook. What happens then when these songs get played live?
Jay: Well I don’t think we play any song the same live, if people want to listen to he music spot-on they will buy the album-they’ve come to gigs to see a show-so were going to put everything in 110%, we drop notes here and there-who cares? Y’know. We hate bands that don’t sweat, if a band can play a whole set without sweating they deserve to die.
Wes: Sometimes we get maimed, and I get my hair pulled out, it’s not like I’m going “Look at me”-it’s because I’m really into that song, I don’t do it all the time.
Coop: Talking of playing live, you went out with American's, Head Charge and Panic Cell, some quality bands, some tight bands. What did you get from that?
Wes: Mostly inspiration, he (pointing to Jay) broke his nose on the first night with AHC.
Jay: I was watching them from in the pit, stood up from tying my shoelace and got smashed my nose right across the face.
Coop: The first night?
Jay: Yeah, I went to the side, bled my blood, went the toilet and it was all crooked. So I was like “Fucking Hell!” So I popped it back into the middle, which I think I did a great job of; but I had to play the rest of the tour with a smashed up nose and black eyes, but still putting in a 100%. One of the biggest things you learn from touring is discipline. What we try and do is our own thing, we got comments about how professional we were.
Coop: What’s ‘professional’ mean?
Wes: How you behave, looking after yourself so you can give the crowd what they want to see, they want to see a good show, they don’t want to see a shit show, because you had a shit night the night before.
Coop: That’s what they call ‘Paying your dues’
Wes: Yeah, we love playing venues and we love that every downfall comes with an up. We’ve had a lot of ups, and were grateful for every last one of them. Now we’ve had a few downs we know it’s going to come back up again.
Jay: Cameron from Head Charge was even loading out, so even at that level you’ve got to put in the work.
[At this point two fans have made their way into the green room – it’s explained that they are massive fans and have made patches depicting the bands logo]
Coop: Why make patches of Speed Theory?
Fan: Because there fucking awesome, there just a fantastic metal band and I’ve seen them just get better and better as they’ve gone along.
[Hugs are exchanged, things are signed and the two fans leave happy]
Coop: How important is the likes of Myspace to you at the moment?
Jay: People can slate Myspace all they want but it’s a really good promotional tool, you can get people from all over to listen to your music, where in real life that would take years – but Myspace can be a bit of a curse, because you’ve got so many bands popping up now that have say 40 friends and they reckon they're the dons of everything y’know – we're running out of metal fans cos everyones in a band and it’s like…
Coop: …no-one wants to be in the audience
Jay: Yeah, people at a small level are not going to want to support someone at that level because that money could be going into there own shit. The way it’s going at the moment we are never gonna get another Metallica.
Wes: People just get lost in a sea of abysmal bands.
Coop: So who’s coming through now that you particularly like?
Wes: Yeah Nocha – they are really good.
Jay: There like new hardcore death metal, but there not as generic as the rest of them. They have something special.
Wes: You can tell they're really into what they do.
Jay: Pitiful reign as well, really young lads, who are like proper thrash.
Wes: You’ve never heard anything so old-school in your life.
Jay: They were born in the wrong century. It’s like God got his diary mixed up.
Wes: They got Kreator and all sorts mixed in.
Coop: It pleases an old man like me to hear a young band quote Kreator or any of the older metal acts, before we know it we’ll crack out the Napalm Death records.
Jay: Awww yeah.
Coop: On you’re Myspace site you’ve got a video of yours?
Wes: We got the overall idea and sent it to the guy who’s making the video, and he sent us a screenplay, and we went down to I think was Devon to this secluded farm.
Jay: He originally had an idea of like boxing, like a fight club kind of thing, but we wanted something that we thought would work with the song.
Coop: So what’s next?
Jay: Were recording an E.P in May, with the guy who did Bullet for my valentine, 3 Inches of Blood & Joey Jordison.
Coop: Any new songs?
Jay: Yeah ‘Speed Theory’s on it, we played that tonight.
Coop: That was an old song brought forward?
Jay: It kind of got lost in the mix, and a couple weeks ago we realised it was a good song-but we rewrote the main riff.
Wes: We really want to be pushed to the point of exhaustion on the new record.
Jay: We understand the recording process a bit more now.
Coop: Festival season will be upon us soon, if you were doing a slot after say Slayer how who you feel?
Jay: Fucking right mate.
Wes: Yeah no problem, were up for it.
Jay: Have Kerry King quake in his boots, “Don’t want to go after those Speed theory lads!” (Cue laughter)
Coop: Thanks again guys.
Wes; Yeah thanks man.