We sent podcast presenter Fish down to Fury Fest in Liverpool to wrap his head around some metal and hardcore. In the first in a series of interviews, Fish chats to Welsh metallers Continents about Victory Records, touring and more…
You guys haven’t really been a band that long but you’ve come a long way in a short time, what would you attribute to that?
Tom: Luck (He Laughs)
Phil: Money, Just paying our way through it….Nah i’m only kidding.
Tom: Bribes, Loads and loads of bribes.
Phil: No, we’ve just been really lucky really. I don’t know.
Tom: We were all in bands previous to…..Except for Dom, we were all in bands previous to Continents, and we did pool a lot of our resources and connections we’d sort of made previously.
Phil: They weren’t like major connections, but they were good connections on the local scene, and so on the local scene things exploded quicker.
Tom: It gives a good base to start from.
So it’s that age old thing, it’s not what you know it’s who you know?
Phil: In a way sometimes yeah.
You guys are signed to Victory Records. What’s it feel like to be noticed by a known label so quickly?
Tom: I didn’t believe it. Until the day I had the contract through on email I thought it was a joke. An elaborate prank set up by everyone else and they were all just going along with it and in the end they’d be like ‘You’re a mug’.
Phil: Yeah I didn’t believe it to be honest. At all like. It’s a bit unreal considering they haven’t signed a UK band in like what, seven years or something.
I mean not to question it at all, I just want to get your feeling on it. Why do you think they signed you over all the other acts in the UK?
Phil: I haven’t got a clue. I just know they signed us off the back of Trials. It was all off the back of watching the video Trials and the track, they loved it.
Tom: I mean like, we suffer no illusions we know that at the end of the day that it’s a business. They saw us as an investment and we give them X amount to do certain things and they’re going to make Y amount back. They didn’t sign us because we are really nice guys or because they like Phil’s hair or anything so….
He’s got pretty good hair though.
Phil: It is nice.
I totally understand where you are coming from though.
Tom: It’s still kind of surreal but we’ve been incredibly grateful of everything we’ve had so…
Phil: Yeah we don’t forget everything like where we’ve come from you know. It’s literally, we are so grateful to all our fans that come up to our shows. Especially the local ones who’s supported us from the beginning.
You’ve said that your album Idle Hands has some quite personal lyrics on there, can you talk me through your writing process and what influences you?
Phil: It kind of depends on what frame of mind i’m in. There was a couple of songs where I wanted to try something new, try and test my writing ability. Like ‘Land of the Free’ which we’ve only really played live once. I wanted to try something different and write about the illuminati and all sorts of conspiracy theories. There was another one that was more about stuff that happened to me in the past, with regards to my mentality back then. ‘Pegasus, Pegasus’ was about a break up with two girlfriends, I thought i’d chuck that in, two slags in one song. Haha. Then ‘Idle Hands’ was about my belief in God and stuff, questioning it like. I am Catholic but I don’t really believe anymore.
Tom: And he’s planning on hiring a hit man to take out his ex. Two guys you met at a gym wasn’t it?
Phil: Yeah, Thats why I’m hench as Fuck. (He Laughs)
You’ve had some pretty exotic tour dates lined up. Next week you’re off to Japan for 3 days. What’s it like being able to travel to play? What do you enjoy the most?
Tom: Bullshit. Our first european tour the food was horrible.
Phil: Oh yeah, but…
Tom: We didn’t realise until we went out and we were about four days in, that it was sponsored by PETA so every night we had vegan food. None of us are vegan or vegetarian.
Phil: Yeah we suffered quite hard on that one, but we do get good food.
Tom: Oh yeah.
Phil: Within the UK, I mean we love playing here but the riders in Europe are ridiculous. They are really, really good.
Tom: It’s always crazy to go places like, we went to Luxenbourg on the last tour and it was insane to see people in like the seventh smallest country in the world who know your songs, who know your album. It’s insane for us.
Phil: It’s amazing to see people wearing gum shields in the pit there as well.
Tom: Some guy dislocated his arm in Luxenbourg. It was a good show.
Phil: It was a good show. I think that is the biggest buzz seeing people on the other side of the world singing along to your lyrics. You don’t realise how quickly it spreads I suppose. It’s mad.
Do you guy’s still work or do you do this full time?
Tom: All of us still work, except you, Oh no you’ve just…
Phil: Yeah, i’ve started again now.
Right, did you stop at points?
Phil: Stopped, yeah to start touring.
Tom: I left my last job to record our album and tour Europe, because I couldn’t have two months off which is understandable. We’re all back in employment now.
Phil: We’ve got like a month coming that we’re off, I think june. Where we will scrap, save money, and then get back out there.
At what point do you decide that you have to quit work to do this? Is it a hard choice or is it like i’m doing this, see you later?
Tom: I was really amped, because I use to work for a major banking chain. I’m not going to mention which one, but I use to work for home insurance and I loved my job and it was awesome. I had a really good relationship with them and it was an amicable split as such. I went to my boss and said look this is what i’m going to be doing in the next couple of months, do you think you can accommodate it? She just straight out said ‘No, but I wouldn’t let that effect what you want to do. I think you should go and do it, leave the job.’ and I got a good reference out of them and everything. I’m really lucky at the moment, the job i’m in now is a zero hour contract.When I got the job I lied to my boss. I said, because we had to go tour Europe, ‘My girlfriend booked a holiday and I forgot about it. Can I still go?’ and he was like ‘yeah no problem’. Then I looked at my calendar and I was like, I need like at least a week a month off to go play shows. So I kind of came clean with him and said, ‘Look here’s my calendar for the year, is it going to be a problem?’ and he was like ‘Nah, take as much time as you need. You’ll always have a job.’ So whenever I come back off tour I can go straight back into work.
Phil: I mean it’s tough, sometimes we have to have a fill in guitarist for Darryl. For me I have to give up work, I have to go on tour. I’ve been in an out of jobs over the last few months, like big time. Where as I was working six years straight before, now i’m floating.
Tom: Ken and Dom are ok. Ken’s just started his own studio, so he’s self employed and can go away whenever he wants. Dom is a tattooist, but his boss is fine with it, he’s like ‘there will always be a slot for you here, just make sure you tell me when you’re going away.’.
What do you guys do with your down time? do you have hobbies or is it all family stuff?
Phil: With me I usually spend…
Tom: Women haha
Phil: Yeah i’m a womaniser haha
Tom: Straight out there, you just said it (He Laughs) ‘My name is Phil Cross, I am a womaniser’ (He Laughs)
Phil: Yeah that’s it. Women, Clubbing….
I’m just going to mention here, this is going out, people will see this.
Phil: Yeah, Women, Dance clubs, spending time with my son and football. So that’s me like.
Tom: I don’t really do anything…
Phil: No you don’t do you?…
Tom: Nah I just stay in my house and sleep. It’s Bizarre man.
Phil: We were on tour and everyone was drinking and I had the camera and I said ‘and this is a Tom party’ swivel round and he’s there on his laptop just chilling out like.
Tom: When we were in the studio recording everyone else was up by about Ten in the morning and everyday I would sleep until about One in the afternoon and then i’d start. It wasn’t like I was up till silly o’clock the day before. I would go to bed around Twelve i’d still sleep until One. It’s just crazy man.
What have been some of your favourite bands to tour with?
Phil: To be honest we haven’t really…
Tom: I don’t think there has been a full tour with a single band.
Phil: We’ve done everything ourselves.
Tom: Yeah. My favourite bands we’ve played with, Fight Some Fires in Stuttgart this year.
Phil: Fuckin yeah.
Tom: They were insane.
Phil: Yeah unbelievable.
Tom: We’d never heard of them in the UK, the first time we heard of them was Groezrock. Then we played with them in Stuttgart, and we said ‘We haven’t heard of you in the scene, so where have you been?’ and they were like ‘ We’ve only played like 15 shows in the UK, we’ve played like 250 in Europe. Because the UK sucks and hates us, so we just play Europe.’ Each to their own like.
Phil: They were one of the best bands i’ve seen in my life.
Tom: Yeah they blew me away. Resurrection as well. We played their album launch on our last tour.
Phil: There are bands from Ghost Fest like Come Back Kid and stuff like that, which is obvious. As a band we haven’t really done tours, we’ve played weekenders with bands, but when we tour we do it on our own. Our first real tour as a support is with The Ghost’s Inside.
Is that something you’re looking for?
Phil: That’s like the next big thing for us. We’ve done as much as we can now, we need to go out as a support.
Do you have any ideas of who you’d like to play with?
Tom: I have loads of bands i’d love to play with. There are quite a few bands on Victory i’d love to play with. I like their new band have you heard them, Seeker. They are awesome, really good. Counterparts, Fall City Fall, Emmure.
Phil: There are loads of bands i’d like to tour with, it kinda just depends on the time I guess.
Tom: Dom cried when we told him we were going to support The Ghost’s Inside.
Tom: They’ve been his favourite band for years and he cried when we said we were supporting them.
To be fair if I got to tour with my favourite band ever, i’d be welling up. I’d go for that as well.
Phil: He’s going to deny that when he see’s it. Oh man he’s going to be like a fan boy.
Tom: I’m going to be a fan boy man.
Phil: It’s going to be embarrassing, oh god.
Thats actually a good segue into my next question. I read an interview where you said that you were disappointed with some people you looked up to when you met them. What advice would you give up and coming bands to remain humble?
Phil: One thing I always do, because we play a lot of shows where even though we are one of the bigger bands on it, it’s the local bands that bring people in at the end of the day. We’ve been in that position before and we know how hard it is. Those shows where the support bands have to sell tickets, thats hard graft. That’s one thing I appreciate with any band, I appreciate that they share their fans with us and that’s the only way we survive. It’s basically just staying humble, I just hate big headed arseholes.
What sort of stuff do you want people to take away from your band?
Tom: Blood. (pause) (He Laughs) It happens more often that you would think.
Phil: I don’t know why….
Tom: The first four dates on our last UK there was something broken or bloodied every night.
Phil: There were three broken arms on the last tour and three broken noses. I know that for a fact.
Tom: We’re not violent people. It just always happens at our shows.
Phil: We aren’t one of those bands that are like ‘Die fucking die! If you don’t move you’re twats!’ We are one of those joke around bands, depending what mood we are in. If it’s a small crowd we want to try and bring the crowd in and try and get to know them a bit. If it’s a big crowd we will go proper serious, not like ‘fucking die’ serious just professional but at the same time we always have fun. That’s what we’re about like.
My last question is who are your favourite people to listen to at the moment?
Tom: We listened to Daylight’s new album on the way up, I really like that at the minute. They are like somewhere between Basement and Nirvana. The new Sharks albums really good.
Yeah man I really like that one.
Tom: I don’t really listen to that much heavy music. The heaviest stuff I listen to on a regular basis is probably All Shall Perish – There Is No Business To Be Done On a Dead Planet. Just for the breakdown. (He Laughs)
Phil: The heavy stuff i’m listening to at the moment is probably just the new Bleed album. I haven’t been listening to heavy stuff that much because i’m trying to get out of that zone.
Well I guess that’s a good question then, where do you guy’s get your influences from? How did you get to being heavy?
Tom: It’s not that we don’t listen to heavy music or anything. It’s just we practice what for like four hours a week and we play heavy shows all the time. So we are around popular, heavy music a lot. So to then listen to it in you’re own time as well, it goes a but far.
Phil: And when you’re in the van and Dom is slapping it on constantly. I like to just chill out and just loose my mind to dance music, just like garage or something. Thats serious.
Tom: There is a group called Gayngs and they have an album called affiliated. Which is really good that’s just like chill out liquid dub.
Phil: I like The Devil Sold His Soul stuff cause that is just like ambience. Relaxing and stuff.