Irritant are an up and coming metal band from the UK. For their age (late teens/early 20s), they're amazing players. They've already come to the attention of some big names (Bruce Dickinson for one) and things are looking up for them. Bassist/vocalist Niall answered a few questions for me about the band's past, present and future.
RnRnMN: You're all in your late teens/early twenties, yet you've been together for four years. You must've grown as both people and musicians in that time. How are things different now that when you started?
Niall: Its definitely been a huge learning curve for us and we all are still learning a lot about each other, our music and the music scene at the moment. Its become much more of a career now than when we started, we spend as much time practicing and doing band work as we do earning livings so its pretty tiring being unsigned! Musically its beginning to find a foothold. We've all brought many different influences into this and the way we are all maturing as musicians is now effecting the music we write.
RnRnMN: Vic Coppersmith-Heaven produced your single. While he worked with Black Sabbath and the Rolling Stones, he also worked consistently with the Jam. How did you hook up with him and how did he influence Voice Of The Siren? Is there anything that he brought to the table form his work with Jam whose music is so different from where you guys are?
Niall: It was a great experience working with Vic. He is a legend in his own right so at first was daunting as we were completely self produced up until he offered to work with us on the single "Voice Of The Siren". He lives not far from us and saw us play at a local outdoor festival and our relationship grew from there. We worked with him on a few acoustic demos of tracks and really learnt how he worked and he really got the best out of us in a studio environment. His perspective brought out a less "metal" side to the music we played and he also threw in crazy percussive ideas and his aim was to capture our live energy which we have lacked in previous recordings and releases.
RnRnMN: It seems none other than Bruce Dickinson is a fan. How did you get his attention? Since Maiden is an obvious influence on your music, what was it like to find that he really liked your stuff?
Niall: We sent in our latest singles to him at his radio show in the UK and were lucky enough to catch his attention. Its a great feeling to know that one of your heroes is aware of who you are and is into the music your producing.
RnRnMN: How important have online communities like Myspace been to your success?
Niall: Massively. I think that Myspace is possibly the best the biggest tool at an Unsigned artists disposal. Its free, absolutely everyone has some kind of profile or knows someone who has a profile and as a Band you can access all of those people. I cannot imagine how people would have got their music listened too without trawling the country playing at every toilet club going. Myspace gives artists that deserve the chance (and who have the patience to contact as many people as possible) to build up a fan base and attack larger cities and gain recognition in a respectable way. Also gives people who never would have shown off their talents, the ability to do so.
RnRnMN: How did the Ed Stone Rockwear Tour go? Were these the biggest shows you've played to date? What the crowd reaction like?
Niall: The shows weren't the biggest we have played but it gave us an opportunity to play to people a lot further away than we ever have before. We had a great response and had an awesome time. I'm sure any other band reading this will know, what goes on tour stays on tour!
RnRnMN: What is it about your music that you find special? With a lot of metal bands out here, why should someone listen to you?
Niall: I would say that at the moment there seems to be a huge resurgence of really heavy metal. We've been on so many bills where were playing with 4 other bands who seem to be carbon copies of each other, the same detuned guitars, the same screaming vocals and the same breakdowns and time changes. And it is at these shows that we get loads of new fans telling us how its really refreshing to hear something different done well. Our music is based on artists who are still going strong after 20 years, but the modern trends have missed out on all the energy and showmanship these acts had. We like to feel that we are bringing back a sense of grandeur back to rock/metal music.
RnRnMN: What does the future hold? Full-length? Tour? Any plans to break into the US market?
Niall: We are currently taking out a little time to really get back into songwriting as a main focus. Its been a really busy year for us touring all over the place, filming music videos and most recently our first mainstream tv performance so its all become a bit hectic. Its nice to chill out and really spend time on the music. So expect a full length early next year. Touring is always on our schedule but at the moment we have nothing major plans until the new record comes out which we will be working extremely hard! We would love to get over to the US, you find the venues we will be there!!
Pick your favorite from each pair:
- Beatles versus Rolling Stones: Beatles
- Iron Maiden versus Black Sabbath: Iron Maiden - duhh!
- Sex Pistols versus the Clash: The Clash
- James Brown versus Marvin Gaye: James Brown!!
- Metallica versus Slayer: Metallica
Check out my review of Good Evening from the Machine.