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 Absolva Feature (The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013)

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PostAbsolva Feature (The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013)

Absolva Feature

The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013

Having only been formed in May 2012 It has been an incredibly busy but fruitful fifteen months for Manchester, UK based traditional Heavy Metal band Absolva. With vocalist/guitarist Chris Appleton and drummer Martin McNee having already been a part of the popular heavy rock trio Fury UK, a band who released three albums, an EP, DVD and toured with the likes of Saxon, Iced Earth and Y&T! Absolva's formation and quick rise to prominence might look like a stroke of good luck and the things dreams are made of, but behind the scenes they, along with bassist Dan Bate and the team at Rocksector Records, have put in an incredible amount of hard work to get Absolva to this point. With the excellent debut album 'Flames Of Justice' still doing great business and the new DVD/CD 'Beyond Live' ready to up their profile even further I jumped at the chance to sit down with the guys before their brilliant set at the recent Rock & Metal Circus Festival and started by asking them if they could give the readers at Brutiful Entertainment a brief history of the band!

CHRIS: (Laughs) Yeah, it's not going to be that brief but...the band came about when our band before, Fury UK, ceased to be because my brother Luke, who was the bass player, got the job playing for Iced Earth. Martin and myself took the decision to start afresh and spawned Absolva. We picked up Dan by just putting an advert on Facebook. He'd actually been to see Fury UK a couple of months before so that was quite convenient and then we came together a couple of months down the line. We had our album writing session  and wrote 10 or 11 tracks for 'Flames of Justice' and then our first few shows were SOS Festival, supporting Iced Earth, Bloodstock Festival and then we took on a European tour. Since then we've supported Michael Schenker, done various other festivals such as Hammerfest and headlined some festivals over in Europe. We've just been hammering it throughout really!

DAN: And Bloodstock again!

CHRIS: Yes, and Bloodstock again, which was good and that brings us to today pretty much. We've got the live DVD and Album coming out on the 30th of September and we're starting to work on the second album as well from November which will probably come out in late 2014 and that is Absolva!

If you didn't already know Absolva started out as a four piece, with the focus being that there was a 'big twin guitar attack'. Since I last caught up with the guys at Hammerfest earlier this year second guitarist Tom Atkinson is now no longer with the band. I asked if they minded talking about what had happened and whether they had any plans to replace him!

CHRIS: Absolutely not you know...I mean Fury UK was one guitarist for about 8 years. We still have a question mark over why he left in the first place. I think we put it down to the fact that he was quite young and he wasn't really handling the trials and tribulations of life on the road, you know, with the lack of sleep and crap food and there were various personal problems going on with him I think. Basically he just had to go but it was mutual and done amicably. We took the decision because we had the rest of that European tour to complete. Luckily Luke was off tour with Iced Earth so he managed to fly himself over to Europe and step in on guitar for us and Luke's a fantastic guitarist as well as a bass player! When we finished that tour we started going out as a three piece and rehearsing as a three piece. I pulled out all my harmonizer peddles again and I just thought, well nothing much had changed really! The first few gigs we did people were coming up to us and saying 'we can't really tell the difference, In fact you sound a little bit tighter because everything's got a bit more clarity to it', so yeah the voice is the same, the songs are the same...we're still the same I think! We check every now and again to see if the hearts are still beating.(laughs)

Now that the debut album 'Flames Of Justice' has been out about ten months and is still picking up good reviews I continued by asking how they have viewed the press and fan response so far, especially as things have taken off so quickly, and if they've really had a chance to reflect on everything that has happened in such a short space of time!

CHRIS: Yeah, we've had to restock the album a couple of times which is incredible! We've sort of well overdone sales If you compare it to the last album Fury UK did and we've done that in 10 months, we're like whoa what's happened, but we just went for it! You know we learned a lot over the past few years of what to do and what not to do. We made mistakes with Fury UK but we did good things too and learning from all of that has meant we just got it absolutely nailed with Absolva which we're really happy with. We were talking the other day actually because our first show was at SOS Festival on home turf last year and you know it's just over a year the band has existed and ten months that the album has been out and we're like look at what we've done. Just look at it? I think we wrote it down and it's just like whoa, so we're immensely happy with how things are going!

Of course the next big thing for Absolva is the, literally just released, live DVD and CD ''Beyond Live'. Releasing a package like this with only one studio album released might seem a little strange to some people (although they do play two new songs during the set which are included) but conforming to the norm is not something that this band worry about and it once again proves how far they have come in such a short space of time. With a variety of formats available including a beautiful fan pack (which I had immediately pre-ordered when first seeing it) I asked how it had all come together and why they had chosen to record it at WizzFest 2013 in Belgium.

CHRIS: It's sort of like a stronghold you know. There were a lot of Fury UK fans over there to start with and as soon as Absolva started going over there we sort of exploded in Belgium. When 'Wizz' asked us to headline at WizzFest it just seemed like the right decision. He said we could have our own stage riser, ramps and everything. We brought over a couple of lads from Manchester to add some additional lighting, lasers, scanners and more to really get the show co-ordinated for what we wanted. It just seemed like the right decision to do it there. It was sold out so the place looked great and it's sort of like a home from home for us really. We always stay at Wizz's house in his studio whenever we go and it does feel very comfortable for us over there. As for the fan pack well we're in the days of downloading everything so If you do a pack where you get a t-shirt , a special plectrum, wristband, signed poster plus the DVD and CD then it's something that you can actually have that's unique really and you can't download that you know, I know people try but....

Absolva  are part of the excellent roster of bands on Rocksector Records. Owner Mark Appleton is Chris and Luke's Dad but that certainly doesn't mean they get any special treatment. Rocksector has grown into one of the UK's finest Independent Record Labels and are an absolute pleasure to deal with. They have won many awards and Appleton Senior has a wonderful ear for discovering great new bands! I asked what life was really like within that environment and how all the bands got on.

CHRIS: It's just simple, I mean there are no egos

DAN: Yeah.

CHRIS: Yeah, the main bands that we hook up with are Triaxis, Babylon Fire, Incassum, Exit State and Fantasist. Those are like the core bands that we're sort of involved with on the road and everyone's got their own little pocket of where they come in you know? Triaxis are female fronted, Babylon Fire are a bit more extreme as are Incassum and Exit State and Fantasist have that sort of alternative and more hard rock feel but everyone's still got everything in common with each other so when we do play gigs together it just works. Rocksector in general is just one big happy family but because it started from a small family business and has grown into what it is now nobody is trying to rip anybody off. All the bands can see all the figures, what's getting paid for, what's not getting paid for and what's going on with PR so everyone can see in black and white what actually happens and what's done for them and it's fantastic you know because I don't think there's many independent labels that do that anymore if any so we're very happy!

Nowadays, the Internet and Social Media is an extremely important tool for bands trying to get noticed. Absolva are luckier than some in that they actually have a good Independent Label pushing them and looking after their interests but of course that's not always the case. It's also fair to say that the days of big labels giving huge advances to bands are long gone. I wanted to know how the guys viewed this situation and whether they thought that record labels might be a thing of the past!

CHRIS: I think there are always going to be people that want a physical product but you can't ignore that you've got to ride with the downloads or you'll just get left behind. So we do that you know, we did the free download for the song 'Flames of Justice'. It was like get it for free, grab all of it, see what we're like, listen to it and then you've got it and obviously you know the other angles! We also released a video so you can go on YouTube. You've suddenly got one song that you've downloaded for free, you can see and listen to another song for free on YouTube so you've had 2 tracks that are suddenly a taster for you to actually engage in either downloading an album or buying an album. It's something you've got to ride with or you just may as well not bother so we just try and do everything really!.

Even though the Live DVD and Album has just been released I still wanted to find out how the guys had managed to find time to work on writing new material considering 2013 has been nonstop gigging (Since this interview I have heard three new tracks all of which are excellent).

CHRIS: (Turning to Dan) Do you want to answer a question now?

DAN: (Laughs) I don't mind,  you know I like the sound of your voice! We've been working on it probably about six months now, but obviously with the schedule it's just been a case of slotting things in when we can, so we're nearly there on it, there's just a few finishing touches to get it ready before we're off to Europe again and then we're straight back into the studio once we come back.

With Dan mentioning another trip to Europe (in October and November) the conversation turned to the gigs Absolva have planned for the rest of the year. Even though they were yet to play that day, I also asked them what they thought of the setup at Rock & Metal Circus and how they viewed the increase in the amount of small to medium sized festivals which seem to be popping up everywhere!

DAN: Yeah after this we do the Queensryche support gig in Manchester on the 16th October (with label mates Triaxis). Then we're off to Europe for 3-4 weeks.

CHRIS: We've got London on Thursday the 17th of October which is gonna be a big show as well. We're trying to make that a real sort of highlight of the tour in the UK because we've not headlined in London since we did the Camden Underworld last year which was at the start of the European Tour . We're playing the 'Barfly' in London so we're gonna make up a special set. We've already switched the set list round and we've got quite a few of the new songs that are going on the second album in the set. Once you've seen us like two or three times we figure that everyone doesn't want to see that same set list that we've got locked in and for us as well we're not just getting into a routine, it just keeps it exciting for everybody! As for here it looks cool;

DAN: Yeah cool

CHRIS: Usually at small Festivals you don't get camping so it reminds me of how some bike rallies sort of set themselves up with an indoor stage and the camping so yeah!

DAN: Yeah yeah, we were talking about this the other day humorously. It's good in terms of bands being able to do. You've got your normal tour in like February to April and then you stop for the festivals and then continue October through to December, but at least bands can keep going, keep selling merch, keep promoting themselves during the summer at multiple events. However, sometimes you can pull your target audience too much if you get a couple of little festivals pulling from the same areas a few weeks apart, it doesn't always help but I can understand why promoters and bands want to do as many different things as possible. You've just got to make it so that it's competitive for the festival itself. You've got to make yourself the best small festival you can and it's got to have the right pricing on tickets, right pricing on beer, right bands  and location, but apart from that it's simple. (Laughs). Bands are exposed to a whole different audience and there is more opportunity to play so I think it's a good thing!

As we were at a festival, and the first band of the evening had just fired up on stage about forty feet from where we were sitting I wanted to wrap things up by asking the guys a couple of festival related questions. By now everyone had relaxed somewhat and as I was to find out on a fairly regular basis throughout the weekend things, thankfully, can turn a bit silly! I asked firstly what their top five festival bands would be and lastly what their favourite festival drink was. This gave Martin, who up until this point had been very quiet, the chance to say just a few words!

CHRIS: Martin?

MARTIN: Anthrax, Gojira, Sabbath, Maiden, is that five?

DAN That was definitely four (In the background shouts of "He's only a drummer, he can't count" could clearly be heard)

MARTIN: Did I say Sabbath?

DAN: Yeah, you've only got 4 then?

MARTIN: Yeah four, that's all I can think of in my head!

DAN: For me it's Sabbath, System of a Down, Evil Scarecrow at Hammerfest, that was amazing, I can do a top 3 is that alright?

CHRIS: Accept, Sabbath, Maiden, I really like Megadeth at festivals as well!

DAN: Oooh that would be on my list as well!

CHRIS: I don't know why because I really like them anyway but, I don't know, they just seem to have an extra...

DAN: We've seen them together as well!

CHRIS: We did, very drunk!

DAN: We were very drunk, I had to sit down!
CHRIS: Who else do I like? Thin Lizzy actually, do you remember when Lizzy played Download?

DAN: Yeah!

CHRIS: With Ricky Warwick, that was pretty special!

DAN: They were very good!

CHRIS: I know they're not like your usual festival band because Phil doesn't pop out every time but...

DAN: Hmmm, Festival drink!

CHRIS: 'Hobgoblin', it's my favourite drink in general really!

DAN: 'Trooper Ale' as the new sort of festival drink. I would say that, it's a lovely drop!


DAN: (Laughs) It doesn't matter what brand!

CHRIS: (Laughs) It doesn't matter where you are either does it Martin?

With that Absolva headed off to get themselves ready for their gig later that evening. They are a thoroughly lovely bunch and even though they've been on the go non-stop for over a year now, not forgetting all the stuff they did previously, there is no sign of any weariness, just three, very down to earth guys, who love to write and play their music. Absolva are what I call a proper Heavy Metal band and long may that continue!

Interview written exclusively for Brutiful Entertainment by Rick Tilley:

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Absolva Feature (The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013) :: Comments

Re: Absolva Feature (The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013)
Post on Thu Oct 17, 2013 9:55 pm by misthemeli

Absolva Feature (The Rock & Metal Circus Festival 20-09-2013)

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