Western Sand are a four-piece band from Bournemouth who formed in 2008 and play their own style of southern hard rock, gaining a growing fanbase in the process. They released a new four track self-titled EP earlier this year and were recently announced as support for the Black Star Riders tour in the UK and Ireland. That includes the tour finale in The Limelight, Belfast on 15th December. The band consists of Tyler Hains on guitar and lead vocals, Jimmy Bradshaw on guitar, Nathan J. Kay on drums and Findlay Hotchkiss on bass. Lead singer Tyler recently answered a few questions for us.


NI ROCKS – Thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions for Rock Radio NI. The band has hit the headlines recently with the announcement that you’ll be supporting Black Star Riders on tour in the UK in November and December.  That was a much sought after slot, how did you manage to capture it?

WESTERN SAND – We were very lucky to receive such a great opportunity. We have been working hard over the last 5 years creating our sound and playing as many live shows as possible looking for a break like this and thanks to Dan Devita from TKO and James Black from Black Radar Management we managed to receive it.

NI ROCKS – The band formed back in 2008. As usual in the rock music business there has obviously been a few years of work to get you to where you are now. Tell us a bit about the early years of the band – how you got together, where you’ve played etc.

WESTERN SAND –Myself and Jimmy met teaching guitar for the same company and I had played in bands with Nathan through their early teens, Findlay auditioned for bass and we never looked back. We started showcasing around our local area and building up a good reputation in venues like the Joiners and Mr Kyps then we started to push further afield, Birmingham, Swindon, Wales etc. we just wanted to play and took every opportunity no matter how far to do so.

NI ROCKS – You released a couple of videos last year ahead of a planned EP, but that didn’t seem to materialise. Were those plans changed when you signed with the new management company?

WESTERN SAND – Not really, we released the videos to try and balance our gigging aspect of the band with our online promotional aspect at that time. The songs we chose for the EP had been wrote almost a year before it got released. When it came to the EP we just wanted to put the songs on there that represented us the best. Hopefully they do haha

NI ROCKS – The new EP released in June features four great tracks. Who did you work with on the recording and production of the CD?

WESTERN SAND – We were lucky enough to get the chance to work with a guy named Paul O’Neill who owns Incentive Studios; he has worked with lots of prestigious acts and really took the time to get to know the band and what we wanted. Paul did a great job at capturing the energy we have live in a studio format. We really hope to work with him again soon.

NI ROCKS – Who were your musical influences when you were forming the band and have those influences changed in any way over the past few years?

WESTERN SAND - When we formed it was clear we all love the same bands, Led Zeppelin, Lynyrd Skynyrd , Guns N Roses, Metallica, Deep Purple, Black Stone Cherry and so on and so on (there’s a massive list haha). Those influences have been paramount through the time of the band and I think we have always let those different influences shine through when writing.

NI ROCKS – I’m one of those people who likes to turn up early to see the support band, but unfortunately a lot of people don’t. Tell us why people should make sure they get there early to see Western Sand performing.

WESTERN SAND – 1, to get to the front 2, More beer time 3, for some high energy feel good rock and roll.

NI ROCKS – The tour with Black Star Riders obviously offers a load of promotional opportunities. Are you planning to release a new video from the EP? And what other plans do you have to coincide with the tour?

WESTERN SAND – Yes we have a song that’s going to be added to the EP for the tour and we are going to record a music video. As far as after the tour things are being put in place and discussed now, but our main focus is the tour making sure we have a killer set and are ready to prove ourselves to rock fans around the UK and NI.

NI ROCKS – What music do you guys listen to when you’re in the van travelling between gigs? Does the driver control what gets played or does everyone plug their earphones or whatever in!

WESTERN SAND – Unfortunately Findlay gets full control because he is sat right in front of the CD player. Findlay likes great music but once you have heard Airbourne’s discography 5 times back to back we all start to get a little twitchy.

NI ROCKS – On a similar note, if I was to pick up your iPod or MP3 player and hit shuffle what bands might I hear?

WESTERN SAND –Right now would be Lynyrd Skynyrd, Black Label society, Led Zeppelin, Mountain, Blackfoot and loads more.

NI ROCKS – You’ve supported bands like Reckless Love, Jettblack, The Treatment, Heavens Basement and Voodoo Six. What is your craziest tour story so far?

WESTERN SAND – Haha we have had a few crazy stories but one that stands out is when we were supporting Voodoo Xix at the Joiners in Southampton, Myself and Jimmy went to get some food and on the way back there was an extremely large man (like 26 stone) who had drunk himself to oblivion laying in the middle of the road. As the good citizen I am I attempted to help another man lift this guy out of the road and on to the pavement, unfortunately as we picked him up his trousers and boxers hit the deck and his junk was now on show as well as his ass being all over my leg. Jimmy at this point was crying with laughter along with a group of ladies who were passing by. Needless to say we dropped the guy in the road and we went and played the show. On our way out at the end of the night the guy was still laid in the road with his ass out and an ambulance waiting for him to sober up so they could pick him up and get him into the van. As you can imagine the image is burnt on my brain!

NI ROCKS – You’ve got the Black Star Riders dates from 22nd November through to the final gig in The Limelight in Belfast on 15th December. Have you been over to Belfast before and have you heard much about the rock music scene here?

WESTERN SAND – None of us have been over we regret to say but it is a massive date that stands out on the tour that we are looking forward to, really looking forward to coming over and hopefully putting on a great show. And I hear the rock scene is really making a comeback which is always great to hear and hopefully be a part of.

NI ROCKS – What plans have you beyond December, into 2014? When are we likely to see a full length album?

WESTERN SAND – As I said the tour is our main focus but we will be on a writing session between January and March and there have been talks on potentially a full length album but will keep you posted.

NI ROCKS – A couple of quick general questions to finish. Can you remember what the first album was that you bought and the first gig you went to?

WESTERN SAND –First album I bought was AC/DC “If You Want Blood You’ve Got It”, just a great live album. First gig was Deep Purple at the BIC in Bournemouth.

NI ROCKS – Best live band you’ve seen, and which band that you haven’t seen before would you most want to see perform?

WESTERN SAND – The best live band would have to be Aerosmith, Steven Tyler is in my eyes one of the best all round frontmen of all time. Metallica is a very close second. I would really love to see AC/DC. I have missed the last two opportunities to go but yeah seeing them would be a massive tick of my bucket list.

NI ROCKS – Finally, if you had the chance to have been a member of any band from the last thirty years, which band would it be and why?

WESTERN SAND –Zakk Wylde from Black Label Society don’t think I need to explain why haha.

NI ROCKS – Thanks again for answering a few questions. Best of luck for the tour and we look forward to seeing you in The Limelight in Belfast on 15th December for the finale.

WESTERN SAND - Thanks a lot for taking the time to talk to us, we will look forward to catch up at The Limelight for a beer and a kick ass show.

You can find out more about Western Sand at http://www.westernsand.co.uk/

Of follow them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/westernsand or on Twitter at https://twitter.com/WesternSand_UK

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