I posted an interview with local band the Screaming Eagles back in June 2013; about six months after the release of their debut album “From The Flames”. The band has achieved a lot in the past two years and released their second album “Stand Up And Be Counted” on 13th July. I spoke to Adrian and Kyle from the band on 30th June via Skype and this interview was included on the Friday NI Rocks Show that was broadcast on 3rd July, along with some tracks from the new album and from the “Save Me” EP. That Show can be heard on our MixCloud site -
NI ROCKS – Hi, thanks for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. I posted an interview with you back in June 2013. A lot has happened since then. We’ll start of talking about the new album “Stand Up And Be Counted” which is released on 13th July – though I notice Amazon lists it as 31st July. Tell us where the album was recorded and who you’ve worked with?
ADRIAN – The album was recorded in Railway Studios in Lisburn. It’s run by a guy called Ross Cullen who produced, mixed and mastered the album. We had worked with Ross before on “From The Flames” and had a really good experience. And we had another great experience recording “Stand Up And Be Counted”. Great little studio, great sound and superb equipment. Ross is a smart guy and top producer. A really smart guy when it comes to music and really knows his stuff. He really pushed us to get the best out of the songs that we had.
NI ROCKS – “From the Flames” was mastered by Mark Chalecki in California. Had you given any thought to using him again?
ADRIAN – Yeah, we’d got in touch with Mark about six months before. When you’re preparing to record an album you usually get in touch with maybe a couple of mastering engineers and get quotes in and talk about how you’d want the album to sound. This time, with Ross, well it’s a new album so you take different routes and different options to see how things will sound, and Ross ended up mastering this one. He had done a brilliant job and we’re very happy with the end product. We might go back to Mark in the future, we’ll see, but for now Ross mastered this one and it turned out great.
NI ROCKS – How would you compare “Stand Up And Be Counted” to “From the Flames”; both in sound and in the writing and recording?
KYLE – Well Nigel, it’d be a lot different. The writing process took about 14 months. We had double the time in the studio compared to “From The Flames”. So there was a lot more production, a lot more thought going into things, a lot more sculpting of the tracks. I hope that comes across and that people like it.
NI ROCKS – What we’ve heard so far sounds good.
KYLE – Yeah, there’s a wee bit of a change in direction. “Save Me” is probably the heaviest track on the album actually. We loved it so much that we just had to get it out there first.
NI ROCKS – The first single from the album is “Save Me” which was released recently along with a video. The EP is available from Amazon for just £1.79 and includes a cover version of “Good Times” which I’m going to ask about later, as well as 5 live tracks. Where were those 5 tracks recorded, and are there more that might appear at some stage?
ADRIAN - Those tracks were recorded at Hard Rock Hell in March 2014 when we played on the Blues Stage and there was maybe 500 – 600 people there. We had arranged it with the record company before hand to record the set straight into the sound desk and we got it about six to eight months later and it sounded really raw. Just like the band sounds on stage. It really captured the raw sound that we have, all the little quirks; you know stuff out of tune, Chris chatting in between songs, the usual stuff, a few misplaced drums, that type of thing (laughs). When we first heard it we were very happy with it. There are a couple of extra tracks that we didn’t use that might see the light of day sometime. For now, I think we probably picked the best tracks to release.
KYLE – It’s nice bonus material.
NI ROCKS – It’s not often that you get 7 tracks for £1.79
ADRIAN – A bargain mate! (Laughs)
NI ROCKS - I’m going to play “Save Me” now, but before I do, tell us a little about the song and the video.
ADRIAN – As Kyle said the song is probably one of the heavier songs that we’ve done. From the moment that we came up with the riff and Chris came up with the lyrics we knew that it was something special. The video was Kyle’s idea to have a live, grimy gig, “Roadhouse” type of video. We invited lots of people along, everybody got drunk, we had a fire breathing transvestite just for the critic and a gimp on a bmx. What more do you want!
NI ROCKS – What plans have you to support the release of the new album?
ADRIAN – We’re launching the album on the 8th August in The Diamond Rock Club which we all know well. It’s gonna be a great night. We’ll probably air all the tracks from the new album and play a few old favourites. It’s going to be the big one to launch us out there. After that we’re playing in our home town of Banbridge on the 29th August which is going to be another great show. Then we’re playing Hard Rock Hell again in November, on the main stage with Saxon and Black Label Society.
KYLE – We’re setting up a UK tour as well.
ADRIAN – Yeah, a two week tour in the new year with a couple of other bands from the Off Yer Rocka label. We’re getting it organised at the minute. We’ve yet to agree the actual physical locations but we’re gonna cover as much of the UK as we can. We toured in the North of England earlier this year so we hope to get back to Grimsby, Mickleton, Doncaster and places again.
KYLE – Yeah, we may even add to those two week dates with our own gigs as well.
NI ROCKS – You released a few humourous videos for tracks on “From The Flames”. Who did you work with on those and are there plans for more videos from the new album?
ADRIAN – The first one “Rock n Roll Soul”, we worked with a guy called Ed McLaughlin. We shot the video and it took forever! About five or six days. But it came out really well and we were really happy with it. “All The Way” we shot with Philip Matier and Tristan Crowe (Redmist Productions).
KYLE – They made the new video as well.
ADRIAN – We’ve struck up a bit of a partnership with those guys and seem to work well together. They’re great guys. Very inventive. Again, smart guys. They really know what they’re doing with videos so they’re great to work with.
KYLE – We do plan to release three or four videos and singles off this album. We’ve plans for at least another three.
ADRIAN – We’ll probably shoot another one over the summer maybe. Get it out there to keep things going. You mentioned that we’d done a cover song on the EP and I think the idea is that we’ll do a video for it.
NI ROCKS – You’ll keep us entertained anyway!
ADRIAN – Absolutely.
NI ROCKS – You’ve received some great reviews from across the Atlantic. Are there plans in place to distribute the new album in the USA and Canada?
KYLE – Yeah definitely. We’re working hard over there at the minute trying to get our music even more heard. Obviously, the “Justified” TV series did a lot for us out there. Record sales were x100 overnight, So we’re concentrating over there and want to get out there and continue on building that.
NI ROCKS – Do you think a Screaming Eagles tour of North America would be feasible?
ADRIAN – I don’t see why not. If we can build the name up enough then why not.
NI ROCKS – I think the problem most bands have is just the size of the place and getting around it.
KYLE – Yeah, Canada might be more of an option to begin with. We have some contacts out there and guys that promote us. We do well on FM stations in Canada and are on rotation on a few big stations out there. That would probably come quicker than America.
NI ROCKS – Are there any other markets that you’d be trying to target. Bands like The Answer seem to have established a great fan base in Japan.
ADRIAN – Japan would be nice! The label is releasing the album in Germany in the middle of August and it has been a pretty good market for us with the debut album. It’s pretty close so we’d hope to get over and do some shows there towards the end of the year. As everyone knows, Germany loves rock n roll and hopefully they might take to our new album and we might get out there and play at some point.
NI ROCKS - As I mentioned the EP and album includes a cover of the Inxs / Jimmy Barnes track “Good Times” that you recorded with Pontus Snibb from Bonafide which I’m going to play next? How did that come about?
ADRIAN – Well about a year ago we were looking to add a new cover to the set and put a post up on Facebook. There must have been about 100 people got back with different songs and a couple of people suggested this song. I’d been out in Australia and heard the song on the radio all the time and it was just a great standard, four to the floor rock song, We tried it out in the rehearsal room and it sounded really good so that was the one we decided to do.
NI ROCKS – And how did you get Pontus Snibb to record it with you?
ADRIAN - We’d played with Pontus in Ibiza last summer and we knew he was a great singer. So we just called him up, sent him the track and he recorded his vocals out in Sweden and sent them back. It sounded brilliant. I couldn’t think of a better singer to have on one of our cover songs.
NI ROCKS – As I said at the start of the interview, a lot has happened in the two years since the last interview in June 2013. What have been your own particular highlights from the past 24 months?
ADRIAN – This time last year we played a festival in Bordeaux in the south of France and there were 5,000 people in the audience. We played for about an hour and a half, it was just amazing.
KYLE – There have been a lot of highlights. France and “Justified”.
ADRIAN – Yeah, getting contacted by Sony Pictures to get our song “Rock n Roll Soul” into “Justified” was a major highlight.
KYLE – Playing with all the big bands in Wales and elsewhere.
ADRIAN – Yeah, playing with Black Star Riders and Airbourne and supporting The Answer. Playing with loads of other bands like FM and Blue Oyster Cult. We’ve played some pretty big festivals and it has been a great experience.
NI ROCKS – You’ve mentioned a few things that you have planned for the next few months. What would be on the wish-list of things to have done by the time you get around to album number three?
ADRIAN – Definitely to play Download would be on the wish list for most rock bands. To play any big festivals in England or Europe, like Hellfest, Sweden Rock or Glastonbury even.
KYLE – I’m sure we could do better than Kanye! (Laughs)
NI ROCKS – I think you might!
ADRIAN – It wouldn’t be hard. We’d love to play any big gigs or get a nice support slot or two. In the Ulster Hall or something.
NI ROCKS – What do you think the biggest challenges are now for bands trying to make a name for themselves? The internet certainly seems to be a double edged sword – great for getting your name out there but at the same time people are downloading your music for free instead of paying for it.
KYLE – The biggest challenge is getting paid Nigel. It is a difficult market out there. I know what you mean about the double edged sword. With the internet you can contact anybody and anybody can contact you with the drop of an e-mail or tweet and that is fantastic. But as you say, the other edge of the sword is that music is getting devalued by all this and there’s not many people getting paid any or very little for the music that takes so much time and effort. It should be rewarded.
NI ROCKS – In the last interview I asked about first gigs, first albums etc so this time I’ll ask what bands you’re currently listening to?
KYLE - The Answer for me.
ADRIAN –Yeah, The Answer’s new album has been a favourite of mine as well. It’s a great rock record. Probably one of the best I’ve heard in a long time.
KYLE – Alterbridge recently for me too.
ADRIAN – I’ve ZZ Top in the car at the minute. Some old school rock. My usual fix of AC/DC as well.
NI ROCKS – We’re going to play another track from “Stand Up And Be Counted” now. What track would you like to play and tell us a little about it?
ADRIAN – I think a really good song would be “27 Club” which is the last track on the album. It’s probably the track that was completely transformed in the recording studio from what we brought in to what we came out with. It came out really well. It’s a tip of the hat to all those famous musicians who died too young at age 27. There’s some nice guitar solos on there as well!
KYLE – If you do say so yourself!
ADRIAN – (Laughs) It’s a great track so if you give that a spin that would be grand.
NI ROCKS – Thanks again for taking the time to talk to Rock Radio NI. Best of luck with the new album.
BEAUVOIR FREE – Angels Cry
THE V – Again
GASOLINE OUTLAWS – Someday
SCREAMING EAGLES – Immigrant Song (Live)
Screaming Eagles Interview Part 1 (5 Min)
SCREAMING EAGLES – Save Me
Screaming Eagles Interview Part 2 (6 Min)
SCREAMING EAGLES – Good Times
Screaming Eagles Interview Part 3 (4.5 Min)
SCREAMING EAGLES – 27 Club
THE ANSWER – Red
WHITESNAKE – Stormbringer
FM – Digging Up The Dirt
ROMEO’S DAUGHTER – Touch
HYDROGYN – Rock Me