We had the pleasure of seeing these guys twice in the space of just 3 days, they were supporting a great band called War on Women at the Exeter Cavern and a couple of days later, they were headlining at The Barrel House in Totnes. I caught up with the guys after their Exeter show and they asked me along to check out their longer set in my hometown of Totnes.
Rather than run another review of the evening (though I will mention their sublime cover version of 'Come Together' by The Beatles with its elastic, computerised bass and heavy guitar riffs) I suggested I turn up half an hour before the doors open so we could conduct an interview, they were more than happy with that so off we went....
We know you’re called Dead Ground and that you play some killer music, tell us how you all met and started playing music together?
Ollie – I joined Exeter College, 3 years ago (2012), Jake (drums) was on my course but playing guitar wirth another band, I don’t recall speaking to him much until the second year, we soon learned that we shared the same musical tastes and started jamming together and we were desperately looking for a bass player to complete the lineup and a friend of mine called Jonah (who I play for in another band) recommended Ed form his course so it’s Exeter College that bought us together
Do you all share the same tastes in music?
Jake – I think our tastes cover quite a large spectrum, I listen to so many different genres, metal to folk, anything really!
MM - Do you tend to find that these styles influence what you play?
I think it definitely influences the way I play the drums, we do have our own way of writing songs and that is why the songs sound very similar (not in a bad way of course), we do very much have our own style and sound.
You’re on a desert island and can only have 3 CD’s, which ones are you taking and why?
- Radiohead: Kid A
- Queens of the Stone Age: Self Titled
- Red Hot Chili Peppers: Blood Sugar Sex Magik
- Nirvana: Nevermind
- Trivium: Showgun
- Ben Howard: I Forget Where We Were
- Jeff Buckley: Grace
- Incubus: Morning View
- Chet Baker: Chet Baker Sings (compilation)
Black Ocean is available to buy on iTunes, where did you record the track?
Ollie – A mixture of places, our friend Chris Tilk who plays bass for a band called The Sherpas, I’ve played with him in other bands before, he recorded it for us at a chapel in Seaton which isn’t really used anymore other than coffee mornings, we used that to record the drums as the acoustics are so nice. The vocals were recorded in Chris’s shower where I was way too warm and I was very sleepy and it just sounded so much better but mostly in the chapel in Seaton as it was such a great sounding space.
You can purchase Black Ocean on iTunes
What was the first big band gig that you attended?
Ollie – 2012 MUSE at the O2
MM – I was there too!
Ollie – Besides that, I am from a Christian family and there’s a band called Delirious who are a rock band, they’ve broken up now but they were so good, I saw them at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London
Ed – I saw Busted at Butlins years ago….
MM – How many jumps did they do?
Ed – It was a show of bunnies! After that, the one that I remember the most would have to be 30 Seconds to Mars which is Jared Leto’s band at the O2 in London
Jake – I to saw Busted at Powderham Castle which was a HUGE event, McFly were there too which just added to the mania!
Ed – Are you sure you didn’t see ‘McBusted’
Jake – Nah, this was like 12 years ago!
Your influences include Jeff Buckley, QOTSA, Royal Blood and the mighty MUSE, what is it about them that you enjoy?
Ed – I want to say power, MUSE are just so powerful! They improve year on year, they’re so good!
MM – I was at a gig in 1992 where Matt, Chris and Dom played (in their separate bands), Matt was in Gothic Plague with Dom and Chris was in another band called Fixed Penalty, he was playing drums at the time. I used to watch them in Teignmouth in the early days, great times….
Ollie – I never want to be cornered by saying that we want to be MUSE because we don’t but I do think that MUSE are a band, QOTSAhave it as well, Royal Blood too, I’ve been thinking of a word to describe it for ages, there’s something very ‘weighty’ about their music, every beat just feels like it’s getting slower and heavier even though it isn’t. It’s the conviction in the singing, it’s very, not labored but strong, there might be this one point where the band do something and the audience are like gasping, it’s a hard thing to describe, control over an audience if you like.
MM – MUSE live astonish me, I don’t think I have ever seen them play a wrong note, this makes me think if they are playing to a backing track, obviously they’re not as some of the songs live are mixed up with a bit of Matt’s crazy guitar noodling but you know, it sometimes seems that they are too good!
Ed – I agree, sometimes he goes mad at the end of the songs and totally goes off on one!
Ollie – I think sometimes, it’s less about the song and more about the thought or psychology behind it, you can play anything on stage, if it looks like you were meant to do it, you’re still going to blow people away! Another example was Kurt Cobain who just screamed away on stage, not really giving a shit about anyone, he just got on with it in his own way.
If you could play on the same bill as another band, who would it be and why?
Ollie – That’s a tough one, I wouldn’t want it to be a band that are on the same musical vibe as us, in a way, I wouldn’t really want it to be a band that I listen to, I just want to be able to separate myself from the band, such a hard question. I think if I’m talking on a realistic level, I keep bugging The Sherpas from Exeter to do something with us, we are totally different to them but I think it would work. My ultimate dream would be to share the stage with Jeff Buckley, there are so many things I would like to talk to him about….
What are your favourite lyrics from any song?
Jake – That’s a weird one for me as although I do pay attention to the song, it’s more about the structure and the beat for me so I tend not to really remember the lyrics or the meaning….
MM - Come on Ollie, let’s have a line from your favourite Chet Baker track….
Ollie – Chet’s more along the lines of “I get along without you very well, of course I do except when soft raindrops fall and something something heartbreak”, that sort of thing!
What was the first CD you ever bought?
Ollie – Cassette of ‘Don’t Stop Movin’ by S Club 7, I was a BIG fan!
Ed – I remember this very well, it was Demon Days by Gorillaz
Jake – I think the first CD I ever bought with my own money was the album by The Darkness (Permission to Land?), I was obsessed by that album!
What are your views on the future of physical music (CD/Vinyl)?
Ollie – I feel like despite some sceptics, CD and Vinyl do still have a place because digital music doesn’t have the same, it just doesn’t feel like you own it. I feel that something new is going to come along in the future which is not as digital as streaming but also not as physical as a CD, it’s going to be a new format that we don’t know about yet, look at TV’s who knew that 4K and even 3D would have been such a ‘thing’ so I can’t really imagine what it will be!
Have you played any festivals this year? If not, are you looking to do so for 2016?
Ollie – We have stuff planned for this year but we’re quite new, we’re targeting local venues at the moment and are hoping to get some events booked through them, there is a festival in Lyme Regis where they try and break the Guinness World Record by having the biggest band in the world, it’s an event called Guitars on the Beach and in 2014, they had Ian Gillen singing Smoke on the Water and everyone else just played along and they did manage to break the world record (or maybe it was the UK record), we’ll be playing in September (as a band). When the time comes for the main event, you’re looking at up to 3000 people on the beach rocking out to whatever track they choose. The event is held on September 5th and it’s in Lyme Regis.
If you could go back over the past 30 years and write any song that’s already been made, which would it be and why?
Ed – Paranoid Android by Radiohead, no brainer
Jake – The Lion Sleeps Tonight by Tight Fit, it still holds its own, it’s catchy, there’s something about that song…. (MM - There certainly is...)
Ollie – Probably something by ABBA, everyone knows their songs, not that life revolves around money but you would like to choose a track that will bring you in some cash, not Dancing Queen though as I detest that song!
If you could take a red tablet which transported you BACK 5 years or a blue tablet which transported you AHEAD 5 years, which one are you going to swallow and why?
Ollie – This VERY Matrix, I like it….I would take the BLUE pill to go forwards 5 years, I feel like I would be in a more independent spot compared to where I am right now, no more school, that wasn’t really for me so, just to see what is going on musically.
Ed – Blue for me, exactly the same, a lot of stuff at the moment is at the beginner stage, I’ve just started a new band and goodness knows where we’ll be in 5 years time so it would be fun to see what was happening, we could be at the O2 by then…
Ollie – Selling popcorn!
MM – Or ushering people to their seats!
Jake – Same, blue for me, we’re at the beginning of our journey and I’d like to think that we’d be playing more gigs, possibly on a roadtrip, you know, just seeing what it would be like!
Despite being just a bunch of young lads, I was going to go easy on them and leave the thumb-screws in the bag, though, as with every band I interview, I insist that they MUST take part in the quickfire round. I gave Ollie 2 minutes to limber up prior to the onslaught....
Matt Bellamy or Jeff Buckley? Jeff Buckley
Hot Dogs or Burgers? Burgers
CD or Vinyl? Vinyl
Cats or Dogs? Cats
The Cavern or The Phoenix? The Phoenix
Glastonbury or Reading/Leeds? R&L
James Bond or Jason Bourne? Bourne
Christmas or Birthdays? Christmas
Peanut Butter, Smooth or Crunchy? Ooh Crunchy!
Snickers or Mars Bar? Snickers
Kebab or Pizza? Pizza
Gibson or Fender? Fender
Winter or Summer? Summer
Tattoos or Beards? Tattoos
God or Google? God for me!
We'd like to thank the guys for sparing 24 minutes of their lives to chat to us at The Barrel House in Totnes prior to their show, to keep up to date with their happenings, be sure to check out their social media pages, they're all listed below, just point and click.