Beneath Dead Waves play unashamed, unafraid, outspoken heavy metal. Formed in Dorset in 2007 (now London based) by Joey Draper (vocals), Doug Cartwright (guitar) and Leigh Costanza (drums), the band blend elements of thrash, groove and nu-metal with an aggressive attitude and progressive mindset to create a unique and striking signature sound. The songs broadly deal with the struggle against different forms of oppression and are all inspired by personal experiences of the band members.
Musicmuso caught up with the guys at Madame Tussaud's in central London, whilst they were busy trying to grab a peek up Kylie Minogue's short skirt, we asked them a bunch of questions, here's how it went....
Please introduce the band and your music in one sentence....
Crushingly heavy, aggressive and progressive heavy metal for fans of brutal, honest alternative music.
How did you guys come up with the name Beneath Dead Waves?
It was a suggestion by our vocalist Joey after it was agreed that the name needed to reflect our philosophy and aim to use the band as an outlet for everything we suppress in everyday life. It also needed be open to multiple interpretations.
Where did you record your debut album 'Inertia' and what made you choose that studio?
I recorded the whole album in various studios around the south of England, as well as mixed and mastered it. Keeping the work within the band was a crucial decision as it gave us the flexibility to experiment with everything until we were happy without the constraints of time or cost. I would love to have had the luxury of choosing a studio but the reality at the start of the project was that we had no budget whatsoever!
Fortunately I had some generous friends who I’d worked with before that gave us access to studios, and over the course of the project I saved and invested to build my own studio. I also work a day job at a music school with studio facilities where I teach guitar students and record bands, and the owner was kind enough to let me install all my gear in one of the rooms for months so I could get the album finished.
‘Inertia’ means nothing changes, is there a reason you decided to use this word for the album name?
I think this ties in well with the themes of a lot of the songs, both as an observation of the norms and a challenge of them. There’s a few different ways the title can be interpreted and I think it’s important for the listener to come to their own conclusions as well as decipher our intentions.
You streamed this album for free online, what made you guys decide to do this? Did you achieve the results you wanted by doing it?
We streamed it online because in this day and age you would be crazy not to in our scene. It will be put online by someone else not affiliated with the band anyway so why not try to use what little control we have over it to ensure fans have easy access to our music in the highest possible quality? Even with the free stream available to everyone the album was still illegally available on torrent sites within 48 hours, but I don’t think anybody in the band was expecting to get rich from album sales anyway.
The whole modern underground metal scene survives off the real fans with the understanding and integrity to support their favourite artists regardless of the free availability of their material, so I don’t see any reason to make it harder for these people to listen to our music or share it with their friends. I personally still buy tons of CDs as I enjoy having a physical collection, yet I still regularly listen to youtube streams of albums I own just for the convenience. It’s just a pain when I can’t access bands music easily, it doesn’t affect whether or not I’m going to spend my money, and I think that’s true of most people whether they buy their music or not.
How has social media aided your band?
I’m not convinced it’s made a massive difference to be brutally honest. We get lots of followers online, but there’s not a lot of evidence to show this really translates into anything past a meaningless ‘likes’ number. Although we’ve been pleasantly surprised by our sales figures it’s only a small percentage of our online ‘fanbase’. Fewer and fewer of our Facebook followers are able to see our posts and it costs us more and more for them to see them, so it’s not even a great communication platform anymore. More and more of our Youtube views come direct from Youtube and from links on metal blogs and forums. The best thing it contributes to a band is an easy way for fans to send each other music, but I don’t think that’s exclusive to social media platforms – friends will always show each other bands, regardless of what they use to do that.
You guys are with Nemacystem Records, how did this come about?
Nemacystem Records is our own label, which we founded in order to self-release our record. At our level this just made the most sense to us; we are complete unknowns as we’ve released nothing prior to this album meaning we’re not a great prospect in business terms, so we decided to release our music ourselves for the time being and try to build our profile a little bit.
What is the best advice you ever received and who was it from?
So many people have given me useful advice, wisdom and encouragement during the process of creating this album that it’s really difficult to single out the ‘best’ piece of advice.
I went through a bit of an identity crisis whilst I was studying my music performance degree because everyone in the academic music world is all about ‘listen to everything’ and mastering all genres on your instrument, which there’s a lot to be said for. My ears were really opened to a lot of new music and I loved everything, but I was really struggling to play some of the genres as successfully as some of my peers who had been doing it for years. Metal and shred guitar are pretty frowned upon in those circles, blues and jazz are king and playing loud, distorted guitar is often (wrongly!) considered immature. It was really difficult because I respect a lot of those players and love their music. My teacher and friend Martin Goulding said to me “Maybe you’re a metal guitarist” and even though it seems like a small thing and something obvious, it really helped me to feel confident in my playing again and see that I was on the right path for my own creativity with Beneath Dead Waves.
What does music mean to you?
Growing up, music was an escape I think for everyone in the band. Whatever was going on we could just go listen to music and then it wouldn’t matter anymore. It’s there to make the good times great and the bad times better. Music is about life, there are so many parallels but at the same time I think it has the edge because you can never be as honest in life as you can be in music.
Do you have a record that you wouldn’t like to admit you have?
I have lots of albums that I think people would be surprised I own, but none that embarrass me. Probably the most unlikely is Torben Ulrich and Soren Kjaergaard ‘Suddenly, Sound; 21 Songlines for Piano, Drainpipe, etc’ , an avant garde album featuring Lars Ulrich’s father on drainpipe that Joey bought me for my birthday a couple of years ago. Definitely recommended!
Is there something you would like to tell each of the band members that you haven’t told them before?
I would just say this; V
First gig you ever went to?
It was Metallica. Leigh was there too!
What classic song would you have liked to have recorded and why?
I’ve never really considered that before. Maybe ‘Daddy’ by Korn, just because it’s one of the most provocative songs ever recorded. Everybody who’s ever heard it remembers it and has an opinion on it, a true piece of art. Actually, ‘Disciple’ by Slayer has got to be a strong contender too; it has to be the most furious four minutes in all of recorded music!
Who would you like to know has your music on their iPod, MP3, stereo Cassette recorder?
Just knowing that anybody at all is listening to this music in any format is enough of a breakthrough for me at the moment.
If you could describe your music in the form of a fictional character, who would it be?
Maybe the Hulk, because we’re all quite easy-going people but the fury comes out the minute we’re playing music!
Do you think we can ever live in a world where a chicken can cross the road without having its motives questioned?
I for one couldn’t give a fuck why the chicken crossed the road, and I suspect that there’s a growing number of people with a similar point of view.
Joey and Leigh were warned by the security guard about the 'Madame Tussaud' no groping policy, to calm the situation down, it was decided that the band decamp to the 'Hall of Horror' exhibition, before they went, we asked them a few quick fire questions....
Coffee or Tea? Tea
Coke or Pepsi? Pepsi
Mac or PC? Mac
Lemmy or Ozzy? Lemmy
CD or Vinyl? CD
Car or Motorbike? Car
Shower or Bath? Shower
Tattoos or Piercings? Tattoos
Robert de Niro or Al Pacino? Al Pacino
God or Google? Eerily similar.
They are set to play live around the south coast in the next couple of months (details below), they are planning some more dates in late May/early June.
FORTHCOMING LIVE DATES
April 27th - Purple Turtle, Camden, London
May 30th - Sound Circus, Bournemouth
May 31st - Firehouse, Southampton
July 10th - The Anvil, Bournemouth
You've done well to read this far, why not spend a few more minutes checking out their social media pages, we've been super helpful in detailing them all below for you, all you need to do is click.....
Musicmuso would like to thank the band for taking the time to answer our questions, we wish them every success in the future and look forward to receiving more newsworthy information from them.
Interview by Mark Wincott