DATE OF INTERVIEW:
7th May 2010
Formed in 2006, and despite still being unsigned, Isolysis have gone from strength to strength, performing at a plethora of festivals and releasing their debut album ‘Condemned’ this year. Frontman Bane gives us the lowdown on being tipped by Metal Hammer as one of the best newcomers, an upcoming performance in Ibiza and going about doing it solo…
METAL DISCOVERY: It’s alright. When I was at your show in Nottingham I noticed that you have Isolysis tattooed on your arm. What made you get the tattoo?
BANE: Alright then matey, I’m all yours! Sorry about the wait, I’m a tattooist as well, was just finishing off with somebody.
(Bane on what to expect from an Isolysis live performance)
“Fucking pure intensity from start to finish!”
Isolysis backstage at Rock City, Nottingham, 22nd March 2010
Interview & Photography by Nicholas Dishington
Official Isolysis MySpace:
B: We were all pissing around in practice. We were all saying “You won’t pledge allegiance to our band!” to each other and arguing about who was the most committed. I came in and went “Here’s my commitment!” put my arm up and showed the boys that I’d had it tattooed! They’re all going to get it tattooed to pledge their allegiance.
MD: Ah, so it’s going to be a whole band thing then?
B: Yeah, a whole band thing. I was the first and they’re all having it in different places, I think.
MD: What’s the story behind the name Isolysis?
B: We sat in the pub one night after practice and we didn’t have a name back then. We were looking for names and few came up but none of them really meant anything to us. It just popped up into my head, I thought I’d invented the word! I was thinking about isolation and stuff to do with the lyrics ‘cause I like the lyrics in all of the songs. There’s a lot of isolation and loneliness in what I write so I came up with Isolysis as half isolation and half like some sort of disease. As if someone was suffering from Isolysis. I came out with it to the guys and they thought it was really cool. We Googled it to check out what it meant; it actually means when anything dies when the cells in body die each individual cell breaks down in the same way. Something will go first, I don’t really know the ins and outs of it but the process of it happening is the process of Isolysis.
MD: Still quite depressing then!
B: We were like “No way! That’s still pretty cool!” so we just said we’ll keep it then!
MD: What can we expect from your new album?
B: We’re expecting, well, we don’t really know! We’re trying to get it out to as many people as possible. We haven’t put it out on iTunes or anything yet ‘cause we want people to come and see us live, that’s what it’s all about. The only way to get hold of one is to come and get it from us at gigs. We’re hoping for the album to catapult us on to decent gigs and that’s what it is doing at the moment.
MD: Have you had any label interest?
B: Yeah, we’ve had talks. I can’t really say who we’ve spoken to. We’ve spoken to independent record labels and there has been a couple of bigger ones but the smaller ones are probably a healthier option for the band. The bigger ones, they can pump a lot of money into you and if you don’t do as well as they want you to you can end up in a lot of debt so we’re very careful about what we’re doing. The only things that labels are saying to us is, “We can get you on in these decent festivals”, but we’re saying that we’re already playing them! We’ve said to them, “This is our album, our image, our music. Everything we have is our own. If you’re expecting us to give you everything that we are you’ve got to get us something we can’t get, something unobtainable.” At the moment there aint nothing they can offer us that we aren’t doing ourselves. It sounds big-headed but it’s true really. If you can do something yourself you’re not going to give somebody half of your stuff to get it for you.
MD: If you had any suggestions for other bands that wanted to start up on their own what would they be?
B: The newcomer bands… I’d just suggest, gig the fuck out of your band! All over the country, don’t just stick to your safe zones in your own town because there’s a lot of bands, I mean, I know a few, not mentioning any names, they’ve got a good following but it’s all family and friends.
MD: Yeah, we’ve got a similar thing going on in Lincoln.
B: You’ve got all these people that come out to see them and it gives them a real false ego. So they think they’re a lot better than they are really. Then they end up going out, further afield and everything’s going to fall to bits then because you’re not as good as you think you are. We had that at first, we had a little bit of that. We’re doing well now but when we first started out you think you’re the best thing since sliced bread with a load of people coming out to see you but then you go to a completely different town or a completely different city where nobody knows who you are and you’re probably only mediocre when you first start out. It’s a good idea to gig everywhere, as much as possible and try and get on with bands of your genre. I’m no expert in this really, I’m only going by what we’ve done.
MD: You seem to be doing alright though! What can people expect from a live Isolysis show if they haven’t been to one so far?
B: Fucking pure intensity from start to finish! I like to reach all four corners of the venue, I want to make that person stood right at the back in the far corner feel just as important as the people standing right in front of me. I think that’s the way forward really for any band; make it a personal thing. If you look back through the ages the best bands are the bands that connect.
MD: The ones that really do get involved with the fans.
B: Yeah, you’ve got it, there’s nothing worse than watching static, wooden bands. You might as well stay in and put the CD on! Another thing that we pride ourselves on is that we’re as good live, if not better, than we are on the CD. If you’re not as good as you are on your CD you might as well give up. You’re selling your album to people, if people hear your music on MySpace or anywhere and you’re a lot better because you’ve been tweaked in a studio than you are live then people are going to be disappointed in you. You’ve gotta be able to do it live otherwise just fucking pack up, simple as that.
MD: What was the most fun track on the album to record?
MD: Yeah, like most involving.
B: Probably ‘Vampurity’.
MD: I noticed there’s some atmospheric keyboards in the middle of that one. Is that something you’d want to do again in the future?
B: The reason that we stuck that in is that when people come to see us live, when we play ‘Vampurity’ it’s usually the last one in the set and at that point there’s a good lengthy musical interlude. At that time I’ll introduce each member, I’ll say “Give it up for Dan Syndrome on bass or Rockstar Ruffin!” and do all that and then I say “We are Isolysis!” and it booms back into the heavier part so it’s part of the show. Because that’d been taken away from the song because we couldn’t really introduce the band on the CD [laughs] so I just wanted to stick something else in there just for something else for the fans, something different so they say “That’s how they got over that bit.” It was just a little bit of something extra.
MD: To make that bit sound a lot less empty.
B: Yeah just to fill it up a bit. We’ve been doing samples a bit and thinking of putting that into the live performance, just using a sampler to drop that in. At the moment it’s not missed when we play it live, you don’t really notice that it’s not there.
MD: Listening to the album there’s quite a lot of influences going on. If you were to put on a dream show what other three bands would you be playing with?
B: Err… oh dear! This is just me personally ‘cause the rest of the lads would disagree. I’d like to play alongside Staind for definite. I love that band, the whole Post-Grunge thing, I think they’re the best at it. I take a lot of my influence from them so I’d put them on the bill, I don’t know where… under us for definite! [laughs] It’s hard to say, probably Stone Sour would be in there. I mean Metallica are the big boys but everybody says that so I’ll probably leave them out and stick in Alter Bridge. That’d be a cracking night! I think they’d go together pretty well.
MD: Going back to the album a second, the artwork’s brilliant, especially for a self released CD. Who did it and how did you find them?
B: Binger Creative are the company that did it, one of my close friends is the main man. His name is Daz Lawson, I’d recommend him to anyone. To me, he’s the best! I bought a new album the other day from a big band, had a look at it and it wasn’t a patch on the artwork and presentation of our album.
MD: It’s a bit disappointing when you get quite a big thing, I remember looking at the photography on the latest Megadeth album and thinking to myself “I could have done better than that!”
B: It is disappointing, you’ve gotta look to the fans. If you’re expecting them to come and pay their hard earned money for something that you’ve created then you’ve gotta put everything into it, your heart and soul’s got to be poured into it. You’ve got to look around and find who’ll do the best job for you. I recommend Daz Lawson, I think he’s awesome, he does a good price for anyone just starting out. He understood that it’s expensive to get out there and do something yourself like we’ve done and up for helping anybody who’s trying to make something of themselves. We gave him the ideas, we said we want a post apocalyptic scene with everything wrecked.
MD: It’s quite 2012-ish.
B: Yeah, but with the ray of hope. I wanted like a dawn with the sun rising on the aftermath of whatever has happened to this city like there is still hope, there’s another day dawning, something could come through. Instead of the sun he created what is our emblem now and he placed that in the sun, so he made us the ray of hope. I let him do his artistic impression of what he said and it came out like that.
MD: I see that you’re playing the Hard Rock Hell Road Trip in Ibiza soon. Are you looking forward to it?
B: Looking forward to it? I’m buzzing!
MD: Are you playing all 7 days?
B: We’re there for 10 days, I think we’re playing the Friday night and the Saturday. The Friday night’s with all the new bloods. Obviously we won one of Metal Hammer’s Best Newcomers of this year. It’s not just one award, there’s a few bands like Huron in there. It’s still pretty cool though to be one of the best new bloods of 2010! That’s when we got picked up to play Hammerfest II when we got through in that category with a few other bands, all good bands. Then we were chosen to go out again and play in Ibiza with Skindred and all the rest of the bands that’ll be out there. Fucking buzzing! On the Saturday night we’re headlining the main stage with I think main support is Attica Rage.
MD: So you just do the two gigs and the rest of it’s a holiday really?
B: Well yeah but it’s not. It is and it isn’t. I mean we’re doing well for ourselves but we’re still in the real world, I’m not gonna turn round to people and say “Oooh it’s hard work, being flown to Ibiza to play gigs with Skindred. It’s such a hard job!” Is it fuck, it’s fucking brilliant! Who wouldn’t want to do what we’re doing, you know what I mean? You do have to keep your feet on the ground and keep an element of work, we can’t keep getting pissed up ‘cause there’s going to be a lot of press there and we do wanna make the most of that. We’ve got all the press releases coming up next week. Scuzz TV are going to be out there making a Rockumentry type thing and I think every band there is going to appear on it so we don’t wanna mess anything up. We’re gonna keep our heads clear and do what we can to promote our band and get the most out of it.
MD: Yeah, you need to get the word out! Other than Ibiza what’s next for Isolysis?
B: We’ve already written near on enough for a new album. We wanna keep recording and we’ll keep self releasing until obviously something comes along. It’s all about promotion, keep promoting ourselves to let people know that we’re here and that we want it! At the moment everything’s all doing good. The gigs are slowing down a little bit after Ibiza ‘cause we’re gonna hit it hard again before the end of the year.
MD: So are you going to use that as an opportunity to record the next songs?
B: Yeah, we’re going to have a little bit of time out after Ibiza. We’ve still got Rock ’n’ Blues where we’re on the main stage in the summer at Pentrich. We’ve got a big gig coming up just before we go to Ibiza in Nottingham on the 21st; we’re headlining the Central and we’ve got Spirytus with us and they’re doing fucking awesome. They’re coming to Ibiza as well, they’re fellow Nottingham rockers. And there’s Imperial Circus who’re a new upcoming band. That should be a cracking night!
MD: Sounds cool.
B: Yeah, it’s gonna be awesome. We’ve already got something like 100 confirmed guests on Facebook but you never know, they’ll probably say they’re coming then stay in!
MD: Cool, well thanks very much.
B: That alright? I’m usually pissed at interviews so a lot funnier [laughs]
MD: Nah, it went well.
B: Thanks very much.
Photograph copyright © 2010 Nicholas Dishington - www.metal-discovery.com