In our next Band Spotlight, we chat to AVNT GARDS featuring Cairen (Vocals & Rhythm Guitar), Rashik (Lead Guitar), Alex (Bass) and Tom (Drums and Backing Vocals).
S] What inspires you outside of music, think specific people, places and movies for example?
C] I’m quite drawn to certain works of literature- particularly fond of the whimsical writing style of American authors such as F Scott Fitzgerald and Donna Tartt, but also Orwell for his encapsulation of human spirit absent from gloss/ glamour
R] Festivals, School Of Rock, and Tom Hardy!
T] I’m really inspired by visual stuff – movies, modern art, design and comic books. Designers like Neville Brody, Saul Bass & Wim Crouwel have always really interested me because of the way they look at things from a lateral perspective. I think that ability to see things completely differently from others is an integral quality of any artist, no matter what the discipline
A] We actually watched Almost Famous the night before going in to record the last two songs on our EP, so there’s no doubt that influenced the way we went about perfecting and recording the songs. In fact, whenever we play them I think about that film.
S] What challenges do you face as a band?
C] It is notoriously difficult to gain recognition in music scenes today, there is some clear bias, certain circles are renowned for being inaccessible and also disingenuousness is rife. The “band scene” is heavily saturated and subsequently people are simply overlooked.
R] Identifying our certain sound to also help create a unique image!
T] I guess the biggest challenge we face at the moment is shifting priorities. We all want to push forward with the band and that’s always going to be a big priority but with the other guys studying hard and me working most days, it can be difficult to balance all our responsibilities and still find the time to get into the studio and write, as well as get out on the road and play.
A] In terms of writing everyone is pretty laid back and happy to work together so there aren’t really any problems there. That being said I’d say that as a band we face a big challenge in that outside of uni term time we live several hours apart which can make consistent practice and meeting up much more difficult than it is normally.
S] What have you learned about yourself as musicians and artists since being in a band?
C] It’s quite fascinating to see everything you’ve read, heard and studied pour out into your art and therefore, I’ve learnt to what extent I am indeed influenced by certain artists. The song writing process is something which we are becoming more adept in, honing in on methods that are clearly working, but also exploring new horizons for fresh inspiration.
R] We’ve learned to choose wisely on which goals to reach and fully invest into each one
T] We’ve learned to let go of things a bit more and serve the song. That’s a mantra we use a lot in the studio. If something sounds awesome in isolation or is technically difficult, it doesn’t mean it makes the cut. The benchmark for us is if it improves the track. Does it help the track flow? Does it add to the hook? If not then it gets dropped to the cutting room floor.
A] The main thing I’ve learned is how you can use influences from other styles of music. So for instance I would probably name my main influences as a bass player to be Tim Commerford from Rage Against the Machine, Adam Getgood from Periphery, and Martin Mendez from Opeth – even though as a band we aren’t really like any of those.
S] What advice would you give to others?
C] We are probably far from qualified to give advice to others, but I think that if you ultimately enjoy making music, playing with others and if music does consume your thoughts then get out there, but most importantly enjoy the process. Whilst at times it has been stressful, music for us is an escape, it’s so very personal, whether it be playing or listening.
R] Stick to whatever you’re doing if you enjoy it and there is some clear interest from others
T] Make your music for yourself, not anyone else. If you’re writing to try and make something you think people will want, you’ll end up with nothing worth sharing. We write what we want to hear and what we want to play and we hope that in the process we’ll create something people will want to enjoy for themselves. I think if we stopped and considered what people might want instead of what we feel like creating, we’d be lost in an instant.
A] I’d say that if you play an instrument you should join a band immediately. Even if you have no interest in performing or recording material. Even if you later decide to leave due to other commitments. Even if you mostly listen to extreme heavy metal bands that nobody else in the band has heard of (Sojourner anybody? What about Skyforest?) …cough Regardless, it’s a lot of fun, trust me
S] What are your plans for the rest of the year?
C] We have a headline show in our hometown (Leicester) next month, which we shall be preparing for vigorously. We are aiming for some bbc introducing recognition, but mainly cultivating an organic following from playing shows around the Midlands.
R] Continue writing more songs!
T] In the immediate future we’re trying to get some more material together to fill a couple of hometown shows we have coming up in Leicester in October. After that we’re mastering a handful of our favourites to bring out as an EP before the year is out. We’re hoping to have another single out soon and then drop the EP shortly after to see out the year. In 2019, who knows? We certainly want to start growing our fan base a bit more so we might be heading out to play in some further flung cities – keep your ears to the ground for that!
A] I’m stepping down as I will be spending a lot of time away due to me joining the army. Therefore I’m helping to make sure these songs get big so that I can live off royalties MWAHAHHAAHAH
S] What have been some career highlights so far?
C] The official inception of the band in its current form was quite recent, so our “career” has only spanned a mere few months so far. However I look back fondly on the times when everything simply falls into place after presenting the back bone of a new song, trying to figure out various parts, there is almost always a moment when you feel that you’ve cracked it- it may have taken a different direction to that which you’ve envisioned, yet it feels entirely right.
R] Recording in the studio first time, playing in different cities!
T] I can’t say too much but we’re hoping to work with a really up and coming artist and producer on one of the tracks that will be on the EP which will be a huge highlight. He’s an artist we really respect and we love his stuff so we’ll be chuffed to work with him.
A] I’m not sure I can pinpoint a particular highlight; just being in a band playing shows and recording songs is the highlight for me!]