Interview: Counting Days – Ghostfest 2015

How you doing guys?

“Yeah very well thanks. Jonny’s hung over.”

Enjoying Day Two so far?

“No! [Haha]. Nah, I’m enjoying it so far. Ive had to wade through a maze of people that I know. Its tough being popular isn’t it. My heart bleeds [haha].”

You played yesterday. How was it for you?

“Yesterday was really cool. Yeah, I mean we haven’t played many shows, full stop. Yesterday was only our tenth show, so it’s good to be back. Nice to give new songs an airing, when you’ve been working on them for a long time, so its nice to play those live. A lot of them got a good reaction, and good to see that people acknowledged how sick they are, [haha]. Its good to see that the songs weren’t lost in the crowd.”

You’ve been a group for, what, the best part of a year now?

“Yeah, I’d say the best part of two years, with the behind the scenes, but a year since we released anything. There were some delays at first, with real life situations but yeah, I’d say we’ve been going ‘properly’ for the best part of a year.”

Are you surprised by how successful the past year has been?

“No! [Haha]. No, I am. Obviously it could have gone better, but it’s gone pretty damn well to be honest. It’s been a good year.”

Do you think your past experiences have helped that success?

“Yeah, we didn’t make the same mistakes as we had previously, early on. We didn’t sign with the first people that came along. We knew what we were doing a bit more with this band. It was nice to have a body of people who are willing to check us out. I think the hardest part about starting a new band is getting people to listen to your music in the first place, so having people that were willing to check us out because of our past projects really helped. It was nice. When we announced the band, the Internet kind of went a bit crazy. It was cool. I just put a message up saying this is what was happening, thinking maybe four likes, but people got really excited. Probably mostly because Tom’s back but, you know.”

When you came together, did you find the writing process natural or did it take a while to gel?

“I think the fact that it was so easy is why the band has done so well and why it has carried on, really. We are a band because we like writing songs together. Lasselle and I have been writing songs together for years, so all we really needed was a guitarist and a bassist. When we asked Tom to join, we asked him as a mate, and as a fan as well. We knew what we were getting. We knew what Tom could bring to the band and what he sounded like.”

You’ve played some pretty huge shows for such a new band. Can we expect that sort of momentum to continue with the album?

I hope so. It’d be a shame if we released the album and the shows stopped [haha]. Solid plans, we have 10-15 shows, our own shows that we are going to do. We haven’t really headlined a show this year so it’s going to be interesting. We’ve played a club night, and that was interesting, but not really properly headlined, but these will be our shows so post that. It’s a bit up in the air. Were going to go on tour basically. The sky’s the limit.”

Where would you like to tour?

“I think initially we want to break our own back yard really, get some good strong performances from there, supporting bigger bands. It’d be nice to go to Europe next year. America, Australia, I mean everywhere would be nice. Taking it one step at a time.”

With the brand new album only a few weeks away, have you been able to test out the new material and how has the reaction been?

“Yesterday [haha]. I mean, there’s only one song in our set that isn’t on the album. There are a couple of songs that we have played for a while, but yeah, last night was a good taster for the new songs. Couldn’t be happier with it really. Like I mentioned earlier, yesterday, as I was playing it, you could see the crowd were engaged. Its good for the album release as well because they like it.”

Since the release of the EP, would you say your style has progressed, or is it more of what we heard from the EP?

“It’s definitely a progression of the EP. It’s definitely heavier, some people say it’s darker. There are a couple of songs that are a lot darker. Much more complicated songs as well. Like, songwriting wise it’s a bit more elaborate.”

Were you able to experiment a bit with these tracks?

“Yeah, with the EP we used bits of old songs that we had lying around, but at that stage we didn’t really know what direction the band was going to take. Like, what would be our main focus. When we started writing songs we all stepped up to contribute as best as we could.”

Do you all equally contribute to the songwriting, or is it mainly one or two of you?

“I’d say me, Tom and Lasselle write most of the songs. Then like Alex and Bobby would throw around some ideas and sprinkle some paprika on it every now and then. [Haha]. It’s cool to write like that, because we’ve been doing it for years. We know it works. It can be a case of too many cooks spoiling the meal, so if all of us try writing a song, we’ll probably never get anywhere. It’s guitar productive for us three to sit in a room and just get it done. Not saying the other two aren’t creative or don’t contribute, but for just getting songs hammered out, it works. I think it’s the first album I had ever done that when we did ‘Bright Lights’, I hadn’t heard any of it. ‘Bright Lights’ is a TRC album before anyone asks. When we did ‘Nation’ I heard more, but still a few songs that I was like, what are they going to be like.”

Did you have everything finished before you went into the studio?

Yeah, we had everything done before we went into the studio. We were even going back and forth with the producer, changing and tweaking things. Nothing dramatic, shorten this maybe, don’t play that riff… little things, really, but it really helped, because we didn’t have to waste time and money writing songs in the studio, so we just spent our time making it sound as good as possible. I think that’s the story of my life [haha]. I was recording guitar, and he was screaming lyrics. Admittedly that’s very romantic. Life lessons [haha].”

You’ve been described as ‘punishing’ and ‘intense’. How would you describe yourselves?

“I’d say yeah, intense. It’s pretty apt to be fair. Not to sound big-headed, but I’d say the album is pretty punishing and intense.”

Did you plan the direction the album would take?

“We didn’t have a game plan when we started writing the album. It’s just the way that it went. We had some other songs that didn’t quite make it to the album that kind of sounded like Mastodon and melodic hardcore. They didn’t make the album just because they didn’t really fit… and they were shit! [haha]. Nah, they just didn’t really work with the other songs. When you’re structuring an album, it’s hard to fit them in. It was easy to just sort them out and be like, that’s not a Counting Days song. But it shows that we write just what we feel like.”

For those who haven’t heard you, why should people buy your music?

“Cause I was in TRC, Tom was in Heights and Bobby was in Last Witness [haha]. People think you’re really cool if you listen to us [haha]. I think if you are a fan of heavy, heavy music, then give it a try. Yeah, give it a go. If you liked our old bands, give it a go, if you didn’t, it’s a bit different. Give it a go. We work hard and we write songs that we have had good responses too so far. So some people like it. Heavy music, give it a go. And do actually buy it [haha]. You can illegally download it then buy 3 t-shirts [haha].”

With the bands that you have already played with this year, are there any who you think deserve most attention and are there any others you would like to tour with?

“That fresh young band, Hatebreed [haha]. They were pretty good last night. We want to give them a shout out to help them on their way [haha]. I hope they make all their dreams come true. I dunno, like, this is only our second show of the year. Soul Crusade. Our bassist, Alex, drums for them. We played with them earlier this year. Check out Rough Hands, and Dead Weight. And it’s better than American bands in an interview yesterday I ranted about how much I hated American bands. I was drunk though. No. Homegrown, man. Check out good British bands.”

If you could play with any band, in any venue. Who would it be and where?

“Kiss, at Castle Donnington [haha]. Metallica, at The Barfly [haha]. I mean, Metallica in arenas, come on, who wouldn’t want to do that? I’d like to support Mastodon as well. I just love them. It’s a really tough question, ‘cause you’d make a load of fans through One Direction but is that what you want to do? [Haha]. Umm, yeah, I guess Metallica, my all time favorite band, in arenas worldwide. If we’re not talking such silly answers, he said anyone anywhere! If were talking, less head in the clouds, then I’d say Mastodon are one of the best bands on the planet, definitely. If you’re listening Brent Hinds, hit your man up [haha].”

So, what have you got for the rest of 2015 and going into 2016?

“We have a bunch of shows booked up that are online now. We have a new single coming out.. got songs coming out… album coming out… new video, and tours. Yeah.”

Thanks very much for taking the time out to speak to us.

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