Stoke-on-Trent-based Leaf are a 4 piece hard rock, grungey maelstrom of a band. Big riffs and massive hooks will give you that pain in arse earworm that will be with you for days. Vocalist/guitarist Colin Anderson drew the short straw and had to fill in the blanks on our introduction to Leaf…
What are the origins of Leaf?
In 1992, we had our first incarnation, adorned with beautiful flowing locks of hair and sporting the hollow-cheeked, effortlessly cool look of the heroin-chic era (minus the actual addiction) while carrying the inner turmoil of youthful angst. Talent scouts saw in us the potential to become the ‘UK Pearl Jam.’ At the time, I (Colin) was composing library music for television during the day, having recently departed from a glam-inspired band that didn’t truly reflect my identity. Seeking change, I responded to an ad and connected with Jarad, forming an instant bond. However, our immaturity and lack of appreciation for what we had led to our eventual disbandment. Fast forward 25-30 years, and I felt a strong urge to play proper music again, prompting me to take a chance by reaching out to Jarad through a Facebook message. He reignited that long-lost spark within me. Soon after Mark came aboard when the original drummer hesitated to fully commit. Mark and I share a history that dates back to the 80s, and he also had a prior stint with the band during a previous breakup. Daz is the glue that binds us Now, all of us have matured significantly and gained wisdom from our experiences. The trials and tribulations of our youth are firmly behind us!
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe Leaf?
Envision a fusion of the grunge sound reminiscent of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam, combined with the relentless intensity of Turnstile, infused with the raw anger showcased by Cleopatrick, and the infectious sing-along quality akin to Blink 182 and the Foo Fighters. Picture this and you’ll come close to grasping a feel for our musical style. Or you could simply describe us as mature and original. I prefer the longer version…more imaginative.
How did you feel performing your first gig as a band, and how was it?
First gig in the old days was full of swagger, bombast, and zero nerves; we (and by that, I mean, I) would have come across as arrogant and annoying. This time around it was full of joy, being a release of the frustration of life, peppered with the cathartic release of shouting and swearing loudly over massive riffs.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams at the minute with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out to build a name for themselves?
An interesting question! I totally agree that there is a massive wealth of talent and amazing music out there. However, it is becoming more commonplace to find artists who conform to popular trends. It saddens me to witness the overuse of standardized syncopated drums, digitally altered vocals, and overly complex compositions that lack immediacy and impact. On the other hand, there are the trailblazing artists who leave a lasting impact, resonating deeply with audiences. I firmly believe that our band falls into this category. Rather than imitating others, we create music that reflects our own angst and passions. We infuse our performances with unwavering energy, enthusiasm, and a disregard for conforming to specific artists or trends. Recently, we had the opportunity to collaborate with a highly talented band (whom I won’t mention), but it was apparent that they drew heavily from a single prominent influence. If only they could open their minds to the vast array of incredible music available, their potential for success would be boundless.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
We are taking a bit of a different approach this year. We have sat back and watched a bunch of friends’ bands release albums. Who to? Their Mum and friends? It is so demoralising to see all that effort and utter talent disappearing into a void. So, we are releasing one song a month over the course of 2023 and probably beyond. We have just recorded the last 2023 batch and they are bangers. Not for us the ‘record, wait, release’, we want to keep it fresh, chart our progression, and keep our Mums and friends on tenterhooks.
In terms of a similar audience, which band out there at the minute do you feel Leaf would be best suited to open for?
Mammoth WVH, Foos maybe? Heavy, melodic, and committed to keeping music, live real, and NO BACKING TRACKS!
Excluding yourself, which new band would you like to see break out and become a success?
There is a band in Stoke/Manchester called Bathtub. I think they are super-talented and deserve to go far. There are others in Stoke that eclipse some of the major bands out there – did you see GnR at Glastonbury? Past their sell-by date and lacking in relevancy to the state of the world today. Riskee and the Ridicule from Kent should be checked out; it is criminal that they are not huge.
What are your own first musical memories? And what was the lightbulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
In the past, it was the hunt for fame and fortune, the guitar for me seemed a really cool thing to try and play and the glam bands had cool outfits. I spent years looking at myself in the mirror just posing and pulling shapes. I remember seeing rock bands on Top of the Pops and they always were the exciting ones that made me don my Mums stack heels. I know that Mark was obsessed with the Friday Night Rock Show and taping stuff off the radio. Jarad started out as a drummer, thank goodness he swapped.
Now what gets me into making music is the camaraderie, the passion, the grit and determination and I don’t care as much about fame. My moves are less cock-rock and more real and rather angry. Jarad is a rock, so solid and funny. Daz and his mellow musicality add a solidity and tightness whilst Mark forces us to be professional. I love these guys to death.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
Riskee and the Ridicule in Manchester. They are amazing. You have got to see the intensity and the passion that they play with. Scott is an amazing singer and he actually scares me…
What current social issue are you particularly passionate about?
The disparity between rich and poor and the fact that this government of the last 12 years has pillaged the country for all that it could. How can a ‘full-time’ MPs have other jobs that rake millions in? Rise, rebel, resist!
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
I don’t really listen to any of the bands that you would expect a singer in a melodic hard rock band to listen to – I have never listened to an entire Foos album, for example. I prefer angsty, punky stuff with the odd curveball chucked in. Give me Idles over Pearl jam any day.
What new music have you been enjoying so far this year?
Every Loser by Iggy Pop. I know he is old, but he is still relevant. I did pick another album, by a young rap artist…but he is on trial for unspeakable things, so Iggy gets it by not being about to go to prison (how has he not been???).
To be honest I really do not have the time or patience to listen to any album all the way through any more. I am far too fidgety (it drives people mad). I didn’t used to be like that, I zoned out listening to the production and stuff, but with all that music out there I just keep dipping and flipping to the next track – there is SOOOO much good stuff out there. To be completely fair, the internet has ruined me. The last one I listened to completely was Glow On by Turnstile, but that was because my phone was dead and someone had loaned me the CD (old skool).
What does the remainder of 2023 hold for Leaf?
Over the next year, we are looking for gigs, anywhere and everywhere. Anyone out there want a grunge band with massive riffs, catchy hooks, and a groove?
Long term we just want people to hear our music, turn up for gigs and appreciate us. If fame and fortune come along, then all the better. We will carry on releasing a song a month until we die… Hey, it took eight years for Idles to release Brutalism, so you never know.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
We have all the usual and the lads are always engaging with stuff – I am too busy to look at most of it, but even I still dip in and out!
Leaf Website – leafband.co.uk
Facebook – leafbanduk
Instagram – leafbanduk
Linktree – https://linktr.ee/leafbanduk
On Bandcamp – https://leafuk.bandcamp.com/
We are on all major music platforms under Leaf UK – including Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Music and Itunes. Oh and Deezer.
Thanks for the interview!