We Catch Up With Cambion For A Chat

To those who like labels, CAMBION are a core/tech/prog/djent band.

To the rest of us, Cambion are a talented, nay, gifted group of individuals, namely Elliott Alderman-Broom (vocals/guitar), Marc Randall (guitar), Frank Dennis (drums) and Jonny Walker (bass), who are creating quite a stir, both with fans and critics, and have just been announced to appear for a second time at BLOODSTOCK Festival.

They have a brace of well-received E.P’s under their belt, through BORED STIFF RECORDS, and an album on the way.

Prolific tourers, we caught up with the guys recently. I thought I’d ask about their recent experiences:

DGM: Hi guys. Good to see you on home turf. How have the crowds treated you on your recent travels?

Elliott: “We’ve definitely noticed a variation from region to region. Not so much in the major cities like London, Manchester or Birmingham. There, people seem to be a bit more accepting of new bands, new music. Away from these areas, like parts of Wales, the South West, etc, it can be a bit clique-y.”

DGM: How do you mean? You’ve had to work harder to win a crowd over?

Frank: “Yeah. We’re from Exeter, and when we started out, we found it hard to get our foot in the door, but through constant gigging and taking time to speak to the crowds, we won people over, who’ve then gone on to tell their friends. It’s been the same elsewhere. Sometimes, talking to people afterwards seems more important than the actual gig.”

Last October, Cambion gained a coveted slot at EUROBLAST in Cologne, sharing a stage with one of their greatest influences, MESHUGGAH.

DGM: How did that feel?

Elliott: “Insane!”

Frank: “I’m still a bit speechless about it! It was a great experience.”

There’s a long, reflective pause, followed by spontaneous laughter from all…

Frank: “Yeah… speechless!”

DGM: What have you taken from your European experience?

Elliott: “From our experience, they treat bands a lot differently in Europe.

For example, at a UK festival, there’s like a pecking order. If a bigger band turns up, you’re kind of moved to the side.

In Europe, no matter who you are, us, or someone like Meshuggah, you get treated the same.”

Frank: “They just seem to care more about the lesser-known bands.”

DGM: So, on the other side of the stage, did that feeling carry over?

Elliott: Yeah, it did. It was brilliant. At Euroblast, we were first on, on the first day, which is a really scary slot, because either a lot of people turn up to see what you’re about, or no-one turns up. At first the room was practically empty, which worried us, but just as we were about to take to the stage, all these people came from nowhere! It was amazing!

DGM: So you’d do it again?

“Yeah. Too right!”, they all agree.

As I said at the top, Cambion have just been announced for Bloodstock, this year on the Sophie Lancaster Stage.

DGM: Do you think winning a place on the Newblood Stage in 2012 raised your profile, opening doors for you?

 

Elliott: “Bloodstock is one of those festivals where everyone [in the metal scene] has either heard of it, been to it, or are going to it, so just being linked to it is a huge deal.

We got great reviews off the back of our [Newblood] appearance. Not just ‘They won a place…’, but ‘They nailed it!’

Obviously, there are other genre festivals, but Bloodstock has that fantastic reputation for supporting the new and unsigned bands.”

It was ‘third-time-lucky’ for Cambion in the Metal To The Masses competition.

DGM: What advice would you give to bands thinking of entering M2TM?

Frank: “Don’t give up!

Don’t be put off if you’re not successful the first time. We got as far as the semi’s first time, didn’t rate second time, and the third time, Simon Hall saw us, and said ‘They’re a band for Bloodstock!’

 You’ve just got to believe, and keep trying.

Elliott: “Also, with more regional heats now, it’s easier to play to ‘your’ crowd. Before, you not only had to win over the judges, but also the crowd, which can have an influence on how you’re perceived. Add to that, if you’d travelled to a different area, you were almost battling the other bands. Playing more locally, there’s a high chance you’ll know the other bands, and you’re willing them on to win. It’s a lot friendlier atmosphere, if that makes sense.”

Back to the forthcoming album.

DGM: With the E.P’s reaping critical acclaim, what can we expect from the album?

Frank: “Heavy… …stuff!”

(laughs)

“We’re still finishing off the writing, but we think it’s among the best stuff we’ve written as a band. Obviously, it’s in a similar vein to our previous work, but different at the same time.”

DGM: So an evolution, then?

 

Elliott: “With the first EP, we were still finding our feet, with a ‘let’s see where this goes’ approach. ‘Virus’ was much more directed. We knew where we wanted to go. The album is very much the finished Cambion product.”

DGM: Is it more daunting putting a larger set of material together?

 

Elliott: “Yeah. Quite scary! We’ve set ourselves a timeframe in which we want to get it out there, how we want it to sound….”

Marc: “…whether we can play it live!”

(laughs)

Frank: “Haha. There’s been a lot of sitting in a darkened room learning the new stuff before we even bring it to rehearsal!”

DGM: Was the technicality a conscious decision?

Elliott: “We’ve become more technical over the last four years, definitely, but we’re now striking a balance between the technical side of the playing and the melody. It’s not about being flashy or ‘look what we can do’. It’s got to have melody and groove too.”

I ask about the importance of third parties filling supporting roles, and the pros and cons of ‘self releasing’.

Elliott: “We still do a lot of that stuff on our own. The obvious advantages being cost and control. Rather than having someone telling us what to do, we discuss what we want to do, and come up with a gameplan and timescale of how we’re going to achieve it.

Frank “Of course, in the long term, all bands are going to need PR, management, etc, but there’s no need to rush into signing deals. Do the groundwork. The best tour manager in the world won’t get you sold out venues if no-one knows who you are.”

Elliott: “The flip side is, if you’re linked to someone in the business with a credible reputation, it can help you get a foot in the door further afield.”

Frank: “There is a huge element of ‘who you know’ in the music world, which comes back to the whole ‘talking to people’ like we were saying earlier.”

Like many bands, Cambion are no strangers to personnel changes. Most recently, Colin Beale relinquished bass duties, with Jonny Walker stepping up to the plate.

DGM: So. Has it all settled down now?

Frank: “Hopefully!”

(laughs)

“Finding a new bassist was surprisingly easy, actually. When we were looking for a guitarist, we were lucky to find Marc, who, in turn, knew Johnny.”

DGM: How much influence have you had on the sound of the new material, Jonny?

 

Jonny: “A lot of the songs were already basically written, and, of course there’s the previous material, so for the most part, I’ve been learning to play the songs, but where there’s room, I’ve put my own stamp on things.”

Elliott: “By the time the album’s finished, it’ll be a much heavier stamp!”

DGM: April sees you heading out on tour with BEHOLDER. How’s the prep going for that?

Marc: “It’s not!”

There’s slightly nervous laughter from all…

Marc: “We’ve been going through the new material a lot.”

DGM: So can we expect to be treated to a teaser from the album?

 

Marc: “I think it’s fair to assume some of the new stuff will get an airing.”

Elliott: “The beauty of trialing them out on tour is that we can slip a different new one in each night and gauge the reaction, but it does add an extra level of nervousness to the show!”

DGM: Do any of you particularly suffer with nerves?

Marc: “Hell, yeah. I’ve had times where, seconds before we’re due to play, I can’t remember a note! Luckily, so far, it’s always come back to me in the nick of time!”

Elliott: “I think, if you don’t get nervous before a gig, you’ve lost your edge.”

DGM: So you’ve got the tour in April, an album imminent, and Bloodstock in the Summer. What else is going on?

 

Frank: “Beards!”

 

Marc: “Yup. We plan to lengthen our beards!”

Elliott: “I plan to simply have a more convincing one!”

I feel that’s as good a place as any to wrap up.

DGM: Any final words for our readers?

Marc: “Buy merch!”

(laughs)

Elliott: “Come out and see us on the road, and don’t forget to stop for a chat.”

See CAMBION on Tour next month!

Interview by: Rob Nankivell

]]>

Check Also

Great Music Stories: Announces Fourth Instalment Of Modern Rock Free CD

This week, Great Music Stories releases Modern Rock Vol 4 in a bid to help …

New Years Day

NEW YEARS DAY: New single, ‘Hurts Like Hell’

NEW YEARS DAY release a new single and music video for ‘Hurts Like Hell’, via …

BLOODSTOCK reveals first batch of 2023 bands!

With BLOODSTOCK 2022 well under way, the festival is thrilled to already be looking ahead …