Here’s a reprint of a Q and A I did with Axis Of.
Axis Of Q and A
This month the Big List grabs a word in the shell-like of Portstewart-born/Belfast-based punk-imbued rock trio Axis Of on the eve of the release of their much-anticipated debut record ‘Finding St Kilda.’ Bassist/vocalist Ewen Friers gives us the inside scoop on the making of their long-awaited record, tells us why he’s thankful for our patience and comes clean about his budding bromance with American bruisers the Bronx.
Hi Ewen and welcome to the Big List. First off, in a few weeks time your debut record [‘Finding St Kilda’] finally hits record shop shelves. How do you feel about the impending release?
Ewen Friers (bass, vocals): “Hey, thanks! We’re curious to hear what all our friends from over the years will think of the record, but we’re excited to meet some new people through the album and get it out there to everyone at shows.”
Is there a sense of relief now that a full length record will be out there and in people’s hands?
“Its baffling to think we’ve had people turning up to gigs and staying interested in the band so far just on the back of a few demos and singles. It does feel good to be able to say- ‘Here’s an album with songs, lyrics, artwork. Sorry it took so long… and thank you for being so patient.’”
Can you tell us about the creation of ‘Finding St. Kilda?
“The album represents us the over the last two and half years, right up to this point. The sound and content has very much been shaped by our interests and experiences and particularly by touring. The album was recorded in Belfast at Start Together studio. We had a solid couple of weeks in the studio and a few short sessions throughout the course of about eight months and spent a day here and day there, adding little parts.”
The band’s received a fair bit of positive press pretty much since your inception. Did you feel under pressure to deliver a debut that would live up to expectations?
“I think any attention beforehand had actually encouraged us and it gave us the confidence to book the studio time and just make it happen. I would also say Rocky O’Reilly and the Start Together crew made us feel really at ease and relaxed.”
At the time of writing we’ve only had a few spins of the record so far, but ‘Lifehammer’ is a definite stand-out and a great slab of riffola. What’s your favourite track and why?
“I think we each have different favorite songs, and it alternates too. That’s why we’re so happy with album because it seems quite versatile. You can have your favorite in terms of lyrics, your favorite riffy one, heavy one, poppy one and that can keep changing over time.”
Speaking of ‘Lifehammer,’ you made a video for the track. Can you tell us about it? “Mark Easton and Co. at Tiny Bird Media [tinybirdmedia.com] put the whole thing together in a matter of hours. It’s a simple concept-the band playing the song in the rehearsal space-but it’s really beautifully shot and edited. I’m really happy with how it turned out and it is nice to think the focus is still the song.”
I’ve always loved the lyrical content of the band. What inspired the words on the album?
“The lyrics were mainly inspired by personal observations and stories concerning everything from touring, travel, nature, human relationships, activism, history and more. It’s a stream of ideas and images. We really hope that, above all, it’s thought provoking.”
‘Finding St Kilda’ is released via Smalltown America and I can’t think of a better label more suited to Axis Of. Were they always at the top of your list of labels to work with?
“I think so yes. Smalltown America have been a huge inspiration for our band since day one. They’re honest and very passionate about music.”
By the time the interview sees print, you’ll be on tour with the Bronx. This is your second time touring with them right?
“It is yes. We’ve been fans of theirs for years. Ethan [Harman, drums, vocals] and I went to see the Bronx together when we were at school actually and they seemed like the coolest people on earth. We toured with them in November last year and they were the coolest people on earth-and I mean movie cool. It’s a dream come true touring with a band like the Bronx.”
Axis Of are renowned for touring as far and wide as possible. What’s the best and worst thing about being on the road?
“The best thing about touring is being able to meet all the interesting people out there and getting to experience other environments. The worst thing about touring is when the van breaks down or crashes.”
‘Finding St Kilda’ by Axis Of is released via Smalltown America on March 18. The band play a special launch gig at the Empire Music Hall, Belfast on March 30 and are currently on a full-on UK and Irish tour (see facebook.com/Axisof for more details). Eager beavers will also be glad to know you can stream ‘Finding St Kilda’ here soundcloud.com/smalltown-america/sets/finding-st-kilda.