The Flapper in Birmingham hosted up and coming Liverpool based metallers Loathe on Saturday 7th July and we got a chance to interview them before witnessing a frenzied mosh-inducing performance. I sat down with Erik Bickerstaffe (guitarist and secondary vocals) and Feisal El-Khazragi (bassist) backstage for a chat to discuss all things Loathe!

How are you guys feeling about being nominated for the ‘Best UK Breakthrough Band’ award at the Heavy Music Awards this year?

Erik: It’s sick! When we first started doing music, or at least when I first started doing music, I never really expected to be able to be up for an award at all, to get to that level is weird but it’s sick, I’m all hyped about it and feel privileged to be in the position that we are.

Feisal: It’s pretty good isn’t it!

Erik: We went to the  Metal Hammer Golden Gods awards which was a similar event and we were up for essentially the same award – their version of it, it was great! We’re from Liverpool –  St. Helens way so to come together just us being us and being around those people in that ceremony is amazing, I felt so out of place (laughs)!

Feisal: Yeah it was sick, we watched Meshuggah play and a band called Carpenter Brut that played as well who we quite like. We brought out the smart clothing after being at Download for three days and we were all changing into our smart clothes on the roadside outside a Hiltons!

Erik: We absolutely stunk! Yeah it was really bad but we tried to shower and freshen up, not so much the rockstar lifestyle (laughs)! We went to that Hilton after changing to store our stuff and Dani Filth was just chilling there, as Cradle of Filth had just played Download Festival and our PR Claire called him and we chilled together which was cool!

 

Your 2017 album ‘The Cold Sun’ details an enticing concept narrative as obviously you guys know, is this something you plan on doing further – having a thematic direction like that?

Erik: I think so, we try and make our albums way more than just like a collection of songs. So we try and make it as artistic and cool as possible essentially, without being egotistical though we just want things to be interesting and visually stimulating. If it warrants for a concept, we’ll do it, if not, we won’t do it.

Feisal: It’s nice to have each set of songs have a bit more behind them because the way that a collection of songs or a record is rolled out can actually make the songs sound more interesting – I think The 1975 are a prime example of doing that.

 

How did the collaboration with Holding Absence for the most recent release; the ‘This is As One’ split EP come about?

Erik: We tossed the idea up cause we had a little run touring with Bloodyouth and Holding Absence

Feisal: After the London show, we were all like alright let’s try and do something together!

Erik: Also no one really does splits anymore, it’s a sick little concept and we wanted to bring that old school mentality back with releasing tunes so we did that, after we got friendly with Holding Absence on that tour so it just kinda made sense. We sent it to the label and they were keen on it so!

 

In that similar vein, do you have any other bands in your sights for a potential collaboration?

Feisal: I’d love to something that’s an even more eclectic mix than Holding Absence and us, there’s a band from Cardiff which are pretty cool called Chain of Flowers and we have mates in God Complex too, so possibly something with either of them.

Erik: A band from Bristol called Phoxjaw! With collaborations I’m not sure about splits cause we’ve done that you know, but in terms of anything artistically collaborative, definitely God Complex we wanna work with them, Parting Gift we love them, Lotus Eater, Phoxjaw – all these cool new bands that are modern era really. There’s literally loads; they’ll just keep coming to me (laughs) but we wanna just have our friendship established with bands before thinking about what we’d do together conceptually you know.

 

Do you guys have a favourite song to perform live at the moment?

Erik: I think for me, ‘Dance on My Skin’, or ‘Servant and Master’!

Feisal: ‘Servant and Master’ is really fun, we just put ‘East of Eden’ back in the set so I’ve just had to learn that, I really like playing that!

Erik: I do not (laughs)!

Feisal: (laughs) Hardest song to play for sure!

 

What is something that each of you loathes about life?

Erik: About life? Erm, the heat (laughs)!

Feisal: So many things (laughs), I would say people who constantly dismiss every conspiracy theory.

 

The most important question I’ve got for ya, is it coming home?!

Erik: Yeah it has done (laughs). I don’t follow football, but I’ll go with all the sheep and say yes!

Feisal: I reckon, we’re going to lose to France in the final, Zinedine Zidane’s gonna headbutt everyone (laughs)! Nah erm, yeah probably! It’s either gonna be that or Russia!

-*this interview was conducted as Russia were playing Croatia*

 

One band, could be any band at all, that you would love to go on tour with?

Erik: There’s a few to be fair! Meshuggah for one, Deftones, GlassjawConverge, Radiohead, The 1975, I’d love to go on tour with Drake!

Feisal: RadioheadSlowdive, Bullet For My Valentine.

Erik: Literally, soo many bands (laughs), we really don’t like looking at genres at all or any restrictions whatsoever so whatever we choose to do, whatever music we wanna do at that time that’s what we’re gonna do.

Feisal: And it’s kinda like each record is opening up new doors for us to tour with different bands, so I guess we’re sort of coming up with it as we move along. But it’s like each record fits in partly to a set that will eventually become the perfect set that we could play and tour with a range of artists and bands.

 

Cool, I think you can hear that to be fair obviously there is growth and development in each release so far and its good to keep yourself free of pigeon-holing yourselves:

Erik: Absolutely yeah although it’s hard to do that sometimes; it’s easy to be pigeon-holed but it’s hard to get out of it, I feel lucky to be in a position where we can realise this now before we’ve really made our imprint on the world!

Feisal: And some people may know how to break out of such boxes but they might be too scared to do it whereas I feel as if we’re definitely gonna do the stuff we wanna do and keep it as eclectic as possible!

Erik: We do not care for such restrictions, we’ve done what we want since the beginning and here we are so we’re gonna keep doing exactly that and  essentially retain this mindset.

 

And finally, what is one aspiration you have for the band this year?

Erik: New music is the main thing for us at the moment, we’ve been doing a lot of touring and new music has been on our minds for a while, maybe we’ll at least have something by the end of the year, maybe next year we’ll see. It’s a very exciting time for us right now and we’re all so happy with how things have been going.

Feisal: I wanna complete a full transition from playing a guitar to bass and get used to being a bassist not just a guitarist playing bass so that’s my goal and trying to add to what Loathe already has, it’s weird with joining one of my favourite bands and wanting to try and change things because I’m a fan of everything that they’ve done and everyone as individuals as well, so just finding my place more within the dynamic, expanding on what my writing can do is an aim too, and there’s loads of really cool stuff going on behind the scenes like the Heavy Music Awards nomination!

Loathe‘s most recent offering, the split EP with Holding Absence titled ‘This is As One’ is out now via Sharptone Records. Check their website here: http://www.loatheasone.com/

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