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INTERVIEW: Matthew ‘Bax’ Baxendale – The Family

Just because THE FAMILY are the ashes of former Hardcore piece DEAD HARTS doesn’t necessarily mean they are going in the same musical direction as their predecessor. In fact they are trying something completely different, something that frontman Matthew ‘Bax’ Baxendale has wanted to do for quite sometime. Distorted Sound‘s Lotty Whittingham grabs a chat with the frontman about recording in two different locations, how we’ve become reliant on social media, their upcoming tour with WHILE SHE SLEEPS and reflects on the ashes of DEAD HARTS and how THE FAMILY came into being.

So Bax, how are you doing this evening?

Bax: Not bad thank you, it’s been a long day at work and a good weekend where we shot a new music video for our next single. It went really well.

Could you tell me more about this music video?

Bax: Yes of course, it’s for the second single we are putting out from our new EP and the first single we’re doing a video for. The track is called My Kind Of Scum. We filmed the video Saturday, we had a full day of shooting and it looks really cool. There is a lot of different concepts to the video and it’s really fun. I think everyone will dig it when it comes out.

My Kind Of Scum is the kind of song that will go down well at live shows, so I can imagine they will enjoy the video and single.

Bax: It’s definitely one of the more energetic songs and I think it’s the best song on the EP.

It’s my personal favourite on the EP as well, it has a punkish vibe with a groovy beat, would you agree?

Bax: Yes I definitely agree with that, it has the punkish aspects yet in the verses it has a more folkish/QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE vibe to it. That’s what we were going for.

I was actually trying to think who you sounded like on the EP and now you’ve said QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE I can hear that now, at first I thought of FOO FIGHTERS.

Bax: We take massive influences from the QUEENS; we’re trying to incorporate them into our sounds as much as possible. Giving what we’re trying to do with our sound.

You might have been asked this already but why the change in musical direction? You were originally fronting DEAD HARTS who are more Hardcore orientated, now you are a more melodic piece.

Bax: We’re into the heavy music and stuff. Personally I’d say this is the music I have always been into like NIRVANA, ALICE IN CHAINS, things like that; growing up they were my favourite bands. Me and Dom, who used to be in DEAD HARTS, have always wanted to try something like that and it’s something we wanted to do. However whilst we were in DEAD HARTS with loads of touring it was hard to try and start that up. When we realised DEAD HARTS were coming to an end, that’s when we decided to start it up and give it a go.

What point did you realise DEAD HARTS were coming to an end?

Bax: I’d probably say December 2015 I think, we were touring with an American band called STRAY FROM THE PATH. We’d been touring for about 8 months of the year, so a lot of touring. We were all in different places in our lives so one of us wanting to start THE FAMILY and our drummer owns quite an established clothing company so he wanted to focus more on that. We just all wanted to do different things really.

How many of the original members of DEAD HARTS are now in THE FAMILY?

Bax: I started DEAD HARTS in 2009 but there is also Don who played guitar in DEAD HARTS. He now plays bass in this band. So me and him are in this band and the other two we’re really good friends with. One of them used to be a stand in for us.

Is that from session, live or both?

Bax: With Josh, the other guitarist, he’s just been a long-time friend of ours. We had a few problems with finding bass players so it was handy having Josh coming and standing in really.

So you are due to release your new EP this Friday, I would like to hear about the recording process behind this? You got some people who have worked with some big names to master and produce this record.

Bax: Yes, we had a producer called Pete Hutchings. He’s a good friend of ours, we haven’t known him for too long but we worked alongside him in a London studio called Prego Records. A lot of pop artists worked at that studio such as ALL SAINTS and John Newman, things like that. So yeah we got to work with Pete which was amazing and we didn’t want to work with anyone else. I’m not usually keen on the recording side of things but Pete made such a great experience. The second half of the record we moved the studio from London back to our home town and set up a pop up studio in there. We finished the EP off there. That was a great experience because it was much more homely environment and we had quite a lot of time to do it.

Out of curiosity, why did you choose to record in two different places?

Bax: We’ve actually nearly recorded a full length so the first four tracks we recorded in London. It was a great experience but due to the cost of housing everyone was a hit money wise. Since we got along with Pete so well he suggested about moving the studio to our home town and we house him. I don’t think we’d have done it any other way really.

I am keen to know what the themes and messages are within your music, reading your press release it mentions talking about being in a media capitalist society.

Bax: I do all the lyrics so I write about the stuff that is personal to me at the time. For example, the song Radio Headphones is about mass produced shit on the radio that most of us have to listen to but don’t really want to listen to. The songs also look into the media side of things, particularly social media. Particularly how driven society is by social media and how the world would crumble if it wasn’t there. We try not to fall into that category as much, I don’t have any social media myself I never have. I can see the benefits to it but there are also a lot of bad parts to it as well. So we wanted to keep the EP relevant to what’s happening now and it can be an EP that everyone can relate to.

I’m curious to know what the song My Kind Of Scum entails.

Bax: This song is about those particular people who conform to these ideologies set by society and they’re trying to be people they’re not. They’re trying to live a life on the Internet but you go to meet them in real life and they’re not who you thought they were or they turn out to be really boring and no personality at all. Whereas online they have this presence and seem like a great person but they hide behind their computer screens or any other means of media so they’re not our kind of scum if you get what I’m saying.

There are those who grew up with social media as part of their lives.

Bax: I grew up in the nineties where it would take half an hour to load up a page and things like that. Don’t get me wrong I have nothing against social media. Whether you like it or not, it’s part of our lives now and it’s kind of how the world works now. I don’t like the idea that people live their lives by it now, they’re so sucked in by it all now. What happened to the days where you used to bring your friends around to hang around in the park or at the pub? Now we just talk to people on the Internet. It’s like you go to Starbucks and see people at their laptops. Everyone has their point of view and I’m not saying mine’s the right one. I think there’s a lot of people who have a lot of angst towards that way of life now. So yes I guess that’s what it’s all about.

So you’ll be off on tour with the band WHILE SHE SLEEPS very soon.

Bax: Yes we are, one more date sold out last week so that’s two dates out of five that have sold out already.

I suppose this will be great exposure as this will happen after you’ve released the EP.

Bax: Yes it’s good, we’re very fortunate to be playing these calibre shows this early on when we’ve only just come out as a group. The guys from WHILE SHE SLEEPS have always been good friends of ours, we’re both from Sheffield and we can’t thank them enough for inviting us to come on tour with them.

Will this be the first time performing as THE FAMILY?

Bax: No, before we properly came out as a band we played about five or six shows. We performed under the name THE FAMILY but we didn’t have any social media so nobody knew who we were and didn’t know about those shows. We did play with some really cool bands. A couple of weeks ago we did a show with a band called BLACK PEAKS, they’ve supported DEFTONES at Wembley. We supported BLACK PEAKS who are also really good friends of ours.

To round up, are there any other plans for THE FAMILY?

Bax: We’ve got some more shows in the pipeline, including a nice little tour in September with a cool band that I can’t say too much about. We’ve also hopefully got a couple of festival appearances and we’re looking into finishing off the full length album by the end of the year. Hopefully this time next year the full length will be out. We’re just working hard as fuck really.

Welcome To The Family is set for release on May 19th via self-release.

Like THE FAMILY on Facebook.

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Distorted Sound Issue 24 COVER

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