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INTERVIEW: William Robertson – Disposable

Since forming in 2009, thrash metallers DISPOSABLE have been rising up the ranks as part of the blossoming metal scene in Scotland. With studio releases and more recent appearances at Heavy Scotland and Wildfire Festival under their belts, you get the feeling that DISPOSABLE are just getting started. We spoke with bassist/vocalist William Robertson to talk about how the band have developed since their formation, the response to their brand new single Ravenous, the blossoming Scottish metal scene alongside getting a glimpse into their upcoming second studio album!

Hello, thanks for talking to Distorted Sound. So, DISPOSABLE are gearing up to finalise your second album. What can fans expect from the upcoming record?

William: Hey! It’s a pleasure to talk to you, thanks for having us. We’re at the point with the new record that we’re just about putting an end to the writing process, so there is still quite a way to go overall, but its starting to feel like a complete body of work to us at this point. We’ve just put out Ravenous which is a stand alone single to bridge the gap between material. I think it works quite well as a stepping stone into the songs that will be on the album. Our first album At the Foot of the World and follow up EP Life Misguided were heavily rooted in thrash metal. Ravenous was us really trying something different – keeping it fast but adding a lot of clean vocals and melody throughout. We tried to make it all about the catchy chorus and a groovy verse. That was something we had never done, so it was fun to try that. The upcoming music is really hard to explain, it has a punkier vibe overall but at the same time, it has a ‘largeness’ about it. A lot of the songs we’ve written sound really atmospheric and moody. We’re experimenting a lot and every song sounds quite different. Fans can expect a big chunk of what we’ve done previously served with a big chunk of ‘what-the-fuck-are-they-doing”!

So far, information on the new album is thin on the ground, can you give an insight into the sound and themes on the upcoming record?

William: Quite like Ravenous, the album will have a whole bunch of melodic vocal sound. But along with that there will be other weird and wonderful experimental things we have planned. Overall sound is really back to the thrash metal style. The songs are riffy and punky, but we’ve tried to develop sections to be really atmospheric and interesting, and we all plan to do a lot more vocals. I’ll still be at the forefront, but there will be entire sections that are just Oliver, or just Jack, or all three of us. It’s shaping up to be really cool and hopefully quite an interesting listen. The new material probably contains our most thrashy song ever, our most melodic song ever, our most atmospheric song ever and our most punky song ever.

It’s been three years since the release of your debut effort and a year on since your EP Life Misguided. How has the band developed in that time?

William: The most obvious difference is that we have a new guitar player. Our old guitarist Andy wasn’t feeling it anymore and he’s now away travelling. He seems a lot happier which is great, and the inspiration within the band got a bit of a kick up the arse, so it’s worked out pretty well and there’s really no hard feelings there at all. We really didn’t want to ‘replace’ Andy, which in itself would be a big task, we wanted to get someone with a pretty different background who could bring in fresh ideas and new styles. Liam, Jack and I got together at the end of last year when Andy let us know he was going to step out, and we all basically said “Oliver is the number one choice”. Luckily for us Oliver was really up for it and he’s brought a lot of inspiration and good vibes into the band. He is a really mega talented guy and has no lid on his musical imagination, so that was really great for us considering Jack and I are essentially thrash metallers at heart. Liam has a lot in common with Oliver musically so they work well together. It’s interesting to fuse the music Oliver and Liam write with the parts Jack and I write. We inspire each other to write things we really wouldn’t have done ourselves and the results are really cool. I feel like we really got a strong hold on that with the album and the styles are fused really strongly.

Very recently in fact, you released a brand new single titled Ravenous. How have you found the response to this new track?

William: It’s been really good! For us it really felt like this song was different to anything we had released before. We had listened and practised the song so many times prior to it’s release that it felt pretty normal to us by the time it came out. But we’ve been reminded by a lot of people that it really is a noticeable change in style. So far the feedback has ranged from “If you think this is thrash metal, you’re a fucking retard” to “This is by far my favourite DISPOSABLE song yet”, so it’s been really interesting. Generally people seem to be really enjoying it. I think once everyone can hear it in context of our live show they’ll appreciate it a lot more as a song that sticks out to the ear. But yeah, we’re really pleased with the feedback.

This year has seen DISPOSABLE perform across the UK at Wildfire Festival and the inaugural Heavy Scotland as just two examples. With a UK tour on the horizon, how do you feel this year has been for DISPOSABLE?

William: It’s been really interesting. For many reasons it’s been the most exciting year yet. At the very end of 2016 we had to come to terms with the fact that Andy wasn’t going to be in the band anymore. He was a really strong character and an all round ridiculous guy, so at first the idea of losing him from the band was a real bummer – obviously it still is, but the moment the vibe changed and we had Oliver on board things started to make a lot of sense and we were all really excited by that. We had Heavy Scotland booked already which we all agreed would be Andy‘s last show, so it went from being our biggest show ever to also being quite a sentimental occasion for us. It was a really cool way to round out that era, and we had a really fun day hanging out and doing our thing. About two weeks after Heavy Scotland we had our first ever trip to Ireland, which were Oliver‘s debut shows. We had been training him up, teaching him the set and writing new material behind the scenes already so he was ready to jump on board immediately. It worked out pretty well and we weren’t left guitar-player-less at any point. We had so much fun on that trip and it was so exciting to have Oliver playing live with us. There were so many good memories in that trip alone. Then we did Wildfire which has always been one of our favourite shows and by then Oliver was knocking it out of the park. He got a lot of praise that day, which was really nice to see. From there we basically started working on the Ravenous single, recording, mixing, filming and stuff. We smashed that out and booked a full UK tour which starts on November 17th. So it’s been all go this year. It’s been a very different year, but overall it’s been really cool and we’ve had a lot of fun so far. We’ve still got 10 shows to play so we’re really excited to get into that. It still feels like we have so much to look forward to this year. While all this was happening we more or less wrote our entire new album as well, so it feels like a lot of progress has been made.

With festivals like North of the Wall, Lords of the Land and Heavy Scotland as well as more Scottish bands beginning to make a wave in metal, would it be fair to say that Scotland is really making a mark on the global metal scene?

William: It’s certainly getting there. We have a lot of really cool festivals now and a lot of touring bands making an effort to come here so it’s definitely healthy in Scotland. We’ve had a few venues close this year, but that is the way of the world. If you look into the amount of metal shows happening in Scotland it’s a massive number. There’s about 20 in November alone this year, which is actually too much. So in terms of shows, it’s strong. In terms of bands, there hasn’t been too many new bands crop up in the past few years. A lot of the Scottish bands have been around for a few years now, so it would be nice to see a few fresh bands pop up soon.

Since you formed in 2009, metal (and in particular thrash) has seen a handful of newer bands storm up the ranks. Is the competition tough but it is good to keep DISPOSABLE on your toes?

William: I think the competition is tough in any genre. And I really feel like every band that does storm up the ranks fully deserves to do so. We try not to think of it as “competition” at all. Our main goal is really enjoy what we are doing, so as much as it does put us on our toes, it doesn’t threaten us. If we were basing our enjoyment of being in this band on the quality of other bands around us then that would just lead to a lot of negatives. We just do what we do and try to have as much fun as possible doing it and create music that we are proud of. We want to push it as far as it will go, but when it stops being fun, that’s the real thing to compete against.

And following on from this, when people think of thrash, the majority seem to think of the iconic bands of the past. How do you think thrash fares today in 2017?

William: There are a lot of different opinions on where thrash sits in 2017. I personally think it has a deserving place in the music industry, like pretty much every genre does. So long as the bands themselves are enjoying the music that they play then go for it. Some people will love it, some people won’t. It’s like anything, one man’s thrash metal icons are another man’s “who the fuck are these losers?”. Listen to what you enjoy listening to and allow others to do the same and every genre will fare well.

With DISPOSABLE achieving a lot this year, what plans do you have in store come 2018?

William: We’ve got a lot of cool things in the works. We’ve got some whacky ideas that we really want to make a reality, so that is exciting. We want to push the boat out and do some things that people wouldn’t expect and maybe haven’t really seen before. Our main hope is to be really creative and have fun creating. We always want to play shows in new places, so we’ll be looking into that too of course because that is the meat and potatoes of a growing band, but the most exciting thing for us when thinking about 2018 is the idea of new music and new ideas coming to fruition.

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