What made you decide to start the band ?  

(Redd) – The band has existed in various forms over the years, Ben was already song-writing and playing lead when I joined. We recorded and played some good shows but then, as with many bands, we seemed to have a never-ending revolving door of members before finding Paul who brought his axe-wielding skills and drive to the band. Last to join was the talented Charlie on bass.

(Paul) that’s the nicest thing you’ve ever said to me!

(Ben) Well writing songs is a great way of getting shit out, saying things you can’t normally say and venting in a healthy way.  Playing in a band is a great way of getting out there and delivering those messages, its great fun and medicine for the soul.  And it’s a great excuse to go for a beer and talk about music which we are all very passionate about.

Introduce us all to the members?   

So we have Ben Martin on lead vocals, guitars and keyboards, Paul Hayes on guitars and vocals, Redd Reddington on drums and Charlie Hayes on bass – and yes the Hayes’ are related. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have received?

(Paul) For me I think it would have to be to make the music that you love and don’t worry too much about if other people will love it. Music should be an expression, so stay true to that.   

(Redd) It’s the easiest thing in the world to not do something. Buy a ticket, then you’re going somewhere and you have to do something about it.

Did you buy anything you don’t need in the pandemic? If so what?

(Paul) I think it’s fair to say me, Ben and Charlie all bought one or two guitars we probably shouldn’t have, but then again we were doing that before the pandemic.

(Ben) I’d have to go the other way from Paul and say that pretty much everything I bought that wasn’t a guitar wasn’t needed!

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories?

(Paul) I heard that the drummer from Nirvana and the lead singer of the Foo Fighters is actually the same guy – but I don’t believe it!

(Redd) I heard an interesting one that said Wind of Change was actually written by the CIA as propaganda to incite change in the USSR. But really, no I don’t.

(Ben) Nope I’m not a believer in trying to force meaning out of chaos….in fact there may well be a song about that one brewing for the next album.

What useless party trick / talent do you have/? 

(Charlie) I’m naturally flexible, people are always surprised I can do the splits!

(Ben) Sorry I used up what talent I had trying to string a few chords together.

(Redd) I can divine for water.   

(Paul) God that one is so much cooler than the rest of us!!  I’m pretty good at impressions, they usually make an appearance when a few beers have been sunk!

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

(Ben) Anytime you can feel the audience is into what you are doing, there’s nothing more fun than cranking out a thumping rock song and seeing people are really into it.

(Redd) I’d agree with Ben. When you’re in that groove and everything clicks and the audience gets it. Priceless.   (Paul) there’s no other feeling like it, and trust me, it’s very addictive!!

(Charlie) Hard to argue with that! Though I also personally loved it when the crowd where chanting my name at out last gig, and that was just during sound-check lol! Now that’s a feeling!!!

What was the worst experience on stage?

(Redd) I was in a band that had a male streaker at a show once. That was pretty awful. And one where our singer made it feel like a really bad Erasure gig. No charisma and all the wrong moves. He didn’t last much longer.

(Ben) Everyone plays just in front of the bar staff at one point or another, but I remember spending 9 months working with a bassist to get him through a set for him to fall apart on stage.  The only thing worse than hearing the endless bum notes and bad timing was seeing him throw his hands up in the air every time he made a mistake, which was pretty much all the time.

(Charlie) The very first time I got up on stage and was ready to play, my legs would not stop shaking, I had to try and keep moving about on a cramped stage just to try and not make it obvious that I was bricking it.

(Paul) Building up to a big rock-god-solo-moment some years ago…..and slipping off the front of the stage!

Tell us a funny story from backstage?

(Ben) What goes on backstage, stays backstage! 

(Paul) shhhhh – we’re not supposed to talk about it!!

Which one of the band is the most unpredictable and why?

(Ben) To be honest, we’ve known each other so long I can’t honestly say any of us are that unpredictable.  

(Charlie) I knew he was going to say that!

Which one of the band is the biggest nightmare? (Just a bit of fun) 

(Ben) Well I think we can all be a nightmare in our own ways, but we kind of balance each other out. 

(Paul) No it’s mainly Ben! 

(Charlie ) I’m staying out of this one!  

(Paul) I joke of course.

You have one phone call and you have been locked up for a crime you didn’t commit? Which member would you call first? 

(Ben) I may end up spending some time waiting for Redd so would probably have to be Paul

(Paul) Problem is I would likely already be there locked up anyway sooooo Charlie?

Tell us about a time when you had a proper reyt laugh while you were all together?

(Ben) Beer + Music + Mates…..when wouldn’t that be a proper laugh!  

(Charlie) Band beers are always awesome, and generally a good chance to reminisce about songs that didn’t quite make it into the setlist 

(Paul) “Monkey Breast Eyes” for example!

(Redd) There was the time we ran down West Wickham high street wearing nothing but our trainers and a smile at three in the morning….

What’s your favourite song to play live and why?

(Redd) They all have their moments; Chemicals is great, the chorus to I.A.N is amazing: I love that pulsing feel.    So, for me, it would be between that and Fight for the Skies, I reckon. Fight… trundles along at great pace, the different parts and the changes between each part are a lot of fun to play.  

(Charlie) Yeah, Fight is such a high energy song and really gets the crowd going

(Ben) Probably Chemicals, it always goes down well, its fast, gets the adrenaline going and has lots of interesting parts to it.

(Paul) I think for me it’s I.A.N. – it normally gets people dancing away which I love!

I hear you have a new album out, what can you tell us about it?

(Paul) We do indeed, it’s called “Ex-Display” and it’s out now on all the normal streaming platforms as well as on physical CD on our Bandcamp page.  11 original tracks including our singles Chemicals, I.A.N. and Seeds.  The tracks range from straight-up rock to more complex, layered tracks, hopefully something on there for most to enjoy.

Talk me through the thought process of the album?

(Ben) I think it depends on the songs, and the environment at the time.  The coming together of the album was a bit chaotic, as we were chopping and changing members until we found the right blend, so lots of songs had to be re-purposed and evolved over an extended period of time.  We then whittled out the ones that didn’t quite fit. 

(Paul) We are really pleased with how the album came out and, now we are settled, we are already working on our second album. 

(Ben)This time around there’s a clear strategy, a clear sound we are aiming for and a cohesive story I want to tell.

(Charlie) Song writing is more than accounted for in this band, there’s rarely a moment where there’s not a song idea floating about! Although, I’m glad that we have the restraint to develop the songs fully and not just rush them out the door.

What was the recording process like?

(Ben)It was spread out over a few years to accommodate kids, covid, band line-up changes etc. Although it was quite frustrating at the time, it gave us a great opportunity to let each layer settle in, so we could assess and re-adjust when crafting the final song versions.

(Charlie) We spend a lot of time mixing, making sure that everything is just as we want it to be, the recording process itself doesn’t take too long but we really do focus on crafting the final output as we want to give our fans the best possible quality songs we can.

Why record an album? A lot of artists are going down the road of regular singles, just interested in your thoughts on committing to an album right now.?

(Ben) I can’t commit to the “regular singles” approach from an artistic point of a view.  A book usually has more than one chapter, and I view the songs on the album as chapters in a book that tell an overarching story.  Pretty much all of the themes of the album cover what could be considered a story, they look at things from different perspectives and emotions etc. but they are all intrinsically tied together.  We just can’t do that which a bunch of singles.  

I also want to be able to tell a wider story of development and change across multiple albums, singles push you to always write the song you think people want to hear rather than allow you to experiment and have the freedom to try different things.

(Redd) Personally, I think just going down the route of only doing singles sucks. It just seems half-arsed and lazy. Plus you’re assuming the listener only has a three minute attention span. If you’re going to the trouble of writing songs, you might as well make an album or an EP out of them so the listener can experience the tracks all together.

(Charlie) and for me, nothing beats the feeling of “wow, there’s how many new songs?” and the discussion it brings between your friends and family of which songs they like – it makes it a completely different experience

(Paul) We’re all about the albums!!

Would you change anything now its finished?

(Paul)I’m a big believer in not overthinking or tinkering with a song too much once you have it where you wanted it. At some point you have to call a song finished and I personally just get this feeling when we are there.

(Ben)There’s always little bits, like specific lines or ways things were phrased vocally, or specific guitar parts that you think you could have done better, but on the whole there’s not much I’d change.  The songs went through a long evolution, so they felt about right by the end

(Redd) We all have our own view of the finer details and there would be some minor changes here and there, but you have to compromise otherwise it becomes a dictatorship and there’s only one happy person. And the record would never be released through all the tweaking and changing.

What are your plans for the year ahead?

(Redd) More shows mainly. The album is brand new, and we need to be out promoting it.

(Ben) Yup – as many gigs as the wives will allow, of course there’s always the plan for more guitars and hopefully working on the second album – It’s going to be a bit more focussed, probably a bit rocker and punchier.  Most of the songs are already written so hopefully we’ll hit the studio during the second half the year and get it out there early to mid 2023.

(Paul) Colder Suns, coming to you Live and Loud!!!

Is there anything else you would like to share with the world?

(Paul) How about come and see us live – we put on a pretty good show and we are fortunate enough to have some great venues lined up this year! We are playing at The Camden Assembly on St Georges Day (April 23rd) so that’s one for the diaries for sure.

(Ben) Just to give unsigned bands a listen, there’s so much great music and talented musicians out there that no one will ever hear, and that seems like a massive shame.  

(Redd) People need to start buying music again. Outlets like Bandcamp are fantastic for giving back to the artist. You can buy digital music, physical copies and merch and keep in touch with new releases. And don’t forget your local record shop!

(Charlie) And of course please please please follow us on our social media pages and add us to your playlists!