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The Survival Code

RGM INTRODUCING – WE INTERVIEW LONDON BAND THE SURVIVAL CODE

Hiya folks thanks for joining us in the virtual RGM lounge today, grab a brew and take a seat.

What made you decide that music is a thing for you?

We can’t remember it being a choice, to be honest. We were mesmerized and enamoured by music vids from an early age (like most kids), and the allure of participating in this universe was a pull before there was a rational thought on the matter 

Music has always been so iconic and the performers seemed far larger than life with an almost alien ability to impact people they’ve never met. Trying to test yourself in this space is formidable as even the greatest songwriters only have a handful of hits at best, it’s never a simple formula. The whole thing seemed, and remains, so exciting. Until Ai decodes it all of course 🙂

Introduce us to the members and your musical history.

Hi everyone, we’re The Survival Code, we’re an alt-rock duo based in London and our band is nearly a teenager

Most people haven’t a clue who we are but we are best known for our 2019 single (“So Serious”) that helped us gain over 20k listeners a month on Spotify since and helped that tracks reach 1.7m streams on that platform alone which is huge for an independent/unsigned band our size  

We are on our 6th major release with our latest album and have had a pile of lineups before we settled on this setup in 2018 on our album “Hopelessness Of People”. We are best known for our riffs, energy and catchy tunes and our latest album crosses the following genres: rock, alt rock, punk and metal. For fans of : Queens Of The Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Alkaline Trio, Coheed & Cambria, Biffy Clyro 

What was life like for you before music?

Filled with questions we couldn’t possibly answer…Music is a great tool to explore, discover and ask meaningful questions about yourself and this life… before then we didn’t the avenues to learn, laugh and cry as have since becoming part of this machine (said in the warmest possible way :))

What was the first song you heard that steered you into a music path?

It’s hard to deny Oasis’ impact on our generation. The swagger, attitude and great tunes had us all all feeling like rock stars. A mixture of that and the grunge era which was around at the same time, a mix of Smashing Pumpkins , Nirvana and Offspring. Can’t be certain, but these artists propelled thousands as we know, and we are one of them 

Where do you feel you currently sit within the music industry?

If the music industry was a theatre with seats to watch a performance, we’d be outside :)…. That’s how it’s been for us since day 1. Given, that guitar music has had its challenges this past 15 years since the heights of the early 00’s, but we haven’t really had much luck aside from that we churned ourselves.

Thankfully it’s not personal and many, many talented acts go by the wayside daily and weekly as the industry is an unforgiving beast and doesn’t care for your preferences. Our USP in many ways has been our inability to take “no” for an answer. We won’t relent or stop, we would like the help of the industry but we will keep going until we are playing festivals or putting festivals on… one way ot the other 

What’s the biggest thing you have learned from someone else in the industry? 

(Gary) : We’ve been lucky to chat with a good few people who have worked in the industry over the years who have all been super helpful. Lately, I’ve been working with the band “God Is An Astronaut” with a small music events company I run called “Bad Apple”. Witnessing them, their shows and how it all comes together has been hugely inspirational in the last 5 years. So at this stage, I would say watching them recently, I have huge respect for them as a band

Tell us Two truths and a lie about you.

Our band had an album review in Ireland’s biggest weekly-selling newspaper, the “Kaiser Chiefs” recently sent us a video message, and lastly, we’ve had a number one in Singapore on the digital charts  

Ps (we haven’t had a number 1 in Singapore :))

If you could wish for one thing to aid your career what would it be?

To play with any of the bands that inspired us. It’s quite simple really, we’d give anything to play with about 20 bands :), not too picky, would just love to see how our music went down with the audience we believe it’s designed for. Any of our “For Fans Of” above or similar, we think would be career-defining 

Do you ever worry about people taking things the wrong way or cancel culture? Discuss….

Thankfully not as we’ve never been in a position to be “less known” than we are now. As it stands, despite having a song which is huge for us and any band our size, because it’s through Spotify almost nobody knows our band name or who we are… that aside on paper it’s a huge concern, as art /comedy and all derived aspects should be somewhat free of the judgement of every day. Without that assurance, creators will be stunted or only show some of what they are capable of, which is surely an undesirable situation. So it doesn’t affect us at present, but we see the pure merits of ideas being judged on their own merits 

Do you sign up to any conspiracy theories? If not why not?

The answer is always “No”  until you show us a compelling Netflix documentary on anything controversial… the whole UFO thing is a weird one as things are often not as we’re told… it’s certainly curious that we’ve been offered so much on a topic that up to this point has had complete and utter denial. Now that we’ve been given that so suddenly it makes one question why now and why it might be hiding as these things have always been a sleight of hand historically ie look at the shiny thing over here while you do the real motions over there etc

What was the worst experience on stage?

A terrible show in Dublin in 2018 when there was a power cut at the venue. We were the band immediately on after having done our sound check hours earlier. As a result everything was unplugged in the live room and someone blew our in-ear system at 9:30pm for the show that eve. The worst part is we had a show the next day with a sound check in 17 hours

Thankfully the second night was saved thanks to a very sympathetic and helpful sound company based in Dub… the first night was not so much, we had to announce we wouldn’t be playing 15 minutes before we were meant to be going on, which was sad as we had flown home for the shows and rarely play dub 

Tell us something about each member that you think people would be surprised about. 

Gary : I won two scholarships for classical guitar in high school which helped fund/start the investment in the band. A lot of that equipment is still used to this day 

Simon : I used be in a band called “The Barbs” and we had a No.1 in the Philippines in the early 00’s

What makes you stand out as a band?

Aside our unique sound and approach to music, our major strength has been our stay(ability). This is our 6th major release and we’ve gotten better and better with our craft all these years, both live and recording. So many talented artists have come and gone in that time but we structured it so we can survive a nuclear attack 🙂

I hear you have a new music, what can you tell us about it.

This year has been an insane undertaking releasing 12 single in 12 months of 2023, each with its own video, themes, artwork, different versions of the songs and more… for every song, almost too much for an unsigned/independent artist but we managed it. All the tracks are on our upcoming album “Whispers Of Woe” which is out this January 26th 2024. The album has 14 tracks and the deluxe version of our album has 16 tracks and comes in the form of a limited edition “Artbook Album” which is a 300x300mm, hardback, 72 full-colour page look at the album, the artwork, themes and lyrics along with the two additional tracks. The layout, music, QR codes to the media : all made and designed by us, so it’s been a huge year for us musically 

What was the recording process like?

We recorded the entire album in our studio, and we couldn’t be happier with the results. The last two recordings we did with our producer (Matt Hyde UK) have seen our approach to the studio evolve as we have become both more comfortable with making music and now had a style/sound 

Our 2018 album was our first with Matt and we did the whole lot in a studio which was fantastic but far too costly on a ongoing basis for a band our size

Our last EP from 2019 saw us just record the drums in a studio and the rest we did in our rehearsal space where we can track guitars/bass and sing easily. With all the time we had to spend at home in 2020 and 2021, we were forced to look for the closest affordable Thomann drum mics to the ones we used in studios over the years to keep the music moving at that time.

We invested in a few to add to what we had and after a few test runs, we were confident we were not sacrificing anything. Without that time we would probably have never invested in the mics but that’s what led to us doing the album this way. A huge shout out to Matt for coming up with the alternate suggestions

What was the biggest learning curve in writing the new tunes?

We tried to expand what we’ve been known for on this release so pushing the elements we don’t usually feature in the music has been the most challenging. For us having some faster and slightly heavier riffs and blending them with our music which is more radio rock at times. We were also intent on developing the drum parts a little more to show a little more of our live show, getting that balance and not overplaying and playing too fast for its own sake is a constant challenge 

Would you change anything now it’s finished?

One or two BPM’s to be honest. As we spent so long on the record, you kind of “get to know” and “fall in love” with aspects or whole songs. At the end of the day you end up spending a few years with them on a weekly, sometimes daily basis.

The true weakness of the record was a reflection of the times, Simon and I did not get any time together through key periods of the writing as we weren’t permitted to do so under the rules at the time. Progress meant that many of the songs were not jammed enough at their’ inception and only truly got played when the album was finished. The crowd don’t notice but for us playing, there’s a song we’d speed up and one we’d slow down 

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

If you like The Foos, Biffy, QOTSA, or Royal Blood you should check us out. We are energetic rock music on foundations of riffs, tight drums and the biggest melodies we can pack in. Our music is full of contrast both visually and audibly, it deals with real questions and aims to package them in a relatable way. We think there’s something in our band for all rock fans and we’ll do our best to show that with this release and the years to come

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