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A Chat With Lets Play God

A Chat With Lets Play God

 

Lets Play God
Singer Rob,  Bassist Alex, Guitarist John 2 & Drummer Liam

This is my seventh interview with Lets Play God, I’m sure. After meeting them 5 years ago, I’ve followed their career as both a fan and a friend of the band. In this time, they’ve released two albums, had members come and go, they’ve played Les-Fest (now Wildfire), Hammerfest and to crowds all over Scotland.

After drummer John Coll announced last year that he was leaving the band, Lets Play God found a new drummer (well, he was actually recommended by John!) in the form of Liam McDonagh and buckled down, writing new music and booking shows for this year. Now, with new songs and a new drummer, the band are back in business! First stop – Amsterdam this weekend!

I caught up with the lads last month in LoFi studios for a quick catch up!

The past few years have seen some twists and turns for Lets Play God. How has Liam joining the band affected you and is there a different dynamic?

Whole band: OOOOH.
Sorry. Where did you get the band name from?

Rob: I think it’s been more fun. Definitely more fun. It’s kind of like getting ‘back to business’ for me, anyway.
John 2: I found it easier than I thought it was gonna be.I thought John would be really hard to replace and it’s not that he wasn’t – it just happened a lot faster than I anticipated.
Rob: When John left, it was kind of like an uphill battle. I just thought, ‘fuck, here we go’ then Liam showed up. It was actually similar to how it happened with Alex – we walked downstairs in the Solid, asked if he wanted to try out, two weeks later he’s in the band. It was a lot easier that way than just guy, after guy. And this guy has to deal with his cats every night… (Looks at Liam) do you have cats?
Liam: No
Rob: Aw sweet

What’s wrong with cats?

Liam, how are you finding Lets Play God? Did you struggle to adapt to the style?

Liam: A little bit. Obviously, they had a whole back catalogue to learn and there was three weeks until the next gig. I had to learn around 30 songs.

No pressure!

Liam: (laughing) yeah… It’s quite cool that this soon I’m getting to write new stuff with them, already.
Rob: I think it’s cool that also, the first gig that we played our new stuff. Every song was rushed, really but you (Liam) really showed up, and the way it was then is the way it is now. It’s pretty cool.

You’re going to Amsterdam soon, that’ll be a challenge. Both in terms of travel and winning over an unfamiliar crowd. Are any of you nervous about any of it?

John 2: It’s just the same as anywhere else, really. I mean we sometimes play in Glasgow and get two people in so if it happens in a place where nobody really knows us, it won’t be any different I don’t think.
Rob: I’m not worried  about winning people over. It’s more getting people there to win over. Getting the bodies in is the worry but playing for them? Nah. It’s Amsterdam!

How do you feel about the local scene, currently?

Rob: What scene? That’s what I think of it.
Band: Yeaah…
Rob: I think we tried that years ago. I think we tried to kind of start it. And we saw some people’s true colours so we moved away from it. Which I think most bands have done. I think it’s a fallout from the whole thing that got started – people trying to make something that’s not really there.
Alex: I would say it really depends on the style. For me, I see a lot of different ‘scenes’. Like, the hardcore scene is really big, and it’s thriving. In terms of this kind of style, our band. I don’t really see it. I don’t know how to explain it.

Feels like it’s been the same bands for years?

Alex: It’s sad because it seems like they have each other’s backs.

Sorta cliquey?

Alex: yeah.

Rob: It’s hard to make a scene when every band seems to be splitting up every few weeks. You can’t make a scene out of that. Usually a scene is – if you think, this is going back a long time but think of Bay Area- that was 4, 5 bands and that was it. They stuck together, they went out, then they had the Big Four.  We don’t have anything like that.

Does it feel stagnant?

Rob: Yes. So I’d rather we did our own thing and did it well. I’d rather we didn’t always play with the exact same bands, never meet new people. I’d rather we toured and met – God knows – staying in this guitarist’s house, stealing your shoes and all that shit. I mean that’s funny! Your mate wouldn’t do that to you so why play with your mate?

John 2: All based on true events.

Tell me one thing you’ve learned, as a band, in the last year

John 2: (laughing) I don’t think I’ve learned very much…

Rob: For me, there’s no one thing but stick to your own guns, do your own thing.

Alex: Learn to not give a fuck as much. If you want to go do something, do it. Instead of waiting for such and such to get back to you.

John 2: Stop trying to make other people happy. Just… do it. Don’t be a dick about it but, do it. Thinking other people are important or you need them to do things, you don’t, just do it.

Rob: We might get sponsored by Nike

The last time that we spoke, you said that your main goal was having fun. Is this still the case? Last time we spoke, you’d basically gone from trying to make yourselves into a ‘brand’ and were more about, just having fun.

John 2: It has pretty much stayed the same since then, hasn’t it?

Alex: We’ve been more proactive since then, I’d say

Rob: I see it as a business that I get to have fun in. When it comes to actually playing a gig, finishing that song, get those moments – the moments you only have on stage – that’s the fun. Everything else I look at as business. That feeds into your question about the last year, actually.

John 2: I’m always looking for a way to move it forward but my main thing is still to just have fun. If it wasn’t fun I wouldn’t want to do it.

What can audiences expect from Lets Play God in 2016?

Rob: I think, out of everything we’ve done in the last ten years, it’s a lot more focused now. We’ve tried this, we’ve tried that. I think we’re more of a unit now. We know that what we do is really good. When you see us, you get it.

Liam: the new songs are very in-your-face, I think.

Rob: It did hit us at a certain point that this is where we want to be. Especially with music. Plus, we’ve got the new wheels (touring van)! We can stretch our legs… SLIGHTLY.

What are your upcoming plans?

Rob: We have got Amsterdam, that’s the next gig. We come back, and if we’re still together, we’ve got Whiskey Dick… It still feels so weird saying “We’ve got whiskey dick!”. We just found out about another gig that we’ll announce soon, too. Then, after that, a new CD/DVD and that’s us until the end of the year.

Is there anything else you’d like to talk about?

Rob: I would say. If you’re into that really heavy music, come and see us. I feel like the last CD is the closest to a live recording we’ve ever had. I don’t think we’re the kind of band that you can shove on as background music. It’s not been put on CD yet. If you want to check us out, look us up on YouTube or come and see us.

You think you’re an experience?

Rob: Definitely. Whether it’s a good one, I don’t know but definitely an experience!

Find Lets Play God on Facebook here to find out about new shows, music and things they’ve got in store or, go and see them live!

Rockclub, the Cave, Amsterdam – June 4th 
Ivory Blacks, Glasgow – June 9th (supporting Whiskey Dick!)

 

 

 

 

Josephine Sillars

Josephine Sillars

 

On Sunday night, I went along to Pronto Mama’s Beatnik Retreat for the second time.

I’m not much of a leaving the house on a Sunday person. I’m very much into spending my Sundays doing nothing at-all but the Beatnik Retreat is the most cosy, inspiring way to round off each month and I’m happy to give up my Nothing Sundays once a month for this very worthy cause.

On Sunday I saw, and fell in love with Josephine Sillars.

Aside from how gorgeous, and honest her music is, Josephine herself was just absolutely wonderful. She really hadn’t even finished one song when I whispered to my friend ‘oh my God I LOVE her!’.

Josephine will be at The Hug and Pint tomorrow with Chrissy Barnacle and Carly Brown – tickets are only £6!

Just laugh or you will cry
I need a shot of vodka 
And a good nights sleep
But mostly I need something 
To PG-12 my dreams
Oh when I lie awake at night
You don’t plague my thoughts
It’s more a ‘hey that is the side of the bed
that I don’t frequent much’

Happy Valentines to the Music I Had Brief Flings With

Happy Valentines to the Music I Had Brief Flings With

 

I could speak about my boyfriend, or my favourite bands, or the artists I’ve recently fallen for but this Valentines Day, I want to speak about the music that we often forget about.

The music that we discover when we’re going  through any kind of transitional period, the music that we never properly listen to until we need to, and it speaks to us.

To Biffy Clyro, the band that carried me through a dark depression, doubts about my relationship and myself and ultimately made me feel that even in all of my chaos and confusion, I wasn’t the first to feel this way.

To Bright Eyes whose poetic lyrics carried me through my first couple of years in Glasgow

To Amanda Palmer whose fearlessness helped me regain my own sense of fearlessness. Who made being an outspoken pain in the arse seem as badass as it can be.

To Lamb of God, the band that I unexpectedly found myself identifying with on a core level

To Christina Aguilera whose album ‘Stripped’ inspired me at age 13 and still continues to

To Snow Patrol, the band that held my hand through 2008

To Joni Mitchell who still has all of my love and affection

And so many more…

These are acts that I adore, love and would definitely not be the same person without but for the most part, I can’t listen to them a lot. They were there through times that I’d rather forget or at the very least, not dwell on. But they deserve just as much credit as the acts I still live for. The short-term fling music is great for that time, that place, those emotions but once those are gone, there is just a soft spot.

A very soft spot.

So for the music that’s too difficult to listen to now, thank you for having such an active part in me getting through tougher times. I love you and am thinking about you (if not listening to you) on this Valentines Day.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

There goes my hero – words on Lemmy

There goes my hero – words on Lemmy

 

The fun thing about Motörhead fans is we can always spot one another. You can just feel it. For such a huge band, they still have a very cult feeling about them. They’re not for everyone, they’re not radio friendly but if you get it, you really fucking get it.

I owe so much of who I am to Motörhead and in turn, Lemmy.

I’m really struggling to find the words.

From my boyfriend who has ‘Born to Lose, Live to Win’ tattooed on his arm, to my best friend who I built a relationship with through mutual love of Motörhead – one of the first things we ever did together was watch the Lemmy documentary-, to the guy I’ve only ever seen in Cathouse, and only ever talk to about Motörhead, to people who I’ve loved and lost that continue to associate me with the band, to the other fans who also religiously went to every Glasgow show to the friends that associate me with, if nothing else, Motörhead and finally, to the time Mikkey Dee gave me free tickets to their show on my birthday… They’re a huge part of who I am. And who I love. They’re not just a band to me, they’re in my DNA, they’ve shaped me.

For a very long time I always knew that there would be a show in November. If nothing else, I was seeing my favourite band in November and if I could just get through the preceding months, it’d all be worth it. For half of my life, they were consistently there. And I can’t imagine who I’d be without them.

Lemmy wasn’t a flashy rockstar really. He had a ‘look’ and he had such an incredible presence but he still lived in a tiny condo. And that was enough. It’s weird seeing people say ‘Lemmy is God’, or I suppose was God because he wasn’t. He didn’t have a godlike presence, he didn’t think himself superior to anyone. He was just a musician. He played rock and roll and treated everybody fairly.

For all the stories that are coming out, there still haven’t been tales of rifts. In fact, Ozzy has said he was everybody’s friend. That’s some feat for a guy that was in the industry for his entire adult life. That’s why I loved him. He was himself, and that was enough. He’s achieved ultimate rockstar status by not giving a fuck about what it is to be a rockstar.

Motörhead were a band for misfits. Lemmy was a misfit, albeit a celebrated one. Motörhead is for the weirdos, the uglies, and even the obnoxious (he actually said that part himself). After 40 years, they were still the ultimate underdog band and for a weirdo like me, they were a salvation.

Motörhead gave me the strength and the confidence to embrace being a weirdo and more than that, they helped me embrace my demons. My anger, my bitterness, my resentfulness didn’t go to waste and that’s because their music, Lemmy, all of it, taught me that these things can drive you to becoming a better person. A shameless person with an appetite for success despite all previous obstacles and baggage. A freak, but a proud freak.

Does that make sense?

I don’t care really.

Lemmy’s health steadily declined over the past couple of years and as a fan, it was hard to see people placing bets on when he’d die, how many shows they’d cancel. What was a running joke for so many people was a sadness in the pit of my stomach. Lemmy couldn’t have given up. His shows kept him going, I completely believe that. And I’m proud of his stubborn approach to performing – he may have lost weight and be slowly dying, but he wouldn’t be going without a fight. Good.

Now that he’s gone, I’m lost. I don’t know if I ought to feel as sad as I do – I didn’t know him personally. I feel sad all the same. I feel like a part of me has gone. My hero has gone and so have Motörhead. No more shows, I’ve seen them play for the last time. And I wasn’t ready to say goodbye, I never would have been.

I had a few drinks with my best friend last night, and came home to notifications from groups that I’m in that are dedicated to the band. My best friend and I mourned, and toasted together and then in my tipsy state, I emotionally spoke to my online Motörhead family who understood my distress.

I’ll miss the gigs, I’ll miss the ears ringing for days at a time, I’ll miss seeing the band together on stage – best friends with beautiful chemistry. I’ll miss the new album releases, I’ll miss Lemmy’s sarcastic responses to interviews. I’ll miss Novembers.

Most of all, I’ll miss Lemmy. I already do. This is a huge loss to fans and the industry.

I have so much more I could say but this was difficult enough.

I’m heartbroken and a little bit lost.

Goodnight Lemmy, and thank you for everything.

(More on me and Motörhead here. Written a few years ago with a clearer mind x)

Download Festival 2015 – my experience

Download Festival 2015 – my experience

Download Festival 2015

 

On Thursday night, after being in a car for 7 hours and trying to get to the entrance to Download Festival for an hour and a half… this is what I walked into (pictured). The photo could probably be filtered to make it a little more beautiful but really, no need. It was a beautiful, warming sight to see and was a perfect way to start the weekend. It had been a long, long day punctuated with a poorly boyfriend and a very long traffic jam. I was carrying more than I could really handle, my friends were carrying more. We were all tired and annoyed at the prospect of still having to find somewhere to pitch our tent (which took another 2 hours) but this, this was incredible to walk into. I knew I was about to have an absolute ball and the worst was over.

I’ve been quite open about the fact that this year has not been all that great for me but I’ve not been quite as open about how I’ve coped. I coped by counting down the days til I had 5 days away from stresses, from work, from everything with great music and even better company. I wanted to use this festival to relax and recover as ridiculous as that may sound. Rock festivals aren’t the first thing that people think of when they think of a relaxing break but music has always been my biggest vice and I knew I’d made the right decision. I had.

Friday was made up of seeing All That Remains and Hell Yeah before running back to the tent to find wellies as a rain warning had just hit in. All That Remains were pretty excellent live- I’m not sure I’d go out of my way to listen to them but I certainly wouldn’t turn them off, either. Hell Yeah aren’t really up my street but I see the appeal and at least appreciated that I was watching a cult favourite. The evening was made up of Clutch who I had a personal, petty grudge against because they performed poorly when I was a teenager. It was a blip, and I know that now but the grudge was strong. They gave an incredible rock n roll performance that was fairly impossible to slate, to be honest! The grudge has been shrugged off and they’ll now be making appearances on all future playlists. My apologies, Clutch, I was wrong. It happens sometimes. Another pathetic grudge I held was towards Five Finger Death Punch. Gavin used to drive and we’d always listen to Rock Radio in the car. Rock Radio could not stop bleating on about FFDP and by the time I actually heard them, I was sick of hearing about them. Live, they were great. They were fun. They even brought kids on stage to rock out with them! They were cheesy as hell but hey, that’s not always a bad thing. Their cover of Bad Company is nothing to be sniffed at and was something I’d been looking forward to so of course, when I ran to the grimy portaloos that’s what they played. Ah well. Next up, Judas Priest. Now, the rest were good but Judas Priest were something else entirely- I’ll never forget that performance. Rob Halford still has it, he absolutely OWNED that stage and his age has done nothing but make his performances all the more intense. From staggering on to the stage with a cane only to chuck it away 2 songs later like a heavy metal Willy Wonka to bringing a motorbike on to the stage… the showmanship was well and truly flowing. Title track of their most recent album, Redeemer of Souls was a personal highlight but the entire performance was mindblowing. Finally, Slipknot. Unlike Priest, I knew I’d love Slipknot. I knew they’d be a favourite of the weekend and I knew I’d sing along to every song. They were intense and chaotic in the very best way. The set was tight as fuck and the overall performance was again, unforgettable. Personal highlight for me was actually the opener-  XIX from The Gray Chapter. I knew they’d open with it and under dark skies surrounded by like-minded fans made it all the more incredible.

Saturday was actually mostly spent in the Download Festival village. The village is full of quirky stores, cafes, fairground rides, charge up points for mobile phones and top ups for the cashless system. The village is absolutely lovely to be in, actually and is one of the best things about being at Download. After having a breakfast of pan au chocolat and a latte, Gavin and I headed into the village to spend some time together. After trawling around a few stalls, we finally settled at the cinema for a showing of Airheads. Given that we’d woken up with a slightly damp tent and it was set to rain all weekend, our spirits were pretty high. We cuddled under a tent on logs with around 40 other people and giggled through the whole movie. Airheads is a classic and I will hear no criticism of it. In the early evening, we finally strolled down to the arena to see the only acts we were really fussed about – Faith No More and Muse. Now, I’m sorry, don’t hate me, but I never thought a lot of Faith No More. I listened to their newly released album Sol Invictus during the week leading up to the festival and I did LOVE it but I still didn’t expect much from their performance. Gavin, on the other hand, couldn’t wait. I think they were pretty much what sealed the deal for him when we were deciding whether to book the festival or not and, well, I understand now. Woooowwwww. Their set, their crew and themselves were all white. The set was also covered in flowers. I think the words I used were ‘some kinda fuckin’ Clockwork Orange shit goin’ on here’. I really wasn’t that excited. I loved them! They were charismatic, they were funky as anything, their performances were incredible, I was gutted when they left the stage. Personal highlight for me was Easy which I didn’t actually know they’d covered (I know, I know). Another highlight was Mike Patton pointing out that a girl hadn’t smiled during their entire set cue the camera focusing on her… still refusing to smile. Brilliant. Stubborn, moody people have my heart. I danced the entire way through their set and occasionally looked over to Gavin’s beaming face- it was a dream come true for him and a total treat for me.

Gavin waiting to see Faith No More
Gavin waiting to see Faith No More

Next up, Muse. Muse weren’t exactly the weekend’s most anticipated act from what I was gathering. A lot of boring elitists groaning about them not being ‘metal enough’ and suchlike. I barely saw any Muse merch, either. I was worried. Muse are incredible live and I was looking forward to seeing it first hand but I didn’t want them to be bottled or ignored. They’ve earned their audience. Well, Muse fans were a silent majority. The crowd was enormous. Muse played a lot of new tracks which I admit, I’m not as familiar with and I was that prick who really just wanted to hear older tracks. That being said, I danced and I screamed my whole way through their set. I surprised myself yet again. The highlight for me was Uprising which was introduced by Matt Bellamy saying a massive fuck you to Leicestershire Police for the face scanning debacle. The other highlight, though was Hysteria. Now, look, I cry a lot. Unashamedly. I cry A LOT at gigs- usually because of lyrics or the sheer glee of finally seeing an act I’ve loved for a while. I cried at Hysteria because Matt Bellamy’s vocals moved me to tears. I was speechless and so, so moved. Absolutely gorgeous performance and I genuinely feel for anybody who missed out.

 Quick sidenote- I’m not pleased about the face scanning mess. I don’t really believe if you have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be worried. I believe in basic privacy rights and explicitly telling people that their faces were being scanned would have been an improvement on us finding out on the day we travelled down. The cashless system worked absolutely fine for me and saved me a lot of anxiety around money etc but it probably could have done with a test run to save people waiting for hours on end to get their tags sorted…

And finally, sadly, on to the last day. By Sunday, my spirits were well and truly soaring. I’d spent more time with Gavin over the weekend than I had in months, I’d danced to some incredible acts and I really had nothing to worry about. I can’t remember the last time I felt so light. My feet were in agony due to TERRIBLE wellies, my endometriosis was flaring up something terrible and I was shattered but I was still in high spirits. Still declaring that I’d happily do it all again next year. Sunday was basically the reason I’d gone to the festival. Mostly classic rock for 12 hours? Yes PLEASE.

I started the day by trudging down to the arena with Gillian. I was SO excited to see The Dead Daisies and they delivered. 11am is early for any concert but it was the ideal start to the day. Good ol’ 70s style rock n roll. Amazing. After strolling around the arena, mooching around various stalls and cringing at people on the bungee bounce.. ride.. thing, we finally settled down on the hay (the grass had been successfully turned to mud, thanks British weather) to watch Tremonti. I’m a huge Alter Bridge fan so naturally, I was very keen to see Tremonti and they delivered well. Mark Tremonti is far more confident than I expected and although I was surprised at the main stage slot, they definitely owned it. Next up, The Darkness. I LOVE The Darkness, I always have. When they broke up maybe 10 years ago(??) I was so upset that I cried in my room for the entire day and my mum bought me ice cream to console my broken heart. They are one of the best bands I’ve seen live and their flamboyant stage shows are right up my street. They were announced only 6 days before I saw them and I squealed in the street when I got the news… you get the idea. They were on the third stage and, expecting a relatively large crowd, we left Tremonti early to ensure that we were near the front. We were 3 rows from the front and apparently, thousands of people were crammed outside just to hear them. The Darkness owned the stage, big time. I’m only going on other people’s word here because I’m short and couldn’t see but Justin Hawkins was carried on to the stage by men dressed as barbarians before they broke into Barbarian- the first track on their new album Last of Our Kind. It was predictably over the top and incredibly fun. Personal highlight for me was ballad Love is Only a Feeling. An old favourite that truly showcases Hawkins’s wild vocal range. Dan Hawkins was also delightful to watch and it was nice to see him being so confident compared to the early days. Then, lord help me I was so excited, Eagles of Death Metal. I can’t keep up with their nicknames (apart from Baby Duck because I’m a pathetic Josh Homme fangirl) but Jesse Hughes was one of the most engaging frontmen I’ve ever seen. He’s on the right side of American- obnoxious but not to a fault and entertaining without being over the top. Just how I like it. Hearing all my anticipated favourites was special but the highlight for me was definitely Cherry Cola. Absolute belter of a track but even better live. It’s a shame they had such a short set because they were a lot of fun. No sign of my beloved Josh, though. Then, after a short walk and a lot of waiting around (during which I thought my legs were going to fall off from the pain they were in), Slash. Guns N Roses are one of my favourite bands of all time, Slash is naturally a hero of mine and Myles Kennedy always gives 300%, what could go wrong? Well, apart from my horrifically sore feet and legs, nothing. Slash was incredible but Myles was the real treat to watch. He swaggered, he interacted a LOT with the crowd, he gave a stunning performance and overall- I think that’s the best I’ve seen him at. Myles Kennedy is a humble guy and it’s always been evident but seeing him finally come into his own was genuinely one of the best parts of the weekend for me. The highlight for me was a cover of the Guns n Roses track You Could Be Mine. It’s one of my favourite GnR songs but Myles’s take on it may actually be better than the original, for me. Then, Motley Crue with their last ever performance at Download Festival. I know these guys hate each other and I know there’s a lot of drama behind the scenes but honestly? They should have headlined because they were incredible and probably my favourite act of the weekend. They have all still got it, entirely and as final performances go, it was probably the best we could have gotten. I’m sad to see them go but I’m also pleased they’re calling it a day on such a high note. The highlight for me was Looks That Kill but I can’t fault any of the set. Apart from. APART FROM. The very delayed, and I’m talking 7-8 minutes later, encore of ballad Home Sweet Home. Neil performed this with a piano on stage and it sounded stunning but I couldn’t see it because I believed they were done and had found somewhere beside the stage to rest my achy feet… AHHHH!!!! So much RAGE! I don’t care how petty I seem, I was absolutely gutted that he waited so long because by the time I’d have stood up and walked over, the song would be almost over. Great song to end your final UK festival appearance with, though. Kudos, I guess. Sulk. Finally, my most anticipated act, KISS. I’m really sorry to say this but I don’t get it. I’m all for huge stage shows, for being flamboyant, over the top, etc but KISS were so formulaic, so obsessed with staring into the stage cameras, so… bored looking that I really couldn’t get into their performance. It was absolutely surreal to see it but not in a good way. I understand the appeal but I really found their whole shtick offputting and disappointing, to say the least. I left after an hour because I really wasn’t having fun and I didn’t think it was worth putting my feet through more pain for an act that were superficial all over and so extremely bored looking. I love classic rock, I don’t think they’re entirely past it but I think they need a break to bring back the zest that must have been there before. As we walked out, we were surrounded by hundreds of others who were echoing our thoughts. A very disappointing end to what was a fantastic weekend.

If you’ve gotten this far thank you and well done! It was a beautiful weekend for me and it brought Gavin and I a lot closer together. A lot of cobwebs were blown away and a lot of sweet moments were shared. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat, achy feet and soggy sleeping bags included.

‘Til next time, Donington- thanks for the memories.