Saturday, 8 November 2014

unZined - The Volts

The Volts, as the overused metaphor goes, emerged from the embers of female fronted Fierce Inc like a phoenix and are developing their own sound to suit their new male singer. The new, more blues rock sound, is a far cry from the rock pop which Fierce Inc were known for and some who like the blues rock sound more like me, would say its a step in the right direction instead of sticking to the same sound.

I found their sound is very blues rock orientated from listening to their live video of them performing one of their songs Headwreck. Headwreck is an upbeat classic blues rock song which is so well polished that it could be mistaken for a well played cover. So good in fact I was surprised a virtually new band created it. It shows promise for the band if they create more songs like this. 

A few months back I sent out feelers to local bands/artists to see if they'd be up for what I had in mind to promote the local music scene and its bands. One band seemed really up for it and so I noted their name and left it at that. It came to pass that the band, whose name at the time was Fierce Inc, had gone through a transformation and were now called The Volts. Intrigued, I set about looking into the band and putting together an interview to give us and the public a better insight as to what the band is about.

The band helped answer a few questions I put to them recently which you can check out after the jump:

Introduce The Volts and what roles you play in the band.

We are The Volts. We've been together officially since August this year. We've got Rory Hope on lead vocals, Chris Smith on guitar, Ric Lyons on bass and Jay Hughes on drums.

The band initially was called Fierce Inc. and only recently changed to The Volts. What brought this change about and are The Volts a totally different band with a different sound?

The change in name came about because the band has moved in a completely new direction. In Fierce Inc the band was female fronted, however she decided to leave and Rory came on board. The previous stuff was very poppy because the previous singer did all of the song writing and that was just her thing. She left the band over 12 months ago and we had a few months in between her leaving and us finding Rory so in that time we got creative and had a go at doing some writing. We had some ideas then (musically at least) that we were able to develop further when Rory joined us. That’s how ‘Red Light’ came about it was the first song we wrote together and in our opinion, still one of our best. The change in singer and the fact that we all get involved in being creative with our material has allowed our personal influences to come through in the new stuff. 

As a summary, we've taken up more of a riff driven rock/blues focus, Rory has quite a pop style to his vocals which we think has created a sound that's quite original when you put it against the more rock orientated music.

You have listed numerous bands as influences on your Facebook page, ranging from Metallica to James Brown. Do you cover any songs by these bands, and if not how have they influenced your sound?

We initially toyed with the idea of having the odd cover in the set but due to us wanting to gather a loyal following of people who like us for our originals we voted against it.  Most of us have been in covers bands before that's how the majority of us got involved in music to be honest, but not now as we want to be seen in more of a professional light and as a serious up and coming band. Also we think that if you are going to pull off a cover by a well-known artist you've got to do something completely different with it and really make it your own, if you don't do that, to us, you’re just covering a song for the sake of it. At the moment we don't want to do anything that's going to take away from our own stuff so we're sticking with our song writing. As far as influences go you can definitely hear a lot of different genres coming through, Red Light for example, that's got a real INXS feel to it, Let me Know has a poppy ‘chart’ type feel to it, Take me away is quite reminiscent of U2 and Angels & Airwaves, Headwreck is much more bluesy and raw so to sum up, a lot of the bands we listen to seem to naturally come through in our music.

What three words would you choose to describe the band?

Work in progress. We hate to admit it but it’s probably a good description of the band. We’re not too arrogant to know that we have a lot to learn. Rory is learning the guitar as that’s a plan for the future, to have him to play and sing. Also the more we write the better feel we get for what makes a great song and we will develop that ability further over time. When we look at some of the earliest stuff we wrote and compare it to the newer stuff, there seems to be a lot more thought and substance gone into it and it shows in the finished tracks.  

That said, since we have just finished our ‘two nights on the bounce’ of shows with Area 11 who have approximately 40,000 followers worldwide we’re starting to find our feet. 

Who writes the songs you perform and what is the song writing process?

Chris would come to practice with a guitar riff, if we all like it we use it as a basis to build a song around with Jay putting down the drums and Ric putting down the bass. Rory would then get stuck into a melody and lyrics. That's our standard approach but like we said were very much a work in progress so were sure this could vary in the future. This approach did work very well with ‘Red Light’ since the music was already in place when Rory started we just needed a melody and lyrics and that’s the way we’ve carried on. Since then Chris has continued to ‘fiddle’ with his guitar and come up with ideas and riffs that we believe can be transformed into a thing of beauty, as has Ric on his bass who recently came up with something very special indeed which makes its debut at a show later this month. We do however have plans to try different approaches to writing our music but for the time being we are happy the way the music is going. 

For those reading this that haven't heard The Volts can you give a brief description of your sound?

Its rocky, its poppy, it’s a little bit bluesy, raw and more often than not riff driven. It’s a real blend of different musical styles and tastes. 

Headwreck is a great sounding song, can we expect more songs like this in the future?

Yeah Headwreck is a bit of a band favorite and also one of the songs that came most naturally when we wrote it. That song literally came together in an hour or so. You can definitely expect more like that. We've got some good stuff up our sleeves at the moment. All will be revealed

Are you looking forward to any gigs later in the year?

We are indeed, next up were playing on a show for Liverpool based independent record label, Electone Records, that's on the 13th of November and will take place at the Baltic Social in Liverpool. After that were heading down to Cwmaman in South Wales on the 15th of November. That's the Stereophonics hometown and we're supporting the Stereosonics who are the number one tribute band in the country to the Phonics themselves. It will be our first time taking the band on the road and although it's not your standard place to go and play your original music, we're looking forward to taking our music to a wider audience. Then we'll be putting our feet up after rocking the valleys and getting drunk to the Stereosonics who really are a great band. 

It's been a great debut year for the band, we've played some great shows and made some great friends along the way! Probably most notably in supporting Area 11, who are a Bristol based band that asked us if we would like to support them on a couple of back to back nights in Manchester and Liverpool. They were two great shows, packed to capacity crowds that gave us a really great response and we picked up a lot of followers from those nights on our social media pages, some of whom had some lovely things to say on there. We also had some very nice comments from a few of the audience who stayed behind to come and speak to us at the end of the show and that is what it’s all about. To hear someone that's completely impartial tell you that they love your music is without doubt one of the best feelings in the world! 

Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge for helping out with the band?

There are a few people who have helped us out in getting set up. Gold Jacks who are now a well-established Manchester based band and good friends of ours, have given us quite a bit of advice for starting out from their experience in doing the same a few years back. Rowan Thewlis and Ronnie Stone who has recorded and produced our demos and done a fantastic job! Mike Donaldson who assisted Rory with the hosting of the site. Last but not least Grace Scott and Anna Lindsay who are freelance photographers who often come to our gigs to take some snaps. 

Do you have any advice for any local bands starting out on the music scene?

Not that we have an awful lot of experience but there are a few things that we have found. Firstly with song writing, just keep writing because the more you write, the better you get at it. Secondly, smash social media. You should really try and get yourselves out there and mentioning the band as often as possible to get yourselves in the public eye. Technically free advertising. Also, find that niche for people to like you and follow you. We are still trying to locate our niche, but have some ideas that we believe may be the key to getting noticed. 

What's your ultimate direction for your band, fame and fortune or just happy gigging locally?

Fame and fortune obviously. Who wouldn’t want to be paid for the things that they love to do!? It is so hard though to make it in the music industry as so many great bands are trying but if we don't we'll have a bloody good time along the way!

Do you feel social media is a necessity when getting the word around about the band? What social network pages do The Volts have?

Yeah in this day and age definitely, funnily enough we have a song called digital coma inspired by Chris' hatred for mobile devices and 'antisocial' networking as he puts it. He's a Luddite, so we don't take any notice of him! We do think it’s important to have an online presence, it's a great way of getting your music heard and promoting your band and upcoming shows etc. You can find The Volts online at:

Main Website ] [ Facebook Page ] [ Twitter ] [ Rory’s Instagram ] [ Reverbnation Page ]

If you would like to be featured in our local music section, whether you are in a band or a solo artist. Contact us here in the comments or contact Mal Keenan at

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