Interview: Bury Tomorrow, Daniel Winter Bates
Team Rockhaq believes in rewarding the top students in our community with pre-release music, concert tickets and interview opportunities with bands they would love to speak to. We call these Rockhaq Missions. Avid hardcore fan Sam Brookes was given the opportunity to interview one of his favourite acts, rising metal stars Bury Tomorrow. Here are the results of his phone interview with frontman Daniel Winter Bates, which strangely complements our Jubilee features this week. Sam talks to Daniel about their upcoming right ‘royal’ album Union of Crowns and asks why it’s taken so long for it to be released, how it felt to get their single An Honourable Reign played on BBC Radio 1 and if the band have experienced any odd encounters with fans. Play it again, Sam…
Rockhaq: Hello Daniel, how are things going with Bury Tomorrow?
DWB: Very good. Things are slowly picking up again. We’ve just played Takedown Festival which was great.
Rockhaq: The last time I saw you play live was at Coventry in April. What was it like to tour with a big name like Of Mice And Men and lead singer Austin Carlyle?
DWB: It was awesome. It was a lot of fun that tour. They were nice guys which is helpful. With bands like that, they’re so humble which makes you forget how big they are until you see the crowds. It was a really good tour plus we had a lot of kids come out to see us so it was a massive pleasure to be on tour with them. We’ve met so many people that have been called idiots but Austin was an absolute gentleman to us.
Rockhaq: Your new album is called Union of Crowns and some the tracks like An Honourable Reign and Royal Blood have a royal theme. Is there a concept behind the album?
DWB: There’s not really a proper concept, all the tracks have names to do with royalty which is a sort of concept I guess. Generally the album is about us returning to the UK and being thankful for all the people that were with us from the beginning and all the new fans. The Union of Crowns is about the sovereignty of Scotland, Wales and England, how all the crowns came together which goes with the theme of us coming back and our new and old fans coming together.
Rockhaq: Has there been much progression between the sound on your last album and your sound on Union of Crowns?
DWB: Yeah I’d say there’s been a huge progression. We’ve got better at what we do, instruments and vocals wise. Our last album Portraits was of the time. At the time bands like Architects, Johnny Truant, Malefice were just coming out and they were the kind of bands people wanted to hear. But nowadays people want to hear this new style of metalcore. We write styles of music that we like and that we’re fans of so yeah I think there is a progression. It’s an album that we’ve wanted to record for so long.
Rockhaq: Yes, you’ve been releasing singles since September last year. Is there a reason why its taken so long for the album to get a release date?
DWB: We were supposed to have it out a year ago. We were on Artery Recordings and we were supposed to be putting it out with them but things went bad label-wise, as it often does. They wanted to do one thing, we wanted to do another, then we had visa issues so it was just an accumulation of horrible, horrible things. We really wanted this album, it was all written and everything but it just got to a point where we were like “This isn’t happening” so we parted ways with Artery and wrote the song Lionheart which was about how we didn’t need to go to America to get gratification when we had it back home. When we released Lionheart the reaction was really good and we were all thinking “Wow that went really well, we kind of have to do the album now!”
Rockhaq: Your new label Nuclear Blast have been really supportive of you so far. How does it feel to be on such a big label?
DWB: They’re awesome to be honest with you. We showed them some demos without any vocals on them, and they just wanted to sign us straight away which is ridiculous. We had quite a few labels coming for us but we knew we wanted Nuclear Blast because they had so much faith in us.
Rockhaq: An Honourable Reign got BBC Radio 1 airplay on the day I saw you at Coventry. It must be exciting and helpful to get mainstream attention, especially from a popular show?
DWB: It was awesome! We never expected it. Lionheart was the first track of ours to receive airplay on Daniel. P. Carter which was insane for us, then we did a BBC Maida Vale session which was just kinda mind blowing for us, we’d never had the opportunity to do something like that. Being in a band for six years we had seen friends do it, so it was a big thing for us especially since Lionheart is the heaviest song we’ve ever written. We love Daniel. P. Carter, he plays every single we’ve put out. The Coventry gig was crazy because we were celebrating afterwards in a club listening to our single being played on the radio on our phones.
Rockhaq: Architects have come out recently saying they hated being played on such a mainstream platform. I guess you don’t feel the same?
DWB: I can see their side. Architects got played on daytime radio like Fern Cotton and Greg Davis which was crazy. They got a negative response since they’re such a heavy band. So I can see their side, but as a whole collective band we just want to play to as many people as possible. If people hate your band then fair enough that’s their opinion, but if you’re being put out to millions of people you’re going to have a percentage of them that are going to like you. It’s like if we did a Foo Fighters tour it wouldn’t go down well with most of their fans but you could possibly win over half of their fans.
Rockhaq: You were recently announced to be playing the only UK date on the Vans Warped Tour, how does it feel to be booked for such a famous tour?
DWB: It’s crazy for us. We never expected it and to be told out of the blue that we were going to be playing was amazing. We’ve got some very good friends in bands like New Found Glory who are just as stoked for us as we are. It’s going to be the biggest stage we’ve ever played. We’re also playing the main stage at the Hevy music festival, have a few smaller European festivals and Ghostfest in the UK coming over the summer which are really fun.
Rockhaq: Have you had any strange fan encounters?
DWB: I had the craziest thing happen to me the other day! I got tagged on Facebook on a photo of a guy that’s got my signature tattooed on him. That was next level for me! We’ve had fans with the logo and BT lyrics tattooed on them but never my signature – that was wild! Our fans do get excited but I’d never call them crazy. As a band we’re getting put on a pedestal and for us we’re such a fan-based band and we’re always hanging out and having a good time. It’s a bit strange when people freak out but it’s all good, they’re just meeting someone they like.
Rockhaq: You always hear about bands having such a hard time trying to balance jobs and touring. Do you not have that?
DWB: We’ve all got jobs we can do when we get home. Over the summer we all have to do something to earn a bit of money as festivals don’t really pay that well. Touring is where bands make their money. We’re not in a situation where we’re signed to a major label in the sense that they don’t pay us a salary but then we’ve not earned our dues yet. We’ve always been sensible with our money like we don’t spend money on new equipment when it’s not needed or on alcohol.
Rockhaq: That’s refreshing to hear as I’m always hearing about bands being wasted.
DWB: We’d like to! Genuinely though we couldn’t do it everyday. I see touring as a job and if you were drunk everyday on a normal job you would be fired…or you’d be dead (laughs).
Bury Tomorrow’s Union of Crowns album is released on July 16 2012