IS IT DIFFICULT TO DEAL WITH BEING FAMOUS?
“We’re that band now where, even if you don’t like us, you’ve got a mate who does, so you’ll get a photo with us anyway. The amount of people that approach me is crazy, but I’m aware that not all of those people listen to our band. It’s only as difficult to deal with as it ever was. I’m not someone who can just rock up to a bunch of new people and make conversation – it takes me a while to warm up. But it comes with the job, and I know when it’s not happening, I’ll look back on it like, ‘That was mental!’”
IS THERE A LEVEL OF RESPONSIBILITY BEING A FRONTMAN OF A BAND WITH SO MANY FANS?
“Whether you like it or not, the frontman is for the most part the most recognisable person, but that’s the job you signed up for. And whether you want to be that or not, you have to accept that you are. I think there is a responsibility to do that. When you’re onstage, you’re responsible for the connection between you and the crowd. But at the same time, I don’t think it’s your responsibility to set a good example or go against who you are in real life. I think it’s important to be who you are. I’ve got to come out of my shell a bit and do stuff I wouldn’t normally be comfortable with, but at the same time I wouldn’t try and be anyone I’m not for these people. I’m not gonna act like I’m cooler, more confident or any less awkward or scared to be in this situation than they are.”
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN EMOTIONAL PERSON?
“I think about emotions every day. I’m one or the other – something at all times. I’m sad or I’m happy or I’m angry. I’m not usually neutral, even though it might look that way on the outside. But I don’t think anyone is usually that neutral, are they?”
HOW MUCH DO YOU FEEL JORDAN [FISH, KEYS] JOINING THE BAND ACCELERATED YOUR RISE?
“Jordan just unlocked so many possibilities for us, as well as bringing a whole new influence and new ideas. He was the key to doing so much with the ideas I had and what we wanted to do that weren’t possible before, because we didn’t know how to do it. He’s helped us be the band we always wanted to be.”
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IS THAT WHY YOU DECIDED TO PRODUCE THE LAST ALBUM WITH HIM?
“We realised if you want something doing right, you gotta do it yourself. It takes a few goes at realising it, because it’s hard to believe that you can do better. [You think] that these people doing these jobs are doing them for a reason, because they’re better than you, but you slowly find that it’s not true. Not to downtalk anyone, but with Sempiternal [produced by legendary metal producer Terry Date], it just didn’t work out. We were fighting for what we wanted, and it was like, ‘Why are we paying so much money to fight?’ We’re the people paying for this, it’s our album, why is this so hard?’ We couldn’t have done it without Jordan, he’s the technical whizz, but we just thought we knew how we wanted it to sound, so let’s do it ourselves. Drown was testing the waters for that. We did it by ourselves, and it was so easy. We just wanted the best-sounding record without the fuss.”
YOU’VE ALSO MADE DROP DEAD CLOTHING A WORLDWIDE SUCCESS. DO YOU GET AS MUCH GRATIFICATION OUT OF THAT AS WITH MAKING MUSIC?
“Music’s always gonna be a much more exciting prospect to me, because once you’ve made it, you go out and share it with the world, and you see people sing it back at you. I really enjoy designing and working with childhood heroes, and it’s all amazing, but I’d drop Drop Dead in a second if it ever compromised the band.”
WHAT ELSE DO YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE?
“I’m just excited for the future. We’ve achieved so much we never thought we could, and now we’ve got all the tools to make it possible, so let’s fucking give it our best shot. It feels realistic to be up ‘there’, rather than a ‘scene’ band.”
Six other unlikely bands that headlined Britain’s most iconic arena
MACHINE HEAD (2011)
Having parted ways with their label and been left in career oblivion in the mid-00s, to think that Machine Head got back on the horse and made it all the way to headlining Wembley in 2011 is remarkable.
WITHIN TEMPTATION (2014)
Let’s face it: symphonic metal has never been considered cool – which is why our favourite Dutch masters filling the big W felt like such a resounding ‘Fuck yeah!’ for metal outcasts everywhere.
This was never meant to happen. Bringing one of their most impressive sets ever and longtime buddies Korn in tow, the ’Knot saw out the Gray Chapter era in fine style. We had a lovely time.
Finally being able to fit in the kind of stage show that had been blowing mainland Europe away for years, Nightwish seized their moment in style, obliterating Wembley with a magical evening.
LAMB OF GOD/MEGADETH (2015)
When Richmond’s heaviest sons teamed up with Dave Mustaine’s thrash titans for an unforgettable night last November, shit got real. Our necks are still aching.