Gather round, dear readers, for this week we unveil the groove-laden sounds of Southampton rockers Hercules Morse. Equal parts monster riffs and delicate, Beatles-esque songsmithery, their magpie-like approach to cherry-picking influences from every corner of rock's globe is borne out in the fact they've filled support slots for everyone from Orange Goblin to Calvin Harris and Duran Duran.
Here, the band join us to tell us all about their journey, their music, and what they have lined up for next.
1. Everything Is Great
2. War Within
4. Talk Me Down
7. Can’t See The Sunrise
8. Still Singing
9 The Story Goes
10. Go For Broke.
Can you introduce yourselves – where are you from, who does what and what are your roles in the band?
"We are: Steve – guitar, sheet metal worker from Sheffield, Harry – guitar, sheet metal worker from Sheffield, Gizmo – drums, speed boat instructor, Sutton, Paul – bassist and conductor of interviews. Massive Bullseye fan."
How did you guys meet and start making music together?
"Three of us were contestants on the same episode of 15 To 1. Weirdly, we’d each taken our guitar along (out of nervous habit) and we just riffed about a bit in the green room between rounds. Bob Holness was shooting in the next studio, heard what we were doing, liked it and put us in touch with a young drummer he’d met at a jazz concert the night before. That’s why every record we release always has a ‘thank you’ credit to Bob Holness."
What were your key influences/inspirations in getting the band together?
"Predominantly, our mutual love of general knowledge quiz shows and jazz. TimeSplitters 2 also helped facilitate a number of profound musical connections between us."
How would you describe your sound in three words for people who’ve never heard you?
"Raucous, viscous, couscous."
What makes you special/different to other bands out there?
"We each have a super power. Invisibility, incredible strength, super speed and relentless sarcasm."
What’s the story behind the new album Vita Boundary – how did you approach writing and how did it come together?
"Our general approach to writing is to spend the least possible amount of time in the same physical vicinity as each other. We usually each compose our ‘parts’ separately then come together and jam it out, whilst avoiding eye contact and steering well clear of small talk."
What’s your favourite story/anecdote from recording the album?
"Mate. Recording was totes jokes, bruv.
Nah. In all seriousness, it was conducted in all seriousness. Not much larking about or galavanting. The recording was paid for by our fans (i.e. it was crowdfunded), so we owed it to them to do the best damn job we could. Professional to the end.
If you can find us, you can hire us."
What, in your opinion, is the stand out track on the album?
"Beyond the obvious ones (that have been singles), Clockwork is an interesting one in that it’s a bit different to what we ‘normally’ do. It’s got some unusual (for us) piano instrumentation and a mid-section that takes more twists and turns than the second season of Stranger Things."
What do you hope people will take away from the album and your music in general?
"We’d like people to listen to the album in its entirety from start to finish. It was intentionally built with the song order it has to create a specific effect. And that effect is akin to Bob Holness hitting you hard in the face with a section of hexagonal lettered plastic.
There’s a common theme of mental health running throughout the songs on Vita Boundary. Whilst we don’t expect this to have a profound influence, we hope it adds to the openness with which people are starting to talk about that particular elephant in the room.
Plus I want someone to tell me it’s their sex album."
What's been the highlight of your time in the band so far?
"Apart from having successfully crowdfunded our album through generous beautiful individuals who believe in us enough to throw their money at us, we have played a few main stages at festivals recently which has made us feel like real rock stars as opposed to the amateur jackasses we actually are."
What can people expect if they come to see you live?
"Sweat, energy and good old fashioned fun. In that order."
What are you most looking forward to about the future – what’s coming next?
"Personally, I can’t wait to get writing again. I haven’t had the physical or mental space over the past few months, so I’m dying to noodle about on a guitar and create something fresh.
We’re also considering writing a Marvin Gaye song."
Hercules Morse's new album, Vita Boundary, is available now.