Brighton’s metal beast Johnny Truant have been extensively touring ever since delivering their powerful second album In The Library of Horrific Events. Back at the end of last year they played Southmapton Joiners and whilst singer Olly entertained the hordes of adoring female fans upstairs in the venue, the rest of the band joined me for a chat and introduced me to their horny new guitarist.
Phil: So how’s the tour going? You’ve been on tour now for…
All: This is day number five. We’ve been to York, Glasgow, Birmingham, Cardiff, then London tomorrow. It’s been great, really good.
Al: Last night in Cardiff was ace.
Paul: Yeah, the little pirates were mental, Cardiff, really really good.
Phil: Is this the first time you’ve toured with Blood Roses and Beyond All Reason?
James: We’ve played with Blood Roses before, on the last tour with Alexisonfire.
Paul: But we haven’t toured with Beyond All Reason before. This is our first time. Lovely chaps.
Stuart: Yeah, yeah, lovely.
Phil: They seemed a little bit worse for wear actually, did you go on a bender last night?
Stuart: We all had a bit of a bender last night, especially Al, he had a couple!
Al: I always fill my boots when I go to a club: i’m young, and horny!
Stuart: So we’ve got Al on board now.
Phil: How come you felt you needed a new guitarist?
Stuart: Not needed, but we played with the idea for a long time but we just wanted to find the right person. We thought well we can do it, and it would sound much bigger and it just gives us more scope to open up what we do. It makes it more exciting for us.
James: Plus the record has got two guitars playing at the same time and Stuart cant do it all by himself!
Phil: Fairly good timing then for this tour.
Paul: Well we’ve been looking for the right person for ages but we couldn’t find him so we just got Al instead!
Stuart: We ordered him off the internet from…
Stuart: gaygingerjockguitarists.com! And he came hand delivered.
Al: By Ethiopian monkey.
Phil: So the new album then, firstly the title, who came up with that?
James: We all came up with it.
Stuart: We’d been wracking our brains trying to think of something, we thought of so many names.
Paul: This one we thought was quite applicable to the year we’d been having so far, so it seemed relevant. And when our band all agrees on something it normally stays that way, because its rare!
Stuart: The year we’d had, there’d been some down points, which actually influenced a lot of the album.
Al: It wasn’t just a year.
Stuart: It was a horrific year.
Al: It was a Marks and Spencers horrific year!
Phil: The album’s got a very classic metal feel to it.
Stuart: It’s not something we consiously thought, I mean we are a metal band but we didnt think lets write a more classic metal album.
James: We definitely have that European edge to our sound, that’s something that’s part of us which comes across in the music and it souldn’t happen any other way. We try and get our emotions through and hopefully that comes across. And it comes from all of us as well.
Phil: You can tell that there is quite a convergence of all these different styles, the songs vary and are quite different to each other.
Paul: We don’t have a formula basically. Mostly Stu and James write most of the songs together ad then it all comes to the whole band and we put are parts down and things change to suit the whole unit. We not just monkeys that play along to stuff we all have our input on things but there’s got to be a starting point somewhere.
Stuart: It’ll be an idea like a riff, and then we play around with things a lot.
James: Yeah we never stick to a set formula, i think its all about storyboarding and you try to get the story across and every songs a different story and journey and once we have the whole package there. like with the album here, we do some arranging where the songs are going to be and how the album actually works.
Phil: One of things I like about the album is the way that you also do alot within individual songs as well as having a range of styles oer the whole album.
Stuart: I think we dont want to pin ourselves to any exact way or set formula like some bands do and it all comes out in the writing, its just whatever fits. We dont just do metal riffs, we’ll play around with different ideas and I think that just gives us a lot more scope to write stuff, not tying us down to one type of music.
Phil: I’ve read places that you are one of the bands spearheading a new British metal scene with others like Beecher. Do you feel like you are part of a movement or group, or any real affinity with these other bands?
Paul: We do feel part of something.
James: I think there is a renaissance of British metal. I mean that’s where we’ve come from. We are the next generation, after Black Sabbath and stuff, and we’re loving a lot of the British metal thats coming out at this time and some of the other bands have been an influence on us.
Stuart: Most of these bands, I mean we started playing with them, doing a few shows and I think that the scene grew from there. It’s cool seeing all these bands going off in their different directions.
Paul: Yeah we all started off on the same leg. I can remember all of us bands trying to find our feet and now we’re all making second albums you can see how we’re branching out and we don’t sound like any of those bands now but previously we did and we all sounded like each other but now we’ve all grown up and we’re maturing with our music and everyone’s going different ways. But i still think we’re moving as one group, one gnag, we’re all British bands and i’d like to think that we are definitely involved in something, and breaking the boundaries of UK metal.
Phil: What about Brighton, over the last few years there’s been a lot of successes come out from there, and Architechts played here last week, in a similar metalcore vein, do you feel part of a Brighton scene as well?
James: I guess so.
Stuart: I think that a lot of people move down to Brighton.
James: It’s a very musical place. But you get a lot of people who’ve just jumped up out of college andstuff but its not something that can be taught, you either have it or you dont.
Phil: So you think Brighton’s just good to bring it out.
James: Yeah, I mean you just need to go down the road and you know that there’s always live music playing. There’s loads of good live venues, and smaller ones where we started playing, like the FreeButt, I’ve seen loads of good bands and performances there.
Paul: The FreeButt’s one of the best venues in Brighton.
James: I miss it actually. I like to play those tiny, sweaty venues.
Phil: It’d be great if there was a FreeButt in every town.
Stuart: Yeah I think that’s part of what it’s about, it’s a lot to do with the the venues, especially the FreeButt where you get a lot of bands coming down there, all types, who just aren’t afraid to do something completely different and be experimental. I think that’s the difference.
Paul: Brighton’s got a massive variety of music.
Al: And even if some of its absolute gash there’s just a lot of people doing stuff.
Paul: They don’t care about other people, they just do it for themselves and thats good.
James: I defintely think it’s a good place to be musically at the moment. That’s why we’ve set our base there for the moment.
Phil: Are you all from Brighton originally? Apart from Al, who is qute obviously from Scotland.
Paul: I think we’ve always been in or around Brighton most of our lives. I lived outside of there, i think we all lived outside of there but most of us live inside there now. Its always been a part of our band and part of our lives.
Phil: What are the plans then for after this tour then?
Paul: February we go out on another headline, touring the album. And we’re going to Europe with Bullet For My Valentine for a few days, we’re going to Germany I think, and then a headline tour after that. We don’t actually know exactly what we’re doing yet but it’s going to be a busy year, a very busy year. We’re exitied about it.
Phil: To end the interview, if you were going to do covers album, what would you each choose to be on it?
Stuart: “Phantom of the Opera” by Iron Maiden.
Al: The same, or probably anything by King Crimson.
Paul: I’d probably do a Smashing Pumpkins cover, like “Where Boys Fear to Tread”.
Al: What, your bedroom!
Stuart: No that’s where girls fear to tread, unless you give them sweets!
James: I don’t know, yeah probably “Phantom of the Opera”.
Phil: Thanks, have a good show.