After releasing their debut album Words Of Betrayal on Ad Altiora, York’s finest melodic metal band Beyond All Reason headed off around the UK with Johnny Truant and Blood Roses. When the tour hit Southampton’s Joiners, we rounded up Venno [vocals, guitars], Russ [guitars, vocals] and Nick [bass, vocals] into one of the dingiest corners of the dirty backstage basement to have a few words. And now after rumours of conversation about such taboos as emo, Def Leppard and the York folk scene, and with the cassette tape of the interview having been found after being lost and presumed dead, we can finally find out what was said…
Phil: So how long have you guys been together?
Venno: The line-up we’ve got now has been about three and a half years but myself and the drummer [Mike – who does join us later] have been plaing nearly ten years. It all goes back to school really. We all met at school, playing in different bands, and then finally ended up getting together.
Phil: So what’s York like then?
Venno: It’s alright! Small.
Russ: It’s a very small, quiet town but there is a lot of people into music there.
Venno: And everyone knows everyone in the music community. Most people have played in bands with people who are in other bands kicking aornd at the same time. When a new band crops up you’ll be like “Oh I know that guy I played in a band with him at school years ago” — it’s quite incestuous like that!
Phil: You’re obviously a metal band, is it more of a metal scene than anything else?
Venno: There’s a lot of everything really, there’s a big indie thing going on — not new indie but quite a 1990s type classic indie thing. A lot of metal bands have come ot of the woodwork more recently. There’s also an awful lot of folk and country music as well, lots of people in different pubs and bars all over the place with acoustic guitars, singing along.
Phil: Your name Beyond All Reason. Who? what? why?
Russ: Basically we had an old name that we didn’t like and we knew that we needed to change it at some point.
Phil: Can you tell me what the old name was?
Phil: Perfect tour with Isis!
Russ: Yeah! It was just an old name, it first came out back at school and stuff. Beyond All Reason just came about, the three words just came toghether. We all put down a few names and stuff and we went with that one.
Phil: The fact that it abbreviates to BAR doesn’t mean anything then?
Venno: Well that is quite an appropriate abbreviation.
Russ: Yeh we we did notice that afterwards but it wasn’t intentional.
Phil: So you’re on tour with Johnny Truant at the moment then, how’s it all going?
Venno: It’s going really, really well. It’s been a lot better than what we’d hoped for. We went out drinking with the lads from Johnny Truant last night actually, so we’re a bit rough, a bit quiet!
Russ: It’s a good laugh.
Phil: Are you fans of the band?
Venno: Well i hadn’t heard that much of them and then I got a copy of the album before the tour but hearing it live – it’s great.
Phil: you’ve played with some other big bands as well, Funeral for A Friend, Coheed and Cambria, how do Truant rate?
Venno: Well Coheed and Cambria are quite big and they kept themselves to themselves a bit but these guys [Johnny Truant] have made this tour great.
Phil: Though the tour’s still going, what’s the plan for the next while?
Venno: Yeah well we’ve still got a few dates left and we are going to do some shows in York.
Russ: We’re planning to gig fairly heavily in the new year as well, in support of the album, and obviously get the single well out there, and the video. But just gigging and gigging.
Phil: So the album’s just come out, how’s the feedback been?
Venno: Yeah it’s been really good. All of the internet reviews have been absolutely brilliant, some have even given us ten out of ten and nine out of ten which is amazing.
Russ: Yeah and we got eight out of ten in Metal Hammer and four out of five in Zero, nine out of ten in Powerplay. Very decent responses, we’re definitely happy with it, it’s all going really well so far.
Phil: You’ve got good support from Funeral For a Friend, as I saw on your website, do you think that helps?
Venno: Yeah, we’ve known them for a few years now, and they’ve helped. We’re just trying to get off the ground and it’s like we’d give support to bands when we play in York. We saw them when they weren’t big at all, when they were doing the Barfly circuit like we’re doing now and we seemed to just like it, and they thought a lot of us too.
Phil: You’ve obviously got a similar sound to them, but what other influences do you have?
[Mike, their drummer now sees us and walks over looking confused and like he had no idea the interview had been going on, to the amusement of the rest of the band]
Venno: We draw huge influence from 80s metal, especially myself with the vocals, I like Maiden, Skid Row, Motley Crue…
Phil: There’s definitely a classic metal thing going on, definitely in the vocals, I can sense some clenched hero fists!
Venno: that’s the idea yeah!
Phil: It reminds me of Three Inches of Blood at points.
Venno: Oh yeah, I like that, I really do like that band actually they’re great.
Phil: Various places have described you as melodic hardcore and emo. What do you guys think of the dreaded ‘e’ word?
Venno: I don’t even know what is emo? Does it really exist? It’s just a word and every band gets labelled it, if you’re a bit upset or something suddenly you’re an emo band.
Russ: I don’t think we’d describe ourselves as an emo band, a melodic rock metal band i’d say. We just write songs we want to write, if they want to call us emo then…
Venno: We’re not aiming for any particular sort of sound, it’s just what comes out, and whatever we’ve been listening to toom much of at the time like if we’ve been listening to a bit too much Def Leppard or whatever. We’;ve got such varied influence between us though. There’s a wide range in what we write.
Russ: And we play around with it.
Venno: Yeah there’s no limitations. If we want to play really heavy metal we will do. If we want to write a soft pop-rock song, we will. We just write what we want to write.
Phil: What’s your favourite Def Leppard album then?
Venno: It’d have to be Hysteria.
Phil: I’m more Pyromania myself
Venno: I like Hysteria a little bit more, though we did a cover of “Photograph” [off the better album Pyromania] a few years ago for a live Radio thing which was quite funny!
Phil: If you did a covers album, what would be on it?
Venno: “Detroit Rock City” by Kiss
Russ: Something by Iron Maiden.
Nick: Maybe a Biffy Clyro cover or something.
[Mike can’t decide so…]
Venno: I think he’d say “Girls Girls Girls” by Motley Crue. Thats what he wants to do, definitely!
Phil: To end then, the big question, who’s the biggest glam metal reality TV star, Gene Simmons or Tommy Lee?
Venno: I think it’s going to have to be Tommy Lee.