Date – April 2018
Interview – Rebekah Ann
Northern NWOBHM band Eliminator aren’t a new act for me, in fact they are local gems I’ve witnessed countless times that have gained the notoriety and respect they deserve on a national scale. I had a chat with lead guitarist Jack and new vocalist Danny about their new album ‘Last Horizon’, random musical natterings and what’s going on for them this year.
Hiya! Thanks for having a chat to me, there’s been a lot going on it seems!
* You’ve recently released the new album ‘Last Horizon’, tell me a bit about the influences for that and how the record was formed. (Did you use Lancaster’s infamous practice rooms and studio ‘The Musicians Co-op‘ ?)
We didn’t use the Co-op, but we do rehearse there! The album was recorded at Skyhammer Studios by producer extraordinaire, Chris Fielding; he was an absolute pleasure to work with. We had seven days in the studio with him and I feel he really got the best out of us without ever making us feel pressured. I would certainly hope that for the next album that is where we’ll be returning.
In terms of influences, they’re many and varied. It’s myself and Danny answering these questions, so we can’t really speak for the rest of the band.
Danny says; Eric Adams, Midnight from Crimson Glory, Steve Grimmett and Fabio Lione are his main influences. Why? Because they sound good. Succinct.During the writing of this album I’ve been influenced by a more European sound, so bands like Sortilege have certainly had an impact. I don’t specifically set out to make riffs or songs that sound like a certain band, or style so there’s a lot of subconscious influence.
* You have a new front man Danny, how did you meet? Has he influenced the sound of the band at all?
We have known Danny for quite a long time. In the early days of the band we found ourselves playing a few gigs at a bar in Burnley – Danny’s hometown, and became good friends with him and his group of mates, some of whom were also playing in bands (Kyle, from Seven Sisters is one of them!).
However, despite knowing Danny for about seven years and meeting up with him innumerable times at gigs and festivals across the continent, we had no idea that he was a singer. When we were looking for a singer after Dave Pugh left the band to focus on Skyclad, a mutual friend of ours mentioned that Danny had quite the voice. So, I asked him if he had any demos and then a week later a very impressive home-recorded cover of Crimson Glory’s Eternal World arrived in my email; this pretty much sealed the deal and after one rehearsal Danny was recruited into the band.
Danny has certainly influenced our sound; he has plenty of range and is comfortable singer in a higher register, which has allowed us to introduce some more soaring vocal melodies. The chorus of the title track is a prime example of this. Danny also has a desire to create strong, memorable vocal lines and has more of an ear for that than the rest of us. I think he’s brought his own presence to the band, which is certainly a positive influence.
* Do you have a main songwriter? Obscure writing methods? How has your sound developed since the beginning?
There’s different writing partnerships in the band. Currently, as Danny and myself both live in Manchester we have developed a preferred method of writing which is, go to my flat with a guitar, drink a bottle of wine and listen to “I’m Rock” by Kassu Halonen and then something half decent usually falls out.
Song writing is collaborative. Someone will bring an idea that’s fairly well formed, we’ll all pitch in with our ideas and then a demo is recorded for us to jam and play around with. The basis is usually around riffs and chord progressions written on guitar and then the whole band will join in on refining the ideas and concepts. I think the sound has become less juvenile as we’ve progressed – which is to be expect. We still enjoy and play the old songs though.
* Favorite song to perform? Ever do any covers? Ever played anywhere weird? Wedding? Bar mitzva?
In the current repertoire, I think Echoes is favorite to perform amongst the band. There’s several changes in tempo and texture, so naturally it’s a bit of a fun challenge to recreate on stage.
The Fall of the Seer is also extremely fun to perform live despite Matt complaining it’s boring in the practice room – he certainly seems to like it a lot more on stage. With regards to covers, we’ve done loads. We used to perform at local Bike Rallies quite often when we were starting out and those audiences love their covers; the set was filled with Maiden, Saxon and Thin Lizzy numbers. We’d slip a few originals in there too and I think that won us a few fans locally.
Played anywhere weird? Yes. Yes, we have. We played a wedding in Lancaster once, which was good craic – that was for a couple who’d seen us playing at Rallies. We also once played for an audience of Christians, which was dreadful. We’ve also been booed off stage too – that was a laugh! Character building.
* Goals for the future?
Our aspirations are straightforward. Make more albums. Play for gigs, especially overseas. Danny is extremely keen on the idea of playing in Poland as he’s learning Polish, so his on-stage patter should be decent. I’d like to go back to Spain myself, as we’ve played over there twice in the past and it was incredibly good fun on both occasions.
* Who inspired you to pick up a guitar?
To be honest this is unfortunately a rather mundane story. When I was around 14 a chap at school had a guitar (something like a low-end Jackson or Ibanez, I can’t quite remember), and I thought, that looks quite fun and asked him if I could borrow it and have a crack at learning something. I was getting into music around this time too, so learned some very basic stuff, some simple Metallica riffs, Smoke on the Water, that type of thing.I enjoyed it enough that I decided that it’d be worth getting a guitar and learning myself. I asked my parents and they bought me a cheap black Strat-copy, an Encore or something like that. I manged to pick it up and was thinking of forming bands within a year or two.
* Top 4 current bands
Amongst our peers, Seven Sister have got to be one of the best UK bands right now. We’re also good mates, so we have a laugh whenever we play together. Their new album, The Cauldron and the Cross is out now, (we’re label-mates too) and it’s really fucking good – go and buy it!
You can’t talk about contemporary British metal bands without mentioning the Fozz. They’re consistently realising strong albums and are deadly live. We’ve played with them a fair few times over the years and certainly hope to share the stage with them again in the near future.
Norway’s Black Magic came out with a few new songs a couple of years ago at Muskelrock 2016. It was a change in direction to their old material, much more mellow and melodic, and is very promising. I’m looking forward to seeing what they put out soon.
Tanith is a new project from Satan guitarist, Russ Tippins and I believe the rest of the musicians are based in the US. They’ve recently released a two song 7” which was very enjoyable – there’s a nice melodic hard rock feel too and there’s male and female vocals which adds some nice additional layers to the songs. Naturally, the guitarwork is absolutely masterful. I’m keeping an eye out for a full length.
* Where can fans buy your music?
You can buy it everywhere! It’s in HMV, Fopp and I’ve seen it in independent record shops too. You can order directly from our label, Dissonance Productions. It’s also available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and all that jazz. Plus, if you’re not keen on paying, some cheeky so-and-so has put the whole thing up on YouTube for your listening pleasure; we don’t mind though as long as the music is reaching more people!
Excellent, cheers fellas.
Readers; if you’re into denim, heavy metal riffage, soaring vocal displays and haven’t already got this killer album do yourself a favor and go get it. Pronto. (Or pilfer it off Youtube)