“I don’t think there’s been a better time for the amount of bands coming out of Liverpool, like everyone you know is either in a band or knows someone in a band.” SOUND OF GUNS drummer Simon Finley affirms over half a pint in a dimly lit Shipping Forecast on a somewhat overcast July afternoon. He’s not wrong either; it’s how I got this interview. The band’s guitarist Nathan Crowley can only agree, “It’s great! It’s a good little scene like. As Si said, you sort of know everyone through someone else, there’s a nice little vibe.” Said vibe can be heard rampaging its way through their commendable debut album What Came From Fire which Simon and Nathan, with whom Bido Lito! caught up with, inform us has just debuted at number six on the independent albums chart. Not a bad start then.
With vocalist Andy Metcalfe and Simon’s previous band Freemaker and Nathan’s band The Veras splitting up roughly around the same time, things came together when after a couple of months recuperation Simon and Andy, in need of a guitarist put out an advert to which Nathan responded, bringing along fellow guitarist Lee Glynn. Being a bassist short of a band, the lads played their first few gigs “with all the bass on a backing track.” That is, until John Coley turned up at a show. With his former outfit The Vagabonds wrapping things up themselves, Coley (as he’s affectionately known) immediately wanted to get involved and thus Sound Of Guns were able to cast aside their “bass-on-tape” method of performing in exchange for something much more authentic.
Despite each member having their own influences, ranging from heavyweight rock legends AC/DC and Led Zeppelin, to psychedelic gentry The Doors and some good old-fashioned sweet soul music, the band willingly acknowledge that as a whole, they are dedicated admirers of anthemic rock. With songs like current single Architects which incorporates a cacophony of testosterone-fueled guitar sounds, rifle-like drum fills and vocals ripe with swagger, they certainly could follow in their heroes footsteps, going on to fill stadiums as Simon confesses, “That’s one thing we always get when we play gigs – people always say our sound it suited to playing bigger things.” They’re certainly on their way, last November they jetted off to Dubai Sound City (a sister festival of Liverpool’s very own) where they played the main stage, though they did feel a tad guilty afterwards as Nathan explains, “We got there and we had a look round the stage and there were all these ducks walking round so we were like ‘why are all these ducks here?’ Apparently they’d concreted in a full lake and built the stage there so these poor ducks had no lake. It’s terrible but to be honest it sums up Dubai in a nutshell.” The lads are soon being whisked off to Mallorca for Mallorca Rocks where hopefully, the stage they’ll be sharing with The Courteeners won’t have left a sord of mallards of no fixed abode.
The band recently signed with Distiller Records, an independent label based in West London but due to their past stints in bands, the boys were cautious about who they signed with to put their album out for fear of “being swallowed by the big corporate machine.” Simon elaborating on the topic explains, “It got to a period when we just started getting loads of record companies coming up to see us and I think that happens with most bands but Distiller were one of the first ones who took a real, serious interest in the band, saw where we wanted to go and understood us.”
Describing writing the album as a “painstaking process” as they were used to writing songs simply to play them live, Nathan jokingly admits “The amount of band discussions we had about the tracklist was ridiculous. Forget writing and recording the songs, picking the tracklist was definitely the hardest thing! I think that’s where Distiller really helped us out, they could take an opinion outside of the band and give us feedback otherwise it would’ve just been the five of us going ‘I want this, I want that.'” I make a feeble remark about Distiller acting as an uncle-like figure to the band to which Simon replies with his best archetypal scouser rendition of “Listen kids calm down! Calm down!” Talented and funny; these boys with the help of Distiller sure made the right choices when it came to the tracklist, for the album itself is a stunning debut full of earnest though never clichéd lyrics and riffs to rival their heroes’ with the introduction to standout track Collisions, epitomising the kind of perilous drumbeat that sticks in your head in a good way.
Avoiding the fate of many musicians today who consciously try to fill a gap in the market falling into the “we dress like this, we write songs like this, the NME will love us and we’ll be on the front cover” category, Sound Of Guns prefer to treat their music self-indulgently, “It comes back to the music that we’re writing as a band. We all love that music and the success that’s coming from it, I’d say is a by-product.” Nathan expresses before Simon adds “You’ve gotta be doing it because you love what you’re doing and take it from there.” Hear, hear! With such a grounded mentality and cheery disposition it’s difficult to believe this band were once arrested in Wakefield after locals overheard a gang of scousers in a pub talking about guns and feared for an armed raid. After clearing up what could have become a calamity, the boys kindly put a couple of police officers on the guest list for their gig (Taggart +1, naturally) with tourmates Detroit Social Club summing it up perfectly; “Can’t take you scousers anywhere.” The locals are going to have to get used to it though, because these boys are going places.