Recently I had an opportunity to catch SHVPES live in Birmingham supporting Trivium (Read Our Review Here). They were quite comfortably the best opening band I’ve seen at a show since I watched Cane Hill play with Bullet for My Valentine in December of last year. The crowd took a little bit of time to warm up, but once the band had them on their side it was clear that they were making a genuinely positive impression. I can’t leave out the moment when frontman Griffin stood in the middle of the wall of death before it hit – one of the best moments of the entire performance. It was time to have a quick chat with the frontman Griffin on all things SHVPES. Here’s the conversation:
Firstly, thank you for taking the time to talk to Metal Wani today! How are you and how is 2017 treating you thus far?
No problem, I’m on tour with Trivium. 2017’s great!
So 2017 has seen the release of your debut album ‘Pain. Joy. Ecstasy. Despair.’ – congratulations! How have you found the reaction to it?
No one calls me a cunt to my face, so everyone loves it 😉
Where did the inspiration for the album’s title come from?
I actually nicked it from a play called Franelli & the King that was on at the West end. My mum’s friend was the lead actor, so dragged me along to go and see it (I fucking hate the theatre) and it blew my mind. Really really good. There’s a part where Mark Rylance says “the endless cycles of pain, joy, ecstasy and despair” that just stuck with me. It was in the first 10 minutes of the 2 hour play, and as you can’t get your phone out, I spent the next 1hr 45 repeating the phrase so I didn’t forget!
What was the writing process like for the album? What inspired the writing sessions? Was there any other artists/bands/music that you had on as you wrote?
The writing process varied a lot, there was a few songs I presented as complete tracks, there was weeks where we’d meet up as a band and all contribute to the writing, there was times there would just be two of us jamming til the early hours. There was no real process, we just kept writing in various environments until we were happy with the result. In terms of inspiration, again, it was so varied. The only constant was probably Captain Morgan’s haha.
How was working with producers Carl Brown and Jim Pinder? How much input did they have in the record, or were they more hands-off and let you do your thing?
It was unbelievable. I met up with Carl recently, it was the first time I’d seen him since we were in the studio and we both agreed that I went into that environment as a music fan & came out as a musician. They completely opened my mind up to songwriting, production, my voice etc. I can’t sing their praises high enough. In regard to their input, they always stated their opinion on a particular part but at the end of the day, it’s our music so it’s ultimately our choice. I think one of the best things they do is ask the write questions.
Naturally, you’re supporting the new release with a tour and are supporting the mighty SikTh and Trivium – what’s it like sharing a stage with them? How have their fans responded to your set?
They’ve been tough, they’re a lot older of a crowd than we’re used to playing to… They’re not kids, they’re big blokes haha. So they’re not so up for going mental. I think we’ve won them over every night though, so it’s great to see and it feels like we’ve done our jobs each night.
Are there any nerves when stepping onto the stage to open for these guys? Do you have any rituals to calm yourselves or do you dispense with nerves, get out there and just do what you know best?
Personally, I only feel nervous when I’ve had a drink or when someone I know is in the audience, so I just avoid those things and I’m usually sweet haha. The guys like to have a beer and just hype up.
How has the tour gone so far and have there been any incidents to speak of, good or bad?
It’s been fucking great! We’re all having the time of our lives. We’ve had a couple ‘incidents’ namely involving a mousetrap on the bus. Who would leave that on a tour bus? Obviously its going in someones bunk. Watch our upcoming tour diary to see that!
Has the experience of opening for SikTh and Trivium given you any ideas for future shows or releases at all?
At the moment, we’re still very much finding our feet in playing shows this big. We’re in an entirely new world here, so we’re taking care of what’s directly in front of us at the moment.
Away from the stage, how do you go about relaxing? Given the time, do you explore the city you’re in or do you do something more relaxed?
Sleep! When I’m awake I want to be busy, so we’ll go out exploring/ go cause some havoc in the venue.
Once this tour is over, what are your plans for the rest of 2017?
We’ve just got booked on an amazing tour this summer, so that will be insane. We’ve then got festivals planned from April through the summer. Should be a great year!
And that’s the interview! Thank you very much for your time speaking to Metal Wani.