Fresh from his solo performance on the Double Slit Guitars stage at Tech-Fest, Zero Tolerance spoke to Cambion vocalist/guitarist Elliot Alderman-Broom and bassist Johnny Walker about the band’s new EP, upcoming Bloodstock appearance and touring with a WWE wrestler’s band.
Formed back in 2009 in the South West of England and with a clear Meshuggah influence to their sound, it was no surprise to find Cambion’s frontman Elliot giving a guitar demonstration at this year’s Tech-Fest. Sat behind a small metal fence as he played along to a backing track it was a different experience for both fans and the guitarist, more akin to watching animals in a zoo than what you’d expect at the UK’s only tech-metal festival.
It was a unique exhibition that will surely be eclipsed when Cambion play the Sophie Lancaster Stage on Friday at Bloodstock. The rest of the band behind him and hopefully more than 20 hot metalheads in front of him, they should be worth getting up early for.
ZT: How was it performing solo?
Elliot: It was a bit strange but it was cool. I didn’t know what to expect to start off with, obviously Tech-Fest is in a new place this year as well. It was cool, cool guitars as well.
Are you endorsed by Double Slit guitars then?
E: Well I spoke to Luke from Double Slit guitars last year at Tech-Fest as I loved the guitars straight away as they’re crazy shapes. He’s building me a custom guitar now. He’s a really cool guy and they’re nice guitars so hopefully he should get the guitar done pretty soon, it’s been a while since last year.
Is he local?
E: No he’s from Guildford. He pretty much builds them in his house, it’s crazy but they’re just awesome. He’s really committed to it.
Was it odd playing in front of a backing track rather than a band?
E: It was a bit strange but when he asked me to do it I was like ‘oh man I’ve got to get loads of stuff sorted now as well’ but I just put some drums and bass together from the new album and played along to that.
What’s going on with Cambion now, you mentioned re-releasing an EP?
E: Yeah, we’ve got an EP out at the minute called Virus and we’ve recorded two new tracks which we’re putting on to that and then re-releasing it for two main reasons. One, we thought Virus didn’t get enough attention or the push it deserved, so we’re trying to give it another push, and also it’s a build-up to the album that we’re doing for next year. So rather than doing nothing in between, we’re gigging and stuff, it gives us something to release in the meantime and tour that as well.
You went on tour with Beholder earlier this year, how was that?
E: They’re really cool guys and it was a great tour. Hospitality was insane.
Was that the biggest you’ve done so far? E: I wouldn’t say the biggest but it was definitely the most fun. I mean years ago we supported Fozzy which was quite interesting, we definitely weren’t suited to that but it was a great experience.
And you’re playing Bloodstock in August. Will it be your first time?
E: No, we played the New Blood stage two years ago through the Metal To The Masses and this year we’re back on the Sophie Lancaster stage. It’s scary but really awesome.
Johnny Walker: We’re really looking forward to it
Anything special planned for it?
J: Probably playing some new tracks from the album.
E: And we’re releasing the re-release of Virus at Bloodstock as well, that’s the plan. As soon as we knew we were doing Bloodstock it kind of fell into place with the re-release. We thought what better place to release it.
What got you into playing metal?
E: When I first started, my favourite band of all time is SikTh and I never got to see them before and then they split up. I’m not going to get to see them at Tech-Fest either because we’ve got to go back today as we’ve got work this weekend. But luckily I’m seeing them in Bristol. It’s one of those things where if I get stuck inspiration wise I put on SikTh and it’s just incredible. It’s like organised chaos. They’re awesome, definitely the big inspiration for me.
J: For me I’ve only recently joined Cambion and I loved metal as a kid and grew up on it. To play it, the power and empowerment from playing metal live is second to none, it’s just awesome. My favourite genre definitely.
What do you hope to achieve with Cambion?
E: A lot of people would say things like labels and that but I mean labels are cool but we like doing it off our own back as well. I think some of the things we’ve accomplished without a label, at the moment there’s no reason for us to pursue that so I think the idea is to just keep getting bigger gigs, bigger tours, play with more of the bands that we like playing with. And also the album we’re releasing is our first full-length album as well so just taking it step by step and building it up, see how far we can take it.
Have you started recording the album?
E: No, we’ve literally just come back from the studio doing our re-release stuff. So we’re finishing off writing now and hopefully will be in the studio at the beginning of next year.
So you intend to self-release it?
E: Primarily a self-release but we’ve got a PR company behind us, Domino PR, and she’s going to be giving it a big push as well. Steph’s wicked and she’s got a lot of experience with valid bands.
How would you describe Cambion’s sound to someone who hasn’t heard you before?
E: It’s one of those things we were saying earlier on, a lot of people like to use the term djent and that kind of thing but we try to stay away from that and prefer just to say metal and then people can make their own minds up. I think a lot of bands that are subgenred, pigeonholed and put into areas, people deliberately don’t go and listen to bands because they’re called a certain style. If you say metal then everyone can listen to it and decide from there. I think that’s the best way to do it really.
J: It does have technical influences, there’s loads of different influences in it. E: I mean the primary influences for me are Meshuggah, SikTh and Monuments. I guess we’re kind of going for that style, the dark, groovy vibe of Meshuggah but with the more technicality of SikTH, Monuments and things like that. I think there’s something for everyone in there. We try to keep it fairly open but it’s definitely a kind of tech-metal root.
Do you do most songwriting or is it a group effort? E: I do most of the songwriting. I create a song, as much of it as I can to a finished point and then show the other guys and everybody has an influence in what they want to change, what’s going to make it better.
Aside from the album what future plans and ambitions do you have?
J: Touring our asses off!
E: I’d like to get on some other festivals. We did Tech-Fest last year and Euroblast. We’d love to go back to Euroblast that was an awesome festival and Tech-Fest next year would be cool. To be honest the main thing at the minute is playing the gigs we want to play, not just playing random gigs that are pointless. We gig as much as we can, pretty much every week if we can, but definitely get on some bigger festivals, tours, playing with some bigger bands. Come see us at Bloodstock. We’ve got a couple of tours coming up to be announced too and we’re doing the Halloween Zombie Ball down in Exeter with Skindred and Glamour Of The Kill.
Have you all got other jobs then?
E: Yeah we have to. I work as a self-employed sound engineer outside the band so my ears are struggling haha. Our drummer’s self employed and our guitarist Mark’s making teeth dentures.
J: I’m doing carpentry but ideally it’d obviously be great to get to the stage where music is all we do as then we can put more music out.
E: I think that’s a big goal, to be able to make some sort of an income, whether it’s our proper income or just a bit off music that’d be awesome.