ELECTUS! (yes, they prefer it printed in capitals followed by an exclamation mark) hail from Wolverhampton and have been delivering super-catchy hard rock since the early 00s. With new album The Dark now roaming the earth and a song featured on our upcoming #69 covermount CD, ZT caught up with singer/guitarist Russell Peake for an exploration of the hard rock niche.
-How were ELECTUS! formed?
ELECTUS! was formed on the back of my solo shows, I wanted to expand my songwriting abilities, during the late 90’s & 00’s … people would come up and say “gosh you have something there”, I knew from then I wanted to “Plug in” and play to the world unvarnished.
-You have a new album out! What can you tell us about its recordings and the music contained therein?
The album was recorded at the infamous M2 studios, Coven, West Midlands, most notably Magnum’s base. Robert Plant, Diamond Head, SHY, TNT, Tony Mills Dante Fox have all been there. Mixed and produced by Mark Stuart and Sheena Seer. I wrote, sang on 9 songs and Kane our lead guitarist wrote a great little intro to set the mood of the album. Recorded in 5 days over a 3-month period with a couple of extra days added for production.
-You describe your style as Hard Rock / Metal… Not many bands play this style anymore without clearly leaning towards commercial pop-rock or straight-up metal. Are you doing it on purpose, to stand out from the crowd and get all the girls who can’t stand metal?
I gave up analyzing music, its different genres and sub tongues a long time ago. I didn’t start with the aim of targeting any one audience, I’m saying if I wake up feeling like I want to write a thrash riff and use it with a groove beat, I do it. In essence I’m writing songs that I enjoy, then I stick it up the flagpole and see who salutes it.
-You also reference classical music and blues as influences. How do these divergent influences come together in your music?
They are subtle moments where I feel a song needs to go, or without blatantly ripping off a style. Those styles may well inspire a small piece of music, for example it was classic thrash that inspired our single Rider and early 70’s Rock that inspired the intro to Morning Psalm.
-How do you write songs?
Mostly sitting on the sofa with my 12 string, I have around 10 albums worth of completed material ready to work, rework or ditch at any one time, but the last couple of songs have been plugged-in and cranked-up riffs with the band, which I’ve loved every minute of.
-What’s more important – a catchy chorus or a solid riff?
The riffs traditionally get the lads head banging the chorus gets the girls dancing but from my perspective they play equal parts.
-What are the themes that find their way in your lyrics?
Life experiences through observations while people-watching i.e. life, love, tragedy and comedy.
-Would you agree that your style is more potent in live performances than studio albums?
There is definitely a vibe when playing live! It’s what the band live for, that buzz, there’s no other feeling like it. So yes definitely more potent, more volume = more Rock/Metal.
-Which of the two settings do you prefer, personally?
Personally I prefer live! Ever since my thirteenth birthday I wanted to be in KISS that inspired me to play live on stage in a band and tour the world.
-How does the new line-up work so far?
Dan Smith (bass player) was the first to join me in ELECTUS! He has shared the same vision for the band and understood the roadmap from day one. I’ve known Mick Hales (drummer) for over 25 years, we have been in many bands together and apart, I’ve always known I can rely on him to come up with the goods. He is a solid rhythm section and one of the best drummers I have ever known. Ross Kane (lead guitarist) although the last to join the band has gelled like it was meant to be and brings a different perspective in playing styles.
-In a few weeks you are supporting Fins Santa Cruz. Looking forward to that? What should the crowd expect?
A great opportunity to play to a larger audience and spread the gospel of ELECTUS! The crowd should expect to be pleasantly surprised by an energetic, enthusiastic and visually bold presence.
More touring through to 2016 to promote The Dark album across the UK including some European dates. Filming promotional videos then back in the studio Summer 2016.
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