Formed a few years after legendary guitarist Gizz Butt left The Prodigy and as a way to return to his metal roots, The More I See are about to embark on a 14-date UK tour on the back of their strongest album to date.
Having played in or with legendary bands spanning a broad range of musical genres, from The Prodigy to Sabbat with Fields Of The Nephilim and English Dogs in between, The More I See is Gizz Butt’s personal project. Started twelve years ago with a few line-up changes along the way, their melodic/groove inspired metal got them signed to Earache Records and noticed all across the globe.
Including dates with Bull Riff Stampede and Savage Messiah on their imminent Autumn tour, three-quarters of the band spoke to ZT about preparing for it, their latest album, problems that plague the current generation and of course a few interesting tales from Gizz’s previous bands…
ZT: What can fans expect from your upcoming Autumn tour? Gizz Butt (Guitar): Rehearsals for this have been fantastic , we’ve found ourselves in a great zone and on a real good vibe. We’re honestly happy to have each other as musician friends and band mates, this music makes us feel alive! We will obviously play what we feel is the strongest material from the new album Disappearing Humans and we’ve also dug back into our back catalogue from the albums The Unholy Feast and The Wolves Are Hungry, and we’ve enjoyed resurrecting and maybe reworking the songs from these that we feel are truly important to us. These songs are classics in our eyes so now it’s time to see if they can be in yours as well. Joining forces with superb bands meant everything to us, and playing with Savage Messiah and Bull Riff Stampede was no coincidence – this is what we wanted , we WANTED to be on our toes , we wanted to step up to the mark. These bands are bloody good, really high calibre and we want to be up there with them.
Drew Markwick (Bass): We’ve really been knuckling down in that practice room, getting our set to a standard that we are proud to present to the fans, trying out various things and ironing out any creases.
Why should a metal fan unfamiliar with The More I See come out to see you play? Gizz: Historically there are a few things worthy of note; The More I See is the band I needed to form to get back to my metal roots when I was still in The Prodigy, so the idea was being formed at the back end of that period. The first songs ‘Near Extinction’ and ‘Suck On These Words’ were written around the time of the 9/11 attacks and in a climate of disbelief and distrust as serial liars George Bush and Tony Blair had been disguising truths about wars on Iraq and Iran. Blair created a Britain of suffocation and deceit and The More I See have existed throughout the entire period of the decade and our lyrics reflect that. Deceit , grief , pain , greed . A humanity that is no longer humane as we turn away and bury ourselves deeper into our iPhones. TMIS have released four albums and have coexisted while I was in Sabbat , Steve Ignorant (Crass) , Fields Of The Nephilim and of course English Dogs, so it’s worth noting that at some point each of those bands would have effected the writing of The More I See in some form or another .
Drew: We love to perform with bagfuls of energy and passion, I think there’s nothing worse than seeing a band who don’t look like they’re into what they’re doing. We are extremely proud of our music and will always perform that music with just as much enthusiasm.
Gizz: The guys that play with me have been with me now for over five years and they’re young guys but we’ve stuck it out and the energy when we play together is magic! It’s one of the best feelings in our lives. The More I See have stood firm to the belief that the music is more important than passing fashions and that classic albums such as ‘Ride The Lightning’ depict the true spirit of metal.
Have your experiences from playing in other bands impacted upon The More I See’s live shows in any way? Gizz: My background is more punk rock where the bands were passionate and the expression and true energy of belief and love in what you’re doing is far more important than any gimmick.
The Prodigy are a magnificent live act but sometimes they are just ticking boxes without integrity, for instance they have a live guitarist but he isn’t in the mix. That saddens me. We don’t have the money for props and our time is spent on faithfully mastering a large number of songs to reproduce and interact with the live audience – we don’t even have a lavish backdrop. Some bands ideas are far more greater than their actual talent but in The More I See I’m working with three guys half my age that actually make me feel like I’m worth a shit. That makes me feel alive.
What’s it like going from playing big venues with The Prodigy to smaller places with The More I See and English Dogs? Gizz: I’m honestly just happy to be alive, to still have my health and still be doing it. Obviously I loved those enormous Prodigy years, who wouldn’t ? But playing your own songs live and having the guitars cranked up LOUD in the mix is a very rewarding experience .
Do you have a preference? Gizz: I experienced the mother of all comedowns after The Prodigy fired me but I’ve finally stopped beating myself up over it. It took a dream while on holiday to finally make me realise how much I’d been torturing myself .
This is what I do, this and the English Dogs. It’s real and I love it and we are a signed band (Earache Records) have an album out (The Disappearing Humans) on which we all actually played – no samples , no session musicians. We’ve shot a video and now we’re about to play a fucking tour!
And what does working with The More I See allow you that your other projects don’t? Gizz: To play Heavy Fucking Metal! I was screamed at by a certain Prodigy member for playing a Van Halen lick in a soundcheck! Shouted at and told off by Carl McCoy for producing a pinched harmonic in A Fields Of The Nephilim rehearsal (my last!) and warned to “Stop that fucking shit” for playing a Metallica riff in a soundcheck for Steve Ignorant (Crass). What the fuck? In TMIS and English Dogs there is no one to stop me playing the greatest fucking music that has ever been created; Heavy Metal!
How important do you think live music is now for new bands? Gizz: I fear that in our lifetime we will witness total control of the masses by the manipulation of social media and technology and what I’m referring to is our culture of ‘Electronic ostriches’. People are endlessly isolated in their iPhones and headphones and communicating less and less. Have you noticed how few people actually call you on the phone now? I believe we have a real problem when this generation grows up and doesn’t know how to interact personally. Live music isn’t just important for new bands, it’s important for society.
James Cluer (Vocals/Guitar): Live music is very important as a lot of music nowadays isn’t live and bands or artists play to backing tracks. That is a metal bands selling point, it MUST be played before your eyes. None of this press play nonsense.
Drew: Live music is absolutely essential for new bands! It’s the best way to show people that you’re a force to be reckoned with.
Were you pleased with how The Disappearing Humans turned out?
James: We were all extremely proud of The Disappearing Humans as it was our first release with the new line-up playing on the album. Personally it exceeded my expectations and I think we made a great record.
Gizz: We went through a tough time making it! The first drum track and guide guitar track was laid down on November 2011 and the final touches to the mastering were made by Scott Atkins on November 9 2012 and everything in between was just pain. It took literally weeks to get the guitars done, vocals , drum edits. The quickest part was probably actually tracking the drums but the edits took forever! It turned out a beauty though and thanks to Scott Atkins tor 1) Fitting us into his tight schedule and 2) Taking all my suggestions and criticisms. Even that part took a long time. This album was scheduled to be my last. It wasn’t though and I still plan to do more!
Drew: When I first heard the demo tracks from ‘…Humans’ I knew straight away it was going to be something special. I had an idea in my head of how the finished version was going to sound and you know what? It far surpassed my hopes! Scott Atkins is such a wizard and a great guy to work with, we have a lot to thank him for.
How did you manage to use the original Star Wars desert set for your video ‘The Eye That Offends’? James: The video for ‘The Eye That Offends’ was shot on set in Tunisia and it was the record label who suggested we went and shot the video there. Lucky for us a lot of the old original set pieces are still standing despite constant battering by sandstorms year after year!
Drew: How did we use it? Well, we used it as a surface to put all our gear on and film a music video! Haha, I’m not really sure how to answer that. It was great that the video gave us a connecting bridge to various Star Wars forums and fan clubs which, as a massive Star Wars fan, was the coolest thing ever!
What do you hope to achieve with The More I See? James: We hope that the upcoming year will be booked up with tour dates and another video to be released.
Drew: For me personally it’s great to feel momentum and excitement in what we do. I’ve yet to experience a tour in the States, so it would be incredible to venture out there.
Gizz: From forming the band in 2002, despite already making three albums (of which two of them are actually fucking really good!) and making our masterpiece The Disappearing Humans, it’s taken 12 years for me to achieve a line-up that seriously love getting together regularly in the same room and playing their music with so much enjoyment and genuine love. Let’s hope it doesn’t take that long until we make another fucking album!
THE MORE I SEE AUTUMN 2014 REVERSIBLE TOUR
October 18th – Market Deeping – Iron Horse – w/Bull Riff Stampede
October 25th – Oxford – The Cellars – w/Savage Messiah
October 31st – Weymouth – Fins – w/Bull Riff Stampede
November 1st – Yaxley – British Legion – w/Bull Riff Stampede + Sons Of Kal-El
November 6th – Norwich – The Brickmakers – w/Savage Messiah
November 7th – Wakefield – Snooty Fox – w/Bull Riff Stampede
November 8th – Croydon – Scream Lounge – w/Bull Riff Stampede
November 11th – London – The Garage – w/Savage Messiah
November 16th – Newcastle Under Lyne – The Rigger
November 18th – Southampton – The Joiners – w/Savage Messiah
November 19th – Bristol – Exchange – w/Savage Messiah
November 21st – Ebbw Vale – Odin’s Rock Club
November 22nd – Birmingham – Institute – w/Savage Messiah
November 29th – Peterborough – Cherry Tree