interview with Ironrat

Have any of you played in other bands? Lots! Most notably Lazarus Blackstar, Khang, Silverburn, Grain & Mark Yates' Blunderbuss
How is it that you started playing music?
We all got very into music at an early age so by the time we were all teenagers we'd picked up at least one instrument.
Wayne, Martin & Chris all had family/friends who introduced them to rock/metal whereas Stuart started digging through his parent's Beatles, Stones & Mamas & Papas vinyl.
What are your names? / Who plays what? / How old are you?
Chris (30something) - Vocals (ex-drums)
Wayne (30something) - Guitar
Martin (30something) - Lead Guitar
Stuart (practically40) - Bass
Gordon (40don't ask) - Drums
Have you had other previous members?
Ste - Vocals & Bass
Bungle - Vocals
Lee - Drums
Did you make music even when you were young? Fuck yes! Most of us were in bands as teenagers.
Where are you from? Bradford & Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK
What year did the band form? 2008
What's your style of genre? Rock/metal, we don’t really like pigeonholing it more than that but I guess stoner/doom is the closest fit.  That said there's allsorts in there like southern/retro/70s rock thrash, punk and prong in the mix there.
What inspires you? Initially the band was mainly inspired by COC, Down & Clutch but any good tunes, whatever genre can inspire or affect us all.
How often and where do you rehearse? We firmly believe in regular once or twice a week rehearsals and we rent a room in Voltage Studios so it's as close to just turn up, plug in and play as we can get.
How have you developed since you started with the music? The band has evolved, especially as new blood brings new influences. We've also become heavier but without losing that lighter rock n roll side.
Do you have other interests of work outside the band?
Gordon: more bands!
Wayne: I'm an avid reader
Martin: my family
Stuart: gaming & family
Chris: beer & food
Are you looking for a booking agency, and what are your thoughts around that? We're not courting any agents at the moment but we recognise what they could bring us.
Are you looking for a label, and what are your thoughts around that? We've got an arrangement with Voltage records which gives us full control of the music but we benefit from the labels support. It works really well for us.
What made you decide to make this music? It wasn't a conscious decision, it's the natural outcome of putting the five of us in a room together.
What are your songs about? Chris currently writes the lyrics with some assistance from Wayne. He tends to pulls from his life experiences so we're got themes like social politics, drugs, the state of the modern news media or sometime we'll 'name' a song in the jamming process and that will suggest a theme, like Thunderlord or Last Outlaw.
Who does the composing and writes the lyrics? Anyone and everyone can bring a riff to the jam but Wayne's generally best at pulling that into a structure, we'll all jam that out and craft it into a instrumental for Chris to finalise lyrics then we'll all jam it out again, take it home and listen to until it's done.
Do you start with the music or the lyrics? Usually the music will come from jamming ideas in the practise room that Wayne & Martin have brought from home. That said if the lyric ideas push the song in a different direction we'll run with that if it works.
Do you compose in a certain environment? Noodling at home to get riff ideas then the practise room to bring it together.
Have you done any covers live? In the early days we used to cover Folsom Prison Blues but we don’t anymore, we've have too many song ideas to take time away to learn covers.
What language do you sing in? Yorkshire English!
What are the least and most people to attend one of your gigs? The least was about 4 (not including the other band members) but no-one realised we were competing with a beer festival on the same day. The most was some of the festivals we've played, 2-3000 people or so.
What ages are most of your concert attendants? Generally 18-50, we have a fairly wide ranging audience.
Do you always play the same songs live, or do you vary? We vary our setlist all the time but certain songs like Eye Lucifer and Weed Machine always do down well live.
Do you have a regular place you play live often? We don’t have a regular spot, we like the variety of venues and that way we don't get too comfortable with one particular PA or setup.
What was your first gig like? It was great, we played to a bar in Baildon which was packed out with all of our mates.
What was your latest gig? It was the Arches in Coventry through FATAngel management and Fargo tours. Good agents, nice venue, fun bands and we got introduced to Morass of Molasses who we're really looking forward to gigging with again in the near future.
Have you had to cancel a gig? We've just had one where the headline band had to cancel a couple of weeks prior to the gig (shit happens) and the gig just collapsed.
Recently we've just spent a lot of time organising a great line-up only to have to pull it (fortunately before it was announced!) as it clashed with a major gig in the area.
Where have you played live this year? So far we've not travelled out of the UK but we've played Yorkshire, Coventry and South Wales. 
Where do you plan to gig the coming year? Europe, there are some great little festivals we'd love to get onto.
When did you start to sell merchandise, and what do you have for sale? The album 'Monument' has been available online as CD or download since March on Amazon, iTunes, Google Play & Spotify.  We've just started selling t-shirts at gigs as well as stickers & badges but we'll be opening an online merch store soon.
Where can people buy your merchandise?
'Monument' via Plastic Head Distribution (http://www.plastichead.com/item.asp?ex=fitem&target=VCD416)
'Monument' via Amazon (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Monument-Ironrat/dp/B00T64ZP2O)
'Monument' via iTunes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/monument/id979742392)
'Monument' via Spotify (https://play.spotify.com/artist/0cfiVrqsLdlUu3EQkO2g4w)
'Monument' via Google Play (https://play.google.com/store/music/artist/Ironrat?id=Apdhkrojecyidma7yfpwmdzxkkq)
Merch is sold at gigs but we're in the process of setting us an online store.
What do you think about people downloading music instead of buying records now a days? We're old school and love physical CDs but the ability to buy & download or even just buy one song is a major benefit to all bands. The change to stream /listen before you buy is fantastic and means there's less of an argument for torrenting.
How do you think the music industry have changed because of this? Straight off being able to release music yourself without the upfront cost of a physical CD is a boon for all smaller musicians/bands, it's given a lot more control to the bands.
What do you think of my work? Despite all the technological changes the music industry the most effective promotion for any band remains word of mouth, and bloggers like yourself are modern day equivalent of your mate in the pub encouraging you to go checkout this cool band.  The industry need bloggers like you.
How do you think and know that this interview will help you in the music business? Again, word of mouth is still the most powerful form of promotion and we're grateful for any YouTube views (checkout Eye Lucifer on https://youtu.be/I57h-HNJa1U) Facebook 'likes' as they all help to get our name out there.
Do you have any role models or idols? Maybe Woody Weatherman/Pepper Keenan, or Sabbath. There are many artists we admire but we wouldn't want to put them on a pedestal, we just enjoy the works they've given us and rock out listening to them.
Why do you think that they exist? Everyone needs someone to look up to at some point, but in the end it's more important to be your own person and be the best you that only you can be.
Is it easier to find inspiration from older bands, or bands that are more active today? It's a mix of both. CCR, Allman Bros and Jethro Tull are really inspiring us right now but there’s a crop of new blood doing great stuff like Alunah Morass of Molasses, Sky Valley Mistress and Baron Greenback come immediately to mind there.
What have been your biggest obstacles? Getting the right line-up, that's something we feel really good that we've nailed now. 
What advice would you give other bands or artists? Play the music you love, play it like your life depends on it, give the audience a show and finally, don't eat yellow snow!
How do you get psyched for a gig? Beer! But not too much, that's for after we've played! Honestly it just happens, we love what we do and we love playing live.
Do you have any new material? We are working on 3 new tunes right now and debuted Dead River at the recent Arches gig.
What are your web sites?
www.ironrat.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/ironrattheband
https://www.youtube.com/user/Ironrattheband
https://twitter.com/executionersong
https://soundcloud.com/ironrat
How can people reach you? Facebook or ironrattheband@gmail.com
What are your plans for the future? Touring Europe, Album Number 2 and many more gigs and interviews!
Do you have something to add? Thank you for asking us for an interview and then you the reader for taking the time to read this. Please check out our album and we'd love to hear your feedback on it.

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