One Friday afternoon a few weeks ago, I was routinely digging around for new music when I stumbled across “Guilt” in the New Blood section of Spotify. Within the song’s opening seconds, I was hooked. Seeped in a thick, dismal atmosphere, this morose offering hit me in the face like 1,000 hammers. It sounded tough, menacing and, most importantly, fresh. This powerviolence trio from Manchester, UK is called Leeched and they’re out for blood. Formed in 2017, the band have already caused sizeable waves in the underground metal scene with last year’s EP, Nothing Will Grow From the Rotten Ground– an abrasive blend of grind and hardcore. 2018 is set to be an even bigger year for them as they tour with Full of Hell and prepare to unleash hell with their debut album next month. I’ve recently had the pleasure of talking to the band’s frontman and bassist, Laurie, to discuss lyrics, songwriting and what their live shows set out to create.
Simon: Firstly, thanks for your time. I’ll break the ice by asking the obvious: how did you guys form the band and what were your goals for writing music?
Laurie: Thanks for taking an interest! Tom [drums] and I knew each other from previous bands and we knew Judd [guitar] mutually. We started Leeched as a side project which quickly took over our lives. As for aspirations, our goal was to see how far we could personally take our influence with dark, heavy music.
Simon: Your sound is quite refreshing, which is no easy task in 2018. What inspirations do you draw from and how does the writing process typically work in the band; do you all have similar tastes in music or does the writing come from a variety of influences?
Laurie: We all like a lot of music from many genres. To write music, we sit down and start laying ideas out until we hear something we find engaging: be it a riff or an atmosphere we are aiming to create. After that we develop the music with drums and I’ll start making lyrics as the songs begin to take shape.
Simon: The energy emitted from your recordings is powerful, there’s a real sense of danger that comes from them. When it comes to translating these songs live, is there a conscious effort being made to ensure that same energy remains intact or is there a focus on setting a different kind of mood for when people hear them in person?
Laurie: You’ll hear us playing the songs exactly as they were when we first brought them to life – and we play them as hard and heavy as humanly possible! Additionally, all of the samples and programming elements being heard on the album are present in our shows as well.
Simon: You’ve left little time to recoup from your excellent EP last year, has this debut album come from the same recording sessions or was there an overwhelming itch to get back in the studio again?
Laurie: None of the songs for the album were written during the time of the EP. The writing for the album began in November and was finished in early April.
Simon: You’ve gone back to No Studio’s for You Took the Sun When You Left, was there a particular reason for that?
Laurie: Joe is a great engineer and a personal friend, but most importantly he gels perfectly with us as a band and gets what we’re all about. These are the key ingredients for making a record where everyone involved is excited.
Simon: I want to talk about your artwork. There’s something transfixing about the visuals to these projects; a striking simplicity that manages to encompass an ernest representation of your music with few words. Is there a thought process to your artwork or is it just a way of telling the eye exactly what it needs to in the shortest amount of time?
Laurie: We don’t believe in making something more complicated than it needs to be. If something conveys a message in a few words from a simple picture then that’s enough. Trying to emphasize it will only cloud its raw meaning. Not that that is the wrong thing to do, it’s just not what we are aiming to achieve.
Simon: “Guilt”, the first single from the upcoming album, carries over the same brutality your full-throttle EP had but takes on more atmosphere and sludge; you allow the song to have more breathing room which in turn delivers harder punches for when everything kicks back in. Can we expect any surprises compositionally with this new LP or will it be more of an extension to Nothing Will Grow From the Rotten Ground?
Laurie: I think personally this album bears very little resemblance to the EP. It’s more dynamic and conveys different emotions throughout.
Simon: So, was there a vision in mind for the album’s sound?
Laurie: Our aim was to further progress and develop the sound we’d already made with the EP; to evolve and create the darkest, most distressed atmosphere we could possibly envision.
Simon: When writing lyrics do you have a theme in mind for the songs or are they written in a more spontaneous and visceral manner?
Laurie: Sometimes there might be a theme but most of the ideas come from circulating a song over and over until something comes together, eventually getting to the stage where I can read them back to see if it fits with the atmosphere of the song.
Simon: You guys are from Manchester, what’s your overall thoughts on the music scenes around there at the minute?
Laurie: Manchester has always been the capital of the north of England for music. Many great experimental bands have come from here. The heavy music scene seems to be really healthy with regular shows and new bands surfacing weekly.
Simon: Is rock music really as dead as people say it is?
Laurie: Of course not.
Simon: Finally, there’s a lot going on in the Leeched bandcamp at the minute, what with a new album next month and a number of shows all over the UK – including dates with Full of Hell. What can a fan who has never seen you live before expect from one of your shows and is there anything you want to let them know before signing off?
Laurie: We want to play as hard as we can. People watching will see this and be immersed in our performance and feel the atmosphere we are creating, regardless of what we’re actually playing.
You Took the Sun When You Left is available for pre-order on the band’s website right now and is set for release on the 24th of August. If you’re trying to catch them live, they’re playing a number of UK dates over the coming months.
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