Out of the ever-burgeoning music scene of South Wales arrives Through Solace, a post-hardcore band whose latest release has been issued through Strike First Records. A powerful band with a spiritual message, their CD The World On Standby is definitely well worth checking into. Here is a recent interview we conducted with vocalist Luke Nicholas…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Through Solace, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Luke, I do vocals in Through Solace, and the band has been together since late 2005. The current line-up has been around since around about 2007 and 2008.
Where is the band from and what is your music scene like there?
We are from two towns in South Wales in the UK, called Barry and Newport. Barry is a seaside town where I live and does not have a music scene at all! Newport is more of a focal point for South Wales with shows there all the time and some really good hardcore bands. I think that all over the UK they have a respect for bands from South Wales. We’ve also produced some huge commercial bands like Lost Prophets, Funeral For a Friend and others.
Being from South Wales, how did you become in contact with Jason Dunn and Strike First Records?
When we put out our last EP we sent it to loads of labels all over the world, with the idea that we wanted to do a full-length album next and needed a label to release it. At the same time, I had written an email to Jason asking him whether he would be interested in releasing something. Jason replied that he had heard The Stand and believed a full-length by us would work well as part of the re-launch of Strike First Records. We signed up without hesitation! We also played at a festival in Germany in 2007 called Freakstock Festival where Seventh Star were playing one of their last ever shows. We shared a room with those guys and they also saw us and gave Jason good feedback, which I’m sure helped. Strike First is ideal for our first album because it has given us a professional looking release with some of the best artwork I have ever seen.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title The World On Standby?
This always comes up in interviews and we’re glad it’s being noticed! There is an ongoing theme behind The World On Standby. It’s about the world going to a standstill and when that happens and everything is slowed down you realize the truth of things. It can be interpreted in several ways. It’s a celestial theme and that’s why the artwork captures that as well. I think it balances out the fun we have, to have a more serious art direction. When Dave Quiggle sent us through the artwork, we were blown away, it’s a dream come true to have Dave design for us.
Who is/are Seth Loomis and Taylor?
There are two stories behind the songs, which explain. In November of last year we were invited to the USA to do a tour through about five states in the south. Carlos from the Texas band ‘Before There Was Rosalyn’ (check them out!) invited us over and organized transport and equipment for us. Normally a band at our level from Europe would not be able to do a tour in the states, but thanks to Carlos’ generosity we did and the experience was incredible. The song is about the journey across the ocean and the faith that we share which is what brought us all together. It details the whole trip and the emotions we felt. Seth Loomis is a character from a book Carlos wrote.
Taylor is a song that deals with making the most of your life at a young age, because it could be taken away from you. It’s named after my cousin Richard Taylor who is something of a hero in my hometown. He was a world-renowned skater who unfortunately passed away in 2004. I never knew him that well which is a real regret. We’ve also lost other friends in the band including an ex-band member. The song is a tribute to all those guys to kind of say ‘we are carrying on what you did’ and that on our watch the fire won’t burn out.
Being on Strike First, would you consider your band a Christian band or a ministry? And how influential is Christianity in your music?
I am unsure which of those terms we would really use, but both really. Christianity is a huge influence on our music because all of our themes, lyrics and music are determined by our faith. It’s our personal faith and feelings, so naturally it filters into the music. At the same time I would say our faith mostly influences the non-music side of the band, whereas with the music we draw inspiration from films for example. Right now we are thinking about basing our entire next album on ‘The Shawshank Redemption’, how amazing would it be to write that!
Describe a live Through Solace set for those of us who have yet to see you play.
Basically we will fire up with an intro, which is a really heavy and thick piece of music that doesn’t feature on our album. During that time I’ll absorb myself into the music and pray on a personal level. Then we go through our set quickly and sharply. We don’t have any gimmicks or moves; we just pour our energy and passion into the set. You can expect honesty, positivity and an energetic performance from us.
Has your band ever played over here in the States, or plan to do so in the future? Maybe Facedown Fest 2010?
We have toured five states in the south last November with Before There Was Rosalyn who are on Holdfast Records, the Nashville based Christian label who put out our EP. It was a great time and a good introduction to the States. We played a load of small, sweaty shows and also on some huge line-ups with bands like My Children My Bride, Shai Hulud and others. We didn’t have a record out at the time though, so we need to come back as a Strike First band. To play Facedown Fest is a dream of ours. It would cost us a lot of money to fly over but I think it would be worth it. We also want to do Cornerstone at some stage, although the priority would be a proper US tour with good bands. One good thing about our first run in the States was that there was an added interest around us because we were foreigners.
Through Solace is invited to play one song for the Queen of England at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you play for the Queen and her audience – and why?
Well I don’t think Through Solace is particularly supportive of the Queen of England! Maybe only 50% of the people in Wales want to keep the Royal Family, or something like that. She’s more of an English institution, whereas Wales is a country with its own culture and history. Hey, maybe you guys could have her! Haha. Seriously though, I would still be stoked to play for anyone and she is still a human being! I think we would play Almost because she could then see how normal people live, and I think by the end of the song she would be throwing down wearing a Hulud tee.
Who in the band is a Political Press Officer, and what does that entail?
I do that job; it involves working for politicians arranging their contacts with the media. I remember reading in an interview that one of the guys from Crime In Stereo does a similar job, and that reassured me.
Any messages for people reading this now who might want to check out your music?
Thanks for all the support from the USA- we love you and can’t wait to come over. Also to everyone that has downloaded our album instead of buying it; you are missing out on the artwork, it’s really worth picking up just for that!
Through Solace on Myspace
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)