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A Rocking Tale of Everyday Heroes

A Rocking Tale of Everyday Heroes

A Rocking Tale of Everyday Heroes

Everyday Heroes is an up-and-coming band from South Wales whose blues-infused rock and roll is absolutely exhilarating to behold.  A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow is the debut full length magnum opus, a DIY endeavor jammed packed with well thought out lyrics and wickedly memorable tunes.  Fans of acts such as Molly Hatchet, Mastodon and Black Stone Cherry are sure discover their next favorite band when encountering what Everyday Heroes has to offer the world at large.  Highwire Daze recently interviewed guitarist Dan Richards to discuss the hard rocking tales of the mighty Everyday Heroes and the unveiling of A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow.  Read on…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Everyday Heroes, and how long the band has been together.
Hey there, thanks a bunch for the interview, it’s appreciated. So my name’s Dan Richards, I play guitar and write the lyrics for Everyday Heroes. Our founding members Luke and Jay have been playing together since they were kids but I’d say we’ve been a serious outfit for about 5 years now.

Where are the band based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We’re based in the valleys of South Wales, just north of the city of Newport. There are some standout venues in the valleys around us like The Patriot, The Doll’s House & The Dragonffli to name a few. The scene in the city isn’t as bustling as it once was but there are plenty of great, hard working bands and venues keeping coal on the fire. The city was once known as ‘The New Seattle’ on account of it’s excellent scene during the 90’s and we’d love to see it returned to its former glory.

Is there any overall story or concept behind the A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow title?
Yes, actually, it’s been a labor of love for me for a few years now and I’m excited to finally see it realized and primed for release. As a bit of a lyric junkie, I particularly appreciate when the writer goes out of their way to develop layers and themes that permeate an entire body of work, I just find it more engaging than a collection of mutually exclusive songs. The other boys in the band were a little hesitant at first when I broached the idea of a concept record, particularly for our debut, but I’m fortunate and grateful that they trust me enough to deliver and I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. Loosely, it follows an outlaw called Texas Red during a redemptive pilgrimage as he tries to atone for a series of past sins. I’ve tried throughout to level complexity with style and really layered in the metaphors and references so anyone as nerdy as me about lyrics has something to unpack and explore.

Select two songs from A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow and what inspired the lyrics.
As part of the writing process I undertook the latter sections of the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage in Galicia, Spain. I thought what better way to write about a pilgrimage than to experience one myself and it proved a source of invaluable inspiration. The song “Standing Stones” really blossomed lyrically during this time as I thought about why people value the experience of making these often long, religious journeys. Along the Camino, travellers add their own stone to little towers of rocks as a way of marking they were present at this point of the journey and to, I guess, share the experience across time with their fellow pilgrims. This represented to me a kind of eternal inevitability of people’s lives and struggles warranting these cleansing experiences. ‘Standing Stones’ is very much both a call to adventure for our character but also an admission that his journey of redemption is one shared across time by everyone who’s tried to reconcile their past.

I’m also particularly fond of the lyrics for ‘The Crow’. Slower songs provide their own challenges and for me it presented an opportunity to really expose some more of my own vulnerabilities. I tapped into some personal history and wove it into the overall structure of the record and I think it provides a little context for why we landed on these themes in particular, even if I didn’t know it at the time. I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s definitely the most open and honest I’ve ever been in a set of lyrics. Saying that despite my deeply personal connection to them, I hope listeners can take them and derive their own meaning.

Who produced A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow and what was it like working with them?
After having such a positive experience with our prior EP, ‘The Other Side of Nowhere’ we returned to The Boneyard Recording Studio here in Wales. We have a very good relationship with both producers, Andrew Francis and Phil Humphreys. Both guys are honest as they come which is integral when making a record. Everyone wants to be told what they’re doing is brilliant but that’s only good for inflating egos, we know both guys have no qualms in telling us up front if they think something’s not good enough and that kind of honesty is invaluable. It also helps that they’re both great musicians in their own right and both have a keen ear for arrangements. This wouldn’t be even close to the same record if not for their input.

Who did the cover art for A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow and how much input did you have on it?
So the art, which we love, was made by Kelvin Doran of Serpent Tusk Studios, based out of Ireland. I discovered him after seeing art he had produced for Mastodon of which the band are big fans. Having such high profile clientele I half expected him to either be booked up for the foreseeable future or a little out of our pay grade, so I was ecstatic when he said he wanted to work with us. I mocked up the basic, and I stress basic, concept, using some of the key imagery from throughout the lyrics, and Kelvin just took that and added the magic. I really stressed to him that despite the criteria we set, he only uses that as a platform to make a piece of work emblematic of his style. We couldn’t be happier with the result and he was honestly a delight to work with.

What has it been like to release a new album right in the middle of a pandemic?
Being our first album we don’t really have the experience to compare it to. I’m currently furloughed from my day job, so in all honesty the extra time has probably gone a long way to taking the stress out of getting everything prepared. On the flip side, it means we don’t have the shows there to help promote it. We had a big release show in the pipeline which is now rightly not happening, but we’re looking to having a big show to celebrate the album when things start to get back to normal. We understand a lot of bands have delayed their releases which is totally understandable, but we’ve been keeping our people waiting long enough. All the facilities were there to get a record printed and shipped so we weren’t going to keep everyone waiting any longer.

What could one expect from a live Everyday Heroes show?
Big energy and a full, fat sound. We’ve always considered ourselves a ‘live band’ by virtue of that environment lending itself to our style of song. We don’t rely on the more gimmicky side of performing, there are bands out there that do that really well, but we want the songs to speak for themselves. That’s not to say there are no theatrics, but we’re all big fans of bands whose performances are more spontaneous and cathartic. We’d rather be reacting to the music we’re playing and share that live visceral experience with the crowd than come across like we’re coercing people into enjoying themselves.

What was the experience like opening for bands such as The Darkness and Thunder? Did you get to meet or hang out with either at all?
Oh man, it was pretty bonkers, especially considering where we were in our career at the time. We actually did introduce ourselves to a couple of members of Thunder backstage and they we’re more than hospitable to us and actually gave us some great bits of advice, we even got to watch the show from the side of the stage. They’re such an excellent band and it was an honor to be among them in that way. The Darkness were a little more guarded and kept to themselves, it wasn’t for a lack of trying though, would have loved to have a chat but they don’t owe us anything so it wasn’t to be.

If Everyday Heroes could open for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
Big question, and depending when you asked you’d probably get a thousand different answers. If we’re talking dreamland I think performing with the likes of Black Stone Cherry or Alter Bridge would be amazing. And from the past? I think being part of one of the early Guns N’ Roses shows would have been crazy, nobody would remember who we were after GnR had played but to be in the room when one of their wild shows went down would have been an experience, to put it lightly.

Has Everyday Heroes ever played in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We haven’t as of yet, but it’s definitely been a topic of discussion. I think timing is key with something like that. We’ve heard some horror stories of bands rushing into a US tour but if the opportunity presented itself and we were in position to do it, we’d love to.

What’s up next for Everyday Heroes?
At the moment we’re full steam ahead on album prep. It’s a good question though, for the first time in years we’ll be sat with a blank slate, especially considering we don’t have any shows in the foreseeable future to focus on either. We’re not gonna sit on our hands though. We have lots of ideas of what lies in store for us next, and we’re especially excited to be able to write fresh new songs.

Any final words of wisdom?
Nothing profound comes to mind. But in these testing times I think it’s important we just look out for each other, stay safe and be kind!

Band Members:
Luke Phillips // Vox/Lead Guitar
Jay Haines // Drums/Percussion/Backing Vox
Daniel Richards // Rhythm Guitar/Backing Vox/Lyrics
Lewis Watkins // Bass/Backing Vox

(Interview by Ken Morton)

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