The Explosive Reveries of October Ends
The Explosive Reveries of October Ends
October Ends from the UK will unleash their new album Phases via UNFD on October 28th. Not afraid to smash open genre limitations, October Ends has it all – metalcore, djent, pop, and even rap vocals may be found within the vast soundscapes of Phases. Highwire Daze recently interviewed guitarist Alex Hek to find out more about the explosive reveries of October Ends, his rapping on the new album, a connection with King Charles III, and a whole lot more! Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in October Ends, and how long the band has been together.
I’m Alex – nice to meet you – I play guitar and do some vocals in the band – mainly like the rap vocals. I only joined the band a couple of years now, but they’ve been around for at least 7 years. There’s been different lineups. I think it started as some guy’s high school band project, and it’s kind of evolved since then and it became what it is today.
Actually, when I was listening to the new album, I heard the rapping parts, and I thought this is really cool! And then I discovered I was interviewing the rapper of the band today, so cool!
Yeah, there you go!
Where are you guys based out of and what is the local music scene like there?
We’re based in a place called Newcastle Upon Tyne in the Northeast of England. And the music scene here is really good. The heavy music scene is really, really cool – it’s not a big place or big city – but there’s a lot of bands. I know a lot of guys around here and they’re quite supportive – people come up to different shows and the heavy music scene is really good here. I guess what’s really different than in the States is that we’re a really small country in England, so it’s really normal for people to travel around the country for gigs – and it’s kind of more of a UK music scene here than local scenes – at least that’s how I perceive it anyways.
What does the album title Phases mean to you?
That’s a good question. So, we had a few ideas for the album title. We were kind of split on it, but yet Phases emerged because we really felt like this album as being a new phase for us in that we are exploring different sound territories. Before we had been experimenting a lot really in trying to grow and expand our sound – borrowed from more styles and really tried to mix things up with the songwriting. And I guess that’s where it came from. You could argue that the lyrics and the song material kind of deals with different phases in our lives – although that sounds really cheesy to me (laughs). But yeah, it’s more kind of a reflection of where we’re at as a band and that we are going through Phases. It’s a little bit funny as well, as I reckon some of our older fans that like our heavier, older music would maybe not be happy with some of the tracks we’ve got on here, because we’ve got some kind of poppier songs. It’s funny, because people might say it’s a phase for us – in a way, it’s not really, because we want to keep experimenting and trying new things.
UNFD Records – they have a lot of cool bands on the label. How did you wind up being in contact and signing with them?
For sure – I love the roster – Stray From The Path, ERRA – a lot of really cool bands. We got contacted by them. We were shopping around some demos that we had. Our manager Wayne from Fly South Music – he was in contact with some labels. We had been contacted by UNFD – we had a couple of emails from them – so we kind of reached back out to them, and they were really stoked on the demos that we had. We had a lot of conversations before we finally got to an agreement and signed with them – so that’s pretty much how that happened.
Tell me about the single Destroy Us All and what does that one mean to you?
Yeah, Destroy Us All – that was one of the first songs I actually wrote when I joined the band a couple of years ago. Riff wise, that was really my style of being in a tech-ier band before – the riff style is kind of like Periphery and the old school djent bands. So that’s where that happened. And also, there’s that video game Cyberpunk that everyone was raving about last year. I was really inspired by that. I don’t even play the game, but I listened to the soundtrack – and all those industrial bands made us kind of want to use that in a song – so we did that with Destroy Us All. Lyrical content -we kind of thought it was an angry song and we wrote it not long after lockdowns from Covid – and it was kind of a bit about how we weren’t happy with the situation we were in – and how the government and the lawmakers dealt with it. I’m sure you feel the same – it was so restrictive – and it sucked basically! It really sucked in every way. So that song was just a vent to be kind of pissed off about lockdown and Covid.
I mentioned this earlier, but you do some rapping on the album. Who are some of your rapping influences and what made you decide to rap on the album?
(Laughs) That’s a great question! I’m never prepared to answer this one. I feel like my style of rapping is totally not reflective of what I’m listening to. We used to have another guy in the band who did the rap vocals on the last album Zodiac. And I’ve always dabbled with it. I used to do like wedding bands and cover gigs – and I always used to do rap parts – and I would do the quite famous ones like Kanye West and Eminem. And I really wanted to step up and fill his boots for the gigs, and then we decided to keep it going for the album, and there’s quite a few rap bits on there actually. I love rappy metal – I love Linkin Park – they were great at that. I really like Emmure actually – they’re really more aggressive rap vocals. Limp Bizkit as well. But personally, I’m listening to Mac Miller – I love a guy called Nothing Nowhere – he’s kind of like emo-rap. Chase Atlantic – they’re really cool, and a UK rapper called Dave – he’s amazing – love him. AJ Tracey – all that kind of stuff. So, I listen to a lot of rap music, so it’s not completely out of character for me. It is still kind of new, me doing it in the band – but I love it!
I interviewed Oceans Ate Alaska a few weeks ago and I see your band has played a few shows with them. What was that experience like playing with Oceans Ate Alaska?
It was a couple of shows actually. For the last one, we played a festival here. It was like an indoor festival all day type of thing – it was called Turbulence Festival and it was really cool. It was awesome to be sharing a stage with them, because they’re insane – they’re so cool! I love all their riffs – their drums especially are really cool. And we chatted with them a little bit – not like massively – but yeah, they’re cool guys and I would love to play with them again.
If October Ends could open for any band, either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
I’m going to say The Spice Girls, because that would be hilarious – if they had a metal band before them, that would be amazing! Like the crowd would hate us, but I would love it!
King Charles III invites October Ends to play one song at a Royal Command Performance. What song would you do for the new King and why?
Oh my God, I did not expect that question! (Laughs) That’s a really cool question! Hmm, let me think. (Pause) We have a song on the new album called One More Round and it’s one of the heavier songs we have. It’s pretty heavy – there’s a few breakdowns – and it’s kind of inspired by The Squid Game and about struggling and how there’s always going to be another round – and being like a game. And I don’t know – I think it would be funny and quite ironic to play to him. It’s really heavy as well, so it would hopefully blow his dick off, so that would be cool.
(Much laugher) I don’t know of King Charles would bang his head. Maybe Queen Elizabeth would have…
(Laughs) Yeah, maybe she would have. I actually met King Charles before – like when I was a kid. I can’t really remember – I must have been really young – like 3 or 4 – but he came to visit the town I grew up in – and my mom told me that he went to shake my hand – and then I refused to shake his hand, so that’s my claim to fame – that I refused to shake the new king’s hand. (Laughs)
So, you definitely weren’t for the monarchy – even at three years old.
(Laughs) Yeah, I guess not, yeah.
Has October End ever played here in the States, or would you like to do in the future?
We never played there actually, but we would love to come over when it makes sense for us to do so. I would absolutely just love to come tomorrow, but yeah, we just gotta wait until the time is right and do a few more shows in the UK and Europe. But I think we’d all love to do that – a lot of our team is based in the US – like our management, (people) helping us with our socials – we’ve got a lot of great people working for us in the States – and that just makes us want to go there even more. And for the fans as well – I get a lot of messages from the fans in the States asking and it’s like “uh, maybe next year” – and I really want to make that happen.
Are you involved with any other bands outside of October Ends – maybe a surprise rap project?
I’m not sadly. Me and my friends actually – we kind of have this secret rap group – we’re called The Dick Crew. It’s just kind of edgy rap music that we make for ourselves really. I don’t know if we’ll release any of it, because it’s pretty edgy. (Laughs) I mean, being in any other bands – I used to be in a techy prog band called Altostratus. Me and the bassist Andrew used to be in that band together. But at the minute, I just do October Ends and I’m fully committed to this project for now.
What’s up next for October Ends?
We have our album launch at the end of the month and an album release show in Newcastle on the 28th of October that I can’t wait for. And beyond that, we’re looking to gig as much as possible. And of course, we’re always working on new music – so yeah, we’ll be doing that as well.
(Interview by Ken Morton)
OCTOBER ENDS ARE:
Nick Thurl Mavromatis — Vocals
George Mavridis — Vocals
Michael Charlton — Guitar, Backing Vocals
Alex Hek — Guitar, Vocals
Drew Smith — Bass
October Ends on Facebook