Exclusive Interview: Old Selves talk “Two Minds”, InVisions and Pizza!

New year, fresh start. Rather than a New Years resolution, York Progressive Metalcore act Old Selves decided to ditch the promises of losing weight, cutting down on the booze or even switching to a vegan lifestyle and instead unleash their debut EP “Two Minds” on 1st January 2021, which has to go down as the dictionary definition of making a statement. We were lucky enough to be able to hear it early and be able to review it before the official release date and rest assured, it’s a banger!

Having started out as a garage band playing covers (as most bands do), what made you take the leap in 2019 to writing your own material and see first single “Strength In Four” getting released?Having been in covers bands in various capacities in the past, we have always preferred writing our own material and it naturally occurred within Old Selves as a band from the start, to be honest. So it didn’t feel like much of a leap, especially for this band. As our writing progressed from ‘Strength in Four’ to the newer sound and tracks on the new EP, we decided to ramp things up a level and solidify our sound. We definitely see ‘Strength in Four’ as the birth song of the band but most definitely see the tracks on ‘Two Minds’ as a bit of a rebirth, with big changes having taken place in the band since the initial releases and in our opinion, an even more interesting and heavier sound which is continually progressing. Always writing, nowadays! Marcus’ riff library grows by the day.

How did the decision not to include “Strength In Four” and “Breathing Space” on “Two Minds” come about? Are they both likely to still be part of your live show going forward?Like we say, we see ‘Strength in Four’ as the sort of birth of the band. Same with Breathing Space. They’re currently a part of our set and we do enjoy playing them, especially with their ties to when we got the project/band going. In comparison to the ‘Two Minds’ EP tracks, we do think they fit quite nicely within the sound of the EP and they all work pretty well together live. The reason we didn’t include them on the EP though is for a few reasons, like, the theme and lyric content of the EP all tie in with the featured tracks, plus we see ‘Two Minds’ as a bit of a rebirth of the band as said before. We have changed as people, as well as changing some of the actual people in the band in the last year since those older releases. Strength in Four and Breathing Space are tunes and we’re keeping them knocking about for a bit, but they’re not the new Old Selves and mark the start of something, but by no means set any sort of bar.

For us, from “Two Minds”, two songs in particular stand out as being bravely different to the rest in “Sonnet for Sorrow” and “Seat In The Hall“; both having a more Progressive Metalcore vibe to them with a hint of an Architects influence perhaps. Who would you say were your major influences going into this record and what made the approach different to the previous songs?You hit the nail on the head with the Architects influence, really. Not sure there are many young aspiring metal bands in the UK/the world that aren’t influenced or fans of Architects, who (in our opinion) are one of the best UK metal bands right now. Felix really started to pick up Sam Carter’s vocal tones at points and we vibed off that. You’re right that they have that progressive metalcore vibe – we hope you think bravely different paid off! The difference in approach compared to the previous released songs is fairly obvious to us; we have a new guitarist and drummer in the band. It feels weird saying that though because us four feel like we’ve been a band together for years and Old Selves has always been how it is today but we actually endured some pretty stagnant and boring writing periods before Tom and Marcus joined. That’s when we really got going. We wrote most of the EP during lockdown, so, Felix and Marcus did a lot of the instrumentation remotely until we could properly get into the rehearsal space and start smashing them out and tweaking. Big influences, especially for the guitars has been bands like Trivium, Lamb of God, Beartooth, Fightstar; a good mix to be fair. Vocals, Felix was listening to a hell of a lot of Architects, While She Sleeps, Beartooth, Norma Jean whilst writing and think that definitely influenced. We strived to keep the EP varied without it feeling disjointed and reckon it worked pretty well and the sound flows nicely on ‘Two Minds’.

How did you find striking the balance in the mix between the electronics and the lead guitar work? How important is it going forward to find the right people outside of the band to achieve the sound and dynamic you’re looking for as a band?Not too bad to be honest! The guitars came first and our producer Ben Stuart-Brown almost effortlessly got the balance right most times without us having to put our heads together too much. Ben is a bit of a wizard in that department and his ear sits well with ours. Finding the right people outside of the band is outrageously important. We can sit about making loud noises and shouting about shit all day but for it to work, the people involved in helping you make those loud noises and screaming and shouting morph into something tasty are seriously important. Also for their ideas and influence. Like, if something sounded utterly shite, we think we have the right people involved to tell us that. Whether it’s one person’s opinion or not, we always take stock of comments when creating. It can make your writing and recording process 80 times as long but it’s crucial.

What is the York Metal Scene like? Has having successful bands like InVisions helped put the place on the map?Growing back we think! Or at least it was prior to the pandemic. There’s some awesome metal bands in York, plus some great post-hardcore and alternative bands like Cast Out and This House is Haunted. The InVisions dudes probably have helped put it on the map a little. It’s difficult for York though with Leeds so close by where the music scene is pretty lively, more so for heavy music. But we have some great venues here that host heavy bands like us, like The Fulford Arms and The Crescent – both gorgeous (by gorgeous we don’t necessarily mean pretty we mean they have good beer and solid music, plus great staff!) venues of decent sizes with real good PA systems. We’re getting a few decent bands into York, as we always have done, like Siamese for example who we’re jumping on to support at The Fulford Arms in August 2021. Just itching for 2021 to be a year of live music. We know we all desperately need it, as do the venues, and the bands and every other associated person to live music

At Metal Noise HQ, the best Saturday nights are a few beers with some good friends, catching a Metal show and then grabbing a pizza. What makes up the best Saturday night for Old Selves?Know what? Probably precisely the same! Beer = good. Metal = good. Pizza = good. Friends = good. Add on to that, Old Selves playing said metal show and sharing some of our new heavy tunes with other humans, we think we’d be fairly satisfied with that Saturday

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