Exclusive Interview: E.B & The Deadlights talk writing and recording!
A little bit Gothic. A little bit Horror Punk and inspired by your classic Horror Metal style outfits from Misfits to Wednesday 13 and Rob Zombie to Motionless In White, Belfast residents E.B & The Deadlights have given us five diverse cuts with their debut EP “Still See Ghosts” that shows that they not only have a bright future but a bright right here, right now as poster boys for a new generation. We had the pleasure of not only reviewing the EP but having a chat with vocalist Ethan Beattie himself and here is the second part of the creature double feature with him…
What did you learn in the studio when recording “Still See Ghosts” that you’ll take into the next sessions to make them better? “I don’t think so actually, we’re all pretty prepared for these types of things and know when you go into the studio you want to be able to focus on the songs and only the songs and try as much as possible with them to make sure you get the best product you can. We were in a car crash the day before we recorded the ep so one thing we’ve probably learnt is to drive better to avoid any near death experiences before recording haha!”
How does the writing process of a new E.B. & The Deadlights track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? “This ep basically started with riffs and then we’d just build from there. Our former guitarist would send me something we’d work on it at practice. I’d take what we got done, write lyrics for it and attempt to structure it then hopefully we would leave the following practice with a more or less finished song. I do think a lot of things change before you get to the studio then stuff can change when you’re in the studio but as long as you’re happy with what you get you can take that as a good thing. Now with a new member in the fold (who we will be announcing very soon) that might change slightly but I think it will more or less be the same picture, we’ve already started throwing ideas about for what we’re going to do next and I’m very excited to see what we come up with to say the least”
We love how you’ve managed to create something dark that still has a broad appeal, it’s a personal record but there is still plenty that the listener can make their own. How did you go about getting the balance right? Did you have any outside ears from a producer or engineer to guide and advise? “No outside ears! I stand by the most important thing for us (or any other band) is that everyone in the band is happy with what we have. Of course our producer Josh from JSR audio helped in the studio with the “try this here” and “try that there” sense which always adds something, but apart from that the songs are about 98% the same as they were when we took them into the studio. The way I look at it is if we’re confident in the song and know it’s the best we can possibly make it hopefully other people can connect to it. As far as the release being dark, I’ve always gravitated towards the darker side of art so lyrically I think I’ll always write in that style, but as well as that you want it to be catchy and make sure the song has a hook to get people reeled in and if someone can make it their own and have their own connection to it that’s pretty much one of the best compliments we can get I think”
You’ve mentioned that drummer Alex Williams and lead guitarist synth monster Andy McCarney joined the band after a writing partnership was already working on things; what did they bring to the party to improve those already written songs? “Actually Andy & Alex have been here since the start. I was messing about with a solo project and done a few songs with Andy and Alex had just sort of floated about and we’d practice together occasionally. Then when I was putting this together it only seemed right that I ask them to join properly along with our old guitarist, so we did all write the ep together. Andy is really into the Beatles, Thin Lizzy and Gary Moore all that type of stuff so he brings a real classic rock shred to the songs which I’d q not part of our sound. Alex on the other hand is really into bands like Korn and Slipknot so he brings that real hard hitting drive that we really need”
For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? “Oh God you have the wrong band member for that, Andy has a Gibson SG tribute with elixirs strings and our old guitarist who also played bass on the ep used a Gibson Les Paul, and I know the drums were a Natal Arcadia kit in pink of all colours, and we had the zildjian A series cymbals on the kit. I know we used Marshall amps but no idea which ones, I apologise to all the gear nerds. I am the typical singer who rolls up with his microphone and squeals his heart out”
What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “I’d probably get a properly kitted out wireless mic and I think we’d probably all get set up with an actual in ear monitor rig so we can savour what hearing we have left haha! “