Scottish metal outfit Bleed From Within are back! The release of ‘Era’, their first album in five years, is imminent, and the band will be playing some special gigs to launch the album. Drummer Ali Richardson took time to chat about the album and gigs, as well as the last five years.
The forthcoming album ‘Era’ will be the first Bleed From Within album in five years, are you feeling any pressure with it being so long?
“I think there would have been more pressure if we had released it two or three years after ‘Uprising’. We had a lot riding on ‘Uprising’, and we’ve all grown up a bit since then. Being away for that long, the scene has changed so much, and we had become introverts almost. We were doing our own thing, and didn’t really care what was happening out there. We were doing everything ourselves, and were very much our own harshest critics. We weren’t too bothered about what else was going on outside of our rehearsal space. We were aware by all means, every band has to be aware… but the pressure wasn’t there. Over the last eighteen months or so, when things started to come together, we couldn’t care less what was going on. Everyone felt really positive.”
In some regards, perhaps being insulated from outside opinion was for the better, less interference?
“Exactly. The only people that had heard the music were our very close friends, and I think they were sick of it after a few years! We let our mates hear it, and we got the thumbs up. They are the ones that will tell you the truth. If you let them hear it and they say it’s shite, then we’re going to change something! But apart from that, we believe in ourselves and what we were writing.”
Was there any point during the five years where you considered calling it quits?
“Not really, no. We were away for so long for a reason. No-one will ever know the full story, as there are lawyers involved. We had a hard time many moons ago with an old label and we came out of a management company deal worse off… really bad, and we ended up in tens of thousands of pounds in debt. A lot of people thought that we were just taking some down time, but there were other reasons, and we had to fight to get back to where we are. Adversity, that’s the best way to put it. Trying to write an album during all that is very hard, and during that time our guitarist left as well. Someone that we had really gelled with on ‘Uprising’. It was hard, but at no point did anyone consider giving up. We’ve been at this too long, and been friends for too long. We just knew that if we kept going, we knew that we would end up with something special, and now we have ‘Era’ which is undoubtedly our best work to date.”
It’s an understatement to say that you must be proud of the album?
“Yeah. That became clear when I went to track the drums with Nolly [Adam ‘Nolly’ Getgood, who produced and engineered the drums]. I sat back and listened to what we had, and I said, ‘We’ve fucking done it!’ We went above and beyond, and the five years away had done us the world of good. Had Bleed From Within released an album two years after ‘Uprising’ then it wouldn’t have been this good. We needed time to reflect and turn all the negative stuff into positive energy. I know bands that say they’ve had a hard time, and I know that they haven’t had a fucking hard time.”
What effect has new guitarist Steven Jones had on Bleed From Within?
“An amazing effect. Steven is 22, we’re all late twenties early thirties, so when he joined the band a few years back, we were his first real gig. We had tried out a few other guys and nothing really clicked. Steven walked into the practice room, same sense of humour and everything. We played some riffs together, and we all agreed that he was the one. When it came to writing, me and Goonzi [Craig “Goonzi” Gowans, guitarist] had been butting heads for about two years trying to put stuff together, then Steven joined and it was perfect. He was making suggestions, ‘Why don’t you try this…’, that kind of thing. It was fantastic getting him in, the best thing that could have happened to Bleed From Within. Kudos to Steven! And he knows this, as we’ve all got pissed and told him!”
At the minute I’m leaning towards ‘Oblivion Part Two’ as my favourite track on ‘Era’.
Yeah, I think it’s the intro that’s snaring me, quite mysterious and alluring. It pulls you in, then blam, it crushes you!
“That’s great to hear, as personally that’s one of my least favourites! The rest of the band love it, but I just think that there are better songs. The other guys in Bleed From Within know that I’m just fucking awkward! They’ll take great pride when I tell them that you love it. ‘See, we told you!”
The production on the album is fantastic, especially if you are listening to it through a decent pair of cans.
“We worked with Nolly a bit on ‘Uprising’, but that was six years ago, and he was just starting to sink his teeth in. He was trying to find his sound. He has a great ear. Once we finished ‘Uprising’, he contacted me to say that he really wanted to record our next album, so I said, ‘Yeah, cool. I’ll get back to you in twelve months!’. Five years down the line, I asked him if he was still up for doing this. It worked out really well, as he had five years more experience. We were blown away, and it was an obvious choice. He knows the band and knows what we want. It was an effortless process. We felt that Bleed From Within has never had the production that it deserves, so with ‘Era’ we couldn’t have been happier.”
What were your record label, Century Media, like about the five year wait between albums?
“They were great. They asked for the album a year or so after ‘Uprising’, and we said that just wasn’t going to happen, and they understood. They knew everything that was going on, and they just said to give them a shout when it was ready, so we went away and did what we had to do. We delivered them some demos, and they agreed it was worth the wait. They are great, and always have been. I used to go into CD shops when I was young and pick up the Century Media albums because I knew that they would be great. Arch Enemy, The Haunted, Strapping Young Lad… it’s a honour to be on the label.”
The new video for ‘Afterlife’ was made by Goonzi, I believe?
“Yeah. Again, five years ago Goonzi wouldn’t have been able to do that. He had a vision for the video, talking about it for the last year. He just took the reins, and we all trust each other, so we just said go for it.”
You must be buzzing for the upcoming gigs, including the hometown show at St Lukes in Glasgow!
“I’ve been busy with other bands [Sylosis, Savage Messiah], but it’s not the same as jumping in the van with your mates! It’s going to be special. We’ve been telling people for ages that these shows are not to be missed. We’ve got an amazing support act with us, Dyscarnate. They are fucking brilliant, and we are so chuffed that they are going to be part of the package. Half of the tickets are gone already, which is great considering the album is not out yet. I’m very excited about these shows. It’s going to be a great return to form, and prove to everyone that five years has done Bleed From Within a world of good. We’re better players, the music is better, you are in for a treat! We are going to make it special! We always end the tour in Glasgow. London gets all the attention, but we’re bringing it up the road!”
‘Era’ is available April 6th through Century Media, more details including all forthcoming Bleed From Within tour dates can be found here.