This week we’re shining the Meet The Band spotlight on the Welsh hard rock band Everyday Heroes. They just released their full-length debut album A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow. Guitarist Daniel Richards introduces us to his band.
Chad Bowar: Give us a brief history of Everyday Heroes.
Daniel Richards: So, it goes right back to our school days, where Luke (Phillips, vocals/guitar) and Jay (Haines, drums) started playing together in what was the initial, embryonic version of the band. I at the time was playing in other projects but within similar circles, and through happenstance became close friends with Luke and Jay. As time passed and lineups shifted with the nature of everyone growing up, the opportunity opened up for me to join Everyday Heroes. We needed a bassist shortly after and that’s how Lewis (Watkins) was introduced to us. He came for an audition and we were quickly blown away by his playing and stressed we wanted him to join immediately. We practiced and wrote and played live as often as we could and eventually earned the opportunity to open Steelhouse festival back in 2016. That opened a lot of doors for us including opportunities in England and eventually Scotland. It’s been a hell of a grind but we love doing this and haven’t fallen out yet, touch wood!
Describe the songwriting process for A Tale Of Sin & Sorrow.
It’s something of a mixed bag. Most of the ideas stem from a riff being presented in the practice room which we then wrestle with and mold into the basis of a song. With that idea rattling around in everyone’s heads we’ll go away individually and see what it inspires within us. Then when we meet again we’ll compare notes and see what everyone gravitates towards. Even at that point we won’t be satisfied it’s near finished, and will continue to shape and mold and experiment until we’re fully confident it’s a song worthy of people’s time and that we enjoy playing. I guess looking back this album took a while to write, but really speaking many of the songs were written before we knew they would become part of a full length record. So in a cool way it’s a reflection of the last few years for us creatively, had we written this in some condensed manner we’d probably have a very different album.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
It might sound corny, but we really are great friends and thrive in each other’s company. It was recorded over multiple sessions but those times were something we always looked forward to because we have such a laugh together. On top of that our producers Andy and Phil are characters unto themselves and provided plenty of opportunities to enjoy the experience. I suppose the best moments creatively are the points when the vision you’ve had of a song in your head starts to become reality and you can hear your ideas bearing fruit.
How would you characterize its style/sound?
To me it’s something of a dichotomy. The songs that got us to the point to produce a record were thick with southern rock and blues rock influence, and they’re definitely here on this album as well. But on the other hand, we consciously explored other sounds that some people may not yet associate with us yet. We leaned more into the hard rock influences that have peppered our work in the past as well as exploring some big anthemic sounds. But at the end of the day, we’re a riff driven band that wants to give you a nice diverse collection of sounds that touch on all of our influences. Call it southern rock, hard rock, whatever you like, so long as we haven’t sat still and rested on our laurels creatively, that’s the main thing for us.
What lyrical subjects do you cover?
This band’s been an interesting creative journey for me as the lyricist, especially being in the unusual position of not being the singer. Our second EP The Other Side of Nowhere was really when I felt the opportunity to try and inject some poetry into what we were talking about, and that was a massive stepping stone towards the style that eventually became the album. It still lent a little on the cliches of broken relationships, lost love etc, but also provided the chance to write a song like “The Ballad of Robert Johnson” which was really different for us.
When the album started taking shape musically I had to make the decision of how to approach its lyrics, and despite some initial trepidation, really pressed the idea of tackling a concept album. The idea of narrative and structure being the through-line of an album has always really appealed to me and if I was going to throw my full weight into writing the best lyrics I possibly could, I knew this was the move. Through the lens of an old western outlaw on a redemptive pilgrimage from his home in the mountains to a distant ocean, this record tackles themes of family, grief, penance, forgiveness, spirituality, self reflection and the quest for absolution.
What led you to go the independent route for release?
We definitely discussed approaching labels for some time, but often questioned what real benefit we’d get from them at this stage in our career. We’ve heard enough horror stories of bands rushing into deals that eventually cripple them. We’ve made some mistakes in the past like all bands do, and learned from them, but would hate to make a mistake of such scale that the band becomes a negative part of our lives. Releasing independently has its benefits also. We maintain creative control, get the experience of learning about what it really takes to release a record, and the small amount of money we make from sales comes directly to us.
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
First and foremost, we hope our fans enjoy it. Once we’ve satisfied our own creative ambitions the next yardstick for anything we release is making sure we repay the dedication and support of our fans in the UK, the States and beyond. But I’d be disingenuous if I said I didn’t want it to propel our career forward in some way. If it gets us on festival stages and into clubs we haven’t yet played, then that would be excellent. If some of the harder to reach influencers in our industry hear it and like it, then that would be great too. We work hard at what we do and hope this record can open some doors to opportunities that were otherwise unavailable.
What has been your most memorable Everyday Heroes live show?
Oh man, we’ve been really lucky to have had some great shows over the years. In recent memory we were lucky enough to be invited to play in Ibiza for Hard Rock Hell. That was just an incredible experience from start to finish. The venue was great, the room was packed with amazing rock fans, I think we played really well and to top it off we got to watch legend Bernie Marsden from the side of the stage afterwards. What’s not to love?
How did you get started in music?
I think we all share a similar story, being brought up by parents or older siblings surrounded by rock music. For me I actually first learned how to play in the brass section of an orchestra, the Tenor Horn more specifically. I think as I got a little older my dad used to put his acoustic in my hands and teach me Nirvana riffs, once I got the opportunity to have proper lessons my love for guitar music blossomed and I never looked back.
Who were your early influences and inspirations?
As I just mentioned, a lot of my early influences came from my dad, and I’m thankful it was quite a good mix. A lot of Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Iron Maiden and Oasis to boot. It probably says a lot for why I have quite a disparate taste nowadays.
What was the first rock/metal concert you attended?
It was actually Muse back in 2006, shortly after they had released Black Holes and Revelations. I know they’re not everyone’s cup of tea but I was a huge fan back in my teens. I had heard nothing but glowing praise for their live shows so I wasn’t surprised at how amazing it was. What did catch me off guard though was being a relatively small 15 year old in a sea of people on that scale. They opened with “Knights of Cydonia” and I immediately got swept up in the motion of the crowd and lifted off the floor, separated from the friends I went with and I think stayed that way for the entire show. My feet hardly touched the ground for the near two hours they must’ve played.
How is the heavy music scene in your area of Wales?
We’re lucky, where we are, to have a great community of rock fans supporting their local venues, particularly in the Valleys. The city in Newport is not as lively as it once was, not for a lack of bands, but as the scene has shifted away from heavy music a lot of the venues and clubs have either closed or been repurposed as night clubs or something similar. That’s not to say you won’t find heavy music here however, there are great venues keeping coal on the fire and giving platforms to hungry young bands. When the popular taste swings back our way I think Newport is in very good shape to be a hub for heavy music.
How has the coronavirus pandemic affected the band, and you personally?
It’s certainly been strange. I don’t want to bemoan its impact on the album as our main concern is people’s well-being, but I can’t lie and say it didn’t alter our approach. We consider ourselves first and foremost a live band, so to lose out on the opportunity to promote the album with shows has forced us to adapt. For us personally, we’re doing okay, I’m furloughed from my day job but getting by perfectly fine, Jay and Luke are still working. I imagine this has impacted Lewis the most, being a fulltime musician with no live circuit to ply his trade has certainly been difficult for him. We don’t dwell on it though, there are key workers and NHS staff out there doing a fantastic job on the front-lines so we have no right to complain from our position.
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
I’m a huge fan of the band Clutch and they’ve been steadily releasing re-recorded versions of older material and covers under the Weathermaker Vault Series moniker. Any Clutch fans who haven’t checked them out really should, I particularly recommend the new version of “Willie Nelson.” Also, any fans of more modern metal like myself have probably been enamored with the band Jinjer, like I have. Their newest record is killer!
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
All eyes are on the album for us at the moment, if anyone reading likes big, bluesy riff driven rock with big choruses and heady themes then definitely check us out! We’d love to welcome you and I hope you enjoy the new record!
(interview published June 6, 2020)
Listen To Everyday Heroes – “All Outta Faith”