On Saturday 21st September 2013, I went to see Sheffield band Inherit the Stars headline the O2 Academy in their home city. I was also given the opportunity to interview the band ahead of the show and you can read about their thoughts and feelings on the show, their debut album and much more below.
After first hearing their music shortly after the release of their debut album “We Were Made to Walk the Skies”, I have become a big fan of Inherit the Stars and so I was very excited to be given the opportunity to interview the band about their career so far and tonight’s show at the O2 Academy in Sheffield. I arrived at the Academy at around 2.30 and was greeted by lead singer Daniel Jeffery, who took me to the room where the sound check was taking place. The band played through a couple of songs, including their brand new single ‘Ground Zero’ which was released just this week, before heading to their dressing room ready for the interview.
The five piece alternative rock band consists of members Daniel Jeffery (lead singer), Theo Egginton (guitarist, vocalist), Lewis Wild (bassist, vocalist), Chris Brayshaw (guitarist) and Jordan Rabjohn (drummer). They released their debut album in April and tonight headlined the O2 Academy. The band spoke of “a mixture of emotions” ahead of the show, lead singer Dan saying that “I’m feeling really good about it. But a bit nervous too, I don’t normally get nervous before gigs anymore but I’m a bit nervous for this one. Good nerves.”
This was the bands first performance at the O2 Academy as Inherit the Stars and they clearly recognised the magnitude of the event. “It’s kind of like the next step up as well because once you play the O2 Academy, it’s where big bands play. Some of my favourite bands have played on the same stage that we are so it’s really humbling and really exciting at the same time” said Dan before bassist Lewis added that it gives the band “quite a boost. Not cockiness but confidence. Seeing your name on the front and the poster outside.”
The group changed their name to ‘Inherit the Stars’ as production of their debut album began last year, having originally being called ‘Decode’ – a band that featured both lead singer Daniel and bass player Lewis, as well as current lead guitarist Theo as a live performer. “It was just a natural progression to change the name. Because we’d come up with such a new sound and such a new line up and things, we wanted to start our career under Inherit the Stars and leave Decode where it was.”
“(The name) is from an old sci-fi novel written in the 70’s by James P Hogan. It was a series of five books and Inherit the Stars was the first one.” Dan told me, before going on to explain that he believes the book shares a similar message to the music the group make. “Basically the whole premise is that the world is beyond repair now and it’s been devastated through war and pollution and man-made things and that the last few survivors have to literally inherit the stars and take that next step. They have to find a path and a future for themselves and it’s about taking that next step to better yourself. I think that rings true in a lot of the stuff we do as well, musically and lyrically.”
When asked about their inspirations, the band offered a large variety of people – not just musicians but various aspects of the media and world around them. Lewis joked “We all argue over taste. I’m quite into synthy music, whereas Chris is into pop punk – which I hate personally! Danny just likes Fightstar and that’s it!”
The lead singer laughed before explaining “From a musical point of view it’s bands that are a little bit different from the norm. Bands like Enter Shikari, Chiodos, Fightstar, Angels and Airwaves. And then we use a lot of orchestral stuff as well. The soundtrack to the Tron movie inspired us quite a bit when we wrote our album and composers like Hans Zimmer as well so there is a real eclectic mix of everything really. It’s not just bands, it’s experiences and even stuff like movies have all had an influence in our music.” Theo backed up Dan’s theory of inspiration from soundtracks, adding “I think soundtracks really, if you listen, its soundtracks. And then we use the heavy to portray an emotion rather than use it to be cool or whatever. The heaviness is there because a lot of the stuff we write about is angsty anyway so it kind of fits with Danny’s lyrics.”
Officially released on 18th May 2013, Inherit the Stars’ debut album ‘We Were Made to Walk the Skies’ is available on iTunes and is highly recommended, giving a unique sound that is hugely enjoyable. The ten track album is the result of work spanning over “half a year from the very conception of it to it finally being finished.”
Dan and Theo collaborated to write the album. “We didn’t know each other when we started writing!” Theo joked, Dan then telling me that “Me and Theo had only really been friends for a couple of weeks before we sat down and started writing an album together. I think it took us about four weeks to write. We basically just sat in a room together for four weeks straight and wrote it! It took about another four weeks to record it all. So from start to the finish of recording, about two months?” Despite the relatively short amount of time to write and record the album, it still took around half a year to produce due to work in the studio they explained. “The album changed a lot in the studio. Just because it does, it naturally does. You come up with better ideas while you’re there and you’re in the zone.”
“Incredible.” was the word used when asked how it felt to have released the album. “It’s great to have something out there now because we’d always put EP’s and things out. To have a full album, it’s a lot more professional I think, and it’s good for people that like us to have that full ten track album to listen to.”
The album launch show was at Corporation in Sheffield, a brilliant show that I myself went to. “The crowd were fantastic for us, they were absolutely brilliant. We sold it out, that was something we’d never done before. And just that feeling of selling out a venue and being able to put on a show like that.”
Lewis thought back to the build up to that show, explaining that “it was just so unpredictable, we didn’t know whether we were going to sell out or or if was going to be empty!” Theo attempted to describe the feeling that night, saying “There’s a clip of us on our YouTube actually. There’s just a point where we’re stood and we’ve just realised we’ve sold out Corp. I think that sums it all up. You can just see it in our faces.” However, the band members do still have day jobs, and Lewis joked about what have become known as ‘post gig blues’, telling me that “then you return to work on Monday and you’re like, why am I here!?”
The album has received many compliments and good reviews since its release, both musically and lyrically through the song writing of Dan and Theo. “it was so well received by magazine reviews and things like that. We got a lot of really positive feedback from a writing standpoint as well which was great.” And it’s not only reviewers that have been positive about the band, as Dan explained. “Shaun, the promoter that put us on that night (at Corp) said it was the best set that he’d had all year and he puts on hundreds of bands so a compliment like that coming from a promoter, it’s overwhelming really.”
The band also acknowledged the need for more professionalism as the band continues to grow. “I think that there’s a lot more of a serious direction now as well. After we put our album out, people started taking us a lot more seriously and so we have to start acting more seriously as well. I think that we’re viewed as quite a professional band now and we’ve got a lot of promoters coming to us, whereas before we had to chase around promoters all the time, so we’ve definitely taken that next step up. We’ve just had to grow up a bit.” However, Theo was quick to add that they “still have fun though“, Dan agreeing and jokingly commenting “fun first!”
As is often the case with bands, members come and go and it has been no different with Inherit the Stars, who have changed drummers twice since the release of their album alone. “Our drummer from Decode, Danny Greasley, he performed on the album. But then we just wanted to take things a bit more seriously and Danny didn’t really want that, he didn’t have much time and so it had to happen for him to leave. We’re still on good terms with him, he just wasn’t the right guy for the job.”
He was replaced by Jake O’Neill, who played with the band at the Corp launch show, but the band talked about how he never really fitted in with the rest of the group. “The chemistry just wasn’t there was it? The banter and the socialising. He was a nice enough kid but he just didn’t fit with us. We are a selective group of people.” But Dan explained that “I think it’d be hard for anybody to come into the group because the four of us are really close anyway and to bring someone new into that group is hard work for him. It wasn’t his fault at all really, he just wasn’t the right person for us.”
New drummer Jordan Rabjohn joined the band recently and Lewis told me how “We already knew Jordan through Theo and we got on with him, he clicked more or less straight away and one thing led to another and he’s in the band.” But there is no hard feelings amongst the group. “We’ve never left a band member on bad terms or anything like that. And (Jake)’s moved on, he’s doing well for himself.”
Inherit have built up a solid fan base in their home town of Sheffield over the past few months, and Lewis spoke excitedly about how “the biggest shock for us was like, hearing fans singing your choruses back to you. Just little weird things like that that you don’t expect.” They are hoping to broaden their horizons over the next 12 months and gain fans all across the country, having played their first gig in Manchester recently at the Retro Bar. “it’s quite a small venue and I think we played to about 30 or 40 people, might be less than that, but everyone there really liked us and we were really well received. None of them there had heard of us before and that’s happening at all the gigs we do now. We’re just making fans and making friend as well everywhere we go.”
The band released a new single ‘Ground Zero’ this week and assured me that this is the first of plenty of the new material to come from the band in the next 12 months, be that through singles or an EP. “We will be gigging a lot more and writing a lot more. They’ll be some more song coming out over the next 12 months, quite a few. I think we’re really, really ready now. We’re eager to write and get going again.”
I asked the group more about their new single, which has been put up as a free download for the fans. “it’s about that next step, realising that this is ground zero, are you ready to go? It’s about that moment when you realise that you need to do something with your life really that’s it. It’s just about that realisation and that moment. It’s quite a happy, quite a positive chorus which is what the song is about really.” Dan believes that the bands new material will be more positive, telling me about his vision for the bands songs. “I think the stuff that we’ve been writing going forward is a lot more positive as well. We Were Made To Walk The Skies was looking around, seeing what is wrong with everything and I think the stuff were writing now is more about how we can change that and taking that step forward.” The headline show at the O2 Academy was the first time the new song was going to be performed live, and the band were clearly excited to see the reception that this new song would receive from the crowd.
Along with the new single, the band released a music video to go with it. This is the third video released by the group, having previously shot videos for ‘Citizens of Earth’ and ‘Caught in the Crossfire’ back in April of this year. “They are just the most exhausting thing in the world to do. You have to do the song and perform as intensely and as energetically as you would ever on stage, but just take it to that next level and then do it like 35 times in a row without stopping! It’s fucking horrible!” Dan told me. Lewis remembered how “After Ground Zero, I think we all just sat in our flat and didn’t even speak to each other all night! We just sat in silence.” But Dan was quick to point out that I shouldn’t paint the shooting of the videos negatively, as “It’s the best thing in the world, when you actually shoot it it’s such a good feeling. And then obviously when you get the results back and you see them it’s incredible.”
The show itself was simply fantastic. After support from some great bands including ‘Secret Romance’ and ‘Take the Seven’, Inherit the Stars came out and gave a passionate, energetic performance that had the whole crowd buzzing. They started their set with ‘Caught in the Crossfire’, before playing a superb 40 minute set. ‘Ground Zero’ received a rapturous reception from the crowd who were quickly singing along with the encouragement of the lead singer. The show was brought to an end with ‘If We Fall, We’ll Fall Together’, another great song that ended a hugely enjoyable day for both the band and myself alike.
Every band has a dream, but Inherit the Stars are certainly not getting ahead of themselves. “Obviously, the end goal is to make a career out of music. Whether that’s the most successful , crazy stadium tour ever or something like that – I don’t really care about that, I’d just like to be able to quit my day job and write music for the rest of my life just for other people to enjoy.” said Dan as I asked about his music aspirations.
At the end of the interview, Theo spoke passionately about the band and the massive role it has played on this life. “I think it’s past a career now, it’s a lifestyle choice that we all know we want and we’re all so passionate about it. The sound that we produce, I think we just want people to hear it and relate to it. It’s just, people hearing your music and enjoying it is a feeling, I can’t put it to anything else. And I think there’s something in us and we just feel like we want people to hear what we have to say and what we portray. I think we can do something really special and we all really believe that. I think that belief is what gets us through all the shit really. Because there is a lot of shit, you know it’s not something you get thrown money for, we all know it. There is a ridiculous amount of drive in all of us, past money, past jobs, past everything, where this is the bottom line and no matter what happens this band will always be that constant through everything.”
Finally, Dan simply told me that “We’re all willing to do anything to make it happen.”
I’d like to say a huge thank you to Inherit the Stars – Daniel Jeffery, Lewis Wild, Theo Egginton, Chris Brayshaw and Jordan Rabjohn for allowing me to interview them. My first time interviewing a band was a great experience, particularly as it is a group I like and admire, and I hope it is the first of many band interviews I get to do!