After what felt like a lifetime without festivals or live music, here at EMP we were finally able to make our return this year! One of the awesome live events we had the pleasure of attending was Slam Dunk 2021 and what an experience it was!
Slam Dunk Southwas once again at Hatfield Park this year and had an incredible lineup from the likes of Don Broco, While She Sleeps, Bury Tomorrow,Skindred and more! You could really feel the joy and relief many attendees had with the return and because of the long wait, it made it feel that much better!
Slam Dunk South 2021 – Don Broco – @APERTUNES-24 – Chelsea Bakewell (Futuresound Marketin)
Check out our ‘Festival 21′ highlights on our Instagram stories now to see our best moments from the performances!
While rocking out with all these amazing bands, we had the pleasure to chat with some of the acts from the festival too!
Elena Marastoni from EMP first caught up with Isaac Cooter and Michael Evans from For You The Moonwho has recently been signed by Slam Dunk Records and opened up The Key Club stages this year! While talking about some interesting topics like great tv-series and videos games, we also spoke about new music, collaborations and their new single ‘eightfortyfive’!
Slam Dunk South – FORYOUTHEMOON_@APERTUNES-25 – Chelsea Bakewell (Futuresound Marketin)
And we didn’t stop there! Derek Sanders and Alex Garcia from Mayday Parade stopped by for a chat, and we hoped to get a few details on their new album! As well as if they would prefer to live through a Zombie Apocalypse or an Alien Invasion. It was a tough decision!
Slam Dunk South 2021 – SOUTH_MaydayParade_@katiemcmillanphoto-1 – Chelsea Bakewell (Futuresound Marketin)
Lastly, we spoke to Chris #2 from Anti-Flag to get an insight on the messages behind the band’s music, tips for new artists and what he’s been listening to recently. It was such a pleasure to speak to this incredible artist before getting to watch the band’s awesome set!
Thanks again to Slam Dunk for having this year and to all the artists who sat down with us for their interviews! It was a great experience, and we can’t wait to return for 2022!
Did you attend Slam Dunk 2021? Let us know your favourite performance on our socials and don’t forget to follow us for more exclusive interviews and news!
Want more great festival content? Check out our YouTube playlist including interviews from Reading Festival, Bloodstock 2021 and more!
In a normal world, My Chemical Romance would be arriving in the UK next week to perform three shows of their reunion tour at the Milton Keynes Stadium. I managed to get tickets for the Saturday show and was really looking forward to seeing them live. Unfortunately, we now have to wait until 2021 for that experience. However, to commemorate the postponed tour, this week’s makeup tutorial is inspired by Gerard Way’s ‘red eyeshadow’ look that he often wore during the ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’ era. This step by step guide will show you how I achieved my interpretation of this look.
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional make up artist, I just enjoy experimenting with makeup and have been practising for a few years. All these steps can be adjusted to suit you however you like. Makeup has no rules so just have fun! :)*
Step 1: Start by moisturising and priming your skin, I’m using the Benefit POREfessional face primer.
Step 2: Next, I fill in my eyebrows using the Morphe Micro Brow Pencil in the shade Mocha. I start by brushing out the hairs using the spoolie end and then I filled in the gaps in my brows using hair-like strokes with the pencil.
Step 3: Next, I take a fluffy blending brush and the shade Red Hot from the Makeup Revolution Forever Flawless Fire Palette and run it through the crease of my eye using a back and forth motion. The eyeshadow application can be as messy as you like, Gerard’s look isn’t particularly neat and it still looks awesome. I then ran the shade underneath the eye and around the outer corner.
Step 4: Taking a flat eyeshadow brush and the same shade, I then placed the colour all over the remaining portion of the eyelid. Keep adding and blending the eyeshadow until you achieve the desired effect.
Step 5: I then took the Benefit BAD gal BANG 24 Hour Eye Pencil and roughly ran it along my top lash line. Taking a small pencil brush with some of the Red Hot eyeshadow, I then smudged the eyeliner out so it appeared softer.
Step 6: Next I took the same eyeliner and ran it through my waterline. If you’re uncomfortable with waterline eyeliner than you can skip this step. First, make sure your pencil is clean by wiping it on a clean tissue. Then, gently pull the skin under your eye to reveal your waterline and softly run the pencil along the waterline and lower lash line. Then, taking the small pencil brush, smudge out the eyeliner on the lash line.
Step 7: I chose to curl my eyelashes before applying the mascara but this isn’t a necessity. For mascara, I used the Benefit BADgal Bang Volumising Mascara and applied a few coats onto my top and bottom eyelashes. *side note* I’m aware that a lot of Benefit products have been used in this tutorial as I’m a fan of the brand, however, there are many drugstore alternatives that can be used instead that work just as well.
Step 8: For foundation, I took the Loreal Paris Infallible 24 Hour Freshwear Foundation (as you can see, mine is used often) and a large fluffy blending brush. I blend the foundation into my skin using circular motions. As Gerard uses a very light foundation, I decided to take the lightest shade in my Makeup Revolution Ultra Creme Contour Palette and blended it lightly on top of the foundation using my Real Techniques Beauty Blender.
Step 9: I took my Makeup Revolution Conceal and Define Concealer in the shade C0.5 and applied it under my eyes, on my chin, in the centre of my forehead and on the tip of my nose. I then blended that all in using the Real Techniques beauty blender. When blending underneath the eyes, be careful not to cover any of the eyeshadow already placed there.
Step 10: I then set that all in place using the Rimmel Stay Matte Pressed Powder and a flat top face brush. Instead of sweeping the powder over the skin, I prefer to lightly press the brush into the skin to ensure all the liquid and creme products used before arent moved or disturbed in any way. As Gerard’s look has barely any colour in the skin, I didn’t use any bronzers or blushers.
Step 11: To complete the look, I used the KIKO 3D Hydra Lipgloss in the shade 20 Chestnut on my lips.
Grab yourself some MCR merch here and then you’re ready to pretend you’re attending one of their shows this year!
We had the pleasure of interviewing Hannah Staphnill, guitarist of HAWXX – an amazing all-female up and coming band!
Named after the bird of prey, with the double XX symbolising the double XX female chromosome. HAWXX write songs that reflect the lies of our current political climate, about self empowerment and how love’s a bitch.
Read the interview below and make sure you check out their new single ‘Deadlands‘!
How are you? How are you dealing with isolation and social distancing?
We’re missing each other! Getting very jealous of bands where members live together. We want to play and eat and drink together again!
Other than that, a mixture of fine and terrible.
When quarantine is over, who’s the first person you want to hug, first place you want to visit and first band you want to see live?
We want to hug each other, IN A PUB, and then get on stage!
How did it feel to win the PRS Women Make Music Award?
Genuinely screamed when we found out – it’s such an honour and amazing to think they see that potential in us – their support means a lot.
You’ve recently released your latest single ‘Deadlands’, what has the response to it been like so far?
It’s been great! It’s probably had the biggest number of streams within the first couple of weeks than any other track. Seems to have really resonated with our Israeli fanbase as the last I checked we had 1k listeners in Israel alone! It’s been great to see people connecting with the track.
Which of your latest singles is your favourite and why?
I guess we shouldn’t really have favourites as good song parents!
Does the band have any musical influences?
The band has so many influences! We are all lovers of all things heavy like Gojira, Deftones, Meshuggahand Toolbut there is also a big influence from singer songwriters/poets in terms of lyrics and melody like Kate Tempest, PJ Harvey, Anna Calvi and Patti Smith.
We also all come from very different musical backgrounds – I come from a classical music background, Anna comes from a Greek folk/ classical music background and Jess and Iman come from a jazz background.
What bands/artists have you been listening to the most while in isolation?
If you could be a superhero for a day, who would you be and what would you do?
I mean..if we didnt do something about Corona, we’d be dicks. Anti-viral Girls?
Do you have any favourite TV series that you could recommend to us?
I’m watching John Oliver‘s Last Week Tonight weekly, catching up on Walking Dead. Not a TV Series but I’ve just completed Lifers podcast with Ed Gamble on Spotify – he talks to musicians about their lives in the metal world and would def recommend that- really interesting.
Are any of you gamers? If so, which games do you play?
I’m in to my retro games on my Raspberry Pi – did a whole evening of drinking and Street Fighter recently. I’m from the school of mashing the buttons until something happens.
What can we expect from Hawxx in 2020?
A lot of social media action! We’ve been coming up with creative ways of getting HAWXX out there now that we’re not gigging so do follow us! (@hawxxmusic)
You can also expect a few more singles and hopefully an EP launch on October 8th at The Black Heart, Camden.
I believe it’s safe to say that 2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. Luckily, there have been some incredible new album releases to help aid us through this tough time. One of my personal favourites has been All Time Low’s ‘Wake up, Sunshine’. For their eighth album, the Baltimore pop-punkers didn’t hold back, producing 15 exciting tracks that are guaranteed to have you dancing. After hearing the singles ‘Some Kind Of Disaster’ in January and ‘Sleeping in’ back in February, I had high hopes for the album. I particularly enjoyed hearing these tracks live for the first time when the band played The Garage in London on February 21st. Little did I know there were even better tracks to come.
After listening to the album for the first time, ‘Monsters’ (featuring American rapper ‘blackbear’) was the track that ended up sticking in my head all day. The catchy chorus and relatable lyrics really caught my attention. At first, I was unsure when I saw the feature from blackbear as I personally don’t listen to his music, however, his contribution pleasantly surprised me. The title track ‘Wake Up, Sunshine’ was another song I really enjoyed. It has a 00’s pop-punk sound and a softer sounding bridge to contradict the chorus. ‘Melancholy Kaleidoscope’ is another that stands out to me as it masks its gloomy lyrical themes of seasonal depression with a catchy melody and fun rhythm that I can’t help but dance to.
As well as having blackbear feature on the album, All Time Low also collaborated with ‘The Band CAMINO’ for the track ‘Favorite Place’. The song didn’t interest me much at first, however, after listening a few more times, I caught myself passionately singing along to the powerful chorus. ‘Getaway Green’ is a track that the band played for the first time at Slam Dunk Festival 2019 and then again at their intimate UK shows in February. I remember dancing at the London show as soon as the first verse kicked in and I still dance every time I hear it on the album now. ‘Clumsy’ is a fan favourite song that is very quickly growing on me. I’m beginning to really love the emotional lyrics and dynamic melodies, particularly in the chorus.
The rest of the album has some strong highlights like the sombre tones in ‘Pretty Venom (Interlude)’ and the supreme guitar riffs in ‘Summer Daze (Seasons pt 2.)’. The album ends on track ‘Basement Noise’ which is definitely one of my least favourites on the album, but it’s still a great testament to how much the band has grown with the lyric “stupid boys in the basement” repeating throughout the song.
All Time Low managed to create an album that includes all the best elements of their 7 previous records while also adding a modern edge. It’s an album that appeals to both old and new ATL fans. Even music lovers who have never heard an ATL track before will love this record if they’re looking for upbeat, fun songs to dance to during lockdown. For me, the album reminds me of growing up in the early 2000’s listening to my favourite pop-punk bands while dancing around my bedroom. This nostalgic summer album oozes with optimism, which is what everyone needs in a time like this.
Order ‘Wake Up, Sunshine‘ online from EMP and don’t forget to check out our All Time Low merch.
I knew reviewing a Toolalbum, especially one that’s been anticipated for so long, would be difficult but I decided to take on the daunting challenge in order to fully rationalise my own thoughts on the album and hopefully share sentiments on it that will resonate with others. However, I fully welcome contrasting opinions as I firmly believe that music is subjective and album reviews should never sway anyone into viewing a record as intrinsically good or bad. Album reviews are opinions, and mine is that the new Tool album rocks!
I didn’t think so right away – it took a few listens to come to that conclusion. As with every Tool album, and most progressive rock/metal records, repeated listens are required to fully absorb the intricacies and for the hooks to sink in.
My initial opinion after my first listen was that it was an interesting album with some spectacular moments but it didn’t stand out enough from the rest of their catalogue and didn’t fully warrant the hype given their reported meticulous approach to writing the songs. I remembered listening to 10,000 Days (their last album) for the first time and noticing a clear evolution in sound from Lateralus (the album before it). In this case I felt that the typical Tool tropes, picking patterns and chord progressions felt slightly too familiar despite being extremely well executed and jaw-droppingly technical.
That naturally started to change as the album called me back for second, third and fourth listens. The way the songs swell, crawl and contort is extremely compelling. Despite the songs being centred around particular motifs, new elements are frequently introduced in unexpected places which creep up on the listener and take the songs in exciting new directions. Yes, it is all done in a way that sounds unmistakably like Tool but to be honest that’s not a bad thing! In an age where so many popular bands follow trends and imitate each other, Tool should be applauded for finding a sound that listeners immediately recognise as belonging to them. It’s not easy to take a singer, guitar, bass and drums and find a sound which is distinct from the thousands of artists who have used those instruments to make music before you.
Although I do still believe that 10,000 Days was a stronger evolution in sound from Lateralus than Fear Inoculum is from 10,000 Days, I feel that Fear Inoculum introduces enough new ideas to keep it fresh. Also, I was only 16 when 10,000 Days came out and wasn’t as familiar with Tool’s discography as I am now – context is important kids!
The new elements I am referring to include EVEN longer songs than usual, synths, bass chugs, a drum solo (!) and a vocal timbre and delivery employed by Maynard which he usually reserves for his other band A Perfect Circle. Although each member is a master of his craft and they all get moments to shine, Danny Carey’s drumming is particularly impressive. His drum solo on the track Chocolate Chip Trip is a personal highlight and the range of techniques he uses is astounding – there’s even drumming on the track 7empest which wouldn’t sound out of place on a metalcore song!
7empest, which recalls the fury of their earlier material, is probably my favourite track from the album, followed closely by Invincible and Pneuma. 7empest closes the album on an epic note and contains the album’s most memorable and climactic moments. However, this brings me to one of my few gripes with the album. Some of the crescendos on this album, of which there are many, don’t fully deliver at their peaks and that’s primarily due to the guitar tone. To put it bluntly, the heavy parts don’t sound heavy enough! In all the other parts of the songs, the guitar tones are stellar, but the more abrasive riffs don’t have enough grit to do them justice.
The same can be said for most other Tool albums though. The guitar tones are just Tool being Tool and I feel like that’s a good way of summarising the album. I get the impression that this is exactly the album that Tool wanted to make and they haven’t been pressured by outside influences into compromising on any front.
Tool are pioneers and I’m glad they’re still around today. They created a compelling blend of brooding 90s alternative metal with psychedelic progressive rock, completely bereft of any of the cheesy qualities the genre is traditionally associated with, which is, in my opinion, extremely commendable. However to reiterate; just because I enjoy it that doesn’t mean I expect everyone else to as well. The technical nature of the music impresses and engages me but I can understand it being off-putting for other listeners.
I give the album an 8/10 and am keen to hear what other people think (as long as it’s something more thoughtful than ‘this band sucks’).
We came As Romanshas always been in the top 5 of my favourite bands, I will go so far as to say that their album “Understanding What We’ve Grown To Be” is a metalcore masterpiece. That album does something cool that it got 12 tracks, the first 5 is very dark and negative and lead writer Joshua Moore talks about his own flaws as a human, the 6th track “A War Inside” is 5 minutes long and in the middle of the song almost down to the second there is a piano break and from that point the album switched themes to something positive and the next 5 songs is about overcoming mental illness, just spread love and be kind to each other, before ending with a reflection in the last song that also is the title track. I could honestly talk about that album and why its brilliant for hours. As you can probably tell I am a huge We Came As Romans fan and unfortunately for me the show sold out before I could get tickets so I panic-emailed their press contact hoping to get an interview and a guest list spot, and I luckily did!
I came to Underworld a normal May day, the sky was grey as is tradition in London and the temperature was fairly warm. The first band was hours away but already the queue almost went around the block, which is understandable with a brilliant line up consisting of Polaris, The Plot In You, Alazka, and of course We Came As Romans everything was in the cards that it would be a brilliant night!
I got a text from the tour-manager to meet him behind the venue and he would take me in the backdoor, the walls inside were covered in stickers, and I was just mesmerized by all the shows that had taken place in the venue. So much history on these prisonesque walls. After a short set of stairs, I was in the surprisingly big greenroom, all the bands were chilling with their stuff. Drinks were being consumed and Dave (unclean vocals WCAR) sat on his mac in the corner. I was meeting Josh (lead guitar) and David (drummer) but Josh had disappeared so while the TM was hunting him down I got to have a short talk with Kyle which in retrospect is something I will forever cherish. After Josh had been located we headed to the tour bus and had a 20 min talk you can check in this video.
The interview wrapped up and I headed inside to catch the show, and what a show! Every band completely knocked it out of the park. I stood so close to barrier as I could and kept getting kicked in the back of my head by crowd surfers, which most of the time is a sure sign of a good show. The newcomers in the scene Polaris did put on a great show, and I am really convinced they are a band that we will see grow and grow. The Plot in You is a band I have enjoyed for a long time and was excited to see them Landon is an extremely strong vocalist and the emotion he conveys in his voice is second to none. Alazka the co-headliner was probably the band I was least familiar with, but after their set I would definitely call myself a fan. We Came As Romans however, wow. What a set. They started off with Vultures With Clipped Wings and the second Dave screamed “I never found peace, but now I am fighting a war” people went insane and was just in awe song after song. David and Kyle did a duo thing in the middle of the set combining a drum solo with an EDM sound and even that made people jump. It was the first show in a long time I wish wouldn’t end but alas during their second to last song “Tracing Back Roots” I had to back down to the bar and get a million litres of water before dying of dehydration. The show ended with them playing “Hope” and even with aching bones and a ringing in my ears me and so many others went home with a smile on their faces.
But, to end this with the elephant in the room… After the production of this video finished We Came As Romans vocalist Kyle Pavone sadly passed away.
Because of that I was honestly struggling to write this blog. For weeks I stared at the screen trying to come up with what to say. If I wrote it just after the show I’d be fine, if I wrote it in July I’d be fine, if I wrote it August 24th I’d be fine, everything before August 25th would be fine, but since its currently October 1st I have to struggle to hold back the tears thinking back to seeing a show I absolutely loved and will never be able to see again. I remember when in 2016 Architects‘ guitarist Tom Searle died of cancer it hit me like a brick, then last year when Chester Bennington died I saw the article and had to go to the backroom of the 7/11 I worked at the time just to have a decent cry and listen to some Linkin Park. And now just over a month ago, I was on holiday in my home country (Norway) having a beer with some friends and having a good time before getting a text from a friend saying “Kyle Pavone is dead.”…
It felt like time stopped for a second, I refused to believe it, thinking it was a messed up joke. But at one point I had to accept the truth. I guess in the end you just have to appreciate the music we got from Kyle and try to take a lesson from him, mainly that life kinda suck, but that doesn’t mean we cannot make it a bit less shit by trying to spread love, make other people smile and live for each other. Rest in peace Kyle, in “Promise me” you worry about not being remembered after your passing, but I can assure you: you will be remembered in loving eyes.
Our thoughts go out to the band and Kyle’s family and friends. Please check out The Kyle Pavone Foundation that works to help people in the music community that are struggling with mental illness or addiction. https://kylepavonefoundation.org/
– Alex Dante
Check out We Came As Romans and more band merch here! 👉 emp.me/177Y
Of All the metal festivals I’ve been to in the UK, Europe & across America, Bloodstock is easily one of my favourites. I’ve personally been going since 2010, I even played on the mainstage in 2016 (which was incredible). The atmosphere amongst fans is always amazing. For those of you who haven’t been yet, its family friendly, easy to get around, no overcrowding, you don’t have to pay £20 for a beer, the food is great and caters for all tastes. And of course the line-up is always diverse (as much as it can be in rock / metal).
About 50% of my friendship circle I have today, I made at a Bloodstock Festival, as did most people I know. The best bit is that Bloodstock was made by the fans for the fans, even way back in 2001 but back then it was held in 2,000 capacity indoor venue that the MIGHTY Saxon headlined. In 2005, it went open air and most Bloodstock goers now simply name it as “Home”.
EMPwere there of course, we had a stall in-between the signing tent and the mainstage where we were selling some of our merchandise and handing out cool EMP freebies. Best of all, we got to meet some really great people and of course, see some excellent bands play!
Bloodstock starts on the Thursday evening and the second stage (which is named after Sophie Lancaster – R.I.P) is the only one open until things really start on Friday. Everyone goes there to hang out, catch up with friends and watches the first bands of the festival, which obviously means party night. So, when it comes to the 1st actual day of the festival there are a lot of hangovers walking around on that field in Catton Park.
The main headliners of the weekend were Judas Priest(seriously, how awesome is their new album?!), Gojira and Nightwish. There are 3 stages all within a few minutes walking distance of each other: The Ronnie James Dio mainstage, The Sophie Lancaster second stage and the New Blood stage. Now the New Blood stage deserves a special mention here: The line-up is made of winners of the Metal 2 The Masses competition which is held all over the UK each year which gives the opportunity to up and coming bands to play at a big festival, expand their fan base and gain exposure – how cool is that! If you are an up and coming rock/metal band I highly recommend you check it out and enter. Its run by Bloodstock’s Simon Hall (legend) and EMP are a part of this too, we sponsor the finals – cool right!
The 3 days of Bloodstock for Team EMP were a fun chaotic mix of selling lots of merchandise, handing out a ton of EMP freebies, chatting to EMP customers about anything and everything, getting rained on, getting burnt by the sun, eating good food and amongst all this we even had the pleasure of interviewing some really cool bands!
These are just some of the friends old and new that we caught up with:
Blakkheim and Axe of Bloodbath
Henrik of Evergrey
Hamish of Godthrymm (who’s also my fellow guitarist and dear friend in Vallenfyre)
Lord Ragnar Wagner of The Heretic Order
Dan of Monument (video below)
Brady of Conjurer
Raimund of Nailed to Obscurity(fun fact – Raimund works at EMP too!)
Josh and Morgan of Bloodshot Dawn
Chris of Act of Defiance (cheers for the coffee!)
Karl of Memoriam (previously of Bolt Thrower)
Matt and Jason of Weight of The Tide
Huge thanks goes out to all of those guys for their time as I know they all probably had beers waiting for them to drink somewhere.
My personal highlights of the festival was watching Hamish of Godthrymm perform on the Sophie Stage, watching Henrik of Evergrey playing guitar in a way that I can only dream about, witnessing Negative Thought Process absolutely destroy the New Blood Stage just like I knew they would and seeing Gojira headlining the festival on the Saturday night – that was absolutely Incredible. It was a real “I was there!” moment to look back on in years to come!
This is my first year as the Event Manager for EMP so it was my first time working for EMP at Bloodstock and I must say that I met some great people over the 3 – 4 days there. So to those of you who came to visit us, chatted to us, bought merchandise from us, we thank you!
None of this would have been possible without the support of the Bloodstock team – Adam Gregory, Simon Hall, Alan Hungerford and your crew, we can’t thank you guys enough.