Ahead of their first ever headline set, we spoke to Lee and Elliot from Feed Them To The Forest, a York based punk/emo/rock band straight out of England’s finest city. The show on the night was a fantastic celebration of music during independent venue week at The Fulford Arms with Jonny Gill, Youth Salute and Vexxes all performing.
The highlight of the night was the epic FTTTF set that topped off the night. Opening with their huge 2016 single Six Seasons and a Movie lead singer Elliot energised the room by mounting the nearest table (he towers over most people as it is so it was quite a sight), tearing into the Taking Back Sunday esque chorus and quite literally causing me to lose my hearing in my left ear (it still hasn’t come back). The set that followed was filled with new tracks being tested for the first time on the night.
Unsurprisingly for fans of the band, each song offered something different, something fantastic taking influence from everybody’s favourite bands in the genre. Each song built on the last and the whole band were on point for the duration. The final song, Black Canary was the highlight of the set proving FTTTF have mastered the catchy chorus along with a killer bassline formula that combine with the epic lead guitar and drums on show. It was a resounding success of a set and this band will be a force to be reckoned with once their new tracks are out and in the public.
Out in the van..
Before the interview the guys were quick to explain that their, lovely, van was in fact their bass players and it was a “key factor in his audition” suggested Lee.
So where does the name come from?
E: We used to have a different lineup and had a dreadful name..Teen Heart-Throb Danny Meeks..
L: I was actually a fan of that band and loved the name
E: We were just trying to think of so many names and The Blood Brothers have a song called Feed me to the Forest and then everyone in the band at the time was like it’d be better if it was Feed Them to the Forest so we did it. Nobody’s actually ever said to us is that because of that Blood Brothers song and we googled it and no other band was called it so yeah.
L: That is the main benefit though I think everyone’s sort of dodgy about their own band name but if you google us you will find us.
E: Yeah and we’ve got this theory that if you remove context from any band name, 9/10 just f*****g suck, Because you know the music and associate the band name you forget it. We just thought it [FTTTF] sounded cool so we used it.
For those that don’t know you, how would you describe your music style?
L: It’s..rock music at it’s core. You can tell we were in our teens in the early 2000s , there’s a lot of influences like Taking Back Sunday and Brand New.
E: I think it’s just a bunch of sort of pop punk and punk rock kids trying to write big rock songs. Obviously its got that poppy melodic singalong style to it but we’re not like jumping on a skateboard singing about the summer
L: It’s all about the two vocalists intertwining, that’s kind of our USP thing.
And how long have you been together?
E: About two years now in the current lineup. We go through drummers like spinal tap but yeah this lineup about two years.
L: Yeah we’ve been releasing for about a year as well
You’ve mentioned Taking Back Sunday, are there any other big influences on yourselves and the band?
E: We’re all into different things really. I’m into 80’s pop at the minute and our other guitarist is into heavy metal and shred but also huge on punk rock.
E: For me, Bruce Springsteen is one of my favourite song writers ever and probably the Waterboys are probably my favourite bands
L: In the van when were travelling it’s all about big choruses, that’s what we all gravitate to in the end.
E: I guess anything with a hook that isn’t derivative but still “earworms” you.
So you released 6 Seasons and a Movie last year with Black Canary how’s that gone?
L: Yeah going really well. My favourite thing about the entire process is , when we released Black Canary we started doing loads of gigs and it started well and a few of us had just bought cameras and filmed everything we did and the result is the video for 6 Seasons so it feels like a beginning and an end which is nice.
E: We’ve got a little run booked and some other stuff in the pipeline which is to push the double header really.
L: We don’t feel we’ve done enough work yet, it’s time for them to grow. You see a few people at shows singing along and that’s an incredible feeling.
How’s the live schedule looking then for the year?
L: We’ve got six or seven bits during the year there’s plans to record then at the end of the year take off and hopefully not come back down.
E: We have a run in April which is definitely happening three dates, there’s something else in March then May. We’ve got three months doing a tours worth of gigging but over three months
L: EP is the plan then
E: We’ve been writing it since we finished the last stuff.
L: That’s one of the good things, the ideas never stop coming we always have a plan of what to do next. We’re still very aware we need to keep 6 Seasons and Black Canary alive though but tonight were trying out a lot of new ideas we’ve got to see how they go down.
Obviously this week is Independent Venue Week, how important is that to you?
E: It’s really cool, and it’s awesome for younger bands. You know, you’re not gonna get that first gig at the O2 or anything and even if you do it’s pay to play kind of thing. Like when I was 12 I went to the Junction [venue in York] and went to see my brothers friends bands play in this little venue and it was loud and it was dark and it was incredible. If you only ever see bands from behind six foot barriers in these 6000 capacity venues – that’s not attainable to a kid with a practice base guitar and his mates mum who goes out so they can practice. It’s important for actually making people realise if you want to do it you can do it. I mean tonight’s donation entry people are skint and nobody’s getting priced out; no one’s coming to a show and getting priced out.
L: Obviously the other great thing about IVW is over the years we’ve played with loads of other bands and stayed in touch with them and if you go on the internet and social media you can do all the other bands doing similar things where they’re from.
E: It really highlights the fact – and yeah we’d love to play big venues and smash it and to an extent everything is a business; but a lot of venues that put on music they don’t have to be putting on music they don’t have to be helping those bands – but it’s a love for it where huge corporate venues it’s there to make money. I’m sure people work there who love music but at the end of the day it’s business and it’s not a dig but you need the other side of the coin.
L: I saw my first front man bring his own amp on the stage and was like “yes I can do that”.
E: I think it’s necessary and I think it’s good and obviously it would suck if everything was a corporate venue. And the amount of venues that are closing but it’s part of arts and culture and also when I wasn’t at gigs when I was 14/15 I was in a f*****g park drinking cider and smoking cigarettes I mean where would you rather your kids were. It’s bullshit that it requires a week, every f*****g week should be [IVW].
Over the years have you any highlights of venues that have really stuck with you?
L: O’Rileys in Hull is a great IV – the owner has helped us out loads over the years. Leicester The Shed is pretty cool.
E: We played a gig in Sheffield at the Royal Standard and we rocked up and it was your standard pub from the outside it had a little stage in the corner. We said like you know, a gigs a gig then a few people started coming in and everybody there seemed to not be enjoying it – and I remember we started playing and halfway through song 2 I caught Lee’s eye and was taken by surprise but that was really cool.
L: Obviously the Fulford Arms.
E: Yeah first time we’ve headlined it – first time we’ve ever headlined.
Lastly any tips of bands who deserve to take off in 2017 other than yourselves?
E: We can’t miss out any York band we don’t know really because it’s not fair. Jonny Gill who’s putting on the night tonight, he’s in a band called On the Ropes and he smashes it with them all the time.
L: Larrakia are a band we’ve done a few things with and their drummer produced our singles. Further afield we’ve accidentally done gigs with a band called Nova Hans a few times and they’re incredible
E: They’re a Huddersfield band, they’re a weird prog rock kind of thing. I also really like a band who we have no connection to, nothing to do with us called Dearest and they’re from the South. They’re an emo band but I don’t mean big hair – they’re more sort of like that sort of grunge emo with loads of reverb and delay and they have a great vibe. If I ever get asked that’s who I tend to say.
L: I always say Scholars who I think are the best live band on the circuit.
Thanks so much to the guys – a genuine pleasure and hope to catch up later in the year.