10 Questions With... Into The Red
Into The Red, the self-proclaimed second best Mötorhead tribute band in Sheffield, are a space-rock quartet who are set to be your new favourite band. Following on from April's fantastic Wavelength EP, their newest single Ghosts in the Metro is their best song yet. With a guitar tone that could flatten cities mixed with the band's trademark intensely personal lyricism, it's a phenomenal song that blew me away on first listen. I was excited to chat to them all about the song, and I managed to catch up with them recently to talk about their inspirations, future plans, DIY ethos, and more. Read on below...
1. Hi there! Can you tell us a bit about your new single, Ghosts in the Metro?
Logan: Ghosts in the Metro has been a staple of our live show for years. I think I wrote the first version of the song back in 2018. It was inspired by a video game I played that takes place after a nuclear apocalypse has wiped out all life on the surface, leaving those who live in the Moscow Metro tunnels as the last of human civilization. The nuclear destruction was so complete, however, that not only the earth was destroyed but also the afterlife. This means that when we die, there’s nowhere for our souls to go but to remain in the metro.
I found the concept worked as a metaphor for a number of things in my personal life, so I embellished the idea a little and used it as the basis for the words. The music was written with the intention of keeping things simple, as I’d been writing a lot of more complicated arrangements at the time.
2. Ghosts in the Metro follows your latest EP Wavelength which was released back in April. How does the new single differ from your older material?
Logan: Well, really Ghosts is the older material. The song was written before any of the stuff that later appeared on Wavelength. Wavelength was intended as a handshake; a statement for NOW. With Ghosts being a more esoteric and high concept that reflects an existential anxiety I experienced, the songs on Wavelength are deeply personal. 2020 was a bad year for everyone in the band for a huge list of reasons, so working on a set of songs to reflect our experience and the process of recovery was really important to us.
Callum: Yeah, mid-way through last year we were invested in getting the album started, which includes Ghosts in the Metro, but things looked more and more bleak going into the autumn/ winter. We weren’t able to get into the studio so we all learnt to track our instruments from home and recorded the Wavelength EP in isolation. It was a really hard process for us as a band artistically and emotionally. We had never played the songs together until about a month after the EP was released... With Ghosts we were all able to get back into the studio a little bit, even if it was just individually with our producer Will Stocks, so that was great! It’s been a set closing song of ours for a couple of years now and it’s punchy, fun and as Logan says, simple. Banger. Josh: Regarding how Ghosts differs from previous releases. There's a while new level of confidence in performance that I believe can be heard when compared to that of the 5 songs released on frequency. As Logan said, it is a song that has been part of our repertoire for quite some time now and having that time to seriously polish off a song before taking it to studio really shines through and gives a great immersive experience.
3. All your merchandise and releases so far have been entirely self-released. What does the DIY ethos mean to you?
Callum: I think we’ve always been a ‘DIY’ band but never really realised it. Throughout the years we’ve done DIY merch, hand dubbed cassettes, put on our own shows e.t.c… we’ve not really been connected to a DIY scene until kind of now?.. And frankly it’s awesome. Our main principle as a band is uplifting our fellow creatives, we want to work with people from all creative spheres to make sure we all grow together. The DIT (Do it Together) not DIY ethos I think is the way it’s always been done, having a scene, a community and most of all friends who you love and support whatever they do. It’s hard to stick your head above the parapet and open yourself to criticism or even maybe worse, silence. But it’s always easier with friends. Josh: I agree with Callum. It's really kind of strange for us to now label ourselves as DIY because it is something we have always done. In the past we've looked at tour promoters ect but its an extra amount of pressure along with a sea of people interested in nothing other than how much they can make out of someone else's labour. Not all promoters are bad but when you bring one in it can easily cause unnecessary tensions where some may have a vision for the band that conflict with our own ideas and ethos. Since realising there are so many others out there like ourselves it has been amazing. The DIY scene is such a friendly place of help and support amongst other bands and we've made friends all over the world because of it (something we could only have dreamt of years ago when first starting out)
4. Tell us a bit about how you’ve sent a song to space! That's incredible!
Callum: There's a reddit user named /u/valphon eho ordered a moon box from the company Astrobotic: https://www.astrobotic.com/moon-box for a personal project they had going on
The Reddit user found that they had excess space on their memory cards and wished to open the space up to users so they can also send small pieces of data to the moon for free! The post can be found here: https://www.reddit.com/r/space/comments/l52iym/you_can_send_something_to_the_moon_for_free_im/
And Astobotic are working in close conjunction with NASA to aid them in pre-mission preparation for lunar landing sites and lunar research, more information on this can be found in their press release: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-selects-astrobotic-to-fly-water-hunting-rover-to-the-moon/
Once we found out that the project was to make preparations to send a rover to the moon to look for water we knew that the EP single Take Me to the Water on The Moon was the perfect choice to send up there because it was (partially) inspired by the discovery of moon water the summer before.
So we messaged them and they've confirmed that our song has been added to the SD card and is being sent to the moon! Here are the screenshots of the confirmation:
5. Which comes first when you write songs: the music or the lyrics?
Logan: Usually the instrumental comes first, then I’ll sing gibberish to come up with a melody. Often I come up with a single line and then add it to a song I’ve been sitting on for a while, but usually I sit at my computer with the demo and try to respond organically to the music I’ve written.
6. How has lockdown affected your songwriting process as a band?
Logan: Honestly it hasn’t affected it all that much, it’s just that it now has a few extra steps. We mostly write separately before we bring ideas to rehearsals anyway. I think the biggest obstacles that we’ve faced lately have been actually being inspired at all. Wavelength was a bit of an anomaly, with us having a period of real creativity for those few weeks when we were writing and exchanging stems. There was a lot of love in the group chat, and a lot of really great ideas flying around. We’re actually still sitting on some of the rejected songs in case we decide to release them later. Josh: Lockdown has actually been a surprisingly good experience for us as a band. Yes we've not been able to get out and see people, play shows and record our LP but it's pushed us to go further than ever before, write new material that wouldn't have been out otherwise and rather than piecing together songs at rehearsal, we've finally got to the point of learning at home before coming together to play them as a band (something Logan has been pushing for us to do for a while and has now become a necessary part of our arrangement).
7. I love your recent playlist, UK Fifth Wave Emo, which features numerous small UK artists. How would you define this new wave of emo, and how does the UK scene differ from the US one?
Callum: I think the UK scene feels small at the moment but at the same time, really exciting. The UK sound has been dominated by hardcore and pop metal for a while now, sub drops and beatdowns are kind of reflecting the anger of our current generation but the underbelly of more tender and emotional punk/ rock is coming up. With emo nights popping up everywhere over the past couple of years and emo specifical labels/ events people such as Sugar Free in Brighton, This Party Sucks here in Sheffield. One side of Fifth wave UK Emo I think is definitely more indie influenced, clean tones, acoustic moments and gritty fuzz but with the midwest and mathy feel of early 10s emo revival. Check out Clay Lake, I Feel Fine, Martha and Jetski. And the other is more heavy, post-hardcore and progressive hardcore with metal and electronic influences, check out Havelocke, Lastelle and Pulse.
US fifth wave is more grand in scope, bringing in chiptune, theatre emo, country and black metal/ experimental elements but I think in the UK we’ve got these little pockets of anti-folk, math indie, skramz and emo rap/trap ( which I personally consider to be the true beginning of fifth wave but that’s another debate for another day, HOW CAN YOU SAY LIL TRACY DIDN’T INSPIRE CURRENT GENERATION ARTISTS TO MAKE SAD BOI MUSIC) which make us unique.
8. Are there any artists in particular that are inspiring you at the moment?
Logan: Too many to name. I’ve been really into jazz lately, with the playing of John Schofield being particularly exciting for me. I’ve also been really enjoying dream pop groups like Wild Nothing, Yumi Zouma and Seapony. More generally I’m really inspired by proggy and psych bands like Between the Buried and Me, Porcupine Tree, Opeth, Pink Floyd, King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard, Tame Impala, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets The War on Drugs; Post-Rock bands such as Mogwai, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, God is an Astronaut and our good friends and top shaggers Dead Cosmonauts; Pop acts like Taylor Swift, The 1975, Beabadoobee, Paramore; and Math Rock and emo groups like Covet, Delta Sleep, TTNG and American Football.
Callum: Fightmilk, they’re just wonderful. The latest Rolo Tomassi album has been on constant rotation as well as a Canadian Dream Pop artist called Maple Treeway. Their two albums, Puking and Dreamies, are genuinely the best dream pop albums of recent memory and chronically underrated. Goldflame consistently blow me away with their production and songwriting, and I wanna shout out Slash Fiction too for being genuinely the coolest punks in the UK.
9. It’s summer 2022, festivals have returned, the sun is shining, and you’re given the chance to book an amazing all-dayer. Who have you got on the bill?
Logan: LNLYHRTS, Dead Cosmonauts, Sweet Little Machine, Gazillions, Run the Jewels, Samia and Sleep. Maybe Herbie Hancock. Callum: demcats (sheff instrumental math rock), modem. , The Losing Score, Clay Lake, I Feel Fine, Slash Fiction and Yusuf Yellow. After Party at Plott 22 with my buddy Liam and the Clouded Minds Collective for some heavy drum and bass vibes. Josh: Oh. What a great question. For me, Sweet Little Machine have to appear on that bill. They've been a great part of our journey and we've already played loads of amazing gigs together. Other than that. System of a Down have to appear for me purely cause I'm gutted to not have seen them at Download.
10. What does the future hold for Into the Red?
Logan: Lots more original music and live shows, hopefully soon.
Callum: A three part mini-series on the adventures of our band mascot; Quin, and a Yorkshire Tea sponsorship deal.
Josh: If we can wangle it then doing a tour abroad would have to top my list of what I'd like to do. On a more realistic side for the near future its getting some music videos out there.
Find out more from Into the Red below: