Monday, March 12, 2018

Final Coil

  1. What is your name:

Phil Stiles. I’m the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of Final Coil.

  1. Where are you from?

Final coil are a four-piece band from Leicester in the United Kingdom.

  1. Tell us how your journey has been from your beginnings until now

Like a lot of bands, Final Coil started out playing in dark, sticky-floored bars around our local city. We formed in 2008 when I was joined by Richard Awdry (Lead Guitar / Vocals) and Jola Stiles (Bass) although it took us some time to find a drummer who was both capable and committed. The main thing, at that time, was getting out on stage and developing material. It was often chaotic and unfocused for sure, but it was also a lot of fun. Over time, we honed our song writing with live performances and slowly moved from a rather chaotic, feedback-strewn style to the more reflective, progressive-tinged sound we have now. In the process, we recorded a number of EPs – 2011’s ‘Live with Doubt’ and 2014’s ‘Somnambulant’ are notable because they showcase both out heaviest and our lightest material. The big change occurred in 2014 when Tony ‘Ches’ Hughes joined the band as our full-time drummer. He’s incredibly capable and open to developing the music  and so, in 2015, we recorded ‘Closed to the light’, our most experimental and well-rounded EP to that point. Each EP showed, I think, considerable progression, but it was ‘closed to the light’ that bought us to the attention of Wahoomi Corvi (who was to produce our debut album) and WormHoleDeath (the record label that released it). So, from then, we were working very hard on our debut album, although we did take time out to do the Metal 2 the Masses competition here in Leicester. We made the finals, which was amazing for us, and we got to play De Montfort Hall, which is a huge and beautiful venue. It definitely helped us hone our stage craft and we really enjoyed playing with a bunch of great local bands including Temple of Lies and Beckon Lane. After that, we were mainly focused on getting the album finished. Overall, it’s been a lot of work, but it’s also been a huge amount of fun. I love the creative process, and each EP (as well as the album) took a lot of pre-production, where we worked on the demoes in our home studio before committing to record them.

  1. Tell us about your musical style, influences

Well, we’re heavily influenced by the likes of Tool, Anathema, Pink Floyd and Alice in Chains and I believe you can hear those elements in our sound for sure, However, we’ve also incorporated a number of more unexpected elements into our music and it those elements, I think, that make the band rather more than just a copy of our primary influences. All of us have different musical backgrounds and where my background is predominantly in alternative rock and metal, Richard’s early influences err towards the indie/alternative side of things. Ches definitely has strong metal leanings, although he is also a versatile musician who has been involved in a number of very different projects and Jola started out playing flute in big band.

For me personally, I think that you can take influences from so many places and I never came into this thing with the attitude of “I want to sound like….” because, if that’s all you want to do , you may as well form a cover band! I think that there is a certain way that I write riffs that echoes my stronger influences, I guess that’s inevitable, but the way the songs evolve as we work on them often is often unexpected and I would struggle to point at one of or songs and simply say that it is reminiscent of this band or that band. Partly, that comes from the fact that the themes incorporated into the lyrics are often quite powerful and they also tend to push a song in a unique and unexpected direction. Mainly, however, it comes from the fact that we’re such a diverse group of people that we’re always looking for an interesting angle. We have songs (buried away) where we’ve looked at the demo and just found nothing that has sparked our interest and that’s because it was too formulaic or too staid and it just didn’t work for us. The most important thing, for me, is that we  write the music that we want to hear, so although our influences are important, it is more important to step away from them and to try to always be true to yourself when making music.

  1. What has been your last project?

Our last project was our debut album. It’s entitled ‘Persistence of Memory’ and it was the result of two years of hard work and development. It’s difficult to say, because of course I’m very close to it, but I believe it to be the best thing that we have done as a band thus far.

It was also an incredibly exciting project to be a part of. It started when we were contacted by Wahoomi, who had heard our EP (‘Closed to the light’) and who suggested that we might like to collaborate. He showed me some of his work (some if which, incidentally, I already knew) and he offered to put us in touch with WormHoleDeath. To be quite honest, the whole thing seemed so fantastic that I didn’t hold out much hope, but I figured it couldn’t hurt to send over the full EP. A few weeks later, we got an email saying that the label was interested and from then on it was a case of negotiation and development. I love our music and I’m very proud of what we’ve done, but it never really occurred to me that a label would be interested in helping us get it out there, so I pretty much remained convinced that it was all going to fall through until we actually had the contract signed, because I was always waiting for a catch which, thankfully, never came. From there we started developing the demos that we had prepped with the label’s input. In the end we wrote twenty songs for the album, but what we actually recorded was very close to what we originally suggested. The latest additions were ‘in silent reproach’, ‘moths to the flame’ (which Rich wrote) and ‘lost hope’ and I’m so glad that we did wait because they’re all songs that developed during the production process and they all came out really well. The other tracks were ones that had long been honed in the live environment, so we had a pretty good idea what worked and what didn’t, although some things were further developed with the labels suggestions.

Finally, after almost two years, we flew out to Italy to record with Wahoomi. I can’t tell you what an experience it was, because my words fail me, but as someone who had always dreamed of having the opportunity to make an album, the chance to spend three weeks in a beautiful town (with a view of the Alps) in Northern Italy with a passionate and capable team was just amazing. Every day I leapt out of bed just wanting to get back to the studio to do the next bit – I am a huge music geek and I love the production side of things -  and it was just fantastic. We had 19 days, running right up until Christmas Eve that year, and we made good use of the time, layering elements into the tracks and developing the record.

Right from the start, I knew this had to be an album and not just a collection of songs. I didn’t know if we’d get the chance to do such a thing again, so we made sure that this would stand as our legacy come what may. That’s why the songs are ordered as they are, to allow for an ebb and flow across the record that (hopefully) creates a dreamy, ethereal vibe reminiscent of Pink Floyd. I love the idea that an album can take the listener out of themselves, if only for a little while, and that’s what I really hoped this record would do.

  1. And the next thing you have lined up?

Well, I’m afraid I can’t go into too much detail as we’re busy working on something very special and I’d hate to give away the detail before we have all the pieces in place. What I will say, is that we’ve been working very hard to develop a piece of music that draws upon the strengths of the last record, but which has its own unique elements to offer. We’ll be sharing details a little closer to the time, but I can promise you that, if you liked the first record, that we’re not going to disappoint you with our next outing…

  1. Upcoming concerts, events

Well, because we’re working hard on this new project, we’re not playing too many gigs as time is short. We are, however, playing a special gig on April 2nd at the Musician in Leicester with the Italian band, Asphodelia, which will be an exciting night. We are also playing at a festival at the Victoria Biker’s pub in Coalville on April 20th – if you head over to our Facebook page you can keep up to date with out latest gigs.

  1. Links of interest

  1. What else?

The main thing is to say thank you to all of the many people who have helped and supported us over the last few years. There are too many to list in one place, but it means the world to us when we hear from people who have connected with the album in some way, played our songs on the radio, taken the trouble to interview us (as you so kindly have) or shared our work. There’s so much amazing music out there and we’re grateful to anyone who has found ours. We hope you’ll keep following us on this journey, because we’re just getting started.