Introducing... Final Coil
TMF met up with Final Coil ahead of their first London show proper on the 19th November.
Hello! First off tell us a little bit about yourselves and how you formed.
Hmm - how long have you got? The short(ish) version is that Final Coil started off as a solo project in about 2002 and it was essentially electronic music with guitars badly dubbed over the top - I actually found some of the tapes the other day but I don't see them ever appearing in the public domain - they're very Gary Numan-esque but with the recording values of a black metal band(!) Richard (our longest running member) joined in 2003 and we developed a more band-orientated approach with many of our songs written about that time, but I ended up moving to Poland so, aside from two studio recordings which we never developed or promoted, we went on hiatus between 2004-8. There was a brief 'Polish branch' of the band and we played a few festivals but the first time Final Coil really became a serious proposition was after a year of turbulent line-up shifts which culminated in Tom joining on drums and Jola on bass.
As for us as a band, well we're all incredibly passionate about music although our tastes vary wildly. I grew up listening to Maiden and Guns 'n' Roses but I picked up a guitar as a result of spending way too much time listening to Nirvana and Sonic Youth. Richard loves indie and alternative pop music although our tastes regularly overlap. Jola's a huge jazz fan, although she also loves a lot of metal and alternative. She's also an incredibly talented flautist but we have yet to take advantage of that. Tom is largely into more classic rock and metal such as Megadeth, Journey and Europe and he's also a guitarist which is annoying because it means he can spot our mistakes! So, you can see we're all into very different things and approach music making from very different angles which is why there's so much diversity in our output.
What bands do you find influence you most when you're writing new music? There's a definite grunge-tinge to your songs, but it also seems to be much more than that.
It definitely started out as a grunge thing, for sure, but there's only so much you can do with such a limited template and anyway I was always influenced by bands who develop their sound. The Manics' Holy Bible had a huge influence on me because it's so raw and abrasive as did Spiritualized who have this ability to shift from beautiful gospel pop to droning art-rock without you even realising you've been lost inside one of their tracks for fifteen minutes. Certainly a huge part of it comes from my wanting to take Sonic Youth's Diamond sea and mix it with hard rock to make it heavier and more unsettling - I think both 'Downer' and 'this love' fall into that category - although trying to emulate such an immense song, you're always liable to come off second best. The main thing is that I want to keep the music interesting for me, because I write for myself first and foremost, so I try to introduce a lot of variety into our music while at the same time trying to make sure it still sounds like us - there's certainly a metal influence in the new material but I'd baulk at ever being called a metal band - I'm a huge metal fan, but it's not the music I want to write although exactly how you would categorise may be a problem for people who like their bands to fit into a nice little niche.
How do you go about writing and recording?
Writing usually comes down to me getting a tune or an idea in my head and living with it for days until I get so bugged by it I need to get it out so I'll grab a guitar or keyboard and try to translate it into something that a) works and b) I can actually play. I'll usually record a full version but, as the guys in the band will tell you, I'm no drummer and I'm no lead guitarist so Tom has to try to ignore the horrible electronic beat I'll have nailed to the track and go and sit in his drum cave until he's found a real beat and equally Richard will usually just be told something like "Hey, Rich there's a solo between point a and point b!" and he'll have to go off and do whatever noisy craziness is messing with his brain that week and find something that we're all happy with. Equally, Jola will often work on the bass part and flesh it out too because I tend to just go for the simplest thing I can think of at the time, so writing is pretty collaborative and there are occasions where it's more just jamming on a riff on a studio until it turns into something - we have a new song that's coming together that way and it's nice for me to get new ideas because all the band are incredibly talented in their own right.
Recording wise, we did a kind of test demo on our home equipment which started with us recording drums in Tom's shed and then assembling the rest on computer using a Behringer V-amp pro and Adobe audition software - there's a song from those sessions on the compilation that's just come out in support of the London gig called 'Leaving Hell' which is probably our most metal song. Unfortunately we tried that method again over the summer and our Boss 8 track, which we used to record the drums, threw a fit and deleted three days worth of cymbal tracks so we ditched the whole thing and we're off into a studio next weekend instead. That said we do like to keep things in house and most of our material is recorded via home computer before it ever gets near a studio we have to pay for.
You've released an EP through the MrsVee label, how did that come about?
About a year and a half ago I bought a Resonance Association CD after one of my random trawls through the Burning Shed site - this was long before I knew the guys or had even heard of MrsVee - and I loved the whole thing and decided to check out more of their stuff which led me to the MrsVee site. I don't really know why I sent our stuff to the label - we didn't really seem like their kind of thing at all, but on the other hand TRA contained so many elements of rock and drone and progressive that I figured that if nothing else they must be pretty open-minded; and so it transpired because they agreed to work with us which was the cause for a small celebration. Unfortunately the band was in turmoil - we had a drummer back then who walked out and was replaced by another guy whom we had to fire and then another guy who was deported (no, really) - and around that point you start to feel like you're cursed - so the EP was a kind of mix of the electronic stuff I was working on at the time and some studio tracks that Rich and I had recorded with a bunch of mates back when I was in Poland. I think it was a good introduction to the band because it highlights the diversity of our material, but I also know that the current, stable line-up could vapourise any track on there.
What does the future hold for Final Coil? Any big plans for the new year?
Well, yeah! We are recording our first demo as a stable band - we have five of our best tracks lined up and we're rehearsing them into the ground - and so we're going to be working to promote that. The actual recording will be done in November, but then Jola (who's also our resident artist and photographer) needs to put together some art work for it and we need to make sure it's mastered right before we release it to the public - hopefully we'll be working with MrsVee on that. We're also overhauling our entire online presence and we're talking about a short tour so that we can take the band beyond the confines of Leicester. If the EP goes well, then I'd like to do an album next year and there will be a lot of live dates generally because we're primarily a live band and love being on stage. Certainly with the line up and the material we have now I think that next year will see us taking huge steps forward.
Your playing the MrsVee night in London in November, what can the punters expect from your set?
This is our first electric gig in London and we're playing with some great bands so we aim to come down all guns blazing. We never, ever slack off on a set but when you've got bands like Oaf and TRA lighting a fire under you then you kind of feel like you have something to prove! You can expect incredibly loud crushing swathes of feedback, elements of metal, punk and art rock, flying ginger hair, a guitarist who does sweet little Busted jumps and more vocal harmonies than you can shake a stick at. We can't wait!
Final Coil play the MrsVee night at the Miller in London on the 19th November. You can download a free compilation of tracks from the bands involved here.
Final Coil Myspace