The Download Interviews: RavenEye
Hailing from Milton Keynes Raveneye consist of vocalist/guitarist Oli Brown, Aaron Spiers on bass and drummer Kev Hickman. For such a young band, they don't half pull together a fantastic sound and this was evident in their performance at Download Festival 2016 where I had the opportunity to chat with Oli and Aaron.
How does it feel to be playing Download Festival at Castle Donington, the spiritual home of rock music?
Oli - It's incredible, we were saying, you don't come to terms with where you are until you've finished the set. Because up to then, you're stressed about the gig, that I don't suck, and nothing messes up. It's pretty emotional. For us as a rock band, there isn't a bigger or better UK rock festival.
Yeah, there used to be Monsters of Rock back in the day, but now Download is the new norm
Oli - I used to watch this on TV at home growing up when I was a kid. So this is kind of surreal.
Have you ever come to Download as a 'punter'?
Oli - Sadly, no. It always seemed to clash with tours. When I was 18 I started touring a lot and summer is always the busiest time touring. The music I was playing then, was not really for Download...
It was more blues based...
Oli - Yeah, yeah and I kind of missed the boat of having the opportunity to come as a punter, but now I get to enjoy it. We are here till Saturday evening so we can see some bands and stuff. See some Black Sabbath I think.
Any particular bands you are looking forward to?
Yeah, like Rammstein. I think that's just going to be nuts man.
Yeah, I think its something you have to experience as much as listen to the music.
Oli - yeah I've watched a lot of their YouTube stuff and loads of people have said we need to see their stuff. I used to really love 'Sonne' and their stage show with the Seven Dwarves and stuff, and someone told me to watch them live, with their flamethrowers.
Oli - Yeah, it's nuts and Korn of course.
My favourite is Du Hast because it was the first time I connected with them and that they were in the 2002 Vin Diesel film XXX. Enough about Rammstein though, lets talk more about RavenEye! With a more bluesy based sound do you think that that sound will challenge the Download crowd?
Oli - Not at all, we both like the challenge, like we were on at 1pm, we were up for it, it's not heavy metal but it's hard rock and we're kind of in your face about it. At the end of the day, we do what we do, and I think because we do it in that type of mindset, people just kind of run with it. We've only had the occasional bad gig. The worst gig we ever did was our own headline. I think people were expecting the bluesier thing. It was the most awkward thing ever as we had walk off stage through the crowd and kind of hang our heads down. But I do kind of like that shit because when stuff fails, it gives you a bit more motivation.
With being a three piece, would you buy into the thought 'it's not the size of the band, it's the size of the sound that matters'?
Oli - Absolutely.
Kind of like Muse.
Aaron - Although they have a keyboard player now.
Oli - We think that's what we are and we wouldn't want to expand on that, it wouldn't really make sense for us to get bigger. So for me I have two guitar amps, and one of my pedals come on in the choruses, to thicken everything out. Aaron has his bass shit going on, and we are expanding that rig as well and trying out some things. Some of the songs we go down to two instruments, like plugged into the amps and the bass. We just try to make the sound appear as big as possible. You can do it if you try.
You've opened for musical greats like Buddy Guy and Slash, a blues legend and rock royalty, can you talk about your experiences opening for them?
Oli - Buddy Guy was a while ago but as a child he was kind of a hero of mine, and he is kind of a last legend of the blues, and that was very moving for me. The Slash thing, the crowds are a bit more nuts. For example, we played a gig with him in Romania, and the crowds were insane there, we couldn't give them enough. At the end of the night we always go to the merch stand and hang out with everyone because we love networking. We are always on social media and keep in touch with everyone. We were getting dragged around like we the headliners.
Thanks for your time today guys; we wish you well for the future.
RavenEye have debut EP Breaking Out available now which can be found on all available digital download sites. RavenEye play The Steelhouse Festival in Abertillery, Wales on July 24.