"We want our fans to believe in us again" In conversation with Feed The Rhino
After the relentless cycle of record, tour, record, tour, record, tour, the UK's own Feed The Rhino have had some time away from the grind and are now back with the imminent release of new album The Silence, due in February. The Digital Fix had the opportunity to chat with lead singer Lee Tobin to discuss their plans for 2018 and beyond.
How are things in the Feed The Rhino camp at the moment?
It's healthy, it's really really good. We're all happy to be here. There was a period of time where we didn't think we'd be here, and we are looking forward to what 2018 brings. Considering we've been away for a while, we've put some stuff out there that has been well received, so yeah, happy, healthy and looking forward to things.
At this time of the year, most people are winding down for the holidays but we are chomping at the bit looking to the new year. We have really good people around us, we're on Century Media for this record and we've got a really good press team who believe in us.
Feed The Rhino have been around for 10 years, that's quite an achievement in its own right but extra special that the original line up is still together. How do you do it?
Yeah someone said that to me the other day and my general reply to them was "Fuck off!" [laughs], and you know what it's really weird and odd. It feels kind of new again, there's no hiding that we had quite a long layoff but the original line up is still together. People have criticised us for such a long lay off but it was healthy for us. Ever since that Reading set people were confused because we just broke up after that, but weren't clicking as a band so we needed a rest we thought. If we were five cylinders of an engine, one was only working at that point in time.
Over those last 10 years you've released records in 2010, 2012, and 2014 but there is a gap between then and the release coming up. Was that a conscious decision?
I don't know if we could call it a conscious decision because at the end of the day that's what being in a touring band is all about. You usually do a cycle like that. Feed The Rhino for us wasn't a job, it wasn't that then and it isn't now. The reason we started this band was because we wanted to have fun and have people come and watch. Around that time of the Reading show there was a bitter taste in the mouth of this band. If you start questioning things and second-guessing yourself, maybe it's time to stop. We didn't know at that point there was going to be a four-year gap between records.
What was the plan going into the studio on the new one? Was there a plan or was it a bit more organic?
Before we went into the studio the record was already written. There were only a few things that we had to brush up on and tidy up when we went in. I think we recorded this album quickly, in about three weeks, we were in and then out.
If you are talking about actually writing the new album before we got into the studio, when we first got back together, James our lead guitarist, got me on the phone and was like "I've got these ideas and this is the right place to do it". We got the band back together and knew we had to start writing as soon as possible to keep it fresh and this is what came out. For me, it was the most comfortable recording experience in the 10 years of me being in the band.
What do you hope Feed The Rhino fans take away from the new record?
Belief, ultimately. Belief that Feed The Rhino can still write the way we have always done but are also bringing something new and fresh to the scene as well. All this new stuff should be better than the older stuff. I think that every time you write an album, you owe a certain debt, I believe to all the guys and gals that have supported and looked after the band. Everybody who has bought an album, a song or merch at a show. For me, I would be disappointed if we let down the fan base we have.
You are touring the UK in February and March, are you looking forward to getting back out on the road?
Oh yeah we are really looking forward to it. Don't know what to expect to be honest. I hope we go out and play to some healthy crowds. We're also bringing out some top bands as well. We're touring quite a few places, some venues are a good size. Whether it's 10 people in the room or whether there's 300 in the room we will still give it our all and that's what our fans expect from a Feed The Rhino show.
The other week I went to see Marilyn Manson in concert and he had a DJ as a support act and it was atrocious but also heartbreaking because there are so many hungry UK bands out there that could have supported him quite easily. So it's great to see Feed The Rhino taking out such a diverse bill.
Look I can't speak for other bands or for an icon like Marilyn Manson but I always look at it like this. We were in that position at one point, we were at a tier where we would have loved to open a show like that and it is heartbreaking to see but sometimes you have to forge your own path and do what you can to support the UK scene. We have a band on the upcoming tour called Cove and they are unbelievably heavy, all the bands on this tour are great.
The Digital Fix covers Music but also TV, Films and Games, what were your highlights of 2017?
Game of Thrones was the one for us in TV terms, we don't really do the computer games thing. In terms of music the UK is healthy and we are always looking for new bands to dig and check out and see what's happening at a grassroots level. Check out the bands on our upcoming tour!
The new Feed The Rhino record The Silence can be preordered here and tickets for the upcoming tour can be purchased here. Follow the band on their Facebook page or Twitter.