A tiny pub front room and a load of impatient fans, waiting just feet away, gave us an intimate and somewhat unsettling place to catch-up with My Passion, talking to the boys on what’s new; here’s what they had to say…
Faye: Can you say your name and what you do in the band?
Laurence René: I’m Laurence René, I do vocals and a bit of guitar.
John Be: I’m John Be, I play guitar.
Simon Rowlands: I’m Simon, I play bass.
Laurence: And Jonathan is having a cigarette…
Laurence: He does drums, synths, vocals and many other crazy little things.
Faye: Can you tell us a bit of history about My Passion?
Laurence: It was three years ago when it began, we’d been friends for years, so we sort of grew up together and then we decided to form a band that was going to wake everyone up, like offer an alternative to everything else that was going on. You’ve got pop-punk bands, you’ve got metal bands, but you haven’t got many crazy, electro-punk-rock-metal-pop bands going on, so yeah, we’re just trying to offer something different to everyone.
Faye: What genre would you describe My Passion as?
George: Did you all agree on the same genre?
John: We didn’t really do that, we’re not one of these bands that just joined and went, “Right, we’re gonna do this…”, we just make whatever music is made when we start writing a song, it’s however that song is written, whatever sounds right for that song.
Laurence: We’re into loads of different kinds of music, so it all contributes to it in a little way. I guess we are a rock band, but we also like electronic music as well, so bits of that come in, and we like all sorts, so there’s little pieces of all sorts of music in there, so it mixes it up a bit.
John: There’s also really old influences, that people may not pick up on, but they’re big influences on us, it’s more of a natural thing rather than us deciding to do something.
Laurence: Yeah, it’s not thought out like, “We’ve GOT to be this crazy electro metal band…”, it’s just that’s the way it’s come out as because that’s what we’re into and what we’ve grown up as.
George: So, you all dress quite individually when you’re on stage, how did that come about? Do you have any inspirations?
Laurence: That’s kind of like a development as well, from what we’ve grown up with, we grew up with a lot of crazy bands. I loved Iggy Pop when I was younger and loads of punk stuff through to bands like The Cure…
Simon: Things like Placebo and stuff like that.
Laurence: Bands that always stood out a little bit, we love Slipknot, Marilyn Manson…
John: Stuff that puts on a big stage show and the image is a part of the stage show, so our image is part of the stage show.
Laurence: Yeah, it’s like an extension, we spend half-an-hour getting ready before we play, but that’s not much to give back to people who’ve come out to see us. It’s more exciting to see something a bit visual and obviously we like developing the light show as well. We’re not quite the level of Marilyn Manson having naked girls on chariots and crazy shit like that, or like Rammstein with flamethrower torches and shit, we’ve still got some working out to do yet. [laughs]
George: There’s a few people that seem to give you a bit of crap for your image a lot of the time, have you got any words for them?
Laurence: You kind of expect that, some people don’t understand it, do they?
Simon: They’re just scared, they’d rather be the same as everyone else and follow the crowd, we just always like to be a little different and if people are going to give us stick for that, then whatever, because they’re the ones that are the same as everyone else.
John: It takes a bit more balls to stand out.
Simon: If you can walk through Newcastle with make-up on, then you can do pretty much everything. [laughs] Actually, I have a quote for you here, once I was walking through Newcastle and loads of guys were calling me in their car, they said, “Haha, you’re wearing girl’s trousers!” and I was like, “Nah, they’re your Mum’s trousers.”
George: Another band that’s been getting a bit of crap for their image recently is BrokeNCYDE, have you got any thoughts on them?
Laurence: Oh, are they like the electro-screamo sort of thing? I don’t really know much about them, no. We’ve been so busy and so into what we’re doing, and so focused on making this a success, that we don’t really focus on other bands, y’know? We’ve just been getting on with this.
John: We kind of see the bands that we’re supporting or who are supporting us, and that’s kinda it. It’s really hard for us to get out and see other bands live and stuff.
Laurence: It’s good to be like that, because we don’t get sucked into any of the scenes that are going on and stuff, so we might have links with it, but people might be into that as well, but we don’t really take direct influence from anything that’s going on right now.
Jamie: You’re playing Download this year, are you stoked for that?
Laurence: We can’t wait, it’s going to be amazing, because we’ve always sort of wanted to play the bigger festivals and everything. We started last year, we did Underage Festival at Victoria Park, then this year we’re doing that again, T In The Park, and Download, and Download is like the big rock/metal festival so that’s all we’ve always wanted to do.
John: It’s kind of our first big festival, Underage was a good starting point and an amazing festival, but this one’s like Download!
Laurence: Some of our favourite bands are playing, on the day we’re playing there’s Pendulum, Prodigy, Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, we’re on a good day. Hopefully, we’ll get a slot in the afternoon then get to watch all these bands, we don’t want to clash with Slipknot because it’ll be an empty arena or something. [laughs]
Faye: Do you think you might get a bit of rough treatment from the Download crowd?
Jonathan [who joined us]: I think there might be a few bottles of piss, but we’ll run too fast for them to hit us.
Simon: Yeah, we’re expecting it, but I think people like it when they give you shit, and you say “Well, fuck you” and be yourselves, they’ll warm to you, but if you’re Panic At The Disco and you fall down and cry then run off…
Simon: We might look a bit feminine, but we’re not like that.
John: It kind of riles us up, we’ve had hecklers before, it’s not more enjoyable, but it’s enjoyable in a different way, because you’re like, “Come on then!”
Simon: Because we love what we’re doing so much, we don’t care if anybody doesn’t like us, if someone doesn’t like us, it just makes us more strong.
Laurence: We’re doing what we love to do, we’re living our dream, if someone’s heckling or throwing stuff in the crowd, it’s a bit cowardly and shit, y’know?
Simon: But then you think they paid to see you anyway, so we don’t give a shit. [laughs]
John: You know their girlfriend’s buying the t-shirt as well. [laughs]
Faye: What would be your dream festival line-up?
Laurence: It’s not that far off Download, to be honest.
John: I’d love to play with Muse.
Simon: Yeah, Muse would be good.
John: Radiohead, AFI…
Simon: If you put in the goodness of Download and put in the goodness of Reading, that would probably be pretty good, but it’d obviously be called ‘My Passion Fest’, yeah, that’d be good, ‘Pash Fest’.
Faye: You’ve been on some pretty big tours with Kill Hannah and Innerpartysystem, how were they?
Simon: They were wicked, the Kill Hannah one was insane, there was like 36-dates or something in 40-days, we really experienced what a full, big tour was like all around Europe. We had the bus as well, well two buses, and that was really cool just to experience it from how we’ve done it before. Innerpartysystem was a different kind of tour, Kill Hannah have got kids as their fans, sort of like us, it’s more of a cult following. Whereas Innerpartysystem have got more of a grown up following, sort of Radio 1 listeners, so it was good for us to play in front of them as well.
Laurence: Yeah, it was great to play to a different crowd like that and still have a great appeal, with a lot of people really enjoying it.
Simon: There were a couple of haters, though. [laughs]
Laurence: Yeah, but you’re gonna get, though. To have a more male-based crowd just sort of loving it and rocking out to you, when they just came for beers with the lads. It was great to see what you’ve created have the appeal to all those people.
Faye: So, are you still in contact with Harry who left last year?
John: Yeah, there’s no animosity or anything.
Laurence: It’s just that we were so dedicated to this and this is what we all dreamed of doing, we kind of needed everyone to feel like that, and everyone’s had that same dedication. Unfortunately, with Harry, we weren’t in that situation.
John: With us, we tour so much you’ve got to enjoy what you really do, and he just didn’t enjoy doing that, he couldn’t do it any more.
Laurence: There’s so much to it, some people think you have a little look around town, then you play a gig at 6 or something, but there’s a lot behind the scenes, a lot of work.
Jonathan: Yeah, like even if we haven’t got a gig for a couple of weeks we’ll be doing something everyday like programming the lights or writing songs.
Laurence: A lot of the time you don’t get the time to sit down with your family every Sunday, it’s not that 9-5 kind of life, it’s kind of unpredictable and really mixed up, so it takes a certain kind of person to be able to do it.
Jonathan: It’s also gave us a space to be creative in a way that we couldn’t be before, giving us more control.
Laurence: Yeah, all the stuff we wanted to do electronically we’re able to achieve now, but in a different way.
George: You’ve got quite a dedicated fanbase, what’s the weirdest present anyone’s given you?
John: [to Laurence] That lingerie you got.
Laurence: Oh, yeah, that bodice thing, that was crazy, a girl came wearing it, so I don’t know what she left wearing. [laughs] Probably not very much! But, yeah, it’s kinda crazy when people give you underwear and stuff, it’s like “What are you supposed to do with it?” [laughs]
Simon: I’ve got a pair in my bass case. [laughs] When people give you books and scrapbooks though, that’s pretty cool.
John: Yeah, the effort they put in it. When we had the bus fire, we literally had no clothes or anything, everyone gave us everything, like hair straighteners, clothes, make-up.
Simon: I got some good aftershave.
Laurence: The food was good too, the cakes!
Simon: Yeah, we quite often get cakes, I don’t know if they’re trying to fatten us up or something. [laughs] But we quite often get cookies, cupcakes, and muffins.
John: We had gingerbread men painted as us! That was really impressive.
George: There’s always one, who’s your biggest fan?
John: We’ve got two girls that do our street team, they’re probably the most hardworking.
Laurence: Yeah, they work hard at home, but there’s people that come to every show and travel around, there’s people from Sweden that fly over to the U.K., that’s kind of crazy. But then there’s the street team girls that spend hours and hours at home sending out fliers and everything to people, so they work really hard.
John: A lot of people are dedicated in different ways.
Laurence: Yeah, like people spending hours making cakes and stuff.
Simon: I think they’d be a bit upset if we named one person. [laughs]
John: Quite a lot of people, like if we’re on a major tour, come to every show, it’s crazy, they follow you around a little bit which is really mental, it’s amazing when people do that sort of thing.
Jamie: What was the last gig you actually went to instead of playing?
Jonathan: It was The Wildhearts, wasn’t it?
John: Oh, yeah, with A! Because our producer is the new bass player, so he was like, “Come down, come down!”
Simon: What was the one before that because that’s quite a crap one to say.
Simon: I think my last one was Taking Back Sunday with you.
John: That was a long time ago!
Laurence: On Sunday, I’m going to Kokos in London for my birthday to see a band called IAMX, who’re epic, really quite electro.
John: It tends to be when you get off tour, you don’t really feel like going to a gig.
Simon: I was going to go see Prodigy, but then they’re playing Download, so I don’t have to pay like £100 for a ticket at Wembley. [laughs]
Laurence: It’s always a bonus if you’re playing with good bands, you get to watch them when you’re playing, so that’s great.
John: We were really into Innerpartysystem before we toured with them, so we were really excited to get on that tour, and they’re even better live.
George: Can you surprise us, do any of you like to dabble in a bit of extreme death metal or anything like that?
John: Our music taste is very, very wide, like from really early Slipknot, y’know like really heavy, and Cradle of Filth …Maybe [laughs] to Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake.
Jonathan: If you listen to us in the van, it goes from Fellsilent to Gary Glitter [laughs] to Kiss, it just flips because we love everything. We’re not interested in being self-indulgent and trying to be heavy for the sake of it because what’s the point in that? There’s no talent in doing that, there’s no creativity, like trying to be the band who has the best beat downs in the world, so people can beat the shit out of each other, there’s no emotion, there’s nothing in that. They all just follow the same pattern, I mean, I enjoy it myself it’s really great, but we try to have a wider appeal and different dynamics within our music. We find in really heavy music there isn’t many dynamics.
Simon: Yeah, we don’t want to re-create music that we listen to.
John: So we do quite a lot of heavier and far lighter stuff, it’s a bit of everything.
Laurence: We always want those extremes in there, we don’t just want to be one thing.
George: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Simon: My Passion!
Laurence: Our new album, Corporate Flesh Party, it comes out on May 18th, that’s it. [laughs]
Faye: What can we expect from the new album?
Laurence: It’s a collection of stuff from over the last two years, but there’s a lot of new stuff on there as well. A lot of it is what we’ve been playing live but there’s also a few extra ones that we’ve kept secret to surprise people.
Jonathan: It’s managed to capture the energy of My Passion live, we’ve tried to capture it for years, but we’ve never really been that happy, but with this album it’s perfect. It’s got that sort of raw but polished kind of thing, it’s really great, I’m excited for it.
Faye: So what does the future have in store for My Passion?
John: We’re just writing another album now, we’re kind of thinking an album ahead the whole time.
Jonathan: We’ll have videos and stuff out.
Laurence: Yeah, we’ve got festivals, then we’ve got the big tour in the summer for album, and then lots more from there.
Simon: Yeah, the tour starts from the day we release the album on May 18th, then doesn’t finish until June 26th or something like that, so we’ve got a big ole tour ahead of us.
John: Then we’re doing some European festivals and hopefully touring Europe, and then touring England, and then touring the world. [laughs] So it’s pretty non-stop.
Faye: Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish?
Simon: Go to mypassionfashion.co.uk and buy our clothes, because it keeps feeding our bellies!
My Passion’s new album, Corporate Flesh Party, is out 18th May on Style Suicide records.
The band will also be touring the U.K. in May and June, for dates and more info on My Passion visit their MySpace:
For all your My Passion merch needs visit their online store: