Interview: Me vs Hero

Fresh from touring with Breathe Carolina, Faye recently caught up with Me vs Hero during their rescheduled, and practically sold out, headline show in Newcastle. We got chatting to the Preston popcore kings about all sorts, including, details regarding their forthcoming debut album, hopes to become a full-time band, and Ross’s Spotify premium account, as well as a whole lot more!

Faye: Can you say your name and what you do in the band?
Ross: I’m Ross and I play guitar.
Sam: I’m Sam, and I sing.
Mike: I’m Mike and I play bass.
Oli: I’m Oli and I play drums.
Pook: I’m Poor and I play guitar.

Faye: You’ve just been on tour with Breathe Carolina, how was that?
Sam: Very weird, it was full of 14-year-old crunk kids, but it was great, those guys are awesome, so accommodating.

Faye: What do you make of the whole crunkcore genre?
Sam: I think we’re a bit too old for it, you know when you’re young and genres come in and stuff, and everyone gets into it? I think we’re probably past it. I mean, I don’t mind it, it’s not my favourite style of music, we’re mostly into pop-punk.

Faye: Were you well received on that tour?
Sam: Yeah, to be fair, from what we saw, they were. They were really, really nice.
Mike: Yeah, we’re such a different band, we expected them to be, “What the hell is this?” with our beatdowns and stuff, but they seemed pretty into it, it was good.
Sam: Totally, it was kind of weird for us, but the guys were really nice and Lights and Sounds, the guys who were openers, they were really nice guys, got on with them so well. Shows like London, we’ve had a hard time in London, previously, like a lot of bands do, but London went down a storm, the kids loved it.

Faye: Are you excited for tonight in Newcastle? It’s basically sold out and tickets have only been on sale for a couple of weeks.
Sam: I’m over the moon, we love coming to Newcastle, anyway. It’s, practically, one of our favourite places to ever play.
Oli: Even on our first tours we got such great responses, the accent is the best thing. The Geordie accent is amazing.
Sam: The venue as well, the Academy 2 venue, kids do love coming down here, it is the venue, I think, to come to Newcastle. I think the ticket sales have pretty much doubled since last night, and that’s amazing. We’ve been so excited about it, and the show was booked in-between the Breathe Carolina show, one of our days off, but Twenty Twenty were playing in the big room, so they moved it. We played Preston last night, which was a hometown show, and it was wicked.

Faye: Were you annoyed about rescheduling it?
Sam: It was more a bit gutting really.
Ross: It’s worked out well, though.
Oli: It was more substantial really, I think a lot of kids who would have come to our show already had tickets for Twenty Twenty, so in a way it’s better.

Faye: In the past few months you’ve been on tour with You Me At Six, Elliot Minor and Breathe Carolina, do you find it challenging playing to those kind of crowds?
Sam: Yeah, it’s weird, you don’t know how you’re going to go down.
Pook: We’re always the heaviest band.
Sam: I think we’ve been received well on them all, considering. I’d say we’re more like You Me At Six than the other two bands.
Oli: I think when you’re a support band on decent tours like that, you have to hang out at the shows and chat to people, so people have a way more better impression of you.

Faye: It seems like you’ve been touring more recently, do you want Me vs Hero to become more of a full-time thing?
Sam: Yeah, totally. That’s what it’s all about, it’s really hard being a band, it’s so expensive and we’re pretty much bankrupt now from recording our album. We don’t have jobs while we’re on tour, so we don’t make any money

Faye: You play this popcore style of music, a mix of pop-punk and hardcore, and you said your favourite genre is pop-punk, are you into hardcore as much? [To Oli] I notice you’re wearing a Bad Brains t-shirt…
Oli: Yeah, I like some hardcore bands, so does Pook.
Pook: It’s a good mix, when I first heard the band, when I wasn’t in it, I thought it was a good mix.

Faye: Do you find that more pop-punk kids or hardcore kids come to your shows?
Ross: It depends who you’re on tour with.
Oli: I think since pretty much Shelter in the early-nineties, hardcore kids have been into pop-punk. It’s the same with New Found Glory, they have a lot of fans into Have Heart and that, but they’re into pop-punk as well. Generally, pop-punk kids do like hardcore as well.
Sam: It definitely depends who you’re on tour with. I mean, like if you’re on tour with Elliot Minor and tickets are like £12, if someone’s into pop-punk and not really into Elliot Minor, they won’t pay £12 just to come to see us. We haven’t been on a headline tour for quite a while, the last one we did was in last March with Paige, so we’ve just been building up a fanbase really.

Faye: There’s a lot of bands trying to do this popcore sound, what sets you aside from the rest?
Oli: I think we got in there pretty early.
Sam: Yeah, that’s probably it, we did start it, I guess, pretty early on, before Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals got really big we were sort of writing some tunes.
Oli: Set Your Goals were blowing up around then, when that Reset EP came out, I remember they came over, I went to watch them in Stoke and there was just like 50 people, a year later they came back, and played to like 300 people in Leeds.
Sam: I guess as well, we don’t like to toot our own trumpet, but we do work really hard to promote ourselves as much as we can, we practise a lot, we’ve got no money because all the money we get from working goes straight into the band, so we all live with our parents, apart from Pook who doesn’t pay his rent. [laughs] He gets student loans and just uses that to pay his rent, but, yeah, it is about being one of the first there and a lot of hard work, I guess. I don’t think we’re better than any of the other bands in the same genre, like Save Your Breath, All or Nothing. We’re all really good friends, Save Your Breath just lost their singer, All or Nothing – their singer left, so all these bands that are really good and in the same genre as us, members are dropping and it’s holding the band back. When we had Alex pass away last year, which was a blow, but we’re like best mates.
Oli: Save Your Breath got a new singer in a week, so I’m really stoked to hear new material, starting a fresh. The EP was amazing, so I’m well excited to hear what they’re going to do next.

Faye: Your debut album is coming out soon, can you give us any details about it?
Sam: 10-tracks, a couple of old songs have been re-recorded and then a lot of new ones. There’s an acoustic track on there, which is different, but we wanted to write a song about Alex, our guitarist who passed away, so it’s a lot different to anything we’ve ever done.
Oli: From like a song writing point of view, when we wrote the EP we had been a band for six months, and now we’ve been together for over two years, so I think we’ve come on well, focusing on structure and just trying to write really good songs, so hopefully people will be into it.
Sam: Yeah, we’re not just throwing in a beatdown and gang-vocal. [laughs]
Oli: Looking back on it, obviously, I’m proud of the EP and everything, but listening back to it now, it’s a bit of an overkill, we just put in everything. Now, we’re trying to take a step back and focus on good songs, the process has been a lot better.
Sam: When we wrote that EP, it was summer 2007 and we were at a house that had an outdoor jacuzzi and stuff, so we had our mates around and stuff. We just spent every night drinking and, I guess, we didn’t really concentrate that much, we just had as much fun as we possibly could.
Oli: Punktastic wanted to put out the EP and gave us about six weeks, so we wrote it in six weeks, so I think now we had a bit more time to write it’ll show.
Sam: Plus, we recorded at Longwave Studios with Rich, and he is absolute amazing, he does Funeral For A Friend, Kids In Glass Houses, and it’s a completely different experience working with that guy. Me and Pook do some studio stuff as well, it’s mainly more Pook than me, but the way he does things, it’s really hard work and it’s a totally different way than we ever would have though. He really does grill you and you get a really good sound, I hope everyone will like it, we’re just waiting for the final mixes back, and then in the next few months it’ll be out.

Faye: You recently released an EP, basically a re-release of your debut with remastered songs for Alex.
Ross: Yeah, and there’s an extra song as well.
Mike: With some fantastic media content. [laughs]
Sam: There is some fantastic video on there. [laughs] The thing with that was, obviously, we were going on tour with Elliot Minor, we needed a lot of CDs, we had the EP reprinted and we had it dedicated to Alex, so we thought we’d get all the songs redone and make them sound as best as we could. Big old Mike did some nice artwork for it, Mike had some late nights with that. The night before it got pressed, he was up until like 5 in the morning finishing it off, that’s why it was dedicated because it was our last release with him. With the original EP, we got what we paid for, we didn’t pay a lot, unfortunately. The more expensive equipment you have, the better your music sounds and Andy will say, he openly admits he hasn’t got the best stuff, but he’s a great guy. It was our first time really, in a proper studio, so it was a learning curve for us.

Faye: You seem to use Twitter a lot now, is MySpace still relevant to bands now?
Oli: Yeah, for checking out bands, that’s all I use it for now.
Sam: It is for bands.
Mike: It’s a good place to find out dates and shows.
Sam: Yeah, you do always use it to look for dates, but Twitter and Facebook, dead quick to do. With MySpace, it’s just for bands and that’s it.
Oli: What I’ve noticed as well, since the Breathe Carolina, You Me At Six and Elliot Minor tours, is that more and more people have been chatting to us on Twitter, because everyone’s using it at the moment. If you’re trying to push your music out there, you’d be stupid not to use it.

Faye: Can you clear up where you’re actually from?! Because in the past you’ve said various places, like Blackpool, Preston, Manchester, Leeds, etc.
Sam: We’re actually more from Lytham, which is in between Blackpool and Preston.
Oli: We just thought we’d say we’re from wherever we’re rehearsing, for a couple of years we rehearsed at The Mill in Preston and now we rehearse in Blackpool. We can’t say we’re from St. Annes because say, “What?!”
Ross: There’s a windmill.
Pook: The guy from Catchphrase lives there, Roy Walker!
Mike: The dog from the HMV advert lives there as well.
Sam: I know that dog! It’s a friend’s!

Faye: Are you happy as you are, or would you like to get more bigger?
Sam: The main goal is to just be able to do it as a career, it doesn’t matter about making a lot of money, as long as we can do this without having to worry about money back home or if you’ve got a place to live when you get back home or if you can afford to get food. I don’t think anybody’s really bothered about money or being dead rich, but as long as we can afford to live, that’d be the ideal scenario. That’s the dream, really, just being able to be in the band every day, practise, do gigs, go on tour, that would sweet. We’re not quite there yet, but, hopefully, soon.

Faye: Have you not had any label interest?
Sam: Yeah, we’re in talks with a couple of labels at the moment, I can’t tell you who, because I’m not allowed to, but it’s very exciting for us.
Oli: I know Pook Records is interested in us.

Faye: As a small band, how do you feel about people downloading your record? Do you see the benefits?
Mike: When we first started, we wanted loads of people to listen to our CD, but now we’ve put a billion pounds into our new CD [laughs] and we need money to live on.
Oli: I have a different mindset.
Sam: I definitely download music for free, but, to be fair, I’ve been using iTunes and I’ve been paying for a few songs. I bought, the new Four Year Strong track – we listened to it today on tour, Breathe Carolina – bought that, and a couple of other tracks. It is hard being in a small band, not being able to recoup the money of the CD sales. We’re doing alright, our iTunes sales are really good, iTunes is a good way of selling stuff. There’s always people who want the actual physical CD for shits and giggles.
Oli: It’s all relative, a few years ago, album sales were way, way higher than they used to be and, as a result, advances for labels were way, way higher than they used to be, and now, obviously, because there’s not many people buying records, labels aren’t giving bands much in advance. People are still going to collect CDs for album art, people are still going to collect vinyl, but downloading, I’ve no problem whatsoever with someone downloading our album, and then coming to our show and buying a shirt.

Faye: Is your music on Spotify?
Ross: Not yet, we applied, in fact, they got back to us, they emailed us back ages ago. [laughs]
Sam: We’ll be on there soon, we’re just working on it… [laughs]
Ross: They emailed us back months ago, I thought it was a generic email.
Sam: Oh…
Oli: Spotify’s great, though,
Ross: I’ve got a paid account, I’ve got Spotify premium, and I’ve not downloaded music since I’ve got it. I just listen to Florence + The Machine, Dido… All those things at the touch of few buttons.
All: [laughs]

Faye: So, what’s next for Me vs Hero, you’ve got your album coming out, are there any tours planned?
Ross: We’d like to get our music on Spotify…
All: [laughs]
Pook: We’ll definitely do a massive headline tour when we do release the album.
Sam: Hopefully, have some good tours coming up with some cool bands.
Oli: It’s one of those things, there’s two routes can go down, you can either get on support slots with bigger bands or just play everything.
Pook: We go on tour then we’re all scrounging to pay everything back, it sucks, but it’s awesome.

Faye: Will you be playing Slam Dunk for the third time in a row?
Sam: We’re trying to, but I don’t know if we will.
Mike: Yeah, we got told you’re not really meant to play more than twice.
Oli: I’ll definitely go, regardless.
Sam: Last year, we had the best time ever, it was packed out, a light went down on someone’s head.
Pook: I wasn’t expecting it last year, it was mental.

Faye: Change the record, who should we be listening to?
Ross: Dido.
Pook: I’ve been listening to the new Our Time Down Here album, it’s really growing on me.
Oli: That’s one of the reasons I use Spotify, I can’t get it anywhere else. Title Fight, as well.
Sam: Breathe Carolina, Lights and Sounds, listen to them. I found out a really sweet pop-punk band called Take Cover, they are wicked, the guy’s got a voice like Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy, they sound amazing.
Oli: Such Gold if you like fast stuff as well, they’re amazing.

Faye: I think that’s about is, is there anything else you want to say?
Oli: I like your Broadway Calls bag.
Mike: Ross has got a Spotify premium account.
Oli: And so should you.

Faye Turnbull.

Many thanks to Me vs Hero, for more information on the band, visit: www.myspace.com/mevshero

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