Beyond All Reason
words: Adam Clayton
pics: Chris Saunders
October - November 2004
They’ve got tunes, they can thrash it out with the best of them and they’re from York.
Adam Clayton meets BEYOND ALL REASON - a band on the way up.
Careful planning, some good questions, making sure you have spare batteries for the Dictaphone and knowing what the band are like as a live act. These are all fairly essential to a successful interview for a feature article such as this. I can safely say that I only had one of the above and that was the bit about knowing what they are like live. It was bound to go swimmingly. So as we settle down into the corner of a snug bar in the centre of York I am feeling a little confident that this article will go well and set the tone for all other feature articles to follow in this publication. Little did I know that accusations of members being in Busted, hair straightening and ginger beards were about to unfold in front of Sandman’s eyes.
For the uninitiated, Beyond all Reason are one of the heaviest acts currently from York and are building a reputation for themselves around the country after tours with Coheed and Cambria as well as a Metal Hammer gig with Amplifier. The band initially came together at school with Veno and Toadie who quickly stole Russ when their old guitarist proved to be not as committed to the band as the others. “for a time we had a bass player called Reece but he proved to be unreliable so we stole Nick from an indie band.”
This brings around the question of them being an indie band back in the old days. A few heads drop before Veno plucks up the courage and comes clean “Well back in the day we might have done a few indie covers.” The first dark secret has been revealed.
You know that you must be on the right track when bands such as Funeral For A Friend start to talk you up at every opportunity to every journalist that they can. “The first time that we played with them was one of the best gigs that we ever did,” and you get a two page spread in a recent editon of Metal Hammer. Things are looking up for these local heroes.
“We’re recording a new seven track E.P at the moment and there has been some interest in America, which is kinda nice but it would be good if things took off a bit more over here first.” The band are known for their thunderously loud live sets as well as being one of the musically tightest around.
“It’s been a good show if you get just one new post on the message board or one person comes up to you and says that they enjoyed what you played,” Veno carries on saying. “That’s one more fan, maybe in another part of the country, but they are going to look for you playing again near them and try to get your CDs, that’s excellent. For me it doesn’t matter if we are playing in front of twenty people or in front of one and a half thousand, as long a they are having fun then we are having fun, that’s what makes a good gig. A bad one is when I see Nick’s face near the beginning of the set!” The quietest member of the band (and naturally the bass player) just replies with a sly grin.
The band recently played a headline set at Sheffield’s Corporation which they are the first to admit was not their best performance.
“It didn’t help that the speaker in my monitor blew up in the first couple of songs so I couldn’t hear myself at all. I don’t think that I was out of tune but it doesn’t help, does it? Some people did leave some good posts on our message board after the gig so maybe they were just a bit shy.”
Russ interjects, “We were also playing with two real hardcore bands who were far heavier than us. That’s what the crowd wanted to see, not us with our melodies and occasional shouty bits.”
During the interview Veno and Russ talked at great length about Her Theory, a local band with whom they were very impressed with and tipped them to be one of the next big bands in York. Unfortunately, shortly after this interview took place Her Theory split up.
Even with one of its rising stars now defunct the heavy side of music in York is blossoming and it is bands such as RSJ and Beyond All Reason who are at the forefront of this. But the band are quick to separate themselves from both the hardcore and the emo scenes.
“We are just trying to do something different from everyone else as the whole hardcore scene is becoming too much of the same thing repeating itself.”
When you listen to Beyond All Reason you tend to see what they mean. “I would say that we are more melody driven rock but that’s only some of the songs, others you could say that we are more thrash, it all depends on what song you are talking about.”
Their music appears to sit uncomfortably between thrash metal and more conventional melody driven post hardcore. “When you look at are influences they go from Iron Maiden, (everybody should have an Iron Maiden album in their collection), to Biffy Clyro for the melodic parts then to Meshuggah for the louder, screamier sections. Then again you definitely have to have Aerosmith, Skid Row and Metallica in there too if you want to talk about influences. There’s a healthy cross section of music in there.”
When quizzed about who they have played gigs with they are quick to return the praise to Funeral For A Friend saying that they are the type of band that they aspire to be as good as when they play live. “Everything about their performance was just so good, they were musically tight and well practiced as well as being good to watch on stage.” The main tour that they have done was with Coheed and Cambria which they describe as being fun and a steep learning curve.
“It’s made me realise more than ever that this is what I want to do as my living, but it did teach us a lot about some of the harsher realities of touring.”
This is received with general nods of agreement from around the table. “Seeing the crowds that they pulled in was amazing. We were on first and when we played in London we came on stage and the place was packed, there was like one thousand two hundred people there, it was amazing for that to happen to a band that’s first on!”
The conversation moves on as the drinks get finished and more are purchased and then they get finished also and more have to be bought again as we get onto the topic of personalities.
“Veno has to be the loudest member.” A point that I had not missed as he had been the only one talking for the past twenty minutes or so. “That would make Russ the more subtle one who will chat to everyone, Nick gets all the girls by just being the quiet bass player and Toadie adds the tension, he’s like an Amazon killer toad.”
Not taking themselves too seriously seems to be a common thing with Beyond All Reason as later Nick is said to once have been a member of Busted (something to do with his boyish looks) which he counters with the fact that he is the only member of the band that does not own or use hair straighteners.
“York’s a great place to play and a great place to live but it has made us work harder to get out and play other places. No one wants to know you up here and you do have to work so hard to get yourself noticed.” Russ picks up the line of thought, “Places like Newcastle and Middlesbrough have been good and we have always have a good turnout. I think people are just generally music lovers in the north and not into one particular scene.”
Veno clearly has a vision of what he wants for the band as well as highlighting one of the problems that exists within York, “I just want to be massive, but, sometimes, if a band starts to make it outside York then you are going to get slagged off by other bands which is a shame. It’s a bit childish really. Everybody thinks that you need to be in it for the music, which we are, but it would be nice to make a little bit of money out of it!”
The conversation draws to a close with a quick chat about the future and what it holds for Beyond All Reason. “We’ve had some good reactions to the recorded stuff that we have put out as well. The E.P - ‘The Line We Draw Between’, was the one that got us to where we are now as that got us the initial Radio One play as well as the Metal Hammer and Rock Sound coverage. We didn’t push the last E.P as much, it was just kind of for the fans to keep them with new stuff to listen to really.”
With a new E.P due shortly things are moving quickly for the band. “We should be touring around November, December time hopefully. Not really sure who with yet or any other details but it will be to support the new record.”
So with a new E.P and aspirations to break the UK, (something that they are on their way to doing), as well as the States in the future “We’ve had a lot of airplay on LA’s rock station lately, but it would be good to go and play over there even if it was the shittest venues ever it would still be good!”
Things are looking good for them. The futures bright, the future's Beyond All Reason.