Interview with Attack! Attack! UK vocalist and guitarist Neil Starr

- Sep 23, 2008 at 10:54PM
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Wales based rock band Attack! Attack! UK have recently inked a deal with Rock Ridge Music and will be releasing their self-titled debut album on October 7th. The band formed in January 2007 and since then they have been playing to sold out shows throughout the UK and Europe as well as having been nominated as best newcomers in the 2007 Welsh Music Awards. Attack! Attack! was produced by Stuart Richardson of the Lostprophets and is a phenomenal sounding album. This CD combines great songwriting and brilliant production with hooks so catchy you will be unable to get them out of your head long after the player has stopped. Musically, with lots of riffs and thunderous drums, they can be compared to the likes of AFI and The Alkaline Trio. The band is once again preparing to head out on the road with Funeral for a Friend and will include stops at the upcoming Reading and Leeds Festivals. Recently I was able to catch up with vocalist/guitarist Neil Starr on a break from rehearsals to discuss their CD, the band and their plans for the future.

Different groups have unique ways of writing their songs. How do you guys go about writing your music? Is it a collective effort or is it more the efforts of one particular member of the band?
Neil: A bit of both really, sometimes one of us will write something at home and it will turn into a song, other times we will just jam stuff out at the rehearsal rooms and write that way, we don’t really have formula it's just spontaneous.

Your brand new CD titled Attack! Attack! is set for release on October 7th. Now that it is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Neil: We couldn’t be happier with it. The recording process was real fun and the songs came out better than we could have ever expected. We knew the songs were good but we didn’t realize they were this good.

You worked with Stuart Richardson from the Lost Prophets. How did you get in touch with him and what was it like working with him?
Neil: I have known Stuart for about 10 years and we are good friends. We first had a drunken conversation about recording the album when we were both in Amsterdam, Holland. Once we had both sobered up it still seemed like it would be an awesome idea to do the record together so we just thought why not! Even though it was Stu's first proper album recording we had 100% faith in him to do an amazing job and he didn’t let us down.

What is the hardest part about being in a touring rock band and what is the biggest obstacle your band faces?
Neil: There isn’t really anything that we find hard so to speak, we feel privileged that we can do this for a living and totally appreciate people coming to shows and supporting us. I guess in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to leave behind our friends and family for long periods but that’s just part and parcel of the touring process. The biggest obstacle we face on the road is keeping Ryan our guitarist out of trouble.

What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of Attack! Attack!?
Neil: Plenty of rock, plenty of melodies, riffs and hooks, exceptional bass lines and slamming drums. It’s a cracking album if I don’t say so myself.

The name of the band Attack! Attack! UK is interesting to say the least and sounds as if there is a story behind it. Where did the name come from and what is the story?
Neil: We are called Attack! Attack! elsewhere in the world but in the US there is another Attack! Attack!, so to avoid confusion we called ourselves Attack! Attack! UK.

How has MySpace and the internet impacted your band and do you think downloading helps or hinders the artists?
Neil: MySpace has opened us up as an international band. You can promote yourself worldwide at any time, and it’s awesome. Personally, I am a big fan of downloading (not sure what the label will feel about that) as long as you come support the band when they play live; without that support bands just cant exist.

When you are on the road for a while I am sure you see and experience many different things you might not even have known existed. Are there any stories that stand out in your mind as being exceptionally strange or odd?
Neil: We were playing soccer in a car park once and we got approached by some kids, they must have been no more than 13 years old. They kept trying to pinch the ball and giving us abuse and we couldn't believe the cheek of them, it wouldn’t have happened when we were kids!

What is the one thing you travel with that you just can't live without?
Neil: The Xbox 360, it keeps us sane when there is nothing else to do on a long drive.

How do you maintain that level of energy and exuberance? You sound like you're ready to go full bore every time you hit the stage.
Neil: We are just so excited to be playing for people; it’s really easy to pump ourselves up. We also get the crowd involved with our shows so we can feed off their energy too.

Any plans to tour the States at all?
Neil: Nothing concrete right now but having an American release will, fingers crossed, lead to a US tour in 2009, we are really keen to make it happen!

What have been the best countries to play so far?
Neil: So far the best and maddest crowds we have found have been in Scotland in the UK, they are mad for a party there!

What is next for you guys?
Neil: Finish touring Europe then do a full UK tour with Funeral for a friend, after that we just want to keep on the road in 2009 and visit as many new countries and cities as possible.  [ END ]
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