Exclusive in-depth interview with 15 Times Dead inc the history behind the band, what they have been up to over the last few years, who they signed with in June this year ;), some new album details and their confirmed gigs and festivals for the remainder of this year and 2012.
15 Times Dead are:-
Andy Ritchie – Bass/Vocals
Scotti Watson – Guitars/Vocals
Tam Ritchie – Guitars
Wullie Brownlie – Drums
The answers highlighted in orange are the band collective responses, all individual answers are highlighted in the above colours :)
15 Times Dead have grown and have become more established over the last few years. For the people that may be new fans or have not heard of you yet. I’ll ask some basic band questions first
Where did the name 15 Times Dead come from?
Andy –It’s quite simple really, we went through a raft of suggestions until everyone thought “That’s cool!”
What does 15 Times Dead stand for?
Scotti – to me the band is all about writing metal that we love and just going out and enjoying playing that metal and sharing the experience with everyone we can while pushing what we do as far as we can
How would you describe the band?
Scotti – Other than bald? :P (Everyone slaps Scotti around his head)
We think we’ve captured the best parts of metal and refine them into a sound that’s accessible to everyone with a love of metal.
We certainly didn’t plan it that way, but think it’s a good place to be and a good style to have
You guys formed back in 2004, how did it all come about? Can you give us an rundown of what you guys have been up to over the years?
Well, how long an answer would you like? The original drummer worked in the same place as Tam and asked if he knew any bass players, so Tam arranged for Andy to go in for a jam with the guys.
Tam came in for a listen but one of the original guitarists didn’t turn up due to ongoing work commitments and because of that Tam was asked to bring his guitar to future jams in case the other guitarist didn’t make it.
Eventually it came to a point where Tam asked “Am I actually in this band?” and the collective answer was yes!
Musically the band progressed through to April 2004 when Andy spotted an advert by Scotti who was looking for a band to join playing guitar and vocals. While there was no need for a guitarist Andy posed the question of vocals only to Scotti who came down and jammed and from that point we were a complete band.
Scotti – I had originally been looking to get back into a band playing guitar and doing vocals but, as we mentioned above, the conversation I had with Andy was a bit of a leap for me as I had never considered just doing vocals.
Over the time as a five piece one thing I enjoyed was the freedom of being a front man and getting the chance to have a bit of fun on stage while the rest of the guys concentrated on the playing.
Let’s face it, you need to have an ego in some shape or form to want to be a frontman or in a band and I’m a bit of an extrovert at times so it worked for us and it worked with the songwriting as I was predominantly writing the lyrics while the guys concentrated on bringing the music together.
From April 2004 to summer 2008 our style was more thrash influenced and we had some great highlights such as making the final of Emergenza, the final of Bloodstock Unsigned, played the Godless Festival in Stoke, supported Blaze Bayley at King Tuts, however, due to musical differences we split and called it a day.
Scotti kept in contact with Tam and Andy and after a piss up in the Solid Rock in Glasgow we decided we had more in common than just cider and so we decided to tentatively give it another try when we were sober to see if it was still a good idea. With the new lineup taking shape, Scotti took up guitar while it was decided within the band that Andy would share vocal duties.
The return of the band marked a departure from the faster style and brought in a more groove laden, riff based sound that has been our hallmark ever since.
In spring 2010 we parted with our then drummer and after a few months searching we found Wullie.
Scotti – Wullie has felt like the final piece of the jigsaw for me. We’ve made a huge leap in quality both live and musically and I think a lot of that is what Wullie has brought to the table.
As well as being an incredibly talented drummer, he never stops with the ideas, be it musically or with regards to how we can gain more exposure and visibility. He’s pretty manic at times, but in a laid back way if that makes any sense!
Oh, and the fact he has his own studio, practice rooms and tour bus is of no consequence of course because it’s his talent that shines through ;)
Since then we’ve stepped up several gears, completed the first demo with Wullie to help push and promote the band, and got to the final of the first Highway 2 Hell, which was Wullie’s first live appearance with the band.
After being selected we took Hard Rock Hell IV in December by storm, with the likes of UFO, Helloween, Skid Row, MSG, and Di’Anno, receiving positive media attention from the press and the festival goers alike for our live appearance and demo. This helped increase the number and spread of our fans.
This also set us up positively for going into 2011 and starting work on our debut album.
What equipment do you use?
Andy – LTD and Spector Basses, ampeg and ashdown amps, digitech pedal, Ernie Ball strings
Scotti – Blackstar Amps, Marshall MG100HDfx, Hughes & Kettner 4×12 Cab, Mesa Boogie.
All my effects and distortion coming via a Korg AX100g that has ben my baby for some time, Jim Dunlop Wah.
Guitar wise I predominantly use BC Rich and Dean guitars.
Endorsement wise I’m using Dovetail Strings on the guitars and also use EarPeace earplugs
Tam – Gibson and DBZ guitars, Blackstar, Marshall and Crate amps, Jim Dunlop Wah
Wullie – Tama drums, zildjian cymbals, Ahead sticks, axis pedals, evans skins, protection racket carpet, hardcase cases, Earpeace earplugs
Any endorsers feel free to contact us (LOL :P)
Do you have a particular favorite gig that you have done?
Collectively, we all enjoyed Hard Rock Hell IV, as much for playing as being involved in the whole festival experience.
What kind of responses do you usually get from the crowd at your gigs?
A good response, it’s as simple as that. Every show we gain new fans, and we’ve often been told by those that aren’t metal fans how much they’ve enjoyed the show.
I think the fact that we’re enjoying ourselves so much up on stage rubs off on the crowd and they can’t help but get into it.
Any particular story or memorable gig you would like to share?
Andy – supporting Maiden Scotland in Rockers a good few years back when the place was rammed where we won over an initially uninterested crowd.
Also, while onstage waiting for the soundman to appear at Rascals in Bangor this summer, Tam and I initiated an impromptu singalong with the crowd to the Budgie song “Napoleon Bona Part 1″ while we had no sound in our mics.
Scott – Three things spring to mind that come back to me… our very first gig in a sodden field in 2004 when I nearly broke my neck climbing out of the back of the van. I slipped on the step and cracked the back of my neck and took a gouge out my tongue. Thank god it was after the gig!
Also a gig we did during the Edinburgh Festival at the Cowgate a good few years ago when the place was jam packed and a girl came up at the end and asked me to sign her chest!! I felt I had finally made it then.
Lastly, the absolute elation I felt when we were announced as one of the bands going down to Hard Rock Hell from Highway 2 Hell. That was amazing.
Wullie – Bathgate Music Festival, great having new fans coming up enthusing about the band, more than usual.
How do you feel now looking back at how far you have come since you first started out?
Andy– Out of the whole time, the last 12 months have felt the most complete and the band have accelerated greatly.
Scott – I think us deciding to come back in 2008 and try again was a big risk. By spring 2010 we were beginning to feel like it wasn’t happening and we were treading water and going round in circles, compounded by the fact that our drummer left in the May we knew finding a new one was going to be probably our biggest challenge but as I said above, Wullie joining just felt right. At times I still can’t believe what we’ve achieved in the past 12 months.
Wullie – I’m just enjoying whipping this rag tag bunch of reprobates into shape (laughs)
Where do you see yourself/band in 5 years time?
Hopefully with successful albums under our belts and ready to take on more, having done some great tours, played some great stages, expanded our fanbase globally and most importantly still be having fun doing what we’re doing.
2011 has been pretty hectic for the band and that includes signing with Casket Records in June this year. Before we go into more depth about you signing to Casket Records.
What’s kept you guys busy so far this year?
This year we’ve been busy working on the album and also been keeping ourselves busy playing local gigs as well heading a wee bit further afield.
There have been some great highlights in 2011 such as in March where we shared the bill with Revoker and Holy Grail at King Tut’s. It was a tremendous gig; given the majority of the crowd were our fans. It was a great feeling to see them all there supporting not just us but the touring bands.
We once again invited back to join Misstallica at the o2 ABC2 during their 2011 UK Tour following our initial success with them in 2010.
Heading into the summer we were invited to play a part in the Alba West Bike Festival, went down to Bangor in North Wales to open a new regular Rock & Metal night that we hope to get back down to again in the near future as it was such a great night and also played a part of Party in the Park at the Bathgate Music Festival, so yeah, even though we’ve been busy working on the album we’ve still hit some high profile gigs over the first half of the year.
What made you sign with Casket Records as opposed to any other lables?
We struck up a conversation with Casket Records around May earlier this year after they approached us through Myspace. We got talking with them and liked the proposition both in terms of distribution and management of our material.
We felt their whole ethos suited us down to a tee. We have full control over how the album is pulled together and the content, design, etc and they give us a great deal of flexibility to work and produce the album to our standards.
I think the fact that they also kicked off the likes of Panic Cell and still have bands such as Earthtone 9, Forever Never, Huron etc that they have a wealth of experience to call on.
Plus, they’re actually really decent guys to deal with too which always helps :-D
We signed the contract with Casket Records at the end of June and have been working on finalising our debut album for release through them for the past three months with the aim to have it available by the turn of the year.
Can you give us a quick overview of the album?
This is the first chance we’ve had to properly record the tracks that have been the staple diet of our live shows, so we really wanted to do them justice.
By finally getting them down we feel we have a product worthy of our current fans whilst giving us an excellent vehicle to find new ones.
What/who were the main influences for the album?
We couldn’t pinpoint any particular influences on the album, we’ve always written what we feel is right when it comes to songs, be it straight ahead balls to the wall number like ‘Bullethead’ to a heavy lament such as ‘Dying’
There’s probably a lot of anger in the lyrics and content of the songs focused on different things
Whats your plans for the rest of this year and 2012?
We will be finishing of the album as well as playing some local gigs, see details below.
2012 – We’ll have the album out and be cracking on with the promotion and tour around it.
We’ve got a few festival appearances lined up so far for next year and a few others we’re working on that aren’t quite finalized ;)
We’re expecting 2012 to be pretty damn busy.
26th Oct – 13th Note, Glasgow -Ten Tonne Dozer, Semper Fi and A Thousand Lies
30th Oct – Fanny By Gaslight, Kilmarnock, Battle of the Bands, free entry
4th Nov – The Eagle, Prestwick, Showcase Night , free entry
26th Nov – o2 ABC2, Glasgow – Wolfsbane, DiamondSnake. Special price tickets £7 from 15 Times Dead.
9th Dec – Sneaky Pete’s, Edinburgh – Firebrand Super Rock, free entry
10th Dec – Wangies, Eccles, Manchester All Day Metal Festival with Kyrbgrinder. More details to follow.
12th Dec – Ivory Blacks, Glasgow – Blaze Bayley, Dirty Rose. Special price tickets £7 from 15 Times Dead.
6th to 8th Jan – Arctic London Festival, we’re playing Friday 6th
7th Jan – Area 81 Rock Club, Bristol
Album Launch Party with Free Entry – to be confirmed ;)
21st to 22nd Apr – Arctic Glasgow Festival, we’re playing on Saturday 21st
26th May – Metal Gods Festival, Nottingham
Along with plans for touring around the UK and beyond ;)
Are there any messages that you would like to pass on to your fans?
Thanks to each and every one of you for showing us your support, your belief and your friendship over the years.
We’ve not even scratched the surface of what we can do so we hope you’ll all stay with us for the ride.
Oh, and buy the album when it’s released… OR DIE!!!!!!!!!
Thank you to the guys for taking the time out to fill this is.
(Scotti was not harmed* during this interview) *much ;)