Interview by: Lindsey Appleton
Photos/logos courtousy of the band
I.C.O.N are a gritty metal act, that have a steady fanbase throughtout the UK. They have shared stages with the likes of Anvil, Breed 77, Blaze Bayley amongst many others. Throughout 2015 the band have signed with Metalbox Recordings and ADL Management in March, in June they have released their album ‘The Blacklist’, and are currently touring.
1) Hi guys, it’s been a while since we caught up with you at Head Bangers Ball in Manchester, fill us in on what you have been up to since…
Scott : We spent the back half of 2014 writing and demoing our second album, surfacing only to do Headbangers Balls. Shortly after Christmas, we entered the studio and recorded the album, signed to a new manager and agent, a record label, and finally released our second album ‘The Blacklist’ in June 2015. It’s been very busy and cool to get the cylinders really firing since Spring. Lots to look forward to.
Larry: Yeah, at last it feels like the wheels are turning properly again. We even did a video for one of the album tracks – Welcome To My War — nothing fancy; just us hammering away in our HQ rehearsal room
2) You have just recently supported one of my personal favourite bands Anvil, tell us what that was like.
Scott: I loved it. The guys were very cool, easy to get on with, and the whole experience was a good one. We had a good crowd, and made our set count. To Play the O2 Academy, Islington was a good experience too. The band shares a little common ground with Anvil, as they struggled to get recognition for years, as we have, so we chatted with them about things like that.
Mark: It was a very cool experience
Larry: The Anvil guys are a nice bunch; their new bassist is just as cool as their previous one. It was good all round, even their Tour Manager was a nice bloke. It’s always nice to play alongside guys who know the score: that the only way to do this is get out there and play and tour as much as you can.
3) Your currently working your way through your ‘Blacklisted’ tour, how’s that going for you?
Scott: The shows have been superb mainly. We’ve seen an increase in audience numbers and interest in the band since the new album came out and a lot of positive reviews. Our new manager and agent is very organised too, and works hard every day for us, so that has shown in the tour too. The band is really kicking ass live now, and it’s brilliant to finally be putting lots of new songs in the set.
Larry: Yep, what Scott said. It’s come together nicely and the new songs have given the setlist a nice boost. We’re already working on tracks for the next album, but they won’t be turning up in the setlist for a while probably….
4) How did you come up with the name for the tour where did it come from, is there a story behind it?
Scott: The tour name came from the album title really. A kind of a play on words. Also, it’s a bit of a tongue in cheek swipe, as the band has always felt ‘Blacklisted’ as far as bigger festivals, bigger tours and shows go, and have felt on the outside of the UK industry, so it’s a fun dig at that side of things. Of course, we’re working hard to change all that now, the new album has been a very good start, and there are a lot of plans in the pipeline. We’re more than fucking ready.
5) Which has been your favourite venue to play and why?
Scott: Lots of great venues for me! De Pit in The Netherlands is awesome. Tunnels in Aberdeen has a great stage, as does The Garage in London, and Manchester’s Club Academy. I also like The Flapper in Birmingham and The Venue in Selby. Lots more too.
Larry: Hard to say really. Don’t really have a favourite venue….have a list of lots of favourites! Played a lot of great venues in this band and in other bands. I’d also just like to get I.C.O.N to some of the countries that I’ve played with other bands as I reckon it’d go down a storm. That’s next on the list.
Mark: I don’t have a favourite venue , it’s the audience that makes the gig
6) With all the illegal downloading of albums nowadays, and sales dropping, how would you tell if your album had been a hit or not with your fans?
Mark: I could probably tell by the number of people at our gigs. The more there are, the more people have heard it & liked it.
Scott: We’ve seen a large increase in our social media numbers, more faces at shows and through comments/messages of support we’ve had. The reviews have been far more plentiful and the majority of them have been very positive. Plus, our official Webstore has been selling the album as well as our label.
Larry: The only real way to tell is by word of mouth and people turning up at the shows. Still, it’s nice to see sales figures that show it moving somewhere.
7) How do you guys feel about illegal downloading, do you feel it’s killing the industry?
Scott: It’s a general term these days. Financially, yes. It is harder to make money from the music itself due to illegal downloading – Our album is on all the torrent sites already. But, it’s obviously worth putting on them it seems! There is a generation of people that downloads anything for free because it’s just there to do so. It’s all they’ve known. It’s very easy. Just look on YouTube now! The plus side of course, is lots of new bands can make their music and videos available for fans to listen to right there and then, and then buy it. I’ve found that people are prepared to pay for our music to be honest. We sell CD’s online and at shows, Itunes/Amazon sales and others.
Mark: Yes, if we are your favourite band , do not download our stuff illegally. You will kill us & we will cease to exist. It’s as simple as that.
Larry: Yes it does fuck the industry side of things up, but for me the saddest part is that people don’t seem to get the joy of owning an album anymore. An album is a complete package – even more so when they were vinyl and with large covers to really get the artwork and everything. But there was always a buzz about getting the new album from any band you liked. A lot of people just really don’t give a fuck now and that’s a shame. They don’t know what they’re missing as they clearly don’t ‘value’ the music and the bands the same way that others do.
8) Has the band got any plans for the future?
Scott: Yes. Lots in the pipeline…
Mark: No, we are splitting up next Friday. 🙂
Larry: Loads. Bigger. Better. More.
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