Interview with Collateral front man: Angelo Tristan

The hardest part at the moment, it’s all about getting over insecurities that you might have about your own voice. I can say, it’s just a matter of continuous...

Words and Pictures: Adrian Hextall \ MindHex Media

It’s been a long time in coming and there’s been a lot of work that has been hinted at by hard rock outfit, Collateral, over the last couple of years but in reality it’s the album that we’ve been waiting for, and finally it is upon us.

Released on February 21st the album self you are you are a you are a are titled by collateral will finally be available in stores nine tracks clocking in at around the half-hour mark gives a wonderful slice of British hard rock with all of the West Coast capitals L. A. Music scene added in.

Our review can be found here:

We were lucky enough to be able to speak to lead singer Angelo Tristan about the path and the hardships the four piece band from Ramsgate in Kent have had to go through to get to this point in their career.

MGM: Angelo, you must be really happy with the critical responses to the album so far. It can’t come as much of a surprise? You must have known in your bones that the album was exactly what you wanted and it was going to hit the spot.

AT: It’s a weird one really. As the creator, the fathers of the album so to speak. you’re always going to love what you do. But yes, it’s weird really. We as a band don’t really think that way. If the music makes us happy, it makes us happy. I can’t deny however that the reviews that have been coming out about the album have been incredible. It makes us feel like going in the right direction. And that is an amazing feeling.

The only review that’s been anything other than positive actually came from Planet Rock magazine who absolutely hated it. But I guess you can’t please everybody. It is what it is you know, it’s been amazing to see the reactions from everybody.

MGM: So the radio station / magazine that is known for its love of classic rock music hated a classic hard rock album?

AT: I don’t mind a bad review, it’s interesting to hear. It gives us a new perspective on the music and the album as well. And to be fair it wasn’t Planet Rock as a whole it was just one reviewer out of many that I’m sure do in fact write for the magazine as well. The reviewer didn’t really elaborate on why he thought it was a bad album what was wrong with the content it was more a case of I just don’t like the band and there’s not a lot we can do about that. If anything it just makes me work harder, there’s plenty of people in the world that are never going to like our music and it just makes us want to put in the extra effort.
If we can prove them wrong, that’s great, it’s what keeps our machine running it’s what we do.

There’s also something about being put down by the bigger commercial publications. You read a lot of stories about the bands that we listen to when we were growing up that have gone on to become big and famous and yet in the early days of their careers they were the ones that were being put down by the big publications. They’ve had to fight through that and so can we.

MGM: You open the album with recent single “Mr Big Shot” and I think it’s something I mention when I reviewed the Four Shots EP, the fact that an album needs a high energy high-powered opening track to really launch it from the pad as soon as the listener starts playing the album. You certainly managed to do that with this album.

 AT: I remember you saying that when you reviewed the EP. And we took that on board because it was valid point. I remember you saying that you’d been looking for our ‘Living on a Prayer’ or ‘You Give Love A Bad Name’ type track on the album and anthem that you can really get your hooks into. That thought helped us when it came to choosing tracks to put onto the album and the end result is what you now hear.

It’s that sort of critical appraisal, that sort of criticism that would receive that we have to take on board we have to work our magic on earth and the end result then is hopefully stronger.

MGM: Having managed to achieve a powerful out of the gates approach on the lead single, the band then follow-up with the second track on the album “PromiseLand”. This to me is the sort of track that Bon Jovi used to write and probably wish that they could to do again now. Tell me a little bit about this one.

AT: The evolution of this song in a strange one. Me and Jack were in my living room one evening where my studio basically is. We just sat down before a gig one evening and just got really drunk and this particular song came out of nowhere. My view was “Ah man this just sounds amazing”. Before you knew it, we had the makings of the chorus we got the melody, we then found the verses and all of a sudden we have the makings of a complete song. It really came out of nowhere.

I’ll tell you one thing though, I’m really going to be kicking myself in a few years time because that song has some really high notes in it and you know, give it 10 years and whether my voice will still be able to hit those or not remains to be seen (laughs).

MGM: The other spelling of ‘PromiseLand’ is an interesting one. We’d expected a ‘d’ to be there in the middle somewhere whereas we have this without and all as one word.

AT: We had a little bit of a talk about this when we were coming up with the name for the song. You’re absolutely right of course the normal way of spelling it would be Promised Land. Whilst we were playing gigs that would ultimately lead us into the track selection process for the album, we were talking about this particular track and what makes it that little bit different. When it came to the title of the single, well it’s an easy change to make and it just gives a good bit of an edge make to the talking point. It creates our own word.

These days we live in a country where we were promised so many things and don’t necessarily get them. Now I’m not going to get political, it’s not who we are as a band, however we do live in this time where we hear more promises than we get and that’s really what the song is about it’s the land of promises that are never fulfilled.

MGM: Just going back to the inclusion of some of the higher notes on what it can or can’t do to your voice, if we look at “In It For Love”, you’ve got the same problem there. The scream that you perform at the beginning of the song that’s right at the top of the register that can be a difficult one to keep going as the years go by.

AT: I do pick and choose when I do that in a show. I will stand in front of the microphone look at it and try and decide whether it’s gonna treat me nice or not at that particular point in time. (laughs)

I’m actually doing a lot of vocal training at the moment. The first half of my life I learnt to sing with my own techniques and I used to busk every single day and that really ruined my voice being outside, especially in the winter. I probably pushed my voice harder than I needed to and I brought that technique over to Collateral. In the last year so where I have actually been having vocal tuition I’m now getting to a point where I’m getting the right technique and it makes a big difference.

I’m pushing myself at the moment so that by the time we go on tour in February with Jarred James Nicholls, we should be sounding pretty good. By the time you read this it’ll be confirmed that were supporting Phil X on his UK tour and will also be out in Europe with Skid Row as well so that’ll be fantastic.

AT: That does mean that we’re going to be playing for at least 12 days back to back. I’ll be on stage every night for those 12 days so I need to look after my voice.

Confidence is a big thing you know. As a singer-songwriter people might think I’ve got all the confidence in the world but actually you’ve just got as much confidence as the next guy in the room and having a healthy voice is as much a mental thing as it is a physical thing. Any little niggle that you get with your voice can trigger that insecurity to come right to the top and it affects your performance. That one little thing that can eat away to you can then also affect your performance can affect your mood it can affect how you go out every night and it just eats away so you have to be able to work through these things and train your voice to a point where you’re comfortable and you’re confident enough to go out on stage every night.

That’s the hardest part at the moment, it’s all about getting over insecurities that you might have about your own voice. I can say, it’s just a matter of continuous training at the moment. Anything that is needed that will just help me get through especially when we are playing 12 nights back to back.

Ultimately, I want to be able to say I tried and failed rather than I could have, should have, would have, and not actually achieved anything. I also know now that I’ve got the energy for this. In 30 years’ time I properly won’t have (laughs). At the moment, I think I just have to live every day to the max and I try to do that.

MGM: What’s happening on the day of the [Collateral] album launch is there a special launch show are you doing a performance somewhere?

AT: we’ve obviously had a big transition over the last year or so with management, we also signed with Inspired Artists Agency. They’re the ones getting us all of these additional tours that were announcing at the moment. In terms of launch shows for the album, were actually going back to the place where it all started. There’s a pub in Gillingham, that we haven’t really advertised as yet but it will be a free gig we play on 15 February and it’s where it all started so it’s an emotional return for us it’s quite exciting. We could have tried to find a small venue in London, that would have probably been quite easy and we could have properly managed to sell it out as well but we’d rather put on a show that just gives a little bit back to the fans. So we are going to be doing a free gig at the Canterbury Tales pub on the 15th.

AT: On the actual day of release we’re also thinking of coming back there, and we’ll probably plug-in and do a handful of songs, three or four songs and then they’ll actually put the album on, plug it into their sound system and do an album playback from start to finish.

If that wasn’t enough to look forward to, those fans hoping to see the Kentish lads back at festivals again this summer… well you won’t be disappointed. Keep an ear out for more official announcements very soon!

And finally: 

Those fans that have followed the band around for some time now will know full well of the plight of the tour bus \ knackered former Post Office Van. A recent gig was cancelled because the van threw a strop and refused to work that night. The band, despite beating some 200,000 other bands to play with Jon Bon Jovi on his recent Mediterranean cruise, still need help in the funds department. They are not as yet living the JBJ life style despite playing better music than he does nowadays. 

As such, if you can spare some change to help towards a new van, details are below:

Check out latest video ‘Merry Go Round’ below:

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