Hollywood’s Hottest New Rock Band The Bites Are Heading To The Uk Next Month Following The Release Of Their Hugely Successful Debut Album ‘squeeze’. With No Less Than Nineteen Appearances Scheduled Through November And December, The Band Are Going To Hit The Uk Shores Like A Very Enthusiastic Runaway Train. Newly Signed To Earache Records, The Band Are A Contemporary Blend Of Old School Sleaze And High Energy Rock, Taking Influence From The Joyful, Trashy Glam Superstars Of Motley Crue To The Retro Rythyms Of Classic Artists Like Robert Plant And Eddie Van Halen. Vocalist And Frontman Jordan Tyler Chats About The Tour, The Album And The Band’s Place In Today’s Rock And Roll.
‘We’re unbelievably proud to have been able to walk in the footsteps of some of our great heroes’
INTERVIEW BY VICTORIA LLEWELYN
MGM: Jordan, we’re all looking forward to welcoming The Bites to the UK shortly for what’s promising to be an exciting tour! You’ve chosen to combine a run of live shows at well-known music venues across the county with a handful of the seldom seen but always well received record store appearances, two major rock festivals and even a live electric ‘outstore’ set in Liverpool! This ‘mix and match’ approach to a tour is a refreshing way to allow fans to experience different aspects of the band’s performance and allows access to yourselves also with the meet and greet and signing events. You’re packing a lot in to this first visit to the UK, so how are the band feeling about this as the tour approaches?
JT: We’re signed to Earache Records, which is based in Nottingham, so already we have this really great core of people to work with over in the UK. I’ve been over once before and needless to say I am so excited to be bringing The Bites over and playing our tunes! We can’t wait to meet everybody, and we are over the moon about how much fun this tour is going to be.
It’s kinda funny for us because we are a Hollywood band, we’ve played our usual haunts on the Sunset Strip – The Viper Room, the Whiskey and all that, and now we’re getting to travel to a place we never played before where people are already really excited about The Bites. It’s going to be intense, very tiring; we have a busy schedule with I think 19 shows on it back-to-back, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, it’s rock and roll, what it’s all about!
MGM: You have shows lined up at two pretty big UK rock festivals on this tour, Winter Rocks in Sheffield, and Planet Rockstock in South Wales. Planet Rock seem to have picked up on your music very quickly and getting the major rock radio stations on board prior to your first UK tour is a huge bonus.
JT: We already built a great relationship with Planet Rock and when we released ‘Do Me A Favour’ in January, they loved it, they were playing it non-stop. They really liked ‘Knocking On The Door’ and ‘Heather Leather’ too, so we’re winning with them! Kerrang have been playing us a fair bit too which has been very flattering.
MGM: A little background about The Bites – how did the band come together and get to the point where you’re now enjoying the success of having released ‘Squeeze’? You’re all young, fresh, bursting with energy and super keen. Would you say you’re maybe rock and roll’s answer to the Boy Band?
JT: (laughs) I’m totally a rock and roll kid! I always was, it’s how I grew up. We’re not manufactured in any way! I moved over to Los Angeles at the end of 2017 and I totally immersed myself in that classic rock culture – being on the Sunset Strip and seeing all those venues and bars that all my heroes used to play at – the obvious thing to do was to start a rock and roll band of my own, I felt like I just had to do it. Mark (Hylander, drums) who I knew from Boston where I went to school, he moved out to LA around six months after I did, so we started collaborating. Then Dustin (guitar)made his way over, then Johno (guitar) and Zack (bass), we all met each other, just came together and started writing music seriously. Mark and I, we go back well over ten years, Zack is a long time best friend of Mark’s, so we all came together through love of rock and roll and we made this demo.
I produced it myself, it was very ‘bare bones’, sounded pretty raw. We did it all in one take. The tunes were okay, nothing spectacular back then, but people kept coming to our shows anyway because they were always so fun and energetic. The, thanks to the slowdown of the pandemic, we were able to use all this time we never had before to write the songs for what would eventually become ‘Squeeze’.
We used all this time to improve our writing and production skills and made the album as solid as we could, then we independently put out Knocking On The Door in the summer of 2021 and it caught the attention of Earache. There was some discussion and a bit of getting to know each other, we ended up signing with them and it has been an incredible year and a half since. When we put out the album it was a huge sense of relief and excitement, just to finally have it out there – to hold it and touch it and smell it and hear it!
MGM: You guys are all pretty young, way too young to have experienced this genre you’re working with the first time around, I imagine it’s more your parents’ era! Yet it seems to be something that you feel passionate enough about to move out to LA and start stacking up all the iconic venues to play your shows at.
JT: Rock and roll was my first language. I spent so much of my early childhood travelling in my Dad’s car and he always had the radio or on was playing CDs. I was fascinated – I’d say ‘Dad, what’s this?’ and he’d say ‘Black Dog’. ‘Who’s the band?’ ‘Led Zeppelin’. ‘Who is singing?’ ‘Robert Plant’. ‘Who’s the guitar player?’ ‘Jimmy Page’ and so on and so on. He loved that I was into it. Then when I went to college, I started to discover newer music and branched out into some Indie bands, some Emo, just because it was new and something I hadn’t heard before, but nothing was as timeless or had such an impact on me as the rock and roll bands, so it was what I had to do.
With the Sunset Strip venues, we’re lucky in that we’ve been able to check a few very cool boxes, but for us it’s like – hey, cool, we did that, now next time let’s sell it out! Then let’s do Madison Square Gardens! The sky’s the limit from here, and we’re unbelievably proud to have been able to walk in the footsteps of some of our great heroes.
MGM: You mentioned earlier that when you first started out, before you were really polished in your music and things were still a little rough around the edges, that your shows were still really popular. What do you think it was that attracted people to come to a Bites show?
JT: I would say the same reason as why they’re coming now, which is just that we’re five guys out there having a great time. I’ve seen so many concerts in my time, and whether it’s been Van Halen in Chicago or the tiny little pub down the street watching a band or pop artist play in front of 20 people, and I’ve noticed a lot. With a lot of the new bands and artists, people aren’t very good performers any more. It doesn’t look like they’re having fun. It may be that they are in their own zone, it might just be the type of music, but it feels like people are forcing themselves to get up there and play a show, and they’re not really enjoying it.
The reason I do what I do is totally for the performance. I love writing music, I loved making the album, the whole process of that, but at the end of the day, it’s the performance, the being on stage with the microphone in my hand, and that’s what gets me out of bed every morning.
MGM: A lot of people feel there’s been somewhat of a resurgence in your particular brand of rock and roll over here in the UK, with legendary artists from the past era enjoying a second wave pf popularity. Having played the UK before (not with The Bites) did you get a sense of this, and how does it compare to the US audiences?
JT: I got to play over in the UK in 2019 and I gotta say, I had the best time! I had so much fun, and it’s great to be hitting all those cities again with The Bites, I’m so excited to return. People really love their rock and roll in the UK. I don’t want to say that the American audiences are any more or less fun, but there’s a sense of the audience being almost jaded when you play in the US sometimes – it’s like ‘come on, entertain me’, whereas I feel in the UK they’re already entertained and they just love being on the ride with you. It’s much more of a two-way thing.
I will say that with the Bites, there are plenty of crowds that in the beginning, they don’t know us, we don’t know them, so it’s hard to just jump into something being like, oh, this is the best thing of my life. But by the second song, or even halfway during the first song, while they might be standing just kind of, I’m too good for this, they realise, oh, yeah, there’s something special happening. We’re all having fun, we’re all having a good time, we’re all smiling. It’s infectious. If we’re up there having a mellow time, just staring at our shoes, the audience is going to have a mellow time and just sit there staring at their shoes. But if we’re giving them the performance of a lifetime, whether we’re in front of 100 people or 100,000 people, we want to share that with the people who took the time out of their lives to see a rock show. We want to give them one that they won’t forget.
MGM: You have included a few dates on your tour where you’re going to be doing some in store performances and record signings. This is something we don’t see too much of any more sadly, The whole record store experience is sadly missed given that most stores are closed down these days, so it’s a very welcome addition to the tour. Is this something you particularly wanted to do – to engage more closely with fans and allow people that more personal experience?
JT: Yeah, it’s definitely big for us, growing up with CDs and then later in life, vinyl, it is an experience. While we absolutely, of course, have to abide by the modern day age of streaming and Spotify, with the vinyl product – looking at it, holding it, smelling it, looking at the liner notes, it’s a big experience, it’s not just like hitting play on your telephone, so we’re giving people a chance to have something tangible to associate with The Bites, hopefully something that they’re going to love and appreciate for a long time. We want to add to that experience. We want it to be more than just something that is on their phone that they take in and out of their pocket or purse, we want them to frame it on their wall, we want it to be a part of their record collection. In my collection of records, The Bites sit between Big Brother and the Holding Company and Black Sabbath. Everything is alphabetical for me because I’m a nerd!
it’s cool, it becomes a part of something bigger than just The Bites, it becomes a part of someone’s musical collection and that’s with you forever. That doesn’t go anywhere. And it’s also such a great way to meet fans. I can’t wait to connect with people who have been there since ‘Do Me A Favour’ came out last year.
MGM: Your album, ‘Squeeze’, has been the first rock debut album in ten years that’s got into the Top 40. You must be very proud of such an achievement. Do you plan to ride this wave for a bit or are you already making plans for a follow up?
JT: Yes, we were really proud of that. Thank you. It was definitely a cool position for us. We’re from the States, we’re somewhat aware of what’s going on here, but the fact that we’re making some waves overseas is really crazy to us. So we’re expecting a pretty grandiose welcome arriving to the UK and we can’t wait for shows, they’re going to be so much fun.
We’ve started on the next record, so there will definitely be a follow up, ideally a bigger and badder record too, but we are definitely riding this wave. Fortunately, with the last couple of months of getting the album together and touring here and there and then even more touring coming up in the next few months, we will finally have a decent amount of time to reset when we get back to LA and write the next record, get in the studio, ideally have something out before 2025. That doesn’t mean we’re not still over the moon about this record, how proud of it we are, just how happy we are to be touring the record and performing it for the first time. We’re just thrilled, but we’re at the ready for the next one.
MGM: What’s The Bites formula for creating music? Are you big collaborators and do you connect well together in that creative space, and how does it fit into your lives in general?
JT: The Squeeze album was more like my brainchild. Mark and I did write it together. At the end of the day, he was predominantly the production guy, but it the whole thing was generally split between the two of us. For this next record though it’s going to be all hands on deck, everybody putting in and making this record into a five headed beast. When we were writing ‘Squeeze’ just Mark and I were living together, and it was during the pandemic; we didn’t really have access to studios or even the five of us being in the same room that often. So now that we have that luxury once again, we can make the next record more of a collaborative effort and really have a sick second album.
We’ve all been doing our day jobs while being able to pursue music, but fortunately, we do have enough time on our hands. Myself, Mark and Zach, we all live together. Obviously, the five of us are best friends and we spend so much time together, but between the three of us, we always cook family dinners together. We spend a lot of time just hanging out, going to our favourite bars and restaurants. We really have a great social circle out here, whether it’s going to shows or just grabbing a quick bite and a beer. We’ve got a really tight knit circle, just this massive friend group and all these people that we know that somehow know each other on different sides of the friend spectrum. At the centre of it, it’s The Bites. We’ve brought so many people together and we’ve started this great, great circle of people and at the end of the day, it all just kind of spiders back to us. We’re one big family.
The Bites on tour:
28th – The Crauford Arms, Milton Keynes
30th – Planet Rockstock, Treco Bay
1st – Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton
2nd – Winter Rocks, Sheffield
3rd – The Live Rooms, Chester
4th– The Jacaranda, Liverpool (electric outstore and signing)
5th – Little Buildings, Newcastle
6th – Bannermans, Edinburgh
7th – Nightrain, Bradford
8th – The Black Heart, London
10th – The Junction, Plymouth
11th – Pie and Vinyl, Southsea (stripped back instore and signing)
11th – The Joiners, Southampton
12th – The Forum, Tunbridge Wells
13th – Banquet Records, Kingston (stripped back instore and signing)
14th – Yardbirds, Grimsby
15th – Crash Records, Leeds (stripped back instore and signing)
16th – Rock City Beta, Nottingham
17th – The Waterloo, Blackpool
Tickets available from The Bites Tickets, Tour Dates & Concerts – Gigantic Tickets