The Über Rock Interview – Dan Lovett-Horn and Steve Graham (Promethium) Print E-mail
Written by Linzi A   
Saturday, 20 January 2018 04:40

Promethium are a metal band based in Lancaster founded back in 2007. They self-released their first EP, 'The Revenge', which contained early versions of some of their songs which later on appeared on their debut album. In 2009, we saw the band release their second EP, 'Tribute to the Fallen', which was quickly followed by the release of the aforementioned debut album, 'Welcome to the Institution' in 2010.

 

A second studio album, 'Origins', saw the light of day in 2013. From here the band went onto supporting such bands as Furyon, Beholder, Massive Wagons and Blaze Bayley. They also made appearances at the SOS Fest in Manchester and Scotland’s Wildfire Festival, helping them expand their fan base far and wide.

 

Now, five years down the line, Promethium have just released a new video, ‘Enemies Fate’, from their impending third album, ‘Faces of War’. So, what better time to catch up with vocalist Steve Graham and guitarist Dan Lovett-Horn to talk about same, starting with the reasons behind its long gestation period?

 

 

Dan: It was more painful than childbirth ha, ha. We started the album in January 2016 with the plan to have it all wrapped up within two months and ready to release in June. The plan was to record the drums at one studio, which is an old converted church that is basically designed for drums, and then record the rest at our local studio, and also at our own home studio.  After that we were sending it to Curran Murphy (ex-Annihilator/Shatter Messiah) to mix, as we wanted to get the best possible sound, as we had such faith in the songs.  All dates and deadlines were confirmed - and then one thing after another happened.


Firstly, we parted company with Gaz, our singer from our first two albums.  Gaz lives quite a distance away, and rehearsing with him, and also getting confirmation for gigs, was becoming harder and harder, so we all talked and thought that was going to be the best solution.  Since then, Gaz has gone on to land a great gig with a tribute band and is now making a full-time living out of music.

 

So, now the frontman search starts, [and] after a couple of false starts, Steve comes into the picture.  Now, Steve was the original singer for the band, yet left early on due to differences. 

 

So now that Steve is back, we have to rewrite the lyrics which takes time – and, for some daft reason, we have decided to do a concept album, which is just true Promethium stupidity ha, ha, so that takes time.  Then, we have a couple of close deaths to the band, we have a couple of kids born amongst members, Curran gets offered a tour… top and the bottom, we missed every deadline possible. We were not far off beating Def Leppard’s ‘Hysteria’ album!  However, the wait was totally worth it and we could not be more proud of not only the songs but how awesome they sound.

 

Steve: With previous albums, our music has sometimes been described as heavy rock . There is no mistaking ‘Faces Of War‘ is an out and out heavy metal album. If I was to describe the new album in one word, it’s ‘relentless’. It’s in your face and no holds barred. My personal goals, when we started recording this album, were to explore vocally what I could do in the studio and make every song on the album stand on its own two feet, and have something about it that is unique that still ties it all together as a concept album - but that each song in isolation is strong and memorable . There is no filler on this album . I’d happily and confidently release any track from ‘Faces Of War’ as a single, as each song Is different but still strong. 

 

‘Faces Of War’, narratively speaking, is a collection of stories all related to different aspects of war. Each song has a beginning, middle and an end. Even the track listing is intended to have a beginning, middle and an end, finishing with the title track, which ties it all together. 

 

Regarding recording, Dan pushed me really hard in the studio, but we have an understanding, respect and trust that we both wanted it to sound the best it could… but it still didn’t stop me using a few choice expletives on a few occasions!

 

This album is definitely the heaviest we have done to date and is a full collaborative effort where all members had input throughout the process. 

 

Can you pick a couple of songs from the new album and give us a little insight into their backgrounds?

 

Steve: My favourite track off the album, and to perform live, is ‘Turncoat’ it’s all about blue on green attacks. Insurgents infiltrating army units and killing the people around them whilst out on patrol. I was interested in the point of view of someone who had got to know this person. Befriended this person. Someone they trusted to then be betrayed in the worst way possible and then see that person punished for their crime. Musically, it’s very interesting: it builds and has depth and layers as the song goes on. 

 

Another song that means a lot to me is ‘Shellshock’. It’s funny how sometimes you write a song but then, as things happen in life, that song takes on a whole new meaning. It was initially written about PTSD and people coming back from war and the effects of war on the mind. But, after a very difficult year and some darker times in my personal life, this song represents mental health as a whole and the struggle some people have to live with the darkness they carry with them. This song could be misinterpreted I feel. I think it’s more about making people aware of what can happen for people and how important it is to open your mind, empathize and be there for people who are struggling. It’s a very powerful song from a very real place and it’s there to provoke thought and an emotional response from the listener, to understand what people go through in that moment.

 

I noticed a guest appearance on your video Barry Mills of Massive Wagons. Has he featured on the new album and, if so, did he come into the studio and record with you or did he do his parts individually and submit them to you?

 

Dan: Yeah, Barry is a good friend, and was in the band for a couple of years, playing bass. 

 

Steve: Working with Barry in the studio was some of the most fun we had in the Studio. Barry is hilarious. Also the nicest person I have ever met. The most grounded, down to earth guy you could wish to meet. Dan approached me with the idea of collaborating with Barry on a song and I jumped at the chance. I’m always open to working with new people. Barry brought some amazing ideas to the table. He came down to our rehearsal space, me and Barry went over the lyrics and we worked out the split - and we were in the studio the week after: the parts where we sing on our own, we did our individual parts, and sang together for the parts where we sing together. The finished product ended up ‘20, 21, 15’.

 

Now you guys have produced a new album, can we expect to see you touring this year?

 

Promethium header

 

Dan: Yeah we have got quite a few gigs booked this year, which are all listed on www.promethiumband.com, with a few festival appearances.

 

Steve: We have a few irons in the fire and big plans for 2019.

 

You mentioned festival appearances?

 

Steve: SOS festival has been amazing the last few years. Our acoustic spot last year seems to have attracted a lot of attention, and was very well received; me and Dan had so much fun doing it [and] that’s what prompted us to record the acoustic album, which will be out later this year. We are on the Breaking Bands acoustic stage this year. We have another festival appearance confirmed but not announced for later in the year, and [we’re] looking to get on Wildfire festival.

 

Speaking of festivals, being given shorter time slots at festivals, how do you go about choosing your set list for events such as these? Do you find it difficult to condense all your back catalogue into a festival-sized set list?

 

Steve: Not really. There are certain songs like ‘Tribute To The Fallen’ that will always be in the set. The advantage of the back catalogue we have is it allows us to tailor it to our audience. We find with shorter sets we prefer to keep it fast and heavy so songs like ‘Rain’ and ‘Shellshock’ come out and songs like ‘Stolen Valour’ off our new album go in. We prefer the songs on this album to anything we have done before, as it’s a better representation of the line-up we have, so when it comes to chopping the set it’s usually songs off ‘Origins’ that get taken out.

 

Do you feel, even though you have just finished this album, that your creative juices are still flowing?

 

Dan: Hell yeah, we are in such a good place as a band now.  We have started our own label and all future releases are going to be on that. The plan is at least two releases a year from now on.  This year, we also have our acoustic CD due out, which is reworkings of a bunch of our catalogue.

 

Steve: All music for the previous album was written and recorded before I came back onboard. We are all excited to write new music with the line-up we currently have beginning to end and exploring musically where that takes us.

 

Have you got any ideas for a follow up album?

 

Promethium Dan

 

Dan: Yeah. We decided to take December off gigging and we already have four songs down for the new album, with a plan to be in the studio for September this year.

 

Steve: Musically and vocally, ‘Faces Of War’ is heavy. For the next album, I’m keen to explore more clean vocals and push for even more melody to the songs. Also, without the limitations of writing to a concept, lyrically It will be good to write lyrics that are even more meaningful and personal to me. 

 

Some musicians are really struggling and finding it hard to earn a crust unless they are constantly touring and producing new material year after year, and constantly selling merch and getting good sales at events. How are you guys finding it?

 

Dan: To be honest we do okay because constantly put offers on merch, and our merch guy, Sam, is one of the best. Also we claim our PRS back and all this money goes back into the pot to pay for recordings; and we have invested in our own home studio and practice room… so, it’s all good for us.

 

We covered the fact that money is an issue these days for musicians and how hard it is to make a living from music; do you find that social media is helping at all with the promotion of bands?

 

Steve: It’s a lot easier to get your music out there for people to hear, so in that respect it’s good. But, with it being so much easier now to home record, and with streaming sites, it’s so competitive now. There are so many bands out there it’s hard to try to stand out amongst the crowd. But, bands like Absolva, Massive Wagons and Bigfoot prove hard work on the road, gigging hard and getting out on the road in front of new fans with great music, is the best way to grow as a band, and that’s how we are looking to kick on from this album and future releases.

 

When not on tour do you guys have any hobbies or interests outside of music?

 

Steve: I just love performing, so when I’m not with the band I do a lot of acting work, which the other guys in the band take great pleasure in abusing me for. I always say we are the most functional dysfunctional band going. Rossi likes snowboarding and working on his house, Kev has an unhealthy relationship with his cats, Henry likes cooking posh nosh - and Dan likes to buy every guitar Jeff Waters from Annihilator has been anywhere near!

 

Has playing music taught you any life lessons?

 

Steve: Yeah quite a lot. Only concern yourself with the opinions of the people who matter. Not everyone is going to like what you do. Don’t let pride or ego get in the way of letting constructive criticism make you better. Everyone can always get better.

 

You’re not responsible for other people’s happiness. Your only responsible for your own, so write music you like and you care about and hope others like it, rather than write music to please others that you don’t fully believe in.

 

Help and support other people. Not because you want something in return, but because it’s the right thing to do . Treat others the way you would want to be treated, regardless of whether they actually treat you that way.

 

Be open minded. Not everyone thinks or feels the same way about things, but a different point of view or outlook can make something better.

 

Promethium stage an album launch show at The Bobbin in Lancaster on Friday 2 February.

 

www.facebook.com/Promethiumband/

 

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