interviews

Me Vs Hero interview

Red Rose Music Lancs sat down with Me Vs Heros Sam Thompson before their show with Skindred at Liverpool O2 Academy 2 on Thursday to discuss their recent touring schedule, performing onstage with Skindred and meeting New Found Glory. Thanks to Sam for taking the time out to talk to me.

For the record, can you state your name and what you do in the band please?

I’m Sam and I’m the singer in Me Vs Hero.

So how’s the tour going so far?

The tour’s brilliant, man, yeah! I mean we’re playing to about a thousand people a night which is really, really good for a band our size. The crowd have been really supportive of us in most places. Skindred guys and Chiodos guys are really, really nice guys, we feel like family. They’ve blown us away with how nice they actually are because they’re a bigger band than us and there’s the potential there to just treat us like the outsiders and the opening band, which can happen on tours, but they’re just absolutely fantastic.

This tour has a pretty mixed bill, but you say the reaction to you has been good?

It’s a pretty weird one, yeah. It was weird getting the email saying that we were doing the tour! We’re like a pop punk band, Chiodos are primarily metal and I guess Skindred are more Nu Metal. It was a weird one but when I was 15 I used to love Korn and I used to love Blink 182 so I guess kids these days like pop punk and a bit of metal as well.

The reaction’s been fine, I mean we’re the opening band, a lot of people don’t really know who we are. They’re obviously here to see Skindred because they’ve got a massive following; they’re doing so well for themselves at the moment. Saying that, the crowds have been quite receptive to us, we’ve had a human pyramid most nights, lots of circle pits and singalongs and stuff so we can’t complain at all.

There’s a video online of you performing Skindred’s “Warning” onstage with them in Nottingham, are you doing that every night?

I’ve done it a few times. Benji (Skindred frontman), being who he is – such a loud, charismatic guy he’s got a lot of friends in different bands, like a couple of nights ago the singer from Revoker got onstage and did it with him. So I’ve done a few with him, I think I did Norwich and a couple of other places, but it’s fantastic. I mean, there are 1,000 kids who actually just do everything you say and jump up and down and go mental. I absolutely love it.

Doing it tonight?

Hope so! I mean it’s weird the way he asked me, he sort of just came up to me in soundcheck in Norwich and was like: “Would you be ok doing a song with us?” Well, I was like: “What’re you asking me for? You should be telling me that I’m doing it because you’re Benji from Skindred!” I mean that was nice, to be asked, and I’m hopefully going to do it tonight.

A video of Sam onstage during “Warning” from Thursday can be seen below

Are these the biggest shows you’ve played so far?

On a tour, yeah, definitely. We’re probably averaging between 500 and 1,000 people a night so it’s about 700 people a night, average. Definitely the biggest tour we’ve ever been on. It’s mindblowing. Your start a band thinking that you’d be happy to play to 100 people a night and get your name spread out but 1,000 people is just – you can’t describe it very well.

What else are you guys up to at the moment? Writing?

We’re writing for the new album, yeah. We’ll be demoing a few songs soon and hopefully releasing a single before the end of the year with an album to follow. When we get back off tour we’re shooting a few new videos so hopefully they’ll be out on Scuzz and Kerrang! soon. We’re also in talks with a load of different tours at the moment, some really exciting ones and big ones as well so hopefully we’ll get on those.

You had a little fake-twitter row with Decade on Twitter last week, what was happening there?

We’re very, very good friends with Decade, I’ve helped them out a bit before in the past and stuff so they’re really good friends of ours so it was just a bit of a messaround. Some fans took it a bit seriously and thought we were genuinely being serious but I think we cleared it all up in the end that we were just having a laugh.

The band split with drummer Ollie at the start of the year, what happened?

When you’re doing something for four years, the music that you’re into and the things that you want in life can change a lot. When we started the band Ollie was 21, so there’s a lot of growing up to do from being 21 to 24. He’s got his work commitments, his girlfriend, his house and stuff that he has to upkeep and I guess he wasn’t really feeling the music and able to put all his effort into touring and stuff so he made the decision that he had to call it a day.

We’ve got Steve Jones in now. He’s from here in Liverpool where we’re playing tonight. It’s fantastic, he fits right in, it’s like he’s always been in the band. He’s a fantastic drummer and he puts a lot of hard work into the band, which is great for us because when you’re four guys and you’ve been doing it for four years you can get a bit lackadaisical about things but he’s a fresh face for us and he really pushes us a lot, so it’s really good for us.

Did you enjoy your headline tour in March?

It was good for us. We made the decision to book smaller towns that’d we’d never played before that we knew we were never going to get a massive crowd for because they’re not in the cities. It was a chance to get Steve out. He’s been in a few bands before, he’s done a few tours but we really wanted to get him tight to what we’re doing as a band and how we tour. But it went really well, we ended it in London and we almost sold the venue out with only a month of promoting it, which is really good for us. It’s probably the favourite show that I’ve ever done and that’s all thanks to the crowd in London, they were so amazing for us and now we’re on the Skindred tour so it was a good warm-up.

I know you must be sick of answering this question, but have you got any plans to play in Preston or Blackpool any time soon?

The funny thing about Blackpool is that it’s one of the few places in the country where club owners really find it hard to get underage licenses so it’s really difficult. I think we’ve got Winter Gardens and a few little social clubs that’ll allow underage people but it’s so expensive to put gigs on and Winter Gardens is a massive place so unless you’re a really big band that can sell thousands of tickets there’s no point in playing there. So it’s really hard to play Blackpool, so we never really do.

Preston is alright, but we don’t really like playing hometown shows because you’ve got to play to all of your friends and it can get really embarrassing because when you’re onstage you have a different persona. It’s almost like an act and it’s a bit awkward acting in front of your friends when they know that you’re not really like that. We like getting out on tour, getting around the country and meeting new people.

You’ve shared the stage with people like Four Year Strong and Deaf Havana, what’s your favourite band that you’ve played with?

For me it’d be New Found Glory. I’ve been a huge NFG fan since I was 14. Me and Mike, our bassist, used to go round to his Dad’s house and watch P-Rock day after day. That’s when I first heard “Hit Or Miss” by NFG. Then a year and a half, two years ago New Found Glory were coming over and just before they did a big tour with Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals they did a one-off headline show at Manchester Club Academy. We were the only band that played with them and that was mindblowing. It was a meet-your-idols moment.

I remember when I was 15, me and my friend Tom saw them in Liverpool and we waited until about 1am for them to come outside. We tried to sing lyrics to them and stuff and tried to get on their tour bus – they were having none of it. Then we had to get Tom’s dad to come and pick us up at three in the morning because there were no trains! We got stranded because we were such big, idiot fans!

You’re playing the Boardmasters Festival in August, what else are you guys up to this summer?

We’re doing Hevy Festival and Sonisphere, which is the big one. We’re on the Red Bull Stage, which is a big tent. We’re on the same day as Four Year Strong as well, who obviously we sound quite similar to. There’s a lot of pop punk bands on this year like All Time Low and You Me At Six so it’s hopefully going to be a really, really good crowd for us.

Speaking of bands that sound similar to you, are there any bands that you’d recommend that a Me Vs Hero fan went and checked out?

Decade are great, they’re up and coming and they’re doing some really good stuff at the moment. There’s a French band called Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! who I’m good friends with. A really, really good band to check out. There’s Fireworks, in America, I love that band

There’s also a new band that I just found out about called Veara. They’ve just been on tour over here with We Are The Ocean. I was out in Europe driving Glamour Of The Kill between tours and they were on tour in Europe with Millencolin so we got to watch them. They’ve got a girl drummer called Britney, she’s absolutely amazing and the band’s amazing. Definitely check them out because they’re going to be big. They’ve just been signed to Epitaph as well.

Are you still working in between tours to fund the band?

Yeah, it’s hard in the music industry being a smaller band. Being a very DIY sort of band, it’s hard to fund yourself, so when we’re not on tour every second that we’ve got free we’re trying to earn some money so we can put it back into the band and be even more skint basically! We’ve all got jobs, I like to try to get out on tour if I can with other bands.

What’s next for Me Vs Hero?

We’re just going to carry on trying to grow. We’ve just signed up with The Noise Cartel for our press and stuff and they work with a lot of good bands so hopefully we’ll be in the press a lot more. We’re really working hard with our booking agent Mark Ngui at CAA to get on some good tours. It’s all about growing, seeing if we can get on good tours with bigger bands and do some good headline shows. I mean our aim has always been every kid’s dream which is to be able to afford to live our lives and just do band. We’re yet to get there but hopefully we’re not too far off.

The band’s debut album, Days The Shape Our Lives, can be purchased here.

Me Vs Hero can be found on:

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  1. Pingback: Me Vs Hero tour diary « Red Rose Music Lancs - May 17, 2011

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