One Last Run – Interview

One Last Run’s album was something of a wonderful discovery. Typically when I get CD’s through they are put through the Renault Clio sound test.  If they can sound good on the god awful standard CD player and speakers in a Renault Clio (I’m sure the Diesel has an impact on the sound too), then they merit being played on some decent equipment, and at that point they’re a keeper anyway.  Unbreakable though was unfathomably brilliant.  I was lucky enough to catch them at Leicester’s Shed Venue (yay) and here’s what they had to say.

Welcome to sunny Leicester, home of the Premier League Champions, so what do you think of it here and how’s the venue, The Shed?

Chris – Well, we’ve been here before, but we played downstairs, which is a little small, but upstairs is quite nice. A lot bigger.

Becky – Yeah, a bigger stage for us to move around on, so

Chris – A bigger drop for us to fall off!

Becky – Yeah, I was thinking that!

Fantastic, that hasn’t happened so far though has it?

Becky – No, not yet, but there’s always time!

One Last Run I’m assuming is a Nickelback song, who are the fans in this band?

Rob – All of us!

Nickelback get quite a bit of bad press where people slate them for essentially releasing the same album over and over.  What do you think to that, is a band damned if they try something new and they’re damned if they don’t change?

Rob – If they say that about Nickelback then they obviously haven’t listened to their albums have they!

Dan – ME, I wouldn’t mind playing the same kind of song with how well they’ve done, I’d do it easy!

Becky – But look at the other bands who have kept their sound, AC/DC, they’ve got a structure, they go with it, it works.

Jack – He knows his four chords!

Very true, but some bands do get slaughtered for even making a slight change!

Jack – Someone’s going to hate you for something though aren’t they!

Becky – Definitely

I think they’re popular to hate, which I know sounds odd.

Becky – It’s because they’re Canadian, that’s what it is.

Steady on, I’m part Canadian!

[all the band start laughing]

Moving on! You’ve got your set list for tonight all sorted, but when you come down to doing that, are there personal favourite songs that have to be on there because you love playing them live?

Rob – Live, as much as I hate doing it in practice because we’ve done it that many times, but live, “Bring on the Pain”. I love it. You go automatic, you don’t have to think about what you’re doing.

Becky –It just comes natural now because it’s off the EP.

Rob – Yeah we always end our set with it and we just go nuts with it so yeah.

Jack – Mine’s got to be “Creatures of the Night” because all of all of the stuff you can do with it, as well as that there’s a lot of time where you can just let a chord ring out, look at the crowd, have a point at people you know, do your own sort of thing. But it keeps you busy when you play the riff and stuff like that. So it’s a lot of fun to play, definitely a good live one to add to that!

Dan – I’m just trying to think!  “Tell Me”, I like playing that one live.

Becky – Part of that may be down to the attraction of people who have watched us online, it was one of the first we released off the album, so someone who’s been out there the longest in the light of the music video, the majority of people have seen that and as a result may have chosen to have come to a show to see us live, so yeah, that’s good crowd wise.

Talking about the crowd, are you ever taken by surprise with the response you get from the audience at a live show?

Rob – It’s great!

Jack – It’s what we had in mind right from the start when we were writing the songs.

Rob – Let’s write some good songs!

Jack – We’d have the start of a good song, we’d be writing them, have some ideas for structures and that but we might notice there wasn’t too much of a hook in there, or anything that you could really get into so, they get chopped and changed, get moved around, put on hold, brought back to the table , all the stuff like that, and eventually they become a song where you can picture it in your head, you can picture people liking it. That’s what you’re supposed to have at the end of the day.  So quite a lot of them we design to be like that, especially the ones that we play live, they’re definitely meant to be good for the crowd.  That’s what we aim for from the start.

Becky – We aim to please!

Given what you’ve said there, do you tend to keep tinkering with songs?

Becky – Oh yeah, it does get a bit frustrating at times!

Who’s the worst offender for wanting to change things all the time?

Becky – I think we’re all as bad as each other really!

Jack – Yeah, we disagree on like, everything!  “Shall we go up to the twelfth fret or the tenth fret? [everyone laughs], for one note!

Becky – Yeah, “Are we doing that in triplets? Or a different syncopated pattern?”, and then it’ll be a conversation for a good fifteen minutes!

Jack – What do you mean conversation!? It’s a full blown argument! [everyone laughs] “You’re an idiot, why would you go to that note!?”

Rob – We’ve been known to spend a four hour practice doing the same verse and still not have it finished by the time the session’s finished.

Jack – Yeah, things can change a lot.

Loved “Unbreakable”, but these days it seems albums aren’t bought as much in physical copies, how do you feel about that now you’ve produced an album?

Rob – Personally I’m not fussed so long as people are hearing our music and coming to the shows. You’ve got to move with the times I think. If you keep going back to the 90’s when people were buying it, if you try and have that mindset you won’t get anyone to listen to your music because a lot of people aren’t buying it that way now.  So you’ve got to make it available to stream to make sure people can listen to it, you make your money really by selling out shows now, that’s how you’ve got to push it.

Jack – The CD’s are for people who want a CD, it’s not for the people who just want to hear the music because you can hear that in a bunch of different other ways. We’ve done CD’s because we know some people do have a physical attachment and sentimental value to owning a CD.

Becky – I’m exactly the same!

With “Unbreakable” there was a great video, how important is it to get songs with videos out there on to Youtube?

Chris – I think you check out a band on Youtube before you search anywhere else, or at least I do, before I look elsewhere. If someone says “oh, listen to these”, straight away, I’m on Youtube.

How do you react to people videoing your live shows, because there they are, but they’re watching through a small screen on their phone or whatever?

Jack – You know what, at our own shows when someone’s videoing I’m thinking, “oh my god, they’re videoing me playing music” so being on stage and watching someone doing that, I’m thinking “no way!”, they’re actually recording me.  But when I’m at a show and watching like a major band and people have got their phones out I’m thinking “Put your phone away mate!  What are you playing at, enjoy the moment!”.  So when you’re on stage, you love it, but when you’re off stage watching a band, I hate other people doing it. [laughs]  I don’t get it, watching a major band through a screen no bigger than your hand. That’s me anyway!

What’s been the oddest experience you’ve had on tour so far?

Jack – We had a guy at a gig we played recently, I won’t say where it was, but he took his shirt off, and he was climbing a pole while we were playing.  I think we were all kind of watching him going “I hope he doesn’t fall of that”, and he was having the time of his life.

Rob – Yeah, he was loving it wasn’t he!

Jack – He was going to get on that ceiling wasn’t he!?

Dan – Wait, what, was I at that gig!?

Chris – You were up the pole!

You’ve got your own image, but is there pressure on bands these days to look or sound a certain way?  Has that happened to yourself or bands / friends that you know?

Jack – You know what, we’ve just done our own thing, well, we’ve taken influences from other people but we haven’t had anyone saying negative about our image, even when we had the denim jackets and all that kind of stuff.  I’ve never seen a band get slated for how they look.  People have an opinion when they’re over the top perhaps, for example Black Veil Brides.  People always comment, the same went with Motley Crue, people were always talking about how they looked because it was a big thing, or like Slipknot with their masks and stuff.  Because we don’t have so much of a striking image, people just pass it off as a performance.

Becky – We have uniforms, but it’s not like over the top.

Jack – It’s not dramatic, and I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but it does create opinion.

Ok, getting back to the song writing, do you write from personal experience or is it more a case of story-telling?

Becky – There are songs on the album that are from personal experience, “Tell Me” is very personal to me, but there are other ones such as “Run and Hide”.  I’ve never been in a relationship that has suffered from Domestic Violence, but it’s something I personally wouldn’t want to be in and drew on those feelings. Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet have written songs about certain risqué topics, but I doubt any of them have actually done what they’re singing about, well, I hope not anyway!

Unless it’s Motley Crue

Becky – Yeah!  I think the majority of stuff that Motley Crue sang about they probably actually did do! But no, there are some personal songs there, there are some other songs that are just kind of keyed into a role, for a sense of it.

Ok, apologies, a gear question!  What brands do you use?

Chris – I’ve gone with my Ibanez for this tour, partly because my Fender is broke, but no, the neck, even though it’s a five string, it feels like a four string. Low maintenance, it’s really easy, you can just relax when you’re playing it.

Becky – Microphones, not really a huge choice, but, I go through a Shure SM58, I think, at the moment, soon to be a wireless! I’m just scoping out specifics.

A wireless that sounds dangerous with jumping in the audience possibilities!

Becky – Oh yeah! It does!

Jack – No, it’s the wires that are dangerous!

Becky – Yeah it is! But that’s what I’m using at the moment, they’re just so solid, launch it about the stage, it’s just not going to break.

Rob – Drop it down the stairs.

Becky – Yes, drop it down the stairs.

Rob – Throw it out on the motorway.

Becky – No, I’m not going to do that!  Haven’t done that yet.

Rob – With me I’m a big fan of Les Pauls.  When I gig, I just go through an Epiphone Les Paul and I put Zakk Wylde EMG’s in it just so that it really screams when you’re playing. But I kind of like the image of a Les Paul. I like taking a wide stance with the Les Paul swinging around, I like that when I’m playing the guitar, I like the image of it.  That’s quite important for me, how you look when you’re playing. Great necks too that fit in your hand nicely. Image for me when I’m riffing! “Does that riff look good, does it look good when I play the riff?” That’s kind of my thought when it comes to gear.

Jack – Myself, I started out on a strat shaped guitar (mumbles – c-o-r-t), it was terrible. [everyone laughs], no it was. It was a terrible first guitar. Then I moved on to a Jackson Dinky, so stayed with the strat shape, I had that for a while, and then I’ve had a few other different things I’ve played with since. I had an Ibanez, that was good but the intonation. I could never sort it out, especially for the tunings we play in, I tried different strings, set it up all different ways but, just couldn’t sort the intonation out.  But, I’m going through an LTD at the minute, it’s beautiful. It’s the best one I’ve played by far. I do like my Jacksons, because it had a thin neck on it, great for playing fast, cut aways at the top so you can go right up to your 24th fret, it’s beautiful. But, the issue with playing that live was because it had a Floyd Rose trem, and when you’re changing tunings it’s just, you just can’t do it. It’s just a non-starter straight away. So I’ve got a fixed bridge now on the LTD, and even thought the neck is slightly wider, it’s just a dream to play. Definitely the best one I’ve played.

Dan – I use DW drums, because, they’re the best drums. But I’m not using them for this tour because one, they’re too big, and two, I’m a bit picky when it comes to like people playing on them.

Becky – He is a diva when it comes to other people playing his drums!

Dan – Only because I’ve had people like standing on it and stuff. It’s a new kit, so I’m just going to use my old one. They can kick it, punch it, throw it, I don’t care about this one. For cymbals, I use Zildjian customs and they’re kind of, all broke. [everyone laughs] So yeah! It looks like I’ve been taking chunks out of them with my teeth.

Becky – It’s the Unbreakable tour but he’s managed to break them.

Rob – One thing we’ve got to mention as well, the amps that we go through, Blackstar. Ah, fantastic! I use the Series one 200 and it is THE best amp I’ve gone through. Everything’s a nine out of ten. Like the clean is a nine out of ten, the crunch is a nine out of ten, and the really heavy gain that you get out of it is like a solid nine out of ten as well. It’s just perfect for what you want, going in between channels is seamless.  A lot of people are using like Kempers, they’re like the big thing, but when I’m watching bands using them I still prefer a nice valve amp, nice 200watt, get it cranked, you just can’t match it going through a Kemper or an Axe FX personally.

Jack – I’m the same, I used to go through a Peavey 6505 for the gain and so on, it was pretty nice, I’ve got to say. But for how versatile our music is, you’ve got to go with Blackstar. There’s no rival in it. Like Rob said, it’s just the best all rounder.Touching on the Axe FX Kemper thing, it is nice to have your channels set so that you can stand on that and it brings on 15 different effects all at once, but they’re not quite the real deal. Don’t get me wrong, they’re about 99% of the way there, but they’re not quite the real deal. So if you can kind of work your way through it, navigate your pedals and stuff like that, basically do what’s being emulated on an Axe FX, I find personally that you can get a better sound, especially in the live setting.

Ok, last question, musical bad habits, do you have any?

Rob – I’ve got an awful one when we’re playing Unbreakable.  I have to though. I have my strap that low that when I’m playing up like the twelfth fret and everything I can’t get my thumb round, so I have to basically put my thumb underneath it because otherwise I just can’t get up there, breaks my wrist, so yeah.

Jack – I’d say personally, not changing strings!

Rob – I was just about to say that! I watched an interview with Joe Satriani and he says he never changes his strings, and if it’s good enough for Satriani, then it’s good enough for me.

Jack – There we go.

Rob – Yeah, he says he doesn’t change the strings

Jack – No, HE probably doesn’t!

Becky – It’ll be the guitar tech backstage!

Jack – No, he definitely said he didn’t change his strings for a few years and he records his albums with that guitar so there you go.

No, he just changes guitar!

Jack – New guitar every night!

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