Interview: Modestep on Lunging, Lostprophets and Knocking Themselves Out Featured

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Heavy hitting dub rockers Modestep are currently making their way around the UK tearing up venues left right and centre ahead of the release of their album 'Evolution Theory'. We caught up with the guys shortly before their second performance of the tour in Manchester. Here is what they had to say:

B - How does it feel to be kicking off this UK tour after such a fantastic 2012?

Josh - It feels pretty good man, I mean we have been waiting to do this for quite a while now, waiting for the album to get out, so it’s kind of good to get it out the way. We should have done these shows a while ago so it’s good to finally fucking do it.


B - We are speaking just before you head out to the second leg of your tour to a sell-out crowd in Manchester. Were you expecting such a huge response to this tour?

Tony - Well we played here last year with Lostprophets and the crowd were fucking insane!

Nick - The majority of the guys who have come and seen us are Prophets fans who now love our music, so we have done okay!


B - This tour is to promote your new album which is soon to be released, however the release date was pushed back. How come?

J - A few years! The album has been done for a while. Basically, the record label is shit! That’s what it comes down to. Originally it would have been nice to release the album when Sunlight came out, but with the mad schedule of trying to write, on top of doing like 300 shows a year, it doesn't leave a lot of downtime to write. So it’s taken longer and longer but it’s definitely coming out on the 11th. It’s not moving again - that’s it.


B - Who would you say have been your main influences both musically in terms of your sound and who pushed you to achieve a career doing something you love as opposed to a boring 9-5 job?

J - Queen Ifrika is definitely up there

T - Woah, she has to be number one!

J - She is definitely top ten, I mean being the daughter of Derrick Morgan is obviously hard shoes to fill but she’s nailed it every time and is doing a great job!

B - I’m gonna pretend I know what you’re on about!

Matt - Look it up when you get back it will change your life!


B - Do you have any pre-stage/performance rituals?

J - We put our hands in the middle and say something, but we can’t tell you what.

N - You probably won’t get it on camera either, it’s always a bit too loud at that point. We have said it every single time we have ever gone on stage.

M – Minus once and that show just didn't feel right at all. It was a bad show, we knew something was going to go wrong and it did. Tony needs to lunge before we go on stage as well.

T - You have to stretch out those glutes! I don’t want to pull a hamstring - that’s the worst thing that could happen!


B - What is your favourite song to perform live and why?

M – Last night was the first time we played it, but a song called ‘Save the World’, that was really good. Basically all of them!

T – I like playing ‘Leave My Mind’ and ‘Take It All’

J – It’s nice to be playing new tunes. When you have been touring the world for the last 2 years playing four fucking tunes it’s nice to be able to play the album a little bit and play some new stuff. We haven’t got sick of the tunes yet so we are still enjoying doing them.


B - What was the best festival you have played?

Everyone - Reading and Leeds

B – Reading or Leeds?

M – Reading was more special

T – Because we used to go there as kids it was our first festival so it was a weird feeling to go back but both crowds were fucking insane I’d say that was pretty sick.

J – And download as well, that was a good moment


B - What is your favourite student UK city to play?

J – Leeds. It’s the best place; I wish I had been a student there, that’s where you [Matt] knocked yourself out!


B - How come it’s not on the tour?

T – Oh yeah it’s not!

J – It’s because we will be going there this year doing a big show and we have it confirmed. We are just holding back the details.


B - What would you deem as your greatest musical achievement to date?

J – Nick once did this guitar lick which set a hamster on fire.

N – Yeah that was quite a moment. Just co-incidentally a hamster was running by the stage and we were like FUCK it’s just set on fire! Other than that we haven’t really done much.


B - You supported Lostprophets last year on their UK tour. How do you feel you as a band have progressed, and what have you learnt off the back of the tour?

J – We learnt how to NOT treat your support acts and that might sound like a bitchy comment but I think it’s helped us make our support acts feel at home

M – It’s just general respect

J – It taught us a lot of tour etiquette, and by showing someone how to not be, it teaches you how you should be. We have been in the support shoes now; we know how it’s nice to be treated and how it’s not nice to be treated, so I guess it taught us that. It also showed us that we didn’t necessarily have to be a rock band and we could start branching out to other people who have a more open mind about music and it taught us to always delete your internet history!


B - Who was the best act you have shared the stage with?

T – Rusko has to be up there

M – Motorhead were on a separate stage but we were on the same time as them, that was kind of exciting, standing at the side of the stage watching

J – Matt nearly got beaten up by one of their roadies because he was spraying champagne at everyone

N – Rusko were really good to us and we got to hang out with him

J – Without Rusko there is a good chance there wouldn't be an us, so it was really nice

T - They always say never meet your idols because it will always be a let-down, but it couldn't have been more opposite. We met him and we were like ‘FUCK HE’S THE COOLEST DUDE IN THE WORLD!’ and a really nice guy.

M – Katy B was really nice

N – We just ran in and demanded arm wrestles with her basically!


B - Who is your favourite person of all time alive or dead?

N – Trevor McDonald

T – I’m gonna say David Attenborough

J – Michael Jackson

M – I quite like Ricky Gervais and Karl Pilkington


B - What do your parents think of your music?

T – They are really supportive; our mum kind of used to run our merch side of things. She comes to shows and is coming to the Oxford and Birmingham show maybe, but yeah super supportive and cool about it really.


B - You have your own on-line radio station Modestep Radio. Whose idea was that and how is it going? It’s meant to be on tonight, is it not?

J – It’s not going to be on for a few months now. Tony was just practicing DJ-ing and I said why don’t we do this to some people so I set up an old little server that I had; a Win amp server and we could have like 50 people listening max and it started there and got bigger and bigger. We ended up with 250000 individual listeners by the end of like 6 months. We upgraded servers and things got bigger and bigger so it became a really good platform to just talk to the youth of today.

T – We all came from pirate radio when we were kids. I used to DJ on it a lot and it just seemed to be the normal thing to do, especially with the internet, you didn't have to just build your own fucking transmitters and shit like that. We used to do a pirate radio station which was in a barn on a farm in the middle of nowhere and we used to sneak across the farm under the cover of darkness and do little radio sets

M – Now you can be a pirate from your own house!


B - Since you have become so well known in the music world over the last few years have you found that loads of people/friends have come out of the woodwork?

J – Like you would not believe! But it’s cool, I don’t know about you guys but I have just got something I copy and paste to all of them so it’s just the same response; appreciate the support, buy the CD etc . If they weren’t my friend before, I treat them like a normal fan that’s all I ever do and I don’t give them the opportunity to exploit.

T – It is quite bad though, because you have real mates who haven’t been in touch for a while for a legitimate reason, and now they are like I don’t want to get in touch because they think I am coming out of the wood work, but it’s like ‘nah man you're cool, I always liked you!’ It filters out your true friends! We have all made a new Facebook but for me it’s all about Twitter as you don’t have to deal with the dickheads.

M – There are still dickheads on Twitter.

T – There are, but you can choose to ignore that shit whereas on Facebook they just comment and comment.


B - What job would you be doing if you weren't in Modestep?

M – I would probably be in publishing magazines which is what I was doing before, and it was terrible. Josh was designing underwear weren't you?

J – I was, and working at the Apple store as well as being a graphic designer.

N – I would be working in my dad’s Chinese takeaway ‘Wok and Roll’ in Worcester

J – I would say it’s the BEST Chinese takeaway I have ever had

N – There has been a ‘Wok and Roll 2’ recently come out as well, so I will trade you a Wok and Roll T Shirt next time I see you!

B - Yeah definitely!


B - What has been the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to any of you on tour?

M – I knocked myself out whilst trying to punch an invisible man. Me and Tony were in a bar doing gas chambers. Have you ever done those before?

B – No…..

M – It's where you get a shot of absinthe and light it on fire, put a glass over the top of it and suck in the fumes then knock back the drink. Too many of those and I was convinced there was somebody starting on me. There was no one there and I fell off balance and smacked my head on the table


B - Who is the biggest liability in the band?

Everyone – Matt!


B - What has been the weirdest piece of fan mail you have received?

J – I had someone draw a strange picture of me, which was REALLY creepy

T – We get the creepy drawings quite often actually!


B - What is the most ridiculous thing you have requested on a rider?

J – Nothing, we just ask for booze and marshmallows really. We are quite normal really. I like baby wipes as well.


B - I know you are very tattooed individuals, however who has the shittest tattoo?

M – I have just got the one Josh did for me, that’s it.

T – I have got loads I did on myself so I probably have the shittest, as I was training to be a tattoo artist so just used myself to practice on. I definitely must have the shittest out of everyone.


B - What are your plans after the UK tour finishes?

J – Europe tour then America, then loads of other shit!


Be sure to order your copy of Modestep's début album 'Evolution Theory' Here:

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Tim McGlashan

Director and Senior Music Critic for and a Graduate in Business Management from Leeds Metropolitan University. MASSIVE MUSIC JUNKIE!


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