DOORSTEP INTERVIEW: Antlez | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Welcome to another edition of Doorstep Interview where we find out more about the amazing bands we’ve got right here in the north east. This time it’s the turn of Hatlepudlians Antlez to face our ten questions.

Tell us a bit about yourself. Who are you, where are you from?

Hi, we’re Antlez. We’re from Hartlepool. We are: Matthew Shuttleworth, Micky Braham, Michael Baxter, Carl Cook and Chris Harvey. Chris is actually a very new and very welcome addition after one of our oldest friends, Joseph, left the band.

Me (Micky), Joe, Carl and Matthew started playing music together probably more than 10 years ago when we started by playing Razorlight and Libertines covers in my bedroom. Baxter and Chris used to play in a band called Up Down Strange! And have joined us to make us the Antlez we are today.

You would never ever tell by looking at them or by talking to them or even by their names but Michael, Matthew and Carl are actually all cousins. Being from Hartlepool you tend to keep things in the family.

What inspired you to first start making music?

I guess it stemmed from looking up to these artists and bands you idolise as a kid. Thinking that being in a successful band is illusive and unattainable. As you get older and gain a bit more perspective you realise that it isn’t, especially in the technological and digital age we live. There are so many tools available to you, which help provide platforms to build a fan base, develop a brand, find gigs and promoters, increase accessibility to press, labels, radio etc. It is this realisation that inspired us to start making music.

Furthermore, it stemmed from being in the fortunate position to be able to make music. There are plenty of people out there who would love to be in a band and make music who are unable to do so. It just makes us think that we’re so lucky to be in the position we are and we shouldn’t take it for granted and really make the most an opportunity not afforded to everyone.

Who would you say are your biggest influences?

I think we all have a weird array of influences. As a collective we derive a lot of our influence from bands such as Bombay Bicycle Club, Tellison, Dartz, The Maple State, The Doors and Death cab for Cutie.

As individuals our biggest influences come from far as Walls of Jericho to Pink Floyd to Groove Armada to Hundred reasons to No Doubt. There are elements, if even very subtle, from across a broad range of genres.

How would you describe your sound?

I think alternative-pop is what we say to most people who ask. We don’t particularly try to write songs a certain way or within a certain genre but we do like to think that we incorporate a multitude styles into one band.

Having three guitarists allows us to be pretty expressive whilst maintaining a full and big sound when we play live. It’s not always something we’ve had. Before Michael joined the band we were a four piece with only two guitarists. Working on incorporating three guitars into the band was good fun and I think it has improved us hugely. The best way to find out what we sound like is to come and see us!

Where do you see yourselves fitting into the local music scene?

Anywhere! We would never try to align ourselves to a certain part. All bands need to work to together to develop a music scene. A lot of the time bands are billed up together because they are similar in genre. This isn’t wrong or right and it helps bands complement each other. But on the flipside, a varied line up of bands will attract people with different music tastes to come together and to help in not alienating those with specific tastes. At the end of the day all bands just want to entertain and for people to like their music. It’s a collective effort. However, we do want to be at the forefront of the scene, be active and help support the local scene as much as possible.

“all bands just want to entertain and for people to like their music. It’s a collective effort”

Tell us a bit about your live performances. What can we expect from a gig by Antlez?

We try to balance our sets so there’s a bit of everything on offer: dancier songs, catchier songs, heavier songs. We love playing in front of people we’ll be always making the most and enjoying every minute we’re up there.

You can always expect plenty of patter from Matthew. Between his worrys about heart palpitations, sweat and nose bleeds he always gets a few laughs or a few tumbleweed moments. Usually depending on whether or not Newcastle have won.

Can you tell us what gigs you have planned in the region in the near future?

We have a few shows lined up during April and May. There’s Friday 24th April at Independent in Sunderland supporting Charlie Dancer, Saturday 25th April at The Head of Steam with Future Horizons and Quadrilles and Saturday 23rd May for Evolution Emerging at The Little Buildings.

We are always on the lookout for shows to play. There will be additions to this in the coming weeks and months. The best way to find out what we’ll be playing is by checking our Facebook or Twitter!

What do you think has been your biggest achievement so far as a band?

We’re very proud of our music. Every time we better ourselves in terms of song writing is a big achievement that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even some of the songs that weren’t the best help you to develop your sound and improve your songwriting. I think we all agree that our biggest achievement is supporting some of our favourite bands, such as Hot Club de Paris, Tubelord, Tall ships, Tangled Hair…

We haven’t done enough recently; we’ve only just started to get some momentum over the last year or so. We’ve started practicing regularly, writing again, recording new material… We’re confident enough to say that we are ready to better our current achievements and it won’t be long before we’re consistently adding to our list of achievements.

Have there been any major challenges so far in your musical career?

Life. As we’ve gotten older and into full time employment we’ve realised how difficult it can be to get five guys in a room a couple of times a week. This has been on going over the last year. It’s really difficult sometimes but we’re in a pretty solid routine now so it’s become easier to plan ahead.  I think that being in a band is one big challenge after another and it’s how you overcome them that shapes the future and determines success.

What else have you got planned for the future?

We have recording time booked in for May. We have a few new songs that we’re really excited about. We’ll be releasing an EP towards the end of the year and hopefully plan a series of shows to support that. Apart from that, we are just going to keep practicing regularly, keep improving our songs and our set list. Play as many shows as we can and try to expand our fan base and hopefully increase our exposure outside of Hartlepool and hopefully the north east.

Antlez play alongside Charlie Dancer and YUMA at Sunderland’s Independent on Friday 24th April.

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