Sunday, 30 August 2015

Interview - Beyond The Break

 Wales is famous for many things. Its scenery is world renowned while the country's food regularly wins awards. Many people call it their home land, including Catherine Zeta-Jones, Griff Rhys Jones and, of course, Tom Jones.

Now there's a new group of Welshmen elbowing their way into the music world. Comprised of seasoned musicians, Beyond The Break have the kind of heavy, grinding sound that fans of hard rock and heavy metal have been searching for for a long time.


Hi, guys! Please tell us a little about yourselves.
Hi! We are Paul Jones (guitars and vocal)
Richard Thomas-James (guitars)
Chris Francis (bass) and
Aled Richards (drums)

You formed in early 2015 and you already have an EP out as well as doing as many shows as possible. Your members have played with several household names including 21 Against and Catatonia. How did the band come about?
We have all known each other and been different bands for years, gone out, supported each other’s bands, watched each other play live and so on. But with us being in bands there was never an opportunity for us to get together. Kind of like the timing wasn’t right like a relationship I guess. But when it did happen, we knew it was right.

You've got a really great hard rock sound, something that a lot of people seem to be crying out for. Where do you draw your inspiration from? Who are your influences? Do your past bands and endeavours play a part in your music? Or did you want to do something completely new and different?
As a group we have bands we all like with wider influences from different places literally from Motown to Megadeth. There has been no conscious effort to be new and different, in all the guises we have been in, rock has been the main style. But with all our different history, which we have definitely learnt and grown from, us coming together now equals the sound we have.

The EP was recorded as live sessions. Do you feel it gives a different dynamic to the finished product as opposed to other recording methods?
I think you have to find what suits you. For us, the label and producer recording live was exactly what we all wanted.
We like the sound that us four make in a room with amps turned up and that’s what we want to capture. I think we have put that dynamic across.

A lot, not all, but a lot of the modern technology is about perfection and manipulation. That’s not what we are about, we are a rock band, a good rock band and the recording gives an idea of what we are about and what we sound like live as that’s how it was recorded.
That’s not to say we wouldn’t record using a different format in the future, but for now, we like this process as the E.P sounds like us, four guys in a room making noise.

There's been a lot of talk about music streaming recently. What are your thoughts on that as well as the current music scene?
From a fans point of view, we all listen to music and want it to be as accessible as possible. However, the days when you were paying £15 for an album after queuing up outside a shop have gone, with Spotify for example being free or £10 a month for unlimited amounts of music its obviously meaning artists are getting less money than they were previously.

It has certainly been better for us than I think we anticipated, our Spotify count continues to surprise us, and at this stage right now that exposure can only be a good thing. The challenge for us is to turn those plays into fans who then buy the EP and so on.

I think the most important thing for the UK music scene is we need to do more to protect smaller venues. It is these which provide the platform for us bands to build and grow, many iconic small venues such as TJ’s in Newport have gone, the Fleece in Bristol could be in trouble with new flats next door, we need to make sure that these places stay open so bands can earn their fans by playing live for them.

Gene Simmons says that rock is dead. Discuss.
After playing to 80,000 people at download it’s a strange thing to say.

I don’t think rock is dead, every so often someone like a Gene Simmons or Billy Corgan makes these statements, but the album sales, downloads and concert takings for rock is usually top out of all genres year on year along with the success of festivals like download and Foo Fighters UK sell out stadium tour, certainly rock not as dead as people like to make out.

It is less supported by mainstream media in the UK for sure but rock has never really been in the ‘charts’ as such, yet bands spend years, their lives if lucky enough touring which is what rock bands and rock fans associate with, not expensive videos and success in the charts. There will always be rock music and there will always be people wanting to go and see a live rock show.

When it comes to music, you've been doing this for a long time. What advice would you give to people trying to break into the industry?
We would probably say don’t let breaking into the industry be your aim. Aim to enjoy it, practice, write songs and play live. It’s ok to be bad at first, keep working at it, you will get better and before you know it you will get that great feeling when a song comes together (the billy tingles!) Enjoy it as much as you can, be with friends each show, travelling to shows etc and strive to be as good as you can.

What's next for you guys? New album? Tour dates?
We have just agreed to work with a company that puts shows on over Europe so we are looking to get over to Germany and a few other countries if we can. Plus, keep on working with the U.K based promoters to play shows over here. We are still writing too so have a few new songs that we hope we can make into an album.

We are humbled so far by the people who are listening to us and coming to see the shows so we hope to keep on playing good shows live and building on the start we’ve had.

We have a list of upcoming shows on our website, so if you're near to one come down!

Finally where can we find you, and your music, online?

You can find us on
Our music is available from our store on our website, and all the usual online stores as well as Spoitfy and so on.
Our video is available on Vevo and Youtube on the following links;

Pictures of Losing Sleep is available on 12" vinyl or as a digital download. Get your copy at:


Friday, 21 August 2015

When It Becomes Too Much

TRIGGER WARNING: This post deals with a subject matter that some people might find triggering.














Eight carriages.

One hundred and twenty tons.

20 miles per hour.

It would have been so easy.

One last breath.

One last heartbeat.

Before the void had swallowed me whole.

I'd just read something that had left me debating my future. In a matter of moments, the crushing blackness of depression had changed me from happy-go-lucky to tired and weary, settling over me as quickly as the coming of winter. My heart and soul ached and my eyes stung with tears. Suddenly everything I was working towards felt pointless and I wondered why I was wasting my time.

Standing on the platform at Queensway Station, I realised how easy it would be to just step out into nothing. It would have erased so many problems. The feeling of hopelessness would have been snuffed out in the flash of a Tube train's headlights.

As I waited for those lights to pierce through the darkness, other thoughts began to cross my mind.

The train driver. How will they feel?
My family.
My friends.
The million and one other things I want to do with my life.
The things I want to say to people before my time's up.
The words people have said to me in recent months.

The tears continued to well up. The pain in my body was all to real, the dulled emotions I was feeling causing me to feel heavy and ill.

I wanted it to end.

I couldn't take it any more.

I'd already suffered for so long, the constant up and down of my moods grinding me down. Life, in that moment, was awful and, no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get the break I needed. My life was useless and hopeless. Why bother continuing? Why not just end it?

There's the rumble of an oncoming train. The warm rush of air in the tunnel. The bright orbs at the front of the train appear from the darkness.

I take a deep breath and watch as it closes in on the platform. This was it. I could do it. Wipe it out and go somewhere better.

The whoosh of the train racing into the station. The squeal of the brakes. Taking a deep breath, I took a step forward and boarded. A moment later the doors hissed closed behind me. I shut my eyes and leaned against the plastic wall before placing a hand over my heart.

I'm still here. That beating in my chest is the reason I'm here. It wasn't time to go yet.


If you're affected by anything written in this post, please speak to someone. You can find a list of helplines (sorted by country) on this website.

Look after yourself and don't let anyone dictate to you what your life should be like. It's your life. Live it as you see fit.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

An Ode To My Family

Families are strange creatures. Some are wonderful. Some are... not so wonderful.

Mine. Mine are wonderful and I know that I'm very blessed. Through the hardships and the occasional disagreements there's light and love. Each of them has their flaws, as they do their strengths. They've been through soul crushing lows and sky-high heights. Even though we sometimes don't want to talk to one another, there's always a connection there.

My mother is one of those women who's steered us through thick and thin. While she still might not understand that headphones mean we're listening to something and therefore can't hear her, she's done everything she can to make us happy. Even in times when we had no money, her love kept us going. She's taught us so much in how to live, guiding us when it's needed and being there when things get tough. No matter where we are in the world, she's made sure there's always a place for us to call “Home”.

Dad is a guy of few words. Unless it's to crack a joke. One of his favourite things is making us laugh. Even now that we're all grown up, he still loves nothing more than seeing us smile. He's taught us to hang pictures, build furniture, drive cars and do a myriad of other things that would otherwise require the skills of someone more professional. He made sure that our sixteenth birthdays heralded the arrival of our adult passports. No longer we were tied to travelling with our parents; he and Mum wanted us to know that the world was our oyster and that we should grab it with both hands.

Finally, there's my two little brothers who've grown into men I'm honoured to know. They make me laugh on a daily basis as well as including me in all that they do. Well accustomed to my mood swings, they'll check several times to make sure I really don't want to go and do something and try to persuade me that going out is for the good of my health. I know that, no matter what, they'll always be there for me just as I'm there for them.

They're my family and, no matter what we go through, I'll always be there for them. Whether your family are blood or one you've built from the friends that surround you, love them. Cherish them. Treasure them.

Friday, 7 August 2015

The Make Up

Last year I had a break up. After a decade long relationship, I decided it was time to move on from my favourite band and find someone else to love. How did it go?


It started out great! Even before the break up, I had another love lined up. They would become my new favourite band and I'd go to their concerts, buy their CDs, and collect their merch. We'd be happy together as we followed one another around the world. It would be the perfect romance, a blend of life and music.

Only it didn't work out as well as I thought it would. It didn't take long for the cracks to start appearing. I changed to love my new band and tried to fit in with their world.

But, just like my first love, things began to fall apart. We argued over things. I called them “narcissistic”. They told me I needed to “Lighten up”. So I lightened up and began to take their humour in good faith. I began to enjoy who they were. I even began to listen to some of their deep cuts, eagerly laying my hands on the rarities and long lost shows.

Yet, at the same time, I felt that I didn't fit in with them. There was something that wasn't quite... right. It wasn't them and it wasn't me. We just weren't a good team and I didn't feel like I was being true to myself. I'd allowed myself to get wrapped up in their hype. There was no way our relationship was going to work.

So I wandered away, made that call and went back to my ex-favourite band. I feel comfortable with them, accepted even. I feel like I don't have to prove anything to be a part of them. I can just be... me. And that's important.

Sometimes we want to be a part of something. We want to be a part of a group or a gang. We want to feel accepted and loved. Sometimes we even change to fit in with a particular group. We feel that we have to in order to be someone or to be accepted.

But it doesn't have to be that way. The most important thing is you and what you want. And if you have to take time away from something you love in order to find out where you're supposed to be in this world, then that's perfectly fine. You may never find a place where you feel at home. Or you may feel perfectly fine by yourself, drifting along alone. Whatever you choose to do is the right choice for you.

For now, I'm going to have a honeymoon with my first love again. Who knows, it might invite my second love and create a musical threesome. Have a great weekend, y'all!


Rae is the author of the award winning Veetu Industries series. Her latest book, a Cold War post-apocalyptic thriller titled "A Second Past Midnight", came out in April. When she's not writing, she loves anything to do with music. Obviously. All of her books are available from Torquere Press.

Saturday, 1 August 2015

Chasing Your Tail

The creative process can be a lot like a dog (or cat if your cat is like that!) chasing its tail. It can seem like fun at the beginning because you're going round and round and getting dizzy but, man, you just can't catch the end of that tail!

Every creative person has been there. You come with an amazing idea and start working on it. Sooner or later, you hit a brick wall. It could be a creative, financial or time related wall. But it happens.

Then the chase begins. Mortality and a feeling of time being lost may rear its ugly head. Another idea relating to your original one may strike. Hopelessness might settle in. You may begin to panic and wonder how you're going to finish it. You stand up and once more try to work on that crazy, brilliant idea you had.

Yet you feel like you're getting nowhere. You feel like you're running in circles while the goal you want to reach stands just mere inches from you. No matter how much you reach or how hard you stretch or how fast you run, you can never reach it. It always, inevitably, seems to stay just out of your grasp.

Finally, you tire and it's in these moments that the best ideas seem to appear. Once you're taking care of yourself you find that the ideas begin to flow. You may find a way to get that financial backing. That niggling plot line may correct itself. Shows may seem to book themselves. But none of it would have been possible without your own hard work.

How do you survive “The Chase”? Learning to look after yourself is one way. Again, that's something that many creative people don't do. We seem to trudge on, fighting through illness and life problems to get to the end product. We grind on until we can't take it any more. Learning to look after yourself is something I'm only just learning to do. If I want to sleep, I sleep. If I want to drink a gallon of tea and eat ALL the biscuits, then I do. I've even learned to say “No”, something I haven't done in a very long time. If I want to write something completely random and off the wall, I do. While I keep my eye on the end product, this is a freeing experience. And a nap in the middle of the day never hurt anyone!

Do something else, anything else. I've got some phone calls to make. But there's an eight hour time difference and waking someone up in the middle of the night just ain't cool. So I've sorted part of my wardrobe, taken a nap, and now I'm writing this.

Create, even if it's not what you want to be working on. Stretching the imagination in another direction can lead it to where you need to be.

Talk. Call a friend and brainstorm with them.

Try, as much as you can (and no matter how frustrating it may be), to enjoy the journey. You'll get there whether it's tomorrow or next year. You can do it!