by Cameron Edney
– Guest Columnist –
English punk rockers Sharks will be heading to Australia in a few weeks time, taking part in the sold-out Soundwave festivals which also features Gallows, The offspring, Blink 182 and Slayer to name just a few. Forming in 2007 within twelve months the band had released their first E.P. Shallow Waters and found themselves on tour with Gallows, Fucked Up, and Lostprophets. The band toured hard over the next two years before releasing their second EP which received phenomenal reviews from prestige’s UK magazines such as Rock Sound and Kerrang. By the end of 2010 many were comparing Sharks to punk royalty The Clash.
More extensive touring followed the release of Show of Hands which saw the band conquer Europe, UK and the USA. Influenced by a variety of artists from Black Flag to The Buzzcocks, Joy Division and Husker Du, Sharks have created a punk rock sound of their own. In 2012 the band finally went into the studio to record their first full length album No Gods, an album that put them on the Punk Rock map across the globe winning over more fans in the United States, Europe and right here in Australia. Sharks found themselves playing UK’s Reading Festival and Vans Warped tour and now Australian fans will get to see Sharks live for the first time at this year’s Soundwave Festivals.
I had the pleasure of catching up with Sharks drummer Sam Lister who recently took time out from demoing new tracks to speak with me about Sharks first ever Australian tour, the No Gods recording sessions and working on brand new material that is set to be released in late March. Here is what Sam had to say…
Hardrock Haven: Sam, thanks so much for putting the time aside to chat today, let’s talk firstly about the upcoming Soundwave Festivals… you must be really excited to be heading to Australia as part of this great line-up?
Sam Lister: Yeah, it’s really special and exciting for us. Just the chance to go to Australia, being boys from a small town in England it’s great; we’re really grateful to be a part of something so huge!
Hardrock Haven: Some of the finest artists in Rock, Punk and Metal are billed this year, is there anyone in particular that you’re excited to see?
Sam Lister: Oh loads of people… we have some good friends playing… Gallows, I’m really intrigued to see Metallica, Slayer, Blink 182 there is so much I’m excited to see, we have a few label mates playing from Rise Records, it’s a great line-up we’re really excited!
Hardrock Haven: We know there are some main differences between doing the large festival bills and playing club shows, but I was wandering what one you prefer?
Sam Lister: Obviously the club shows are great but there is something about going out for the day and seeing eighty bands, the atmosphere is amazing, especially to be in a band playing in that type of environment. I think there are advantages and it’s great to see loads of people at one time especially when it’s such a tough time for music in general. I think it’s very important to keep festivals strong and keep them going. I am a big fan of festivals!
Hardrock Haven: With the Soundwave festivals only weeks away now, music goers will start to look over timetables and mark down the bands they want to see on the day! No doubt there will be people interested in checking out new artists they may have never heard of or seen live before. For those people attending, what makes Sharks stand out… how would you best describe the bands onstage presence?
Sam Lister: Well, I guess we’re less heavy; we’re lighter than the rest of the bands. We’re definitely something different… people can expect a very energetic show, we try to keep things as old fashioned as possible, an old punk vibe, that’s pretty important to us. It’s quite hard to say, it’s energy. I think that’s what people will see from us!
Hardrock Haven: For your Australian fans waiting to see the band for the first time, what do you have planned, any surprises for the fans or will it be a matter of cramming in as many songs as possible for the times allocated?
Sam Lister: Yeah I think that’s what we’re planning to be honest. We’re just writing our new record so I think we’re playing one new song and we’re planning a cover but we’re not too sure what one we’re doing yet, there is going to be some surprises for sure!
Hardrock Haven: Sharks formed back in 2007 and since then you’ve been fortunate to share the stage with many great bands such as Gallows, Four Year Strong and Social Distortion to name a few… whilst on the road who’s given you the best touring advice and what was it?
Sam Lister: That’s a good question… I’m really not sure; on the Warped tour we got some really good advice from various people. That was the kind of tour where you really need help to get through. I can’t remember anything really specific. A lot of people would tell us to keep going no matter what happens really. When you’re there you can’t imagine anything bad happening but obviously when times get tough you have to keep your head up! It can be tough touring… people think it’s all a laugh but it can be really hard, especially when you’re away from home for eight or nine months at a time, it can be quite draining.
Hardrock Haven: You mentioned that you’re currently working on a new album, how is it all going, and what can you tell us about it?
Sam Lister: We have seven songs and we’re hoping to do it fairly quickly turnaround wise, we’re hoping to have it out by March or April, I’m not exactly certain of when we will be recording but we’re making great progress on it!
Hardrock Haven: You’ve spent some time in the studio over the years recording a number of EP’s and now the No Gods album… what is the one thing you got out of these sessions as a drummer that you will now incorporate when you next enter the studio… was there anything special you picked up whether it was mic placement, the way the kit was tuned etc?
Sam Lister: Yeah, I think I learnt how important the way you hit drums is. The technology for recording is so good nowadays that you have to be so consistent in the way you’re playing. Hitting the drums properly was something that me and Brian talked about a lot. I don’t think I wasn’t doing it properly before but when you’re recording you have to be weary of every little thing.
Hardrock Haven: But it’s certainly fantastic to see just how much you’ve been able to achieve since then. When you look back on all those goals you have accomplished up to this point, what do you feel have been your greatest achievements to date?
Sam Lister: Being a kid from England, playing the Reading Festival, playing a venue in London called Brixton which was amazing, and having the opportunity to go to America that was really special!
Hardrock Haven: Well Sam unfortunately we’re out of time, so I wish you all the very best with the new album and hope you guys have a blast here in Australia at the Soundwave Festivals. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Sam Lister: Just come and see us at Soundwave, give us a try I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised
Sharks will be playing at this year’s Soundwave Festival’s; don’t miss their unique brand of Punk Rock!
Sharks will also be supporting Blink 182 on their Australian Sideshow run.