Interview by Natasha Van Duser
After just a mere 13 months and only releasing 7 songs, up-and-coming Irish metalcore band Follow My Lead has already gained about 20,000 Facebook fans and left a rapidly growing imprint on the scene. Follow My Lead is known for combing a melodic twist of three part harmonies with unclean vocals over multi-dimensional tracks that contain sophisticated lyrics seemingly impossible to have been written by a start-up group. But, in all regards, it is the full-on genuine attitude and raw talent of Follow My Lead that has helped boost them so far, so fast.
“We formed as a different band before this band and then William [Woods, drummer] joined and we really kind of hit our stride,” says lead vocalist Mattie Foxx.
“I only joined the band in January 2013,” adds Woods. “Beforehand it was just kind of a chill group. It wasn’t a serious project, but then last January it became a real band.”
“When the EP was written, it was mostly me, Niall [Friel, lead guitar], Robbie [Thorne, guitar and vocals] and Declan [Graham, bass and vocals] jamming out to stuff,” Foxx continues. “When [William] did join we did re-tracking of the songs and major sections changed and a lot of stuff got a lot better as it were.”
The EP Foxx refers to is summer of 2013’s Sleepless which displayed both a creative range and diversity within the band. “Robbie and I usually trade back and forth with lyrics and if he works with something then I come in and oversee it and then he does the same for me,” explains Foxx of the writing process behind Sleepless. For example, the six minute song “Dead” is fueled by pure emotion and its own familiarity with the listener. “It’s a lot of back story and it’s personal to Robbie,” Woods notes. “So at the end of the day, a lot of people who really like that song have their own personal meaning to it and they take it their own way.”
While some tracks have hit fans on a deeply emotional level, others have been filled with the band’s fun-loving, laid back nature, such as the party anthem “Sippin’ 40’s.” “‘Sippin 40’s’ was our track off the EP to go a bit mental,” says Graham. “We made the EP with a few ideas and one of them was that we wanted to have one song that was just a little bit more mental than the other ones.” In fact, the song even inspired one of the most realistic party music videos in the metalcore scene. “With ‘Sippin’ 40’s’ we just wanted to kind of have a party,” Foxx notes of the video shoot, “so we just had a big party. The day started off really professionally, and then drinking started happening, and then there was a thunderstorm and all the power cut out. We had to stop the video for a while so everyone ended up getting really, really drunk, so then everything started getting crazy.”
“What’s really ironic is that Matt wrote the lyrics and music [to ‘Sippin’ 40’s’] in bed!” laughs Woods.
Luckily, it’s not all beer and partying with Follow My Lead. When it comes down to it, they take their creative process as a serious manner, even without a major label to support them. “Sumerian, Fearless, Rise, Artery, these big labels all have really good bands and all seem to do a lot for the band as far as touring and promotion,” Woods explains. “I quite like being unsigned because you have a lot of freedom and your own say in it, but just the boost a label could give a band is just insane.”
And so far, nothing yet has stopped the group from getting where they want to be. With an upcoming Dublin gig on March 2 in which new material will be unveiled, Follow My Lead has a lot to look forward to.
“This is going to be the first time we play our new single,” Foxx reveals. “You’ll notice a big difference in the next single than the previous stuff.”
“A lot of the [previous] stuff we wrote to please other people, whereas the writing we’re doing now is more to please us,” Woods continues. “Our new single will probably be out within the next month and a half. The song is recorded, we’re just adding the finishing touches to it, mixing and mastering. The video’s in the process, so we’ll have a new single out very soon.”
Behind their upcoming single, Follow My Lead has displayed a strong writing force to be reckoned with. “We’re still writing more and more,” says Woods. “We probably have upwards to fifty different ideas that we’re looking at, choosing the stuff that we want to expand on. We’ve got a lot of stuff in the bag right now that we are going to be working on more and definitely another EP.”
“It’s not looking like a full length at the moment ’cause we want to get a bit more writing practice in, a bit more time to work on it before we start working on a full-length,” adds Graham.
But apart from being dedicated to refining their song-writing skills, Follow My Lead has an insane dedication to their fans, with each member open to as much fan interaction as possible. “We got really lucky with the fans we got,” notes Graham. “They’ve stuck with us for a long time and genuinely did like what we were doing, so we owe it all to our fans, themselves, for spreading the word.”
“We’re in a band, but were still just really big fan girls at heart,” says Woods light-heartedly. “We try to get back to everyone and answer any questions they have. Anytime a band ever messaged me back, I was so stoked, so happy; so I just really like getting back to people.”
“At the end of the day,” Foxx concludes, “without that fan base, [Follow My Lead] really isn’t anything.”
Purchase Sleepless EP on iTunes here: