FORT William band Skeleton Verse - metal at its heart but with punk and hip hop on the side - launches its debut album The Storm Before The Calm VOL I and II at the Maryburgh Bar, Fort William, Saturday and the Market Bar, Inverness, on Sunday with a follow-up Halloween appearance at Mad Hatters, Inverness, also on the cards. Below frontman BeeJay Jamieson answers some questions about the band and the album ...
People might want to know why the Skeleton Verse was done in two parts. Do you think there is big different between the first and second parts?
BJ: It was really to introduce the bands new name – we were formerly called The Paradox – so releasing an LP from an unknown band didn’t make sense to us, so we put out the first volume to test the water and the second volume to drown people ha ha!The record runs off the same concept which is a world on the edge of full-scale war, but that war could be a domestic war.
Everybody uses the phrase "the calm before the storm", but all I’m seeing is chaos right now in the world, so I flipped it to "the storm before the calm".
As far as a difference between the volumes, we record and release as we go so hopefully people see us constantly progressing
Describe what Skeleton Verse sounds like and is all about for people who are coming to the line-up new?
BJ: I think we have found our sound by mish-mashing all of our influences and don’t conform to one genre.
The heart of our band is in metal, but we could easily play on a punk line-up, or a hip hop night, if we were into dubstep we would probably mess about with that but have a metal twist on it.
As long as it makes us laugh when we work on songs, we know we are onto something. It has to sound ridiculous for us to pursue it.
We talk about some serious stuff on record, but when you see us live, it’s all about us having a laugh with each other and the crowd at our shows. We have had food fights, sexually-charged stage invasions and dance competitions. We just want people to come along and have an amazing night with us.
How is it different from The Paradox?
BJ: We have all improved as musicians and songwriters. All our former members of The Paradox are still friends with us, even though it was bitter at the time.
But I look back on The Paradox time and have great memories – opening for Scars On Broadway and meeting members of my favourite band System Of A Down. But when our drummer Stoney joined he changed the face of the band and improved us immensely.
So when we saw the axis shift, we decided to ditch The Paradox and start afresh with Skeleton Verse, adding to the fact there is a million and one bands called The Paradox.
What’s the most satisfying thing for you listening to the whole album now it’s finished, Vol I and Vol II?
BJ: Relief really. We have never really had a chance to push this band fully due to me doing my rap thing and other members in other bands. But now everything is finally streamlined to this one band and having both volumes in my hand is a big middle finger to the people who constantly count us out. I feel as if vocally I’m saying a lot, but my bandmates have all brought their A-game to the table and I’m listening to the volumes as a fan more that a contributer – and I’ve never done that before
What inspired your lyrics on this album?
BJ: In all honesty the phrase "no news is good news". Whilst watching the news it was one disaster after another and one war after another and it got me to thinking I was gonna see the end of the world in my lifetime – and nobody gives a toss.
The UK is in chaos and still people are waving Union Jacks like their life depends on it. It’s mental to me.
The song Fort Knocks is about the problems in our hometown (Fort William). From a ridiculously high suicide rate to the fake drug scandal earlier this year along with the fact our High Street is a ghost town full of terrible outdoor shops and a council that does nothing for the locals.
It’s one of the most beautiful spots in the world, but if the powers that be don’t get their finger out I feel we are looking at a potential Greenock in 15 years.
The song Stone Paper Scissors Paper Metal Head Or Tails is about how the banks have manipulated their customers by gambling with our money and leaving us to foot the bill.
The lyrical content on the LP goes in many directions, but all comes under the idea of the LP The Storm Before The Calm.Any surprises planned for your live dates in Inverness and Fort William?
BJ: Every night is a surprise with this band ha ha! We have had fist fights with each other, declared love for each other, got people up to sing with us, picked up members from the crowd on our shoulders, had full on conversations with the crowd mid-song.
At every gig we play there is either blood, sweat or tears.
It sounds cheesy, but when we play, the crowd is playing as well.
I’m really looking forward to seeing Hector Bizerk play with us in Inverness. They are one of the best live acts in the country at the moment and I’m well-chuffed they are playing with us, at both our launch parties.
We also have Great White Elephant and Almost Fatal, so there is something for everybody.So now what – break or planning for the next album!!?
BJ: There won’t be any new material for a while. Since The Paradox we have been writing new material and releasing records constantly for five years. We never give the listener a chance to get into us, we make new music and ditch our back catalogue. That mentality is finished now as it’s been to our detriment as a band, so we are gonna gig our asses off.
And if we get bored by the new material, we will probably dip into our back catalogue. We might release a single early next year from the Vol II with a B-side that never made it to the LP, due to time restrictions. But other than that it’ll probably be about six months before I personally even contemplate writing new stuff.
Skeleton Verse play The Maryburgh Inn, Fort William, the final Fort Knox night of the year and launch party for The Storm Before The Calm Vol II with support from Great White Elephant and Almost Fatal on Saturday. At the Market Bar, Inverness, on Sunday, there will also be Hector Bizerk on the bill.
The Storm Before The Calm Vol 1 is available for free download at: www.soundcloud.com/skeletonverse The Storm Before The Calm Vol II is available to buy at gigs for £3, or listen to at: www.reverbnation.com/skeletonverse