About The Band:
For any of our readers who are unfamiliar with yourselves tell us a little bit about your band/project.
I’m Rupert, I’m the bass player and producer with the band “Into The Unknown”. The band has been described as a melodic rock band with a symphonic edge and has been around since about 2015 (although it’s actually been a three-piece band, with me, singer Lucie and guitarist Ryan, so we have had limited chances to play live. That being said, our debut live show was an unplugged acoustic show in front of 2000 people! We have just had a couple of new guys join us so that will all be changing soon.). We released our debut album, “Out of the Shadows” in 2017, and followed that up with a mini album of covers at the end of last year.
What was your earliest memory of music that piqued your interest?
I was late getting into music, my parents were not musical, and so I didn’t even have a radio until I was 14! One thing that comes to mind though was that Ian Mosley from Marillion was a neighbor, and I remember the first time meeting him at his home, and then going home to listen to some Marillion music … I was immediately hooked and that’s really what kickstarted it for me.
Who was the first album/single you purchased?
The first single was easy to remember and I am immensely proud to admit that it was “Wombling Free” by the Wombles! Album, not so sure, but I’m fairly certain it was “Clutching At Straws” by Marillion on vinyl.
When did you first pick up your respective instrument / or start singing?
I started playing bass when I was 18, so very late in life comparatively. As I mentioned, my parents weren’t really into music, so it wasn’t an obvious option within the household. My sister learnt clarinet at school and was younger than me, but that was an ‘acceptable’ instrument … I wanted to do guitar or drums and that was a no-no, both from my parents and the school music teachers.
What route did you take with your music /instrument/lessons/ music school / self-taught and any fond memories of that journey?
I’m mostly self-taught, but I did take some lessons in my early twenties, which was a brilliant idea because the main thing it taught me was that I was doing things very wrong, especially technique-wise. I joined various bands along the way, had three record deals but never actually recorded an album! (life doesn’t work the way you want it most of the time, things got in the way of music, including in the last case of the record company hiring me to be their head of promotion instead of being a musician. I also joined Thunderclap Newman for a while as the bass player, but in all honesty, that experience put me off playing for a long time, as that’s when it really hit home that some musicians just aren’t good people!
Who was your hero’s as a young musician that inspired and pushed you to want to be a musician too?
I definitely have to say Ian, as mentioned earlier, but also for me, a couple of bass players that inspired me where Billy Sheehan and Rick Savage. Rick may not be seen as a ‘virtuoso’ muso, but he made me realize that playing simply but powering it along, is a very important aspect of being a bass player in a band!
Is there one particular album or song that gave you a “Eureka” moment from your youth that made you want to be a musician?
I Loved “Hooks In You” from “Seasons End, by Marillion, maybe its because I heard it in Ian’s front room before it ever came out, or maybe its just the energy. I also heard their ‘meaty mix’ of the song and was sort of the first time that I understood that the same song, played by the same people can be interpreted different ways … maybe that’s whats subconsciously maneuvered me into production!
What was the best gig you’ve ever attended?
Recently it was Within Temptation at Brixton Academy, but honorable mentions have to go to Nightwish at Wembley in 2017, Kiss way back when at Wembley again (everyone should experience a Kiss gig if they can, even they are not a fan), and I can honestly say that Def Leppard was one of the best live gigs on the circuit, last time I saw them they were on top of their game, and their sound engineer Ronan is one of the top guys out there.
Do you have any musical guilty pleasures?
I love 80’s pop and rock … its also a running joke when I go out with some musician friends of mine, that I do like the band Poison!!!
So any new music in the works currently or just released?
We have just finished recording the new album “Breaking the Silence”, which we are starting to develop the plan for release, so I don’t yet know an official date (but it will be this year). The covers mini-album “The Other Side of the Wall” was released in December 2018, so is a new release really but we don’t count that as an official album. It came about because, as a three-piece, we couldn’t just go into a rehearsal room and hash out the songs, so as a warm-up before recording our own songs, we recorded some covers. At one point, Lucie was unwell and able to sing for a few weeks (bad case of flu or something, so Ryan and I just sort of got way ahead of her with recording, and carried on with covers! We then decided to take our favorites and put them out. But of course, they’re not the usual run of the mill covers, and not necessarily rock songs to start with!
Where and when did you record it?
We record all of our songs at my studio, Vigilante Studio in south Buckinghamshire (www.vigilantestudio.co.uk) and we’ve been constantly recording since we started – the advantage of having 24-hour access to a studio!
How does the songwriting process generally work for you?
With us, one of us will come in with an idea, a riff, a lyric, or even a full structure (quite often I will put an orchestration together) and then we all play around with it, and end up with something unrecognizable from the original idea, but something that we all love! Occasionally we just sit in a room and work something through, but more often than not we work separately on ideas and they just come together nicely.
What route have you taken to build up and establish a fan base locally & beyond your local area?
We went the traditional PR route, to be honest, I have worked with some great people over the years so called on some colleagues of mine to do some promotion, and I cajoled various journalists I know to get them to listen to the music. That said I have never asked favors from journalists etc because its important that their views are genuine … I don’t mind if someone doesn’t like it, music is subjective!
What is the music scene like locally to you and where do you fit in?
Do we ever fit in? The local scene is not like it used to be, around here there used to be some iconic venues that literally everybody who’s anybody had played at some stage in their careers, but they have closed down. We are lucky in the fact that we are only just outside London, so that could be classed as local, and that’s such a melting pot of genres that you should be able to find something that you like.
Do you feel there are enough venues around you to help promote and establish up and coming bands like yourself?
As mentioned above, there are fewer grassroots venues around now than there were, so its harder I think. There seem to be less general music pubs allowing regular band nights, and obviously, the specialist venues have limited possibilities for new bands. Understandably they need to make money to be able to keep the doors open and often don’t get the choice to put on their own local bands as bigger bands often tour with a package including the support bands.
What would you like to see ideally to help hard-working bands/artists get better exposure and opportunities to make a living from their craft?
It would be great to obviously see more grassroots venues to play live, and outlets like Rock n Load are a godsend and appreciated by bands like us massively, but actually, I think that more local newspapers and radio stations should set aside some space to encourage local bands. When we released the first album, our publicist was getting coverage from specialist press and major publications, but the local papers and radio station wouldn’t even take her calls, or ours.
What is the best piece of advice you have received on your journey thus far?
Don’t get into the music industry! No seriously, someone told me that if I wanted to do music, then we should do it for ourselves and if others like it then it’s a bonus. Don’t expect to be rockstars or you’ll be disappointed and the music may sound contrived!
What would you say has been the biggest lesson you have learned on your journey to date?
I’ve learned that it’s not as glamorous as it appears, that it costs way more than you think and that not everyone is a nice person!! Most importantly, I’ve learned that it takes hard work and that you can’t expect other people to do it for you just because you have recorded music.
With the music industry always constantly changing – how have you had to adapt to the ever-changing landscape?
I’ve worked in the music industry for a long time and things have changed the big time over the years. It’s harder to get discovered now for one thing, because although there are more specialist outlets on the internet (as opposed to back in the ’80s for example when it was MTV and a few magazines), there are more ways to get your music out … anyone can upload their tracks to youtube etc, so there’s a lot more competition to get to the audience. It’s also easier to record, so you don’t need to pay thousands to get in the studio … however, this also means that there’s no filter, not necessarily an independent third party to be the voice of reason over what you put out!
Does the introduction of New Technology / Digital Age / Social Media etc enhance your life as a musician or do you feel it can be more of a hindrance?
Bearing in mind what I answered before there’s a couple of things I can add to that. New technology has made it easier to get to your audience, but it also made it harder to get to your audience due to the sheer amount of new music out there. That said, my own personal view about social media is that although its great that you can reach a lot of people through media such as Facebook, its way to easy to overshare! This is more of a thing for established bands, but we seem to have lost that allure of your favorite band. You don’t really want the band that you follow to be your best friends!
So moving forward what’s next for you?
Lots of exciting things for us in the future. Firstly, we’ve finished the new album, “Breaking the Silence” and we are all immensely proud of it, so that will be coming out later in the year. With the addition of James and Mike to the band, we’ll also be able to take the show on the road, we have a few offers to consider, and we are looking forward to that.
How do you see the evolution of the band / yourself as an artist?
That is the perfect word to use to describe how the band is moving forward, evolution. The songwriting has evolved, and the three of us have progressed as musicians. The first album was great fun to do, and in a lot of ways it was an major exercise in getting to know each other, about how we worked and interacted together. The new album is where we can showcase the band more because now the band is almost a separate entity. We’re all comfortable enough with each other to let loose, and know that the others will let us, and I think that shows in the songs.
Do you have any short-term or long-term goals in mind?
Short term goals have to be getting out doing the shows. We’ve done some acoustic shows, and intend to do some more but really want to kick it up a gear. In an ideal world, we would like to be joined by a keyboard player to fully release the potential, so if anyone out there is interested, please get in touch via the facebook page (ITUUKVigilante).
Long term goal, for me, is simple … continue with what we are doing, continue evolving the band, and move onto bigger and better songs that we can all be proud of. We are currently recording a new song that we will release in a few weeks, as an introduction to James, and I know that I am biased but I think it does continue the trajectory.
If you could tour with any band or artists who would that be?
Personally, I would love to tour with Nightwish, but I know that we all have favorite bands that we would choose. We all agree though that given the opportunity, we would like to tour with and learn from, any band that likes what we do!