Anyone who thinks a band can go straight to the top is in the wrong. Bands have to work hard, put in the hours, and climb the ladder. One band that is certainly climbing the ladder is Exeter’s Cambion. In 2012, they played the Bloodstock New Blood Stage, graduated to the Sophie Lancaster Stage in 2014. Finally this year they will open the main stage of the festival; which they will share with not only Mastodon and Paradise Lost, but also their influences Gojira and Fear Factory. Speaking to the lads, we talked about their origins, the influence of Meshuggah, Bloodstock Festival, new music, and their main goal for 2016.
Jack: Firstly thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Cambion: No problem, yeah so we’re very good thanks, all quite busy and well.
Jack:How did Cambion form as a band?
Cambion: Well it goes back quite far, our frontman Elliott started a band in his early teens, and since then members have come and gone, a couple of name changes, and music the evolving into the Cambion it is today.
Jack: As a band you’re from Cullompton near Exeter in Devon. What’s the scene like in this area?
Cambion: So Exeter has a great music scene, everyone’s very supportive down here, there’s certainly a fair share of metal fans, it’s great to be a part of it all. We always love doing a hometown show, great vibe and everyone has lots of fun!
Jack: As a band you play progressive tech metal. Was this the style you set out to play when you formed the band, or did it just occur when jamming?
Cambion: The technical and progressive elements of our music has gradually become more prominent over probably the last five years. To begin with Cambion was a lot more heavily influenced by bands such as Machine Head, Sepultura and don’t get me wrong we still are! Over time our musical collection expanded greatly, and Cambion became a baby of many mothers. That probably sounds weird… is that weird?
Jack: As a band you’re influenced by Meshuggah, how important as a band are Meshuggah?
Cambion: Yeah we all have a love for Meshuggah! They have certainly influenced elements of our musical direction, and I think they really are a revolutionary band. Of course we have many more influences and it’s important to have a wide range of influence, to be free to create your own uniqueness and be unconstrained in what you write.
Jack: What was it like playing with them at Euro Blast in Germany, did you get to meet them at all?
Cambion: Oh yeah it was brilliant! As usual they where tighter than a really tight thing. It’s amazing to experience, and we did meet Fredrik and Marten. Euro Blast is an incredible festival, and memorably they catered for all the bands so well. So yes, good experience!
Jack: A lot of bands say Europe is better than the UK, would you agree?
Cambion: Well we have ventured into Europe a few times now, I must say the turnout and general time abroad has been really positive. I will say that in our experience we’ve been looked after so well each time. I mean wherever you go the turnout can always be unforetold, but I don’t think we’ve done a show in Europe where the turnout’s been bad!
Jack: You recently played Mosh Against Cancer, how did it go and how important are charity gigs?
Cambion: [It] was a great gig! Lots of people rocking out, moshing, and having a good time. Probably one of the best charity gigs we’ve done. Which are of course very important. It’s a great way to raise money for charities, and everyone’s always very supportive of it.
Jack: You’re playing Thrashersaurus in April, are you looking forward to it?
Cambion: Sure are! We played Thrashersaurus last year, and it was mental! Awesome bands playing as usual, and we can’t wait to get back there. One of our favourite festivals of it’s growing size.
Jack: Is the future of festivals genre-specific festivals or will there always be room for outdoor festivals?
Cambion: Oh yeah definitely, we hope to never stick our self to a specific genre or scene, and we’d like to think we can cater for many a type of festival. There obviously are some really awesome festivals which are more genre specific, and we’re honoured to play at any good festival.
Jack: Speaking of outdoor festivals you’re playing my favourite festival Bloodstock this year. How does it feel not only to graduate to the main stage, but to share it with Gojira and Fear Factory who are two of your influences?
Cambion: Yeah so basically… it’s such a great feeling. We’ve all loved and supported this festival for many years, and to be such a part of it this year has us all humbled and ready to get heavy! Being on such a good bill, with bands we’ve all grown up listening to, and who have no doubt played a huge part in all of our influences is seriously cool.
Jack: You played the Festival first in 2012 through the Metal to the Masses, how did it feel walking out on stage at the festival for the first time?
Cambion: That was probably one notable landmark for the band, afterwards everything became a lot clearer to us where we wanted to go, and all the more work we need to put in. The show itself went great! Brilliant crowd, as is ever at Bloodstock!
Jack: Do you think playing it in 2012 helped you when you returned to the festival in 2014?
Cambion: Well I think we gained a few more fans from doing so, and our voices where definitely heard more, putting us on the radar for 2014, being asked to come on to the Sophie Lancaster stage was again another landmark for the band. So good, so good.
Jack: As a band it seems you’ve positively benefited from The Metal to the Masses. But Metal to the Masses has been criticized for dividing the scene by putting bands against each other through unnecessary competition. What are your thoughts on these criticisms?
Cambion: I think The Metal to the Masses is a really good thing for bands. It’s important not to see it as competing against each other, it’s merely go out there, play your best, make friends with all the other bands, [and] enjoy yourself. When it comes down to the finals, Simon Hall, who finalizes the decision and books the bands thinks you’ll do a good job, and benefit from playing Bloodstock, then that’s what it’s all about. At the end of the day, for a Metal To the Masses show, it has brought a crowd to support their local scene, an awesome show has been put on for everyone. There’s no point in competing against each other, just have a good time!
Jack: What for you is the best thing about Bloodstock Festival?
Cambion: The way it’s run and the atmosphere of the place. For an independent festival to achieve what Bloodstock has, really is something. They support so many bands who may not get a chance to play a festival this size otherwise. You know that it’s going to be a friendly atmosphere, and there’s music for every type of metal head.
Jack: You tour a lot and play a lot of festivals, is it hard finding the time off work or do you get away with by mainly playing at weekends?
Cambion: Yeah, we certainly play a handful of shows each year. We’d lie if we said it wasn’t a struggle, but for us Cambion is at the forefront of everything. We’re more passionate about it than anything, so we do have to make a lot of sacrifices to put the time in. It’s a common problem for bands to balance the work/band lifestyle as it can be very demanding. Everyone struggles with it no doubt. We’re lucky enough to all have jobs which can at a push cater for our lifestyles, but it’s not been easy by any means.
Jack: You’re releasing your debut album in 2016, how will it be different to your previous releases?
Cambion: We’ve musically grown an awful lot in the last few years, and that expanse has played a big part in this album. It’s still progressive, heavy, groovy, and technical, but hopefully noticeable that our sound has matured. There’s a lot of melodic qualities to the album, which for us is a very important factor.
Jack: When can we expect it to be released?
Cambion: So we’ve basically finished the writing process and are now beginning recording. We are hoping for late 2016, but shouldn’t be any later early 2017.
Jack: Finally, what is your main goal for 2016?
Cambion: To get this album nailed! We’ve been promising it for a while now, and after all the blood sweat and tears of trial and error, we are solidly knuckling down to get it finished. Also for 2016 we are very much looking forward to our festival appearances this year.
Jack: Thanks for your time and I’ll see you at Bloodstock!
Cambion: Awesome, no worries! Catch you then!