Lots of ‘retro’ genres are currently undergoing a revival. One of these categories is sleaze rock and the genre’s none-too-serious approach has been winning fans across the country. One band that is part of the revival is Rochester’s Spyder Byte, a young group full of passion and fire with more drive than some bands double their age. Speaking to bassist Nathan Hammond in May, we talked about the band’s origins, playing with Tigertailz, the Kent music scene, David Bowie, and more.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking time to speak to me. How are you doing?
Nathan Hammond (Bass): Hey Jack. I’m doing well thank you, how are you?
Jack: You formed in 2011, how did you all meet?
Nathan: C.C [Guitar], Connor [Godfrey, Drums] and I all went to the same school, were all in a separate band at the time so we knew each other and we knew how we worked together. The initial band didn’t really gel, we were primarily doing covers and we wanted to expand into writing some original music. It just so happened that at the time of us deciding to go and create Spyder Byt,e we all started to get into old school rock/metal like Motley Crue, Poison, early AC/DC, Twisted Sister and we decided to try the band in that direction. We met Dan [Lawrence, Vocals] after putting out adverts asking for a singer competent in singing rock. We knew we wanted an experienced and seasoned vocalist and we found it in Dan, he came for a practice and it just gelled. We met our current rhythm guitarist, Luke Naylar, at the same the same school we went to, although he didn’t join us until 2014.
Jack: Did you form with the intention of being a sleaze-influenced band?
Nathan: There has always been that underlying feeling in the band to do something different, out of the ordinary for our area. Medway, where the band originated from, is quite full with indie rock, punk and metal/metalcore so with the combination of our influences at the time we decided to try and steer the band in that direction, which thankfully has worked in our favour. Many people have heard breakdown after breakdown, why not an anthem-like chorus and something you can sing along to?!
Jack: Is it strange to think you’ve been together for five years?
Nathan: It really is! Most of us were 14 when we started the band! I’m grateful to still have this band up and running, it’s been a mad ride for all the years we have been going but I wouldn’t change it at all.
Jack: Addictive has been out for a year. Are you happy with the response it’s got?
Nathan: Oh, incredibly. All our hard work and graft as a band is starting to pay off. The album means a lot to me. There are some songs on the album which stick out for us where we can see how far we have progressed since we started.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Nathan: The process was fucking amazing. We spent three solid days recording the album with Sam Thredder [Slabdragger] at The Cro’s Nest. It felt more like a weekend away rather than just recording an album. We arrived on the first day early, eager to get started, and didn’t start recording until 1/2pm I think? The guitars on the second day didn’t finish recording until 10:30pm. Thank fuck for soundproofing!
Jack: ‘Love Bomb Ticking’ was previously on your Love Bomb Ticking EP, why did you decide to add it to the album? Would you consider this to be your hit?
Nathan: We’ve had a real bond with the song. It was one of the first songs I wrote when we decided to start Spyder Byte and still to this day we love playing it. I guess you could say it is a fan favourite [Laughs]. Out of all the gigs we have done in our 5 years as a band I think I can only remember just one time where we didn’t play’ Love Bomb Ticking’!
Jack: When it comes to writing the songs, is it a group effort or does one person write the bulk of the material?
Nathan: It used to be myself that primarily wrote the music but it has now evolved into a group effort which to be honest I am happy with. It is better for me because I may come up with something but if I do it in a studio or a rehearsal room with the other guys they all have little tips in ways to improve the song. Lyric-wise it used to myself again, but sadly, writers block still plagues me!
Jack: There seems to be a revival of retro sounding genres such as Sleaze, NWOBHM and blues rock and metal. Why do you think it is that so many bands are looking further back for influence?
Nathan: My personal opinion is that there are a lot of same sounding bands out there, some all competing to try and be heavier or deeper than their peers. If you want to be different, do something to break the stagnant scene. That is why I think sleaze, NWOBHM, power metal, and even blues are starting to make a healthy return to the UK’s general music scene. Sadly, the exposure for these types of underground genres only really exists on underground platforms, like zines, internet radio, and independent reviewers, which is why I support platforms like yours. I support any support for emerging bands across the UK.
Jack: Glam and sleaze have been accused of being quite sexist and derogatory genres, would you agree?
Nathan: I would agree that there can be degrees of it, but only if you are a band like Steel Panther that go out of their way to write the way they do. A lot of older bands and newer bands that play sleazy rock/metal favour innuendos heavily, I’m not ashamed to say that we do to when we write music. We want to keep in touch with the sleazy undertones but don’t want to be too out there, you know.
Jack: After a nine month break, you’re returning to gigging. How did it feel to be back on stage not only after such a long break, but supporting Tigertailz at the Camden Underworld?
Nathan: Dude, you have no idea how good it felt to be back on stage. I had a spine operation in late August and couldn’t play a guitar until mid-January. We had this gig booked since July last year but when you spend that long away from your brothers in a band and from a gigging environment you feel low very quickly! After a couple of practices and some extensive work from everyone in the band, we made out comeback on the famous stage at the Underworld. I’d be lying if I said none of us felt emotional after we played. Many people say things about having an “awakening” and for me it felt like that, exactly. We all, in the band, have seen some of our favourite bands at the venue, now we get that chance some bands dream of, and to do it supporting Tigertailz too? Well that was just the icing on the cake!
Jack: Were you a fan of Tigertailz before the gig?
Nathan: We were, yes. They were one of our early inspirations and continue to be.
Jack: Given the wealth of legendary musicians who have played the Underworld, were you nervous taking to the stage?
Nathan: There were a whole host of reasons why I think we were nervous. I think we were all just generally nervous because it was our first time playing live in front of an audience in 9 months. I was drenched in sweat before we played.
Jack: You also played a charity gig in Gravesend on Saturday 23rd, how did that go?
Nathan: Easily one of my favourite gigs I have played with Spyder Byte. We played with our brothers in Dead Before Mourning, Wretched Soul, and Annihilated for our two great friends, Colin Tyler of ColinTylerMetal (Search him up on YouTube. He does so much for bands) and Julian Pepper. We helped to raise money for Sarcoma UK, a cancer charity which sadly has affected both Colin and Julian. The night raised over £1500 and really showed that when metalheads get together for a deserving cause we can make a difference.
Jack: How important is audience interaction for a band?
Nathan: One of the most important things a band can have is audience interaction. That’s with EVERY member of the band. We all work hard on stage to make everyone watching us feels engaged and enjoys our set.
Jack: What do you think of the Medway/Kent music scene at the moment?
Nathan: The Kent scene is going through a good cycle at the moment. Being a promoter too I see many upcoming bands and see how hard they work to find gigs. I love it when a scene comes together!
Jack: Is it too soon to be thinking of a follow up album?
Nathan: Never say never.
Jack: What are your plans for 2016?
Nathan: For the rest of 2016 up until August we will be writing new songs and work our arses off like never before.
Jack: Marvel’s Civil War has just come out in cinemas, do you think there is an over saturation of superhero films and TV shows at the moment?
Nathan: There has been more and more emerging films and shows but I wouldn’t say it is an over saturation. There are a shit tonne I haven’t previously heard of (Ant Man, Doctor Strange, and until recently Deadpool!) Maybe that’s just me being ignorant though [Laughs]. I do have a lot of catching up to do though!
Jack: Finally the news broke at the beginning of the year that David Bowie passed away, what did he mean to you?
Nathan: From the time I got into glam Rock and classic rock, Bowie was pivotal. Two of my absolute favourite albums are Hunky Dory and Ziggy Stardust. I felt just as miserable as I did when I heard about Lemmy. Truly two massive influences on me as a musician and I can’t believe they are gone. We will always have their music though, and that is better than nothing!
Jack: Thanks for your time and I hope to see you live again soon.
Nathan: And thank you too. We hope to catch you soon too!