Interview: Urne “Angus, he’s got more pedals than the Tour de France!”

It’s a snowy day in December and you find us loaded up with camera gear picking up chicken and cauli wings from Cult Wing, Leeds for our appointment with one of the most exciting acts currently on the UK metal scene, Urne. We’re taking some much needed sustenance to the green room on the opening night of their UK tour at DIY hardcore institution Boom in the hope of getting to know more about this formidable power trio. As usual we have some brand new sauces to test run courtesy of Tubby Toms and local heroes, Thicc Sauces but more on that later, we get settled and enquire how the guys are doing.

“It’s our first day of the tour. Yeah. It’s been snowing, we’re all pretty fucking cold. So we’re looking forward to having some nice, warmer food. “Says Joe and Angus agrees “My mouth is going mental. These guys know me as well, I love the sauces on my thing. Mayonnaise is special.” Luckily we have them covered, so it’s down to business, we ask them, what apparently is a fairly common question, where does their eclectic take on metal come from?

“I’ve been exposed to different genres of music and bands. James’ dad is a mega, mega music guy and James is a drum teacher.” Joe explains, “And for myself, I kind of had to find my own way, certainly when it comes to heavier music. But my family likes completely different stuff. Yeah. But the stuff that I also listened to and took on from a young age, across us, we listen to all different types of music outside of playing in a band as well. Obviously we don’t draw in from all influences, but I mean it helps with what we write and what we’re into. Previously myself and Angus were in another band, and I think it got to a point where it was always like, no sections can sound the same. How the fuck would we ever make a career of that? Because we set ourselves so many hard targets. We managed to get one album, and that kind of eventually led into Urne but with Urne it was a bit more like, if we’re going to spend a couple of weeks on something, fuck it. We’re forcing an issue. In the end it pretty much got down to what’s the best thing for the song. What makes the song flow. Instead of sometimes trying to cram something in there.”

Urne are one of those rare entities in metal these days as they’re a power trio in the truest sense of the word, we ask Joe, are the parameters of having less elements cluttering up the mix helpful when making an impact?

“Well, I do think so. You know, we keep adding stuff. Like Angus, he’s got more pedals than the Tour de France! It’s like he’s Riverdance bouncing over there. I started trying to add to it. And recently we added some live videos from Bloodstock and it’s a DI from the drums. There’s no backing tracks, there’s no overdubs or anything and it’s like that because that’s what we sound like.”

We agree Urne’s sound is very real and raw and a breath of fresh air these days in a climate of over production and sound-alike acts.

“That’s what we have I think. There were a few people from Bloodstock who said they were walking past and heard us and checked us out and went, wait that’s three people?“

Joe tells us about a secret weapon, “I think what helps us is our sound guy, Tom, a young guy, he’s in the band Tusker.” he expands, “We thought he was good. I mean we like the band, we’re the first band to kind of take him out and what have you. We were learning with each other. We’re going out doing these festivals and it’s not fucking up, and then we got the Gojira shows, Johan their sound guy, he reckons the guy who does In Flames is best, I think if anyone who’s seen Gojira live, yeah different level! He sort of kind of let Tom use his desk and just told Tom the benefits, made some pointers and since then Tom’s had some other bits and bobs he’s done and he’s, I know people say it, the extra, the fourth member. But it’s weird now, like when we go out and do shows, when Tom can’t do it, because he might have something else with Tusker, sometimes, I won’t even bother to get another sound guy, we’ll just use the venue guy, the sound guy will know better how the room sounds.”

We mention that because they’re signed to Candlelight Records, a label well known for black metal. Do they find it an influence because there are some black metal bits in there, it has that frostiness about it…

“It’s not an influence, we just did that already. Do you know at the time it was very early days and you know they just showed an instant interest and we just kind of went for it, like let’s see!  Fast forward a bit and you know they’re helping us arrange going over to the States and I don’t think we go hand in hand with many of the other bands they had, maybe Ihsahn, we can tie in with that you know. We’re kind of one of the only bands who do what we do on that label. We’re learning as the journey goes on.”

And things are developing at a pace it seems!

“We’ve got a management team and we recently moved to another agency, which has been a big step. I never would have thought, and I’m sure the other two would say it, I never thought we’d be on the same lady who books Metallica and Iron Maiden. Then we’re there and it’s just like, okay! The first thing she did was put us out with Gojira and I’m like, well this is fun. You know. Enjoy the ride!”

We ask how this change of pace feels

“I’ve had to learn personally, like, sometimes I get that whole defeated attitude. More so this year, I need to be in the right mindset. We played Bloodstock and I felt completely guilty and to the other guys, I’ve got a lot of personal family stuff going on. To be fair, as horrible as it sounds, I love the festival and whatnot, there was a massive part of me where I was just like, I don’t know if I wanna be here today. I wanna play a show. And whatnot it’s just, I’m not fully engaged.”

We offer how anyone can have a bad day at work but not everyone’s day at work is in front of thousands of people!

“Yeah, it’s the weirdest thing for me. We literally finished Bloodstock, and Angus knows me pretty well. I just look at Angus. I’m just not firing today.”

No one noticed it seems because Urne were one of the most lauded bands of the weekend by all accounts.

We shift gears to give the food a look in and especially the sauces, Baconnaise by Tubby Tom’s a vegan bacon flavoured mayonnaise that hits the spot with Angus in particular!

“I’m really happy, like, yeah, you know, all vegans will be,”

 We agree Tubby Tom’s done a bloody sterling job there.

We turn our attention to Angels With Dirty Faces, a cranberry based spicy Christmas glaze offering from Thicc Sauces, and the band are hungrily devouring the spread,  “Really nice, really nice.” says Angus “ I haven’t tried that one yet.” James pipes up from the carnage, “Yeah, yeah, we’ll get your review then. We’ll leave some for the support band. Absolutely.”

We’ll see, I think we have a happy well fed band here.

“This is the opening day, it’s been a bit trying to try to get up here and then there’s snow, my heart did sink when I saw that snow, like oh please don’t! My friend lives here and he texts me and I was like oh that’s a fucking killer you know and then I sent it to our manager and our manager lives in Switzerland and he sent me a picture, I was like whatever mate ha-ha.”

And with that we’ve run  out of time as we hear Tribe Of Ghosts bursting into gear, we thank the band for joining us as they pick through the culinary wreckage, “ Thank you very much. Brilliant. What a completely cool, different thing.” Why thank you? We say, “I think this is cauliflower. I’m going to try some of this. Some naughty stuff ha-ha!” and we wonder if it’s actually cauliflower wings getting praised as we venture downstairs to bang our heads.

Interview & Images By George Miller

Main Urne Promo Image By Andy Ford