Credit: George "GT" Stergiou

Interview: Breed 77 “When the band is done with, I’m just dust in the ground. What’s left at the end is the songs.”

Attending the Uprising 7 Festival in Leicester, one of the biggest buzzes around the festival is that the Gibraltar masters of flamenco metal are back on stage armed with their fantastic new single, ‘Outside’. We sat down with singer Paul Isola and drummer Adam Stanley to welcome them back and get the inside word on all things Breed 77. 

Breed 77, it’s good to see you back! I was talking to your PR, Jamie, and he sent me a sneak peek of your new video, which is out now. What a strong song! That chorus is a giant! How does it feel to return to the saddle after all this time?

Paul takes the lead on this, “Well, to be honest, it’s been loads of trepidation, loads of issues of self-confidence. Sure. Because I think when you do this daily and stuff like that, you know what you’re worth you know that you’re doing all right but when you’re away like there’s loads of unknowns you don’t know what you’re gonna be like back on stage you don’t know what the world’s like out there. But it’s turned into nervous excitement it’s just we’re ready you know! Like I think that’s the most important thing that we just had to get ourselves ready we’ve got new music that we’re really proud to stand behind and it gives us the perfect excuse to come back because we want to be out with new music. With the current being relevant and the great thing is that Uprising has been the catalyst for the timing of our return.”

That’s amazing! That’s so cool for the festival as well. Last time I saw you guys live, you were opening the main stage of Download, and that was 2004 I believe….

“2004 or 2006 we did!”

Oh, then we’ve seen you both times!

“And 2012 and 2010, I think. Yeah, that’s it. We’re one of the bands that’s played there most really!!

Yeah, you came on stage and said who’s up for some flamenco metal? And our mates were like, we think so! Nobody else has offered us that.

“Hey, you know, like it’s all about the quality, not the quantity.”

Around about that time, metal was quite exciting because bands like Ill Nino, etc., were bringing Latin flavors and stuff to metal. That’s gone away for a little while, but now you can bring it back!

“I think more than anything in metal generally, there’s always like another genre that bands dig into, you know, like diversify the genre of metal to begin with, and I think its bands looking for different places so that they can do something different within the scheme of metal. And I think back then there was a time when like Ill Nino and us, we were both touring a lot, so there was a lot of new Latino around.”

Yes! It was never a bad thing! It was fantastic!

“It was never a bad thing! And now I think we’ve got people experimenting a lot with dance and pop genres the way that it hadn’t been done before. I think the people are going a bit more full whack rather than just be crossovers but you can’t have the same thing, you know, it’s healthy to have diversity and variety.”

One thing we noticed straight off the bat with you guys was that we’re getting good, proper rock hooks, melodies, and good song writing, including a memorable melody.

“That’s what you’re going to have left. When the band is done with, I’m just dust in the ground. What’s left at the end is the songs. So, it’s got to be the most important thing. What we slave over, and, in the background, we’ve been in the background forever now. It’s been so long that we’ve got you together because it’s so important to us to have songs for me. Like my hair’s standing on end because it’s the first good comment I’ve heard of ‘Outsiders’. We go the extra distance because we want to write good songs, we believe are good songs, and we hope that they translate and that we can get it. That’s it, it’s better than money in the bank!”

It’s good rock and roll melodies, choruses, and uplifting, and you’ve got your dynamics going on there; it’s like, welcome back! We saw a band the other day, The Cool Knives, with ex-members of Heaven’s Basement. And they were doing proper rock, hard rock. That’s so refreshing, you know? And it’s rare. One thing we noticed straight off the bat with you guys was that we’re getting good, proper rock hooks, melodies, and good song writing, including a memorable melody.

“I think there was a stigma attached to hard rock and I don’t know if it’s like Dad rock.

And maybe the only one that was like the hard rock that was maybe allowed to come into like this too many gatekeepers you know it’s like the Miles Kennedy and Alter Bridge and Slash and the Conspirators these people doing hard rock and if you can get over that those people dress a certain way and if you can get through that and you’re thinking, there’s stunning tracks there and guys like they’re just amazing musicians, you know, there’s always been the hard rock undercurrent, it has been fashionable for a while, but it’s always been there. There’s a lot of quality.”

Actually writing a hook is just as technically taxing as writing a million miles per hour solo.

Drummer Adam notes, “I think where that comes in is that kind of stuff that’s more like competition.”

Very much so.

“It starts to become like tropes being recycled yeah, I think on the YouTube and in the music scene there you get that a lot, because now there’s so many kids that have re-graded their guitars and it’s about that, and now these kids are making bands, but they’re YouTube bands totally now these kids are making bands, but they’re YouTube bands. People are going to see them because they’ve seen them on YouTube. And there’s a lot of that man, it’s like shit-hot drummers, shit-hot guitarists, and no onus at all on the songwriting. So, what are you going to use your great guitar playing for? And you get a lot of that, and particularly in the drumming and the guitar game, it’s just insane on YouTube now. You’ve got potentially the best players you’ve ever seen. Every two days you discover someone new.”

It’s almost like, when you take your foot off the accelerator and think about the hum, something I’m gonna sing.

“I think if you’ve got a song, it’s well and good and every now and then you can let rip and stuff. For me, it just impresses me much more when someone like Steve Vai who was totally on his game when he wrote ‘Passion and Warfare’. It’s like he really melded that song, instrumental thing. They were great songs because they had verses and choruses and they were played with a guitar, but the structure was very familiar to us, and it was great songwriting. So, it can be done. Some people do some great instrumental stuff. Like I’m a huge fan of Rabia Massad, Rabia Massad’s just an insanely soulful, bluesy player, and he can shred like nobody, but he never overdoes it. He is so classy and I’m a huge, huge fan of Rabia. And I like stuff like that, it sounds so much classier when you can restrain yourself.”


“And then when you least expect it, you know, you can let it rip, and it’s like, everyone’s gonna be like, whoa!”

Absolutely, sometimes it’s what you don’t say. You know BB King’s one of the most captivating performances you could ever see. He could hold one note, just one note, and keep it there, and it was terrific.

“Ive seen that! I met him. Good old blues guitarists like the reason like in the 90s and the 2000s yeah people are going to see like BB King in the 90s, people are still going to see John Lee Hooker and what have you because they are that good, they were that good, they were the virtuosos of the guitar when virtuosity wasn’t measured by speed. These people are just like masters of the guitar, and they make the guitar sing!”

Adam agrees, “It’s coming from a place that’s pure; I think that sometimes, I don’t know what the range of influence is now that people pull from, maybe it sounds like a lot of people are pulling from the same kind of pull. I think if you have something that’s melodic, it’s something that’s just, you know, if I write a melody, it just kind of comes into my head, it’s not because I’ve contrived to pull it from somewhere else, you know what I mean? I think that music based on that sticks around.”

Absolutely, you’ll know as a musician that the personal filter you’ll have where it’s just like when you hear something you know it’s a keeper, it’s like because that just it gets its hooks in, and do you see why we say? “Ah, that’s the one,” that’s why, why is it the one? It is!

“It’s again, I think a lot of people fool themselves looking for the lightning in the bottle and no one has found it and we’ve been trying it for decades, centuries and I think that’s the most beautiful thing about it that there’s a magic that happens that even though you are the architect or maybe the conduit for it, it happens and you have very little control over it. It’s about recognising what’s magic and what’s not. That’s the key thing, you know, and it’s really, really hard to do. But stuff that happens, the magic that happens in music, it never happens by design.”

No, and that’s when writers come unstuck, when that’s what happens when you have writer’s writer, you say, I’ve got to write this. It’s like you wait until it comes to you; it’ll come.

“I’ve seen a lot of people act a bit more hippy about it. I’m a pragmatist. But a lot of people are just wild with theories on inspiration and what have you. I suffer from bouts of really low inspiration. And I think loads of self-loathing and pressure because I’m like, oh, I’m a musician, I’m a songwriter, I should be able to do this. I’ve done it before.”

It’s not a tap that you turn on and off!

“Exactly, exactly. So, I’m kind of the same, with inspiration, I’m the same with the magic in the music. I’m in a backseat to all that, you know? The only thing I can do is I can make myself a better musician, but that’s not gonna bring better music. But that’s the only thing I can do, you know. And like what I was saying, the people who wax more lyrical, the hippie people, they say that you need to be a more open conduit to the world. You know, all these lightning bolts to hit you and stuff like that. It doesn’t really carry water with me, but at the same time I can understand the reason behind it, because it’s so random and it’s based on so many factors. Your mood of the day is going to make you more receptive to something maybe like some days I’ve we’ve written songs that we thought were crap one day and great the other and vice versa so it’s there’s so much that goes into it but it’s just remaining realistic remaining grounded absolutely than anything you know and when you’re grounded everything is a gift and you’re able you’re able to look at things on a level and go like dude that sucks you know and communicate things. I think you need to be reopened to criticism, and to be able to give criticism, and to be in that atmosphere where we can critique each other in a positive, constructive way, and you’ve got to be like that, and you take all ego away from that, yeah, I think that’s another that grounding is what makes band life much easier.

You’ve got one boss and that’s the song, it’s what’s best for that!

“Yes, we’re very song orientated because songs transcend. Songs aren’t of a scene; songs aren’t dressed in a particular color or look a different way or wear their hair in anyway. It’s a song, it’s the purest kind of distillation of our music and what we do is the song, you know? And it’s out there and people can experience it in their own time however they want to. You can’t put enough importance on that.”

Talking about important songs. The single, “Outside” is out. Is there more to come? Is there any more information?

“Well, the idea when we came back, when we were in the industry last, the world was a very different place. Spotify was like a baby. But now everything’s changed, we’re stepping into a different scene and one of the things we realized was that you didn’t have to wait to have an album recorded so you could go out on tour? The minute we cottoned on to that one, it’s like, guys, I have a plan! It was that, and it’s like, let’s get a couple of records, let’s go out, you know, let’s get a couple of songwriters, we’ll have a little stream, and at the same time, it’ll kick us in the ass, you know, so we carry on recording, and the plan is that towards the end of the year, maybe next year, we get an album out. We want to do both things, we want to do the whole single thing, so that we have an excuse to play whenever. And we also really want to release the album experience and seeing what works together as an album collection of songs that works in a very different way when they’re put together. The artwork, the whole experience of the album I think is still very important and I think we have a responsibility otherwise it’ll get lost very soon, it’ll just be like, everything will just be like a stream or a download on Spotify or on another platform. But I think the album needs to always exist. Besides, it’s a different expression of what we’re doing. Because I say, you are curating your songs together in a collection to be consumed in a different way and I think that’s still valid, and I think we’ll be really lucky”

Interview & Paul/Adam Photo By George Miller

Band Photo Credit: George “GT” Stergiou