Benzokayn, usually used to help with a variety of pains, has now evolved into a five piece Nu-metal act. I think defining them as Nu-metal doesn’t really do them justice. They have so many inspirations evident in their music and their live performance that Nu-metal puts them into a box of bands/artists that, in my personal opinion, they don’t belong to exclusively.
Their new single, ‘Woke Up Dead‘, was released as a free download at Christmas as a treat to all their fans. What lovely guys. From the start the atmosphere builds slowly by gasps of air being heard, slowly raising in volume. Topher (drums) kicks in and a harsh scream by Ritchie (Lead Vocals) signals for the rest of the band to turn it up loud and smash shit up. I hear quite a lot of Rage Against The Machine influence in Ritchie’s rapping (kudos) and the recording itself is very loud and for me personally I love it. I sometimes feel like little aspects of the bands are sometimes lost because of this but overall I can’t complain. The effects used by Tom (Lead Guitar) & Nick (rhythm guitar/bass) really adds atmosphere and depth to this song, especially in quieter sections. Owain’s vocals really give the band another much needed dimension. Overall it’s loud and angry, yet with depth. With an album on the way it would be nice to hear in what other directions/genres the band go in.
If you haven’t heard this band before then why not have a listen of ‘Woke Up Dead‘ here.
We sat down with Benzokayn to discuss this single and the future for them.
The single sounds lovely, where & whom did you record this with?
Cheers! Long story short, we’ve been self producing an album on/off for the past year. We got most of the nuts & bolts down at Miskin Studios (NWK College) with Topher on production but since then we’ve been finishing up DIY style renting rehearsal space and using Ritchie’s crib with Tom’s girlfriend Jane on production (as an impartial pair of ears). She polished the turd that is “Woke Up Dead” and will be polishing the rest of the turds that make up our album as we speak.
When did you guys form and how did you all meet?
Well, how long have you got? Ritchie was in a couple of bands with Owain’s brother David, Owain knew Topher through a a local am-dram society. All 4 of us were incredibly bored of previous projects so decided to jam out our frustrations. It became apparent almost immediately that a good ol’ fashioned proper lead guitarist was required. Before advertising publicly, some fateful Facebook stalking through random mutual friends led us to Tom & the rest is history. Nick (Tom’s twin brother) was an organic addition in that he had stepped in so many times in our first year or so on the road it was just a formality. In the more recent past, David departed due to a change in his circumstances so we’ve gone from a 5 to a 6 to a 5.
Your band is well known for its very energetic performances, is this something you have always done?
Absolutely! For some of the lads, being in this band beats the hell out of hitting the treadmill. So if the band you’re seeing on stage ISN’T at full throttle; burning high octane; giving it both barrels of funpowder… It certainly ain’t us!
The question that everyone wants answering. Which first Pokemon do you choose? Bulbasaur, Squirtle or Charmander.
Ritchie: “Digimon was actually the one.”
Benzokayn has a lot of members that gives the songs a huge feeling, is this something you always aimed to do?
As discussed earlier with the formation of the band and our live shows, it’s partly organic and comes naturally but also something we’re conscious of and thus strive for in a way. We have a big respect for the famed “wall of sound” production ethos but also appreciate a lot of minimalist stuff too. Big & brash is what suits us so we just go with it head first.
Are you listening to any local music at the moment?
In no particular order: City Of Ashes, Jeeps, Broken Banjo, Silent Descent, The Astoria, Death Remains, Jigawatts… We could go on!
Here is a tough one for you, Shag, Marry, Kill. Simon Cowell, Louis Walsh & Sharon Osbourne
Shag Louis (get Cowell jealous). Marry Cowell (he’s forgiven the Louis thing, whirlwind romance etc.). Kill Cowell (after ensuring he’s left his entire fortune to us in his will). As for Sharon, just a brief conversation thanking her for keeping Ozzy alive longer than anyone ever expected!
Releasing the track for free on SoundCloud at Christmas was a bloody nice thing for you to do. Do you have plans to release an EP or album this year?
Yes, as discussed earlier we’re nearing completion on our album and hope to have it out by Spring. We’ll probably make the whole thing available for free download but will also make a limited run of physical copies available for anyone mad enough to pay us a small fee for this shit!
What’s next for Benzokayn?
It’s odd, we’ve kinda just run off our own steam with no real direction these past couple of years. Hopefully the record will speak for itself and act as a launch pad for bigger & better things. We’ll just take it as it comes (that’s what she said…).
Ask us anything.
Who’d win in a wrestling match, Lemmy or God?
God. He’s Jesus and the holy spirit as well, so it’s three on one.