At the moment it seems that every new band refers to themselves as 'alternative' which makes the quest to find truly original music increasingly difficult. But a Bath based band called Psalms have been interbreeding different genres to produce their own unique sound. The result is raw, electronic, rock, that has a strong melody. We spoke with Tom (Psalms front man) who filled us in on his inspirations.
"For the first time since the late 90s bands like Korn and Linkin Park have started mixing electronic music with heavy music and that’s what my band is. We are frantic and aggressive but we are not necessarily guitar heavy. Yes there are guitars, but we also use synthesisers. Our bassist Nick contributes to our distinctive sound by delivering intricate funky bass lines which are the backbone of Psalms".
Psalms may give their songs a unique twist but they are essentially a rock band. They play their instruments hard which adds excitement to their live shows. So I was surprised to hear Psalms making use of backing tracks?
"No band wants to use backing tracks and we are no different. Iwould love a synth player, but for this tour we had to be economical. We toured with a band called Skeleton Kid who are a three piece, we are also a three piece and I only have a 6 seater van. However we don't always use a backing tracks. In our song Remedy you'll notice I do play a little bit of keyboard. But we have plans in the future to introduce a keyboard player, or maybe get another guitarist so that I can play keys".
Music Unbuttoned note: See our video which is of the aforementioned song Remedy.
To say that Psalms have recently reformed is not quite true, instead they have been reborn and evolved. Tom explained why the band stopped almost three years ago.
"The band first started whilst I was at college our success escalated almost too quickly. We won a battle of the bands which was hosted by Moles music venue in Bath. Winning this gave us huge exposure, including features in the music magazines Karrang and Metal Hammer. I found myself getting carried away until I suddenly realised that all my money was being spent on the band and we were not actually making any. After the band stopped Nick and I remained friends. When we were ready to start another band it seemed the obvious choice to resurrect Psalms".
Before interviewing the band I learnt that the Hebrew Bible is also called Psalms. So I had to ask why did they decide on this name?
"At first we were call Psalms 137 which is a very controversial bible text, at the time we were quite gothic. People naturally shortened it to Psalms which is kinda catchy so it stuck. I like being controversial, I like to think I'm not going down a straight line, I want to play with peoples emotions. If you don't piss people off it's not rock and roll. However a nice coincidence is that Psalms also means songs in latin”.
When we went to see Psalms perform live our cameraman could not help himself and involved himself in the mosh pit that was forming around him. I asked Tom how it feels to perform before a mosh pit.
“When I was younger I wanted people to mosh to everything, now I try to write songs that people would rather dance too. But I can’t help writing aggressive songs it's what I do. It's not intimidating performing to a mosh pit, I have had people thrown into the stage landing on my pedalboard and knocking my amp over. But a good mosh is best at the end of the set. It's a moment that is not meant to be remembered for its quality of music it's just meant to be a moment when everybody gets carried away”.