PlanetMosh has partnered with Ascendancy Promotions, Ramp Rage, T13 and XporT13 to bring Belfast ‘Assault On T13’ – the city’s biggest ever all-ages heavy metal gig, being stage at the gigantic T13 indoor extreme sports and skate park (and part of the set of the hit HBO television series ‘Game Of Thrones), tomorrow (Friday September 26).
The event is being headlined by the mighty Rabid Bitch Of The North, and features four of Belfast’s best up-and-coming metal acts – Altus, Defyed, Scimitar and Zlatenera – as well as Dubliners Theories Divide, who are making their live debut north of the border.
Earlier this week, PM took the opportunity find out a bit more about one of the acts involved, Defyed. Vocalist Wayne Donaldson gives us the lowdown on the band’s story to date, his thoughts on why metal should remain underground, the similarities between the genre and other music forms – and shares a rather sordid tale of sexual deviance!
We start, however, by getting a bit of background to the band: who they are, where they’re from and how the current line-up came to be…
Defyed began with a few Belfast guys who were interested in starting a punk band. A whole bunch of those guys are now in other local acts, but the two that remained throughout were Trev (guitar) and Kieran (drums). Following a failed audition for By Any Means, word got out that I was looking to join a band on vocals… I wasn’t really: I just auditioned for By Any Means to challenge myself! Defyed invited me down and after a few weeks of jamming with the band I was asked to stay on. Then we brought in Steve (bass) who used to play guitar for the now defunct Red Six. With a full line-up we could finally start gigging as a four piece.
After a number of successful gigs, Steve’s sex addiction was becoming an issue. It was fine when he was having some luck at the weekend with the ladies, but when we found him in the practice room bent over a Marshall stack, it was time to say goodbye. We just couldn’t work with a sex addict. Lots of people think they know why Steve (pictured left) left, but it’s time for the truth to be known!
So it was back to searching for a bass player, and Darren (aka Fling) approached us and it was a great fit. It seems we have a habit of turning guitar players into bassists as Darren used to play guitar for Drained White. So that’s the current line-up: myself, Trev, Kieran and Fling.
How would you describe your style of music to those who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing/hearing Defyed before?
I’d say it’s hardcore, but with a strong metal influence. But I’d encourage people to come see us and decide for yourself. Genres are fairly subjective if you ask me. We play heavy music, if anyone feels the need to pigeon hole us then knock yourselves out.
Individually and collectively, what are your musical influences and how do you knit these into the Defyed sound?
In terms of what influences our sound, it has to be a combination of old school hardcore such as Madball, Sick Of It All, Agnostic Front and then the heavier modern hardcore, such as Lionheart, Terror, Hatebreed, First Blood, that sort of thing. Individually, we all listen to a wide cross section of metal from Sepultura to Iron Maiden to Slayer. For me, there’s more to music than metal and hardcore though. I’m quite partial to a bit of techno, jungle, hip-hop, even some folk music.
What are your lyrical influences?
The twats that run this country! Ha! Joking aside, my favourite lyricist is without a doubt Scroobius Pip. The guy is an absolute master of language: his word play is unmatched if you ask me. Hip Hop act Jurassic 5 are another act I have a lot of admiration for in terms of lyrics. I’m not sure that style really translates into a hardcore/metal band though. So, most of our stuff is just about stuff that pisses me off: politicians, religious leaders, etc. [Also] I’ve always had a lack of confidence in myself – so there’s few of our songs about that.
I like dropping lines from other bands’ lyrics into our songs though, the way many hip hop artists would reference their contemporaries’ works. There’s By Any Means and Hatebreed lyrics in Defyed songs if you can spot them. Some might call that plagiarism, but fuck ‘em, eh?
You’ve released one demo already (with your previous bass player): are there any new recording plans in the pipeline?
The plan is to get another song or two under our belt and potentially get the whole lot recorded again. As you say, the three tracks we have out in the wild are a demo, not an actual release as such. No promises around dates though. Maybe in the new year? You’ll be the first to know.
Have you played with any of the acts on the Assault On T13 bill before?
We have indeed. We played with Altus when we supported IkillYa, and with Scimitar in Voodoo when Gama Bomb played. I was really looking forward to sharing a stage with Cutter… It’s a shame those guys wrapped things up.
We would normally ask what other bands on the bill you’re looking forward to seeing, but you’ll be rushing off to play another gig in Belfast city centre… what challenges does such a double commitment pose for a band such as yourselves, and particularly yourself as the singer?
Providing the gigs run on time, we should be fine. The venues are only ten minutes apart by car, so it shouldn’t pose any challenge. For myself, I just need to hope my voice holds out for two gigs: the optimist in me reckons that my throat will be nicely warmed up for the second gig. Besides, we do more than two sets worth of guldering at practice each week so two thirty minute sets should be a piece of cake!
Assault On T13 is an all-ages show – something which is very rare on the Belfast metal scene in particularly, especially as there is a dearth of suitable venues: is this sort of gig something you would like to see more of?
Absolutely. If you hit any local gig in Belfast for live metal, chances are you’re gonna see a bunch of musicians in their mid-thirties or older. Sinocence are all in their forties now and I’m pretty sure Paul from By Any Means is pushing sixty!
We need the younger generation to get their claws into this scene. That’s why it’s so encouraging to see bands like Donum Dei and Wardomized coming through. More of that please….
Is this something you see mirrored in the scene as a whole? Not enough venues/promoters? Too many bands trying to spread themselves around? Or is there a sort of balance?
There’s a metric fuck tonne of bands and promoters, we aren’t lacking that at all. What we have is a severe lack of punters. There’s not enough people happy to just go out and watch bands. Everyone who gets into the music lifts a guitar or a pair of drum sticks or a mic, and what we essentially end up with is a load of bands playing to a load of bands. Where are the guys that just wanna get drunk and headbang?
On a slightly related subject, do you think the media – and here I’m meaning the more “traditional” media, such as newspapers and radio, rather than websites such as PlanetMosh – pay enough attention to the metal/extreme music scene?
They shouldn’t be covering our bands or our music. It’s an ugly word that often gets tangled up with music snobbery, but this is “underground” music. It isn’t mainstream, and expecting mainstream media to cover it makes no sense to me. That’s why we have the likes of Planet Mosh! And isn’t that part of the appeal of listening to, say, Exodus or Backtrack? This is our music, it’s not Joe Public’s: it’s our filthy little hobby that normal people don’t understand. It’s for the weirdos, the moshers and the freaks (to quote the S.O.P.H.I.E. Foundation). If you want to be accepted by the mainstream media, go write some Bon Jovi influenced drivel!
It’s notoriously difficult for local bands to attract audiences: does it irk you that people are prepared to pay lots of money to see name “acts” but not shell out a few quid to support local talent? Or do you think that it’s just a symptom of the economic situation at the moment?
It’s not an economic issue because unsigned gigs drawing small crowds is a problem worldwide and has been long before any recession. I’ve seen it in all music circles, from metal to techno to hip-hop. If you want mass audiences, you need a stage full of superstars. I can’t help feel that the problem is fuelled by celebrity culture. Some people would argue that there’s a direct correlation between how good a band is and how many people will go to see them, but I think those people are mentalists. Popular doesn’t mean good. By their logic, ‘Candle In The Wind’ is the best song ever written!
It is indeed frustrating when you look at how talented many of the local unsigned bands are compared to the turnout we get at gigs… but we all knew that before we got involved. Many of those involved need to stop crying about it and either accept it or try to do something about it.
Finally, outside of the other acts appearing at Assault… what other Northern Irish bands would you recommend our readers check out?
Triggerman, Axecatcher, Hornets, 7.5 Tonnes Of Beard, Donum Dei, By Any Means, Spittin’ Teeth, Zlatanera, 1000 Drunken Nights, Katabolisis, By Conquest Of Consent, Zombified, Astralnaut, The Rupture Dogs and Cursed Sun.
You can find out more about Defyed – and we heartily recommend you do – at https://www.facebook.com/defyedhc
For more information on ‘Assault On T13’, headlined by Rabid Bitch Of The North and also featuring Altus, Scimitar, Theories Divide and one other act TBC, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/695763550493500/
Photographs by Paul Verner.