Interviews: Voluntas, Mutant-Thoughts, Panic Switch, Metal 2 the Masses Bristol

Eight became eleven at the end of April when Voluntas, Mutant-Thoughts and Panic Switch became the latest additions to the Metal 2 the Masses Bristol semi-finals. I was able to chat with all three bands afterwards and find out a little more about them…


This is your first time playing Metal 2 the Masses – what made you decide to apply this year?

Mark Watkins (guitar/vocals): We needed the gigs and exposure – the heat was only our third live performance ever! Plus, the chance to play Bloodstock had a huge impact for (guitarist) K-lum and (bassist Joe) Barton.

How do you feel your set on Sunday night went? Following on from this, how does it feel to make the Semi Finals?

It went well, if the general opinion of everyone who spoke to me afterwards counts for anything, haha! As for my own thoughts, there were definitely a few mistakes in there we can work on, but it will come with time. We’re only new to the live metal scene, and right now we’re just happy for the chance to play. As for making the semi-finals, well, my initial reaction was probably heard by everyone in the room – “YES!!” haha! I don’t think I can use words properly to describe the feeling of achievement, but it was awesome!

Have you got any funny stories, be it general band shenanigans or moments on stage?

Man, how much time have you got? Hahahaha! A quick one would probably be Barton’s confession of having had too much to drink before we played on Sunday, as soon as we finished playing; I remember turning around about to open the gates of hell and he had this ridiculous schoolboy grin! That’s Barton in a nutshell though, and we have to work with it all the time. Throw (drummer) Alex in the mix and it’s just a complete mash up of random ridiculous thoughts, without including my own personal stupidity, haha! Then K-lum is just the quiet one who says that one thing in a moment of silence that sends everyone off again. There are too many things for me to type in terms of funny, haha!

Which three bands do you feel have influenced your sound most?

Three bands…myself, I am a huge Metallica fan! K-lum rocks out to Pantera more often than not and Alex is big on Iron Maiden. Luckily for us Barton loves all 3, so we draw our own inspiration from each influence; stylistically, we have such different taste haha!

Where can we find out more about Voluntas?

Right here on Facebook, ping us a message – we haven’t got a great deal up and running as yet as like I said, we’re new, just getting used to how things work! More often than not though, I can be found in a pub in Bristol haha!

Finally, what would it mean to play Bloodstock?

To play Bloodstock is an entirely different beast, being as fresh-faced as we are and playing small venues. It would be like falling from Earth and landing somewhere entirely unheard of – a plain of existence I am yet to comprehend! But the experience would be mind-blowing, and very welcoming, so here’s hoping!


For people hearing about Mutant-Thoughts for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Mutant-Thoughts is an Alternative Experimental Synth-Rock trio, and we are all about pushing boundaries and trying new things. We focus on being productive, but still keep things fun in the rehearsals, and it is imperative for us to build within the band as artists, giving each other the space to grow as musicians, with respect and enthusiasm. We have all learned a lot since joining this band, and the band has grown a lot as well since its formation.

This is your first time playing Metal 2 the Masses – what made you decide to apply this year?

We applied to play pretty much by mistake, as Han (Luis Cera, Synths/Vocals) didn’t know Bloodstock was a metal festival until we were actually invited to play and primarily we’re not a metal band! He explained to the promoter that we weren’t a metal band, but he explained that this is a rock festival. Even though we have rock elements in our music, we were still worried we would not fit in. Luckily, that was not the case at all!

How do you feel your set on the night went? Following on from this, how does it feel to make the Semi Finals?

We were expecting the gig to be fun, and there was an amazing atmosphere; everyone was super friendly! But we definitely did not expect to go through to the next round, or to get so many nice comments from people about the gig! The audience was just incredible, and seeing them enjoy the music so much, jumping and clapping along, was just an amazing experience for us, so we’re very excited about the Semi-Finals.

You’re headed back to the studio soon to record a new EP – can you give us a little information on it at all?

Well, the EP is going to be a great moment for us as it’s going to be our first recording together as a band as opposed to our first album “Humans” which we released last year.]The EP will be a combination of different art forms, and is based on ‘chaos’; the chaos one goes through during and after a difficult moment in life, and how one can find comfort within that chaos. We’re also taking a slightly different composition process, so we’re very excited about presenting these new songs to you.

Which three bands do you feel have influenced your sound most?

Han: Pink Floyd, Radiohead, Talk Talk
Josh (Lennox Hilton, bass/backing vocals): Japan, Kate Bush, Yeasayer
Tom (Pearmain, drums) : Porcupine Tree, The Mars Volta, Opeth

Where can we find out more about Mutant-Thoughts?, Facebook, Twitter, Soundcloud, YouTube and, after the EP comes out, Spotify and other online music stores.

Finally, what would it mean to play Bloodstock?
For lack of any other words, that would be just “INSANE”.

Panic Switch

For people hearing about Panic Switch for the first time, can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

We are a five-piece metal band from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. Our style is an infectious blend of modern heavy metal, with traditional thrash elements. We originally formed back in 2005 and built up a name for ourselves gigging across the country. In 2009 we decided to go on hiatus, to find ourselves, and have now returned in full force to storm the metal scene.

This is your first time playing Metal 2 the Masses – what made you decide to apply this year?

We had heard of this competition several years ago and have supported several friend’s bands who have entered it in the past. After our return to action last year, we thought we’d jump at the chance to apply for this year’s competition.

How do you feel your set on the night went? Following on from this, how does it feel to make the Semi Finals?

It was excellent, and we thought our set went well; like a fine wine. We were all pumped and played tightly, but with passion as well. Judging by comments we received after our set, this seemed to noticeable amongst the crowd as well, which was great to hear.

You’re opening for DJ Lethal in Cheltenham in May – how did that come about?

The Frog and Fiddle in Cheltenham is our main local venue and we’ve had the pleasure of playing there on numerous occasions. A good friend of ours runs a promotion company there called Shoot Your Hoops and he generously contacted us to offer a slot for this gig. Unfortunately, since this interview, we have found out that DJ Lethal has pulled out, which is a shame. We’re hoping to organise another gig for the same date though. We are also playing Amplified Festival in July through Shoot Your Hoops as well, which we’re looking forward to!

Which three bands do you feel have influenced your sound most?

It’s hard to limit the answer down to just three bands, haha! Hands down, the first band would be Pantera. We are all massive fans of this group and they were one of the main reasons we decided to form a band, so we will always be indebted and grateful for their music. Killswitch Engage also provided influence with their combination of hardcore and metal and if we were to choose one other influence, then Machine Head also deserve a mention.

Where can we find out more about Panic Switch?

You can find out more about us and follow us on our Facebook ( and Twitter ( pages.

Finally, what would it mean to play Bloodstock?

Bloodstock is without a doubt the UK’s premier metal festival and consistently showcases the best that the metal scene has to offer; from the metal giants, right through to the metal underground.  This is a festival that we’ve all dreamt of playing at some point, so without sounding too cliché, it would be beyond a dream.

My thanks to all three bands for taking the time to chat to me.


About Elliot Leaver

PlanetMosh's resident Iron Maiden fanboy and Mr. Babymetal. Also appreciates the music of Pink Floyd, Rammstein, Nightwish, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot and many others. Writing to continue to enjoy life away from the stresses of full-time employment.