You’re all from different places, right? How did you meet?
Alex: It was when most of us were at The London College of Music (LCM). In the beginning it was just Jack and me, we had been in a band together with Jamie before, doing a couple of Jack’s songs and a couple of Maiden/Sabbath covers. So when I said to Jack about getting another guitarist on board, having Jamie join us made total sense.
Then we turned our attention to getting a drummer to join us, we had a list of people who we knew were good and would fit our style but nothing seemed to work out. Jamie told us that he knew another guy at LCM who was a great drummer, and that’s when we asked Mike to try out. From the first session we could tell that he was the right guy for the job.
Then of course we had to search for a vocalist. This was something I had been doing since our inception, trying to find a vocalist with the right style proved incredibly hard. We wanted someone who had an edge to his or her voice, a certain grittiness, but who could also actually sing. Eventually we got in contact with Ali online, we knew he didn’t live far from Ealing so we just got him to learn a couple of the songs and went straight into a practice room. You could tell by the smiles on everyone’s faces after the first song, that we had found the perfect addition to the band.
Ali: Yes, I am from West London. Alex replied to an ad I’d posted online. He then eventually introduced me to the rest of the band.
Jamie: I’m from Gloucester originally, but I go to university in Ealing. Jack and I lived opposite each other in halls. I remember commenting on his Dream Theatre t-shirt, we got talking and ended up jamming. It was Jack who introduced me to Alex. I met Mike when we both played in the backing band for a friend of ours, and I suggested that he try out for Suffer No Fools.
Mike: I live in Wokingham near Reading when I am not at university. I decided to try and make a name for myself at university by playing with as many musicians as possible and this is how I would come to meet Jamie. Jamie and I both ended up helping the same band and we found out we both like metal. Shortly before Christmas, Jamie told me about the band and asked if I wanted to try out, which I eagerly did.
What made you think ‘this is what I want to do with my life?
Alex: For me, I didn’t really get into music until I was about fourteen, nothing really seemed to grip me, and I hated most of the music that my friends listened to at school. It wasn’t until I first heard bands like Rammstein and KoRn that I knew music would take over my life in one form or another.
Ali: Its not like there’s something that made me take this path, music is something I’ve been very close to from the beginning.
Jamie: Well I’ve always thought ‘find something you love doing and get paid for it’. From a very young age I’ve been interested in music, especially rock and metal. What really made me decide was when I watched a ‘House Music’ competition at my secondary school. There was a band that played a cover of ‘Ghostbusters’. I must have been 11 or 12 at the time, but it really made me want to start learning an instrument.
Mike: I suppose purely the love of music or more specifically rock and metal. I’m always listening to music, talking about music and I have been playing music since I picked up the violin at 8 years of age. After watching my first ever gig years and years ago, I decided that I wanted to do the same.
If you could tour with any band, current or past, who would you pick and why?
Alex: I am kind of torn here, on the one hand I think it would be amazing to tour with a band like Metallica who are just so huge, and are living legends, to learn from the masters would be an experience like no other. On the flip side, Metallica audiences can be pretty unforgiving; I remember seeing them at Wembley Stadium back in 2007, and they had HIM supporting them, needless to say they were brutally booed and pelted with bottles, not for the faint of heart.
I imagine touring with Killswitch Engage would be insane, I can only imagine the kind of crazy shit that Adam D gets up to. Plus, I think our sounds would work pretty well together so we might survive a little bit longer playing before them.
Ali: Megadeth cuz they are fukin legends. I’d like to learn a thing or two from them.
Jamie: I’d love to tour with Motley Crue back in their hey-day. From what I’ve heard, their tours sound mental!
Mike: Probably Slipknot. They are the band that really introduced me to heavy metal and I know I would not be playing drums if they hadn’t inspired me to. I would love to share a stage with them.
If you could sit down to dinner with one person, who would you choose and why?
Alex: Bruce Campbell. Without a doubt. The man is a legend, the Evil Dead trilogy is one of my favourite film series of all time and I bet Bruce would have tons of stories to tell, plus have you seen how suave he is? That man can rock a smoking jacket.
Jamie: The late writer Christopher Hitchens. I really enjoy watching his debates, and reading his articles on often controversial topics.
Mike: I’d say Corey Taylor because he seems like an honest, down to earth yet really cool and funny guy.
What artists are you influenced by?
Alex: Rammstein has always influenced me massively. I know that some people see that as kind of a weird choice, but let me explain. Their riffs are huge, their music grooves, you can headbang, you can dance, their choruses are huge, they just have an epic, massive sound, which I love. I can’t understand half of what they sing about, I know some rough translations, but to me it is more than just the words, I get really into the feeling that the sounds make you feel, the mood of the song as opposed to the meaning. The sound is just as, if not more important than the lyrics to me.
I think the simplicity of their music is something that always appealed to me. Don’t get me wrong, I love listening to more technical bands like Dream Theater but it’s nice to strip it back now and then, I think AC/DC are the prime example of less is more, keeping it simple is my mantra.
Richard Kruspe, guitarist for Rammstein, also has a great guitar sound, I’ve watched videos of Richard in his own studio and you can tell this is a guy who knows his stuff, plus that microphone-robot control thing he has is just awesome. Metallica have always been of particular importance to me also, I have seen them about nine times live and they never fail to put on a good show. I know they’ve had their ups and downs but they are a band I will always respect for their music. They literally changed the face of heavy music, and there are not many bands who can claim to have done that. Without Metallica you wouldn’t have the majority of modern metal bands, you wouldn’t have Suffer No Fools.
Ali: Marty Friedman, Dave Mustaine, Till Lindeman, Gerard Way, Matt Shadows, Steven Tyler, James Hetfield, Syn Gates, Jimmy the Rev.
Jamie: My biggest influences are AC/DC, Iron Maiden, Motorhead, Saxon, Metallica, as well as Joe Satriani, Paul Gilbert & Buckethead.
Mike: Slipknot, as mentioned before and all your usual suspects: Iron Maiden, Metallica, Slayer, Anthrax, Led Zeppelin, Motorhead.
What’s the best thing about Suffer No Fools?
Alex: I love being able to just share these creations, our songs, with anyone who will listen. I have never wrote music or lyrics that I thought would impress someone, or cater to a certain audience, I always wrote the sort of stuff that I would be stoked to hear myself. I know that our music isn’t to everyone’s taste, some might say we are to soft for metal, others might say we are too heavy for rock, but it’s the kind of stuff I like to listen to. If there is anyone out there that likes the same kind of shit as me, then that’s awesome that I get to share that with them.
Ali: The band’s passion for Music and the eagerness to make a big impact on the music industry.
Jamie: The best thing is playing music I love with excellent musicians. The music is exactly the type of music I listen to, which makes me more enthusiastic. I’ve played, and still do play, in other bands where I am just a backing artist, but in Suffer No Fools, I feel equally important in the band.
Mike: Getting to play music that I love and think sounds awesome. The music we play is music I would actually listen to and that makes it feel so much more amazing. I have been in several bands and while they weren’t bad and the musicians I played with were really talented guys, none of them really wanted anything to do with heavy metal and I would end up playing styles that I didn’t care for. I really get to play to my strengths in this band.
If you could have one of your songs heard by the whole world, which would it be and why?
Alex: I think it would probably be Prey, just because it has a great spectrum of what we are all about. It has the heavy guitars, fast double kick drums, massive choruses, and blistering solos. It represents a great, small view into the music that we do, and would also be a great introduction for anyone to get to know the music of Suffer No Fools.
Ali: Abyss, it’s got a nice melody.
Jamie: I think I’d have to choose ‘Prey’. Its got a great riff, fast-paced, and it’s got a melodic chorus. I think it works really well as the closing song in our set as well.
Mike: Picking one is difficult. Either ‘Bombing Campaign’ or ‘Into The Breach’. Bombing Campaign is great because it is a great opener and it’s our typical sound. Into The Breach is also great because it just hits you in the face, it’s balls to the wall metal. So it’s too hard to pick just one. Can I pick two? Fuck it I pick two.
Other than music, what else influences you?
Alex: It can be nearly anything, sometimes you can just hear a sound, a particular rhythm and think ‘hmm that might make for the basics of a good guitar riff’. Other times it’s the culmination of influences and the way you can mesh different approaches together. Lyrically, it can also be nearly anything, life experiences, books, films, games, philosophies, the news, the list is endless, if it interests me it will probably make its way into a song in some form.
Mike: Monster Energy drink. My mind can’t work without it.
What made you decide to play your specific instruments?
Alex: Well, at first I started to learn the guitar, my brother taught me the basics: how to strum, how to hold a plectrum, how to get your basic chord, and I just kind of went from there. After that I was pretty much self-taught, I have never had an instrument lesson in my life. I used to use tabs when I first started learning but I quickly learnt how to learn by ear. Anyway, this was all when I was about thirteen or fourteen or so, I was in a band with some school friends and I was actually on keyboard. Eventually I figured out that its pretty hard to get into the music when you’re stuck behind your instrument and can’t move. We had kicked our bass player out because he wasn’t that great, so there was an open position, I stepped in, since I already knew the basics of guitar, and the rest is history. Since then I have been swapping between playing bass and guitar, finally settling on playing bass in Suffer No Fools.
Jamie: The reason I picked up the guitar was a direct result of hearing Eddie Van-Halen’s ‘Eruption’. It was unlike anything I’d ever heard, I think my face melted after hearing it, it was that good. From then on I decided I wanted to become that good at an instrument. And I’m still trying.
Mike: When I first listened to metal I thought ‘The drums are so powerful! This is like being punched in the face and then thrown against a wall!’ For me the drums really brought out the aggression in heavy metal and that’s what I love about metal, the aggression.
Anything you want to say to those who haven’t heard of you yet?
Alex: If you like heavy music, big choruses, fast songs, insane solos, and a singer who can actually sing, come check out our music. There is no one who is doing quite what we are doing.
Ali: You’re missing out on the next big thing.
Mike: We’re coming for you, you better be ready.