Long Dead Signal
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Long Dead Signal

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom | SELF

Nottingham, England, United Kingdom | SELF
Band Rock Alternative




"Gareth Hughes caught up with Ben and James from Long Dead Signal"

Fresh from winning the Future Sound Of Nottingham competition and playing a triumphant gig at the Trent FM Arena, Long Dead Signal look set to be the next big thing. LeftLion spoke to the band about the foundation of their unique sound and what 2011 holds for them...

What first got you guys interested in music?
Ben Hellings (vocals/guitar): The first guitar I got was a classical my mum got me. I actually forgot about it for a long time when I picked up an electric guitar and I started playing it again a couple of years ago. But back in the day I was a massive metaller.

James Goulding (guitar/backing vocals): You’ve recovered now, though haven’t you.

B: I was listening to Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, Iron Maiden.

The Holy Four...
J: Half the band hates Iron Maiden, the other half loves it.
B: He’s been researching why people like Iron Maiden.
J: It’s chemical. It’s like an addiction.
B: I didn’t really listen to classical music. My mum thought [classical guitar would] be character-forming. But as soon as I got an electric guitar I started playing things I actually liked.

Do you remember the first riff you ever learned?
B: I knew the entire back catalogue of Metallica. I could play every single song.

J: That’s so much cooler than me. Mine was the snooker theme tune. I don’t even remember how it goes now. Johnny B. Goode was the first thing I learned. I saw Back To The Future and I remember that was the moment when I thought, I want to play the guitar. I don’t think I really loved music. I just remember [Michael J. Fox] jumping around on his knees and everyone being shocked. I only got into music about three or four years after, once I’d gone through my anal guitar hero phase.

Was there any band that made you want to be in a band yourself?
J: I was a grunge kid so it would’ve been Nirvana. When I started playing guitar, you’ve gotta play the guitar for the sake of playing a guitar. I’ve even got a [notorious shred guitarist] Steve Vai signed Ibanez. But then you get to the point where you want to be a band. One day you go ‘what am I doing?’

You seem to be quite Jeff Buckley influenced, both musically and in your voice.
B: He’s the best. What he can do with his voice is like totally ridiculous. The way he recorded Hallelujah, he was playing guitar and singing, then had two attempts and then he said ‘I’m just gonna do it,’ and did it all the way through like that. That skill is way beyond me. When I came to Nottingham I didn’t really listen to any bands. There wasn’t a real scene here. All I listened to was techno. I’d just be off my face and listening to techno all night. Which is weird because one of the reasons I came here was Rock City.

J: Every time I go to Rock City I lose something. Phone, wallet, self-respect...

So you lost interest in being a musician yourself?
J: It was the scene in Nottingham, to be honest.

B: That was just what you did in Nottingham. When I went back to Wales, I used to jam with these two old friends of mine. We actually got a management contract until the singer’s dad sued us for £20,000 for trying to get rid of him. He was doing a fair bit to help us but then he started taking control and started telling us what he wanted us to do about everything. We decided we were just going to push him out a window and take the contract for ourselves.
J: Red Lines came out of something like that, didn’t it.
B: It came out of me sitting in my mum’s kitchen on Christmas. I didn’t even mean to write it, though, it just kind of came out of nowhere.

A lot of the great songs seem to get written that way, though – like the writer themselves didn’t consciously create it.
B: I have basically no control of where it comes from. It’s not like jazz when you know you’re going to be in this key or that key, it just comes out of me.
J: When we write the songs we tend to jam them in the room rather than it being set ahead of time. The thing that comes out of it is completely different. That’s the great thing about being in a band. We’re all so different, Ben’s a poet, I’m a philosopher, Gary’s... a drunk.
B: Well, a hedonist.
J: I think it was about our third gig and you rang me up and said that we couldn’t play because Gary’s drunk. I said just bring him along anyway, get him some coffee, and you said that’d be a problem because he’s in a field in Wales. We just played it anyway. It’s a policy we have that whatever happens we carry on.
B: As soon as he starts drinking he’ll drink to oblivion. He’ll offend everyone and chat up everyone’s girlfriend. He’s the nicest drunk you’ve ever seen...
J: We call him a different name. It’s Larry and Gary. He’s like Jekyll and Hyde.

When did your sound crystallise?
J: We had clashing personalities, you’re quite happy and I’m quite angry and something in between happened that’s quite melancholy.
B: So we write happy songs about killing your girlfriend and then lying down next to her and singing her to sleep. But it was the writing of the lyrics, where it came to a stage where I’d found much more passion. I started to write something that sort of scared me or upset me and looking inside at these dark thoughts, why you have them, what they do, and getting some strength from that. There’s quite a lot of metaphor in it.

What’s your peak as a band so far?
B: Playing Nottingham Trent Arena [through the Future Sound Of Nottingham competition].
J: It was only half the arena but it was still huge.
B: It was big. It just felt right being up on that stage. We’ve had a taste of the good stuff.

Did you think you could win?
J: The whole competition aspect wasn’t part of it, we were just playing the arena in front of a load of people.
B: Everything changed from that point on. We realised we could really make a difference.

What do you think of the way the music industry works now?
B: What happened to the dream of getting picked up by a record company? Most bands these days just do it themselves.
J: People are playing music because they like playing music now instead of shifting CDs. I don’t think it’s really a bad thing.

One thing you can say about CDs is that they will last. I think that physical presence is a bit of a loss...
J: Part of the stuff we do is work with artists like Matylda [Czerepak] who did our cover, and we want to have the art attached to it. It’s not just music, there’s the whole thing attached to it.
B: A webpage can become a physical thing. It’s not something you can tangibly hold, I guess.
J: How do you do something that has the same effect with the media the way it is now? They’ve not done it yet. How do you get out to people? It used to be press releases, now it’s just Facebook. I think the worst thing is the loss of the album. At shows you can still do that though. Pink Floyd used to do the Pompeii videos and people still watch those. We’ve just go to deal with the way things are. There’s no going back.

Where do you guys want to end up as a band? What level of success?
B: I’d like to leave something as value and worth that stands the test of time... and also to stop working my day job and concentrate on music constantly full time. To make enough money to live off. Also I just love to play gigs, the bigger the better.
J: I’d rather play to less people where they all like it a lot than 10,000 people who all like it a bit. I think it really is my dream to touch people with the music we write as much as bands affected me when I was little. If people really care about something you’ve created then that’d be awesome.
B: But some of the most awe-inspiring moments for bands are recorded at festivals. I saw Rodriguo Y Gabriela playing their acoustic version of Wish You Were Here and the entire crowd was singing along. What an amazing spectacle.

What’s 2011 going to bring you then?
J: We took a month off gigging to write new songs and make the show better and take it up a notch. We’re heading down to London and other places, we’ve got a slew of gigs in March and April. We want to try and take it up a notch from local Nottingham band.
B: We’re discovering we’re actually a rock band. - LeftLion

"EP Review"

Long Dead Signal are considered one of the local bands expected to step up another notch in 2011, and rightly so. Likening themselves to Buckley, Radiohead and Muse (and these comparisons, it has to be said, are spot on), their self-titled EP roars through six tracks from intricate guitars and distorted vocals at breakneck tempo, through to calmer melodies backed by inspired effects and riffs.

Again & Again and Asleep at the Wheel demonstrate a vocal range with which Matt Bellamy himself has long been associated, with guitar reverb and a thunderous bass really igniting the atmosphere. In contrast to these thrashing tracks, A Question of Violence is a slower insertion that comes with a sinister guitar hook and an intense timbre. There is yet more drama to follow with Fight Or Flight, spiralling back to a Queens of the Stone Age-esque riff while puzzling background effects create a surreal sound to the track. With a shopping list of 2011 Nottingham dates to their name, catch them while you can. Their simply unique image - what looks like a cross between a Jim Henson fantasy and Alice in Wonderland is almost reason enough to see them live - LeftLion


Long Dead Signal - Self Titled EP

Radio Airplay

BBC Radio Nottingham
Demon FM



Long Dead Signal are an alternative rock band based in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Comprising of Ben Hellings (Vocals/Guitar) , Jamie Goulding (Guitar/Vocals) , Gary Judd (Drums), Jaime Adame (Bass) and Andrew Bradford (Electronica/Samples/Vocals/Percussion).

Their sound is: "Thoughtfully dark and refreshingly unique. There are references and parallels to Radiohead going on here, full of unsettling goodness." - LeftLion Magazine

With their spiky rhythms, dramatically anguished vocals and raw guitars, Long Dead Signal takes you into a high energy world of emotional uncertainty and longing.

Tracks such as ‘A Question of Violence’ and ‘Again and Again’ seriously rivals that of the murky, simmering undercurrent of Muse. They also receives regular comparisons to Jeff Buckley, The Mars Volta and Incubus.

An award winning band: Long Dead Signal are officially “The Future Sound of Nottingham”. This honour was bestowed upon them by Trent FM, Capital FM Arena Nottingham and Rock City.

Since gaining the award in 2010, the band have more than lived up to their title, playing gigs in prestigious venues, and putting on a show that every person in their packed-out crowds will never forget.

They are lucky to be alive: On the way from Glastonbury to Nottingham to play their award winning set at the Arena, Long Dead Signal were in an accident that totally destroyed their car but left them completely unharmed.

The world is awakening to their sound: Having been championed by local press and radio stations they are now burgeoning onto national radio, recently introduced by Tom Robinson on BBC Radio 6. The band have a loyal world-wide fan base, and hope to play all of the gigs they have been offered around the globe.