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  INTERVIEW WITH BALEFUL CREED

Johnny Main

johnny main

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baleful creed

Like Manchester, Liverpool and Glasgow, Belfast seems to be a hotbed for up and coming rock and Metal bands, particularly in the last couple of years.

One such band that's relatively recently come to my attention is the Belfast based four piece Baleful Creed and I caught up with John Allen and Fin Finlay to find out a bit more about the band, what makes them tick and what plans they have for the future.

The first question I asked is an easy one – how long has the band been together?

Fin Findlay: "(We) formed in 2009 but only managed a few gigs before we lost our old drummer and it wasn't until Mark (Stewart, the bands current drummer) joined in late 2010 that this unit has been together."

Article continues below...

 
 


So what made them want to be in a band and how did the band actually start?

John Allen: "I was in my first band, Memento Mori, when I was in my early 20s and it was probably more of a 'let's get in a band as it's a cool thing to do' and my musical goal was the same back then – playing down-tuned groovy riff-age. When that band broke up, Fin came along to try out as a singer with the idea being that we would rename the band and become Baleful Creed, but it didn't quite work out as planned! I hope he won't mind me saying this, but his higher pitched voice didn't really suit the riffs we were knocking out back then.

"With no internet in those days, we couldn't just get a new band together and the whole thing just seemed to fizzle out. After that, I hung up my guitar for about eleven years and didn't play a single note. Then in about 2005, Fin decided it was time to get playing again, probably some mid-life crisis (laughs), and the guitars and amps were dragged out of storage and we began playing some basic rock covers."

Fin: "It was great just to get in a practice room and really crank the amps, because neither of us had done any of that for years. The only hindrance was that we couldn't keep hold of a bass player, then I got tired of playing covers and decided to drop out of the band for a while. It was thanks to that break, though, that I decided to focus on writing my own songs for the first time. I knew I wanted John as my guitar player, so anything I wrote had to be stuff I hoped he would like – which he did, luckily! (laughs)."

John: "(laughs) Aye, when Fin gave me that first demo CD, I was thinking this will be a pile of crap, but I was totally wrong! Baleful Creed was formed immediately after that, and we started working on that first batch of tunes to knock them into shape and define our sound and carry on with that first batch of songs."

baleful creed
John

Those songs became the band's first releases were a series of EPs which were subsequently complied into the bands self-titled debut album which was released in September 2013.

Fin: "Yeah! Y'see, our recording budget could only stretch to five songs at a time, so we ended up with three EP, but only the first two of them made it over to become (home-produced) CD-Rs with proper artwork which we could sell at gigs."

John: "I was never happy selling a CD-R version of the EP's but we just couldn't afford to run three separate sets of professional replication/printing costs to get all three EP's out. We didn't even got the last EP out (provisionally titled called 'III') because my printer packed in. That's when I knew it was time to consolidate the two EP's and make them our debut album."

Fin: "We were very proud of the last two EP's especially, and as they were both recorded in the same studio, Manor Park, so we put in a call to the engineer at the studios, Neal Calderwood, and asked him to remix and remaster both the recording sessions into one debut album. To us it meant that we finally had a CD that we could tour with and promote properly."

Asked if there was any new material on the 'Baleful Creed' album, John explains: "Technically no, y'see, it was really just our greatest hits if you like, and all the tracks we included were the backbone of our live set from the previous year. It was different sounding though, because of the remix work that was done on the tracks and we'd never had CD quality material out there before! (laughs)."

So how did it feel to actually have a properly produced album out there?

Fin smiles: "Just amazing! It had always been my goal to do an album of our own songs, and while it took some time for us to piece it all together, the feeling of pride I had, that we all had, when we first got our hands on the physical hard copy was just incredible."

John: "Even now, I'm stunned! The journey that started a few years ago – I never imagined having an album released as part of all that. To put it on, crank it up and think 'Bloody hell – that's' us!' It's actually too tough to put into words!"

With the debut album now released, does the band have any plans for a follow up?

Fin: "We are just getting into the guts of writing the second album now and it's pretty exciting working on new material!"

John: "We have two songs more or less complete, and the bones of another couple ready to get knocked into shape, but we have no idea how long it will take. Whatever happens, though, I'm really looking forward to Chapter II."

baleful creed
Fin

Does the band know where it will be recorded or by whom?

Fin: "If the writing process is smooth, then we may be ready to record at the tail end of 2014, otherwise it will be 2015. But we'll only be ready when we have between ten and twelve songs we feel are right for the next album."

John: "I think it would be hard not to go back to Manor Park – we got an amazing sound captured there and I would be afraid to lose that going elsewhere, plus if it is Manor Park, then Neal nails our sound in there. If we can go in prepared with song structures as we like them, I guess we are our own producers in that sense but we can't give Neal enough credit for the recording he does though."

So who actually writes what when it comes to songs?

John: "Well Fin started the whole ball rolling, when he came back to me with those fist four or five songs a few years ago. He had put together a set of tunes that ticked all my boxes from a playing point of view. So from that, it fired up my interest in trying to write songs. I write a basic tune from a riff that comes to me and then hand it over to Fin to add the vocal melodies and lyrics."

Fin: "Sometimes we do it the other way round and have a vocal melody and then write the music underneath, but both ways seem to work for us. On rare occasions, a song will develop purely in the practice room. 'Illuminati' started out as Mark's drum pattern and then John came up with the main riff. When Stevie (Fleming on Bass Guitar) added in the breakdown, that's when the vocal idea hit me!

"With lyrical themes, I try to take ideas from my real life experiences or what we are being fed on the news – it isn't always the real story, because I like to bite back at that."

So where does the band get their inspiration from, then?

John: "Musically, I start with Black Sabbath and the whole stoner rock movement – if I can get a groove or riff that fits that style then I'm more than happy!"

Fin: I've always been a rocker since I was a kid, so it's just thirty odd years of sucking up those influences and trying to put our own spin on it - we all love heavy classic rock and we try to add as much of a chunk as we can from our stoner rock tastes."

So are there any upcoming releases planned for 2014?

John: "I think we have moved away from the EP format now – it was certainly harder to draw attention to separate EP's whereas we have noticed more interest in us having a proper full length album out, so that should be followed with another album in my view."

Have the band any confirmed gigs to look forward to?

John: "It's been a busy year and we're hoping to hit a few new towns and cities around Northern Ireland as well as getting back to play in Dublin. We have played some big shows already at Belfast's Empire Music Hall and in the Mandela Hall, which was the biggest stage we have performed on so far.

"New places we're looking forward to playing for the first time includes the Diamond Rock Club in Ahoghill as guests to The Brew in May. We're also booked to supporting a Led Zeppelin tribute The Rubber Plants. Our first festival appearance of this year is at Sunflowerfest held in Hillsborough at the end of August.

Fin: "We have some offers to get over to the UK mainland as well, so just looking into getting some funding into place to make that a reality. Our first ever gig outside of Northern Ireland was gig in Glasgow last year as part of Highway To Hell which was incredible – the crowd response was amazing, so we'd love to get back to Glasgow as soon as possible as well."

baleful creed

So what can someone coming to a Baleful Creed show expect to see?

John: "Good question (pauses). It's hard to answer really, but we'd like to view it from the audience ourselves just to see what it's like too! There are no gimmicks – just four lads enjoying playing some heavy chunky/groovy riffage and some good wee songs that some folk might sing along to some day or at least get the head nodding or the foot tapping."

Are there any venues that they enjoy playing?

Fin: "Playing at the Mandela Hall (in Belfast) has been the pinnacle of our gigging experiences to date. It's a superb stage to play on and the sound was just perfect for us on stage, which isn't always the case, and the feedback we got afterwards was that it was our best gig to date was the icing on the cake for us!"

John: "I love playing in Comrades Rock Club near Ballyclare that's run by Phil and Kym Horner. They always look after us really well and Phil has built up a really good PA, plus the audience is always great there. Another of my favourites is James Loveday's RocKD shows which are held at The Limelight in Belfast which is just a great stage to play on.

"It was great when we played the Classic Grand in Glasgow too, as part of the Highway To Hell competition. Y'see, because it's a competition, no-one gets a sound-check and you only have twenty minutes to play - wow, that was really nerve wrecking! The response we got from the crowd was just incredible, though – the memory of hearing our name chanted after the set with that Scots accent will live with me for a very long time."

Are there any places that the band want to play but haven't had the opportunity to yet?

John: "I would loved to have played in the old Rosetta Bar in Belfast but sadly it's now closed. It used to be the biggest rock and Metal club in the city for absolutely years. If you're asking about a venue that's still open, though, I'd say the Ulster Hall in Belfast too – there have been some pretty classic gigs there in the past."

Fin: "Two years ago we played a small bar room joined to the Mandela Hall in Belfast and to get there, you had to walk through the main hall, and we used to look at the huge stage and said 'we love to play here – maybe someday!' and that dream came true as I mentioned earlier. I think I would agree with John, though, that if we got to play the Ulster Hall, then that would be us taking it to the next level of performance."

How has social media (ie. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) helped the band?

John: "Another good question! (pauses) Well, when Memento Mori was up and running, the only way to promote the band was via old fashioned word of mouth, flyers and bill posters, if you could get them stuck up before the council had a chance to remove them! Now twenty years later, the focus for bands and promoters has moved to things like Facebook, music forums and email newsletters to get their news and updates out there.

"There is still a place for posters and flyers, I think, but it doesn't seem to be very common place now. The good thing is that social media applications have enabled us to reach places we never dreamed we could. We've sold CD's to people as far away as Australia and parts of the USA."

John: "Thanks to some US internet rock shows we have some great hard-core fans in America and UK and European radio stations play our music regularly and that way we're reaching out to a of potential fans in the UK and Europe. The number of Facebook 'Likes' we have is just marching onwards and upwards as a result of these internet radio stations as well as live gigs.

"Bandcamp too, allows us to stream our music free of charge, and that's where everyone can purchase the album or EP if they like what they hear. We have an online web store too, hosted by Big Cartel, or Amazon where we can sell CDs and t-shirts, so it just opens it all up globally instead of only being able to sell merchandise at our gigs, so for us it's been a very positive interaction with social media."

Bringing our chat to an end, I ask John and Fin, realistically, what they want the band to achieve?

John: "The band was just set up with the aim of just us enjoying playing music, so every step along the journey have been achievements we never imagined. There was never a set of goals – we just wanted to keep playing and importantly, enjoy playing."

Fin: "I always wanted to be signed to a record label, and I guess that would still be a great achievement but John's shown me that it's not as much a requirement in this day and age. He's fiercely independent and really strives to take us as far as we can go under our own steam with no demands or unrealistic commitments tying us down."

John has the final word telling me: "I think the only thing we agreed on was if someone ever looks back in a few years time and says 'remember Baleful Creed, they were a good band', I'd be very happy with that legacy". Wise words indeed.

You can see Baleful Creed live here:
Friday 13th June - Voodoo Bar, Belfast (with Stormtree and Sentinel as a charity gig for Belfast Rape Crisis Centre)
Friday 22nd - Sunday 24th August – Sunflowerfest, Tubby's Farm, Hillsborough

Baleful Creed are:
Fin Finlay – Vocals /Guitar
John Allen – Guitar
Stephen Fleming – Bass
Mark Stewart – Drums/Vocals

Online:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/BalefulCreed
BandCamp: http://balefulcreed.bandcamp.com

Thanks to both Fin Finlay and John Allen for their time.

Baleful Creed pictures - (c) Colin Patterson 2014

The official video for 'Crazy Man':




11.6.2014






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johnny thunders LOOKING FOR JOHNNY: THE LEGEND OF JOHNNY THUNDERS MOVIE TO BE RELEASED NEXT MONTH
When Johnny Thunders died in New Orleans on April 23rd 1991, he left behind a mystery...

metallica METALLICA TO RELEASE 27 LIVE ALBUMS BEFORE THE END OF THE YEAR AND APPEAR IN THE GUINNESS BOOK OF RECORDS
To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Z DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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