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Monday, 6 August 2018

The Spotlight: Pre-Bloodstock Interview With Josh McMorran of Bloodshot Dawn (Interview With Paul H)

Bloodshot Dawn are one of the UK bands that have been a must see over the years. They’ve been around since 2003, played numerous gigs and released three impressive albums during that time. After a hiatus when things went quiet in the BS camp, the band blasted back into our field of vision with their third album, the blistering Reanimation at the start of 2018. I was fortunate to get some questions to Bloodshot main man Josh McMorran.

Paul: You’ve been around since 2003 which is 15 years! That’s crazy and it only seems like yesterday we were watching you in Bogiez in Cardiff promoting the first album. For those who may not know much about Bloodshot Dawn, let’s start with a quick history of the band and introduce us to the current line-up.

Josh: “We first formed when I was in school and spent a lot of time forging our sound releasing our first album in 2012. We have since released 2 more albums and currently have been touring in support of Reanimation with our line-up consisting of Josh McMorran (Vocals/ Guitar), Morgan Reid (Vocals/ Guitar), Giacomo Gastaldi (Bass) and James Stewart (Drums) for 1 year now”.

Paul: Your music sits very much in the technical melodic death metal camp but there’s a lot more going on there. For those who haven’t heard of you, how would you describe your sound.

Josh: “We try to take all the elements on extreme music that we enjoy but with a keen eye for melodic hooks on the guitars!! If you like your metal exciting and, in your face … we are definitely for you”.

Paul: Who are your main influences?

Josh: “Each member has their own but for me it must be Scar Symmetry, Decapitated, Pantera and loads more!”

Paul: This year you released Reanimation, album no.3 which felt very much like a rebirth of the band. It’s a superb album, and I feel it’s a more mature release than Demons, but also a natural progression. Tell us a bit about how you put the album together.

Josh: “This was the first album with Me and Morgan writing it together, so it was a very fresh experience. Both us decided an organic approach would be best so we locked ourselves in a room and just grinded it out! We had a spark and we are excited as to what the future holds”.

Paul: The reaction that I read was universally positive. Were you pleased with the reviews?

Josh: “Absolutely. We have seen some slight criticism here and there, but most of the reviews have been strong which always adds fuel to the fire to make more!”

Paul: Your UK tour started the year off with a bang. I saw you in Fuel in Cardiff. How did that tour go?

Josh: “It was a great success; the UK underground scene has always been our foundation, so we love to trek across at least once a year when we are touring. The fans welcomed us with open arms and even the adverse weather didn’t stop fans coming out and enjoying the show”.

Paul: So this year has been manic for you, and you’ve just got back from another trip to Japan. What is it about Japan and Bloodshot Dawn?

Josh: “The fans are very dedicated In Japan. We made a shot in the dark in 2012 to play in Japan without knowing if we had a fan base at all. To be honest they made us feel very welcome and we have been invited back three more times since. It’s impossible to say no”.

Paul: Tell us a bit about the tour there. What kind of places are you playing to over there, and what is the reaction like (apart from the Pokémon gifts!)?

Josh: “We played in incredible venues in Osaka, Nagoya and Tokyo. Everything from the staff, equipment to the organisation and even public transport is perfect. Not a step was missed at any point. The fans come to the show simply to watch the band so when you play they are fully engaged and don’t even talk between songs! They will react at every moment and can be deafening if you ask them to chant!!! They love to buy merch and support the band, asking for photos and signatures often”.

Paul: You’ve recently also played Hellfest which looked incredible and again you got an impressive turnout. How did that come about and what was it like?

Josh: “Hellfest was one of the greatest shows of my life! To share the bill with a prestige of bands like that was truly an unforgettable experience. Also, to have such a large crowd made the show all the sweeter. In all honesty the festival contacted us directly for the slot as we didn’t anticipate playing any festivals this year given it was our first year back into the touring fray. I guess they had heard us because of the work of our label and us to push the newest record and noticed we didn’t have much planned in the summer months. We only did one show in mainland Europe this year and it was a belter!”

 Paul: You are active on social media and as a friend on Facebook as well as a follower of the band I’m keenly aware that there are massive challenges keeping the band going.  I remain astonished but grateful that so many bands do keep going. How hard is it, and what are the main obstacles for you?

Josh: “For me it isn’t difficult. It’s what I want to do with my life. My outlet for my personal struggles and it enables me to travel and experience the thing I love with different cultures and scenes.  Money is always an issue but fortunately we have great fans who still buy our music and merch which is really driving us forward to get out more and play! “

Paul: I remember you opened the Friday main stage at Bloodstock 2014. For many in the crowd, myself included, it was vindication to those who had heard us talking about you. What do you remember about that day.

Josh: “For me that day was a huge mile stone. It was our third performance at Bloodstock having won our local metal to the masses competition in 2009. As in independent band the festival has always been a pillar for us within the UK scene and them giving us the honour of that platform was a testament to the hard work of the band over the years. It was a huge influence into driving us forward to continue looking forward and follow our dreams of playing our music to people everywhere we can”.

Paul: This year you are on the Thursday night which is traditionally carnage. You’ll have a full tent, with everyone buzzing, from the excitement and the inevitable constant drinking from the time that tent is pitched. How did the slot come about?

Josh: “It’s been 4 years since we last played and for us that’s a long gap. We applied for the festival just as we always do and like all bands should by sending over our record and asking nicely! We see ourselves as one of their house bands, whether they like it or not and I think they would have got sick of us bothering them if they didn’t ask us this year.  Jokes aside every show has been special at Bloodstock and we are honoured to be considered for a position again”.

Paul: No pressure at all, on before a rather legendary band in Akrona. What can we expect from you guys – why should those who are undecided come and watch?

Josh: “Honestly, we never feel a pressure playing with any band. We do what we do to get the crowd ready for any bands playing after us as that’s what it’s all about. We are hoping we can get the crowd nice and warm for Akrona who will be travelling along way to grace our stage.  From us you can expect a tight and practiced display of songs from all 3 of our albums. We have played over seven countries/ three continents this year alone and have become potentially the strongest love force ever to be seen in the Bloodshot Dawn camp”.

Paul: I’m assuming you are doing the weekend (heading home Sunday?) Who are you looking forward to seeing at BOA this year?

Josh: “I am really looking forward to seeing Judas Priest personally. But other than that, I plan to see lots of new bands I’ve never seen before!”

Paul: Having been around since 2003, you must have experienced some real highs and lows. Share some of your highlights so far.

Josh: “Honestly it all merged into one but meeting and working with Per Nilsson on Reanimation was my favourite musical moment. We will be working with him in the future also!”

Paul: After Bloodstock what ‘s next for the band?

Josh: “We are having a bit of time out to work on some new music with the eye to pick up our touring schedule for Reanimation in the winter and throughout 2019. Cheers Paul!”

If you’ve seen Bloodshot Dawn before you will know how ferocious they are live. They are also superb musicians. If you haven’t, the band play the Sophie Tent on the opening night at Bloodstock. If you can tear yourself away from the beers and the bin jousting, I suggest you get into the tent to watch one of the UK’s best metal bands doing what they do best.

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