Interview With M2TM 2019 Final Competitors Levitas
They may have been underdogs when they first entered the competition but the post black metal soundscapes of Cardiff/Bristol four-piece Levitas have captured many new fans with their blistering performances in the heat and semi-final. Live, the band can capture the imagination and captivate the listener. I caught up with Rhys just as they announced some new gigs
Paul: Let’s start with the journey since you progressed from the Heat. How has it been?
Levitas: Firstly, it's a privilege and an honour to get this far. There's been a lot of really strong bands in each heat and for us to get to this stage is a real eye opener. We entered this competition with an eye to just play in front of a different crowd, there was no real expectation other than to give it our best shot, which we try to do at every show regardless. It’s been a real pleasure to play in front of a lot of friends and fans who’ve come out to support us, to witness some new acts and to go through with a few of the bands that we’re quite friendly with, there’s a real sense of comradery.
Paul: Getting through the heat was challenging enough. What were the emotions like after the band’s name was called out on stage?
Levitas: I hadn’t realised how competitive I'd gotten, my zen thing went completely out of the window and I punched myself in the leg :P. The rest of the guys seemed pleased and content.
Paul: Every band upped their game for the Semi-Final. How did you prepare for the show and what did you feel that you needed to do to get through?
Levitas: As a band I’ve found the competition to have really pushed us. Every band stepping up and pushing themselves is like it’s some kind of musical arms race. For us, we tried to up our stage show, alongside adding in a new track. We’re an atmospheric band so adding the visual counterpart to our music is for me quite important, the blue light and the dry ice really did the trick and our new track caters to a faster more energetic side to Levitas that has up until now been elusive.
Paul: You had a bit of time between the heat and the semi-final. What’s been happening to the band in between the two shows at Fuel?
Levitas: We had quite a big gig with Advent Sorrow, Agrona and Cistvaen, who were all awesome! Aside from that it had been working on our aforementioned improvements.
Paul: There have been hugely positive vibes about the South Wales scene at these shows. Did you feel that it’s a true reflection of how metal in South Wales is at present? Is the community there?
Levitas: There’s definitely a community there. I think for the range of bands that we have it’s a bit divided by genre which is a bit of a shame, being a bit of an eclectic, I find it’s nice to enjoy the all you can eat musical cuisine as a whole. There are not many gigs around here that you’ll go to these days that’ll have this kind of contrast.
Paul: One of the aims of the M2TM competition is to gain exposure and new fans for the competing bands. How has progressing benefited the band?
Levitas: I’ve walked through Fuel a few times on my way to the rest rooms and overheard people saying positive things about our band or passing on compliments to friends which has been really uplifting. We’ve sold half a dozen t-shirts since we started playing M2TM and our Facebook likes have gone up considerably, it’s all good stuff.
Paul: So, 8th June sees a six-band final on what promises to be an astonishingly good evening. What’s the strategy to impress the Bloodstock judge who makes the decision on the night?
Levitas: I don’t want to say anything specific lest we give away too much. What I will say is that we have a sort of tiered plan which we’ll execute as we see fit depending on our time constraints. We’re going to play to our strengths and up the game again. This’ll be the biggest show to date, and we intend on putting every resource we have into it. Watch this space...
Paul: Rob Bannister or Simon Hall will be judging on the night [probably Rob] They can be notoriously hard to impress and guard that coveted spot zealously. With a full house guaranteed, how will you deal with the pressure?
Levitas: With dry ice and misery haha! The only pressure we feel is what we put on ourselves, if we just work on making this the best show we can play for us as a band then that’ll be enough.
Paul: We’ve noted the immediate benefits, what about the post final plans? Where does the band go after the final?
Levitas: I think regardless of the outcome we’ll be sticking around Fuel and celebrating a bit with everyone who took part and who came out to see us. We’ve got our biggest show to date at the end of the year where we’re opening Atmofest, we’re very much looking forward to working on some new material and using this competition to lay a solid foundation to step up ourselves again for that.
Paul: And finally, you are now older and wiser about this competition. What advice would you give to the new intake of bands who will be thinking about taking a run at it in 2020?
Levitas: Push your boundaries and play to your strengths.
Thanks to Levitas for their time. Be sure to envelope yourself in their unique brand of misery at Fuel on 8th June. It’ll make you smile. Honestly.
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