Interview with Phil Cross from CONTINENTS; New record “Idle Hands” out on Victory Records NOW! @wearecontinents @victoryrecords
UK’s Continents are ready to leave their own. The South Wales quintet has just released their debut record, Idle Hands, on underground mainstay Victory Records, and will undoubtedly be supporting the release in spades during the upcoming year.
Though still a young band, Continents have garnered a lot of attention for themselves over the past few years, and their fans can undoubtedly expect quite a wild ride during their performances. I, for one, am looking forward to checking them out in concert!
I got in touch with vocalist Phil Cross just after the release to talk about the tuneage, the hardcore scene in South Wales, and a few of the band’s finer moments on stage.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five! If you could, please introduce everyone in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
P- Hey! We come from South Wales in the UK. I’m Phil, the vocalist. There’s Tom and Darryl on Guitars, Dom on bass and finally our goth drummer, Duncan.
G- How long has Continents been around and when did you first get started? Do you remember the moment that you really felt the group “click?” When did you decide to try full-time touring?
P- Continents started out in 2010 with Tom and Darryl, who started the band. They poached me from another local band, and then after few try outs Dom joined on bass. Duncan joined in 2011 as we had a fill in a drummer for a few months (he was in another band at the time,) so he chose to commit to his original band, as he couldn’t carry on with two bands. Its shame really that he left (the band) as we all hate Duncan. Just kidding.
I felt we have always clicked as a group from the get-go, but when we recorded the album, I have never seen us all pull together like that. We had arguments and disagreements, but it helped push each other. It mentally tested me to be honest, as I’m never fully satisfied with anything that I do. Since recording, we always tell each other straight now and no one is afraid to speak up around each other. Disagreements last for 2 minutes rather than a few days now.
We have toured a few times. With work, we have had to always use up holidays so we can only go so many times. With a few of us packing in our jobs recently to concentrate on touring, we were able to tour for 3 weeks straight just before Xmas through Europe. (We’re) looking forward to February onwards now, as we have so many great tours to announce!
G- That’s awesome, man! Haha… Drummers always get beaten on… See what I did there?
So, tell our readers a bit about where you are from… How is the hardcore scene in the UK in your perspective, and how are the responses at your shows?
P- Growing up in the hardcore scene in the UK was crazy. Bands used to help other bands out by taking out each other’s records to support the underground scene, and shows were usually crazy. These days, for promoters, it’s a huge gamble unless it’s a festival or all day-er, or an already established band. It’s hit or miss.
Having said that, there are so many good bands and festivals over here, Outbreak Fest and Ghostfest being the main two that support the underground scene. Metal kids see us as hardcore, and hardcore see us as metal, so we always have mixed pits at our shows. You have the moshers, then you have the hardcore dancers, and sometimes they clash. I don’t get why, but I end up trying to rectify it as I hate violence. We have had shows cut short because of fights and such, which is nuts because we are all at a show for same purpose; fun and sing-a-longs. Since we played Ghostfest in the UK, there’s been so many people coming out and grabbing the mic, getting involved, crowd surfing, buying merch… It’s amazing.
G- That’s fantastic, Phil! Clearly the group is making some headway in the scene… Keep it up!
Continents just released your latest record, Idle Hands, on Victory Records… Can you tell us a bit about your tunes and where did you find the inspiration to write your new material?
P- Idle Hands has a ton of songs that are personal to me, like “Pegasus, Pegasus”. It’s about a break up and wanting to be with someone, but you can’t because of all of their issues. I hate women who are attention seekers and was in shit place at the time when I wrote that haha.
“Lion’s Den” is about a part my life that I never want to go back to and never write about. I didn’t want get into this part of my life, as I never wanted people to pick up on my weaknesses. I wrote the song the night before we recorded it in the studio (literally the night before.) I decided I wanted to show a different side to me, and incorporated it so other people can feel themselves in it, lyrically anyways.
There are songs with positive messages that basically give a “fuck you” to anyone that puts you down, like “Trials.” “Exhale”(a personal song for us all) is to all the so called “friends” that slated us for signing. Others on there are about me questioning my beliefs in God, government conspiracies, the NOW, etc.
G- Right on… Sounds like a very cathartic release for the group as a whole, and that’s what hardcore is all about!
Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? If you were to give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of your band before to make a new fan, what track would you offer them and why?
P- Maybe “Pegasus Pegasus.” This is a tough question, as I feel all the songs offer something different in their own way. It’s got the cleans, but I avoided going for over top cleans with auto tune. Hearing people sing that back at shows is crazy! It’s also very heavy and has a raw hardcore section to it, which people usually lose their minds to.
G- Cool. To get to a serious matter for a moment, a topic that has been in the news lately is crowd/band interaction and security issues at shows. Has Continents had to deal with any altercations with fans, and what do you guys do when there is a fight or an issue with the crowd/security?
P- There have been many situations where we have had to stop a set because some kid is out cold on the floor, another has dislocated their shoulder, speaker stacks have been knocked down, etc. If we feel the issue needs to be resolved there and then, if I spot something, I will stop. People get hurt at shows all the time, so if we did that at every show, we may as well not play. We just encourage people as much as we can to look out for one another.
In Czech Republic, we had some guy off his face on drugs coming on the stage basically all over us while security was busy moshing. Ghostfest was ace, as they had to drag in more security and kept warning us to calm it down. We played a show with Knife Party once at a big dubstep event… Why we agreed I don’t know, but I loved it. Security was crazy, dragging the crowd about by their necks. We have some of it on camera because it was so crazy that we had to film it.
G- Jeez you UK folks don’t play around. Take note, youthful ragers. Now, you’ve seemingly touched on it quite well above, but what should your fans, both old and new, expect of the performances when you guys hit the road, and what should some of the first time listeners expect to see when you take the stage?
P- With us, always expect the unexpected. We always have a set list ready, but we decide on the fly if we are going to do something extra special. Sometimes you will see us in the crowd, hanging off the ceiling. If it’s a small show, we could be on the bar jumping into the crowd, but at every moment we will be trying to get the crowd involved as much as we can. We just like to have fun.
As much as the songs are angry, we are a positive band. Sometimes we throw in the inflatables. It’s all about making sure the crowd gets what they came for. Even if there were 2 people there or we are the support, we will still give it 110% out there.
G- Excellent! (With cheeky British accent) Spot on, sir, spot on. Are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? If you could curate a feasible 3-band lineup, who would you want to go on tour with, and why?
P- I would love to tour with Ghost Inside, Parkway Drive, A Day to Remember or Bring Me The Horizon. The reason I say these bands is because they are hard working bands who I have learned to appreciate over the years and very much enjoy. Those are the types of crowds that I feel we would go down well with.
G- That’s 4, but I won’t ding you on it. That’d be a hell of a lineup to see! And speaking of shows, what is the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date with Continents? Where was it and what was it like?
P- The craziest show was Ghostfest, as that was a turning point for us. It was a dream to play it, as so many great UK bands started out there and there’s always such a great line up. It went by so quickly!
From the very beginning, the room was packed and nobody else could get in to see us. There was so much crowd surfing and stage diving because security couldn’t handle the amount of people coming over it was hectic. We loved it!
G- Nice… Viva chaos!!! Lastly, what advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to make it in music, on the road, and as a professional musician?
P- Work out/keep fit and stay healthy is what I’m learning. Your body takes a battering every night. Ignore what people say if they try putting you down, keep at it. We just do what we do, don’t follow suit, be who you are and don’t become rude or arrogant to fans or other bands if you make it. I have met so many people who have disappointed me who I looked up to; it’s not nice and always such a bummer. It’s a long hard road and it’s not an easy one, but if you feel a risk is worth taking, do it.