If Birmingham in the West Midlands of England came up in conversation with a connection to the world of rock music, heavy weight legends Black Sabbath might be one common denominator with Judas Priest coming a close second popping to mind. There are many other bands naturally that hail from Birmingham, which has the largest population for a city outside of the English capital of London. In a 2010 survey it was estimated that Birmingham had a populace of around 1,036,900 people so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to note that new bands are surfacing all the time.
One such band are known as Angels And Kings who play an electronic rock style which has become very prominent in recent years with the likes of Eye Alaska, Let’s Get It, Breathe Carolina and the sound of the most recent My Chemical Romance studio opus Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys for example. These well produced and slick sounding bands pull together many different references for their music, but most notably the poppy hooks of contemporary pop music mixed with the burst of energy and distorted guitar you would normally associate with rock, coming together in what is becoming an ever-growing rock music scene.
If you look up Angels And Kings on sites like Facebook and ReverbNation you can hear songs like Wide Awake and A Place Of My Own which showcase their brand of sound and style very well. These were recorded in Los Angeles and if you search further afield you’ll also be able to wrap your ears and your eyes around their debut video for the single Wide Awake.
The band is made up of Si Jefferies on lead vocals and guitar, Alexander Doyle on lead guitar, Adam Dodd utilising the keyboard for all manner of wizardry, Roger Ash plucking the bass and Ross Hawkins providing a solid beat on drums.
Jefferies filled me in on how the band initially reached this lineup and explained how Hawkins and he had linked up first. Doyle came onboard next solidifying a strong songwriting team with the rest of the guys falling into place thereafter. This gathering of musically hungry and creative youths took place over several years but this lineup is now contented with what they have and new music is constantly surfacing as a result.
Angels And Kings are openly fans of L.A. and as Doyle explains “About two years ago, we were doing everything around Birmingham and decided to sort of have a look overseas and I’d been to L.A. I’ve got some family kinda based in California and always liked the place.” He enthusiastically continued “We went for about two weeks I think it was, and in that two weeks we had a, you know, a great time.” Doyle revealed how they’d witnessed Soundgarden play in Paramount Studios and had been fortunate enough to meet some really cool people. The whole band then saved up as much money as they could and all ventured over to Los Angeles for about a three-month duration living there and recorded some music and made some new friends. This three-month stay in Los Angeles proved to be a crucial chapter in the band’s story as they had the opportunity to bond with each other, and under such intense circumstances found an insight and chemistry which continues to grow.
We all love rock and metal, and then obviously the electronic thing has always been big in England.
When thinking about their sound, according to Jefferies this came from a natural collaboration of their influences. “We all love rock and metal, and then obviously the electronic thing has always been big in England.” Doyle observes “It’s sort of taken off” when thinking about their style in relation to the tastes of U.S. rock fans. Doyle expands “One minute we like to listen to heavy stuff like Devin Townsend or whatever, and then next you could be listening to like, some kinda more electronic, like Bjork or something, or Prodigy or whatever it might be. You’re just trying to take cool things and put them altogether.” After some thought Doyle also interpreted the weather and general vibe of L.A. having some possible influence over their music.
Being a new band entering the vast arena that we all know as the rock music scene, I wanted to know what approach they were adopting in the current music business climate in order to make themselves more successful. Both Jefferies and Dodd were keen to stress they enjoyed the process of playing live and to make each gig the best they could. They also acknowledged the presence of online bloggers claiming to know the answers to propel up and coming bands to stardom and how to utilise the facilities the internet has to offer, but had reached their own conclusions nevertheless. Incorporating the network potential of social networking sites with playing live shows whenever and wherever they could, increased the chances of the band making valuable connections with various relevant people within the music industry machine.
“You’ve still gotta have the goods, you’ve still gotta have the, y’know, the band and the music and the work ethic and all that sorta stuff, but I do think you need a slice of luck in some capacity whether it’s the right, just one person can put you in that, y’know, in a much greater place where things can come from it.” After Doyle had expressed his thoughts, Jefferies chimed in with a further factor that he felt held great relevance. “Having the right-minded people onboard in your band as well, ‘cos that’s why we’ve, obviously it’s took us a while to get the right people in the band and stuff and I think that’s because one person, one weak link, or one person that’s not gonna pull their weight will ruin everything.”
With this in mind, Dodd and Jefferies recognised and explained how important it was that each band member had to be united in their aspirations of what their band could achieve and how far they wanted to take it. Knowing that some bands possess the attitude and outlook that the band they’re in is merely a hobby or a place of escapism from everyday work and issues, Angels And Kings were full of self-belief in their potential and were set on pushing the band further. They both expressed how a lot of sacrifices had been made to keep their band moving forwards, but didn’t elaborate on what those were.
Due to the creative process blossoming within this lineup, Dodd and Jefferies explained that they hope to release a couple more singles and keep releasing bits and pieces. But ultimately they’re considering their options on how best to release their inevitable debut studio album. They’ve even considered using an internet source like Kickstarter where fans fund the recording process and they’re looking into other innovative methods.
The band’s name is something that means a lot to each individual and conjures up memories of good times and eventful moments, and when you consider that they’ve taken about five or six years to eventually settle on this lineup, you may well be forgiven for thinking this band are serious about their endeavors and intentions. Don’t write these guys off too soon. Angels And Kings have a straight forward and simple mission statement, and that is to have a good time and spread that good time with those who enjoy listening to their music. It’s not asking for a great deal. Check out the video for Wide Awake below and just remember where you heard about them first.