Interview//Lets Play God

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Lets Play God are a four piece independent band from Glasgow. This year, they released their EP Survival of the Twisted and have since been on a tour across Scotland. They are made up of four members; Rob- vocals, Chris- bass and backing vocals, John- drums and, their newest member, John 2 on guitar. I interviewed them on the night Survival of the Twisted was released and, I’ll admit it, my expectations were high. They’re an interesting band. My expectations were met and they gave me a great interview.

  • What sets apart Lets Play God from other acts?

Chris – Nothing, we are doing exactly what everyone else has done before. I think the difference is we’re doing it our way. We’re not following any trends, we try to be as innovative as we can and give our story from our angle.

John 2 – Nothing other than the fact that we are 4 individual people in a band, if I was in any other band besides Lets Play God the music would be different again because I would be working with 3 or 4 other people who each have their own style to bring to the table.

Rob – What makes you different? We are fucking gorgeous. I mean really. We play with some ugly ass bands. Seriously though, I don’t know, it’s up to the listener, listen to the music, watch us play, you tell us. We are gorgeous though.

  • As musicians, do you experience music differently than you do as a listener? For example, is listening escapism and performing a means of expression?

John – We do listen to songs in more of a depth as musicians and appreciate them even more since we know what it’s like putting all your blood, sweat and tears into making a great track or album for us and for the people listening looking for something to relate to. Just as we did when we started to explore music at a young age for a sense of release and escapism. Playing live is more of a release than escapism

Rob– I read a really cool thing that Randy Blythe from Lamb of God wrote. He said that when he goes out on stage every day and gets his shit out- he calls it ‘getting his shit out’, he said he doesn’t know how people get through life without having that release. I know exactly what he means. The days we don’t play, that we don’t do band stuff; those days are horrific for me. Being in a band is therapy to me. It’s a bit of both.

John 2 – They are both a means of expression and escapism but one is a private way of doing so and the other public.

Chris – Writing is as much of an escape as listening sometimes. If you write a song and you release the shit while doing so it can be a great escape from what’s in your mind. My idea of music has definitely been enlightened because being in a band shows the inner workings of the industry- this can take some of the limelight out of it a bit but I would never lose my roots of being a music listener, that’s where it all started.

  • Do you think that constantly aiming for success without the aid of a record label is a self-fulfilling prophecy as in the more you talk about it, work towards it and essentially make it your trademark, the more likely it’ll work out?

Rob – Well we’re not doing this out of complete stubbornness, we’re doing this because it’s necessary. And we seem to be doing not too bad with it.

Chris – I’ve never heard anyone in the band mention that we want success. All the discussions we’ve ever had have been about realistic things like touring, playing certain riffs live and seeing reactions etc.  They are the things that get us going. I mean, we might have joked about it and stuff but we are very much grounded. If we are progressing we are happy, if we are climbing the ladder then we’re happy. We’ll never be completely satisfied so we just take each day as it comes and enjoy ourselves.

John – Life is not as well laid out as that. Success is open to individual interpretation. For us at the current moment success is getting out there and meeting great people giving them an amazing show and giving them a buzz. The best comments are the ones where people come and say ‘I’m not generally a fan of this kind of music but I really enjoyed yous’. We are entertainers at the end of the day and fulfilling that is success in our heads.

John 2 – Not really, at the end of the day I don’t think it matters whether you have a label or not, fans are out for good music, they won’t care how you get your music out there. That’s how I see it anyway, you could be the most independent band out there but if the music sucks then I’m not going to listen to it.

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  • What would you say you’ve learned as a band in the past 5 years? What mistakes did you learn from?

Rob – DTA. [Don’t Trust Anyone]

Chris – Preparation is probably the biggest thing, some people are over prepared and that’s wrong too. But you can’t beat being prepared, that goes for anything, bodily functions, transport, merch, songs, rehearsals, playing, whatever it is you need to be prepared for its probably the one big lesson. Listing mistakes I’ve learned from this particularly may take a while so Ill leave it. Just don’t overdo it on the prep either you need to get out there and do it as well otherwise there is no point.

John – S.M.H.P [Super Motherfuckin’ Headbang Phenomena]

  • Talk me through the writing process for Survival of the Twisted. [Review here]

Chris – Lesson was a song wrote on the tail of Gregg leaving and John 2 entering, it was one of the first songs he learnt coming in and as he was learning the back catalogue of songs Rob and I wrote demo’s for Black Skull and Isolation. We took them to the guys and John 2 had presented When All Else Fails so from there the four of us made some adjustments to the tracks and hit the studio straight away. We were caught for time (preparation, CHECK) So we had 12 hours to record the 4 tracks in their entirety, as well as have breaks and set-ups etc. Luckily we managed the time well (preparation, CHECK) and we all worked hard to make it happen, I’m really proud of it considering all that was going on.

Rob -We’ve literally hundreds of riffs and shit just sitting there waiting to be picked up and given a home. These are the ones we chose this time, haha. Then John 2 showed up. With more riffs. We threw them in the pot; Survival Of The Twisted is what came out. It was fairly easy, it usually is with us, the difference with this time is we recorded a few of them before performing them live, so there’s a lot of venom on those recordings.

  • Chris, how did you find recording and producing Survival of the Twisted? Do you feel confident in your abilities or at least more confident in them?

Rob- I do. The recording process with Chris was the best I’ve had. I spent a whole weekend on one of our albums, unlimited beer and a lot of money went into it. I didn’t like it. With Survival of the Twisted, I spent two hours at Chris’s flat, and it was done. I don’t like recording, ever. I actually quite enjoyed this one. Just being there and watching other people record was great as well, it was easy. It’s never been easy. It’s nothing to do with the members, it’s to do with the guy at the other side. They don’t seem to ‘get’ us usually. So when the guy gets us, happens to be in the band, it’s so easy. For me.

Chris– It’s been different. I don’t know what I’m doing. With Revisited [their previous album that was re-recorded by Chris], I did it just because we’d hated every recording we’d ever done. John 2 joining the band gave us a great opportunity to redo the entire album, it was 10 tracks, 10 tracks that we were going to be performing or at least some of them and having a CD that didn’t have him on it, John 2 being a fully fledged member, seemed to be a waste. We dived into Revisited. We used Youtube tutorials to get us through; we honestly had no idea what we were doing. Essentially, we started that in November, released it in December by following those tutorials. Straight after that we went into doing Twisted, learning from mistakes we’d made with Revisited and went from there.

  • What is the theme of Survival of the Twisted, what’s inspired it?

John – Trying to survive this dog eat dog world people will sell parts of their humanity for quick cash, Greed has set in deep within our society and it makes people twisted, backstabbing and uncaring of their actions and who they hurt. As long as they are getting what the want but never feeling satisfied will turn anyone twisted.

John 2 – I only write guitar parts so it’s a pretty simple thing, I couldn’t pinpoint what inspires songs or riffs I write as it usually just depends on how I am feeling and sometimes I just sit to mess around on my guitar and I will stumble upon a cool riff without trying and it will grow from there.

Rob – You have to be seriously fucked up to do this. And to do it as hard as we do. I’ve pretty much destroyed myself physically, emotionally and spirituality just to live this life. And we’re still here; better than we’ve ever been. The past couple of years have been even crazier than usual and it just seems recently every band is splitting up. Bands are playing musical chairs, babies are being born, carpets are needing hoovered. But we’re a rock ‘n’ roll band. The carpet can get hoovered when we get back from tour.

  • Artists- be it writers, musicians, painters seem to reach a point where they slightly cringe at their older works. Do you ever find yourselves getting this way?

Rob – No.

John 2 – Not really, what’s done is done. I often think my newer stuff is better than older stuff but that probably comes done to the fact that its fresh and new to play which is always good because although I might love a song I’ve done in the past it does get boring to play the same stuff over and over…

Chris – This is the first CD I feel has my stamp on it, so I might feel like that in time to come but for now every time we are deciding a set list there isn’t a song I want to leave out, I think we hold a strong set and I enjoy playing every one of our songs. I might have moments where I’m like “OH NOT TODAY!! But generally speaking when it comes down to set writing time its hard to leave out any.

John – Not at all our work from the start to now is our journey put on cd, like when you’re looking through a photo book of the past, full of memories and shows how far you have come along but always important to remember your roots.

  • John 2- now that you’re an established member of Lets Play God, what would you say you’ve learned about being in a band?

John 2 – People have lost sight of the music and are more focused on money and image these days. The music scene is a mess for rock/metal artists and that makes it a lot of hard work to get somewhere, I grew up about reading about my favourite bands from the 80’s and it was all fun while someone else done the work, whereas unless you do everything yourself these days you will probably just end up being someone’s bitch and getting nothing for the work you do put in to what you do.

  • What happens if in, say 3 years, you haven’t ‘made it’? Is there an expiry date on Lets Play God?

Chris – Possibly, we want to progress so if we are moving in the right direction we will stay as a unit, if we start to get static or find ourselves in a circle we may review it. Right now every baby step we make is taking us to where we want to be, which is making a living from music. There is no aim to “Make It”

Rob – Being in a band, it’s so fragile at times, no matter how well you’re doing it could all end tomorrow. If we’re still a band after this tour I’d be grateful if we were still together. Every day is a blessing. 3 years? I can’t even think about that.

John 2 – I don’t know, I am in it for as long as it lasts. That might be 3 years, it might be 30, who knows what will happen, I am just taking it one day at a time

John – Its all down to perspective again saying you ‘made it’. It’s like asking someone what’s normality? Everyone has their own view but don’t truly know the answer. An expiry date for the band is impossible to answer as the future is unpredictable. We are still loving what we do and its hard to put an expiration date on that.

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  • What if you got an offer tomorrow from a label, everything you’ve wanted including money in return for signing to them?

Rob – We’ve always been open to labels, we’ve had negotiations since the start, what we’re doing now is just a reaction to paying attention to everything around us. But in relation to your question, I don’t know a record label could offer that. Complete artistic expression, self production, merchandise design, book our own tours, everyone knows what we’re getting paid, uncensored, rowdy ass rock n roll band? I’m not so sure.

John 2 – It would totally depend on what they wanted from us in return; I would rather make a comfortable living doing what we do just now as opposed to being moulded into a fake image made by a record label just to make millions of pounds.

Chris – It would completely depend on the stipulations of the contract, our objective is to play in front of as many people as possible and hopefully make a living from it, modest living or riches I don’t think we care as long as we get to do what we are meant to do and that’s play in a band together and explore the world like the four crazed loonies we are.

  • Do you find yourselves getting inspired by things other than music?

Chris – I’m inspired by the rhythmic beats of shagging.

Rob -Pussy.

John 2 – Not really, the most likely thing to inspire me is watching live music being played to thousands of people, which just really gets me thinking that if they can do it then so can I and that gives me the motivation to put in the work to get to where I want to be.

Rob – …Pussy.

  • Anything else you’d like to speak about?

John 2 – Nope, I’m good.

Chris – I just want to say that just because you might see something on Facebook and you think that you may “know” us because you spoke to us a few times that it gives you some authority to speak about us like you actually have a clue what we are like, you’re an idiot and you don’t. We’re getting a lot of stick at the moment for not taking bullshit and people don’t know all the facts so I just want to say to all the shit stirrers out there.. Fuck you! What’s ruining music is the lowlife, money grabbing, back scratching, brown nose fuckers that have worked their way to pull strings and shit on bands, the people & promoters – the real fans that are trying to help new talent. These sharks are killin’ them in the water before they get the chance to start and it’s disgusting. Message to bands out there, be yourself, fuck what they promise you, fuck what they say… DTA!

Rob – Stay Twisted x

Photographs courtesy of Rory McKie and Gobophotography.

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