Following the success of their previous records, Massive Wagons have released their newest offering House of Noise through Earache Records. We caught up with frontman Barry ‘Baz’ Mills to ask talk about the new album and what the future holds in store for them.
RAM: You’ve come a long way since forming back in 2009. How do you feel your sound as a band has changed throughout the years?
Baz: It’s changed massively! When we started writing music we were heavily into the down-tuned kinda stuff, especially Black Stone Cherry. They were having a lot of success at the time and we were huge fans, as you do I suppose when you’re finding your feet you write with your heart on your sleeve. Once we got that out of our system we made a real conscious effort to find our own sound, I think as time has gone on we have really found our own sound and maybe following behind a little was our own style. I think House Of Noise is the album we’ve been trying to make for the last 10 years since Stephen joined the band we’ve really hit a stride, and things have tightened up a hell of a lot, it’s oddly a kinda AC/DC/Quo/Greenday/Offspring sound we’ve developed, I’ve no idea where that came from but I like it! Haha.
RAM: The new video for ‘Bangin in Your Stereo’ was released back in May. Paul “Bamm-Bamm” White from Bootyard Bandits made the Lego stop-motion video for you. I assume some of you will be big Lego fans, have you ever made any interesting or unique models of any sort?
Baz: Paul absolutely came to the rescue on that! As you know the rules in place during lockdown simply wouldn’t allow us to film any sort of live performance or a storyboard. So much, the idea of a stop motion video was thrown up by someone and we just thought yes! Great idea! And as luck would have it we are friends with the Bootyard guys and just threw it out there to Paul, the time frame was about a month haha… it took him several months longer to make the Bootyard one but said he relished the challenge! And he nailed it absolutely! It received a lot of love from our fans and Lego enthusiasts! Personally I’ve never really been into Lego so much, I do genuinely have a newfound respect for it tho!
RAM: You’ve also got a new video for the single ‘House of Noise’ with the greenscreen which could be an ode to old 70s rock videos. Talk us through the concept of the video?
Baz: Again, still in lockdown, same issues as ‘Bangin in Your Stereo’. With deciding to release an album, to be honest, the video issue never really struck me until it came time to make one. I do like the pressure tho and having to think on your feet and be creative. As luck would have it by the time we came to make the ‘HON’ video the social distancing rules had been relaxed a little. We could all be in the same room as each other, but the green screen allowed us again to be creative and give the impression we were all playing beside each other, that and flying through space.
We’d always liked the old skool green screen vids of the 70s, we weren’t trying to recreate something that clearly wasn’t real. We wanted it to be a bit potty, multiple band members, lots of weirdness. John Heaney who filmed it was the only man for the job, he has a great imagination and we just left it all to him, and this was what his crazy mind came up with, again, nailed it!
RAM: The new album House of Noise is out now through Earache Records. On the album we hear plenty of heavy-hitting, hard rock tracks but also a couple of songs that are a definite change of pace like ‘The Curry Song’ and the closing track ‘Matter of Time’, how does the songwriting process differ when writing a slower song compared to the faster heavier tracks?
Baz: When we start to write an album, apart from [the fact that] there generally isn’t a specific start point (as we usually just keep on writing right through), we also don’t head in a specific direction. We don’t generally have a plan, we just write what comes up, whatever’s sounding good to us at the time. So when something that’s a bit of a pace changer comes along, as the guy who writes the words, I do have to take this into consideration, especially the mood of the song.
‘Curry Song’ is like nothing else we’ve ever done, but I immediately wanted it to be an upbeat track, the music on that track is Stephens – I loved it immediately, and it struck me that it needed to be fun. ‘Matter Of Time’ is a track left over from Full Nelson too good to not to use, that song has a kinda meaningful vibe, I wrote the words as a message to my daughter, so it needed to be serious and in no way really like a lot of the other tracks on the album. I put a lot more thought into that track than the others as it’s extremely personal.
RAM: Whilst listening to ‘The Curry Song’ I noticed a bit of a Blur ‘Parklife’ vibe to the track, is that intentional?
Baz: It wasn’t at first ha, when we took that one into the studio I was really belting out the lyrics, and the chorus fell flat a little. I couldn’t make up my mind what the problem was. Chris Clancy (one of the producers) upon hearing it for the first time immediately said ‘why don’t you try and talk the lyrics a little more, a kind of Parklife style as that will lift the chorus and the verses will come across a bit better’. He was right, so glad we did it this way, I loved doing this track, it’s in the set and ready to go for when we can gig again!
RAM: You recently had the chance to open some shows for Lynyrd Skynyrd and Status Quo. What was that experience like for you?
Baz: It was amazing really, it was a huge undertaking on our part, we were entering into an event style that we really had no idea about, we had to learn a lot fast, and assemble a team that knew how to handle a show of this size. After a few weeks of planning we got things ready to go, and apart from a few tiny issues it all went off without a hitch. It was a lot of fun! We could get used to playing those shows haha. Big stage, big sound, lots of production, it’s a dream really, one we hope to re-experience one day.
RAM: Following that, you ended the Road Dogs tour with Bootyard Bandits. Have you got any great tour stories?
Baz: To be quite honest, nothing really sticks out haha but we’ve played with those guys quite a few times now. They bring it every single night! Can’t speak highly enough of them, absolute gents, a great laugh, and they play out of their skin, it was a great tour.
RAM: Do Massive Wagons have a motto and if so what is it?
Baz: Not really, we’ve never really felt the need. But we regularly receive questions often asking for advice for bands starting out – ‘don’t be a dick’… it covers a lot, when you’re in this industry word travels fast if you are indeed ‘a dick’, people avoid working with you, and it’s hard enough to get on as it is without making yourself into a bad smell, so yeah ‘don’t be a dick!’ Very important.
RAM: What’s next for Massive Wagons?
Baz: More of the same! We’ve recently launched Wagons World on the Patreon platform, an online subscription web site for Wagons fans to receive more content, extra offers, behind the scenes info and videos. It’s really exciting for us, it gives us a platform to really expand what we are doing, and be more creative. It’s taken off in great fashion.
Other than that writing the next album really! Lockdown has if anything given us a plethora of free time, so it’s foolhardy to waste it. Writing songs is top of the list of jobs, but really we can’t wait to get back touring, a tour is planned and ready to go, we just need the nod from the powers that be.