During the Soul Cellar Oxjam Battle of the Bands I got a chance to spend a bit of time with one of the three finalists, Rhythm Propelled Grenades, a band who really blew me away with their set that was a cracking mix of hip-hop, rock, alternative and much more.
Firstly could you introduce yourselves:
Chris Villiers (CV): Drums
Aaron Davis (AD): Guitars
Matt Dunne (MD): Keyboard
Bentrueman Stephen Anderson (BSA): Vocals
So where did the band name come from?
BSA: We all came from different musical backgrounds and we planned on being a Rage Against The Machine style band until we realised we didn’t write music like that. Aaron wanted to call us Propelled Grenades so I thought why don’t we just stick a Rhythm in front of that to tie in our different musical backgrounds and because we’ve come up with a style that’s a bit different.
How long have you guys been together then?
CV: Nearly a year now, we started on 30th September 2009 – it’s almost the band anniversary now!
You remember the exact day?
AD: It was pissing down with rain and it’s just when the magic started!
You said you all come from different musical backgrounds so how did you all get drawn together?
CV: We just searched for different people and all basically got drawn together one by one, I knew Ben from a previous band but I’d never met Aaron and Matt.
AD: We met on the internet[laughs all round]
BSA: Was it find-love.com?
AD: It was! Or Perfect-match.com?
So what would you say your sound was? What’s you’re musical style?
AD: There’s a bit of everything really, a bit of rock, bit of dance, bit of hip-hop, funk… whatever we listen to.
BSA: We just want to create something a little bit different.
AD: Yeah just mix together as many different genres as we can.
BSA: There was one song that was a bit metal but that’s a bit more drum’n’bass now…
And what bands would you each say influence you?
AD: Me and Chris are quite similar we both like a lot of progressive rock, Dream Theater, Led Zepplin, King Crimson… I was brought up on a lot of ‘70s classic rock.
MD: Any “down-town” sound…
BSA: I’m mainly into hip-hop and drum and bass but anything that I think is good really… just mix it all up.
So are you all Southampton locals then? All from around the city?
BSA: Yeah, we’re all from various parts of Southampton.
Have you played around a lot of venues in Southampton?
AD: Yeah we’ve pretty much played everywhere in Southampton and we’re starting to look at branching out maybe up into London, or some of the bigger cities.
But do you still enjoy playing in Southampton?
CV:Yeah to an extent, but there’s only so much you can play in Southampton before you get a bit tired of it.
BSA: But still, Soul Cellar where we’re playing tonight is a great venue, we get other places, like Talking Heads which is great, but we need more people getting interested in live music around the city.
With such diverse interests does Southampton play a role in your music at all?
BSA: Ehm… not really.[laughs]
Have you got anything up-coming? In terms of recordings or releases?
AD: We’re giving out free CD’s today but we’re working on our first EP at the moment which is taking a little bit longer than expected…
MD: We’re three songs away from mastering the whole EP which we can sell on iTunes or the internet
BSA: or Car boots…[laughs]
BSA: Back alley-jobs…
CV: Should be available in the next 2-3 weeks!
Rhythm Propelled Grenades subsequently won the Soul Cellar Battle of the Bands and as such will be part of the massive Oxjam Southampton Takeover on October 24th covering five different venues over the night.