Dead Label drummer, Claire Percival, Seething Akira vocalist, Kit Conrad, and bassist/vocalist, Joe Nally, of Urne took some time out of their schedules to talk with us about opening the Ronnie James Dio stage at Bloodstock 2023…
OD – Congratulations on your return to Bloodstock Open Air. Seeing as this will be your first time performing on the Ronnie James Dio stage, what went through your mind when you found out?
Claire [Dead Label] -Honestly, playing Bloodstock has always been a special one for us. We took part in the Metal 2 the Masses Ireland in 2014 (I think it was 2014), and we didn’t win, but our road to Bloodstock began there.
Entering M2TM Ireland was a game changer for us, it was the first real chance at playing one of the major festivals and we were hungry! Not winning fueled us to work even harder and we were invited to play on The Sophie Stage in 2015.
That was and always will be one of our most amazing experiences. We then returned to The Sophie Stage in 2018, this somehow was even better than our first time at Bloodstock as we debuted our Wall of Chaos which was an idea from Oran [Overdrive.ie founder], and now, to be asked to play on The Ronnie James Dio Stage, well… it’s just such an honour… I don’t think I have the words. We have used that stage as working titles for certain songs, that’s how much it means to us!
Joe [URNE] – Thank you! As a band who are also punters of Bloodstock, we are extremely proud that we are on the Ronnie James Dio stage. I think back to some of the iconic sets I have watched on that stage, and to be able to step on that stage, what a buzz.
Kit [Seething Akira] – After roughly 97 various swearwords coming out of my mouth…honestly, I had a real sense of pride running through my mind. Proud that we have managed to take this little band from Portsmouth to such a level.
That and sheer disbelief that we’ve been invited to come along and play the RONNIE JAMES DIO STAGE! Bloodstock, you lot are bloody BEAUTIFUL! From the bottom of my heart…thank you!
OD – Of course, you have performed at BOA in the past and have experienced the welcome
that the punters give up-and-coming new bands. The festival’s initiative in supporting grassroots music gives so many artists that much-needed opportunity. Do you think there should be more opportunities like this across the industry as a whole?
Joe [URNE] – Oh Absolutely! But I would say this is what makes Bloodstock so special to Metal fans from across the UK, Ireland, and Europe. It’s the amount of work that the team has put in to support up-and-coming bands over the last few years… that can’t be matched.
Claire [Dead Label] -100000%!If there was a similar path for all the festivals the engagement in up-and-coming bands would be so much higher. It’s extremely hard to get noticed by a festival, there are probably 2000 amazing bands in every country that could open up stages at festivals around the world. M2TM provides a clear path, it provides opportunities to be seen by the right people. The Waynes World dream of the guy in the suit coming up and waving contracts or gigs at you after you play a local club, well that just isn’t happening, but Simon [Hall, BOA booking agent/M2TM] coming to each and every final is as damn close as I have seen.
And even when you don’t win, you are still seen, you are remembered, you play some amazing local gigs and you try again. I really do hope that other festivals take this model and give younger bands the path to professionalism that M2TM gave to us.
Kit [Seething Akira] – Definitely! There are some fantastic bands still circulating and headlining big festivals…but what happens when these bands decide to retire? Are we just going to stop running major festivals? Hell no! Schemes like this are a great way for the bands of tomorrow to get visibility and recognition of their talents, and who knows…potentially become the big headliners for the next generation!
OD – As far as show capacity goes, will this be the biggest audience you’ve performed before, to date?
Kit [Seething Akira] – Other than my OnlyFans audience…only kidding, no one in their right mind would pay for that! This will be the biggest audience we have played to for sure!
Claire [Dead Label] – We have been very lucky, and played to a lot of big crowds, often as a support band. But the Bloodstock fans are there for the music, so they get up early, and they watch bands. I wonder will this be the time we break the record on The Wall of Chaos?
Joe [URNE] – If people turn up to watch us, yes haha! Close with Copenhell in Denmark.
We had our first Euro Festival run this summer, and I think that changed a lot for us, a great learning experience.
OD – With regards to band activity are there any other plans surrounding dates for the
Summer, or do you have any new singles/EP’s set for release?
Kit [Seething Akira] – We do have a few shows and festivals in the pipeline…some we can talk about…and others we cannot as of yet. What I will say though, 2023 is going to be absolutely MAD! Rest in Peace, my annual leave allowance. [Laughing]
When it comes to new music, we are usually always writing in some fashion, partly down to the fact this it is something we really enjoy doing, and partly because it seems we all hate having any free time ever.
Joe [URNE] – Next year we have a lot to announce, not much we can say but, we are currently recording album number two, and we can’t wait to show what we have been working on.
Claire [Dead Label] – We are currently booking some other things for 2023, and we are planning to drop some music around that, we are just finalising some things. We have a lot of material, and we are looking forward to sharing it with everyone!
OD – If you could invite any other band member from next years Bloodstock line-up to join you on stage, who would it be?
Joe [URNE] – Ohhh that’s a good one! I would say Jesse Leach [Killswitch Engage, vocalist], as I would love to hear him sing on one of our songs!
Claire [Dead Label] – I’d have to say Dave McClain of Sacred Reich. He’s a very good friend, and as much as it would terrify me for my band to play with the best drummer in the world, I think it would be amazing to have him join us for a track! Although we run the risk of Danny [Hall, Dead Label guitarist] and Dave doing only Van Halen covers! I’d also have to say, Dave Mustaine. Dave is an extremely nice guy, and he may be more familiar with some of our tracks than people think (I can’t say any more on that), so he might lay down a ripping solo on a track or two!
Kit [Seething Akira] – The obvious answer for me here is Killswitch Engage. I absolutely love that band! I grew up listening to them, and I STILL can’t believe we’re playing on the same stage as them! Their music also links to a weird New Year’s event I went to in my early teens, but that’s a story for another time!
For this though, I would have to say Nonpoint. Another band I grew up listening to, and one of the many inspirations for my vocal delivery. Elias [Soriano, Nonpoint vocalist], if you’re reading this, let me know what song you want, and I’ll ping you the lyrics!
OD – Of all the Festival moments you’ve had in the past, what has been the most stand-out moment?
Claire [Dead Label] – Gojira at Bloodstock 2016, when they played before Mastadon! HOLY GOOD FUCK! If you were there, you will know what I’m talking about. I remember the sun was setting as they were playing and for me, they made themselves the festival headliners that day!
Joe [URNE] – I would have to name a few. Our first Bloodstock, as it was our first festival as URNE (we have all played other ones before that). Copenhell 2022 also, we had never played to a crowd that size, and we didn’t expect it all! And finally, Summerbreeze in 2022, We basically lost our drummer a few days before and had two large festivals that same week. I called James [Cook] and asked him to join. He had the task of playing two giant festivals that week. He absolutely smashed it, and we had never sounded so good.
Kit [Seething Akira] – It would have to be the Sophie Stage at Bloodstock in 2021. I know, cliché, but it was our second performance after lockdown.
It was beautifully overwhelming to see so many amazing people that had been starved of live music for over two years. This resonated so much with us, to the point we were close to tears on stage (I had to turn away at one point as I felt one starting to trickle). It’s a treasured memory we’ll never forget, and will always hold dear…it still puts a smile on my face to this day just thinking about it!
Seething Akira opens the RJD Stage at Bloodstock on Friday 11th, Urne opens the RJD stage on Saturday 12th and Dead Label opens the RJD stage on Sunday 13th of August, 2023.
For more information on all three bands, simply click the links below:
Tickets for Bloodstock Open Air are on sale NOW!