[Interview] with ... Adrenaline Animals

Adrenaline Animals - L-R Ad Edwards, Mark Fennelly and Alex Combe     
Photo: Rhona Murphy 

At the time of a band split up it might feel like the end of you and your world. But there are definitely times when departing from your beloved music and reforming soon after can turn out to be the right thing to do, even if such a realisation is far from being instant. It is a beautiful thing when a traumatic event happens to lead on to something stronger and the end result feels so much better for it. It feels fresh and new. 

Three piece punk rockers Adrenaline Animals have literally been there and done that. Towards the end of 2017, following some busy spells of touring with the likes of Welsh band Pretty Vicious and The Hoosiers, Adrenaline Animals went their separate ways. But this was only to be for a short while.

Earlier this year, following a good rest over the Christmas period, the three musicians got back together.  Ad Edwards (vocals and guitar), bassist Alex Combe and drummer Mark Fennelly are really excited about making music and playing together again.

Recording tracks at Monnow Valley Studio in Wales, filming and finalising their video for the soon to be released track This is England in London are all among activities which have been keeping the three band members busy again, with one clearly defined focus.

Alex: In a way, I think we kind of needed the break up because we had been going so hard working away almost non-stop. When you are unsigned you are doing everything yourself, driving up and down the country. I think over December we had a nice time with our families, enjoying Christmas like everyone else, we felt refreshed and felt ready to make music again.

But prior to the split up something else happened. Keen to expel some of his inner demons, Ad went into rehab for a short period of time.

Spending a short spell of time there led to strong bursts of creativity and prolific song-writing. In fact, Ad wrote five songs during that time and the band members hope to release some, if not all, tracks on an EP, due out later this summer.

The close friendship with Pretty Vicious also led to some collaborative work such as Brad Griffiths playing lead guitar on Adrenaline Animals’ track Music In Me.

Ad: I wrote Music In Me while I was in rehab. It totally made the song. It feels like it was actually written the week before I entered rehab but I wrote it there. We went in and put the guitars down on it soon after. It is one of them songs that just kind of happened.  It was written and we recorded it almost straight away. The song is about drinking.

Ad: It made me realise that it was not just me who worried about things, it was my family as well. The day I got out of rehab I took a three-hour-long taxi ride to Merthyr Tydfil where I met with Brad Griffiths and Jarvis Morgan of Pretty Vicious. Soon after we went to the studio for three days. So it was like a bit full-on, straight from rehab to making music, in a very short space of time.

There is little doubt that the band have enough stamina and endurance in equal measure, and these qualities seem to go incredibly well with type of music Adrenaline Animals write and produce so well. The band have definitely taken what they could use from punk and made it their own.

Adrenaline Animals playing at Dublin Castle earlier this year 
Photo: Rhona Murphy 

As Ad rightly points out “We don’t make pop music”. Equally, simply playing cover versions is not in their DNA, it has to be their own material in order to keep them interested and engaged.

Ad: We do not play covers because it is not at all what this band is about and we do not want to do so either. But I might well write a song and have someone coming to us and say ‘that sounds a bit like someone ‘ but this is very much something we would take as a compliment and it has already happened to us a couple of times.

Being influenced by and taking inspiration from some of the greatest pop masters in the history of music does not stand in Adrenaline Animals’ way, rather the opposite, they adore iconic artists and bands and happily refer to the likes of John Lennon, Sex Pistols, Oasis, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Eminem as well as Abba.

Having This is England set for an early June release, to suitably coincide with the World Cup starting, this may well be the tune giving us what we need this summer. It is a fabulous piece of rock ‘n’ roll punk music and for all its energy, swagger, melody and lyrics, the track displays the essential elements of an Adrenaline Animals tune. 

As well as being essential to the band’s sound and genre of music, the drumming itself and the personal touch of drummer Mark Fennelly, have both proven to be key in keeping things together, adding both structure, precision and support. 

Ad: Mark is the back bone of this band. He is always doing stuff, always hitting the drums well. He is  really committed in a very positive, constructive way. He can also handle me and Alex because we can be quite wild sometimes.

Alex: When the three of us first got together we didn’t even pick up the guitars for months, we just kind of sat and talked about what we wanted as the band. When Ad and I were looking for a drummer a lot of people would call up and say things like ‘I love your ambition, the drive and the songs’, saying stuff like ‘you guys are brilliant can we come down and enjoy it’ but when it gets to the actual rehearsal room they suddenly got a bit like funny but Mark actually came down straight away and we all got on immediately.

Photo: Rhona Murphy 

 It is also clear that the lyrical side of the music means a lot to the band. As a kid, Ad was in fact taught text, music and composition by none other than dramatist, lyricist and composer Willy Russell himself.  Getting picked to learn from the maestro definitely remains a key moment for Ad and he still draws on what he learnt during that time.

Ad: I was selected out of the entire country to attend a songwriting course where I wrote 32 songs. Willy Russell is one of my biggest influences. All of my friends at school studied Blood Brothers and Educating Rita but I was actually working with him and writing songs. He is huge influence.

The band’s close to brotherly bond with Pretty Vicious is probably one for life, but Adrenaline Animals are highly autonomous and are totally independent as a band. In fact, so far this year, they have hardly collaborated with the Welsh four piece at all.

Touring with them last year was very enjoyable and a lot of fun though and getting to play at Glasgow’s King Tut’s venue was a bit of a dream come true.

Ad: It is one of the venues I always knew I wanted to do, it is an amazing space, the crowd there was wicked and Pretty Vicious obviously looked after us so well. They are great mates of ours, so doing that was just a dream. 

The future is looking bright for Adrenaline Animals and the rest of the year looks set to be a really good one.

Alex: I consider the video to be the most important thing for us right now. it will get us rolling, get us into gear. As soon as the video is out there we will hopefully start to get people offering us more gigs. I think it is down to us to like take advantage of that situation and get more songs released.

Single Release ' This Is England'
is available now on YouTube, Spotify, iTunes