[INTERVIEW] with... The Collision

Photo credit Tony Palmer

It's All Indie met up with South Coast band The Collision to talk about their upcoming UK tour, musical influences, the musical genre that's not yet a genre 'power-pop' and errr Shirley Bassey!

Introduce yourselves guys.

I am Lewis Smith (LS) I am the lead singer and I’m 17 years old. I am Chris Latter (CL), I’m the drummer and I’m 21 years old. I’m Tom Copeland (Tom C) the bassist and I’m 19 years old. I’m Dan Hennessy (DH), guitarist and I’m 42 years old (LS - he looks about 12! CL - Just to confirm he’s 17!) I’m Evan Latter (EL), I’m a guitarist and I’m 19 years old. We are The Collision (TC).

How d’you know each other?

LS - It all started as a session band for my solo stuff and then it went on to become a band through actually linking really well as a unit. I met Dan in PMT Music (a music shop in Portsmouth) which was then Nevada Music, I put a poster up asking for musicians for a band and that’s how I met Daniel. He was into The Beatles and even looked like one of The Beatles at one point! DH  - I was the master of the bad haircut…. LS - And then I spoke to a guy called Mark Thompson‐Smith from Ready To Rock School and I found two legends really. These two (Chris and Evan) are brothers, Tom came in after a year, we needed someone to slap that bass, and that was it.

Was the intention always for you to be a band or was it going to be
Lewis and a backing band?

Tom C ‐ It was like that, Lewis Smith and “insert really cringy name here”. It changed about 5 times. LS – It was based around a session band to start with but it linked so well and everyone used to tell us it didn’t look like a session band and we realised that ourselves. We tried to come up with a different name and it sounded something like Huey Lewis & The News! So yeah we started off as a
session band and then went on to become a session band with a name and then it became an originals band. We haven’t really written original music for that long, I’d say just over a year and a half. We've also had the support of BBC Introduing which is cool. It's going alright!

So having moved from Lewis Smith and band to The Collision are you
now all equal?

TC – We never felt like we weren’t equal, we just kept the original name because that’s how it  started. LS – I think it was because I had quite a few songs written by myself when I was 14 or 15 so it started up with acoustic stuff. We started writing together so how could we call it a session band? It worked really well, really quickly and it’s been fun.

I think it can be more fun as a band, you’ve got that support and
you’re all in it together with the same experiences.

Tom C – And we really annoy each other, but we did that anyway we’re just getting better at it!!

You’ve played some big shows…

LS – Yes we have, our first proper gig was a sell‐out at The Joiners (Southampton) to 200 people and it was a really good gig. A lot of it was covers but it was a great first step into the industry and then we moved on to do some festivals and went on the play in front of 15,000 people at Mayflower Park fireworks (Southampton) where we headlined and that was when we really moved from a session band into an originals band and started writing music We played Icebreaker Festival (Portsmouth) for the first time,  went on a South Coast tour, headlined The Joiners again and sold it out on a Wednesday night. That was the next step up for us, we were all young, me and Dan were 15. Since then we’ve headlined shows at The Wedgewood Rooms, sold that out, 500 people in front of us
singing our songs, that was incredible. 

It must be amazing to hear people singing your songs back to you isn’t it?

CL ‐ It feels 10 times better. LS ‐ and we’ve just come off from headlining one of the stages at Victorious Festival (Portsmouth) where we closed the whole festival after Years and Years and The Prodigy. It’s a great thing to be able to say. I think that’s definitely the start of it all because obviously we’ve got all these dates coming up including Wedgewood Rooms at home again. It’s a 13 night tour ending at The Engine Rooms Southampton which has always been one of the venues where all of us have wanted to play. We’ve seen bands there that we’ve all looked up to and listened to on a daily basis and to be able to say we’re playing there with Wild Front who are a band we’ve also looked up to is awesome. They’re an incredible band, we love them and they’re one of our favourites so to be able to support them as main support is incredible.

Wild Front opened up the main stage at IOW earlier this year. They were amazing!

Tom C – Incredible band yeah and JUDAS played there too! We supported them at The Joiners. JUDAS, if you’re listening, what’s this yellow going on about? All of their Instagram is just a yellow sheet. Hurry up, we’re waiting!!

(C) Tony Palmer

This tour you’re about to embark is pretty impressive.

To be honest we’re shocked ourselves! We thought it was going to be 4 nights and a break then another 4 and so on. As the dates kept coming in we thought yeah! It’s a start to put us on the map, headline a few shows and support some other bands. Get our name out there in a few new places. We’re going to have some fun and enjoy the shows.

Are there any particular dates you’re looking forward to?

TC - Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth obviously and the last one in Southampton and the Wales dates. Guildford should be good. Tom C – I’m looking forward to being in Leeds and staying in one place for 4 nights! Liverpool (EBGBS) is another great one but to be honest we’re looking forward to all of them. It’s a spread-out tour and towns you would see bigger bands playing too so it’s a good start.

There’s been a lot of talk in the industry that guitar bands are finished, what do you think?

TC - We had a heated debate about what’s going on in the music industry, electronic music is definitely taking over with high technology having advanced so much since the likes of The Beatles,
Oasis etc so it’s harder to do it with just guitars. We have a few electronics but it’s nothing in comparison to others. LS -Without sounding like a rock ‘n roll star I think the main thing to think about is that good music will always sell if it’s well written and appeals to people. It’s not the same as it was 20 years ago but The Sherlocks, The Amazons, Catfish and the Bottlemen for example, are in between the ‘Indie’ scene, they’re writing music to boost the Indie scene. The difference is that distribution platforms have come through making it harder for live bands, there’s so much new music available.

I think there are loads of really good guitar bands on the scene
coming up through This Feeling for example and it does everyone a
bit of a dis‐service when you hear big bands say there are no good bands, maybe they say it just to be controversial!

Who do you listen to?

EL– I like a bit of Ed Sheeran and soft stuff like that, pop music, Steely Dan, The Who, The Police. Then there’s Rock but my main thing is Metalcore. My favourite band ever is A Day To Remember overall who do acoustic, pop, rock and metal, also While She Sleeps, Architects, Black Tongue (doom core), big up Black Tongue, drop that album NOW!

That’s a really wide selection!

EL - Yeah that’s why we’re called The Collision, there are so many different genres that we love we’re literally colliding it all together. LS – when I was younger I was into poppy type stuff, impressed the girls with Mica and things like that. Then I went into playing solo pubs and clubs and sang Elvis Presley and Robbie Williams.The Collision is now going into something a bit more mature, power pop! Everything we try and make is big, we want people to feel like wow, that was huge. I also like The 1975’s new music, it’s so ambient and beautiful, the new stuff tells a great story but it’s quite discreet at the same time, hidden messages in their songs. The new stuff we’ve just written has got a lot of elements of pop-punk, pop‐rock, we’ve just written a song about a breakdown. I’m into everything. CL – we like Post Malone, Kendrick Lemarr, Jess Glynne, Paloma Faith and really old stuff like The Carpenters, and I love musicals like Les Miserables. We all love Abba of course, goes without saying! DH – I listen to Miles Davis and I’m obsessed with  the Beatles, in fact pretty much anything before I was alive!

Which festival would you like most to headline?

TC‐ Reading Festival is the ultimate but to headline Victorious, our home festival one day would be special. We’re not an ‘Indie’ band as such we’re a pop‐rock band, not genre specific we want to be called power‐pop.
A lot depends who records us, we’ve got an excellent guy who does metal all the time, he makes massive music, he creates a wall of sound and we thought it would be good for The Collision. He
re-mixed and mastered a track which is now our latest single called ‘Runaway’. We released ‘Never Gone’ as the first EP and that did alright but this year ‘Runaway’ has been really popular. We don’t want to be this next big thing overnight, we’re taking our time to develop. ‘Runaway’ is the first single of our new sound, we’ve also got a 2nd single ‘Ghost’ which we premiered at Victorious Festival. People seemed to really like it. When we started out we played 5 or 6 different schools and it was really beneficial. DH – I actually bunked off school to go to a different school for a day!!
LS ‐ We always watch other bands, see what they’re about, and talk to people. We love the interaction. At the EP launch we stood in the crowd to watch and got shouted at by an older lady who thought we’d taken her spot! Some bands don’t watch others but we don’t feel like that.

Which bands would you include in the ultimate festival line-up?

Our dream festival would include Don Broco (Evan and Chris are massive fans), such big energy, Neck Deep, Black Tongue, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Tom Waits, The Hunna, The Amazons, Blossoms, Mallory Knox, Arctic Monkeys…. We’d call the festival ‘The Collision Fest’!!

What’s on your band rider for this tour, white kittens and rose petals?

Of course, and Shirley Bassey in the corner singing Bond songs! That’s a must! 

Final words from you guys?

Our new single ‘Ghost’ is out the day before the tour 28th September and we’re excited to play some new tunes live. The theme behind ‘Runaway’ is similar to ‘Ghost’ looking at serious issues such as mental health, we’re writing about experiences we, or people we know,have had.

And what’s next after this tour?

We’re looking to release a concept EP and take that out on another tour later this year. Can’t wait!