Scholars take time to learn

Scholars
Scholars
The Rampant at the ramparts of Portchester Castle in 1967. L to r: Peter Richardson (aka Ritchie Peters  they turned his name around) vocals, Ron Hughes guitar, Ken Hughes (his brother) drums, Don Golding bass, Mick Cooper Hammond organ.

NOSTALGIA: Still Rampant after all these years – the band that just keep giving...

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Sometimes, things take time. Just ask Hemel Hempstead rock five-piece Scholars.

After six years honing their sound on the live circuit and supporting bands like Twin Atlantic, Pure Love, Hell Is For Heroes and Hundred Reasons, they are finally set to release their debut album – Always Lead, Never Follow – this month.

Frontman, Sam Nicholls, explains: ‘Some of the songs are from three years back, and they’ve been on the table for a long while. Now it’s time to bring the life out of them.

‘This album is a collection of the different angles we’ve taken over the years and I don’t think we would have had that if we’d ditched everything and written an album from scratch.

‘It’s almost a statement of “This is Scholars, and this is our history so far”.’

Fans of everything from the post-hardcore of At The Drive-In and Refused to the skate punk of Strung Out and NOFX, Scholars mix the urgency of the former with the delivery of the latter to create their own place in the indie/math/rock spectrum.

But it’s on stage where they rival all of their influences.

‘We’re so bored of bands sounding great on record and then you see them live and they just stand there or strike a pose,’ says Sam.

‘We wanted to have that energy that we’d seen in bands like At The Drive-In and Refused.

‘Why would you do anything else on stage than just go for it?,’ adds bassist Chris Aylett.

‘It’s the release. Even if you’re playing to two people, I can’t understand why you’d not bother giving it your all!’

For Sam, the real test of all this came when they hit the road with Canterbury and Mallory Knox at the tail end of 2012.

‘I expected us to go out there to a lot of raised eyebrows, but people really took to us,’ he says.

‘I think it’s engaging the crowd and getting involved with them.

‘We make an impact on people by being a very expressive live band.’

Scholars will be proving their mettle as a live band at The Cellars at Eastney on Thursday.

Tickets cost £7 in advance from thecellars.co.uk or (023) 9282 6249 or £8 on the door from 7.30pm.