Despite setbacks that would have seen lesser bands calling it quits, Portsmouth’s electro-metallers Seething Akira are finally releasing their debut album.
The band formed in 2011, but the five-piece’s debut, Sleepy Skeletor was only released at the end of last month.
‘There is no-one on this planet more relieved than I am that the album is finally coming out,’ laughs Charlies Bowes, vocalist and synth player. ‘There have been so many ups and downs.’
Things were looking up for the band when they got signed and they began work in earnest on the album, but as Charlie puts it: ‘things went to pot,’ and they parted ways with the label.
‘We made a conscious decision to carry on with the album, but we would fund it ourselves, so because of that it’s taken an awful long time.
‘Plus we’ve lost a band member here and there which slowed us down a little bit. It’s been an uphill struggle, but anything that’s worth something takes a lot of work, right?’
The album has ultimately been self-released, and is picking up positive reviews. How have they found that process?
‘I would say it’s kind of a blessing. I am pleased that we’re in this position, Everything on it is owned by us, that’s kind of cool and quite exciting.’
And Skeletor is all-new material, it doesn’t include previously released tracks.
‘It’s funny, what’s new to everyone else, isn’t new to us, but I’m really ecstatic that I can throw new material to people. We’ve had a couple of reasonably solid years without really having much material out there. Now, I’m hoping we’ve actually got something of substance, it will open up some doors.’
In the meantime, he band has been not-so-quietly building a reputation as a killer live act, supporting the likes of Skindred, The Qemists, Hacktivist, Senser, Don Broco, Pop Will Eat Itself.
‘I’m really thankful for what we’ve had, I’m not going to say it’s just down to luck, it’s been persistence on our part. Things like [renowned metal festival] Bloodstock last year, that was incredible, and then to play Victorious for the first time last year. We’d wanted to get on that for some time, and were starting to get grumpy, so that was nice as it’s a hometown show.’
And in November they will support reformed industrial-metal act Pitchshifter at The Wedgewood Rooms – an act they already have ties with. That band’s guitarist Jim Davies produced their 2013 debut single, Firepower.
As Charlie explains: ‘It was really days, and we were quite naive so we thought we needed management, which you don’t really need at that early stage.
‘We were hunting around, and this guy from Australia, of all places, got back to us, and said I’ve got all the bands I need at the moment, but I’ve listened to your stuff, and I know someone who might be interested in helping produce something with you. He gave me Jim’s email address and said he used to be in Pitchshifter and The Prodigy, so I nearly fell off my chair. I got in touch with him and it went from there.
‘We did some stuff with him, and then there was a break for a while. After we decided to self-fund the album we got back in touch with him and said we’d really like to get you involved. Jim loved the idea that we weren’t signed and could work together on doing the music we wanted without any other outside influence.
Jim ultimately produced six of the tracks on the album. The other four were with renowned musician and producer Rhys Fulber, whose CV reads like a who’s who of heavy music.’
They also recruited another Portsmouth musician, Dani Uziel, to sing on the track, Even Angels Break Hearts.
‘The track we got her on, we’d been playing it and I became convinced it needed female vocals on the chorus and I’d always thought she had fantastic, very distinct vocals. I asked her and she jumped on. She’s young but very talented and hilarious to work with.’
On the tour to mark the album’s release, the group – rounded out by Kit Conrad (vocals), Stu Radcliffe (drums), Richard Ellis Speaight (bass), and Harvey Ware (guitar) – is playing in Southampton and Bournemouth, but sadly there’s no hometown show.
‘It’s a bit of an odd one, we started putting the tour together, again independently – we’re looking for a booking agent, that’s our number one need right now! We have some very close ties with promoters in Bournemouth and Southampton, so we locked down those dates very quickly. At that point we were kind of stuck, as we didn’t want to down put another south coast show.
‘But I can say we’ll be doing something early next year – I can’t say any more than that, I’ve been told I’m not allowed! I’m a bit sad we’re not playing here this time, but there’s something to come.’
With the album now out, the boys are already looking ahead.
‘It will be so much different. The next time we release something, we will get it done much quicker. We’ll see how this one goes down first, but we’ll try and do it more like normal people.’
The Joiners, Southampton
Sunday, July 15