Lewis Wright is the vocalist of Liverpool rockers Attic Theory who’s acclaimed 2020 EP “The Sign of an Active Mind” is being followed up with the album “What we fear the most”. An elongated gap between major releases another victim of the COVID cycle. Started recording in 2022, a lot of the album was written during the lock down and then recording was split between Liverpool studios The Motor Museum and Trapdoor.

I sat down with Lewis to chat about the influences that brought him to the sound the band have today ahead of the album launch at the Zanzibar in Liverpool. Guitarist Tim Cunningham is also a teacher and the band have filled the album launch with a roster of Tim’s students – “showcasing the talent of tomorrow” as Lewis put’s it.

faith No More & Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E – Another Body Murdered

“It’s been a toss up to start, but the first song is from a film ‘Judgement night‘ with Emilio Estevez and a song called ‘Another body murdered‘, it was by Faith No More and Boo-Yaa T.R.I.B.E. The film wasn’t very good but at the time that soundtrack, well it was promoting the film basically and everyone really enjoyed the soundtrack over the film. The box office was higher from people wanting to hear the songs.”
“Faith No More are one of my favourite bands, I sort of like this direction that they go in. This song influenced me on how to scream, I learnt how to do it listening to it. I don’t do a lot of screaming, but I’m one who, if the song sounds like it needs it, it needs it. If I feel it needs operatic singing, whatever, I’ll throw it in. But Faith No More influenced me through that. It doesn’t have to be a metal song to have screaming, this is a perfect example of that. It’s rap / hip hop, mixed with metal and it’s got him screaming in it. It sounds like he’s being murdered- thats kind of the point!”

“This was a lot of influence into my vocal style, these tracks are three of the perfect singers to say why my voice sounds the way it does. That’s the influence of these singers. Screaming wise, Mike Patton, one of the things he does, he sings quite operatic at times as well. So a lot of stuff to do with him was power, how to project my voice. The screaming – everyone when I was younger was into the pure “Bluerrgh!” where as I prefer a high pitched weird, sounding like Donald Duck screaming. It was, best described as I guess not as threatening. So when I scream I try to never have it as the forefront of the track, always slightly behind. It’s less intimidating, it can be too much. I love that style of singing, that screaming. So I learnt how to do it listening to Faith No More. He used to cup the mic, just for distortion though, he’d use it to great effect and it’s something newer singers don’t always understand that just how you hold the mic can make a difference. “

Candlebox – far behind

“Kevin from Candlebox is on our album, they’re probably my actual favourite band of all time. Getting Kevin on the album was amazing, for me a bucket-list moment to be honest. It was a bizarre one how it all started really. I adore Candlebox and I never got to see them play as Candlebox. I’d seen Kev Martin with his band The Hiwatts and The Gracious Few but never with Candlebox. So they were doing a reunion tour for ‘Disappearing in Airports‘ and I was made up. I thought I’ll see them at a couple of dates and it was one at Sheffield. My wife messaged the band – ‘My husband’s a massive fan, he’d love to meet you’ so Kev came out, he signed loads of stuff for me and I got a picture taken with him.”

“So he puts the picture on the Candlebox Facebook and it became a joke between me and him – he looks really happy to meet me and I look miserable as shit! I look like I don’t wanna be there! It’s a really bad photo of me and it became a little joke and off that I became friends with him online. Then they played the UK again and I just asked could I support them in Manchester. We spent a bit of time and got to know each other then and he said ‘If you ever want me to sing on a song give me a shout” – I was like ‘do you really mean that?’ and I took him up on it. Messaged him. Sent him the song. I already had his voice in mind but he put his own flair on it, his kind of thing. But I had in mind seeing how I think he’d sing it.”

“Then I just get a phone call from him and he’s in the vocal booth – like ‘hey man, what do you want me to do’ I was digging out notes I’d written and in the end he sent me like 38 stems of his vocal, he did loads. I went through and picked through the ones to use. But it’s such a surreal moment – I’ve got my favourite singer singing lyrics and melodies I’ve written. It was so bizarre, but great.”

“After recording I had a few months break from the album. I was hearing things that weren’t there, that we’d removed. I needed a break from the process. Then I was re-listening and I’d be walking along with my head phones in and his voice would come in and I’d have forgotten and be like ‘oh wow, he’s on the album’.”

“I have other favourites form Candlebox, some of the newer ones are great, but this and a song called ‘You‘ are what got me in to Candlebox. ‘You‘ is a bit more aggressive and ‘Far behind‘ is their big hit basically. As I got into them it was the grunge era and everyone was all Eddie Vedder, throat singers, quite growly. His voice is more 70s but with the grunge sound, thats why I loved it, his range is phenomenal. It was something different but still planted in the grunge era. His range is Robert Plant-esque, that’s how I’d compare it. We’ve moved away but we’ve still got the grunge feel there.”

“Kev opened my eyes to different singing styles and his mic control live, I’ve never seen anyone control it like him. you see him dong all this stuff and it sounds amazing, no different in sound, no complaints of ‘I couldn’t here that bit’ he knows exactly when to do it, when to pull the mic away. When he’s holding the notes he’ll move in and out, its unreal. It’s probably natural to him now but when I watch it blew me away, just ‘wow’. Where as for him its just what he does. He show’d how there’s so much more stuff, how you stand, how you breathe. I had surgery a while back and had to kind of relearn how to sing and doing breathing exercises and stretches were something I’d never though about but I do to this day.”

Stone Temple Pilots – Interstate love song

“Scott Weiland has been one of the biggest influences on my voice, when I was younger people used to think I sounded like him. When Purple came out people used to say it. Without doing Scott down my voice is a lot more powerful but when I do my low tone I didn’t sound like Eddie Vedder but Scott, from the Core era. That was the comparisons I used to get all the time.”

Purple though is one of the most perfect albums ever written, not a bad track on it. I reckon I’ve listened to it at least once a week since it’s been out. I listen to it all the time – I never listen to one song, always the whole thing. I have to listen to it start to finish, just perfect. I never say that about albums, there’s always one song where you’re like ‘urgh’. I try and aim for that, I want an album as perfect as Purple – start to finish, not a bad song on it.”

“There’s a song called Pretty penny, it’s got bells on, in the middle it goes all avant garde but still, it’s great. That’s how music should be, too many people get pigeonholed in their genre but, for instance, i like to do things with acoustic, a bit of piano in some of them, a bit more chilled. That’s kind of how I am with it. Music is kind of subjective but at the end of the day when you’re listening to one band I don’t want everything to sound the same. I want to listen to that band and hear ‘oh they think of that that way’, ‘ they like it this way’, see how they look at things differently, not always being a one trick pony.
But if you’ve got your own signature, something we’ve worked for, something in your sound you’ve developed then thats how it should be. Pearl jam for instance, they can do different things but you know it’s them even though it’s slightly different. Its how it should be, don’t pigeon hole yourself, use your sound but don’t have 5 albums of the exact same noise.”

“That’s why Purple‘s brilliant, Core was purely grunge, just a grunge album. Then they released Purple and they weren’t grunge anymore, they were alternative rock. Interstate Love Song comes along unlike anything that had gone before it. That’s how it should be on an album. Don’t back yourself into a corner and regurgitate the same thing.”

“If you go at the album from the beginning the first few songs are quite heavy and then it just appears, four songs in (I’ve listened so much I know the track listing!) Before it’s Lounge Fly, Vaseline and Meatplow at the beginning, three bangers then Interstate Love Song comes and you’re like ‘wow!’. It’s still upbeat, still happy, but its a different vibe and it still sounds like them. That’s what I like.”

Guitarist Tim teaching at Harmonics music in Crosby has allowed the band to bring on board some groups for the album launch on the 19th April at the Zanzibar. Amongst the scene in Liverpool for rock bands Lewis says “It’s great, at times you have to look for it though, there’s lots of great underground, smaller venues. The scene is still growing and it’s great. It’s nice to see it thriving. It’s one of the reasons we got all this young talent for the album launch – they’re great, great musicians. We’ve also not tied it to any genre with the launch night. Anything, everything, just show off talent.”
“The setup, the PA at the Zanzibar is great. It suits us and allows us to not compromise on the show we put on. People get our vision and not a jaded version, distorted version of it. My one top tip for the younger bands is always ‘don’t piss of the sound guy!'”

The “What we fear most” album launch party takes place at the Zanzibar in Liverpool on the Friday 19th April 2024, doors at 18:30 and tickets on line at BandsInTown.

Interview by : Dave Sparks | First published 25th March 2024.

Catch more of Attic Theory on social media on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Check out their music on Spotify and get more updates on their website https://www.attictheory.co.uk/

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