Interview: Beyond Grace

Later this year Beyond Grace is going to release their new album. Recently DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen interviewed Beyond Grace’s vocalist Andy Walmsly.

Hey, how are you?

Pretty good, all things considered. Juggling a lot of stuff at the moment – PR stuff, planning new promo shoots, planning another video shoot, prepping for an upcoming show, prepping for recording, plus the standard demands of my day job, etc – but it’s always better to be busy and feel like you’re moving forwards!

Can you tell us something about the history of Beyond Grace?

Tim (guitars), Ed (drums), Andrew (bass), and I all became friends and bandmates while at university and have been playing together, on and off, for the better part of ten years now… time really flies when you’re having fun and/or suffering for your art!

But it was only about three-to-four years ago that we really started to “find ourselves” and decided to get serious about the band. Finding Chris (guitars) was the final, key ingredient that really made us feel like we had something vital to offer, something that would make a real impression and stand out from the crowd, and so… here we are.

For people not knowing Beyond Grace (yet), how would you describe your music yourself?

Cerebral, crushing, cathartic death metal with a heavy emphasis on bombastic riffs, razor-sharp hooks, and dynamic song structures.

What makes Beyond Grace unique?

I think it’s just a certain x-factor, a certain je ne s’ais quoi, as they say, that comes from the combination of the five of us, our particular influences and playing styles, and results in something greater than the mere sum of its parts.

We take a LOT of time, more than most, to write our songs, and then spend even longer tweaking and shaping them (I’ll admit I’m to blame for a lot of that, as I’m always editing the structure and flow of tracks right up to the recording), but this extra attention to detail has really helped us define/refine our sound and our style.

We’re not reinventing the wheel, by any means, but we’re definitely putting our own unique spin on it (pun intended).

Any future plans you can already tell us something about?

We’ve got a lyric video for the new single, Barmecide Feast, out very soon. I put a lot of effort into my lyrics (and their delivery) so I’m hopeful that this video will help people appreciate them (and also engage with the track even more).

Then we’re off into the studio to record the album – eight tracks, clocking in at about forty-five minutes or so – followed by another single/video release, which is probably going to be another hyper-aggressive rager by the name of Fearmonger, prior to the album’s release in October/November.

Any upcoming gigs for Beyond Grace? Maybe coming to The Netherlands?

We’re prepping for one right now, in fact, though that’ll probably have happened by the time this gets published. We’re just about to head into the studio, but couldn’t pass up the chance to play a cool show, all for charity, and debut some of our new material.

We do have nascent plans for both UK and EU dates in October though, and are currently looking for a band (or bands) to partner up with for those.

And we’d most definitely love to play The Netherlands. I’ve helped out The Monolith Deathcult with a few UK tours in the past, so hopefully they’ll be in a position to repay the favour at some point, and I’m also friends with a couple of guys playing Black Earth Festival in Utrecht, which we’d love to play one year ourselves!

How do you think your life would be without music?

I honestly can’t imagine it. I owe my love for, and obsession with, music, to my dad, who’s a big prog fan, and growing up any car journey we ever took together would basically be an education in classic prog and rock, from Yes to Queen to Genesis to Pink Floyd to Rush… the list goes on.

In fact, I think that without music he and I wouldn’t be as close, as for a big part of my adolescence and early adulthood we didn’t seem to have that much in common, but in the last ten years or so we’ve found so much more common ground in music as my tastes have grown proggier and I’ve discovered ways of introducing him to heavier bands (though he’s still not a big fan of harsh vocals).

What advice would you give to young and starting bands?

Try not to compare yourselves to others. That’s been the hardest thing for me to learn. I never thought of myself as a particularly competitive person until we finally started releasing music of our own, and I started to question why we weren’t more popular, more successful, more well-known… but then I realised I was comparing us to other bands whose whole sound and way of doing things was designed to be more accessible, easier to listen to, easier to market… and so I was just setting myself up for failure and disappointment.

And when I realised this, that “comparison is the thief of joy”, it actually became easier to do things on our own terms, and in our own time. We’re not trying to be like anyone else, or live up to what other people are doing. We’re just happy making the music we love together.

Is there anything you want to say to DutchMetalManiac’s readers?

I suppose I just want to say thank you to all your readers… thank you for supporting the metal scene, thank you for going to the shows, buying the albums, and sharing the music with everyone around you.

It’s people like you who help keep the scene alive and make it all that much more worthwhile for the bands, from the biggest to the smallest, to keep doing what they’re doing.

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