Following on from a string of impressive singles throughout last year, which saw them receive radio support from the likes of BBC 6Music and BBC Introducing, British alt-rockers Toronto Blessing are now back with their latest raucous anthem 'LiFE'.
Taking their cues from other grizzled punk-inspired names such as IDLES, 'LiFE' sees the trio in one of their more explosive guises yet. Filled with a blistering pace, thunderous production, and killer hooks throughout, be prepared to let this one knock you for six from the very start.
So with the new single available now, we sat down with vocalist and bass player Rik Whitehead to find out more about his background and what has been inspiring him over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
For me it was the bass guitar. I think I was always drawn to it really and I have never fully loved the standard six string guitar. I only use guitar in my song writing, mainly as a means to an end. When I was at senior school, friends of mine were picking up instruments and kinda forming bands. Cliff Burton from Metallica was my absolute idol! Some of the crazy sounds he made out the bass made me think I want to do that!
What kind of music did you love as a teenager?
When I was a teenager I was a real metal head, the heavier the better. One of my first gigs was going to see Obituary! Haha. At the time though I was a secret Stone Roses fan thanks to my sister! I never admitted this to my fellow metal heads though! Haha. One of the first bass lines I learnt or worked out by ear was 'I wanna be adored'.
The revelation to me was Radiohead though. OK Computer changed everything, it really made me broaden my horizons and listen to music of all genres. These days I barely listen to any metal, it's really anything and everything. One of my favourite artists at the moment is Tove Lo, which is pure electro pop.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
'Together in Electric Dreams'. What a banger that is!
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Not really. I just try to write something different from the last thing I wrote. I'll make sure it's normally in a different key. I pretty much always write my lyrics to music that I or the band has written first. I find that you try and make words fit if you write them first. I let the music inspire the words. As a band though we've always wanted the songs to be a short sharp punch to the gut. Get in and get out mentality. So we make sure parts don't outstay their welcome, keep the track as trim as possible.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
I absolutely love Metz. They're probably the biggest influence to Toronto Blessings as a whole. All 3 of us love them. Their last album was perfect, harsh sounds wrapped in a popish bubble. I also love the new Viagra Boys and Shame records, they're really good. If you haven't heard the new USA Nails album I'd also suggest that you check that out too.
How many of your songs have you written about people in your life?
Hmm not too sure. I've not really written about people directly, but I have written about how I generally feel. So people and things going on around me influences what I write about. The song 'UvU' from our 'Asleep' EP was written directly about myself, when I was suffering with severe depression and anxiety. It's the most personal song I've ever written. I needed an escape and the music really helped me.
What has been the funniest or most unusual moment in your career so far?
There's been many a funny thing on tour. But I am old and the memory has gone.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
It would be Metz for sure or Viagra Boys.
If you weren’t a musician, what other path do you think you might have taken?
Bloody ell, god knows! Well I have to work anyways, music don't pay them bills! Haha. I really don't have many talents, so thankfully music came into my life.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
Never do it for the money or fame! It's all about making a racket with your friends and hopefully someone will dig it.
Toronto Blessings' new single 'LiFE' is available to stream and download now. Watch the new live video for it in the player below.