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Interview: Band Of The Week – Sacred Heart

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I had the pleasure of trading a few questions with Paul Stead of Sacred Heart recently as they prepare for their appearance at the Cambridge Rock Festival in Huntingdon, UK. Here is a reminder of what I said about their latest album before we get to the questions.

Sacred Heart: Shake

Paul Stead and company are back with their second full length release. All the elements that were there on their debut are here with far better production. Paul's Jani Lane fixation is still on show, with his propensity to hold the notes longer than one thought possible. All in all it's still good solid hard rock with a twist of English sensibilities.

The band continues to grow and is even tighter than they were on their last release. As someone who has seen the band live many times, it pains me to think that their live sound still has not been captured just yet. The title track will put a smile on your face and remind you why you like hard rock in the first place. Paul and the guys can deliver tracks with copious amounts of feeling whether it's a pop track like "Natali" and ballads like the uber "Maybe." This album has a wide variety of styles of hard rock/pop rock, but it all gels with the quality playing of the band.

Get these guys into a residential studio and wrench every bit of talent out of the lads. Shake is a good album, but this lot have the potential to make something very special. Oh yeah and if you get the chance go see the buggers live… you won't regret it. A nice collection of quality rock tracks which is always welcome one has to admit. British AOR new breed can compete with their continental counterparts: Burn and Sacred Heart are leading the way.

Fence3_72_logoThose that have heard you, including me, have their ideas of who you were influenced by…who do you believe you were influenced by?

Well, I'd have to say the rock elements are quite apparent, Europe (1987 era), Whitesnake, Warrant, Nickelback – although I truly don't believe we're a carbon copy of any of those and have a sound of our own.

This could be because when I'm songwriting I also let other influences in, from pop music to country, and many other styles.

I've always said SH are a pop band – set to a rock backing!

Describe to those who have not heard you yet what you sound like and who?

Well, again – I don't think we sound like anyone in particular, but if you're a fan of good old fashioned fun, upbeat, sing-a-long hard rock 'n' roll, give us a listen!

How did all of you get into music and when did you start playing?

Claudio has been playing the shortest time – although the oldest, and it was classic metal, like Sabbath, Purple etc that encouraged his interest. Darren, Mark & I are basically all late 80's rock fans – that's certainly what made me wanna pick up a guitar.

Would you prefer a headline gig or supporting a big band?

Enjoy both. Always nice to be given the opportunity to win over another bands fans but also great to get a longer set and headline a show.

As long as the crowd enjoy – whether big or small – we have fun!

Do you think the British mainstream music scene has room for you?

Yes. There's are fans of all kinds of music & there are plenty of rock fans out there, just have to be heard by them!

But, sales of both Lay It On The Line and Shake have also been to non-rock fans, I put that down to the melodies.

Are you frustrated you have not been signed yet?

Not at all, as we've been offered record deals, for both releases & new material. We chose to release Shake ourselves, because unless RoadRunner or another big label come knocking I know we can achieve as much as the smaller melodic rock labels.

Would you care if you were only big in Japan or Germany or the US and not the UK?

Good question. It'd be nice to be big everywhere, but obviously here in the UK would have it's advantages, gig wise.

Lay It On The Line sold more copies in USA than anywhere else – which is awesome and it would certainly be nice to be very popular in one country, but I think at the end of the day, I'd rather sell 10,000 copies of Shake in 20 countries than just in one.

ShkCdCov_webWhat do you think of what is currently in mode on the radio?

With digital radio, internet radio & normal radio it's not difficult to find a station that specialises in any genre of music. But certainly main-stream radio doesn't feature much hard rock.

That's partly down to the labels though, who don't release singles and spend a great deal on advertising.

A catchy song is catchy, no matter the style, and if heard by enough people it will create a buzz – gotta get it out there to begin with though!

Do your friends and relatives support you for what you are doing?

110%, which is fantastic.

You have just released your sophomore release…where does it go from here?

Fuck knows, hopefully onward & upward!!! Fingers crossed.

I want to thank Sacred Heart for his taking the time to chat to me about the band. We wish them all the success with their new album and tour. Check them out at their site and see if can get a Shake.

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