ARTAX – Call Of The Wild 2024 (Interview)

Katie And Carter @ Call Of The Wild 2024. After The Interview!
Katie And Carter @ Call Of The Wild 2024. After The Interview!

Bit Weird?:

Artax the first band I watched at Call Of The Wild were so damned good I had to go up and ask if I could chat with them and get the lowdown on the band. Luckily two of the members were free to chat and those two were vocalist Katie and bassist Carter. Before we got to the press room I jokingly asked how it felt to travel from Glasgow Scotland all the way to the Lincolnshire Showgrounds (nearly 300 miles away) only to be interviewed by some bugger from the city of Edinburgh about 40 miles away from where they live! It seemed funny but the joy of Call Of The Wild is that you can even be introduced to great music or bands that are almost local to you that you may have missed out on somehow. This was the case with Artax. So let’s get on with the interview and read what they had to say…

The Interview Starts:

CGCM: Just to start can you say your names so folks know who is who?

Artax: My name is Katie and I am the lead singer //  And I am Carter and I am the bassist.

CGCM: So you are part of a band called Artax and you are from Glasgow (Katie says “Well Glasgow based“). I have just watched your set and really enjoyed it. Can I start by asking a bit about the background of the band?

Katie: Sure, so the main man Callum (Artax… I guess that’s why they have the name!) who is the guitarist, he started the band like about 12 years ago or something (Carter: yeah 12 years ago). It was just him. He literally just played guitar and added backing tracks, he did have a saxophone player for a while when he was a DJ in Amsterdam for a bit. Fast forward nearly a decade later roughly just before COVID-19 happened I came along and we were a two-piece for a little while. A couple of years later we found the drummer BobWe did have another bassist called Ellis but he left recently and so we now have CarterSo that’s about it.

CGCM: So how many albums or releases do you have out?

Katie: This will be our (pauses and tries to work it out) fourth (she stops to question herself) yes fourth album. We also have recorded some EPs, long ones, in the last couple of years, sort of 6 or 7-track albums and we do one big release each year. That’s kind of how we work. 

CGCM: All that since just before COVID? You have been pretty busy in the recording studio then…

Katie: Yeah, yeah, it has definitely picked up. At least since when Callum was doing this himself along with having a full-time job. When we came along things started to pick up a bit, even a bit more serious and playing a lot more gigs. It’s been good.

CGCM: What sort of gigs have you been added to, what sort of bills?

Katie: Been a few, different ones. We supported Starbenders at the Cathouse, LeBrock at the Garage…

Carter: (laughing looking at Katie): It was before my time. I am trying to remember who I have seen you with…

CGCM: So you were into the band before you joined them?

Carter: Yeah, yeah. I have been friends with Callum for a while, I supported Artax when it was just him and when it was him and Katie and Bob (he starts laughing as he names the members he has supported before he joined the band, so all of them). I got the chance to come onboard and I took it straight away.

CGCM: So how would you describe yourselves?

Labels? You Are Joking:

Artax: Katie Live Onstage @ COTW 2024 (Photo By Ian Owen)

Katie: You can’t really fit a label on it I guess (she has a point there), it’s a really weird sort of mixed bag. The sort of tagline used is “synth-wave prog metal” (it is funny as she starts to question herself over even the accuracy of that).

Carter: Yeah, I think that’s how we could describe it.

Katie: But we kind of do a bit of everything, there’s djent, some 80s kind of pop stuff, classic rock, there’s a whole weird mix.

Carter: You might have noticed me playing octave basslines for the whole of one song giving disco vibes (both laughing).

Katie: Yeah, just really weird.

Carter: That’s what makes it such an interesting project because I can’t think of any other sound out there quite like it. I mean as a bassist coming in and getting to do loads of different stuff, it’s why it’s such a great thing to do. The previous bassist said the exact same thing to me. It is a very individual sound. It is good to be a part of.

CGCM: I can say from all the bands I have checked out that are playing here there is no one that sounds like you, you are very different to everyone else here which I think is a good place to be.

Katie: Yeah, I agree. I think it is good to be a bit different. I mean there are a lot of great bands here (Carter immediately agrees on that), but (laughing) we are very different which is scary as you don’t know how people are going to take it. I mean what we do is a bit like “What?”, “what is going on right now”. (Laughing). I was a bit worried before our set but people seemed to enjoy it today which was a nice surprise.

CGCM: On the way over to the press room you seemed to suggest that you were more from a pop background?

The All Important Background To The Members:

Katie: Been a weird mix background as I have done pop stuff along with musical theatre. I have also sung hard rock, disco, and soul, very different but I have always loved rock music. In the last couple of years, I have started getting more into metal and stuff. Definitely now a metalhead. I was I think an emo but I didn’t realize it and now I have kind of gone the opposite way. Am I still emo? I don’t know as I am more into my metal music now.

CGCM: I think I can guess that the guitarist Callum is a prog fan.

Katie: Oh yeah, he is proper prog (laughs)

CGCM: Amongst you what bands would you all agree on if at all when it comes to influence or indeed in general, you know you might not play in the same area but you all like them. You know like if you, em I am going to sound old here, (laughing) say in a car or van together and going to put a tape on (they laugh pointing out I am old, lol) and you would all be happy to listen.

Katie: difficult, I mean for me SpiritboxI think we all take a lot of influence from them.

Carter: Yeah we would all agree on Spiritbox.

Katie: Maybe Bring Me The Horizona little bit of Chvrches for the synth-wavy stuff.

Carter: Me and Callum are 100% behind Tesseract (Katie bursts into laughter going “oh yeah” regarding the boys’ love of Tesseract).

Katie: Also Toto and Mister Mister for that classic 80s vibe. Not sure about Bob

Carter: He is a big fan of Malmsteen

Katie: I think Bob is the wildcard here, he doesn’t come from a metal background…

Carter: No he is a classically trained drummer…

Katie: yeah, yeah, yeah, he is very technical. He studied at Berklee and worked on cruise ships! 

CGCM: So is he American?

Katie: No, no, he was living in Boston for about 4 or 5 years whilst he studied, but he is from Scotland.

CGCM: I don’t think there are many bands here that could use the expression “studied at Berklee” (laughing) I have never interviewed a band that had someone that studied there, you are a first (band are laughing about this). Anyone ever says you are shite you can always pull up the Berklee card (laughing). Respect. He was great, you all were. Can I ask about the samples you use? Are they all pre-recorded by someone in the band beforehand?

Musicians Try To Explain Things To Me:

Artax: Bassist Carter Live Onstage @ COTW 2024 (Photo By Ian Owen)

Carter: Callum does all that..

Katie: We have click tracks in our in-ears, it is playing in the background and we play over it.

CGCM: I take it someone triggers it before each song?

Katie: I think it just runs…

Carter: Yeah, it just runs, we hit the space bar and it runs, we can hear everything…

CGCM: You do that for each song?

Katie: No it runs right through the set…

Carter: We build the setlist into it.

CGCM: Now I am going to perhaps sound stupid here, but if it runs to a set time how do you manage in between song breaks? If you say something different or interact with the audience will that not cause a problem? I mean the in-between song breaks could be different so how does it know when to kick in… (I really am clueless on this)

Katie: With the clicks and things, we know exactly what songs coming next, there is a count into the next song, so we know when to be ready to kick in musically. We used to have a voiceover, Bob‘s girlfriend, she is from America actually, she did voiceover work so she did that for us. We would hear (Katie attempts an American accent…) “and the next song is” but now we know what is coming next and can be ready. Just the way we sort out the set. I mean we have the setlist as well to remind us. 

Things Can Go Wrong:

CGCM: I think it is one of those arguments now about keeping it real when it comes to samples, when is it truly live and when is it not? I know Rush had a policy that they triggered everything onstage themselves as it still made the show live and dangerous. It could and on at least one occasion I saw them did go horribly wrong.

Katie: That is the thing with us as well we love the more raw sound of bands. We are more live than when it used to be the two of us, but there is that element where we have some pre-recorded tracks. Maybe some people don’t think that makes it genuine or authentic.

CGCM: I am one of those who is fine with some pre-recorded stuff and samples. What I want to see though is the guitarist is actually playing what I am hearing, same with the drummer and bassist. The singer for me needs to be doing lead live. If there are some tracked backing vocals I accept that but not all agree with my view. I do have issue when a band member is not even playing live, and I have sadly seen that.

Katie: It is quite subjective, although these days a lot of bands seem to use click tracks to beef up the sounds. You know like some of the bands we mentioned before, you know Spiritbox or BMTH

Carter: It wasn’t that long ago that Polyphia had a moment due to click-track issues causing chaos onstage, I suppose it shows you cannot fully trust it…

Katie: yeah that is a problem…

CGCM: One of my musical heroes Devin Townsend ….

Katie: Oh I love his voice…

CGCM: Absolutely, he is also hilarious…

Katie: Oh yeah, and the faces he pulls (everyone laughing and saying “yeah”)…

CGCM: Every time I see him I go home with a grin on my face, he is the most engaging of front people. He of course uses lots of samples and effects to make that wall of sound that his albums have.

Katie: I think you have to if you want to achieve that sound. Not a lot of choice (Katie laughs as she says this).

What About New Music/New Vocal Styles:

CGCM: Thank you for trying to explain how it all works for you and I suppose others. I honestly thought you started the thing on each song. Shows how little I know (laughs). If I may ask about a potential new album? You kind of hinted at it as we were walking round here to the press room. Can you tell us something about that?

Katie: Yeah, we have… how many songs…

Carter: 5 songs…

Katie: Yeah 5 and I think one more to work on. As I said we usually do short 6 or 7-track albums, and again we have a really weird mixed bag. If you listen to any of our previous albums, if anyone wants to go and listen, you will find it’s really a running theme, a strange mix of songs. There is some heavy stuff in there, I am going to scream some more, my scream is beginning to develop, so I am going to use it a bit more…

CGCM: I take it those kinds of vocals you have to do a bit of work on to make sure you don’t screw up the rest of your vocals?

Katie: Yeah. As a singer you should be using good technique anyway, you should at least try to learn technique anyway, I always sing with that. Screaming is a whole different ball game, been a while learning that. It is definitely a different way of doing vocals so I am letting that develop. I am at the stage I can now do it comfortably, it doesn’t hurt or anything. So there’s going to be that and I think a strip-backed version of  “Cast Away” (from the EP No Air Left Here To Breathe) which is kinda nice. There is some heavy stuff, a bit of djent. All the usual for us. (Laughs)

CGCM: So do you have any gigs lined up in the near future?

Katie: No not yet. We are wanting to get the album done and then do an album launch. See how that goes. 

CGCM: That be in Glasgow?

Katie: Yeah, we held one last year in Sleaze‘s last year (officially called Nice N Sleazyso maybe there again. Not sure yet. Still in the works.

CGCM: Nice one. Please let us know when and where and we will let folks know about it. I am delighted as I was so impressed by your performance and I so wanted to know more. The more we post about you the more chance folks will perhaps check you out. Some will get it and with the music you play some won’t, but you know that. You are different…


Katie: Absolutely, we are kind of marmite. For us that is OK…

Carter: It is what we like playing, also what we like writing, it’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea. We like it and luckily so do plenty others it seems. (both laugh).

CGCM: Once again thank you for your time and enjoy the rest of the day.

Artax: @COTW 2024: With An Interloper... Tom C From CGCM!
Artax: @COTW 2024: With An Interloper… Tom C From CGCM!

Final Thoughts:

It was a real pleasure to chat with Katie and Carter. I appreciated the very nice way they tried to explain the workings of click track in a live setting, plenty of patience when dealing with this old Luddite. As a band, they are fascinating and push some boundaries and for those brave enough to check them out I think there is plenty to enjoy. On behalf of CGCM, I want to wish them all the best going forward and hopefully, I can represent this site at their album launch when it happens.

Official Bandcamp  //  Official Facebook  //  Official Instagram

For all the CGCM Rock Radio coverage of Call Of The Wild 2024 visit this page: COTW 2024 – Complete Coverage

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