Wednesday, 11 March 2009

Interview with Laurence Rene, My Passion

Four childhood friends; Laurence Rene (Vocals, Guitar), Jonathan Gaskin (Drums, Vocals, Electronics), John Be (Guitar) and Simon Rolands (Bass, Synth) collectively My Passion, have shot up to the forefront of British underground bands.

However, their story has not begun in the past few months. They emerged from quiet London suburbs back in 2006 and through determination, hard work and most importantly, ‘passion’ they have racked up around 400 shows so far with a rabid cult fan base emerging that share the same energy and desire as the band.

Despite set backs such as their tour bus exploding and destroying everything but their instruments, the hard work is finally paying off. After their headline Sheffield gig, we caught up with lead singer Laurence Rene and asked a few questions:

How did the gig go tonight?

Tonight was our second ever time in Sheffield, the last was supporting Kill Hannah at the Academy so it was different coming back to headline a one off show. We were just so pleased that a bunch of people came out to see us at a show that has not been majorly advertised and was not part of a tour. It refreshing to do this kind of gig now and then.

What do you think of Sheffield? and Corporation?

From what we have experienced, it’s a city with a lot of people searching for something fresh. I think we have found that a lot across our UK travels. People are really taken in by the show and I think these will stick in their memory forever. We were in the small room at the Corporation tonight and the stage is so hi it’s like performing from the moon down to your audience. It’s lucky we pull some big shapes and have a light show that can be seen for miles. We’ll definitely be back!

Which venue that you have played has had the best atmosphere?

This can depend on who is in the room. We have played some small shows like the railway club in Watford that are packed and have that manic vibe to them and they can be the most fun. There are also the bigger venues like the Newcastle and Birmingham academys and performing on a stage like those is really thrilling, it’s definitely where we see my passion heading in the future.

You are all very energetic onstage, is this something you planned or is it natural?

I guess we plan to be exciting visually but the energy comes from the music we create and how we feel about what we do. Something is unleashed from inside us and we are practically taken over. I think that although the music can be quite dark it is also very exciting and for us it’s also a great time to feel like you are part of the future of the music industry. This all comes across when we play the songs live.

With all the movement when you perform have any of you had any accidents or suffered any injuries?

Ha, we’ve had our fair share of collateral damage… There’s always minor cuts and bruises occasionally a bit more but we’ve toured together lots now and we generally know how each of us performs, it’s like a sixth sense. I did break my knee just over a year ago though that wasn’t anyone’s fault other than my own. Jumping from a 12ft speaker stack can be dangerous. You learn what not to do...

How does it feel being touted (like in Kerrang!) as one of the new up and coming bands in the UK?

It really feels like we are on the edge of something big… We’re still a bit of a secret to many but that is something that will begin to change this year I think. It’s great to have magazines picking up on us now after working so hard and it makes me proud to think that we have come up high in the readers polls and gained pages in the mags just on our own. We’ve got to the point where the fan base had grown enough to be featured in the top mags not by licking anyone’s toes but purely because the demand for my passion is there. It’s a great feeling to be achieving things on our own label in our own way.

What bands do you look up to and aspire to?

We don’t really look to bands of a similar size to us I guess it’s because we see My Passion being far bigger than this. I always admire a band like Muse who can fill a stadium in such a way as they did a year or so ago. Three men making a sound that is out of this world really impresses me and to mix so many elements into that is just amazing. We definitely look to reaching that kind of level.

You’ve said that your favourite bands are a ‘bunch of weirdos’, can you give us some examples?

Well we always grew up with bands that stood out and were never really your standard band. I guess growing up you want something exciting and different. We always wanted to be entertained and wanted people to match the music they wrote with a show and performance that fitted it. My dad grew with the band and definitely had a huge influence on us as well as introducing us to bands like Iggy, Japan, Bowie and The Cure. We grew up with extremes of weirdness from Marilyn Manson and Slipknot to radiohead, bloody weird visually and musically in their own right. Once you’ve grown up with some of the characters from the 80’snd a load of Tim Burton films anything can seem normal. It has helped us keep an open mind.

What impact have these bands had the sound of my passion?

I think they have had more of an impact in the way they enhance what they do visually and the way our favourite bands have never been part of a specific scene but have gone on to become legendary because of that. We have always done things because it is what we love and feel like doing at the time and not because it’s fashionable. The sound is probably a combination of all our influences from the last 60 years the thing is that is so broad that we could sound like anything and it will evolve as we grow and experience more. It’s a very open mix with My Passion and we hope that’s something we can play with in the future.

What do you think of other new emerging bands like Bring Me The Horizon or Rolo Tommassi?

It’s funny because although we are making modern rock music and have a vague idea of what other bands are up to we don’t really pay much attention to it. I guess unless a band is really special we don’t even blink and we don’t come across many of those. We are so driven and comfortable with what we are doing we don’t really look sideward or behind us, it’s much more into the future. We are following our dreams and battling a dinosaur known as the music industry so it’s all about carving out our own path right now.

What are your hopes with the upcoming release of your first album?

For as many people to hear it as possible! We just can’t wait to get it out there! We hope by that point our name will be starting to spread. We want people to pick that album up lock themselves in a room turn it up really fucking loud and travel through it with us. Then we want them to come out and see on the album tour, see it come alive.

This must be a very busy time for you, what doe’s a typical day in life of Laurence Rene involve?

I don’t think there is a typical day and that’s what makes this so interesting. In the last week, we’ve played a few shows, recorded a video, remastered an album, invaded a 5star hotel with redbull and broadcast a live webcast, broke the internet and escaped another fire this time from a vending machine. There is lots of travelling and little sleep.

You have the beginnings of a cult following of fans, is this something you thought might happen?

I think we have always seen ourselves as that kind of band. I think doing this ourselves and forming a close relationship with fans means they have more respect for us and feel part of the growth of My Passion. We toured with inner party system and although they were selling out the shows and we were first on we would arrive at venues to see 20 people already camped out in the pouring rain and we would meet people who had travelled from all across Europe to see us play 30 minutes as first support. It amazes us and we feel proud that we are having a big impact on these peoples lives, its these times and memories that will stick with us all.

In the future when you look back at my passion, what do you hope to see that you have achieved?

I want to be as successful as the music allows My Passion to be. We see that as huge but no one can know exactly how things will turn out. We want to look back and see that we have worked hard for any success we have achieved and feel proud of it. At a bare minimum, we want to be making a living and making the music that we love and as long as that continues, we will be very happy.

My Passion’s debut album is set for release on the 25th of May, and can be pre ordered now at

Damon Fowler
Comfort in Sound

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