“Dirty MySpace Post Hardcore is Back” – An Interview with EPHEMERA

Ephemera were on my photography hit list from the start after their first-ever show at the Temple of Boom in Leeds. Coming straight onto the hardcore scene under what they call “Yorkshire Hardcore”, I was an instant fan. Their shows are introduced with familiar sounds straight from the EP, leading you to a phenomenal performance full of raw energy. Recently signing with stateside Kingside Records, they are definitely one to watch this year. Excitingly, I have been able to chat with Cris (guitarist) from Ephemera below who have given a huge personal insight into the band and their story.


MSM: First of all, can you tell me the story behind the band? How was Ephemera created and what does Ephemera mean to you all?

CRIS: Ey up Mikey, ope thar duin grand, ta for t question, it’s reight gud bin quizzed on our band. Also, enough of the colloquialisms, I won’t do the rest of the interview like that but be assured that we do actually talk like this…

So, the story behind the band: myself (Cris / guitarist) and Mason (vocals) were climbing the walls, being forced to close our tattoo shop during COVID. We needed to keep creative and decided to bubble up and work on a few demo ideas. We created, create/isolate first, hence the fitting name. I’d been in bands for years, playing all sorts of styles, and decided in my frustration I’d attempt to make music as angry as I felt. For mason, this was his first band and we both got to work through and develop our strengths in the lockdown. Once it was available to us to be legally allowed in a practice room we got our friends Olly, to play drums and Adam to play bass. We then started developing our songs and has grown to where we are today. Ephemera means only for a short time, we genuinely only thought we’d make an ep a few years ago. We were never meant to last. It was a project of expression and, ultimately, we never thought we’d be where we are today.

MSM: For anyone out there that hasn’t heard your songs, how would you best describe your music/sound?

CRIS: Well, I guess that at least from the guitarist’s perspective, I feel we have that old early MySpace hardcore vibe. I attempt to make our sound edgy, but accessible enough to make you get up and move. I know that a lot of people don’t like screaming or shouting music but ultimately if that’s what puts them off, I’d encourage them to read the lyrics alongside the songs as the words are much deeper than first assumed. I heard a friend give me a good description of our music – “Dirty MySpace Post Hardcore is Back” – and I loved that.

MSM: Your new EP, Somewhere Between Order and Chaos, has just been released. How has the reaction been so far?

CRIS: Fucking incredible. I’m not quite sure how it’s happened but a lot of reach has been a result in the first two weeks of this release. We asked our record label, Kingside Records, to help us drop our ep between Christmas and New Year, we wanted to get it out at that time as we’d just finished the recordings, and our great friend Grant Clayton finished our masters around mid-December. We wanted to give people something to listen to and watch in the sort of dead time between the two-holiday celebrations. It reached. We got airplay, and the video had loads of views, in 2 weeks. We are extremely humbled by peoples’ responses. For example, I went to see a band play last week, and I had people coming over to me and shaking my hand, wanting to tell me how much they loved the ep. It really took me by surprise.

MSM: Your new music has recently been played on BBC Radio 1. What was this like hearing yourself play on one of the biggest stations in the world?

CRIS: Mike, no shit, I have listened to Radio One rock show for possibly 20 years. Each week listening on a Sunday, the night before school, and then as I got older, before work. One of my goals as a musician was to be played on either Daniel P Carter’s show or any that followed on that weekly metal section. We got played on Alyx Holcombe’s show and BBC Radio West Yorkshire Leeds. I am still so surprised, the tracks were only out 5 days. Since that they are played on radios all over, especially in Germany and USA. This blows my mind, 4 guys played music over the summer to a few shows and wrote an EP and it’s played all over the world, this is one of my greatest achievements as a creator. I’d also like to thank these people, thank you for taking the time to listen to us, it means so much.

MSM: Do you think listeners take away different messages from your music than you first intended?

CRIS: Yes, and great question. I want to answer this as direct as I can and I’m sorry if it’s a little dark, but sometimes life is. So we write the music and when jamming Mason jams tries out melodies, he’s always writing something and when it sounds good we record the demo. Once recorded I actually get to hear masons words and read the lyrics, I read it and make my interpretation even if his initial context may be different.

I’ve played “Micah” a lot. It’s an old song on the first ep. It never really directly related to me lyrically for about 4 months, but I scream backing to Mason at the end of the song and think it’s cool as fuck so it’s in our set. Then, in summer, myself and my partner sadly lost a baby, I went to band practice that week as always and played the set, we got to Micah and I screamed as always,

“I know I’m a wreck, but it wasn’t meant to be.”

I broke down, we stopped, and my band gave me a hug. It was right then, and ever since, that I realised how something could be interpreted and has deep-rooted value and meaning to a viewer, but could mean something completely different to the creator. I don’t know what Mason is directly screaming about on that part of the song, but I know what it means to me.

MSM: When it comes to writing new songs, where do you draw inspiration from, and what is your entire creative process?

CRIS: I had a meeting with Chris from Underoath last week that lit a fire in me, definitely. We were discussing how to take on writing our next full-length album and he suggested a 70 to 30 ratio. Write 100 songs, throw away 70, and work on the 30 to find the 10 for the next album. As a band, we jam weekly new ideas, then I demo out the ideas through logic and try and progress the song until we feel it’s ready to perform. Sometimes we throw an odd new one in the set to see how people react to it live. If bodies are moving, it’s a good sign that we have a good song. Currently, I’m on song 38 out of 100 and, all I know so far is that our album is going to be very heavy.

MSM: What can fans expect when they see you live? What sets your show apart from other bands within the scene?

CRIS: We got asked about sponsorship last week, and I hope we get it cos I literally break everything that I own at every gig. I play barefoot so I can climb on things easier, and so I guess expect fucking brutality. We have smashed up every single stage we’re ever played. It’s become an ongoing joke in the band that I basically launch my guitar at Olly at the end of the set. If you want to see us live, please come along! We believe in expressing yourself and, like most hardcore, it’s always good to see it live.

MSM: What do you think about the current state of the music industry?

CRIS: It’s fucked, let’s be frank. In my opinion, the best live set ever is Nirvana, live at Reading. Now, look at Leeds and Reading Festival, fucking Lewis Capaldi. Come on. Bloodstock is starting to surpass downloads, and the only festivals on the up are independent one-dayers. The industry is only there to push what’s cool currently and is quickly replaced. I think if something can be marketed as uncanny and edgy in the mainstream, it has a 6-month shelf life. Punk and hardcore, however, will live forever.

MSM: From the hardcore scene, who would you most like to perform/collaborate with one day?

CRIS: Mate, I’ve got a list: Counterparts, Hands, Teeth, Underoath, Johnny Truant, Cancerbats, Casey, Ghost of a Thousand, and Kublai Khan, to name just a few. I’m a huge hardcore music nerd and I try and listen to one full different album a day. I’ve spent this week listening to Climate’s first record, Hero in Error’s first ep, and I still play Heights’ first record.

Fun Questions:

MSM: Please tell me about Guerilla gigs, and can we expect any this year?

CRIS: Guerrilla gigging was a concept we came up with at the end of last year out of sheer frustration. We couldn’t get a gig whatsoever. The local promoters were truly gatekeepers. Only getting on their own band or their friends to play shows they weren’t even relevant to. Or touring bands would come over with their own supports, directed by the label they all shared, and leave no opportunity for us to play with bands we are genuinely fans of. Bands don’t want us to support because they don’t want upstaging and we are still a relatively new band so we can really headline one outside of Yorkshire and we’ve only started our extended reach since our new Ep drop. All we want to do is play to a bigger audience and from getting ignored or told no, we decided to play to the crowds queuing outside the venues not giving us gigs. We figured after 3 shows, the main band would at least recognise who we are and hopefully consider us playing next time, plus we’d reach more fans.

MSM: Do you have any pre-gig rituals?

CRIS: I can’t talk for the rest of the band they all do their thing 30 mins before stage time. For me, I need to stretch, basically yoga and calm my heart rate. I actually have muscular dystrophy so I need to make sure that I’ve stretched out. Then I have about 4 huge joints (not condoning weed but it helps me), and a few shots, and I’m ready to backflip. I try not to listen to our music too before we go on so I don’t second guess what I’m playing before I go on stage. We have one band huddle and chat and boom off we go.

MSM: Who is the best band you’ve played with so far?

CRIS: That’s hard to choose cos we’ve been gifted by playing with such high caliber bands. I’d have to say, Thrown Into Exile was incredibly talented and unbelievably humble. I could watch them every night and not get bored. We also played with Hell Can Wait and they were brilliant, too, with really cool songs. We toured with Death and Taxes, which was great also as I have some real old friends in that band. All of these are worth going to see if you get the chance.

MSM: When fans recommend your band to others, what song do you hope they choose first?

CRIS: Any. The new EP is where we are as a band right now, the older stuff is where we were, and the new newer stuff is where we are going. I just appreciate everyone listening. Thanks so much for the interview and we’ll see you down the front for a mosh.



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*ALL PHOTOS AND VIDEOS BY MIKE HAMP

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