Phil and Tom of Continents spoke to Sam Woodgate after their set at Ghostfest 2012.
So, tell us a little about yourselves.
Tom: Well, obviously we're Continents, we play stuff like hardcore with tech - but the 'hardcore' tag can cause trouble! On the video for our first single 'Trials' someone posted a comment saying something along the lines of 'these are my new favourite hardcore band!' and everything kicked off! People were saying stuff about the origins of hardcore and how it wasn't Continents, and we had to intervene and say 'look, we know we're not a hardcore band'!
Phil: Metal kids tend to think we're more hardcore and hardcore kids see us more as a metal outfit...maybe we're more 'djentcore'.
Tom: Djentcore doesn't even exist!
Phil: It does, we're pioneers!
For a British band to be on Victory is something of a rarity; how does it feel to have such a strong, respected label behind you?
Tom: It's just incredible. I mean, as far as other UK bands, there's only been about 3 on there ever, and Funeral For a Friend were one! It's not just British bands, but there's very few European bands either, which is amazing.
Phil: They've taken a real interest in us, as well. They're always in touch, they've not just sat back and left us alone which is great.
Tom: We used to just do this band for shits and giggles, we could never afford to record, and now the opportunity has arisen.
Phil: We know so many local bands who have wasted their material on several EPs instead of a full-length, which is what the fans want - now that Victory has come forward it's given us the chance to do exactly that.
To put the magnitude of the label into perspective, you're sharing it with the main support for today and the headliner tomorrow... how does it feel to be playing alongside familiar faces and big bands today?
Tom: We're just so glad to be at Ghostfest- we've been coming as fans for years, so to be playing it ourselves is amazing.
Phil: Toyan mentioned it as a possibility in November, but it wasn't finalised until about February.
Tom: He came back and checked with us that we had kept the last weekend in June free and that was it! Today was the biggest show we've played by a long way, it was incredible.
Phil: We try and keep level-headed about everything, though, but this is a big break for the band.
Is your upcoming album going to be a departure from what we've previously heard from Continents?
Tom: It's definitely an evolution; initially Daryll was the one doing most of the writing; I didn't even play guitar until the day I joined Continents! I used to do vocals but decided I didn't want to do that in Continents, so ended up getting an amp and guitar with my student loan. Phil was next to join, then we had a drummer from another South Wales band, then Dom came along!
Phil: Our current drummer Ken joined January 2011; since then we have tried to put our influences into a pot - we do listen to quite a broad range of music as well - it ranges from The Rise Of Science through to more classic hardcore stuff like Backtrack. There's a lot of garage as well - we don't really try and put that in too much, haha.
Tom: We tried playing some before we went onstage a couple of times, but the fans didn't really like it!
Phil: You've got Daryll and Ken who listen to quite a lot of metal and things, Darryl's quite a big indie fan as well. Dom is just obsessed with two-step...we let Dom do one interview before a local show we played a couple of months ago, and the interviewer basically asked 'what would you like to see more of from the band?', and Dom's serious answer was 'more twosteps and spin-kicks.'
Following on from the initial success of 'Trials', how do you intend to build on from this strong start?
Phil: We weren't anticipating all this success - we just did it to get our names out a bit.
Tom: We took a risk and it paid off, really. No one knew it was going to get that popular!
Phil: There's a great local venue called Le Pub, which is sadly up for sale at the moment, and we decided we were going to play a cheap show and bring all our friends down - Odessa played, Desolated played, and we charged about a pound to get in, and we ended up getting some footage for our video, which we paid out of our own pockets for the most part. We emailed the resulting video to BlankTV thinking 'what's the worst that could happen?' and they came back saying how they wanted to help us out!
Tom: It's funny, really; a lot of people have come back and said they actually prefer the B-side to the single, Pegasus, a lot more than Trials!
Phil: When we applied to Victory they asked us 'what do you get out of music?', and our reply was 'provided we enjoy it, that's all we're looking to do.' I wanna play shows; we love playing live, we love interviews, and other people love that too - they enjoy what we do and come out, but the main priority is that we enjoy what we do. We don't want to be a band who are miserable and who years down the line have changed our sound to please other people.
Tom: We're going to make some changes, though. We're gonna be a ten piece; go one better than Slipknot!
With today being a festival date, did your approach today differ from how you'd play a club date?
Tom: I wouldn't say that it was a festival that we played differently, but more because it was such a massive show. I mean there were what, 2400 people here today? I mean obviously they weren't all watching us, but the room was completely packed, people couldn't get in!
I tried to catch you guys before interviewing Comeback Kid to no avail, the room was rammed!
Phil: It sounds quite bad, but I keep my expectations quite low, purely because you don't want to brag about things and then to look like an idiot when they go wrong. Worst comes to worst, today is a free practise run - if we come away with 5 more fans, that's awesome. To go in there and get the reaction we did was out of this world.
Tom: They had to drag in extra security and everything. Our merch guy got kicked out for jumping off the bar, so did our friend Dan, so did our friend Jack - it was insane, it really was. I try and keep level-headed about this sort of stuff, but today was electric.
Phil: At the minute it's all self-funded, we're quite lucky that we've all got full-time jobs and stuff, but every penny we get goes straight towards the band, all the money we make goes back into the band - so to come here and see people already wearing our merch is amazing. People I've never seen in my life, and I have no idea how they're wearing it have our shirts, it's insane.
Tom: Our merch is now only available through Victory for the most part.
Phil: Yeah, we can print what we want to sell at shows, but we can't run our own UK webstore.
So no Bigcartel or similar?
Tom: Yeah, we had to take our Bigcartel down.
Phil: But the prices are quite good on the webstore - a longsleeve comes to about £11, and postage isn't extortionate - it takes a while to come, but that's to be expected and isn't normally as bad as you'd think. There'll be exclusive designs on there, we've got a couple with us today, and it's just great to see people wearing them.
Would you say it's harder to headline or open up in terms of a performance?
Phil: We go into every show with exactly the same mentality - worst case scenario, we have a free practice. There have been a few times where you feel blown away as a headliner - we've played over Desolated a few times, we go onstage and think 'how the hell do we top that?'; it doesn't damage your mentality though, just fires you up. It's always good to go as an opener and really impress new fans, though!
Thank you very much for your time!