Daniel Winter-Bates von Bury Tomorrow im Interview

Foto: Nic Bezzina

Ende März brachten Bury Tomorrow ihr siebtes Studioalbum an den Start, das den passenden Titel „The Seventh Sun“ trägt. Dadurch gibt es aber nicht nur viel neue Musik von den Herren aus Southampton, sondern auch einige neue Themen, denen wir gern auf den Zahn fühlen wollten. Sänger Daniel Winter-Bates war daher so freundlich, uns etwas Zeit für ein Interview zur neuen Platte freizuschaufeln.

In this album, everybody had a part to play in it.Dani Winter-Bates

CYB: Hi Dani, thank you for taking the time. We´re obviously here for the new album out on March 31st. It is heavy as usual, but also has some emotional parts like in “Carcass King” or “Majesty” and even when you just look at the title, it seems to be a lot about change and new things. Is this what you intended the album to be about?

Dani Winter-Bates: Yes I think so. I think of course it was gonna have that feeling because generally, we are going through so much change, not only as a band but as a society in general over the last three years. Everybody has been thrust into craziness and then in the band we had a lot of change ourselves, so of course it was going to have that kind of feel to it. We never really thought that it has to be about change, it was never a conscious decision, we just went to the studio and saw what comes out. It was really quite an organic process, it was really thorough with a lot in here. We wanted to see where the energy kind of takes us.

CYB: How much do the new members account for the sound on this album and how much is it you progressing as songwriters?

Dani Winter-Bates: I think it´s a bit of both. In this album, everybody had a part to play in it. We were all in the studio together and we were writing. Often it used to be just Kris and myself sitting down and seeing where it takes us, but this time Tom was massively involved in the songwriting process. He is an amazing songwriter anyway, that´s what he does, it´s his job, he writes songs and he produces. And Tom is also an incredible lyricist. I trust him to be able to write incredible lyrics, which he does, and then challenge me to be even better from a lyrical point of view and a thematic point of view. And obviously, Ed had a massive part as well, he loves metal music and also likes the more melodic, proggy side of metal music. So he was integral in the songwriting process as well.

CYB: And what is on your current playlist that might be a surprise for us that influenced the songwriting?

Dani Winter-Bates: I listen to a lot of different things. From a metal perspective, I listen to what´s current at the moment like Spiritbox, Bad Omens, Sleep Token, Fit For A King, Make Them Suffer, all of these bands, I think they´re all great musicians. And because I´m a bit older I also listen to bands like Whitechapel or Parkway Drive. From a different point of view, I really like artists like Borna Boy or Big Sean, Post Malone and all of these hip-hop and R&B artists. They all create influence because they´re incredibly catchy and well-written songs. I don´t listen to metal because I´m in a metal band, I listen to anything. Because it all creates influence, especially in a band like which is influenced by melodic music as well as being influenced by a lot of heavy music.

CYB: You also have Taylor Loz and Cody Frost on the album. What are you looking for when you do a feature?

Dani Winter-Bates: We haven´t done it a lot. The last time we´ve done it was Jamey Jasta, so we´re quite sparing with it. Before Cody and Loz, with Jasta, it was the first and only time. And it´s not a conscious decision, it just has to feel right and with Jamey it felt really right. Now, from a Cody perspective, Dan Weller, our producer is also Cody´s producer, and he played us some of her songs and I love what Cody is about, how out there and different she is. And we knew we had a melodic part in Carcass King and that second verse was actually always screaming. So we finished the record and thought that there was something missing and wouldn´t it be cool if Cody did that. There were a couple of songs that she would possibly sing on – “Wrath”, “Recovery” and “Carcass King” were all options. And I thought it would be quite the juxtaposition to our heavy sound, she does these serene long-held vocals, which often don´t sit with linear beats. Her catchiness is how she flows over beats and she is very original with her voice. We had her do it and it was literally one take, she is genuinely one of the best singers out there.
And from a Loz perspective, I´ve grown up with Loz and While She Sleeps and Bury Tomorrow have been doing our things for a long time. Our guitarist, Kris, literally grew up with those guys – first bands all together up in the north of the UK. And we obviously knew Sleeps for a long long time and we went on tour with them back in 2012, we´ve been some great things together. And also, Loz has never been a feature on a track before. I think it also has to sonically feel different because if I put a vocalist on our track that sounds like me or Tom, it wouldn´t really add anything for a listener. And it gives you an opportunity as a band to explore something you might not be able to do. And Cody and Loz, they are part of music that we don´t really do, so yeah, it´s cool.

There are always going to be people that prefer the older style of Bury Tomorrow.Dani Winter-Bates

CYB: You also went back to the same Producer Dan Weller, who already did “Cannibal” and “Black Flame”. Was it a conscious decision to go back to someone you already know amidst the change you went through as a band?

Dani Winter-Bates: I think it´s one of those things. When you work with a producer, there are a lot of producers. It´s almost really important that you have this mutual element of trust. Because you won´t any of these questions of what is this guitarist like, what´s this drummer like, am I able to challenge some of these things? And especially with Dan, there are parts of our song where Dan has massive elements of writing in and you have to have some trust to tell a group of 30+ individuals being in the game for almost two decades what to do. It would be a little bit harder conversation to have if you don´t know them. And even pushing me and be like “Okay that was good, but let´s do better, let´s push ourselves.” And Dan is amazing at that. And he is also a good friend, so we have this symbiotic relationship and there is this mutual respect and thinking of let´s make this a success. And with a lot of change going I suppose we were like “Let´s have that familiarity” and see how that changes things.

CYB: Now I have to ask. You have a new line-up in the band: Jason Cameron left and Tom Prendergast and Ed Hartwell came in. What was that process like and how did you feel about it?

Dani Winter-Bates: Obviously there was always an uncertainty about what the future might hold and I haven´t made any secret about the fact that prior to these guys coming on, there were questions about whether we should continue with the band. But as always as a band and as always in our career, we make no secret about the fact that we have been in this position before. Our fans are the reason as to why we succeeded to continue and that is the only reason. Of course we have a label and management, but they are not the reasons why we choose to continue being in a band. The reason is because our fans probably expect us to. And I think if we had given it up at that point, we wouldn´t have been doing our fans the justice they want us to do them. They want to see us. We have a ridiculously loyal fanbase and they really want us to succeed. And if we were like “Ah, this is hard, we´re out”, it probably would have been too soon. So there was uncertainty and anxiety about how it was going to be received but really quickly it kind of went away. We played our first show, a massive show, our first two shows were 15,000 capacity headlining a stage playing songs off Cannibal we never played before because of the pandemic with the new line-up. So weren´t messing around with the first shows with them we were playing. But literally by the second show, we felt like this is right. And they are such positive amazing human beings. They showed us what being in a band should be like which is positive and fun and enjoying it and respecting each other to another level. There is just no drama. It´s just like going through playing shows how it should be, how people dream of being in a band. And genuinely, those nearly two years that they joined a band, what an amazing time it´s been. That last tour with ABR and Novelists, was one of the best tours in my life. There was no drama and every night was great and it was just fun, literally the dream. When people think about the dream of being in a band, that was it. And it´s all down to them, positivity, work hard ethic. They take their craft seriously. Tom takes singing and production incredibly seriously and Ed takes playing the guitar really seriously.

CYB: To me, Bury Tomorrow was always very recognizable with Jason´s voice when it came up in a playlist or so. Are you worried that this unique style is now gone and fans will be disappointed?

Dani Winter-Bates: There are always going to be people that prefer the older style of Bury Tomorrow. I am not naive, I´ve been doing this since I´ve been 16 years old, wrote hundreds of songs and I know the game now. So, I know fans and I know there are some people who might prefer that and that is music – it´s subjective. But it´s still my band that I´ve been in for so long. So yeah, I suppose there is some anxiety there. I think the general thing that keeps us going is that we´re a better band in all aspects and I know that as a fact. When I hear people go “They´re not as good technically” – that is not true. For me, you can´t deny that we´re not technically better. We put in more effort than we ever did and I´m the only person who can say that because I´m the only constant.
I think it´s breathed life into our music that we haven´t had for a long time. Some of the things that people were saying about our music that we slid into this almost generic formula and some people love that, they know what they´re getting. What we´ve done with this new line-up is – okay, let´s scrap this formula. Yeah, you´re still getting Bury Tomorrow but you´re gonna get it in a different way and we´re trying to push some boundaries, which I think is very important for a band at our point in our career. And in our previous line-up, we wouldn´t have done that. We would have made the exact same album and we probably would have ended as a band. So I like to make it very clear to people: If you really like that previous era of Bury Tomorrow, celebrate it for what it is, but that wouldn´t have been Bury Tomorrow moving forward. We would have not been a band. So it´s like “You can either have this or we won´t be here”.

This new album is a new era and we got a lot of hype behind us. For a band of 15 years is quite crazy, who knew hey! And I think people are rooting for us, more than ever.Dani Winter-Bates

CYB: Another band comes to mind that did a complete 180 with their music, which is Hundredth. I´m not saying that you would go this extreme, but what do you think is your leeway on how far you will change your genre?

Dani Winter-Bates: I think the difference with this album is that we didn´t go in and be like “We want to write a metalcore album”. And with the 6 albums prior, that´s what we did. We always wanted to be the best metalcore band. But with this album, we were more like that we want to be the best band. We are very lucky to have a lot of fans worldwide, specifically in Europe – Germany being one of the biggest places for us – and we don´t want to turn our back on that. We want to serve that, but we want to serve that in a new way. And when it comes to future stuff, I think the sky is the limit. The ethos in the band right now is that we don´t want to say like “We want this record to be the heaviest record” or “We want this to be a commercial record” – I will never make that statement entering a studio again. Considering how good this process with Seventh Sun has been: Let´s just see where it takes us. And it´s always going to be heavy because I am in the band (haha). And fans can see if there are songs that a band tried to be the heavy song or to be the melodic song.
What an album should be like in my eyes is that you put it on and you can just listen to it and be like “Ah it´s a real journey and these are my favourite songs – cool!”

CYB: What is your relationship with Jason right now? Do you know what he´s doing? Are you in touch?

Dani Winter-Bates: No, we don´t really have contact with him right now and there are various reasons as to why that is. I see different people pop up wishing him well and I wish him well with whatever he´s doing. But with regards to an ongoing relationship, there isn´t really one for probably a lot of reasons. It is what it is. And I suppose the only message I give people when it comes to perspective and how mental the world has been over the last two years or longer than that – a member leaving a metalcore band and us continuing on is probably not the biggest news item people need to hear about. So, you got to put things into perspective: It´s music, it´s business, it´s life. At the end of the day, if people choose to continue with our band, I am super grateful. So, all the power to him, I hope he lives a long and happy life but to me, it´s about us moving forward and us trying to be positive moving forward.

CYB: We often connect bands to certain things, so maybe Parkway Drive are the surfer boys, Amity sings a lot about depression, ABR is quite technical for example. What do you want Bury Tomorrow to be connected to in 2023 and the new album?

Dani Winter-Bates: This new album is a new era and we got a lot of hype behind us. For a band of 15 years is quite crazy, who knew hey! And I think people are rooting for us, more than ever. They want Bury Tomorrow to be up there with those bands.
I think in general Bury Tomorrow stands for inclusivity and stands for really supporting the scene to progress and challenging us to all grow. And both for us as musicians and artists to push ourselves to be better than we once were and equally for our fanbase to push themselves to be better about including others. You know our music should transcend sexuality, gender identity, religion, faith, ability, race and ethnicity and it should be a place where people feel comfortable and open to be able to be themselves whether that´s through their struggles or through their characteristics as human beings. That´s what I want from our music and our live shows. And from a technical point of view, I want to be better, I want to be the best, and I want to be as good as I can possibly be in everything I do. And I think The Seventh Sun really pushes that forward and certainly Bury Tomorrow as a whole. I don´t want people to go “Ah that´s the old Bury Tomorrow, they´re making metalcore” – Nah, I want people to recognize that we got something to offer in this scene and it´s a lot more than just the music that we play.

CYB: Thank you for the interview!

Dani Winter-Bates: Thank you so much!