Chances are, you’ve never heard of Hieroglyph. But rest assured, you’ll soon know about this little known tech band from Leeds, they’re one of those bands which are too good to be quiet for too long.
I caught up with Guitarist Sam Butterfield and Bass slinger Helen Tytherleigh to talk about the recent(ish) release of their debut EP ‘Freefall’, and the best stratagems to use if you want to win a sack race.
Evening guys, how is it?
Helen: Not bad thanks
Cool, so lets get this started shall we? So you guys are relative unknowns. How would you describe Hieroglyph to a complete noob?
Sam: Magical space groove.
Helen: Haha, that, and with the addition of two vocalists, both male and female. So yeah, we have space, grooves, synthy bits, riffs.
Sam: Riffs for days!
We’re five months removed from your debut EP Freefall, how’s the aftermath?
Sam: Its been pretty sweet. A lot of people have said they’ve been enjoying it. The annoying thing is though, we haven’t been able to gig behind it as much as we’d of liked because of work and that. It’s a bit of a logistical nightmare because we’re all not in the same place.
Helen: It’s definitely an issue with being a six piece. We try to do as many gigs as we can within reason, we’re in a position where we can pick and choose some really good ones.
Sam: We like playing to people who actually enjoy tech metal instead of people who just show up for the hell of it.
Helen: It’s been good in that aspect though, we’ve been able to promote the EP quite a lot from that.
Have you guys got anything new in the pipeline?
Sam: We have a new single in the works which will be out soon.
Helen: I like to think it’ll be around February/March kind of time. We’re also getting a video done for that.
Sam: It’s going to be bridging the gap between the EP, and the new stuff we’ve got coming up. It’s a little bit more straight forward than the stuff we’ve done before, it’s not necessarily representative of where we’re going, it’s just really groovy and super catchy. We’re still planning the new album really.
Helen: We have a concept, so that’s a step in the right direction.
Sam: We’re trying to write everything around the the concept of the lyrics influencing the music and vice-versa instead of writing the music first, then the lyrics, so everything is affecting everything else. It’s more of a blend than a layer thing. We’re being really hard on ourselves on this one. (laughs)
So you guys were amongst the first wave of bands announced for UK Tech Fest, alongside the likes of Decapitated and The Contortionist. That’s gotta feel pretty awesome right?
Sam: Yeah, it’s so awesome. I’m really excited to find out who else we’re going to be playing with.
Helen: I’m so excited to be playing at Tech Fest.
Sam: We’ve been going since the first one, me, Helen and Val (Valentina Reptile, vocals) we’re all there but we didn’t know one another. The second time around, we were beginning to form Hieroglyph, so I knew Helen. We met Val there, but she was worried about the distance from London to join the band. She then asked if I would help write stuff for her, then she changed her mind during Tech Fest.
Helen: Which was awesome!
Sam: Jamie (Rutherford), our second guitarist was there during the second year, and joined the band. We didn’t really know him though, but we kept bumping into him and sending him tabs over facebook, so its become an ongoing theme of gradually accumulating drunk people at festivals. (laughs)
Helen: The fact that we’re going to be playing this year though is so cool. Someone asked me the other day, ‘Are you excited to be playing?’ and I hadn’t really thought about it properly. I just started feeling really sick and getting really bad butterflies. (laughs)
Any other plans going forward?
Helen:There’s talk of a tour.
Sam: But we’re not allowed to talk about anything.
Helen: It’s in the works essentially, but it’ll be a good one if it all comes together.
Nearly there, any bands that you know you’ve toured with, or are listening to, that deserve a mention?
Helen: I’m absolutely loving Cloudkicker at the moment, can’t get enough of them!
Sam: I’m going to give a shout out to some local Leeds lads, who are really sick, and will probably be getting really well known over the next year or so, and that’s On Hollow Ground, Pravitas and When Giants Collide. Pravitas are insane, they’re super shreddy, almost like Veil Of Maya. On Hollow Ground are crazy heavy but with loads of technical bits, again, like Veil Of Maya or even After The Burial. When Giants Collide are kind of groovy like Volumes. There’s a lot going on up here, that a lot of people don’t know about.
Helen: When we first formed Hieroglyph, there were hardly any tech bands up here. Well there’s Orion, but they’re from Manchester.
Sam: It’s all the kids who are going to college and uni that are starting to form bands, it’s pretty sick.
Helen: But yeah, check out Pravitas.
Sam: Pravitas and On Hollowed Ground both have EP’s out, and When Giants Collide are on Rogue Records, so you can find their stuff on there.
OK, final question.You’ll probably never be asked a more important, highly philosocal question than this. What’s your personal preference, a sack race or an egg and spoon race?
Helen: I’ll go for egg and spoon.
Sam: I’ll have to go for sack, because there’s more opportunity for violence. In an egg and spoon race, there’s no room for movement, as you’ll drop the egg, but in a sack race you can just smash the fuck out of people.
Helen: See, I’m all about that precision rather than jumping in the sack. I’ll just fall over. (laughs)
Sam: The thing is, you don’t have to finish, you just make sure no one else does either. You don’t have to be tactful, just cause serious injury.
Helen: You weren’t really liked at sports day, were you?
Sam: No, I didn’t like sports day, and I made that perfectly clear. (laughs)