The band of brothers have returned

Exiles of Elysium members, Tom Williams, Andrew Horton and Thomas Churm talk to Emily Paget about their imminent return.

The underground hard-core band, hailing from the Midlands, are set to return with their debut EP, Stories, that is set to be a departure from their former sound.

“We’ve progressed and chosen a more definitive path to take since writing and releasing our first singles, The Purge and Fall To Ashes.” Andrew Horton explains. “We’ve only recently figured out what our style truly was.”

Their latest single, Thirteen, seemed to purge the band of their past singles, with a heavy sound and a more meaningful set of lyrics. But that’s not the only new addition to the band’s sound.

“Our music has changed so much in the past year, it’s sort of become not less heavy,” Thomas said. “But more structured and definitive, with more lead guitars and ‘cleaner’ choruses, it’s, we believe, more catchy.”

This change in direction followed from a Battle of the Bands show, in which two tracks Prevailer and Solitude were showcased. The feedback from these brand new tracks, helped steer the band into a new direction.

“I have to say, it’s going to be a pleasant surprise to those who have heard our old singles,” Andrew hinted. “It’s definitely a stronger, more powerful delivery within these songs.”

Despite exploring their personal side on this EP, the band haven’t needed long to form a strong bond as a group, with their journey only getting started back in 2014.

“Me and Tom have always been in bands, through school and so on,” Thomas explained. “Then we have Mikey, our bassist, who we jammed with and then we met with Andrew in a nightclub, when we were looking for a vocalist! Then along with Andrew came Saul.”

Though the band happened in the most unusual circumstances, it didn’t stop them from growing closer together, both as a band and as friends.

“We’re all best friends and we have a strong bond, so it’s like a brotherhood almost,” Thomas said. “Musically we’ve progressed but as a band, we’ve become stronger and continue to every day.”

The strong bond that the band have, has not only helped them as friends, but has helped them explore their influences and sounds as musicians.

“When writing instrumentals we were heavily influenced by bands like: The Ghost Inside, For The Fallen Dreams, Obey The Brave, In Hearts Wake,” Tom explained. “We all have our own separate influences that show in the music.

“But the heaviest influences for us, are Saul’s Killswitch Engage influence in his guitar playing and my own influence with The Ghost Inside and Obey The Brave.”

It’s not just fellow hardcore bands that have influenced their sound, but also iconic rock bands.

“I’ve always been influenced by older bands, with Guns ‘n’ Roses being my biggest influence,” Thomas said. “So groove is always a big thing that I look for in writing and some of the tracks have that beefy groove.”

Yet it’s the emotional and personal side to the lyrics that is solely influenced by the band alone.

“I take a lot of influence from my personal life, but it’s not just from negative aspects,” Andrew explained. “There is some positive influence, Thirteen and Alone help promote this message of positivity that even when you’re at your lowest, there’s always a way to bring yourself back together.”

The band of brothers have returned image

Exiles of Elysium

The positive message in the lyrics stems from a personal battle with mental illness.

“About a year ago, I got over my severe depression,” Andrew said. “I got to the point where I had the darkest thoughts imaginable, being depressed only made me want to be more depressed.

“With the amazing support of friends, family and music, music being a huge help, gave me strength to ask for help and I looked back on it and I knew I never wanted to feel that way again.”

Yet despite overcoming his depression, it wouldn’t be without its losses.

“When it came to writing Solitude, the main influence was the people who’ve left my life,” Andrew explained. “I felt terrible at the time, but in the end I realised I was stronger because of this.

“I hope that in writing those lyrics, people are able to relate and it helps them if they’re in a similar situation.”

Alongside the band’s personal struggles that feature heavily in their new music, the flickers of their influences can be found in the Stories EP as well.

“We haven’t completely gone down The Ghost Inside route, we wanted to make something that’s totally different,” Tom said. “There’s flickers of them across the EP, we’ve bought together everything we love in music to make something we’re incredibly proud of.

“But we definitely want that feel in our music, with The Ghost Inside, you can’t help but bang your head to it or throw down to it and that’s what we were aiming for.”

Their new music doesn’t just reflect their personal struggles, but a struggle in itself as the band clashed over material for the EP.

“There were some ‘heated discussions,” Thomas laughed. “Everyone put so much passion into writing so it did get heated at times!

“Everyone wanted to be 100% happy with everything so it did take a lot out of us.”

The group’s problem centred around their fourth track, Cursed, and what ideas they wanted to include in the track.

“We had actually come very close to arguing,” Andrew said. “But we’re all best friends so we weren’t going to shun someone’s ideas.

“We have this mentality that if one person doesn’t like it then we won’t use it. We’ll continue to persevere until we’re all happy with what we have and then we’ll work to put it in place.”

Despite the creative difficulties, the band persevered and broke their ‘curse’ of writer’s block. Their success wasn’t short-lived either as they managed to hear their music on the radio for the first time.

“I think Tom went to them and they agreed to play it,” Thomas explained. “Once they agreed to play it, it was on us to get the word out.”

The band announced their success, and got the word out, via their Facebook page asking their fans to tune into BBC West Midlands which would showcase them later that night.

On January 23, at around 8pm, the guys that are scattered across parts of Wolverhampton and Birmingham tuned in to listen to Thirteen being played.

“It’s all about getting out there, so being on the radio was an incredible feeling,” Thomas said. “We’re always on the lookout to get out there more, and with it being a big station with lots of listeners, it was really cool.

“But we’re always really proud of our music, it’s like our baby!”

But fans may have to wait a little longer as the band has yet to confirm a release date for Stories.

“The EP release date is still to be confirmed,” Andrew explained. “We’re trying to keep things quiet until everything is 100%.”

Despite not knowing when Stories is going to be released, although it is hinted at being a 2016 release, the band have promised the fans that they can expect to hear music that packs a punch.

“The EP shows us that we’re all human and that we have strength to overcome the darkest of times,” Thomas said. “Our writing packs a serious punch, each song is fierce. But there’s some parts that hold a good groove.”

The band may have gone through a rough patch in order to make Stories, with creative difficulties and mental health problems facing them at every turn; but they’re ready to dust themselves down to deliver a highly anticipated debut EP that gives their fans a knockout blow.

For more information about Exiles of Elysium check out their Facebook. Their debut single, Thirteen, is available now to purchase on iTunes or available to stream on YouTube and Spotify.

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