Prior to their support slot at Onslaught`s reunion gig in Bristol. Rockers Digest caught up with Fourwaykill vocalist Chris Neighbour.

A review and photos from the gig can be found here… Live Review

Tell us about pre-Fourwaykill.
See before Fourwaykill, we were actually four separate bands called Onewaykill and we all came together as Fourwaykill, haha.

I was singing in Guttersnipe. Guttersnipe were a lot more power metal. It was quite traditional. That was mainly because of Ed, the guitarist, who actually formed Fourwaykill with me. He`s more of a blues based guitarist whereas Jay likes to shred it up. So I was fronting Guttersnipe and we did alright. Then our drummer found God and decided I was Satan and left the band.

Rob was playing in Beggars Opera who were a band from Taunton that used to play a lot with Guttersnipe. Jay & Podge were in a band called Zarcoma and again the three of us used to play a lot. It was a bit like the relationship we`ve got now with Panic Cell and bands like that you know. It was always Guttersnipe, Beggars Opera and Zarcoma and just out of luck, all three bands split up at the same time. So I was sat round Ed`s house saying let`s get the best elements of all three bands. So we phoned up Rob for his drumming and we phoned up Podge as bass player, because at that point Jay wasn`t in the band. Then Jay joined about a year later as second guitarist but Ed the original guitarist didn`t get on too well with that. So Ed stood back and then Jay carried on. Then Podge left this year and we got Clive.

So where you called Fourwaykill back then?

And that was to do with four people to start with I guess?
I don`t know. I was actually staying at my Mother`s in Oxford when I was trying to form the new band and I was playing with ideas. I wanted a three syllable kind of name rather than a single word and originally we were playing with Three Minute Hate. Then I thought no, because everyone will think our songs are three minutes long. Like a Ramones tribute band or something, haha. So then Four Minute Hate but I didn`t want to use the word hate. Then out of the blue it just became Fourwaykill. I think I probably looked at a plug socket or something, haha. The actual meaning came afterwards when people were asking what Fourwaykill means and I thought, f**k I don`t know. Then we settled so comfortably into a four piece that now it`s just become obvious, people will look at us and say, four piece band, Fourwaykill. We did have an official description of it, it was a four fold disciplinary action ultimately resulting in death, haha. So that`s what Fourwaykill is.

So when you started was it like let`s see what we come up with or did you expect it to sound like it does?
The whole point when Ed and I sat down in his flat to write the first songs, we wanted it to be really heavy. We wanted it to be a lot heavier than Guttersnipe. On the earlier Fourwaykill stuff I don`t sing at all. I was purposefully trying to do it quite monotone, real bottom end, real screaming. But as the band`s progressed, I don`t enjoy singing like that all the time, it`s no fun, I like to have a bit more range. So we just decided about two years ago, f**k it, let`s stop trying to be something and do what comes natural. So we`re not purposefully trying to be an over the top extreme metal band and I don`t think we are. I don`t think our music is that heavy personally, but people tend to leave the venues with nosebleeds, haha!

How do you get together and write a Fourwaykill song?
We`re not one of these bands where one person will come to the table with a finished song. Like Jay won`t come to rehearsals and say, look I`ve written this can you write some words to it. So he`ll come to rehearsals with a riff and I`ll write some words and I`ve got a melody set in my head. So if Jay`s playing with a riff at rehearsals I`ll think, ah, I`ve got just the right melody that will work with that and we just bounce ideas off, basically. That`s why our writing takes so f**king long, because the four of us have to be in the same room and we very rarely are.

Do you have lyrics pre-written then?
Yeah. I`ve got shed loads. I just keep writing and writing and writing hoping that one day they will be used. Some of the songs are three or four of the songs chopped up and put together. But lately, because we`ve been panicking and writing for the new album, I`ve had to write loads of songs from start to finish, which I don`t do very well. I`m great at starting them. I start a song and get like two verses then I get to the chorus and the mid section and I just put it away and I won`t pick it up again for six months. But as it is, we`ve got to write the album. I`ve got to write finished songs and the go to Jay and say here you are I`ve got this.

Where`s the pressure to write the album?
Because 24 Hours has been out so long now.

Actually, jumping in there, I wanted to ask you about Psychophonic records who put out 24 Hours to Die?
It`s an independent label from Nottingham run by a guy called Dan Peach who`s in Razorwire, that`s his primary band. He basically formed the label to push his own band and he`s just picked up on bands that he likes. So basically we did the deal with him. We produced the actual product. We did the cover and everything. But because of his contacts using Psychophonic, we could get on Amazon, we could get in the record shops, because it`s distributed by Plastichead. That was good.

It picks up on itunes

I think it comes up as Country, haha.
What, some c**t from Weston!

So how did you get involved with Vince, Bloodstock, Pure Blood etc…?
I e-mailed Vince, I think it was for the second Bloodstock, saying who we were and he basically just said f**k off never heard of you, haha. Obviously he gets hundreds of bands. Then we hooked up with a manager who got us a couple of supports with Blaze, he got us on the Blaze tour. Which even though it was a weird billing, us & Blaze, because obviously we`re a lot heavier, it worked really well for us and that got Vince`s attention. Then we bagged the Anthrax support and Vince was like, Ok, I`ll come and watch you then. He came down to see us with Anthrax and before the night was out we`d shook hands and we got on the Bloodstock bill. Then it just grew and grew because we went down so well the first time we played Bloodstock, we were invited back to headline the same stage and the year after that we were invited to do the Open Air.

I notice you`ve done a deal with Amust4music which is linked to Bloodstock.
Amust4music is more of a promotions company that Vince is using. We`re free to come and go as we please. We`re not tied to Amust4music or the whole New Blood Of British Metal umbrella at all. But we are free to work with them and we do and we will in the future. At the moment the last couple of tours we`ve done hasn`t had anything to do with them. But we will be doing other bits and bobs with Vince. Hopefully we might do something next year.

Some bands worry that Bloodstock is just a power metal festival. But we`re living proof that it`s not just a power metal festival, because we can go up there and shred the stage up and everyone f**king loves it. You`ve got to work with everyone because it`s good for you and it`s good for them.

What`s the Factory Music Agency deal then?
Again, that`s more of a verbal agreement we`ve got with them, but it`s good. They basically solely deal with London dates really more than anything. Biomechanical are on their roster, as are Sikth. They`re a booking agent basically and because a lot of decent support slots in London will only deal with a separate body to the band they`re good people to use. We`re in direct contact with Pin who works for them and also plays guitar in Sikth. It`s going quite well. He`s been offering us some good things. Some things we haven`t been able to do, some things we are. So that`s quite good and hopefully that will get us a lot more exposure in London. Which is what we need really because even though there`s eleven gigs a night in London, it`s the centre of the country isn`t it. And record companies and such are lazy by definition. Like if you say, look tonight we`re playing a sold out gig in Bristol, if you say that to a record company, they`ll say oh, when are you playing in London.

What happened to Podge?
He just had a lot of personal stuff going on and basically couldn`t mix the two. So something had to give and we wanted to move on and it was amicable. We discussed it, we spoke about it, we weren`t like you`re sacked and he wasn`t like I`m off. It was just look, here`s the ticket, if you want to go, go. So he took it, simple as that.

So Clive`s come in.
I don`t know where Clive came from to be honest. We had a few bass players lined up to audition and he walked into our rehearsal space in Bristol and he just burst in through the door, plugged in and said right what we doing then. We said well we`re doing this and he just started jamming along and we just said excellent when can you start. He`s a good bloke. He`s got his head screwed on. He`s a good talker, he`s a good networker and he`s a good bass player.

I was particularly impressed with his stage presence at the Stuck Mojo gig.
Yeah he joins in to the point where he tries to steal my thunder a bit, bastard, haha. We do play off each other well, it`s good.

Is it a democracy in the band then?

Songwriting wise is it Chris & Jay?
No, no. The pure reason that the songs tend to start like that is because Jay`s a riff writer and I write words. Simple as that. No, Podge used to come up with a lot of ideas. A couple of songs we still play in the set are basically his songs. If anyone comes up with an idea we`ll listen to it and see if it works. Apart from Rob of course, because drummers should know their place, haha.

Is everything written for the album Aggressor?
Is it f**k, haha.

Where did the concept for Aggressor come from?
We`re quite old fashioned in that respect, we like albums that have the title of the album as a song. I don`t understand really pompous album titles and you look and there`s no connection and you think why have they called the album that! We were looking for a name for the album, because we got the artwork, we found the artwork and we trying to look for a name and it just came to me. I thought Aggressor, that`s a f**king top name for an album. Even though it wasn`t one of my favourite songs at the time because we hadn`t really worked it out properly. But now it`s really found itself and it`s really standing up as a good track live. So it just seemed obvious, Aggressor, a nice punchy one word title for the album and its sums everything up. People know Fourwaykill now and when we bring out an album called Aggressor, they`re just gonna go, ah yes that works.

So which of the songs in the set will appear on it are any of the old songs going to be on it?
We might put a couple of the old ones that weren`t on 24 Hours. Trigger hasn`t been released on anything so that`s going to be on there obviously. Aggressor obviously. Maybe a couple we still do live. Anti-All. There`s one called Numbstruck Dumb, that we haven`t played for a long time, but its f**king brutal, it`s brilliant. We were actually listening to a tape of a gig we played here the other day and that one really stood out. So we`re going to record that again, because that was on an early demo. We have about half a dozen new ones that we haven`t played live yet. We`ve got two songs to write completely. We`ve got the ideas, we`ve got the titles and there`s riffs floating around. We just need to sit down and work them out.

So what`s the plan? Get a record label or record the thing first?
We`ve been talking this week with a German label who are going to take on 24 Hours To Die and release that internationally throughout Germany and The Netherlands etc. Give that another push for about three months and then they`re going to release the new album. So we`re looking at an April release which will work out quite nice because that`s just about time for the festival season to kick off, which will get us in to European festivals.

So the deals in place?
Yes, it`s all been verbally agreed. It`s just a case of us getting over to Hamburg. It`s going to be quite a DIY affair. Basically we`re going to go to them with the product. We will have the master tapes, it will be all recorded, the artwork will be done and we will basically hand it over and they`ll do the rest. So it`s quite nice because we`ll still gain complete control of the recording process and complete control of the artwork. Which is quite nice as when you get a record company paying for all that they`re constantly looking over your shoulder perhaps saying I don`t like the swearing in that and it`s like well f**k off!

Not unlike In Search Of Sanity by Onslaught
Yeah they ended up with something overproduced and a singer that didn`t fit the band. Though I do like Steve Grimmett.

That`s good as I`ve heard he might be fronting Fourwaykill next year, haha.
I had hair like his when I was in Purgatory. It`s quite weird playing with Onslaught now because my first band Purgatory played a coupe of gigs with Onslaught on the In Search Of Sanity tour. Then Guttersnipe, we played supporting Sy Keeler`s follow up band Mirror Mirror. Now here we are full circle, Fourwaykill supporting Onslaught with Sy Keeler, it`s all quite weird.

So how about Fourwaykill getting on the Wacken bill?
It`s looking good. Nothing`s been signed sealed or delivered but you know how these things work. I`ve actually had discussions with the people with the power and I`ve been told yes. But the particular company we`ll be working with in Germany have connections with Wacken so it would be in their interests to have us on the bill, so it`s looking hopeful.

You`ve received some good reviews in Terrorizer and did well in their poll last year.
Yeah. They and you guys have been our biggest supporters. We`ve got a track on their Fear Candy cd which is going to be out in January. We don`t know which track yet. We don`t know whether to give them a demo track off the new album or to give them an existing track.

And Download?
Download is actually looking like a serious possibility. They have a particular stage which is run by the Download forum and we`ve got friends there and we`ve got to know them very well through doing various tours. They`re here tonight. So they`ve been bigging us up a bit and the response on the Download forum has been f**king mental. I think we`ve got like 86% saying yes to us playing. Clear Channel do take heed of that, they basically book the Napster stage with those sort of results. That`s how Panic Cell got on last year. So we`re hoping to have the same sort of slot that Panic Cell had this year which would be good, because I think our sort of music needs to be played to Download`s audience. Particularly because the audience is a lot younger than say the Bloodstock audience. I`m looking forward to playing Donington. For f**k` sake its the old Mecca isn`t it.

So 2005 is finishing on quite a high note for Fourwaykill.
Yeah it`s been a really good year actually. The last 18 months have quickly gone from strength to strength. I think next year is going to be our make or break. We`re going to get into Europe, we`re going to hopefully play some real prestigious festivals, we`re going to get the new album out and then it`s going to be a case of sitting back and taking stock of what we`ve done. Thinking, right, it should be working by now. The way things are going, there`s no reason why it won` be.