Cold Years are a quartet that were born through the individual members’ need to write uplifting rock music and for a band born and raised in the Granite City (or Aberdeen) you’d expect a certain level of knowledge on rock.
Their sound has the blue collar echoes of The Gaslight Anthem with the melodic hooks not too distant from The Menzingers, not many bands hailing from the high lands can say that!
With two EP’s (Mile Marker & Death Chasers) under their belt already, word is beginning to spread that this band are the real deal and could be on the cusp of becoming one of Britain’s leading rock bands.
GIGsoup caught up with lead singer and guitarist, Ross Gordon to talk about the band’s influences, their new single and their future plans…
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Can you give us a little background info and tell us how Cold Years came to be?
I was in a few bands when I was really young, but then took a bit of a break from it, and within a couple of years started writing songs for myself. I never really did anything with them. I wrote all the songs for our first record Mile Marker and then thought, ‘hey these might sound cool with a band’. So I sent the songs to some close friends and they all agreed to work on it straight away. Within like 3 months we had tracked that record and then it just kind grew from there.
Who were your first musical influences?
I’m fortunate enough to have a dad who is super in to music, and he has the most ridiculous record collection you could imagine, so as a kid I was surrounded by that. Anything from Dire Straits, to Pearl Jam, BB King, Rory Gallagher, Tom Petty, Gary Moore, Nirvana – you name it. I had this ¾ size guitar at 6 years old, and I just remember sitting in my room, not having a clue what I was doing trying to recreate those sounds. It wasn’t really until I discovered punk that I really wanted to write my own songs.
The band’s sound seems to be heavily influenced by blues, punk & Americana, an odd combination of music from a band hailing from Aberdeen – was this sound made through an organic process or was this a conscious effort to standout?
It just came through naturally. Blues for me is the foundation of all rock and roll. I tend to write most of the songs on an acoustic guitar, and when they get taken in to the room they just kind of come out. I’m proud of the fact we are a little different, but it was never a conscious decision to sound like that.
After releasing two EP’s (Mile Marker & Death Chasers) you’ve been touted as one of “British rock’s best kept secrets”, how does it feel to receive such high acclaim? How do you plan on spilling the beans?
I was really taken aback by that. There are so many amazing bands out there, and to be noticed is a great thing! But at the same time it just makes you want to work harder, write better songs, push harder. It’s also really important to stay humble. I’m just really happy people are taking the time to listen to our songs.
You guys recently released a new track ‘Miss You to Death’, what can you tell us about the track’s origins?
I was sitting one night listening to the Communique record (Dire Straits) on my own in my house on a Friday night. I used to listen to that record with my dad as a kid, and all of sudden I just got this huge feeling of nostalgia, and I just thought ‘how can I listen to this record in like 30 years when he is gone?’ I wrote the lyrics to the song in 15 minutes, and had the basis of a structure, and how I wanted it to go. We took it to our demo space and reworked it a bit, and tracked it and it didn’t really change at all in the studio. This was the difference on this record, we demoed everything rather than write in a practice space. Everyone had such an equal part in it and I think that’s one of the reasons we are so proud of the songs.
The single is taken from your forthcoming EP ‘Northern Blue’, how does the track compare to others on the record and what can we expect from the record as a whole?
I’d say it’s the most “rock and roll” of all the songs. The record is sort of an equal split between happy and sad. A lot of things happened to me during the course of writing and recording this record and I think some of it comes through lyrically. Some of it I think was subconscious and some of it wasn’t. We wrote the record we wanted to write, and although it is a little different from the last 2, I think it’s still very us.
After releasing your new single you headed out on tour with Dearist, how was the tour? Are there any more touring plans in the works?
It was one of the best tours I’ve ever been on. We met so many cool people, and gained some really nice support. The guys in Dearist – that band is sick by the way, check them out – are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. They were so driven and believe in what they are doing. We had a bit of a van disaster and had to hire another one because our one gave out, but it didn’t matter. The shows were great and it was a pretty great experience. We are out in Feb with 13 Crowes, then back to Europe in April for some more German shows. We have some festivals in Germany also planned this year, plus some more touring (UK), and then hopefully more on the mainland. It’s gonna be a busy year!
What are the band’s plans for 2018? World domination?
Get in the van as much as possible, play our songs to as many people in different places as possible, write another record, and continue to work as hard as we can.Cold Years forthcoming EP ‘Northern Blue’ is out 2nd March 2018.