Exclusive Interview with ARKDOWN

ARKDOWN Promo Pic - Cover Photo

Arkdown are a four-piece metal band from Sheffield, UK. Formed in late 2015, the quartet draw heavily on modern metalcore and death metal influences, framed by their signature melodic, yet heavy, riff-based style.

Self-releasing their single ‘In Torment’ and their debut EP The Calling whilst touring the length of UK, Arkdown have supported a glut of heavy hitters in the scene, from Fit For An Autopsy and Oceans Ate Alaska, to Kingdom of Giants and A Night in Texas.

With the release of their second standalone single ‘Miasmic’, Arkdown‘s sound matured and extended their reach, as they broke out of the UK to play shows in mainland Europe – before COVID-19 put on the brakes. Arkdown spent that time refining their line-up and sound before working on their upcoming record, Terra Phasma.

Check out latest single ‘Badlands’ here: https://youtu.be/IZrKlpUAtMQ

INFRARED MAG: Please tell us about the history of ARKDOWN and its members.

Arkdown is a four-piece metal band from Sheffield, UK. Formed in late 2015, we draw heavily on modern metalcore and death metal influences, framed by our signature melodic but heavy riff-based style. We self-released our single ‘In Torment’ and our debut EP ‘The Calling’ whilst touring the length of UK, and we’ve supported a glut of heavy-hitters in the scene from Fit for an Autopsy and Oceans Ate Alaska, to Kingdom of Giants and A Night in Texas. With the release of our second standalone single, ‘Miasmic’, came a maturing step in our sound and an extension of our reach as we broke out of the UK to play shows in mainland Europe – before Covid-19 put the brakes on. Since then, we’ve have taken the time to refine both our line-up and sound, as we began work on our next record, ‘Terra Phasma’.

INFRARED MAG: What’s the origin of the band’s name?

We could go on forever about this, but essentially it’s something we came up with that ticked a lot of boxes for us, such as conveying the kind of image we wanted, being unlikely to be used anywhere else, and also wouldn’t help you in guessing what kind of music we played if you just saw our name written down on a line-up.

INFRARED MAG: Who is each member’s favorite band?

Favourites vary in the band from Slipknot and Metallica to Casey and Kvelertak.

INFRARED MAG: Where do you draw inspiration from?

Growing up and getting into heavy music around the 2000s, we took a lot of influence from the breakout of the metalcore scene. Whilst our tastes have shifted to heavier music since then, that original need for melodic leads has stayed with us. Now we combine that old influence with our new heavy tastes, to produce a combination of the heavy yet melodic.

INFRARED MAG: Where is ARKDOWN based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Sheffield (UK) is our hometown. Aptly called the ‘Steel City’, we’ve got a glut of metal music coming out of the scene with big hitters like Bring Me The Horizon, While She Sleeps and Malevolence.

INFRARED MAG: How is ARKDOWN different from all the other bands out there?

There will be a lot of elements that will feel very familiar to listeners, but there are a few subtle boxes we tick that aren’t often combined. A good example would be the fact that we don’t do clean vocal choruses. There’s clear melodic hooks structure in our music that would pigeonhole us in modern metalcore, but unlike the increasing majority of bands in that space we don’t do the whole screamed vocal verses and clean sung choruses combo. There are a few things like that which we believe are subtly different, which have come from stepping back and looking of genres as a whole in order to fill a gap we think isn’t being addressed.

INFRARED MAG: For someone who has never heard ARKDOWN, how would you describe your sound to them?

We’re the hooky and heavy riff factory. Non-stop cuts of face scrunching riffs backed by an onslaught of drums and dynamic screaming vocals.

INFRARED MAG: What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing ARKDOWN for the first time?

We try to create songs with real ‘earworms’ that’ll bother you all day. We’d like people to go away with those melodies and hooks in their head so that they’ve got to come back for more.

ARKDOWN 'Terra Phasma'

INFRARED MAG: Can you describe the new ARKDOWN album Terra Phasma a little bit for us?

‘Terra Phasma’ is seven cuts of our best work to date. Not only the writing, but also the production value on this record is the best we’ve put out there. You’ll get four tracks of lip-curling riffs and hooky choruses, then a brief break at track five whilst we give you something a little different as a breather from the audible beating, and then the final two tracks are straight back into the fight. The record is ordered and even written to flow in a way that makes it a great start-to-end listen.

INFRARED MAG: How has ARKDOWN grown with the recording and upcoming release of Terra Phasma

We totally changed our writing style this time around. It’s a much slicker process now that helps us write in a structured way and ultimately allows us to make our songs the best they can be. Building on that, we worked with producer Keir Campbell of Kascade Collective in recording. Keir brought some amazing elements to the record to add even more life to our vision. It’s everything we’ve always been but this time it’s on steroids.

INFRARED MAG: What is the songwriting process for ARKDOWN?

A song is born from a single guitar hook. That one riff or melody that you hear and you say “That’s a song!” From there we produce more guitar parts following the same key, style, tempo etc as the original hook and then we start to piece the song together. This often results in at least two different versions of the same song. Once we have basic guitar structure together the drums are written to it. Often this completely changes the style of the track, in that sections we thought would be fast and technical end up working better as slow and groove-filled. We go back and forth between guitar and drums a few times, tweaking sections to compliment what the other instrument is doing before we arrive at a final instrumental. Then come the vocals. Joe has free range on the subject and style of the vocals and so far has managed to surprise us with each track, by once again changing the feel from how we original expected it.

INFRARED MAG: Where can we listen to ARKDOWN and where can we buy the new album Terra Phasma?

Our music is available anywhere you usually stream or download music worldwide. Search for our name and give us a spin. ‘Terra Phasma’ will also be available on all platforms to stream and download on 3rd December 2021.
INFRARED MAG: How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?

We’ve held back as restrictions have eased, so that we come back to the stage in the right way. As such, the first show we’ll be playing will be the release show for ‘Terra Phasma’ on Friday 3rd December. We’ll be performing tracks from the record, along with some old favourites, in a venue called Corporation in our hometown of Sheffield. There are advance tickets available for the show here: https://www.corporation.org.uk/gig/2540

INFRARED MAG: What plans do you have for the future as a band?

Try to return to some kind of normality after the break in live music. Hopefully we’ve timed things well enough in holding back the record this long, that things will look better to ride that wave with the return of live music in 2022.

INFRARED MAG: That’s all our questions. Do you have any parting words for ARKDOWN fans out there?

Thank you for chatting to us! We’ve poured our hearts into every aspect of this record. We finished songs only to strip them back to nothing and rebuild them, because we only wanted to produce the highest standards of material. We’re incredibly proud of what we’ve made here, and we sincerely hope people will listen to and enjoy this record.

Arkdown are:

Joe Hallam – Vocals
Mike Dyson – Guitar
Mike Walker – Guitar
Alex Roberts – Drums

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