Yorkshire is a land all of its own. “God’s own county” is as diverse as diverse can be. It blends cultures and creeds amid a landscape which is as warm and welcoming as it is harsh and industrial upon descending its wild moors and entering suburban gateways into its bustling, cosmopolitan cities.
No Religion are an instrumental rock duo hailing from the North of England’s very own Gotham.
You make your own way in Bradford; no favours from anyone else – just your own grit, self belief, work and the determination to elevate yourself into a position to be heard by the warm-hearted folk of Yorkshire.
Such diversity can only be born of a single minded self belief and a creative ability to emulate but not follow suit. Fellow Bradfordians Heather Peace, New Model Army and The Cult (to name but a few) have blazed a trail on which the ambitious and hard working may tread, yet the million dollar question remains – how to be heard in such a densely populated region? How to reinvent and re-formulate?
As No Religion continue to make waves across England’s competitive North, we caught up with guitarist Andy Ledder to chew the fat and get a first hand look at what makes Bradford’s dynamic rock duo tick.
Here’s our No Religion interview in full.
LADIM – Take us right back to the start. How did No Religion come about?
AL – Wow… The book will be available soon! The short story is that we’ve actually known each other for about 20 years at this stage. We’ve worked together in other bands and on separate projects too, but Daz eventually said to me “dude, we need to do this! We’ve got to make our own thing!” I was actually reluctant at first because I was in a covers band at the time, but that ran its course and eventually finished which is when me and Daz started to write. We had a full band under a different name to begin with but for whatever reason it didn’t last, so the two of us were left just writing and writing and writing.
Eventually we bought our own studio equipment and taught ourselves how to record, how to use mics, how to produce, how to mix. It was a steep learning curve but in terms of experience it was amazing because every song we had started with a blank sheet of paper.
LADIM – Tell us about Manipulation – it’s raw, high energy instrumental! It must come across great live…
AL – Yeah! The few gigs we’ve done so far we’ve had amazing feedback! We were conscious about being only two people on stage but that really doesn’t matter, the music drives the passion in us. Even after playing these songs hundreds of times in rehearsal, we both admit the hairs stand on end and we still get emotional – even welling up on stage at times! That’s how we know that what we’re doing is right. A reaction like that can’t be faked – it’s completely natural.
LADIM – Tell us about your writing process.
AL – It’s a long process really. Firstly we would jam in the studio for a few hours and record everything. The next session would be us listening back to all the jams for any gems – quite often it’s riffs that we don’t even remember playing! We will hear it on the jam track and it might be only 4 or 5 seconds of music that makes us sit up and say “woah! Rewind that”…. Then we extract the riff and work on that. If it doesn’t develop naturally we drop it – we’ve dropped around 20 songs that we don’t think are good enough. Once a song is finished we ask ourselves a question or two. The bottom line is always “would I buy this? Would I be a fan of this music?” If the answer is an honest no then we start again.
LADIM – Is it difficult to balance gigging with creating new material?
AL – Up until recently no because we had spent so much time writing, recording, mixing etc. So it’s only quite recently we started gigging. We were searching for singers and bass players at this time too and came to the decision that we need to get this music out there now – so we started gigging. That brought challenges in itself – we had a lot of tracks written with ‘room’ for vocals, so we had to rework them. We also had to record our own bass lines onto a loop pedal to play along with live – all in all, lots of experimenting but great fun!
LADIM – You guys are from the North of England – historically a very competitive region. Is it difficult to get your music out there and be heard?
AL – I think being in a competitive region actually gives more opportunity to play and meet other bands. It’s never a competition, most bands are just doing what we do and all understand how difficult it can be. Everyone helps out, we support each other with gigs, gear, contacts, knowledge etc. It’s an awesome environment to be a part of!
LADIM – What kind of challenges does creating an instrumental album throw at you?
AL – Surprisingly very few! Songs normally have to be molded around vocals. There’s only two of us so we have very few disagreements,m we’re completely honest with each other, so if we play something that sounds rubbish we say it and it’s worked on.
LADIM – Do you think outside influences, such as the music you grew up listening to reflect in your sound?
AL – Yes absolutely! I think everything influences what kind of sound comes out – it’s not something we aim for, it just happens. Some riffs we have are so heavy that you’d expect to see slaughtered animals in our studio! In reality we’re laughing our heads off at what we’ve just played! My musical influences were much heavier than Daz’s – his would be more melodic so the combination of the two really comes through in everything we do.
LADIM – Guys finally, what can we expect from No Religion in the future?
AL – The future is unwritten. We will continue with what we are doing because we know it’s right – we can’t stop…. What else would we do?
The bombastic new album Manipulation is available right now. For further news and updates check out No religion on Facebook here!
In the meantime check out the hard hitting and politically driven Dark!