There are so many bands out there doing so many interesting things, it's hard to know where to turn. That's why we've created Crash Course, a recurring feature offering a concise introduction to a band or artist that we think slays, covering their origins, process and vision. Our latest subject is Leeched, a Manchester, U.K.–based trio that toils in metallic hardcore, assimilating industrial and extreme-metal influences into their buzzsaw riffage to create their own nasty version of the style. Their latest offering is the forthcoming LP You Took the Sun When You Left, a prodigious and sublimely maladjusted collection of hate-kissed hardcore that is definitely worth a listen when it drops August 24th via Prosthetic Records. Below, we catch up with singer-bassist Laurie Morbey.
WHO ARE LEECHED? GIVE US A BRIEF HISTORY ON HOW YOU GUYS CAME TOGETHER.
LAURIE MORBEY Our names are Laurie [vocals, bass], Judd [guitar] and Tom [drums, vocals]. Tom and I knew each other form previous bands and knew Judd through mutual friends. We started Leeched in December 2016 on the side and we quickly found it took over our life and became a priority over our other bands. It was the vein of music we all had wanted to write from the start after trying a few additional members, it was a mutual decision to keep it a three-piece for now and see what we could potentially do with it. After starting with a lot of ideas, we trimmed it down to what eventually became Nothing Will Grow From the Rotten Ground and released it approximately six months later. It was received very well in our local scene, with the online release breaking international borders quicker than we could have ever hoped.
WHAT WERE THE BANDS THAT YOU AND YOUR BANDMATES AGREED UPON AS THE CORNERSTONES FOR CREATING THE BAND? WHAT DID YOU LIKE ABOUT THEIR APPROACH?
We were all big fans of bands such as Trap Them, Nails, Cult Leader and all other realms of hardcore. We love Trap Them for their slow and malevolent approach to creating ominous and blisteringly heavy songs, yet they still incorporate fast, hardcore-punk parts into their songs that lead on from and gel so well with the aforementioned sections. I also am a big fan of [Trap Them singer] Ryan McKenney's lyrics and how they seem to flow in a narrative manor. Nails are the kings of crushing music — they proved to us that you don't need to be very technical to be heavy. It's all about the part each instrument is playing and how it all works together. On the flip side, Cult Leader — or more formally Gaza — demonstrate extreme precision with their musicianship and songwriting that creates some of the most estranged and frantic music I've personally found intersected with some of the most beautiful harmonic sections that juxtapose perfectly. In my humble opinion.
WHAT WAS THE EUREKA MOMENT FOR YOU, WHEN YOU DECIDED THAT THIS COULD BE SOMETHING THAT WAS MORE THAN JUST FOR FUN?
The moment that we realized this was something that we could pursue seriously was when our EP was received positively both online and live. It was then when Prosthetic approached us once they had come across our EP on Bandcamp, liking it enough to want to work with us for our first album, that we realized that Leeched had transitioned form a hobby to something much bigger. This then gave us a new wave of confidence into our workflow and the way we approached writing and playing live. We have also noticed a significant amount of growth and interaction after every tour we have done. The way it should be really is the harder you work the more you will get back. The more you play in the right places the more people will hear you and hopefully enjoy your band and carry on checking you out.
HOW HAVE YOU IMPROVED IN THE LIVE SETTING BETWEEN THE START AND NOW?
At the start we had quite a raw approach, which went with the style of the EP. Fast and getting it all out as quick and loud as we could play it. We have maintained that ethos, but have grown into playing with each other and how we gel together. This, I believe, is how a band is truly solid live — becoming harmonious as opposed to one individual showing off or trying to one up everyone else. It's all coherently creating a sonic force that hits the audience the way you want it to. We have now become more structured and a little more thought-out. All of the samples and synth sounds we used on the album are being used live and not on a backing track. And the songs are played as hard as possible with the aim of creating the same atmosphere envisioned on the album.
WHAT WERE THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES IN REPRODUCING THE LIVE SOUND ON THE RECORD?
As I mentioned before, we aim to create the same vibe live as the songs were written on the album. This presents challenges in many areas. Every fill and drum beat has to be the same as the recording as they were all chosen as building blocks for the songs vision. You have to make sure you are playing the songs at the correct tempo as a swing in the tempo of a song can make it sound completely different. And with the programming and samples element, we trigger it from a pedal which also has to be rehearsed so that the samples are triggered at the exact right time. We also play with very loud stage volume as that was how the music was intended to be heard. With it being a tirade of sound that is both felt and heard.
DO YOU PLAN TO TOUR EXTENSIVELY? WHO ARE SOME DREAM TOURING PARTNERS?
When it comes to touring plans. as previously mentioned, we want to play as much as possible. The more you put in the more you get out. Contrary to what seems to be a popular belief, the live music industry is thriving — I agree, it is fast-paced and ever-changing, which consequently means that it is very hard to get comfortable in. It is possible, but very rarely can a band achieve worldwide recognition from a bedroom. You still have to do your time in the trenches and play your music over and over. I personally would love to tour with another Prosthetic band called Wolf King, who were also picked up by Prosthetic around the same time as Leeched and are at a similar point in their development, having a sound that we all like, making them ideal touring partners for Leeched. As for the rest of this year we are already stoked to have tours lined up with Employed to Serve, who are at the top of the U.K. scene, and Full of Hell, who are quickly establishing themselves among the best experimental bands to come of the USA.
HARD DECISION: CURSED OR DEATHREAT?
Cursed or Deathreat? That's an easy one for me. Cursed have the full package. Sick album art, song names and lyrics, along with the raw, honest sound to go with it.