I recently spoke with Johnny Rose, frontman for one of the UK’s up and coming horror punk bands, Thirteen Shots. This all leads the way to their new album and European tour. Both of which hit this May.
CC – Okay, first things first. A little introduction to Thirteen Shots.
How did the band start and what was the idea behind it all in the beginning?
JR – Thirteen Shots was founded in 2011 with a simple aim of making a mixed genre, fun, energetic band based on B-movie, horror and vintage cinema lyrics. Being very influenced by the golden age of cinema, I wanted that era to be the catalyst of everything we do. We all come from very different musical backgrounds and we try to encourage all the styles to breathe throughout our music.
CC – How did the name Thirteen Shots come about? It screams horror punk but I’m not quite sure why.
JR – Haha. I have no idea! There’s many reasons I like to tell people, but the truth is I just loved the ring to it. It leaves a little mystery to us, as opposed to real obvious horror themed band names. We wrote down loads of them. We was almost called The Gargoyles.
JR – You think that one is bad! We booked our first show under ‘The Last Reunion’. People were expecting a bloody emo band! However, I think we got the correct name in the end!
CC – Definitely. It really fits. Listening to your older albums, it’s obvious you have a ton of influences. I mean, every song has a slightly different feel to it but it all rounds itself out nicely without feeling scattered. Who influenced you most on your new album?
JR – I would say, without doubt, Black Sabbath… with a hint of Turbonegro and early Misfits. We really wanted to push ourselves this record. I had this concept idea of creating a silent movie with a soundtrack being the album. As the writing process took it’s shape, I soon created three tracks to become the main event and the other tunes are all little ‘shorts’ which would be on before the main movie. This was how cinema events was in the early days. So, it’s very much a tip of the hat to the golden age.
CC – Very cool. Not only are you in Thirteen Shots, but you’ve also started the Undead Artists label. Can you tell the readers about that?
JR – Yes. I have always wanted to run a record label and I was always worried about mixing both label and band together. But, following a couple of interesting experiences with record labels I decided to give it a try.
My approach is very much a record label for bands, run by a band… I try to treat bands how I would like to be treated, myself.
CC – Thirteen Shots was recently part of the Traveling Morgue Horror Festival with Zombina and the Skeletones, Lupen Tooth, Gravedale High and a bunch more. Undead Artists was behind this, in conjunction with Graveyard Calling, if I’m correct. How did that whole thing come about and how did it go?
JR – Tommy Creep (Graveyard Calling Records, Lupen Tooth) and myself was talking about putting on the UK’s first Horror Punk festival and decided to just throw ourselves in the deep end! It was a huge success, I felt. We are already planning next year’s. Hopefully, bigger and better!!!
CC – I hope so. Creating a community with the bands and the fans like this can only help. Back to Thirteen Shots; what can people expect from the new album?
JR – It’s certainly a full on album… loads of riffs, thunderous drums and catchy choruses. Each tune has a different style and feel to it, without feeling too scattered.
CC – What is the release info on this album? Title, formats, release date…
JR – Black Smiles will be released on the 24/05/15 on two formats.
(1) Digital with two bonus tracks
(2) CD and T-Shirt combo pack
CC – With a new album, I’m sure, comes some live shows. What can people expect to see from you live?
JR – Yes. This year shall be spent touring the UK and Europe extensively. 2016 looks like we could be visiting the States to promote Black Smiles. Just waiting on confirmation on that!
CC – That would be great! I don’t head to shows often, but I’d come out if you guys made it to my neck of the woods over here in the US. I think you’d fare pretty well. Anyway, what’s the next big step for Thirteen Shots?
JR – I think the future, for us, is just making sure as many people see and hear us as possible. Black Smiles is an album that we are 100% proud of and we need to just promote it hard. I have a few ideas for the next project, but right now it’s all about Black Smiles.
JR – Undead Artists has eight great bands and I look very much forward to releasing their music and helping them gain as much exposure as possible. I don’t wish to have any more bands. I have my perfect roster, all offering something different!
CC – Cool. Sounds like you’ve got a good plan going forward for both, the band and Undead Artists. Now, let’s talk horror a little. What’s you’re all time favorite horror movie?
JR – For me its the old B-Movies, I’m an odd guy. I am not massively keen on all the CGI and stuff like that. I enjoy the good old fashioned films but, horror-wise, it has to be Creature from the Black Lagoon… and, also, I enjoy Escape from Forbidden Planet, with a very young Leslie Nielsen as the lead. Oh, and the original Dracula. Now that’s a film!
CC – Ah, Creature from the Black Lagoon… that one’s my favorite of the Universal Monsters era… Are there any specific horror movies you watched that sparked creativity while writing Black Smiles?
JR – Not so much horror but more thriller. When writing Black Smiles, the short film I wanted to base the villain scenes on was the style of the first ever Batman series in 1943. It was so dark, very little effects, just acting and suspense. Then for the good guys, it’s all about the 3 Stooges. Although, I guess you can say 4 stooges! The difficult task will be mixing it together so the dark and the humour mixes well.
CC – Who’s your favorite horror villain?
JR – Dracula, he’s just one cool dude.
CC – If you had to be thrown into any one horror movie, which one would you choose and what role would you take?
JR – It would have to be the Creature from the Black Lagoon, and of course, the Creature because he gets to grab the girl! Other than that, I would love to be in Shaun of the Dead as a zombie.
JR – Not really, remakes are lazy, in my opinion. Can’t think of anything new? Don’t work in the movies.
CC – Is there any dream of getting your songs into horror soundtracks? Sometimes it’s cool to get that underground rock song on a background radio or during the end credits. Being that you guys have so many different styles you encompass, I could see plenty of it working for a ton of different things in the future.
JR – We have been featured in one horror movie in Canada, which was a great experience, but nothing much more has come our way. I would love to be playing in a movie and we all get killed! Like in our video for ‘Zombies from the USSR’.
CC – Sounds great! I think that’s all I’ve got. Thanks for taking the time. Good luck with everything moving forward. Is there anything else you’d like to let people know before we’re done here?
JR – All I would say, really, is thank you for your support and keep supporting the scene. It’s starting to grow with some great bands daring to be different. Don’t fight it, just support and enjoy the ride. It’s going to be killer!
For your listening pleasure, we’ve got an exclusive first glimpse into Black Smiles with the single, Cobradeer. You won’t hear it anywhere else.
Website – http://thirteenshots.wix.com/
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/thirteenshotsband/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/thirteenshotsuk
Bandcamp – https://thirteenshots.bandcamp.com
Make sure to catch Thirteen Shots on their European Tour.
22/5/15 – Breaking Bands Fest, England
28/5/15 – La Source, Le Mans, France
29/5/15 – Cafe Ammehoela, Bree, Belgium
30/5/15 – Yesterday Club, Bremerhaven, Germany
1/6/15 – Secret Show, Nüremberg
2/6/15 – Utopia, Pelhrimov, Czech Republic
3/6/15 – 100 As Klub, RoHam, Budapest, Hungary
5/6/15 – Lucky Ducks Clubhiem, Feldkirch, Austria
6/6/15 – Plan B, Heilbronn, Germany
23/6/15 – The Palace Theatre, Redditch, England
4/7/15 – Kraak, Manchester, England
24/7/15 – South Sea Live, Sheffield, England