Famous Firsts: WSS's Loz Taylor on discovering nu metal and blagging into gigs
The musical firsts of While She Sleeps' frontman Loz Taylor
Since joining While She Sleeps in 2009, Lawrence Taylor has made his mark on the British metal scene as an engaging frontman with a relentless work ethic. It didn’t take long for WSS to become an integral part of the scene; tours and support slots with Asking Alexandria, Cancer Bats and Bullet For My Valentine helped boost their profile both in the UK and the US. For their as-yet-untitled third album, WSS are going independent, and will be funding the record entirely through Pledge Music.
We asked frontman Loz to tell us about some of his first musical memories, and here’s what we found out...
What was the first album you ever bought?
"One of the first albums I went and bought was Killswitch Engage – The End Of Heartache. I remember going out and buying Slipknot's self-titled, and Sum 41 – Fat Lip, but not knowing much about them. I remember going to my local music shop, which has now shut down, and seeing these albums on the side and I was almost kind of guessing what I might like. Sometimes I’d take things home and be like ‘that’s not for me’, but other times I’d fall onto a good one. I sound like a granddad! There were no links [on the internet] to other music so it wasn’t a case of ‘if you like this, you might like this’. I just used to skate down to the local shop and guess what I liked, and if I didn’t like it, I’d have to deal with it for a week until I got my next paper round money, then I’d go back. It was a lot slower back then."
What was the first single you ever bought?
"The first one I went out and bought on my own, I think, was Limp Bizkit – Break Stuff. That was on cassette at the time. I also bought Bomfunk MC’s Freestyler at the same time. I walked down to my local record shop and picked them up. I was probably about 15, my parents had just let me walk to town. My dad really liked Pink Floyd and my mum was into The Levellers and Marillion, but it was mostly skateboarding that triggered my hunger to find new bands. When I was 14, I did work experience in the drum department of a music store local to me, then I got into a band that was straight across the road from my house. They gave me music like Soulfly and Slipknot and stuff like that. It was on the edge of nu metal when I started finding out bands for myself, then I got into loads of different stuff after the nu metal phase like Refused and At The Drive-In. It was a weird collective of bands I got into as a result of having a lot of different outlets. I didn’t have an older brother or sister to show me records because I’m the oldest son in my family, so I went and found music through friends."
What was the first gig you ever went to?
"One of the first gigs I ever went to was when I was about 15, and I went to see Kasabian in a 150-cap venue in Doncaster. I didn’t have any money for a t-shirt and I thought they were pretty good, so, err, I stole one. When I got home I realised I’d stolen an XXL t-shirt, so I was like, ‘What am I going to do with that?’ I pinned it on the back of my bedroom door. Kasabian are absolutely massive now so I like telling the story that I saw them when they were still small."
What was the first gig you ever played?
"The first gig I played wasn’t a big gig at all, it was down in a local venue called The Leopard. I bullied my little brother into learning guitar because I had my heart set on being a vocalist and got this little garage band together. We got a slot very early on supporting another band that were a bit older than us and a bit bigger than us in the local area. I worked in a music scene that was building at that time, just trying to get onto shows by doing loads of flyering. The band we supported was called The Fire Escape Routine. Shout out if anyone reads this and knows who they are! They had a bit of a Used influence. I think they were from just up the road from us."
How was the first While She Sleeps tour?
"What I remember about the first tour is that we were playing a venue that wouldn’t let us in, because we were that excited to be on tour that we turned up the night before to make sure we didn’t miss anything. We drove down, and we all had disgusting three-litre bottles of cider and we’d been drinking all the way there. It was in Southend or somewhere, and it was the first proper ride out for us. It was quite a big one. We got there and they wouldn’t let us in, and I remember Daniel P. Carter being outside the venue and saying, ‘Come on guys, they’re obviously young lads who want to play music, let them in!' Exit Ten were playing the venue the night before us, and we’d heard a bit about them. We just wanted them to let us in so we didn’t have to go and sleep in our crusty van! So we ended up going in. The tour was with a band called Ignominious Incarceration. At the time they’d just done support on a Bring Me The Horizon tour, but we’re talking years ago, it was around when I first joined the band in 2009."
While She Sleeps are currently working on their third album, due for release in 2017.