Shari Black Velvet: You have a song called ‘Evidence’. What evidence is there so far that Pieces Of Beth are a band worth following?
Phil Griffiths: Haha, good question there. Well, we hope that the music will speak for itself and serve as the required ‘evidence’. Of course the proof will be in the response to the completed album I would think.
SBV: What aims do you have for the album, what do you want it to consist of or feature and how much work has gone into it so far?
PG: I’m hoping this album will come out dark and melodic, that just seems to be my songwriting style and the kind of music I really like personally. About half the album is recorded so far and we have something in the order of another 15 songs between us so we are going to have a lot of material to choose from before we’re done.
SBV: You describe yourselves as ‘where grungy chords meet atmospheric guitar melodies and textures’. Why did you decide on a grungy atmospheric style to your music?
PG: I don’t think we really decided upon it to be honest, I’ve been playing with different guitar tunings for years but the one I use most seems to be ‘drop C’ which lends itself well to those grungy sounding guitar riffs and chord progressions while Andy’s atmospheric lead guitar lines have created a great contrast to that. I guess you could say that sound is ‘organic’.
SBV: You played the West Midlands Vegan Festival. How was that compared to playing a normal evening rock gig?
PG: It was certainly different to what I am used to, I always find sound checking in front of the audience slightly odd, but more than anything sitting down and playing Pieces Of Beth songs acoustic was fun and it challenged us to make our music work in a different environment and I welcome experiences like that.
SBV: Who in the band is vegan or veggie and how important is it to have like-minded individuals in the band? What beliefs do you all share?
PG: I am the only vegan in the band; Andy, Dave and Matt are all omnivores. I think what pulls us all together more than anything is our love of music.
SBV: How did your omnivorous bandmembers feel playing the vegan fest? Did the festival inspire them in any way? And do they ever eat any of your vegan food?
PG: I think they enjoyed the vegan festival overall there was even talk from the guys of writing a vegan/AR song specifically for the festival but we didn't have time in the end, who knows sometimes it takes a while for pepple to connect the dots. I know Dave doesn't eat much meat so he's not too far from vegetarian right now.
SBV: Going back to the beginning, what inspired you to get into music and how far do you feel you’ve come since then?
PG: I grew up hearing a lot of guitar based music such as Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Guns N' Roses etc, so from a young age I decided I wanted to play guitar, the only problem was no-one would buy me one, so I saved my pocket money for about a year and purchased a Fender Squire when I was 11, then I just had to save up for an amp! Doh! I have several guitars and amplifiers and know how to play them so I suppose I’ve come a long way from having an electric guitar and no amp.
SBV: What’s been your best achievement to date, musically?
PG: That’s a difficult one, but I’d have to say it’s probably what we are doing now, being half way through a studio album feels good because I’m finally half way towards a goal I’ve wanted to reach for a few years now.
SBV: What are your strongest songs, both lyrically and musically?
PG: I think ‘Made of Glass’, not yet recorded, and ‘Justify’ are probably good examples of songs that really shine both in lyrics and musicianship.
SBV: Are there any areas you’d like to improve in?
PG: I’d love to be able to achieve some of the sounds that Billy Corgan seems to be able to pull out of a guitar, the guy makes me jealous when I watch him play sometimes.
SBV: Is there anything you particularly try to avoid when writing songs? And anything you try to emphasize?
PG: I tend to write songs that have beauty and tragedy in them at the same time, kind of like a good movie. The only things I can think of that I try to avoid is repeating myself, I’d hate for our songs to become too formulaic. Something I’ve probably tried to emphasize is how fragile people’s feelings can be.
SBV: Have you written any animal rights based songs, or would you?
PG: I’ve never written an animal rights song, I have and still would consider doing so in the future so all I do is use that old clichéd line; ‘Watch this space’.
SBV: You’re currently unsigned. What would you look for in a label before signing to one – or will you release your music on your own label, independently?
PG: It’s really going to depend on what opportunities present themselves. We will look around for deals with labels but the deal will would obviously have to be good for us. There is no reason why we can’t release our music independently if it comes down to that, there are a lot of musicians doing that these days.
SBV: Which other bands or musicians inspire you, or would you like to follow in the footsteps of?
PG: I get really inspired by artists like NIN, Alice in Chains, The Anix, Tool, The Cure, the list goes on and on… I’ve been a massive Smashing Pumpkins fan for years now and the kind of success they had would be amazing but as long as I can go on creating music that myself and others can enjoy I’ll be happy.
SBV: Besides music, and being vegan, what else is important to you?
PG: I am big fan of the arts in general whether it be paintings, poetry, sculpture etc. I suppose outside of that it’s all the basic things many other people find important like love, friendship and staying fit and healthy.
SBV: If you became as big as Morrissey or Chrissie Hynde, what vegan items would ask for in your touring rider?
PG: Besides my 5 a day? I suppose Swedish Glace, Nak’d bars and properly prepared tofu are a must.
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