Flood Of Red formed in Airdrie, a satellite town twelve miles east of Glasgow in 2004. Starting out as a trio who met via school and the local skate scene, they soon expanded to a sextet.
Sitting in the heart of post-industrial Lanarkshire, Airdrie provided an early inspiration of sorts: inspiration to strive for more. Inspiration to get out. “It’s known as a bit of hooligan town,” says drummer Graham Griffith. “It was also voted the crappest town in Britain two years running and was the only place to actually address that accolade with a plaque in the town centre, in which effectively it said: ‘Airdrie may be crap, but it’s our crap’. Which is sort of how we feel about it too. It made us what we are today.”
Though members were born in countries as far-flung as South Africa, Canada and the US but all based in nearby town such as Caldercruix and Dumbarton, these Glasgow conurbations were enough to inspire the name of Flood Of Red’s new record label Dark City and to send the band straight out on tour just months after their formation, all aged just seventeen, playing for £20 and cheese sandwiches per night (“If we were lucky…” laughs Graham).
Home for the next few months was an ex-police riot van. The early shows and recordings slotted somewhere into the post-hardcore and screamo genres – think pile upon pile of jagged guitars, a melodic and abrasive vocal interplay, a squall of electronics and Satan’s own in-house rhythm section.
Things got moving in 2006, when Flood Of Red played a show with another new young band taking the DIY /self-empowerment route, Enter Shikari. A year later and the two bands had shared over forty stages and put in many road miles together – Enter Shikari still fondly tell interviewers about certain Flood Of Red’s members’ propensity to hang out of the back of vans, naked at 70mph along the highways and by-ways of Britain (OK, it was US guitarist Calum).
The hard slog of touring continued in 2007 when the music industry started paying attention to a band drawing crowds of many hundreds on reputation alone - and things started to get twisted. Record deals were forthcoming but Flood Of Red took the unprecedented – some would say smart - step of ignoring them all. “We realised we could live the dream by signing to a label,” says Graham. “But we also knew we wanted to last. We wanted to do this for as long as possible. And to do that we had to take control of this band.”
More touring followed throughout 2008 with the likes of Enter Shikari, Madina Lake and The Blackout – shows that would often culminate in two three or four members playing drums simultaneously and which saw Flood Of Red’s fan base continue to swell, both live and online. Many bands inflate or exaggerate their online presence, but this sextet are the real deal. So much so that, inspired by the emerging practices of the likes of Radiohead and Nice Inch Nails, Flood Of Red decided to release their debut album via a variety of neat, independently-funded marketing techniques. We'll get to that in a minute…
First though, on January 3rd 2009 they flew to Baltimore, Maryland where they spent a month recording their debut album with punk rock extraordinaire producer Brian McTernan (Cave In, Thrice, Converge) in his Salad Days studio. It was a time the band describe as being like a holiday “but a million times better - everything we had been working towards."
Titled Leaving Everything Behind, Flood Of Red’s debut album proper sees them making a large leap into new territories. Toned-down are the screamo bits as the band now paint from a broader musical palette, incorporating the ambient and soundscape elements that earlier recordings hinted at, but without ever compromising on the heaviosity. The title is telling too. The marketing of the album is forward-thinking too as they by-passing the standard practices of old, cut out the middle men and sell straight to fans who can choose from a variety of album bundles - from basic digital downloads through to value-for-money packages featuring CDs, merchandise, exclusive tracks and more.
Preceding that, a sampler summer (though not summery) single ‘A Place Before The End’ was released on local legendary venue King Tut’s own in-house label to coincide with appearances at Download 2009 and Sonisphere, before the six-piece hit the road through August and September. Judging by early reactions to their debut album life for Flood Of Red is only going get a hell of a lot busier, better…and louder.
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