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Headliners at RockWich 2015 were Salem and Toni Reed had chance to catch up with Paul Macnamara about the latest news from the band….

Toni and Salem

For those that don’t know Salem, explain a little about yourself and what you do in the band?

I’m Paul Macnamara, I play guitar in Salem.

How did you decide on Salem as a name?

It’s got a whole supernatural, witchy feel, following on from Black Sabbath sort of idea, although we don’t sound much like Black Sabbath.

How did you meet?

We met in 1979, the band was formed from a band called Ethel The Frog, they were not marvellously famous but they were on the metal for muthas album with Iron Maiden and Samson and those chaps in 1979. But they ended up falling out and two of them deciding to form Salem. They knew a bass player and the bass player knew me from school so we met up in the pub and had a chat and said yes it’s a great idea. They had already decided by the time I joined them that the band was called Salem. There has been a few line-up changes fairly early on and those guys from Ethel The Frog moved on, the singer moved on because we were a lot heavier than he wanted to be really and the drummer moved on because he was a manager at a sausage factory aswell and was far too busy to play all the gigs we were playing. So they changed and by 1982 we have the line-up we have now.

Why did the band split in 1983 and after twenty six years apart, what made you reform?

We did a number of demos back in the day, we did three demos and a single, but by 1983, being young kids, we wasn’t becoming rock superstars fast enough and we went our separate ways. We tried really hard, we had been to London and met the record companies and they all said yeah it’s great music but it’s not really what we are looking for. In hindsight we probably could have done more.

Six years ago, basically I put some old Salem recordings on MySpace and people started listening to it. I thought this was bizarre at first, my brother had suggested it and I thought what was the point in doing that, but people did start listening to it and little by little people started contacting us saying ‘I remember you’ and ‘I’ve got the old single’ then a record company came to me saying they wanted to re-release the old demos and the single and that was a no brainer, as the phase goes.

So I got in touch with the guys, all the people that had been in the band and said we have got this opportunity. We had kind of drifted apart, we are all from Hull originally, three are still live in Hull, the singer lives in Tunbridge Wells and I live near Bristol, so we’d all moved around a bit. So I tracked them down and they all said of course, we always wanted to have an album. It’s been twenty five years since we recorded the songs but why ever not. So we had an album which was amazing, to have a double album in your hand after all these years is fantastic.

So we said if we’ve got an album we might as well do a gig, so we rehearsed for a gig. We did one gig and thought this was great, let’s do another one. The bass player had a studio by now because he was still involved in music, so little by little we started recording songs and put some together for an EP, for another gig, and people were interested in it so we did some more.“

How does the industry differ from back in the 80’s to today?

We did quite a lot of gigging in the 1980’s, we never really got too much into the industry side of it because we never got a record deal. I think looking back there was a lot of competition in a sort of negative way between bands and now there is a lot of competition in a positive way. We keep meeting up with guys like Avenger, who are playing tonight, we have played with them several times. We played with them last night in Hatfield and last November in Athens. We would always like their things on Facebook and follow each other and promote it to our friends but at the same time there is a bit of rivalry.

The biggest difference is the internet, you can communicate more with anybody around the world. I mean to contact someone and get a gig in Italy was just totally unheard of back in 1982. Travel is easier, I know we had ferries and things back then but the idea of traveling is much easier now but it’s the same thing with technology, you can record your ideas and share it as a band but other people can do that too, so in many ways there is more competition and it’s just as difficult.

A re-mastered version of “In the Beginning” was released last month, how has this been received by the press and fans?

Everyone seems to like it, we released it first of all as a trilogy and recorded two in one session and another one in another session. We played all three together live and I wanted to put all three together on the album, so we kind of mixed them up. This album is on High Roller Records and they wanted to be very particular about it, they have put it very strictly in the original recordings and they have brightened the sound up to sound much better than it did. The thing to remember is, we recorded four tracks in one day and mastered them and then five tracks and mastered them, so they’re not a finished product at all, they are demos – but it represents what we sound like live.

Who writes most of the lyrics and the music?

There are five in the band and four of us write songs. Guitarists, me and Mark tend to write the riffs, put a structure into a whole song and have an idea about where the lyrics are going to go and where the drums are going to go. Ades, it’s his studio, is the music director and Simon the singer, they tend to put the lyrics on top. We all write quite differently and I’m sure back in the day it caused a bit of friction, but now we see it as a very healthy dynamic really, more light and shade, some faster and some slow ones. The main thing we go for is a heavy sound, certainly the melody has to be good for us and hopefully people will agree with that.

Who are you looking forward to seeing today?

Bigfoot, I saw them when we played at Wildfire and there was two stages, so I went over to the other stage and they were playing and I thought yeah I really like them. So I’m particularly looking forward to seeing them. Always happy to see Avenger, our mates, as I told you earlier. There are a few bands I’ve not heard before and I’m always open to hearing new stuff.

What’s next for Salem?

We are recording songs for the new album – we have half the album complete and the rest should be finished by about Christmas. Pure Steel records have already heard some of the tracks and said we like it, we want to release it. So we are going to keep on going.”

Thank You for taking the time out to talk to us and we will look forward to hearing the new album.

Interview by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.


With anticipation rising for its arrival, UK rockers THEIA are poised to uncage their debut album ‘Take The Pill’ on the British rock scene this September and unleash more of the anthemic and passion stirring sounds which have already made their new single highly acclaimed.

Launch poster

Formed in 2012, the Burton-upon-Trent based Theia has continually been an attention grabbing prospect weaving the inspirations of bands such as Buckcherry, Winterville, Alter Bridge, and Black Label Society into their own robust hard rock rampage. As their two well-received 2013 released EPs quickly revealed, the muscular and rebellious nature of their rock ‘n’ roll also holds a melodic prowess and impassioned flame, breeding unpredictability and adventure to its voracious tone.

Theia is a band unable to sit on simply having a great sound though, so the past year has seen the threesome push their boundaries and imagination for the new album ‘Take The Pill’. They have ventured into fiercer fusions of flavours and greater depths in their invention whilst retaining the raw power and tenacious enterprise they have become renowned for in the studio, and as one of the UK’s explosive live bands. ‘Take The Pill’ is a landmark in the band’s creative fire, a release bringing the increasingly unique character of their music and the growing richness of their individual craft out in full. With the rousing roars of Kyle Lamley aligning to the thickly enticing enterprise of his guitar, and the almost bestial persuasion of Paul Edwards’ bass colluding with the rapier agility of John Tolley’s rhythms, Theia’s new slab of galvanic rock ‘n’ roll is the declaration of a band come of age.

The first hint to the expansive and fiery hard rock to be found within ‘Take The Pill’, was its recently released first single “Ride On” which has drawn acclaim for its infectious layering of blues endeavour with intoxicating melodic hues and growling energy. The song revealed a fresh impetus which the album continues, vocalist/guitarist Kyle describing the upcoming adventure as “If music is a journey then for me, ‘Take The Pill’ is the ticket office at the station. We’re not exactly sure where we’re going to end up but we don’t care! This album is the start of something awesome, it’s taken some time to get here but now the ball is rolling we don’t want it to stop. We couldn’t be more proud and excited to let the world hear it!”

THEIA - Ride On

Fair to say excitement is ripe within the Theia camp and their fans and only building further as the launch party for ‘Take The Pill’ looms at the Tower Brewery, Burton Upon Trent on September 26th, where exclusively the album will be available for half price whilst pre-orders are available digitally via iTunes and for the tasty Digipack CD version, through the band’s website.

As their celestial namesake impacted on the terrain we walk, so Theia and ‘Take The Pill’ are poised to ignite the UK’s rock landscape.


It’s certainly all go at the moment for THEIA so it was great to meet up with them and find out how things are going – here’s what they had to say when they spoke to Toni Reed…

For those that don’t know THEIA, explain a little about yourselves and what you do? How did you decide on THEIA as a name?

Kyle – I am Kyle, I am lead guitar, vocals and other front manly duties

Paul – I’m Paul, I’m bassist, backing vocals and that’s it

John – My names John and I am drums

How did you decide on THEIA as a name?

Kyle – It was a long list of names that it got picked out of and it got put to the bottom quite a few times, but this was way back when I was in secondary school. I had only just met Paul and didn’t know he was musically inclined at all and I don’t know John was probably doing something entirely different.

John – Yes, I was doing something entirely different at the time, I’m a bit older you see. I’ve been in the band a year now.

Paul – you’ve had an anniversary, your one of us now

Kyle – I think the name stuck because it’s short and sweet, one word. I like names you can just hammer out at someone.


Your debut album “Take The Pill” is pre-release tomorrow and digital release on 28th September. Song writing, how do you work together getting the lyrics and the music right?

Paul and John look at Kyle then myself, questioning whether Kyle is the talker of the group?

Kyle- I am, the thing is the lights are on but no one’s home today. This is our third in three days, gig wise. So I apologise for any lagging that’s going on.

Paul – Degeneration Friday, Bridgenorth yesterday. It’s been a glorious weekend.

Kyle – So writing, it’s a bit of a mix of that whole organic, jam style thing and a lot of the time I come with an idea. Either a chorus, a riff, a lyric or something.

John- We will then say whether it’s good or it’s bad or we try and work on it. Take it to the next level.

Kyle – Paul can take a lot of my ideas that are sometimes a bit heavy or obscure and he’ll go, let’s take it down the middle of the road a little bit more, give it some sing ability. And John will go, sorry guys but I think we need to swap that for that. It’s a team effort at the end of the day

What is your favourite song on the album and why?

Paul – Are we allowed to drop names yet?

Kyle & John – Yes

Paul – I suppose “Electric Witness”, It’s got a lot of variation in, there’s a lot of different things in it and it builds up quite nice. Especially on the album, on the production there are little things you will probably pick out every time you hear it. It’s just an all-round fun song to play with different moods and different things about it.

Kyle – For me, my favourite is “Ride On” which is the lead single which is being released tomorrow. There’s just something about it, it’s bluesy, it’s rocky and it’s got two guitar solos in it so I would love that one no matter what.

John – For me, off this album, is either “Somedays” or “Electric Witness” as Paul said, but there’s a few more from album number two that I like playing as well but that’s miles away yet.

Kyle – Wait are we doing a second album?

You have been busy this year with festivals including Degeneration, Rock and Blues, Mammothfest, Breaking bands, Rocking for the Children, HRH Ibiza and you’ve also gigged with Hells Additiction and Eva Plays Dead. What have been the highlights?

Kyle – For me personally Rock and Blues this year, although I should really count Hard Rock Hell Ibiza amongst my favourite experiences this year, partly because the Hard Rock Hell group are always lovely. We have met some of our best friends through the community there and the fact we got a holiday in Ibiza alongside it. So for me, Hard Rock Hell Ibiza or Rock and Blues because we camped and got merry.

Paul – I’d say exactly the same, Rock and Blues probably even Ibiza. Probably even Rebel Rally, which is a good old little biker’s fest. Its camping, good atmosphere and its family orientated. There are a lot of people there, it’s just got a good feeling around it. It’s just a joyous place to be and play. You get so much good feedback and it’s always a good one.


How do you like to spend your free time, hobbies, relaxing etc?

Kyle – Weekends like this, generally the free time is taken up with sleep, and I love sleeping. I am a big writer, as in poetry and stories. I like writing and then on the side I work as well. That’s kind of where the whole musical side came from, I was writing a lot. I was very quiet at school, believe it or not, in my own little world.

Paul – When I’m not working I suppose I have a lot of hobbies really. I like to build instruments, especially guitars and spending too much money on games, Lego and films.

John – I’ve got thre kids so a lot of my time is spent up with them, I like to play video games with my kids and my wife takes up a lot of my time as well. I have also just moved house too.

Kyle is playing “Johnny” in American Idiot at Derby Theatre in November, are you looking forward to it?

Kyle – Yes, Derby Theatre 5-7th November, I’m playing Johnny who is a Jesus of Suburbia character. He’s the son of rage of love. I’ve done musical theatre before, we did it in Burton where we are from. .

Paul – You are regressing back to that point in your life.

Kyle – Yeah, I love it. I love the whole being a character thing and the fact that this character is a crazy rock star that goes a bit off the wall and gets to play guitar on stage and the size of derby theatre as well, it’s the best of both worlds so I am really excited.

Who are you looking forward to seeing today?

Kyle – That’s a tricky question because originally when we were announced to play this and we saw the line up, I was so excited to see Massive Wagons. I love the boys. (Sadly, Massive Wagons had had to pull out, which was a real shame)

I don’t know how this will make me sound but everyone has different tastes, there are some all dayers/festivals where I don’t want to watch every band, just because of the way it works but genuinely today I could have stood and watched every single band.

John – Falling Red are pretty cool.

Kyle – Falling Red, Defy All Reason, Bad Touch.

John – The band that was just on, Spiral Dive, had some wicked riffs.

Kyle – We got here just as Lyxx were finishing aswell, we played with them in Glasgow when we played Highway To Hell, so it was nice to see them again. I think the line-up is really good today.


Whats next for THEIA?

John – Possible plans for a video at some point.

Kyle – This weekend like I say we have had three gigs on three days, so from now on we are going to stick our heads down and plan, promote and do the things that have to be done.

The hope for all of us is to get out on a tour next year, with someone or on our own, we want to tread the boards even more.

Thanks to THEIA for taking the time out to talk to us today and we look forward to seeing you at your album launch party on September 26th at Tower Brewery, Burton Upon Trent.

Interview by Toni Reed and Photography by Neil Reed.