You’d be forgiven for not hearing about Prepared Like a Bride. Yet. Their rise to fame has been meteoric and 2014 has certainly delivered the goods: with a brand new album debuting at number 30 in the ARIA charts. Nev Pearce caught frontman Ryan Bowles ahead of their much anticipated GC show. Story by Anthony Gebhardt.
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To say that Gold Coast five piece metal-core merchants Prepared Like a Bride have made every post a winner so far in 2014 is somewhat of an understatement. Dropping a plutonium packed powerhouse of a record over the Australian heavy music landscape is one thing, but to also break out into the mainstream music charts with one’s first up release is mighty impressive stuff indeed!
For this is precisely what Prepared Like A Bride have achieved, eliciting a rapturous response from across the heavy music community while at the same time shifting some serious units of their debut record Overcomer and managing to infiltrate the Aria Top 30 in the process. For a band peddling in a form of extreme music (to the average listener), with a sound often marginalized or considered non palatable for mass consumption, this is an achievement for which they can truly be proud…and hey they’re local boys too!!
Frontman Ryan Bowles enthuses on their current standing; ”It’s been super positive and super motivating for all of us and it’s been really encouraging that people have been supporting what we have been working towards. We are stoked!”
From their current standing as heady upstarts on the rise, the band has come a long way in a relatively short time. Formed in 2009, Bowles muses on the bands humble beginnings…
”It was quite random actually, we had known each other for years growing up and then I heard that the guys were having a jam. I was playing guitar and drums at the time so I called them up and we just ended up mucking around on covers to begin with.”
And while the rise of Prepared Like A Bride may appear to be meteoric, the record was definitely no fly by night concoction, forged on the back of a relentless touring schedule which has seen the lads tear up stages across the country, converting legions of fans in the process and laying the groundwork for the rapturous response the album has received so far. In addition to their own ball tearing headline gigs, the band have more than held their own when sharing the stage with acts of the ilk of Impending Doom, A Plea For Purging and Volumes. They were also part of the recent Boys of Summer tour, which also featured Arizona’s Blessthefall as well as The Colour Morale.
Festival appearances have also been a vibrant cog in their touring regime, with the band blowing minds and stages as part of the Vans Warped Tour and even heading across the ditch to wow our New Zealand brethren.
”We did New Zealand in January where we played the Parachute Festival, which is in Hamilton. This year they had The Devil Wears Prada and a few other Aussie acts that came over with us, it was a lot of fun!”
While winning over crowds and honing their craft in the live realm, the band were also keeping themselves super-busy in the recording studio, laying down the tracks that would form the basis of the debut record, Overcomer.
Decamping to STL Studios, on the NSW Central Coast just outside of Sydney, the band collaborated with noted overseas producers Ben Humphreys and John Mitchell from the UK’s Outhouse Studios, who have previously worked with acts of the pedigree of Funeral For a Friend and Architects. The band also enlisted the services of Australian producer Sonny Truelove to help facilitate the recording process.
Bowles enthused at the time; “these guys were the dream team to work with, pushing us to reach our potential and I firmly believe we have done that. The album is something we are all very proud off.”
The themes and vibe of the record are very much reflected in it’s title, Overcomer – both as a statement of intent and also as a triumph of will and positivity over personal adversity.
The record’s subject matter is often highly personal, revolving around vocalist Ryan Bowles coming to terms with the recent tragic loss of his father in an unexpected aviation accident. Many of the record’s lyrics were taken from notes and reflections documented by Bowles during this time, with the album subsequently telling the story of the events that transpired shortly after the tragedy.
While acting as a form of therapy and release, the underlying themes inherent in the songs delve beyond such introspective parameters and embrace rising above ones circumstance, no matter how tragic. From catharsis comes deliverance and ultimately hope…
”It definitely delves into some of the darker stuff that I experienced in my own journey” elaborates Bowles, “but we didn’t want to leave it at that for our fans. We wanted to bring it back up to what we are about and really inspire hope in people and to maybe help them through a difficult time.
”Some of the lyrics and notes that I went back to hadn’t been touched upon for seven or eight months, I had them stored away in my phone. Coming back to those notes and having to go over them and rewrite them to fit the songs we were recording for the album was definitely challenging.
As much as it was painful, it was in many ways a release and I guess that’s the joy of being a musician. To be able to get that out of your system and onto paper and into the music, it was definitely part of the process and I’m better off for it.”
When it comes to treading the boards and delivering their message in a live setting there’s certainly no letting up for the band, who are currently in the midst of a headline national tour which has taken in such far flung regional locations as Mount Gambier, Wyong and Wodonga in addition to more traditional capital city stop-offs such as Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The tail end of this tour sees then performing what will no doubt be two rapturously received homecoming shows, on 22 March in Brisbane and 23 March on the Gold Coast.
”We have a couple of bands we’ve taken out on the road with us for this tour, our good friends Vices from Sydney, who are like our best mates and who’ve played countless shows with us. We’ve also brought a younger band called Rivalries from the Central Coast, who we’ve also become good friends with – we can’t wait to show the rest of Australia how good they are as well!
We will also be heading back out on the road again in early April with For Today, who are coming back here for their third tour. We’ll be finishing up that tour at Easter Fest in Toowoomba, which is a rad event. We have a lot of friends and support crew up there who come out to see us, it’s good fun!”
Overcomer, the debut release from Prepared Like a Bride, is out now via Faction/Sony Music. To date three cracking singles have already been lifted from the album, including the emotionally poignant title track (with over 70 000 youtube hits and counting) and Through Hell, which features a guest appearance by Landon Tewers of US metalcore band The Plot In You.
And as their current Overcomer national tour wraps up, the band will be bringing the noise to local stages on Saturday, 22 March at Thriller in Brisbane, and Sunday, 23 March at Expressive Grounds on the Gold Coast (which is an all ages show.)
So be sure to get yourself along for a punishing prescription of local progressive metal-core!!