Currently on tour with MSRY, Tether. are making a big impression. We caught up with the Londoners for their first ever interview; they told us all about the London hardcore scene, what ‘breaking your tether’ means to them, and paying £40 an hour to eat M&S sandwiches.
How did the band form?
Kieran: I guess it started with us [Kieran and Justin].
Justin: Yeah. Me and Kieran were in a band previously, and then we were writing, and we were like, “Ok, let’s actually make a band of this and not just be an online project.” And then I was in a little project with James for about…
James: 20 seconds!
Justin: Like, two rehearsals. I didn’t even think about him as a drummer. And then you [James] said yes straight away, which was amazing.
James: How did we find you [Jack]?
Jack: I think I just walked into the rehearsal studio one day.
James: I think he just walked into the wrong practise room.
Justin: I was always posting stuff about needing members; I did a bassist post, and he messaged me straight away. There was this other guy as well – I forget his name – and he was like “I’ll do it,” and then I didn’t hear from him for a while. Then you [Jack] were like, “Mate, I’m well up for it.” And then this guy was like, “Oh, so when are you rehearsing?” And I was like, “Shit.” I didn’t say yes to him, but he was pretty adamant that he wanted to be in it.
Kieran: So basically, it was just a bit of an accident. A happy accident.
Rob: I was the last to join. I just showed up. I left my old band, Justin put up a post. I was like, “Yeah, I’m free.”
Justin: I was like, “Mate, you’re being in our band!”
Kieran: It’s such a boring band formation story. But that’s just how it was.
How does Tether. compare to other bands that you’ve all been in?
Justin: I said that this is my favourite band I’ve ever been in.
James: I’ve been in three bands over an 11 year period. My first band was pretty heavy rock – metal, really. Second band was punk rock. I wanted to join a band where you could do both. So we just seemed to squeeze both genres into one set. And Justin and Kieran had some song ideas almost a little bit emo. Which was cool, and it became not just a heavy band; just fun. Quite creative. Our songs are quite different stylistically. They don’t really sit into a genre.
Justin: We’ve got bits of everything.
Kieran: I was in a few bands before this, but I was in a band with Justin as well, just before this, and I guess this band formed off the back of that, and we just started writing the music we wanted to make.
Rob: My last band was completely different – melodic hardcore. Then I was like, “You know what? I want to go with something [where] I can just do what I like.” No pressure. There was no one telling me, “You can’t do this, you can’t do that.” Just fucking did it.
James: That’s a really good point. It’s just quite fun, and no one really takes it too seriously. But everyone’s dedicated at the same time, so it’s a really good blend, I think.
Justin: It’s nice that it’s a relaxed band; we’re just enjoying it.
James: We do mess around a lot, but when we go on stage, it’s like, “Right, let’s fucking do it.”
Rob: You should see our Instagram! Us at practice is just fucking around.
Kieran: Eating sandwiches.
Jack: We’re paying £40 an hour just to eat M&S sandwiches.
What does your slogan, ‘Break your tether’ mean?
Kieran: I guess the name came about from the idea that- this is going to be really deep, so I’m sorry- but at a point in my life where I felt like I was not really going anywhere, and I was saying to myself, “I feel like I’m at the end of my tether.” And I thought, what if you just break that tether and do whatever the fuck you want? It could mean mentally, emotionally, physically.
Justin: I’ve always been the same, as in not playing by the rules, and you basically make up whatever you want to live life and be free. So many people are bound to restrictions. It is so deep because you’re only on this earth for a little amount of time. Being restricted to the rules that are within it is just stupid.
Rob: I just use it as my way of getting away from the normal person that I am. When I’m on stage, I let loose, and I’m not really myself. You kind of see it in the weird faces I pull and whatnot, but I am really not myself on stage, and it’s a good way for me to get all that bullshit out of my system. Get it all out and throw it all aside and break the tether.
To clarify, is there a full stop at the end of Tether?
Kieran: There is. There is definitely. And if anyone ever spells it wrong, I will call them out [laughter].
Rob: We had a long, very heated conversation about it.
Jack: Yeah, the full stop stays.
How would you describe the scene in London? Obviously, it’s very different from other cities, but would you say it’s easier or harder to get gigs?
Rob: I’d say it’s difficult and very easy at the same time. Having Justin in the band makes it really fucking easy because we just all put our feet up. It’s like, “Oh, we’re playing here this week – awesome!” But at the same time, the London scene is so saturated with bands. Some of them sound the same; some of them are so unique that you’ll never be on the same bill with them. And it’s sometimes really difficult to get on a gig with bands that you really wanna play shows with. Sometimes it happens; sometimes it doesn’t. London’s good. London’s great. And the fact that we’re finally starting to expand out of London is even better. But I love playing London shows. There’s nothing like it.
Justin: Promoter’s perspective – because that’s what I am – it is so saturated like you said. And I guess if you’re a [smaller] band, it’s hard to punch through and get that platform. If you don’t have pushing or backing, it’s so hard. But I think bands just need to work hard. It’s literally just pushing your band, pushing your product – because that’s what it is. It’s just hard work, man.
James: I’m not personally good at social media, but we all have a fairly good understanding-
Jack: Fuck off! He’s addicted to social media!
James: -of what you need to push the band. So we all chip in with the Facebook, we all chip in with the Twitter, the Instagram. It’s no one person owning it; we all just jump in, which is really cool. So everyone’s pushing. Even to the point of emails to do gigs outside of London. We’re all pushing for it, which is good.
Which city in the world would you most like to play a gig?
Rob: Sydney, Australia!
Justin: I was gonna say that, but I’d love to go back to China. I was in a band a few years back, and we toured China. Beijing was really cool. It’s a nice city. It’s weird as fuck, but it was good. It was a lot of fun, and they appreciate music.
James: I wanna go to Europe. I want to play Barcelona or Berlin, or something like that with an underground scene. And then eventually Sydney on a beach somewhere like Parkway Drive.
Kieran: I’ve heard a lot of good things about Germany and Berlin. So I’d probably say Berlin.
James: South End’s pretty cool.
Kieran: Actually, Norwich, I think.
Rob: I’ve always said Sydney. Sydney, Australia – easy. Anywhere in Germany because Germany has an amazing scene for music. Or Seattle! It’s the [birthplace] of what we do, man!
Jack: Probably Slough or Berlin.
If you could have anyone feature on a Tether. track, who would it be?
Jack: Liam from Cancer Bats!
Justin: Liam from Cancer Bats – hit us up, mate.
James: Howard Jones from Killswitch!
Rob: Oh, mate, no! I would never be able to be on the same track as that, man! I would never be able to do that.
Justin: Probably Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die.
Rob: I don’t really know. I don’t really listen to our kind of music. I listen to deathcore. Phil Bozeman from Whitechapel. I’d love to hear some breeze on our songs!
Jack: I think it’d be really cool to get someone from a completely different genre. I think some of the stuff we do lends itself quite nicely to rap music.
Kieran: Cardi B!
Jack: 21 Savage, he’s coming over to London soon, so…
Rob: How has no one said Jason Butler yet? Jason Butler would be amazing! Sorry, Justin, you’re fired, mate.
Last question. What’s the most important thing you’d like people to know about Tether.?
Rob: Fuck politics. Fuck racism. Break your tether.
James: We will play anywhere anytime. We’ll play any shows.
Kieran: I’m backing that.
Jack: As well as being in a band, I think we just all really like the music scene in London. Just come out to shows, drink beer, have fun, listen to great bands. There’s so much talent that really flies under the radar, and we love finding out about that. We love meeting people that are into the same music as us.
Justin: It’s true. It’s honest. Just come down and check some bands out.
James: And we’re also really, really nice as well.
Kieran: We’re pretty alright. I think. As it goes.
Catch Tether. on the last two dates of their tour with MSRY tonight (23rd Nov) at The Castle Tavern in Luton, and tomorrow (24th Nov) at The Unicorn in London. Stay updated on the band via Facebook and Twitter.
Photo by Pete Woolven – Instagram @xvisua