After the release of the wonderful debut album, Collateral started gaining more fame with every new step. Grande Rock took the chance to talk with all the members of the band – Angelo Tristan (vocals, guitar), Todd Winger (guitar), Jack Bentley Smith (bass) and Ben Atkinson (drums) – so as to find out more about this promising newcomer, their debut album and their road stories, among other things… read more below…
Collateral band pic
Hi guys, it’s great to have you on Grande Rock. You did a great job on your self-titled debut (read the album review here)! Kudos!
Angelo: Thank you so much! It took my whole life to write, so I’m overwhelmed by the response! Now it’s just about making sure the 2nd wipes the floor with it! ahaha…
Firstly do tell us… when and how did Collateral take shape?
A: Ah man, it’s like any romantic rock and roll story. I was playing in a little bar in the middle of nowhere in Ramsgate, Kent in 2013 to about 5 people and in walk a drunk Jack, it was love at first sight aha. We just hit it off straight away. He gave me a cigarette and we decided to take over the world then and there!
How many years had you been playing together before you started working on your own material?
A: We went straight in to writing the best songs we could. We didn’t want to waste time playing other peoples stuff and wanted the world to see what we had to offer. The best thing to do sometimes is to dive head first into the unknown as that is where you find yourself creating things you didn’t know you could.
Which are the band’s main influences and which sound did you want to achieve when you started writing music?
A: Obviously there’s a big Bon Jovi influence. From a young kid I never saw anything like them, the way they create an ecstatic atmosphere in a stadium made me decide very early on what I wanted to be and what I wanted to do. I’m a big fan of the Eagles also, I’m a big fan of country in general which a lot of people might find strange but I can’t get enough of it! Our music is basically country but smothered in hair metal! (ahaha)
You released a couple of singles & videos and an EP prior to the debut release and although you were about to release the album in mid-late 2019, you pushed back to Feb 2020. Why?
A: There were a lot of factors but the main reason was that we felt that we were ebbing rushed into releasing it when there were still a few tweaks we felt we needed to do. This is your baby at the end of the day and you wouldn’t send them to school with chocolate around their mouths! You know… it’s also nice to create a bit of eagerness and well, you’re not a true rock band until you turn up later than you were meant to (ahaha).
If I’m not mistaken you were about to release you debut independently but before its release you got signed to Roulette Media Records. How did the cooperation occur? Is the deal for one album only or for more too?
A: We were signed just before releasing “Midnight Queen” and we were excited to release our first major single through a label. We have a lot of freedom in the position that we are in which we love as we feel we know exactly how and what we need to do to achieve what we want to achieve. To have the backing from a label is so important to allow you to focus on what is important. The deal is for 1 album yes.
Give us a hint about each track…
Todd: “Mr Big Shot”: Destined for David Riverdale…
“Promiseland”: Balls out…
“Merry Go Round”: Dirty south…
“In It for Love”: Ripping solo…
“Lullaby”: This ain’t no library…
“Midnight Queen”: Classic sing along…
“Get Back to You”: Disney!
“Won’t Stop Me Dreaming”: Welcome to the 80s….
“About This Boy”: Meet out fearless leader!
Where did the recordings take place and who is responsible for the production, the mixing and the mastering? What has changed in the way you record and what do you think of the final outcome on the whole?
T: Ten21 studios in Maidstone, where Sean Kenney recorded and mixed it. Robin S and Romesh mastered for different outcomes. All good guys with different sounds. I don’t think we are intending to change a great deal other than bringing in a full time keys player.
You’d given a lot of live shows before the “lockdown” and people enjoyed your stage presence a lot, as they were familiar with your material, cuz the debut had been released. How did you experience this whole experience in general?
T: I love the live shows. Face to face fan involvement is like no other!! The response has been overwhelming.
How was the Runaway to Paradise Mediterranean Cruise with Bon Jovi?
A: Oh man… it was paradise! I chilled out with Jon Bon f@cking Jovi!
Do you miss being on the stage? Do you have any plans for future shows as soon as things get back to “normal” again?
T: I miss the stage a hell of a lot!! We have big plans for 2021 worldwide and I cannot wait to see your lovely faces again!! 2 meters away (lol)!
How did the Bon Jovi track come about? People seem to like your DJ version more than others. You really nailed it dude!
A: It’s crazy! And these are Bon Jovi fans, some of the most loyal fans so it feels good. Lockdown has given more a lot of time to play things I’ve not had the time to so I’m having fun just playing what I want!
I saw that you, Angelo, did a solo live show via YouTube. What was the response?
A: Yeah I’m finding myself learn a lot about my voice and how I need to improve so I figured why not open myself up and let the world in whilst I’m doing so. It’s so much fun, we have the best fans ever, extremely loyal and it gives me so much pleasure to play for them even if it is through a live stream. The response has been overwhelming! I’ve been able to make a living from it so I couldn’t be happier!
What are your expectations from the debut and what do you wish to achieve with Collateral over the next years?
Ben: We didn't expect it to be so well received, let alone in the top 5 official rock chart! Incredible, thank you for the support. Woah 5 years is a long time, we want to have covered a lot of ground by then (Europe, America, Asia). We love to travel & meet new people & what’s better than that & playing a wicked rock show?!
What do you think about this corona-virus thing? How will it affect the music business and people’s lives in general?
B: It’s affected it a lot since we all rely on shows for our income, so the game has changed temporarily & a lot of focus is going into streaming. I think it’ll pass but it will be gradual until we see shows at allowed capacity again. I am patient though! It will be worth it for sure!
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! How did you come up with the name Collateral initially?
A: Me and Jack had spent the whole month trying to find a good band name.... after realizing that a “good” band name doesn’t exist, and it’s only the least worst that you should go with. I noticed the DVD “Collateral” on the side with Tom Cruise staring dead at in my eyes.... that was it (aha)!
What are those things that you do not like in the music industry nowadays?
B: There isn’t much not to like! We absolutely love what we do, it’s the best thing in the world!
What do you think about the “downloading & streaming issue” of our time? Do you prefer the streaming services better or not?
B: The industry has changed so adaption is key, streaming is great for exposure because it allows anyone to pick up their phone and there is your music! I think that’s great!
What is the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words:
B: Rockstar: Cowboy boots and limos…
Progressive: Adaptable & trendsetting…
Eurovision: Awesome music!
Music Realities: ???
Fill in the phrase… “Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
Jack: Jimi Hendrix for sure! He’s defined an era, changed the way guitar and rock was seen and influenced so many individuals and bands. He achieved this in 3 years... legend!
Which are the best 3 Rock albums of all time according to you?
J: “Appetite for Destruction”, “Highway to Hell” and “Eat em and Smile” (David Lee Roth)… love em!
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
J: Early GnR would have been sick, probably wouldn’t have survived though!
Which do you consider to be the best male vocalist in rock history?
J: Axl rose in his heyday is for sure up there. Power, range and tone. Guy’s got it all!
Which is the composer/songwriter who influenced rock music the most?
J: I’d be a fool not to say Bob Dylan really. He has the gift of writing great songs that are covered and become massive hits. Jimi Hendrix all the way through to Michael Bolton.
If you had the opportunity to invite any musician, living or dead, to play on your album whom would you choose and why?
J: Lemmy! I just think he’d be really cool to meet and hangout with on top of being a great player! (Also I’d have a day off)…
If you could be any historical person, which one would you be and why?
A: It would have to be the first cave man. He didn’t have to worry about politics, war, pollution, poverty… anything. Must have been nice.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
A: “Slippery When Wet”. An album that still stands the test of time and will do for centuries! Any album that makes you feel like you’re in your teens again, about to break up for the summer holiday and fall in love for the first time is an album that I hope we can write.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
A: It would have to be our debut album! Firstly, because it would be cool to have the achievement of being the first band to be heard by aliens… and also it’s a true story, We don’t hide away from anything. There’s so many emotions that flow through out. I think it gives a pretty good representation of what life is to us humans. With all it’s ups and downs!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
A: To the past! Every time! If I had the opportunity to go to the 80s as a 23 year old and hang out on the sauna set strip in LA, I would do it in heart beat! When music was music!
What are your views on Artificial Intelligence (and its scary-as-Hell implications!), which is seemingly around the bend and could be fully developed sooner than we think? Are we, as humans, technologically going off the deep end (like lemmings)?
A: To be honest, I don’t pay attention to that side of things. What’s gonna happen will happen so I tend to just focus on what makes me happy and the others around me happy. I’m more of a “Dude… The universe is like….. massive!”, sort of guy (ahaha).
Thank you very much for talking to Grande Rock Angelo. Just say anything you feel like saying before we close … take care dude!
A: It’s been a pleasure! Thank you so much! I hope you stay safe and we shall all get through this together!