Rocking like a son of a bitch
Within guitarist Paul 'Bunny' Lonergan talks to Distorted about getting attention when you're based in rural Ireland.
Clonmel, Co Tipperary, has something stirring deep inside it. At present it is a mere, dull throb, but it is getting louder. It is the sound of Within getting ready to burst out and take on the world. The five-piece metal act has been drilling away at the underground metal scene for the past four years, slowly getting attention and, when you make as much noise live as these guys do, it's hard not to be noticed.
Paul "Bunny" Lonergan, who handles guitar duties in the band, tells me they came together in September 1999 when "Dave [Fogarty, guitar] and Niall [O'Brien, drums] were in a group who had recently split up and they were looking to restart as a new/better group. I was introduced to them by a mutual friend who knew I was looking to join/start a metal band. So I came in and jammed with the lads and hit it off. A singer was needed, so Dave and Niall asked school-friend Andy [Forrestal] to come in and try and that was the vocals sorted. Then the task of finding a bass player came to an end when Niall's brother Cathal agreed to switch from his usual guitar to a bass and that was the beginning of Within."
With influences including Machine Head, Sepultura, Fear Factory, Pantera, koRn and Slayer, they were never going to fit in playing to the regulars in your local Horse & Hound. Bunny says that getting gigs as "a new and unknown [band] can be very hard, but thanks to sites like metalireland.com, contacts and information can be easily obtained. Getting some of your songs recorded onto tape/CD can help you no end to get yourselves known."
While Clonmel may not be held in high regard as the most metal place in Ireland, the guitarist says, "one pub, The Piper Inn, gave us the chance and they haven't regretted it. Most places are happy with the same old boring indie/light rock cover acts and basically look down on you when you say you're a metal act, but we knew this wasn't gonna be easy from the start."
Their best gig so far was "without doubt our first gig in Clonmel in The Piper Inn last November. It was such a great feeling to finally have a full-on metal gig in our hometown in front of friends, family and people who had heard about us through our first demo. We got friends in another metal act Scarred [from Thurles] to come and open up for us and we gave it all we had and loved ever minute of it. Great night!"
Apart from Scarred, another great band that you should check out as well, Within have been lucky enough to meet up with some other Irish metal acts, who have encountered many of the same problems they have. "There are so many great bands out there such as Carnuin Rising, Cork-based metal band, that are kicking some serious ass and deserve a lot more recognition than they are getting. So many names I could mention," Bunny continues, "that would pound this commercialised shite that's floating around into dust. We've made some good friends with some great bands that have helped and supported us no end and that's how it should be, but there's always that element anywhere that hates to see others do well. They can go rot!"
At the moment, Within are "sitting around getting drunk," the guitarist says with a laugh. "No, we're writing new and better songs. Gigging, but mostly we're concentrating on our upcoming EP. We've recorded 4 new tracks for it and the songs, as far as we're concerned, rock like a son of a bitch. Still more work to be done artwork etc, but we hope to have it ready by the start of summer."
Within are currently in talks with a promoter from New Jersey who wants them to travel to New York and do a month-long club tour. As for the future of the band, Bunny says they just want to "get the EP finished and unleashed to the world, write more songs, keep evolving our music but always keep it heavy and [he pauses] open for Slayer dude, ha ha." Nothing too ambitious then.