Interview: Chasing Cadence do TNA Impact at Wembley Arena

By Ben Tipple

As I am ushered into an empty Wembley Arena, seemingly smaller without the hordes of chanting fans, a large metal monstrosity dominates the centre of the room. Far removed from my usual haunts, tonight the iconic space plays host to a bunch of scantily clad men and women, and an extra helping of melodrama, predominately housed in a looming cage. It’s still being built as Hertfordshire five-piece Chasing Cadence sit aligned on the abundant tiered seating.

For wrestling and music have always been intrinsically linked, not least in the mostly grandiose theme music that accompanies the entertainers as they make their way towards the ring. For the first time in British TNA history, a band have been invited to play at the live shows, welcoming the hordes of fans as they enter the arena on the tour’s three dates. As Chasing Cadence’s guitarist Rob Barlow confesses his nerves, it’s a long way from submitting their track ‘Dear Life’ as the theme tune for one of the live TV shows.

I’m here to find out just what led to this point, what this type of opportunity does to a band, and to open the mind of a self-confessed newbie to the world of wrestling.

How are you guys feeling? Looking around this is pretty crazy.

Rob: It’s a crazy production, isn’t it? When we walked into Manchester yesterday that was the first time we thought, “woah.” You walked into the loading area and there’s nine articulated lorries loading bringing in gear, and it’s like “wow, this is huge.” Far bigger than anything we have ever done before.

Talk me through how this even came about.

Jack Harris [vocals]: TNA were looking for some music to accompany their new Xplosion UK wrestling show which is aired on a weekly basis. Our manager basically sorted ‘Dear Life’ to be chosen for that. They really liked the song, and then they asked us to play some acoustic sets on the tour when they came back over here. Obviously we said yes. We weren’t busy those days. That’s how we got here.

How did you react when you found out your song was going to be used?

Rob: Initially it didn’t really sink in. We just thought, “That’s cool. It’s going to be on a TV programme.” But then the first time it aired it was just so strange. We’re a little band from Hertfordshire who work out of a little recording studio in our lounge, and one of our songs is being used on an international television programme. Mind blown, overwhelmed and very humbled.

Has the exposure done much for you as a band?

Jack: We’ve got a lot more reach around the world. We’ve had people from America doing guitar covers of ‘Dear Life’, which has been surreal. I think it’s boosted our social media.

Rob: It’s good for the band’s CV. When we’ve been approaching record labels, and press agents and booking agents, it’s great to say we’ve had our track used for this. That’s just some leverage that will hopefully lead to bigger things. We’ve increased our fan base for sure, and the plays on ‘Dear Life’ have shot right up. That’s pretty awesome. It’s definitely done a lot for us and will hopefully open up some more doors.

How do you think your sound fits in with that of wrestling?

Rob: I think we’re quite heavy rock… usually. Obviously tonight we’re playing an acoustic set, so the version everyone will hear will be very different from the one on TNA. We don’t have screams, it’s singing, but it’s pretty riffy.

Jack: I think wrestling and music go hand in hand. I think ‘Dear Life’ was a good choice for the opening of TNA Xplosion. It’s a good song.

Rob: You would say that.

Jack: I use it for explosions all the time. It’s got an energetic intro, and an energetic song. Whilst we’re not the heaviest band in the world I think it fits quite well. As Rob says, we’ve got a lot of riffs in our music.

This is the second show of the three days. How did yesterday go?

Dan Seager [bass]: It was interesting I suppose. First of all there was a little bit of confusion, they wouldn’t allow us to use any 13 amp power, so it was completely stripped back. More than it will be today. Completely unplugged basically.

Rob: Me and Jack were singing as loud as we could in a massive room. You could just hear two vocals and Alfie [drums]. People seemed to be relatively engrossed, but hopefully tonight we can maintain a crowd.

Tonight is the way you want to be doing it.

Rob: Absolutely. Ideally yesterday we would have done the same. The venue had unavoidable power restrictions but TNA did everything they could to turn it around. We practiced throughout the day and pulled something together. We’ve been musicians for long enough so we’re used to things going a bit wrong.

So as well as musicians, are you wrestling fans?

Rob: Absolutely, I think Alfie’s the biggest one.

Alfie Powell [drums]: I ref for an independent company, called UBW in north Hertfordshire. We’re all fans, but I like to boast about being the biggest fan.

Rob: For Alfie it was definitely the biggest news.

Alfie: This is crazy for me.

Have you had much interaction with the wrestlers?

Rob: Mark Andrews is actually signing on one of the tracks this evening. Throughout the last couple of days he’s been sitting with us and jamming through that. He’s got a great voice. He always sings for a band called Junior. Yesterday Dan sat next to Kurt Angle and just looked like the smallest man in the world. It’s quite surreal to sit and eat lunch next to him. Lashley has been walking around quite a bit, although you definitely don’t want to interrupt him.

Jack: I want to ask at some point this weekend for him to lift me above his head, because I genuinely think he could quite easily.

Dan: He could lift all five of us at the same time.

Jack: With one hand.

Do you guys have any favourites?

Alfie: I have a Hardy Boys tattoo. I’ve always looked up to Matt and Jeff Hardy. Unfortunately Jeff’s not on this tour but we’ve seen Matt wandering around. It’s always good for him to have the heavyweight title.

What about favourite wrestling moments? There must be things that have stood out in your memory.

Jack: I grew up watching a lot of wrestling. I’ll always remember Mankind and his hell in a cell matches. I love hardcore matches. There was a really cool one last night. Those are the stand out moments for me, when people bleed.

Rob: I love the high-flyers. When people do flips. That’s always what’s stood out to me. The athleticism behind that is unreal. The time and effort that goes into what they do, and the strength and athleticism they do have and is needed, is incredible. Especially with the high-flyers and the heavier dudes. They really hit that floor.

I guess when people say it’s fake…

Alfie: You can’t use that word. There’s that infamous line, how do you learn to fall off a twenty foot ladder? It’s just not a thing.

Rob: Alfie’s quite passionate about this.

Did you get a chance to watch any of it yesterday?

Jack: The whole thing. Mark Andrews is not just a top guy, but also an amazing acrobat. Kurt Angel’s match was really cool. We were making noises like a firework display the whole time.

Rob: Some of us have never been to live wrestling before. I personally thought I’d be able to control my emotions a little bit but I was getting really into it. I took myself aback by how emotional involved I was getting. I’m an emotion person…

Is there anything you can take away from this experience?

Jack: Doing the acoustic stuff has been really different for us. We normally thrive from playing live and putting all our energy into that. We like climbing on things, breaking things…

Rob: Safely, of course.

Jack: We’re insured. Only try it at home if you’re insured. The acoustic stuff is definitely something we can take forward. We could use these acoustic tracks and take it forward and release it.

What’s next for you guys as a band, once these three days are over?

Tom Weeks [guitar]: End of February we’ve got a tour around the UK. We’re playing Derby, Corby, Bridgwater and Swansea. We’re really looking forward to that.

Rob: We’re also recording a four track EP with Oz Craggs at Hidden Track Records. His band [Feed The Rhino] have always been a great inspiration for us.

Alfie: Behind Dave Grohl he’s the nicest guy in rock.

Rob: He’s a massive part of our sound on record.

And now to go out and show the wrestling world what you’ve got.

Rob: We need to thank Simon Rothsein from TNA for coordinating all of this, and our manager for getting us here.

Jack: We’re contracted to say this.

Rob: I’m just going to choke slam Jack during our performance.

Chasing Cadence went on to play a well-received acoustic set as people entered Wembley Arena. Find out more about that, and my first ever live wrestling experience, in our in-depth feature, due very soon.

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