Follower: “We usually go around one of our houses, crack open a few bottles and jam”

An interview with Follower

Follower: “We usually go around one of our houses, crack open a few bottles and jam”

By Andy Joice

Mar 24, 2019 11:42

It can be difficult getting into the music industry. There are all sorts of things that need to go right, from finding appropriate musicians to writing and recording decent songs, all with the intention of releasing material and touring becoming a main source of income. It’s a tricky business to get into. Take Follower, for example.

New blood to the alt-rock scene, the Guildford five-piece have recently released their debut EP, ‘Against The Ropes’. A record that packs a punch, it deals with heavy subject material but ultimately is an excellent listen. That said, it wasn’t always smooth sailing for Follower.

A band relatively young in experience, vocalist Luke Archer and lead guitarist Ollie Moor initially met on online music forums in 2016. Both searching for like-minded musicians with a similar sound and vision, they gravitated towards each other, helped by the fact that they coincidently lived ten minutes apart. While Moor was studying at Guildford’s Academy Of Contemporary Music, Archer was at the Performance Preparation Academy studying acting. Around their studies, they would meet up every week, jamming together.

While most new bands would start covering other songs, Archer and Moor did the opposite. They started writing, recording and producing their own music almost immediately. After 10 months of developing and honing their skills, they started looking for additional members to fill out the band. Using the same forum that brought them together, and auditioning numerous musicians from around the area, they brought in bassist Joe Durrant and rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist Damien Mcvey in 2017. Writing a slew of demos, the bare bones of which formed ‘Against The Ropes’, drummer Cody Jones was brought in as a late addition, completing the line up in 2018.

In the space of just over a year, they’ve written and released their debut EP and performed numerous shows throughout their native hometown, all while maintaining day jobs and studying. That’s no mean feat. Like most new bands, they’re resigned to paying all costs until they’re signed by a major label but they’re more prepared to make the sacrifices needed to perfect their art. Studio costs, music videos and photo shoots all come out their pocket. One commodity that seems perhaps more precious to them is time; finding time among all everyone’s busy scheduled to keep on top of things. As Archer says, though, “finding the time and money becomes a lot easier when you’re passionate about doing it. Perseverance is the key!”. And they’re absolutely right, because there’s another factor that’s made the EP both difficult and easy to create.

Mental health is a common theme throughout ‘Against The Ropes’, appearing in almost every song. With Archer being referred to a mental health clinic with ADHD, it’s naturally a subject that left its mark on him and became a key focus of his writing. “I felt like a victim for having it at the time, because despite the up sides, I was so fixated on the flaws. It filled my head with a lot of doubt and self-hatred”. While it might’ve been a difficult time, it acted as a muse to Archer, allowing him to help write beautifully crafted, poetic lyrics that resonate throughout the whole record. Although mental health is becoming a more prominent talking point, it’s still a bit of an anomaly for men, particularly young men to be so open and vocal about mental health issues they’ve faced. “It really was cathartic to put all our feelings into the music. It felt like a massive weight was lifted off our shoulders once we finished recording” and that definitely comes across.

Archer agrees, furthering the point that, “we all had personal issues throughout the recording which we spoke about as a band and helped each other through so they naturally worked their way into lyrics. My mum passed away in October 2017 and I had some people close to me going through suicidal issues. It was a real low point for me personally. From this, there seems to be a theme of falling throughout the EP”. With at least four references to falling over six tracks, it’s a subtle reminder that you may end up crumbling but putting yourself back together is just as important. Be it a conscious decision or pure coincidence, there are numerous vocal melodies falling in patterns throughout the tracks too.

While Follower’s approach to writing might seem a little formulaic – one individual starting a riff or chord sequence and building upon it till it’s a full song before adding the lyrics – one thing does set them apart. They all have an input into the writing process. “We usually go around one of our houses, crack open a few bottles and jam. Once we feel the song is near finished, we’ll start writing vocal melodies over the top” states Archer. Deciding to get the crappy versions out the way, they’ve admitted to writing up to 60 vocal melodies for one song until finding the right one. Once the melodies are written, they start to work on lyrics, generally with one particular line that sticks for them to build around.

Moor believes their best work comes from life experiences, claiming that “our approach has always revolved around documenting our lives in musical form” and perhaps it’s this trait that makes their lyrics feel so authentic: Because they’re based on reality. While the band members generally have similar musical tastes, they’re constantly trying to push themselves. From the stripped back ‘Someday Soon’, a poetic and fragile track to the up-tempo, 00’s nostalgia inducing ‘Dreamer’, they’re keen to ensure the don’t become stale or repetitive throughout the EP.

It’s fair to say that with Follower spending a lot of their time writing, while they have played live shows, they haven’t toured extensively – mainly sticking to the locales around Guildford – although they do have a few shows booked for later in the year (details below). However, with the scene in Guildford bubbling away and the close proximity to London, they’re keen to support bigger bands in London. Any band in particular? For McVey, it’s Boston Manor. “Those boys are absolutely killing it right now! If anyone fancies making that happen, we’re in!”

So what’s on the horizon for Follower? Well, after the dust settles from releasing ‘Against The Ropes’, they plan on getting back into the studio and recording more new music. “We already have a load of material written so now it’s a case of finishing the songs so they’re studio ready,” states Moor.

And if that isn’t proof enough that Follower are hungry and eager to delve deeper into the music industry, nothing ever will be.


Against The Ropes released 22nd March 2019. Follower will be playing at the following venues in 2019:

31st March – Rock Avenue, Gillingham
12th April – The Fighting Cocks, Kingston
28th April – The Fiddlers Elbow, Camden
29th June – Roadtrip & Workshop, Shoreditch