Introducing: The One Hundred

By Ben Tipple

“We got sent an interview to do, and the first question said that a lot of our lyrics are politically based. I was like, all our lyrics are about The Walking Dead,” laughs Jacob Field, the frontman of London based genre-defying electro-rockers The One Hundred. “I am the biggest comic geek ever and I just imagine me being in that situation. Because it’s really ambiguous people are like “he’s diving deep into the political realm”, but it’s not political, it’s about killing zombies.”

Whether dealing with zombie politics or not, it’s an insight into the mind of Field and his fellow band members Tim Hider, Phil Kneller and Joe Balchin. From the moment these guys open their mouths there’s a careful balance struck between playfulness and a calculated understanding of the scene, and their sound within it.

Rising from the ashes of former metalcore outfit Collapse The Control, Field, Hider and Kneller welcomed drummer Balchin into the mix. “We got to a certain point where we couldn’t do anything else with it,” explain the former Collapse The Control members. “We were lucky with how much we achieved and got out of it, but we had branched out and grew into different things.”

Seemingly confined by their metalcore label, the guys became increasingly frustrated with the scene they had found themselves in. Although adamant that there was a level of uniqueness to their prior sound, expectations from fans and an implied need to satisfy genre stereotypes left them little room for manoeuvre. “That type of music we were playing could only go so far,” Field admits.

This proverbial dead-end led to the emergence of their current project. “When we broke up Jacob started writing straight away. It was like a clean slate. We wanted to experiment with it,” the band recall. Working with a combination of electronic synth sounds, a wealth of hip-hop influences and an overarching layer of nu-metal, The One Hundred unquestionably removed themselves from the more traditional metalcore scene.

Instead, the band now draw inevitable comparisons to the likes of Enter Shikari or Hacktivist, yet with a rough-around-the-edges appeal that sets them apart. “I have always been into hip hop, from when I was younger,” Field explains. There are a lot of bands that do something with it, but we bring up more of the grime aspect – more synths and samples, and a nu-metal vibe. It’s just a case of mixing it all together, combining it.”

The result, as evident on the well-received lead single ‘Breed’, is appropriately abrasive with enough confidence to level a building. This confidence within their sound is transferred directly into their live performances, led by the suitably cocky Field. As with the interview, he is immediately the focal point, bounding around the stage like a man possessed. As he moves between screams and raps, all the while supported by clearly experienced musicians, he stares demonically into the on-looking crowd.

This showmanship and bravado help to get the band noticed, however it is clearly not all talk. The One Hundred have found a style of music that they not only thoroughly love to play, but also one that suits their personalities. The perfect fit has led to them being picked up by a number of local and national radio stations, as well as causing a stir within the scene.

“The last thing we thought of was ever being played on Radio 1,” Field exclaims, with a resounding agreement from his fellow band members. It proves impossible for them to hide the genuine excitement in their voices when discussing the spread of their music around the country. On the surface, their early success (we are still talking one single here) appears appreciated, if not unexpected. “It’s really weird seeing a list of all these stations playing your track. We ring each other up at 1 in the morning to say “dude, we are on the radio!”,” laugh the band.

It’s an exposure that’s only set to increase with the release of their next single, and reportedly a live favourite, ‘Unleashed’. The One Hundred have been busy in the studio recording their debut EP, which is likely to feature the track alongside ‘Breed’. “We’ve been in the studio for the last year,” the band claims with a distinct level of honesty masked by a hint of sarcasm, “We’ve got a bunch of tracks together for the EP.”

With no set release date for the EP, the band are optimistic about a Spring or Summer 2014 appearance. Following reports of a video shoot late last year which failed to materialise, they are keen to avoid making any definite promises. In the meantime however, the four-piece plan to continue with their energetic live performances, and demanding attention as they go.

“At least a couple of tours under a belt, and some festivals in the summer. The EP to be out, and headlining Wembley Arena,” half-joke the band again when asked what they would like to get out of 2014. Although headlining slots at major venues might be a pipedream at this stage, it’s something that might not seem as absurd when considering the paths of their closest contemporaries. Premature dreams aside, 2014 is looking promising for the London lads, and they are bound to find themselves on a number of festival bills, starting with the recently announce Redfest.

If all else fails, there’s other ways to make a mark. “OneDirection are playing Wembley. Maybe we could do a guest vocal,” the band joke. That we would pay to see.