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RGM Introducing – Crossfire Eagles

Hiya folks take a seat, what made you decide to start a band?

The love and inspiration that music gave to us! We were just 4 teenage lads who got fed up of listening to the ‘top 20’ on some of the mainstream radio stations day in day out and decided to look for our fix elsewhere. We all grew up listening to completely different styles of music; Tyler with classic rock looking up to bands like Def Leppard and Queen, Will the pop punk kid grew up on Blink 182 and Screeching Weasel, James with classics from The Beatles to The Kooks and finally Keaton with funk rock and The Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Later in life we all found a major common interest in the band Catfish and the Bottlemen, but also in our love for underground, raw, local talent such as, While She Sleeps, Sweet Little Machine and Blackwaters. We loved their ‘against the grain’ approach and ‘rock n roll’ attitude. The moment we became hooked, we wanted to form our own kick ass band and inspire people with our own music, live and on record. The same way those bands inspired us with their music!

introduce us all to crossfire eagles how did the band get together?

Hi I’m James Wilson, originally from Cumbria, I’m the lead vocalist and rhythm guitar player. Hi I’m Tyler Savage (son of Rick Savage) I play lead guitar and I try my best with backing vocals lol. Hi I’m Will Simister and I play bass, I’m originally from Barnsley. I’m Keaton Barker and I play the drums, Ecclesfield born and bred. 

Tyler and Keaton (the two Sheffield lads) were introduced to each other at a mutual friend’s boxing event. Both Tyler and Keaton had heard about each other before and they were both eager to meet as they shared a common interest, which was music. Before they knew it, they became close friends and started practicing with each other at each other’s houses regularly, in the effort to try and kick start something. They jammed with a few people; however, those people never took it as seriously as Tyler or Keaton and therefore the lads had to keep chopping and changing.

One day Tyler invited a guitar player he knew of to come down to Sheffield and have a jam with both him and Keaton. However still after a bass player, the guitar player Tyler knew went to the same college (Barnsley College) with now current bassist Will Simister and he decide to invite Will along to a practice. It was clear right from the start how enthusiastic Will was about making this work and brought an awful lot of energy into the band. Very shortly after we were hit with another dose of good luck when Keaton found out about a singer/guitar player, who had recently moved to Sheffield to study at University and he wanted to join an indie rock band (just like ours 😉).

That person is now current singer James Wilson. We decided to get him down to a practice so we could audition him. As soon as we started playing it finally all came together, as we were amazed at how good of a singer James was. From then on, he was in the band. 

However, just weeks before our first gig, the guitar player Tyler knew unexpectedly left to peruse other opportunities. From this moment onwards it became the fab 4! That is the story so far! 

What is the unsigned scene in Sheffield like at the minute?

Sheffield at the moment has a fantastic music scene with so many talented unsigned bands and artists who are just waiting to be discovered! The good thing about Sheffield is that there is such a good verity of bands and artists ranging from Classic Metal to modern-day Pop, Jazz to Rap or Indie to Punk. There will always be something for somebody. As Sheffield does set such a high standard, you have to be good in order to stick around in the underground/local scene as it is so important to form good relationships with the venues, promoters and other bands. A good band from most places outside of Sheffield would be classed as an average band if they were to come to Sheffield. That is how good the Sheffield music scene is, as everyone is striving to get better so they can stand out from the crowd not only in their own city but nationally.  We are in the exact same boat. 

Is there enough support out there for new artists in Sheffield? What is there and what isn’t?

The support is out there! However, for a band/artist just starting out it can be very difficult to find the correct support, as it can sometimes be difficult to know who to trust, especially when there is so many aspects to focus on over a long period of time. For an inexperienced musician, it can be extremely hard to navigate yourself in the music industry especially if you’re just starting out as it can potentially take years to figure out a sustainable plan.  

We do everything through Kycker. Kycker is a Sheffield based distribution/publishing company that any band or musician can sign up to. They provide a lot of very useful information and help for independent artists just starting up. They offer support in the majority of areas you need to know when it comes to making the most out of what you have and how to market yourself in the industry. They also take care of PRS. We would recommend Kycker to anyone starting out.   

What was the most fun you have had on stage?

The most fun we’ve had on stage was when we played at the famous Kuckoo cocktail bar in Sheffield for our first ever EP launch, 14thSeptember 2018. This gig was an extremely memorable gig for us as it was absolutely packed to the rafters for one of our first headline shows! We as a band came alive, responded extremely well to the audience throughout the whole night and played our hearts out. This night in particular was so enjoyable because this was the only time, we have ever invited someone up on stage with us to do a song with us. Which in this case was a cover of ‘7’ by Catfish and the Bottlemen. The person we invited up, Paul Shepherd (aka SHEP), was a lifelong friend and a massive part James’s journey in particular. It was the gig that we didn’t want to end! 

What was the worst experience on stage?

Easy! The first time we ever played in Liverpool. Funnily enough we did this gig the day after we played at Kuckoo cocktail bar in Sheffield. However, what made this gig memorable for all the wrong reasons was that half way through the second song in our set, this guy at the bar (who had a bit too much to drink) moves towards the middle of the room and starts dancing on his own with nobody really around him. We thought that was fair enough, whatever floats your boat I guess lol. Then as we get deeper into the song, he starts getting closer and closer to the stage. Which again, was absolutely fine. Then all of a sudden, from out of nowhere, he trips up backwards on Tyler’s floor monitor, takes out Tyler’s mic stand, the mic stand hits Tyler in the head and the guy who fell over stood back up and pretended like nothing happened. Tyler went home with a bit of a headache that night… bless him! 

Tell us something about each member yourself that you think people would be surprised about? 

James: Used to work in his old secondary school mentoring KS3 students. 

Tyler: Used to do Thai boxing as a hobby 

Will: Is basically a MasterChef 

Keaton: Would be studying to be a doctor if he wasn’t in the band. 

What’s your biggest achievement as a band?

Our biggest achievement as a band was when we got notified that one of our older songs (No Matter What) was going to be played on the Joe Elliott show on the national radio station, Planet Rock. This was the first time we ever got played on the radio and it was an extremely exciting time for us as we had only just started out. it confirmed to us that we had written a song that was good enough and deemed worthy enough by people high up in the music business. Ever since that day, it has given us so much motivation to write even better songs and push boundaries. 

What makes you stand out as a band?

We are the middle ground between Indie Rock and Classic Rock. We bring the overdriven guitars and punchy lead lines that Classic Rock has to offer and blend that with the intimate delicacies that Indie Rock has to offer. In addition, we focus a lot more on vocal harmonies than the majority of bands our age. This comes from our love for bands such as The Beatles, Queen, Muse and Def Leppard as they all mastered the art of vocal harmonies. We feel this is a massive aspect to what makes us stand out, as vocal harmonies give songs an extra dimension and added depth. 

Its strange times at the min with the virus almost stopping the whole live music scene in UK and abroad, how do you learn to stay productive while we get through this?

The good thing that we have to our advantage is that we have a new song coming out. As a result, to all the misfortune at the moment, we as a band have more time to build up our upcoming singles’ release. The biggest draw back of course is we, like with every other band, are unable to go out and play shows, take band photos, do music videos etc. Due to these unfortunate circumstances, we as a band have had to change priorities. We now rely even more on our interaction on social media and try to come up with fresh ideas that are going to make people interact. We have really been enjoying the challenge so far, however we can’t wait to get back out there playing live!  

Tell me about your new single and how it came about?

Our new single ‘Episode’ came about when Tyler was messing around with different tunings on guitar. It was from this he started to play around with the chord progression you can hear in the chorus now. As soon as he started playing this chord progression, he sang the first thing that came to his head and he practically came up with the chorus, with the words, on the spot! it was a very spontaneous and natural process which set the rest of the song up really nicely. 

The inspiration behind the lyrics for this song, came about due to the amount of homeless people we were seeing on a day to day basis, when roaming the streets in a major city such as Sheffield. We were imagining what it would feel like if we were in their shoes and we ended up putting it into words. The main goal of this song is to pay tribute to them, along with anyone struggling with mental health issues. This song is very powerful, catchy, heartfelt and melodic. We really tried to push the boat out with vocals on this song to portray a greater feeling of emotion and we are very happy with the end result. 

What’s coming up in 2020 for the band?

We have a very busy and hopefully very successful year ahead! We have multiple singles lined up and are all ready for release this year, which hopefully will start a snowball effect in terms us progressing in size. In conjunction with the new single releases, we will be bringing out special, limited addition merchandise throughout the year including t-shirts, tote bags, stickers and hopefully by the end of the year we’ll have something on vinyl for all of you!  

In addition, we will also be bringing out our very own website that our bassist Will has been working very hard on over the past few months. This will contain everything that you will need to know about the band regarding news, gigs, where to find us, where to stream our music, and where to purchase any merchandise. 

What message do you have for fans while we all self-isolate?

Stay calm, stay at home and spend time with your loved ones! We all know that we are going through very strange times in very difficult circumstances at the moment. The best thing we all can do for now is listen to the governments advice and follow the guidelines so we can resume normal life as quickly as possible. Nobody knows the exact day when this will happen just yet, but If we all work together, we can take control of the virus and bring that day forward.  

All our thoughts and prayers go out to those who have lost a loved one during this pandemic.

See the RGM Review of episode