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RIP EXCLUSIVE: UK Metal Band Urne Hit The Road With Avatar

Hayley Rogers Mar 19, 2024

For three-piece metal band Urne, 2023 was an absolutely massive year. From releasing their sophomore album A Feast On Sorrow, to going on tour with Gojira around Europe, to playing festivals such as Bloodstock Open Air and Metal Days – the band really hit the ground running.

Urne consists of vocalist and bassist Joe Nally, guitarist Angus Neyra, and drummer James Cook. To celebrate the release of A Feast On Sorrow (which can be found on all major streaming services here), the trio headed out on their very first UK headline tour last December. I had the pleasure of chatting to Joe about the album and tour before their show at The Craufurd Arms, Milton Keynes on December 9, 2023.

Throughout March 2024, Urne are embarking on 'The Great Metal Circus' tour supporting Swedish metal-band Avatar. Tickets and tour dates can be found on Avatar's website (here).

We're coming to the end of 2023 now, how has this year been for you?

Joe: It's been a pretty exciting year; we released our second album, did some amazing festivals in the summer. We took five months off after we did the album, just so we could get videos ready and all that kind of stuff. We did some shows with Paradise Lost, did some shows with Gojira, and now we're out doing our first ever headline tour. I'm excited for tonight, it's probably our favorite venue. We've got so many friends that work here. So yeah, it's been a good year I think.‌‌‌‌

How has the headline run been so far?

Joe: It's been good! Some of the places we've never played before so we're not sure what to expect. Newcastle last night was great, we've never played there before. Obviously we're still a small band who's growing and we're just trying to see how things are. Putting our flag down in certain places saying let's build upon this. We played Carlisle which is in the middle of nowhere, fans were very happy we came to there because it is literally five minutes from the Scottish border. It's pretty much fields, and fields, and fields. They couldn't believe that there was a metal or rock show coming.

What's the response been like from the sophomore album?

Joe: It's been good! I kind of noticed it growing in the last two, three weeks. Now we're getting down to the 'album of the year' or 'song of the year' debate, it seems to be more and more people being like, "how have I missed this?" It's growing and growing, and that's not something that we need to happen. Obviously not everyone will listen to everything, every time you release an album you learn something. In Metal Hammer magazine, we were in the top fifteen for album of the year. I think we were thirteenth, and the smallest band in there. In a year where there's been a lot of great albums, there's been come back albums, and then there's our little band with virtually no push in there.

What was the writing and recording process like for this album?

Joe: It was smooth; we set ourselves a time frame and a date, but about two months out our drummer left. We had to play some shows and we had to get James to learn the older tracks and the new album; to get it tight, and then fly to America. With our previous drummer we had two songs written that he contributed to. Then myself and Angus wrote a few. Then there were 2 songs that we finished with James. James did a great job, however it was a lot of pressure. We'd already booked the flights at this point so I don't know what we would've done without him.

Is there a favorite moment off the tour so far?

Joe (jokingly): We've been stuck having to share with Mountain Caller and you think you'd get to know people. We've stuck with these bunch of people. I don't even know if I like them, it's become a hard thing. Their drummer Max is quite an innocent, nice boy but I've sort of taken him under my wing. Wouldn't you say that Max?

Max agrees from the distance.

Joe (continues jokingly): I'm sort of trying to inspire him in his life. Better music, I've taught him how to swear. So he's learning. At night we have a Christmas tree, we've got lights, advent calendars, and we play card games. There's been a lovely vibe driving at night and just cracking up, having a beer, silly things. It's been so relaxed and funny. There's so many highlights but young Max said some very terrible words the other day. Took us all by surprise, I'll have to sit down with his parents and explain how he's become such a beast of a man.

If you could have people take away one message from the album, what would you want it to be?

Joe: It's so hard as it's such a dark and miserable album. I'd like for there to be a hopeful spin on it but lyrically there isn't. For me with anything we create, I just want people to enjoy it. Even if you can't relate to the lyrics and don't want to overthink it, just enjoy the music.

Sometimes there's the 'you're not alone' feel to albums that are lyrically darker.

Joe: There's definitely that, I get quite a few messages and it's hard because everyone goes through different things. I've had different people come up to me about stuff and it's so hard, especially when you're currently going through something, you don't always know what to say. I'm no one, none of us are anything special, we're just three mates. A guy had a bunch of our lyrics tattooed after his wife passed away this year; stuff like that gets me. For them, all they want to do is just tell me that our music has helped them. Even if all I can do is listen and just embrace them, shake their hand, pat their shoulder, or whatever they're happy with. Everyone's going to have a different story and it can be heavy. I've certainly had some heavy things sent to me. We turned up the other day and somebody had written a letter and sent it to the venue. I never thought we'd be one of them bands.

It must be pretty amazing to have it resonate with so many people though.

Joe: It really is. For me growing up, Jesse Leach from Killswitch Engage was my absolute hero. Now he is kind of a mate who I can message and talk to. He gave me the time when I was younger. I used to email him with tape trades when he left Killswitch Engage initially, so it's nice to have something like that. There's a young guy on this tour who's going to four shows by himself, traveling all over the place. He will not have to pay for a ticket to a headline show ever again. That I never thought we'd ever have. Me and a few of my mates growing up would always go get the bus to go see someone play until the first person learnt to drive. He's coming tonight actually. That's the thing, this guy has done it all by himself and I'm like wow. All he'll have to do is message, he's not paying for a ticket ever again.

I bet it's nice to see him turn up each day or so

Joe: It's a surprise. I never thought we'd ever have that, or be one of those bands where people want to come more than once a tour. Shows like tonight, I think it's done well, and it will be nice to see people who we've seen from this venue. Some people have traveled up from Southampton tonight, and from London; and there's people who have driven six hours today, the guy who's taking the coach everywhere and that's one hell of a feeling.

Are there any goals or plans for 2024?

Joe: We've got some shows and tours to announce. We've got Download [Festival] which is a big one for us. We kind of know what we're doing to a point. We want to do something around March or April, which we're working on. Feeding into festivals and then I'd like something to finish the year off with a bang. We're going to be writing, and as much as I'd like to play x-amount of shows, we've still got to finish writing another album and get that out. I think we're going to try and put a couple albums out. Thankfully we've got James in the fold now. He's a drum teacher and he knows much more about music theory than me. I'm a complete blagger, the other two are the musicians. I just happen to have the face and the charm, so that's where I make up for it. I don't want us to just go out with metal bands. I spoke to our agent and was like, if something turns up such as Alterbridge, Wolfgang Van Halen, or something that's not so hand-in-hand, to consider us. I just want to keep relevant and keep people seeing us.

‌Be sure to check out the photo gallery from Urne's show at The Craufurd Arms in Milton Keynes (here).

Keep up with Urne and future show dates here.