Interview With Angelo Tristan Of Collateral
On 23rd November 2018, Ramsgate classic rockers Collateral unleashed their debut EP ‘4 Shots!’ via Roulette Records, to critical acclaim. We spoke to frontman Tristan Angelo about the record, their upcoming album and UK shows, plus we get down the lowdown on what makes Collateral stand out from the crowd… And discover that it’s so much more than ripped jeans, cowboy boots, long hair and eyeliner.
What inspires your music and how do you feel you differ from other ‘New Wave Of Classic Rock’ artists on the UK scene right now?
Our music is inspired by a passion to try and give people some hope in a world where there seems to be a lack of faith and positivity. Everyone has got the ability to love and feel compassion and it's really just about feeding that with the lyrics we write and the energy we put into our live shows. In terms of how we differ, I like to think we're really going back to basics and focusing on the songs and what they'll mean to people, rather than just the technicality of the music. For us, it's a big chorus, throw in a face-melting guitar solo and that's what we're about. We've been likened to Skid Row and Bon Jovi and all those 80's cats, which is pretty cool. I think that’s what draws people in, it's that element of nostalgia that seems to be working for us.
When you formed back in 2014 you were known as the Angelo Tristan Band, with yourself and bassist Jack Bentley Smith forming the nucleus. What prompted the name change to Collateral in 2016 and how has the band evolved since then?
Well, I had a vision from a very young age of being in a very tight-knit band of brothers with one common goal, and having the band as my name originally really helped me to find people that wanted to help work towards that goal without changing the vision. For a very long time, members came and went, and eventually, finding Ben and Todd a few months apart from each other, it was THE band! With that came the name change to Collateral, which interestingly enough in old English terms can mean 'related but not by blood’. We've evolved as players immensely – individually we have all stepped it up to the next level and are ready to write the second chapter.
As Collateral, you’ve already toured the UK twice and have gained a sizeable fanbase. Things seem to have happened very quickly for you – has your rapid growth been an easy journey?
No. I haven't ever thought, and never will think, that this would be an easy journey, that's not what it's about. We enjoy the challenges it brings. Being a musician, or any type of creative person for that matter, brings personal challenges every day. Feeling the need to be better than you were yesterday can leave you with a lot of sleepless nights and a shed load of doubt if I'm honest, but that's all part of it.
What were the songs on ‘4 Shots!’ written about and do you have a favourite track on the EP?
The four songs on the EP were all from different periods of my life, from Just Waiting For You, which I wrote as a 14 year old, when you're first finding all your weird and wonderful emotions, to Midnight Queen which was written when I was 26, which is about the life of a girl who learns to stand up for what she believes in. Going With The Wind was written whilst on tour in America in 2014 - it's a song about taking risks, freedom, and learning when to close your eyes and just jump. Angels Crying really goes back to what I previously said about wanting to give people something to hold onto in this cruel world. My favourite track has to be Midnight Queen, the girls love it and seeing them all smile at you whilst singing it word for word isn't so bad I guess.
How did it feel when your debut single, Midnight Queen, reached number 1 in the Radio Indie charts? How did you celebrate?
It's a really rewarding feeling, knowing that your art is getting recognised. We'd be lying if we said that wasn't what we're trying to achieve, so it feels like we're doing something right. By way of celebration, we had a pizza and an early night! We're saving the celebrations until we sell more albums than The Beatles!
You’ve already started recording your debut full-length studio album, which is being mixed by Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Stone Broken).
Can you tell us a bit about your new material? Will the record be in the same vein as ‘4 Shots!’, or a departure from it?
We found a chemistry that worked with ‘4 Shots’ so it would be stupid for us to venture away from that too drastically. Without giving away too much, the formula will be more or less the same, but we like to keep you guessing.
Do you have a name or release date for your new album yet and will you be taking it on the road for a UK tour?
Around August you may be hearing something! As for an album title, we couldn't be telling you that now, could we?! Touring-wise, the UK is one place you'll be able to catch a show.
You’re due to play a major headline show at The Black Heart in Camden Town on 7th February – will this be your biggest gig to date? Who will be supporting you?
It's definitely up there, amongst Hard Rock Hell, Faversham Hop Festival and our Midnight Queen launch night at Nightclub Kolis in London. I'd say it's definitely one of the most important shows we have coming up. For this gig we're going it alone as it's more of a night to showcase ourselves to some industry professionals - no pressure then!
Will you be making any festival appearances in 2019?
Yes, you'll be able to catch us at HRH Crows, Sheffield Academy, in September. Breaking Bands is in May and there are a handful more to be announced in the coming weeks!
You’re going to be supporting Bad Touch in April - who else would you most like to share a stage with?
Bon Jovi are touring next year, and I'd love to share a stage with them. Not supporting though, just filling in for Richie Sambora! No, really it would be an honour to one day open up for them. Glenn Hughes is another rocker that we'd like to open up for, along with The Eagles, Skid Row and Tyketto.
Thursday 7h Feb – The Black Heart, Camden, London
Friday 26th April – Leo’s Red Lion, Gravesend
For tickets, see:
Angelo Tristan - Guitar/Vocals
Todd Winger - Guitar
Jack Bentley Smith - Bass
Ben Atkinson – Drums