Andy and Stuart Barker, Scare Tactics

5 minutes with Scare Tactics…

Sarah pounced on/nicely requested an interview with Scare Tactics following their gig with Skindred. Here’s what the talented Barker brothers had to say about being catfished, line up changes, and Liverpool’s favourite venue…

Andy and Stuart Barker of Liverpool's Prog Metal act Scare Tactics with ROCKFLESH interviewer Sarah Cummings.

Andy and Stuart Barker of Liverpool's Prog Metal act Scare Tactics with ROCKFLESH interviewer Sarah Cummings.

Hello Scare Tactics! You’re obviously local to Liverpool! How long have you been a band?

Andy – “We’ve been Scare Tactics since 2010, but we’ve been musicians for much longer than that”

Stuart – “Nearly 20 years… But actually, we’ve been Scare Tactics mark 2 for about 3 weeks”

Andy – “Yes, this actually only our third gig with our new guitarist! But it’s going good!”

Stuart – “He’s slotted right in, really nicely”

I think I’ve seen you before a long time ago with Hollow Point. How do you think Scare Tactics differs to your former band?

Both – “Maturity!!!”

Stuart – “Yeah, the music has evolved, and we ourselves as musicians, we’ve evolved. We’ve managed to get better over all the years. Obviously we’ve had line up changes, but now, we’re finding a lot more confidence in ourselves as a band, and with the music we write. I think that confidence is probably the major difference between Hollow Point and Scare Tactics”

How did you manage to land the gig opening for Skindred?

Stuart – “I think it was another band putting in a good word for us. A band named Balls Deep played with Skindred in Bournemouth. They are such great guys, and when they found out Skindred were coming to Liverpool their guitarist said ‘If you’re going to Liverpool, you should definitely get Scare Tactics’ “

Andy – “We then got messaged offering us the slot and that was it really”

Stuart – “It worried us at first, we thought we might be getting catfished.”

Andy – “We had to question it first, we thought it might not have been a real offer. It was like ‘Hi do you want to play with Skindred’ and we were like ‘Yes of course! What do we have to do?’ and they were like ‘Nothing. You just have to show up and play with Skindred’ and we were like ‘Oh….. right….. awesome then!’”

How would you describe your sound?

Andy – “That’s really hard to do actually, as we have so many influences and all the songs that we write I think are really different. I think the different influences come out in the different musicians at different times as well. It’s going to sound like a cliché, but I couldn’t give us one label or say we sound like one thing, because I don’t think we do.”

Stuart – “It’s hard to pigeon hole us, but I think we draw influence from Alice In Chains for the vocal harmonies, and Pantera for the cool riffs. Mix those together and you would get us. That’s the closest I could bring us to”

Your live performance tonight featured some incredibly solid vocal harmonies. 

Andy – “I think the vocal harmonies are actually a huge part of our sound when you listen to the overall result”

There’s also hints of an early Faith No More, don’t you think?

Stuart – “Yes, we’ll take that any day of the week”

Andy – “We love Faith No More, and Mike Patton is an amazing singer, so he’s obviously influenced me on a personal level through the years as well”

How would you sum up 2018?

Stuart – “It was quiet for the most part”

Andy – “ That was only because of the transition between the guitarists. Paul left in March, and we’ve had to find a new guitarist and get them up to speed. We’ve had to find someone who was really into it and really up to it. But beside that, it was actually great, we spent it looking forward to getting back to gigging”

Stuart – “To come back to it with the new line up after so many months out of it, it’s been kind of surprising. This is only our third gig with the new guitarist, but I think this line up sounds stronger than we have done in a while. 2018 has brought us a new energy and it’s only going to grow positive things for us now”

Can tell me what your favourite local venue is?

Stuart – “We’ve played so many! This is the first time I’ve played up here (referring to O2 academy 1 – or the “Big Room” as Dick Valentine always calls it) with my own band. I definitely want to do this again. But actually, it was the Zanzibar that kind of birthed us, playing there is always a little bit more of a spectacle and I’ve always had a soft spot for it.”

Andy – “Zanzibar is THE venue for Liverpool hands down. You can’t fault the Academy purely for the sound quality, and being out on that big stage is unreal, but it’s the Zanzibar for a local gritty feel”

Stuart – “We played our first gig as Scare Tactics there, both with Paul and now with Marty, and we just feel like we’ve got roots in the Zanzibar”

What do you hope 2019 will bring for you?

Stuart – “I would like to get another recording down, and I’d also like to hit some festivals. I don’t know how likely that would be, but if someone comes along and says we can play one of the lower stages at Bloodstock or Download, that would be amazing”

Andy – “We might get an EP done with some of the new tracks that we’ve got, and then we are just going to push for the bigger gigs, try and push to get on at the festivals, possibly even start to play in Europe”

Best of luck with all of that guys, we’ll see you soon \m/

Interview by Sarah Cummings