Fossway are an alternative rock trio from Gateshead, near Newcastle upon Tyne (UK). The band is formed by Daniel Mason (vocals & guitar), John Lennox (bass & vocals) and Harry Lowery (drums), who all met at school and began rehearsing for a charity gig related to work in Ethiopia.
On 27 October 2020 they released their single ‘Live In the Fire’ which was my first introduction to Fossway. ‘Live in the Fire’ is an energetic song with tempo changes and some nice guitar riffs, best described as Queen meets Muse.
Are there any bands that have influenced your sound?
“One unique aspect of our sound, we believe, is that it takes influence from a variety of diverse artists – we don’t necessarily worry too much about genre. Some say we’re rock, alt-rock or prog, others say we’re post-punk or even indie. We all like anything from Radiohead and Muse to Metallica and Nirvana to Chopin and Beethoven. “
What song represents who you are best?
“Speaking on behalf of the band, I think our sound is best showcased in ‘No Heart in the Heart of the City‘ or ‘Live in the Fire’. In these songs, we exhibit our heavier side as well as our more progressive side experimenting with a range of time signatures, tempos and rhythms. By doing this, we’re just paying homage to the greats before us like Rush.”
Your song ‘Live in the Fire’ is currently #3 in our Cool 20 chart. What’s it about?
“We wanted to encapsulate the journey of the band in hyperbole. The burning desire to play live and travelling to different places playing to different audiences. Getting through the ups and downs being in a band can bring and coming out the other side in one piece as a team. To go deeper, it’s about not cowering to bad situations rather embracing the horribleness and using it as fuel or as said in the song, living in the fire.”
Where do you draw influences for lyrics from? Are there any social issues that you are passionate about?
“We do draw influence from all topics. However, we do choose to take a more pragmatic approach to writing lyrics as it leaves more up to the listener to decide while we try to present the topic in a precise way. We do write about the current political climate and many social issues like poverty in ‘Crazy Animal Times’, mass consumerism in ‘Mannequin’ and the suppression of independent music in ‘No Heart in the Heart of the City’. Apart from that we do consider existential quandaries, introspection, depression and anxiety.”
What can you tell me about your creative process?
“Our guitarist and frontman Daniel writes most of the music as he has a keen ear and talent for it. He could tell you what key the bus engine is in while he’s riding it. He puts together demos and if he can’t find words to fit our drummer and our bassist are quite the poets and write, swap and send a lot of lyrics and amend any differences too. That’s not to take away from Daniels own lyrical prowess although, it comes less natural he’d say himself.”
About your band name, did you name the band after the street in Newcastle? Does the Fossway have a special significance to you?
“The name came quite naturally – we didn’t want to put too much pressure on it, so one day, when we were recording in Newcastle, we were walking along or near the Fossway for some beers and added the name to our shortlist of other debatable bad names. After years of rehearsals, gigs, development and change, Fossway stuck.”
How would you describe the year 2020 for you as a band?
“We consider ourselves to be lucky, as we already had songs recorded and ready to release. So, when the pandemic hit our music release plan was unaffected and we were able to release our single ‘Grey Cloud‘ in April and another ‘Live in the Fire’ in October. North East England was leading the charge for live music too, with socially-distanced arenas and socially-distanced gigs. We were able to play a live stream set at Ustinov College in Durham and played a socially-distanced headline set at Tynebank Brewery (with Cat Ryan supporting). Tynebank Brewery was a lifeline for a huge number of artists fortunate enough to play there: the feeling of being on a stage, and in front of an audience was truly euphoric. With all this in mind, I think we weathered 2020 better than some bands elsewhere around the country – we’re really fortunate to be a North-East band.”
What are you currently working on?
“We’re planning an album, actually. We’ve already released an EP, and have built an audience from the success of our singles, so the next step is to release an album; a body of work that we can be proud of and throw our weight behind. When it’s complete, we’d love to have it available on both vinyl and cd formats. Other than that, we have gig and festival bookings that can be announced once they’ve been rescheduled, so we’re hoping that things will improve for live music, to allow this to happen.”
What are your goals for the next 12 months?
“To get into the studio asap to work on the album and get that completed this year. The other step is to release another song we’ve completed, so that will be out at some point in the next couple of months, so we’re excited for that.”
What’s your favourite song in the Cool Top 20?
“‘Lil Lu‘ by Major Weakness won us over straight away: it’s a great rock song that has a really big sound – it’s right up our street.”
What song would you like to add as a bonus track to our Cool 20 chart and why?
“We’d love to introduce listeners to a band called Tranqua Lite, who are based in Leeds. Their song ‘I Need One Leg For Balance‘ is utterly incredible and their live performance is stunning. They’re all wonderful people and really bold in their musical direction; we think they’re great and expect to see big things from them.”