The Fallen State
Rock ’n’ roll is built on ambition. From Led Zeppelin through Guns N’ Roses up to such modern day heroes as Alter Bridge, all the greatest bands have had a drive to be seen and heard. The Fallen State are no exception.
“We saw all these American bands selling out arenas and all these British bands playing 200-capacity venues,” says singer Ben Stenning. “We were, like, ‘Let’s get together and make some American-style rock with an English vibe.’ I don’t think there’s a lack of ambition in the British rock scene – it’s the lack of an audience to play to.”
Where other bands would see that as a struggle, the Devon five-piece – also featuring guitarists Jon Price and Dan Oke, bassist Greg Butler and drummer Rich Walker – view it as a challenge. Their latest EP, ‘The View From Ruin’, taps into the same vein of hard-edged modern arena rock that has served the likes of Alter Bridge and Shinedown so well. The EP’s lead-off track, ‘Nova’, combines a soaring tune with some deeply personal lyrics that deal with the theme of loss.
“We had a lot of personal things going on that happened while we were writing,” says Stenning. “The lyrics are definitely influenced by that. It was hard to play the songs – I was struggling to sing. I was actually breaking down while I was singing. But now we’re done, we can see clearly – that’s what the title refers to.”
The Fallen State certainly aren’t afraid of putting in the hard graft. Since forming in 2013, they have released four self-financed EPs and toured with the likes of 3 Doors Down, Black Stone Cherry, Halestorm and Puddle Of Mudd. “I’m only 23, and some of these bands were huge when I was a kid,” says Stenning. “I remember seeing Puddle Of Mudd on TV. Getting to tour with them was crazy.”
The singer acknowledges that The Fallen State face the same challenges any rising band does 2017. The music industry has changed beyond recognition, meaning a group has to largely take control of its own destiny.
“We’re don’t have a massive label behind us pushing us,” says Stenning. “We get a tour then we make sure we take enough CDs to sell to get to the next show. That pays for the petrol and the hotel for the next night. But we’ve purposely arranged our lives around the band. All our jobs, we can just drop it and go. We’ve always got that ambition in our heads. You see other bands and it’s hard not to want that. It drives you. It makes you work harder.”