Making dreams a reality

Ipswich has long been recognised as a breeding ground for original and exciting live music. But it is not easy for a local band to get that elusive recording contract.

Ipswich has long been recognised as a breeding ground for original and exciting live music.

But it is not easy for a local band to get that elusive recording contract. JAMES MARSTON asks what life's like for a band determined to share its music with a larger audience.

FIVE-strong Ipswich band As Ruins Fall are single-minded in their ambition.

Guitarist Jonathan - known as 'J' - Johnson summed up their position. He said: “We're not that bothered about the rock and roll lifestyle. We just love what we do and we want to share our music with bigger audiences. To do that we need to get ourselves in the right place at the right time and get our music and our band noticed.”

For the last 18 months or so the band has worked with the current line up guitarist Chris Mitchell, vocals Ben Watling, guitarist Lewis Naylor, drummer Luke Baldry-Smith and bass guitarist J Johnson.

J described their particular brand of music: “Its alternative heavy rock. We are inspired by our peers and groups like The Haunted, As I lay Dying and Killswitch Engage.”

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I admit to the band I haven't heard of any of the bands they are talking about.

J added: “They aren't bands a lot of the public will know about. We have 11 songs in our set. They are about a variety of themes like love and loss and we've got a song which discusses environmental issues.”

Tha band are currently on a publicity drive to get people to vote for them.

J said the band is involved in an unsigned band competition called Fuse Uploaded. The competition winner gets a development contract with a recording label and the chance to play a gig at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Currently ranking 13th out of 385 bands As Ruins Fall are encouraged by their progress.

J said: “Winning would mean everything to us. It would be the opportunity we need to play at a larger venue.”

Currently recording their first album the band already regularly plays venues, mostly pubs and clubs, in Suffolk and Essex. They have their own website and their own small following of fans. They also have their own EP.

Chris said: “Getting five people together looking in the same direction is the first hurdle. We rehearse twice a week, sometimes three times, and we have three to four shows a month.

“We don't get paid, everything the band earns we put back into it so it's an expensive hobby for us all.”

At the moment all band members have full time jobs.

Ben said: “Our ambition is to make this our jobs rather than being a hobby.”

Chris said the band already approach what they do with a degree of professionalism.

He added: “It's important to be as organised as possible. No recording label would want to take a chance on a group who weren't disciplined. We try to be as professional as possible and have a product to sell.”

The band has also noticed a small but growing fan base that enjoys their music.

Lewis said: “It's great when you see people we don't know enjoying our music and what we do. There's a real buzz.”

But today As Ruins Fall are urging people to offer their support with the simple message “Vote for us”.

To vote for As Ruins Fall visit

Have you ever been in a band? Are you a fan of As Ruins Fall? Do you wish you had been able to be a rock star? What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or send an e-mail to

February 2006: Played at the Steamboat Tavern supporting Chicago based band, The Cougars.

After a successful show and positive response, they continued a string of well received gigs in Ipswich.

March 2006: Played along with eight other bands of ranging styles in the battle of the bands held at the Ipswich Ice Bar. As Ruins Fall won the competition and won a days recording at The Academy Studios in Colchester.

Late in 2006: Two days recording a three-track demo to help get gigs outside the Ipswich area.

2007: As Ruins Fall's first self-produced music video for Lay Yourself To Rest starring Rosie from Cradle Of Filth, will be released later this year.

Today: Armed with a new guitarist and now playing a more commercially viable strand of metal, As Ruins Fall has sparked the interest of a record label and is currently in talks for a record deal.

With a solid gathering of local fans, they are playing, and preparing the live show for exposure on their upcoming tour.

See As Ruins Fall at:

Riverside Club, Stowmarket, October 18

Steamboat Tavern, Ipswich, October 31

B2 Club, Norwich, October 26

Name: Chris Mitchell

Age: 32

From: Rectory Lane, Chelmondiston

Job in band: Guitarist

Occupation: Deputy retail manager

Ambition: “I'd like to see us in a position where we can devote out time to the band full time. It would give up the opportunity to spend time doing what we love doing best.”

Name: Ben Watling

Age: 29

From: Philip Road, Ipswich.

Job in band: Vocalist

Occupation: Railway engineer

Ambition: “I'd like the band to tour. I'd like us to play in front of larger numbers of people who want to come and see us.”

Name: Lewis Naylor

Age: 23

From: Playford Road, Ipswich

Job in band: Guitarist

Occupation: Call transfer executive

Ambition: “I would like to play a really big show. There are some good bands doing similar stuff to us. I'd like us to support them and have their fans hear us as well.”

Name: Luke Baldry-Smith

Age: 21

From: Church Crescent, Sproughton

Job in band: Drummer

Occupation: Retail assistant

Ambition: “I'd like to play all over the world. I want to make our style of music as accessible as possible.”

Name: Jonathan 'J' Johnson

Age: 22

From: Furniss Close, Ipswich

Job in band: bass guitar

Occupation: Warehouse manager

Ambition: “I'd like to see some of our hard work pay off. We have made a lot of sacrifices for the band. We just love what we do.”

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