Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Nottingham, UK based Metal band Underking. Huge thanks to Maxwell Jeffries for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name’s Maxwell Jeffries and I play guitar, sing and write the music for Underking! The project started in 2018 from the ashes of my previous band Rage Cave – a three-piece NWOBHM band. I had a bunch of unfinished songs that I still wanted to get out into the world, so I started planning it as a solo release. I soon realised though that I wanted some screams in a few of the tracks. Knowing that I couldn’t do this alone I started to look for someone with the vocal talent to pull it off. I managed to find Dustin Burmiester and the rest is history!

How did you come up with your band name?

The band name originates from the popular video game series: The Elder Scrolls and is a character in one of the games. I was originally going to call the band ‘Witch King’ but it didn’t really end up sticking for some reason!

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

I’m currently based in Nottingham, UK! The scene here is pretty strong in the midlands, with a few of my favourite midlands metal bands being Dark Matter, WarlocK A.D, Cottonmouth and Rainless!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

Underking’s latest release is the single: ‘The Throne’ which is available on all platforms and has a lyric video on YouTube!

Who have been your greatest influences?

My greatest influences are definitely Judas Priest, Ghost and Megadeth for the most part, but I take influence from all across the musical spectrum with some of my favourite bands being Kvelertak, Gojira and Periphery! This is what kind of led me to split the project in half – to represent both sides of my music taste!

What first got you into music?

It’s hard to pinpoint a single thing that got me into music, but I’d say a moment that still really sticks with me was going to my first show – Rammstein at the NEC. It was an absolutely mind-blowing show and they blew me away again when I went to see them in Milton Keynes 8 years later!

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

I’d love to collaborate with Jeff Waters – the mastermind behind Annihilator. I’ve always admired his guitar skills but also how he’s carved out a distinct style in the thrash genre – a style of music that sometimes can feel a little saturated with the same kind of stuff so having a visionary like him on a track would be mad!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

It’d have to be Download for me. Playing a festival that I’ve actually attended and have such awesome memories surrounding would be an incredible thing to do! Donington has such a legendary history of bands playing there as well – It’d be crazy to be a part of that.

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

This would definitely have to be a CD copy of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows”! A band I used to be not really all that fond of but have grown to like!

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Thank you for all the support so far, it means a lot to me that people are enjoying the music I create! There’s a lot more to come over the next few years!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Lemmy. A local legend from Stoke and an amazing musician. The world is definitely better with him in it!

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I love making music and seeing a song come together but I’d say the best feeling is seeing other people react to the song and enjoy it as much as I did writing it! I hate the constant fight against social media to get your music in front of people. It feels like bands have to spend way too much time fighting against the Facebook and Instagram algorithms just to get heard!

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Following on from the previous question, it would definitely be the incessant promotion that bands need to do these days to even get their music in front of a potential fan. As an independent musician in the 21st century, it feels like you have to do, what, in the past, a team of people would have done. You have to make the music, market it, create promotional material, book and play your gigs, distribute your music online, manage the finances and more! The other option, of course, is to pay someone an extortionate amount of money for what amounts to a few advantageous email addresses!

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

My all-time favourite album is “Meliora” by Ghost. What Tobias Forge did with that record is amazing and can never get enough praise in my opinion! A solid blend of classic metal with an updated vision and image. The hooks, the riffs, the production – it’s all outstanding!

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Downloads are definitely better for convenience and audio quality (as long as you get it from a decent WAV file!) but nothing can beat the ‘experience’ of sticking on a vinyl record and reading the notes and looking at the detail of the cover!

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Unfortunately, Underking haven’t played any gigs yet but in my previous project Rage Cave, we headlined a packed local show at the Sugarmill in Stoke and it was amazing! I love the Sugarmill and it’s a shame to see it in danger of going under! If anyone reading this has a local venue struggling in these crazy times – please consider donating to help keep them open!

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

I really don’t know! Music is my life and I can’t see myself doing anything else! I used to want to go into zoo keeping of all things though, so maybe if music doesn’t end up going that well for me, I’ll go back to pursuing that!

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Tobias Forge, Jeff Waters, Rob Halford, Bruce Dickinson and Dave Mustaine – I’d love to have a chat with any of these guys never mind all 5!

What’s next for the band?

Underking has another single out in late July and I’m currently in the process of writing the next release with an aim to have it out early next year with possibly a single or two from that record this Winter!

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

You can check us out on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at the links below! We’re also on all streaming platforms!

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Cake! It’s in the name!

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thank you all for reading this interview and hopefully you enjoy some of the tunes! Cheers!

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