Original, powerful, gritty, catchy, melodic, memorable – these are just a few of the words to describe Notts based heavy rock band Coraya. This is a unit that prides itself on the ability to be serious about their music and its delivery, whilst retaining a professional but ‘good-time’ attitude to the blistering live performances they put in. Each band member possesses experience and excellent playing ability, with song writing skills of the highest quality.
Coraya was formed in 2011 by guitarist Matt Rhodes, who was taught to play by Neil Watson of 80’s thrash metal band Sabbat. Matt’s influences are a mixture of classic and modern metal/rock such as Judas Priest, Soundgarden, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne and Pantera. After being involved in a few school and college bands, Matt recruited the best musicians he had worked with to form metal band Deadfall. Singer / guitarist Adam Firman was contacted after the band saw an advertisement of his at a local rehearsal studio. After one audition he was in. Deadfall became one of the ‘talked about’ bands in Nottingham with their first demo receiving great reviews in local music magazines and turning the heads of numerous record labels. They performed at the Rock Garden in Covent Garden and were well received, being the only band on the bill to be greeted with a request for an encore. A line up reshuffle saw two new members and another demo but a lack of commitment from some members eventually broke the band up. At this point, Matt turned his hand to teaching guitar, but as time passed by, his unyielding desire to write and perform left him in no uncertain terms that he had to get a band back in the studio and on the road.
Using a home produced demo, Matt scoured his contacts and various ‘musician hunting’ websites. Bassist Rich Moore got in contact as he liked what he heard and very quickly a partnership was formed. Rich is completely self-taught, growing up listening to Motorhead, Saxon, Metallica, Slayer, and various NWOBHM bands. Rich is passionate about playing bass guitar and can happily go from soft, restrained melodies, to a full on driving bass line. He has been in a handful of successful bands, most namely Valve, who have earned various accolades and respect on the live circuit.
Following a period of writing material and auditioning vocalists, Matt suggested contacting Adam, who quickly responded and, with no firm band commitments at the time, was at the rehearsal rooms within a week adding his ideas and experience to the tracks. Adam grew up listening mainly to classic heavy rock from the likes of UFO, Thin Lizzy, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Motorhead. He founded Nottingham-based band Hydra with Martin Walkyier and Frazer Craske, the three of them having been at the same school together. Adam briefly worked with Andy Sneap when the latter joined Hydra as an additional lead guitarist, but Adam left months later as he drifted away from the thrash metal approach that Hydra were starting to take. As Adam had contributed virtually all of the music for the group, the rest of the band took time out to refocus and resurfaced several months later as Sabbat. Adam recruited new musicians and Hydra Mk II was formed with more of a classic heavy rock direction. Adam later spent time in metal band Slugfest but despite serious potential, this never really got off the ground, again due to a lack of dedication from a couple of band members.
And so, with Matt, Rich and Adam now piecing some quality material together, the search for a drummer began. And their luck was in at the second audition when Nathan Wilson came along. Nathan was taught by Gregg Bissonette, Steve White and Mark Richardson, and has also studied at the Academy of Contemporary Music in Guildford, Europe’s leading school for rock and pop musicians. He immediately stood out from the crowd. As well as being very solid and powerful, he possesses incredible technical ability and contributes many unique but perfectly fitting moments throughout the Coraya repertoire. His influences are varied and include Queen, Thin Lizzy and Metallica. Nathan has played in a whole raft of bands with diverse styles such as Power Slave, Motorheadache, Queen II and White Noise Coalition.
Following a period of writing and rehearsing, Coraya booked some local gigs in Winter / Spring 2012 and the band has been gathering momentum locally ever since. In Summer 2012, Coraya was due to open the Gridlock festival in Mansfield but, with over 1000 tickets sold, the event was cancelled at the last minute due to a financial backer pulling out. Although naturally gutted, the band got their chins up and recorded their first music video for the track ‘Dying When You Wanna Be Saved’, taken from their first three track demo of the same name, recorded earlier that year in Matt’s home studio.
More gigs around the Notts and Midlands areas followed, but time was taken out to record their first professional 5 track EP in Summer 2013. ‘Red Earth’ was released in October 2013, quickly followed by another video for the opening track ‘Head Buzz’. The tracks on the EP were deliberately chosen from the Coraya repertoire to showcase the band’s different dynamics and tempos.
So there it is…a great rock band that is looking to get itself noticed more widely with the sole intention of spreading their product and performances around the nation’s army of rockers. Happy headbanging!