Defects - Biography

In a fast-moving world, where there's often a sensory overload, it's easy and natural to observe things on a surface level. We watch, we listen, we indulge, and we move on. It's only when you take a moment to stop, take a breath and really focus that you can really see. Often, those moments are forced upon us by our emotional fragility; perhaps that's when we're at our most open.

Modern Error is the debut album from Defects. It's profoundly personal and breathtakingly raw with emotion. Conceptually, it is a deeply cathartic album that acts as a vessel for singer Tony Maue to organise his thoughts and views on the world. Indeed, the title itself acts as a thread, tying together the various anxieties life in the modern world can bring up.

The band began to germinate in 2019 with singer Tony Maue, along with guitarists Luke Genders and James Threadwell, and was completed by bassist David Silver and drummer Harry Jennings. Threaded through the album is the mental trauma that Maue has been through, how the five members of the band are all connected and why, at this moment, right now, is the right time for this band to exist. For themselves as much as anyone else. 

They wear their hearts on their sleeves. "I use songwriting as a tool to vent rather than be poetic," explains Maue. "It's good to talk about things that haven't been discussed enough. It's about things that matter, that are personal and real, and can resonate with people."

There is a reason that the album has such personal themes. Maue was taken into care from a young age and that trauma and the experiences that followed are ones that he has battled with ever since. "The traumatic memories of going into care, losing my family when I was very young, and having to deal with that and adjusting myself to that kind of lifestyle, at the time was brutal. The only thing that helped me, and I'm not just saying this, was music."

This was the first time he could express these raw feelings in music. Scapegoat is about a family member he stopped speaking to at a young age. Goliath is about the same person but on another timeline, and Echo Chamber is from another perspective. The heavy Recurring looks at the mental loops that come with dealing with trauma, "where that person is going through trauma, and they're just repeating memories in their head, and it doesn't get any better."

The importance is not just the songs but also the band- All five individuals. Maue had the name Defects in his back pocket for several years. "I really resonated with the word," he adds. 

Like many new bands, circumstances had led them to this moment, either their previous bands ended, or their time with them had come to an end. Jennings reflects, "I fell massively out of love with music at one point. I put down the sticks for ages. I'd stopped enjoying playing, which I had dedicated my life to since I was 7 years old."

He continues, "It had all fallen apart. To feel like you’ve had a dream beaten out of you, literally destroyed me as a person. It took me down a very dark path, and I did things I regret and things I'm not proud of. I feel I'm in a position now where I can talk about it and hopefully educate others who might be heading into a similar position."

Defects were integral to helping. "It took a lot of help from the people closest to me, and these guys literally threw me a life raft; I was sinking," he adds. "What connects us all is that we've all got our own stories, but in a different way. Our ethos is about being open and honest. Individually, some of our experiences haven't been great, and on the surface, it looks like it's going amazingly and looks fantastic, but not everything is as it seems. Every band member has had their fair share of experiences like that, which is another reason why we all gravitate towards each other. We know what that feels like. We don't want to do that to other people."

Genders adds, "The connection between members has only strengthened during this journey. From Me and James meeting Tony at a party and making music together within a few days to getting through the pandemic and finding like minded people in Harry and Dave, completing the line up and eventually heading out on tour is something I truly cherish.”

Modern Error hits with the heaviness and aggression of Lamb Of God and Machine Head, a Linkin Park-like sense of melody, and a touch of Bring Me The Horizon's fearlessness in bringing in electronic elements and whatever else is needed to make a song truly explode, it's an album that radiates with heavy energy.

"There's a nice divide between writers in this band," says Maue. "There's that traditional stuff I listened to growing up, like Linkin Park and Machine Head. Then, Luke has a really old-school approach to his ideas. So, it's a mix of sounds."

For all its heavy subject matter, Modern Error burns with vitality, power and passion. Woven into the album's tapestry is also their outlook on the world. The title-track deals with "how the planet is going to crap", Another Heart To Bleed "touches base on bad relationships ", End of Days deals with where the world is heading with greed," whilst Dream Awake, delves into being trapped in a digital reality.

"The hardest song to write is a tear-up between Recurring or Gone to Waste," Maue says. "With Gone to Waste, at the time, I was feeling very low and touching base on doing something stupid in my life.. I was basically saying goodbye and are you going to miss me."

For the band, getting back on the stage was a colossal moment, considering at points, some didn't think they would be here. The poignancy of their first tour, with In Flames in 2022, is not to be underestimated.  "It was overwhelming," remembers Maue. "In Southampton, I came off stage and just broke down. I was crying because I was happy. I cannot believe I am here; I can't believe I've been given another chance to do this. I never thought it would happen again. Not only that, I couldn't believe that everyone was digging what we were doing."

Jennings reflects, "I remember the first show we ever did in Brighton, supporting In Flames. I had times when I never thought I'd be here again. It was an emotional moment. It was like I blinked, and the past three years didn't happen., I've got my in-ears in, I'm in my shorts, and I've got drumsticks in my hand. It was like someone put a defibrillator on me and woke me up from a horrible fever dream."

They flourished and it catapulted them to performing at Bloodstock, 2000Trees, The Great Escape and playing shows with Bullet for My Valentine, Funeral For A Friend and touring with Of Mice and Men. In September 2022 they released their debut EP, Dream Awake, with Maue saying the inspiration and feeling of rightness of that meant that the album came together in only about six months. Meanwhile, Jennings added, "I think that just shows our dedication to smashing this record."

Talking about the importance of the band, Genders reflects, “Having the freedom to write freely in a band whilst trusting and respecting each other's vision is something I hadn't had in a very long time, dismissive people helped me to fuel my instrumental contributions to Modern Error. For the first time ever I learned how to channel negativity into something positive.”

"We're not trying to be something we're not; there's no ego here," Maue says. "I've come from very humble beginnings. There’s no gimmick. We're just trying to make good and relatable music. We're like everybody else. I use it as a tool to get stuff off my chest and be more content in life. So, it's a very raw format. People can relate to the lyrics but read it and interpret it in their own way that might be personal to them."

What do Defects represent? It's about believing in yourself. It's a message to people to give themself a break once in a while. Jennings remarks. "It's fine to have bad days. I've had my fair share of times very recently. But y'know, everyone has that ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and go, I'm gonna do me."

"When I was going through stuff, I felt like I wasn't worth anything," Maue adds. "But now I look back, and that was wrong; I shouldn't have been made to feel that way. When I got older, I realised I was a good person and didn't do anything wrong. Bad things happen to good people, and you must find a way to make life worth living. I couldn't imagine life without being a musician any more. My life is night and day now."

In reaching out to someone, there can be change; in change, there can be hope. It's in the hope that you can try to go forward and make something of yourself.

"Why did the name Defects resonate with me?" he considers. "We've always been told to strive for perfection, but I don't think anyone can be perfect. We are all defects in a way, but that makes us all unique".