The new album is phenomenal, do you feel this is the strongest the band has been in terms of both musicianship and songwriting?
Thank you! I think this particular line-up is the strongest we’ve had in terms of being on the same page and having the same goals and writing style. We work very well together and so during the songwriting process things came together quite easily. In my opinion this album is our most cohesive, but I think we have the potential to do better; the best is yet to come!
The production on the album seems to have captured the power of the band more so than previous releases, what was done differently to facilitate this result?
Production was our number one priority on this record so we searched out the best of the best (in our opinion) and recorded with Jacob Hansen of Hansen Studios in Denmark. We toured for three weeks in Europe last November and then directly afterwards we flew to Denmark for three weeks and tracked everything. We wrote more than a few parts with Jacob’s particular production style in mind, and did an immense amount of pre-producing before we left, so the sessions went smoothly and the whole process was a blast really. We will definitely be returning to Jacob for the next record, if he’ll have us!
Was there any particular influences that impacted the songwriting on “Apex?
Besides knowing that we would be recording with Jacob, yes there were a few outside influences… We wanted to do a kind of homage to the late 3 Inches of Blood on this album, seeing as they called it quits a couple of years ago and basically destroyed every Canadian who has ever listened to metal ever 😉 Let’s see if you can pick out that track! We also wanted to try something new on this record so we wrote a mid-paced, vocal-centric track reminiscent of Queensryche; usually we are either heavy, or fast, or both, so that one was a challenge haha. Also this is a concept album so that had a major influence on the direction this record took.
What were the inspirations for the lyrical themes on the new album?
Right from the beginning I knew I wanted this to be a concept record, and the boys were on board so, I wrote the whole story out chapter by chapter (aka track by track) and explained what part of the story each song would tell and how it should sound and how it should make the listener feel, and we used that as a guideline. The story was built around the main character, whom we call The Immortal, and it just sort of grew around him. He was inspired by a character from a comic book series I’m reading right now, but only in imagery; the rest came from my twisted little mind 😉 I also knew I wanted the villain to be a female sorceress type character, inherently evil and egotistical and power hungry, and once she, The Matriarch, was developed the conflict came easily. Basically, The Immortal was cursed at birth to serve whoever awakens him. The Matriarch is his master in this particular chapter of his life of servitude, and she tasks him with finding her four sons and bringing them to her so she can kill them in a ritual to achieve immortality. The album follows The Immortal while he completes this quest.
I was able to see you guys at Progpower and your performance was unreal, how do festivals compare to a regular show? Also, how cool was it to sing with Dragonland?
From our experiences so far, they are not so different, there are just a heck of a lot more bands hanging out backstage waiting their turn 😉 The atmosphere does seem quite a bit more laid back, in terms of the artists, less work more party! The management and stagehands and whatnot are all full on though of course hahaha don’t fuck with those guys, they need to make sure everything runs smoothly. Progpowerwas a smaller festival and so much more intimate and I loved that. It was just like a really big bar show hahaha, where you got to hang out with everyone after, including Dragonland 😉 It was very cool to sing with them but they are one of my favourite bands ever and I was so nervous, I am sure I sounded like a chicken being strangled but, ah well! Afterwards I got way too drunk with those boys and was so hungover for my set the next day! Luckily my voice was working for me but the rest of my body was screaming out in pain the entire time hahaha but hey, drinking with Dragonland was a once in a lifetime chance and I took it!
Are there any new songs you’re particularly excited to play live?
I would love to play Apex but it’s quite long and I’m not sure if we will be able to fit it into the set! I wrote that song at the very last minute and it actually turned out to be my favourite, especially the chorus! So simple but so catchy hahaha. Other than that, I think The Matriarch is my second choice. It’s hard, the accents are all on the upbeat, so you really need to concentrate to stay in the groove, but it’s fast and driving and I always love those ones J
Are there any exciting tour plans in support of the new album?
Hopefully! We are actually just in the middle of booking the exciting tour plans so nothing is solid yet but it’s starting to come together. Europe is priority number one because we have only every played there once, and then North America of course. After that we are trying really hard to get down to South America, we have a lot of fans asking for us down there. Lastly we would love to play Japan again! And maybe we could swing by Australia on the way 😉
If you could tour with any bands, past or present, who would they be?
My number one choice for the longest time has been Iced Earth, I would just love to get to sing along to their music every night. I have been an Iced Earth fan for a long time now and whenever I am in a weird in-between place in heart and mind, I always just put Iced Earth on and it makes everything ok again! No idea what it is about their music but it speaks to me on a whole other level.
I read in a different interview that Lost Horizon is a big influence for you. How convincing would I have to be to get you guys to cover a Lost Horizon song? (you may be one of the only bands that could pull it off).
I would LOVE to cover a Lost Horizon song! It’s the rest of the band you have to convince though 😉 The argument is that not enough people know who they are, and cover songs are supposed to be big hits the whole audience can sing along to, and apparently LH doesn’t fit in that category so… It may be a while before you see us cover them but I’ll keep fighting! Sworn in the Metal Wind will be played live again some day!
Is there anything you’d like to add about the new album or the band that people should know?
Check out our videos on Napalm’s Youtube channel if you get a moment! And if you want to say hi or chat or anything we always answer our messages on facebook so that’s the best place to get a hold of us J Lastly, if anyone is interested in our old albums or t-shirts or any kind of merch whatsoever we have our own Big Cartel store and everything is shipped out by me personally so, feel free to ask to have something signed haha! Thanks for taking the time to listen to me blather on! 😉