High On Fire
Lille Vega, Copenhagen, DEN - 22/11
author BL date 02/12/12
It was a busy evening in London. A whole slew of planned underground train maintenance meant I had to get a bus to the venue through the busy streets which was slow and frustrating. Thankfully the contact was similarly stuck in traffic as well, and by the time we both got to the venue the band had finished soundchecking for what will be a huge show in front of a sellout crowd. Parkway Drive were the headliners and I could see a queue stretching around the road, braving the cold British weather. I managed to grab frontman and vocalist Nick Xourafas for a quite chat on the balcony.
RF.net: You guys have a pretty heavy sound that also mixes a lot of interesting elements together. A lot of layers etc..
Nick: Our drummer listens to a lot of other different kinds of music so that incorporates it.
RF.net:: Okay, so taking this further, what were the big differences between when you went to record the EP and recording this album?
Nick: The EP was all self-produced, everything was by the band. There was no direction, we were just young kids and wanted to make technical heavy music. Through touring you realise what you really want to do, what you want to play, see the excitement from the fans and everyone jumping up and down. We want more of that and to keep going.
RF.net: There were a lot of simiarities soundwise between your EP and your album, but also noticeable stylistic differences...
Nick: It's hard to describe right? Thinking back, I haven't listened to our EP in a long time - but it was a lot faster, a lot more chaos. I guess with "Divided By" we focused a little more on melody in some parts and structure. It's a little different for us since we don't write songs like cookie-cutter bands. We don't just sit in a studio and write a riff and put another one that goes to it, we write songs.
RF.net: So in terms of songwriting, where do you guys get your inspiration from then?
Nick: We listen to so many bands, and not even just bands but artists. This sounds really weird but ... nature? We're from Canada, like we go and take a walk in the morning, and you get some inspiration out of that.
RF.net: That's interesting given how sometimes your sound can be quite ... abrasive?
Nick: Nature's there, it's the biggest thing.
RF.net: What do you see as your ultimate ambitions?
Nick: I want to see all of the world. I've seen a lot of the world but I want to see Japan, Malaysia and places like that in Asia. I'd also love to do the Vans Warped Tour at least once. Those are my main goals I guess right now. But we have a lot of current goals I guess like, right now, put out an EP, get signed, write a full length, tour with our favourite bands, we did all of that. So we're going to keep pushing ourselves and it puts us in the right direction.
RF.net: So you see it as an inevitable change?
Nick: It's an inevitable thing, and it's the reason why our underground scene stretches so far though. Without filesharing and streaming I don't think half the bands that are out there right now would be known because there's just so many.
RF.net: And a lot of them...
Nick: ...sound the same, look the same!
RF.net: Is that what motivates you to try and separate yourselves?
Nick: We don't want to be another cookie-cutter band, like a template band - chorus, verse, chorus and...
RF.net: ...a million breakdowns?
Nick: Yeah a million breakdowns too. We want some originality with it, but it's not to say those things aren't important. You go to a live show and you see everyone's reaction, that's what you want to see - kids just having fun jumping up and down. I mean you don't want them to stand there and stare at you and don't know what the hell you're playing.
RF.net: So is this what, the second time you've been to the UK?
Nick: Yeah second time in the last six months I think.
RF.net: Do you prefer home or here?
Nick: That's hard, I couldn't handle the weather here. It's cold, it rains, and no sun. BUT, I love playing the UK more than anywhere else in Europe.
RF.net:Any hints you could give on what the new stuff will sound like?
Nick: It sounds like Structures but just, evolved if you will. And I know everyone says that with their new music - like it's expanding, but it really is different. We're putting our hearts and souls into this record, we want this one to "make it" and to get us there.