3 Inches Of Blood interview (07/2012)
|Conducted by:||D.T. Metal (in person)|
3 Inches Of Blood
3 Inches Of Blood were touring with Municipal Waste and we caught up with guitarist Shane Clark to talk about all things metal. Their new album Long Live Heavy Metal, the deal with Century Media and the state of the heavy metal genre in general were some of the topics discussed.
Birgit: On Tour with Municipal Waste; how has it been going so far?
Shane: Really good. We jumped on the tour in Anaheim, CA and all of the dates have been really great.
B: Your newest album Long Live Heavy Metal has been out for a couple of months now; how many new songs are in your set?
Shane: Since we are direct support we play about 40 minutes; so we have been playing three to make sure that the people hear the new stuff. But we do mix it up and also play a couple deep cuts; just basically we try to play something from all the albums.
B: Nice. You just did a headlining tour in Europe …
Shane: Yes, with Goatwhore, Havok and Angelus Apatrida; a Spanish metal band and really good. We had done headlining tours in the UK before, but this was our first headliner on the mainland. It was good and we actually felt our momentum over there is better.
B: Sweet, and let me come back to this point later. So when can we expect a 3 Inches headlining run through North America?
Shane: We are looking at somewhere around December and actually right after this tour; we are doing a couple shows in Canada. But a full headliner in Canada is probably not until the New Year. But in the states; we are definitely going to hit, at the very least the west coast on our own and it will turn into the mid-west, I think, as well.
B: Sounds good; and now circling back to your Euro-Tour. I know the Goatwhore as well as the Havok guys in person; any stories since you all shared a tour bus over there?
Shane: There are a few of the hook ones for sure. Well, when I find myself partying with … obviously Justin (ed. Hagberg) and I, well we are pros and we get into a lot of trouble on our own; but when you add Sammy (ed. Duet) into the mix … well, things get really funny and like ridiculous and chaotic. Let's just leave it at that … hard living! (We both laugh since anybody who knows Sammy can attest to that statement.)
B: I hear you man; some things are better left untouched. Now with your statement that you felt your momentum was better in Europe. Do you believe heavy metal is perceived better overseas then here in your own backyard?
Shane: I think so! I think everyone has their own perception, regionally, on what our band is all about. And one of the cool things about finally playing as the headliner, where we play for over an hour, compared to doing opening slots or short sets on festivals, everyone can finally see and hear what we are all about. And this is something we have really noticed on the first day of our tour. We played in Essen, Germany and it was great. It was full on heavy metal showdown kind of thing.
But to answer your question; metal fans are generally the same everywhere. But I think because we haven't been over there that much there is still a sort off: 'who are those guys? And what's their deal' vibe. It's one of our goals to get to Europe more often.
But things are good; especially with the new album. Century Media Europe does a really great job for us and the new tunes are very well received.
B: You are by trade a heavy metal band; so why the need for harsher vocals as well?
Shane: That's a dynamic which we really enjoy and want to hear; kind of the Yin-Yang of vocal styles in metal. We have the obvious influences, the really obvious ones we don't even have to mention, but we have so many other influences that we pack in there musically, so it's a good push and pull dynamic. They complement each other so to say.
B: Yes, they really do. So how do you approach a typical 3 Inches Of Blood song?
Shane: 98 percent of the time it starts with guitars. Justin and I will write at least some arrangements, a nice skeleton of a song and we demo them at my house, on my recording rig. And then we give them to everyone else and they soak up the ideas before we all meet up at our jam spot. And then we all arrange together.
We do arrange and rehearse before going into the studio. That's one of our things; it's all about preparation. So we spend all the time preparing in our jam spot and we also do a big junk there with pre-productions, so when we are finally in the studio we just bang the thing out.
On the last record we went into a studio in Seattle but this one was at home. We did our drums in a really cool room just outside of Vancouver and the rest at Profile Studios in Vancouver. It was really close to home and I work in a brewery in Vancouver and the studio was like 3 blocks away, which was really good for us. We found it was really comfortable recording like that. Oh, and the drums were recorded at Vogville Studios.
B: Byron Stroud not only is your new bass player, but also your manager, right?
Shane: Correct. Before he started playing bass for us … well, we went through a management change and he acted as sort of a consultant for us for a while. I personally have known him for some 12 odd years and the rest of the guys have known him for a long time too. We definitely needed his experience and consulting just with business decisions alone, and then his schedule allowed him to actually take on a management role. And right after we recorded the new record, his schedule was pretty free and everything just aligned really well.
We were in-between touring bassist at the time; the way we have been rolling for the last couple of years, so it just made a lot of sense. His schedule freed up and we needed a guy and there was no "getting to know" time for a new guy.
Byron filled in on bass when we did a short run with Slipknot, so he played with us before. It was a super easy decision, well actually not much of a decision at all. It was like: 'hey, you are free and we need a guy. You want to do it?', and since he really liked the new record it was a very short and easy discussion.
B: The new album is also your second release on Century Media. Are you glad you jumped off the Roadrunner ship before all things went downhill?
Shane: Well, using the term "jumped ship" is not correct; we were dropped and actually played a big role on being dropped. And now they just closed their UK and also their Canadian offices. I think there are maybe just about 18 people working for them now.
What happened was that the business side of Roadrunner Records changed and we were not happy with the potential arrangements. The split was amicable though; they were like: 'you know we have to do this and we know you are not into it; so we are going to drop you'. It was definitely good for us because we were free agents for about a year. We had plenty of time to shop around, but we were still busy, playing Wacken for instance without the backing of a record label.
Our manager at the time put out the message that we were looking and we felt that Century Media was the label who rightfully understood the band and what we were up to. They were very supportive from the start and we didn't even give them any demos.
The people who do our PR (ed: press/media) at the label are very on top of things and having experienced other ways of doing things … Century Media really is great for us. Especially when Long Live Heavy Metal came out, they did a nice press release thing; you know how it goes, to introduce the album to the press. And that's what you want when you release a record; people need to know when the record is out. We have experienced ... shit, we were on tour and no one would know. But now it's quite a bit different with Century Media, I am very happy with all they are doing and putting the word out about us.
B: And speaking of the new album; the album cover for Long Live Heavy Metal is very simplistic and straightforward; who had the idea and who was the artist?
Shane: Yes it is; and a local graphic designer from Vancouver did the artwork. Her name is Kim Thiessen and she had worked with Byron before so he put her in touch with us.
What we wanted to do this time, since we had done the fantastic painting of a fantasy scene quite a bit, is to have more of a band recognition cover; our logo and our symbol. I would rather have that, something simple, because when you see the record in the store, you see the symbol from far away and recognize it. We wanted to keep it simple in a "let the music do the talking" kind of way, but the packaging is really cool; it's like a book.
B: Nice. Now the video for "Metal Woman" is in black and white; is there a particular reason for this?
Shane: Well, that was sort of a group effort with the film maker. They also did our "Trials Of Champions" video from a couple records ago by the way. But videos to me are really hard. Sometimes with our band, well there are too many cooks in the kitchen and everyone has an idea. I feel we always had just terrible luck with our videos by not having exactly our ideas out there.
In this case we actually had quite a streamlined idea, but then … well, film makers are just like us and they have their own ideas, and at one point you just let them do their thing. But I am certainly not going to say that he didn't do a good a job or that the video is bad or something; it's just very far removed from my original idea. But collaborating is just that; having a whole bunch of ideas come together.
B: Are there any plans on releasing any other hit or miss videos then?
Shane: Who knows? But the same guy; he is putting one together for "Leather Lord", so we will see what happens to that one. Videos are what they are, and I hope to do more of them; independently actually. Just for YouTube and for our site; just to be more proactive and have more stuff for our fans to look at.
B: Oh, that sounds interesting. And staying on topic; the "Look Out" video, which was written in memory of Ronnie James Dio was really nice. Did you ever have the pleasure of meeting him?
Shane: I had chances of meeting him when I was younger but never actually did. Some friends of mine; their band opened up for Dio in the nineties, they actually got to talk to him, which I thought was so cool.
But the song was written as a specific tribute to Ronnie James Dio. We are such big fans of him, and if we just would have done a cover of a Dio or Rainbow song, I think our sincerity would have been lost. We wanted to show our influence, write our own song for him. I believe this is one of the best songs on the record and we actually had lots of fellow Dio fans come and thank us for writing the song and making the lyrics video.
And the whole thing goes back to the title of the album, Long Live Heavy Metal, which for us it's a celebration of heavy metal. There is the adolescent thing of "this metal is better or this metal is better, and I only listen to black metal" and stuff, but to us it's heavy metal. Underground music will always be there … if the fans are there. But there are so many things that fall under this umbrella and that's why: long live heavy metal.
B: Very true, in my opinion heavy metal will never die and on top of my head I can name you guys and Holy Grail as today's defenders of the genre. Who else could you recommend?
Shane: Well, Holy Grail for sure like you said, but there are a lot of bands who are doing this and have some of that heavy metal influence. We haven't toured with many bands that play heavy metal, and there is a really good one out of Vancouver, called Stryker. (ed: http://www.myspace.com/strykermetal)
But I find that we really never followed a specific genre, and that's why we can tour with bands like Municipal Waste and Black Tusk who sound completely different from us, but the vibes are there and it's fun.
B: You also did a tour with Eluveitie ...
Shane: Yes, and that's actually a totally different market in itself. I have enjoyed that tour more then some in the past. I don't know what you call it, pagan metal or celtic metal; but with those types of fans we have a lot more in common then we think, because the music is very much triumphant music.
As you said, heavy metal will never die, and with that … well I think it all stems from the musical climate off the 90's, where people stopped singing. Well, for the most part, and I actually equate that to one of the more popular band of that era, Pantera. They were huge and sort of the benchmark because there wasn't really a lot of mainstream metal, just them … and maybe Metallica.
Phil Anselmo sang like Rob Halford on Cowboys From Hell, and he did that crazy and amazing record, vocally, and then stopped. And then everyone was like "ok, so we are stopping too". That whole thing sort of dictated, in my opinion, the type of vocal range of the era and I think it helps us now, moving on 20 years later.
We are doing something and the kids have a reference point on how Cam (ed. Pipes) sings. It's somewhat new to the kids of today, but then again at the same time we are introducing them to Mercyful Fate, King Diamond, obviously Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. It's an old genre that will never die and there is the old guard still doing it and then the younger bands like us.
You know, in the mainstream media you will hear some new band with heavy guitars and all of a sudden there is the buzz word: heavy metal is back. And it is actually insulting to heavy metallers because like I mentioned before; real heavy metal doesn't go anywhere.
B: Very true. So what's next for 3 Inches Of Blood?
Shane: Right after the tour with Municipal Waste we are doing a headliner in Canada on our way home. Then we are talking some time of in August since I am getting married, and then we plan on doing some overseas stuff in September and going back to Europe around October. Nothing official yet, but that's the plan, and like I mentioned earlier a tour in the US in December.
B: Congrats on the getting married part and now the obligatory last words.
Shane: Long Live Heavy Metal
Special thanks to Ashley from Century Media Records for setting this up; and to Shane for taking the time to sit down with me.
Posted on 03.07.2012 by
Professional concertgoer ... dangerously armed with a camera!
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