If you’re foolish enough to scoff at the notion that power metal styled vocals and complex song arrangements aren’t relevant in 2008, then you clearly haven’t heard Protest The Hero.
PTH mouth piece Rody Walker called up for a chat…
Interview w/ Rody Walker (Vocals)
of Protest The Hero (US)
By Cameron Chambers
Hey Rody, how are you today?
Good man, how are you?
Things are good man.
You guys are in the midst of a pretty eclectic tour with Silverstein,
A Day To Remember and The Devil Wears Prada. How have the shows been?
Actually… to tell you the truth…
we just flew home and dropped off the tour.
Do you mind if I ask why?
We’ve just become a very disorganized
touring band and we were having some problems internally with our team.
So we flew home, fire a couple of people and now we’re getting our
shit together for our next tour, ha ha.
Well, that question backfired,
It’s all good man, ha ha.
Vagrant Records doesn’t really
have a history of working with bands as heavy as Protest The Hero, how
did your deal with them come about?
I don’t know really. We were
shopping our first record in the States… it’d already been out in
Canada for a year and I think… there’s one this one guy at Vagrant
who’s a giant metal fan and even though we knew they didn’t have
any metal bands we were into it.
I consider him solely responsible,
ha ha. He was very interested and they were really nice people so we
were like “whatever, let’s just ink our names here”, ha ha.
Vagrant have something of an
in built audience who expect a certain kind of band or
release from the label, was that ever a concern of yours or the rest
of your band members?
Not really, no. We’ve never
really concerned ourselves too much with paradigms. We just do what
we do and if we piss people off then fuck em. Hell, even if they like
it fuck em anyway, ha ha. We love to piss people off!
Do you think things may have
turned out differently if Protest The Hero
had signed to a label with a bigger reputation for releasing metal,
or do you prefer standing out from the rest of the Vagrant roster?
I dunno. We might be touring with
different bands but beyond that I don’t think there’d be much of
a difference. For an indie label they’re getting our record out there
as much as any other label so I don’t think the difference would be
too vast… if anything at all.
Turning back the clock a bit,
what were the biggest differences between writing your debut record
and Fortress (sophomore album)?
Well, as opposed to writing the
debut in my parent’s basement we did Fortress in a rehearsal space.
It was a lot quicker too. We wrote our debut in high school, so we were
in school five days a week, then we’d get home and write until 10pm…
then we did our homework and went to bed, ha ha.
With Fortress it was more like
a nine to five job instead of a twelve to seven album, ha ha. The biggest
difference was also the alcohol consumption. We definitely drank a bit
while writing and recording… actually, I’d say we drank profusely
while we made Fortress, ha ha.
It’s been said that a band
has their whole life to write their first record and then they’re
working against the clock on their second. Did you feel pressured at
all when putting Fortress together?
Not really to tell you the truth.
We pushed the deadline back a bunch of time too. We weren’t actually
supposed to be writing at the time we were because the label wanted
us on the road… but we had some drug allegations going on at the time
so we thought we’d start writing instead of touring, ha ha.
I read a quote of yours that
caught my attention: “I am of the belief a lot of the people who
work for us were hoping for a stab at a more commercially viable album,
however we wrote what we wanted without linear boundaries and created
something less commercial than ever”. Do you feel you wrote the record you guys wanted to without compromising
with your management or label?
Absolutely! Some of those people
that wanted that commercial viable record are no longer existing within
our framework, which is why we’re home now. We wrote the record we
wanted to write and the other people who were working in the team that
didn’t understand that… well, we’ve fucked em off!
Fans and critics have nothing
but nice things to say about Fortress, has that appeased the powers
There are still people that doubted
us while we wrote what we were writing but they don’t have much to
say these days. The record has been received quite well so that made
them shut their gullet holes, ha ha!
What have people been saying about
it in Australia… actually, has it even been released down there?
It sure has.
That’s sweet! That’s the best
feeling, when we get messages from kids on MySpace who are in Australia…
we’re just like “that’s sweet”!
Taking into account how complex
Fortress is, what kind of time frame did you have to work with in regards
to writing and recording?
We had about seven months I think,
two of which were spent in the studio. The rest was spent during winter
in our practice space in Toronto… freezing our asses off and smoking
bud and drinking, ha ha.
Your debut Kezia had one central
theme that the album’s lyrics focused on whereas Fortress has taken
a different approach. Was it the case where there wasn’t one central
theme that you felt deserved an entire record’s worth of attention
or were you simply looking to try something new?
With the debut we wrote it thematically
and it followed one central theme. We ended up getting a lot of people
at shows that were really obsessed with the concept and it seemed to
overshadow the actual music at times.
With Fortress we made an effort
to make it less of a stringent concept and hopefully the concept won’t
overshadow the music. So far, it seems to be working well.
How did you get Vadim Pruzhanov
from Dragonforce to guest on the record?
Ha ha. We toured with them last
year and we’ve always been big fans of Dragonforce and gratuitous
wankery… as you can tell, ha ha.
We toured and became good friends
and when the record came around we had this part where there wasn’t
anything going on… there was just this chug part and we’re not a
chug band, so we called Vadim and said “do you want to shred something
over this part so it’s not boring”?
We sent him a clip and within
half an hour he sent us back a shredding solo!
I was going to ask if
he tracked his keyboard parts with you guys. It would’ve been great
to see him nail that shit up close.
It would’ve been awesome! Unfortunately
he tracked it at home and sent it through in midi format. Hopefully
we’ll get to tour with them again soon and he can play that song with
us live… hopefully he can use a keytar, ha ha!
Once you guys wrap up this
current tour, you’re heading straight out with Chiodos and then hitting
Japan with Bullet For My Valentine. What’s the likelihood of an Australia
tour in the near future?
It’s highly likely! We’re
trying to organize something right now so we can come over right after
Japan. We’re not too sure who it would be with though.
We’re looking to play small
clubs with local bands. I think that would be the most ideal thing for
us and to introduce ourselves to Australia.
That’s all we’ve got time
for Rody, is there anything else you want to
Uh… I think I’m good. Was
nice talking to you though!