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Interview with Josh Wills (Story of the Year)

2023 see St Louis post-hardcore giants, Story of the Year, in full celebration mode. Not only have they announced that they will be jumping on tour with fellow early 2000’s mammoths Yellowcard for the anniversary of their fourth and undeniably most successful record, Ocean Avenue, alongside emo juggernauts Mayday Parade, Anberlin and The Wild Life, they will also be celebrating their own babies. Their debut record, the one that introduced us to the larger than life Until the Day I Die, Anthem of Our Dying Day and And the Hero Will Drown, none other than Page Avenue also hits the big 20 mark.

Two decades on from their launchpad release, the band are still going strong, gearing up for the release of their sixth studio album Tear Me To Pieces, out March 10, 2023 via SharpTone Record. We’ve already been graced with half of the tracks including the nostalgia-grab 2005, the titular triumph Tear Me To Pieces and the hard hitting War, tracks that will translate well on the stage when they head to Australia next month.

We spoke to drummer, Josh Wills, ahead of their Knotfest appearance and album release sideshows to tear both the album and their sets into pieces.

01. Tear Me To Pieces
02. Real Life
03. Afterglow
04. Dead And Gone
05. War
06. Can’t Save You
07. 2005
08. Sorry About Me
09. Take The Ride
10. Knives Out
11. Use Me

Fans can pre-save Tear Me To Pieces here

To celebrate the announcement, Story Of The Year have shared lead single and title track Tear Me To Pieces. The track sets the tone for the entire album – hard-hitting, catchy, and unforgettable. Tear Me To Pieces is available to stream here. The new single is also paired with a music video, available to watch now.

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Interview with Tim King (SOiL)

From the moment Wisconsin Death Trip was released to an unsuspecting world, Static-X stood above. Their industrial alt-rock hybrid “Evil Disco” shook metal from its stagnant state and redefined what can be done with heavy music. 

Each subsequent album enhanced and cemented the band's well earned reputation.  

In 2019, founding members Tony Campos, Koichi Fukuda and Ken Jay recruited an unidentified mask wearing enigma on vocals known as Xer0 and hit the road to celebrate the band's legacy, the anniversary of Wisconsin Death Trip and as a memorial to fallen frontman Wayne Static.

 The love, esteem and respect for the band that give so much at every live show was reflected back to them from fans, critics and peers alike.

“After witnessing the band’s set in NYC’s Sony Hall, you can leave all preconceived notions at the door. Static-X is a wild and crazy good time to be had. An impassioned and unforgettable performance.  If you have the opportunity to see Static-X, GO. Don’t hesitate, just GO!” – Music Existence

This May, Static-X return to Australia to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their highly acclaimed album Machine with a setlist that includes a slew of songs from their expansive career; from their iconic debut, Wisconsin Death Trip, through to their latest and aptly titled 
Project:Regeneration Vol 1

“We are so excited to finally get back to Australia. We plan to play most of the songs off of both Machine and Wisconsin Death Trip as well a number of nice surprises. It’s going to be one for the ages and we can’t wait to get out there and celebrate 20 years of our Machine record while we continue to remember all of the good times that we had with Wayne and to share it live and loud with all of our Aussie fans. It’s going to be awesome!” Tony Campos 

Joining Static-X for the tour are SOiL; pioneers of a sound that gave the world bands such as Godsmack, Spineshank and Mudvayne, SOiL’s influence goes deep. Frontman Ryan McCombs powerful vocals spawned a thousand imitators and they were one of leading acts to modernise rock at the turn of the century…The band will be performing their groundbreaking album. Scars, in full as well as other favourites.

Friday 19: Northcote Theatre, Melbourne
Saturday 20: The Metro, Sydney
Sunday 21: Eatons Hill, Brisbane


Details & Ticketing Links @

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Interview with Michael Sweet (Stryper)

When it comes to groundbreaking bands in the Christian hard-rock genre, STRYPER is renowned for its distinctive brand of “heavenly metal,” extraordinary crossover success, with both Grammy nominations and Dove Awards to their name, and their venerable endurance.

In 2023, the band celebrate their 40th anniversary and do so on the back of both consistent touring and consistent album releases with their latest release The Final Battle receiving rave reviews the world over. Sirius XM radio host Eddie Trunk says, “Stryper is more active than any other band from the ‘80s”, and they are.

The group ascended to prominence in the 1980s with Billboard Top 40 hits like ‘Calling on You,’ ‘Honestly’ and ‘Always There for You.’ STRYPER’s career album sales exceed 10 million worldwide, including 1986’s multi-platinum release To Hell With The Devil.

The band also made history in 1987 when it notched three songs in Dial-MTV’s Top 10 with videos ‘Calling on You,’ ‘Honestly’ and ‘Free’, being the first band ever to have two songs in the Top 10 simultaneously.

Silverback Touring is pleased to announce that STRYPER, comprising three original members including brothers Michael Sweet (lead vocals, guitar) and Robert Sweet (drums), Oz Fox (guitar) and newest bandmate, seasoned bassist Perry Richardson (formerly of Firehouse), return to Australia and New Zealand in 2023 for a tour covering every major Australian city and, for first time in decades, Auckland.

The band last visited Australia in 2018 and were forced to play as a trio due to Oz Fox falling ill ahead of the tour, giving fans a unique opportunity to see the band in a different and unique format.

Fans are in for a real treat with one of the world’s most consistent and loved hard rock/heavy metal groups.

STRYPER March 2023 Tour Dates

Thursday 2nd March – BRISBANE, Princess Theatre

Friday 3rd March – SYDNEY, Liberty Hall

Saturday 4th March – PERTH, Magnet House

Sunday 5th March – MELBOURNE, 170 Russell

Wednesday 8th March – ADELAIDE, Bridgeway

Friday 10th March – AUCKLAND, Galatos

 Tickets available via: https://www.silverbacktouring.com.au/stryper-2023/

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Interview with Dhalia Ray

(STM) Tell us about your new single Bonfire?

(DR) It was a song I wrote about my mum’s best friend who passed away after a long journey with Cystic Fibrosis. Jan was the oldest survivor in Australian history and lived till 65 years of age.

What’s the creative process like for you?

It changes all the time. Sometimes it’s poetry first, sometimes melody, sometimes chords or sometimes rhythm. I hear rhythms in my head that I write melodies to before I’m able to translate them onto some device or instrument. This can be good and really frustrating. It always changes.

If you could change something about the music industry what would change?

The opportunity for women to gain exposure – I’ve learnt it’s not that easy for us after all. Lol. It’s not to say that men don’t face challenges because I know they absolutely would, but for me I can only speak from the perspective of a woman in the industry that has struggled to be heard by the right people. Especially in pop music.

What do you think life would be like for you if you didn’t have music/visual art as an outlet?

I can’t imagine. Pretty miserable to be honest. I feel grateful every day that I’m able to do it. No matter what I’m going through, as soon as I sing it’s like ecstasy, but better. It really is that good.

Is there anyone you would like to collaborate with? 

Vance Joy, Flume, or Powderfinger because I really think it’d be something different. 

I love Vance Joy’s storytelling and melodies, and I think our voices are so different that they’d somehow complement each other. He has a warm tone that makes you feel light and fuzzy. Our registers are so different, but he has a fast vibrato like me. I just am so intrigued to see how they’d sound in harmony. Could sound shit, but I’d love to know.  Flume because I love his song “Never Be Like You”. I think he could bring my dream to life of having a great dance song. I think we’d do something completely unique. He makes THE BEST beats. I sincerely love everything he does.  Powderfinger are incredible performers and all-rounders, and to be honest I’d love to learn from them, I think they’d get something different out of me. I’d explore rock a bit more with that kind of guidance and experience. I imagine Bernard Fanning has some interesting vocal techniques that might bring something new out of my own voice. All these artists are incredible, and I’d learn a lot from all of them. I think when artists collaborate, it’s like fireworks going off because they both bring their lightning and it’s explosive just like fireworks. All these artists have lightning that I would love to get close to and get struck by.

What’s your advice to young people who want to make a career for themselves in the industry? 

Work hard. You can never lose; you can only learn. I came out to study music when I was 18, and never expected to end up here. I tried to obviously, but it was more about one door opening the other and it sort of became an adventure. I think that’s how the journey should be treated, like an adventure not to be taken too seriously, but seriously enough that you stay focussed enough to finish the product, and to fail a few times. It’s a must-it’s how you learn what works and what doesn’t. I’ve seen so many artists with so much talent just get distracted and not see things through coz they get caught up in the fun. Play in as many venues as possible, you’ll grow each time you do, and you’ll appreciate the wins so much more when they come. I played at a place once where the sound guy was the bar guy, and he had no idea what he was doing, and there were only two people there who were my friends. I was so embarrassed that I just had to laugh coz half my performance couldn’t be heard while the sound guy was learning the ropes. It should’ve been a soundcheck. Lol. These gigs make you appreciate the good ones when you get them. When I got to play Cargo London, I enjoyed it so much more because I always remember that time the sound guy experimented with the nobs throughout my performance haha. Have as much fun as possible, but never do things that make you feel uncomfortable. If it feels wrong, then it is. There’s a lot of snakes in this industry, and that can be intimidating especially for a girl. It can make you feel like if you burn bridges you’ll be screwed in the next opportunity. It’s not true. I’ve walked away from a few disasters and glad I did. It’s taking longer but at least I have my self respect which is related to confidence. Confidence is what you need the MOST. The most important thing is to focus on the product and everything else, and I mean EVERYTHING else will work out. Keep knocking on doors. One will open eventually if they can see your dedication to your craft and your ability to see things through. Dreams DO come true I promise.

What’s your favourite song to perform?

Now it’s “Bonfire”.:) I used to love covering “These Days” by Powderfinger and then someone did it and released it, but I swear I’d been doing it for decades before haha. I like covering songs from different unique voices to my own because it makes it extra unique. I like covering “Little Lion Man” by Mumford and Sons, and “For Emma” by Bon Iver, “Fix you” by Coldplay – LOVE covering that one. Stuff like that. I enjoy writing my own songs a lot more than I do enjoy covering other artists, though I do enjoy covering artists too. After being in a cocoon writing for so long, it’s been so so incredible for me to bring “Bonfire” out into the world with a video which I’m so grateful to “Sheisaphrodite” for making,  and to hear and see the response it’s been getting. Just wow. BBC1 RADIO UK Charts- Top 40 playlist picked it up on day 3, and Tropical FM UK CHARTS RADIO HITS TOP 40 picked it up on their playlist as well, and I just started crying I was so happy. I AM so happy about it. Lots of playlists have picked it up, but those two made me cry because I sung so much in London venues as well, that it felt like an even BIGGER win. I remember moments of feeling like “Am I good enough? What the hell am I doing?” so to get that kind of validation for me has been special. It’s at 9, 000 streams in three weeks I can’t comprehend it. It’s made me excited to perform again one day. I’ll have an original people will KNOW! So exciting honestly, and humbling.

Got any secret hobbies that we might be surprised by?

Chess and cooking. Very boring really. I started playing chess when I was four years old, and I literally will play with anyone who’s willing. I mean ANYONE. Now I play online a lot with randoms, usually after work or a big day. I like cooking all kinds of stuff. I’m lactose intolerant so anything healthy and without dairy. Always adjusting recipes and experimenting to see how they work out, which can be expensive when it doesn’t turn out. Lol. Just like making music. Yesterday I made vegan chocolate mousse, and vegan Moussaka, which is probably my signature dish. My sisters always ask me to make that for them. 

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Interview with Henry Rollins

(NR) It’s been close to seven years since your last time here, with a few years of COVID in between to keep your feet planted. Did you miss being on the road the last few years? Is life on tour something you look forward to?

(HR) I’d rather be on tour than home. On tour or at least traveling. I didn’t start out that way but after many years of living for months at a time all over the place, I figured it was the best thing for me. So, yes, I’ve missed touring a lot and also, I wondered if live shows were going to still be a possibility ever again. When I was finally able to go back out again, it was amazing. At this moment, I’m in Warsaw, Poland. 

In Melbourne the post-pandemic setting has injected a breath of fresh air and positivity into the local music scene. Have you seen this effecting musicians and audiences around you in the US?

Yes. You see it in interviews and at shows. Both bands and audiences are into being back. I think of a lot of people, going to shows is a normal thing and being able to go to a show again is somewhat closer to how things were before COVID. 

You’ve got an eclectic taste to say the least. In a time where genre is almost becoming a thing of the past, what’ve been your favourite records of the past year?

Tamar Aphek’s album All Bets Are Off I thought was really smart, the new Automatic album Excess is great. There’s a band from Atlanta, Georgia called Upchuck on the Famous Class label who are really good. 

I know you love Hard-Ons and Nick Cave, who else are some Aussie icons of yesteryear and today who you love to listen to?

I play a lot of Australian bands on my radio show. 1-800-MIKEY, Chimers, Alien Nosejob, Delivery, The Prize, Imperial Leather, Romero, Power Supply, Shifters, Blonde Revolver, Gee Tee. This is just off the top of my head. Apologies to all the ones I’m not listing. There seems to be no shortage of great bands out of Australia. 

You’re a big crate digger, what makes a record store a good one for you? Is it about selection, personality, genre? And what is your favourite Melbourne record store? I’m always hearing rumours of you popping into Poison City…

For me, a good record store is one that takes advantage of space by curating well. Strangeworld Records in Melbourne is a must go to store. I usually arrange a day off on tour to spend hours there and warn Richie what day I’ll be there. He sets aside records he thinks I might like and I check them out. He knows his stuff and his store is packed with great records. This is the mark of a good store. The people who run it actually listen to the music and are able to recommend good music to the customers come to trust the “cool person at the record store.” These kind of relationships can go for years. 

You spoke a while back about the effect a good record can have on someone going through trouble, for example giving a young queer kid a DEVO record. What music helped you most in the harder years of youth?

When I was teenage, we had arena rock, the big bands you’d hear on the radio. We’d go see them. It was pretty good but a bit anonymous. It’s you and thousands of people. Then, we were able to go to clubs and smaller venues and everything changed. Seeing Led Zeppelin was great but standing right in front of the Clash or the Ramones, like getting sweated on by them, seeing the Cramps from up front, these were for me, life altering events. It was Punk Rock, which I got into as soon as I was able that was the big change in my life. DEVO’s album Duty Now For The Future, I don’t know how many times I’ve played that. 

What’re your thoughts on social media today, and how bands often have no choice but to dive into it as a platform to their art? Do you think the cycle of content creation is harming the creativity of today’s musicians?

I could not say how a music platform affects a band’s work. The Indie bands I listen to, they seem to make their music with no problem, there’s vinyl and downloads and it sounds good to me. They tour and I go to see them play. It doesn’t seem any different in that respect than it’s ever been. There might be a lot I’m not seeing because I’m old and I don’t make records any more. I can’t see anyone’s creativity being pushed on. 

You’ve brought up your experience being over medicated as a child. How do you think it effected your development? Do you think labels and medication are helpful for a neuro- divergent child, or did you find it more of a hinderance?

I was given a lot of Ritalin. When I was young, they were fairly throwing it down my neck. I cannot speak to what it might have done to me with any authority as I’m not a doctor but it did keep me from eating and I think that had an effect on my growth. Again, I’m simply not qualified to speak on medications and those being medicated. I have a feeling I was one thing but being medicated for something else. At this point, if I were somehow prescribed a medication for my brain, I’d never go near it. 

In 2019, you spoke about the “strong silent type” and the harm it can have on men, what do you think defines masculinity for you, or what should men strive for in today’s age?

I think both men and women, at least in the “Western World” are marketed to up to the gills. In those endless pitches, an identity via consumerism can be established. Men are supposed to do this, wear this, smell like this, like this, not like that, etc. Someone’s making money and someone else is getting played. What if men were to completely throw out the idea of masculinity, or at least treat it as merely an exercise in branding, and just be themselves. Their orientation and hormonal balance will probably steer them where they need to go, they don’t need to look at an advertisement or listen to some stupid thing their father told them (I’m projecting here) and they can just be who they are. What to strive for? Maybe a life without the role playing. 

What kind of stories and tales can your fans expect upon your return to Aus in June and July?

I’ve always got a lot to say. I’ll be about 170 shows into the tour at that point, so I should be pretty well oiled.

See what Henry Rollins has to say on his upcoming tour

Tickets are on sale now!

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Interview with Joe Sumner

We’re proud to announce the release of a new LIVE EP from Joe Sumner, Feelin’ The Love, Tastin’ The
Fear. The 5-track affair is an unfiltered chronicle of a performance in France in November 2022, complete with Sumner's undeniable raw energy and French language repartee played to a lively and engaged audience. The tracks will be featured on Sumner’s debut studio album, Sunshine In The Night, due out later this year.

The EP release runs concurrently with a 3-month string of tour dates in support of Sting, and spanning no less than 10 time zones, taking him from Abu Dhabi to South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Singapore and more.

Now living in Los Angeles, Joe maintains “proud dad” status, while churning out highly listenable indie folk pop masterpieces, including “Hope,” the studio version of which had a hot point during the 2020 Election, co-opted by the Biden campaign and concurrently used as source material for a star studded video clip featuring folks like Gaby Moreno, Ben Folds, Juliana Hatfield and Joe’s dad, in a heartfelt singalong. MSNBC Morning Joe premiered the video, which also featured the show’s Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski.

2 more tracks, “You You You” and “Looking For Me, Looking For You,” also to be featured on Sunshine In The Night and performed live in Strasbourg, were ceremoniously rolled out in 2022 with the help of American Songwriter, Rolling Stone and others amid an almost ceaseless touring agenda supporting Sting and playing solo dates in EU, UK and stateside.

Kicking off his musical career in London in the nineties, Sumner has spent far more than the perfunctory 10,000 hours perfecting his craft. There, he formed a band called Santa’s Boyfriend, which subsequently became the beloved trio, Fiction Plane. The band enjoyed a moment, well, several years of moments, a few record labels, a small handful of releases, a well-cultivated fan base and an 18-month tour supporting another trio, The Police before parting ways.

Joe Sumner’s Feelin’ The Love, Tastin’ The Fear is out now…

Joe Sumner will open for his father Gordon Sumner (aka Sting) on all his Australian dates. The tour kicks off tonight in Perth.

Sting dates are:

10 and 11 February, Perth, Kings Park & Botanic Gardens
15 and 16 February, Sydney, Aware Super Theatre
18 February, Hunter Valley, A Day On The Green
19 February, Mount Cotton, A Day On The Green
21 February, Adelaide, Entertainment Centre
23 February, Melbourne, Rod Laver Arena
25 February, Mt Duneed, A Day On The Green
26 February, Bowral, A Day On The Green


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Interview with Michael Amott (Arch Enemy)

ARCH ENEMY are bigger and better than ever.

Delivering a maelstrom of diamond-hard riffing wrapped around cinematic melodies, thunderous drumming and towering vocals, ARCH ENEMY are unstoppable and sound incredibly energized and they are headed back to Australia and New Zealand in February 2023.

Here’s how Kerrang hailed the band’s new album Deceiver s “Deceivers slays from start to finish and is essential listening for metalheads yearning for a soundtrack to wring their necks to.”

With Alissa White-Gluz out front for nearly ten years now, the guitar wizardry of Michael Amott and Jeff Loomis, and the thundering rhythm section of Daniel Erlandsson (drums) and Sharlee D’Angelo (bass), Arch Enemy sound fresh and hungry, continually proving they are masters of their craft.

“Arch Enemy were spectacular. Alissa is a ball of energy who never stops moving, jumping here and there, and headbanging her blue hair.” Metal Wani

“… the pure force that is Arch Enemy.” Heavy Mag

“Arch Enemy do PURE FU*KING METAL and they do it to the highest standard possible” Wall of Sound

ARCH ENEMY February 2023 Tour Dates

Sunday February 12th – AUCKLAND – Powerstation

Tuesday February 14th – Adelaide – Governor Hindmarsh

Wednesday February 15th – BRISBANE – Tivoli Theatre

Friday February 17th – SYDNEY – Metro Theatre

Saturday February 18th – MELBOURNE – Forum Theatre

Sundy February 19th – FREMANTLE – Metropolis

Presale: Wednesday 12 October at 9:30 AM AEDT

General public on sale: Thursday 12 October at 11:00AM AEDT

Tickets from: https://davidroywilliams.com/tours/arch-enemy-2023/ or https://metropolistouring.com/arch-enemy-2023/

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Interview with Justin Currie (Del Amitri)

Hi guys.  Thanks so much for making the trek out to Australia and New Zealand, and we're looking forward to the gigs in February.  I am the token Aussie in an otherwise Scottish household with immediate family from Cranhill, East Kilbride and even my son was born in the Southern General so I have been indoctrinated into all things Scottish over the years.

I distinctly remember a news article on Australian television sometime in the 80's which was talking about how huge Del Amitri were in Scotland and it had subtitles as the reporter interviewed you and some fans on the streets of Glasgow.  Have you found your Scottishness a hindrance, or a help on the international stage over the years?

I think that might have been an Austrian programme in the 1990s but you might be right. I think our Scottish identity was an enormous help. It kind of kept us separate from the slew of English college rock bands of the late eighties and early nineties. We were more likely to be lumped in with Hothouse Flowers than say, The Wonder stuff or someone. So that Celtic thing gave us a niche authenticity or something. I mean, there’s nothing authentic about anything in pop but it helped us stand out nonetheless.

Have you ever been tempted to be part of the “80's nostalgia” circuit like so many other artists?

Our first hit was at the dawn of the new decade so we’re not really seen as an eighties act. We slipped between a lot of stools which helped us. We didn’t date quickly like other bands from defined scenes. We were just these plodders who wrote half-decent tunes. We kept having radio hits right through grunge and Britpop. But we’re not really a nineties act either. We’re on a side road, behind the big trees.

You've had reunion tours in 2014 and 2018.  Why has it taken you 30 years to return to Australia?

Nobody called us as far as I know. We’d have jumped at the chance anytime after 1990 but chance came there none. That Australian tour in 1990 was one of the greatest times of all our lives. We loved Australia, the people, the food, the beer, the music, the weed. And I got to meet one of my heroes, Grant McLennan in Sydney. I remember finding myself in nightclubs most nights after shows dancing to Suicide Blonde by INXS. We took a seaplane to a sandy bay for lunch. We met wallabies and wombats. It was kind of glamorous. And glamour is not a term ever uttered in reference to our band. I also fell in love with someone. Always the Last to Know came from that. In fact a few songs on Change Everything are very influenced by that tour. I look back on it with profound longing and the satisfaction that comes with knowing you’ve really lived.

Have you heard that in the South Island of New Zealand, they eat haggis, neeps and tatties every night?  What are you expecting from your first shows ever in New Zealand?

I did not know that. Are you pulling my leg? I have zero expectations so I’m excited to encounter it all with no prejudice. We’re overjoyed that we’ll finally see a bit of NZ. I’ve never met a Kiwi I didn’t like. Maybe I’ll find out they send all the nice ones abroad to make a good impression and the rest are actually bastards.

Biffy Clyro have been flying the flag for Scottish music for some years.  Who do you see being the next Scottish band to make it big?

Honestly I have no idea. I mean I’ve seen Biffy on the telly and they seem to make a good racket but I really don’t know the first thing about them. If I don’t know that what chance do I have of giving you reliable information?

You've been touring for the best part of 40 years.  How does “mature” Del Amitri do things differently to in the early days?

Sadly I can’t drink after shows any more. I really miss that, unwinding and maybe going out for a while. But I’m too old to socialise at all around gigs. I’m actually in my bed within an hour of most gigs I do. Iain still quaffs a bit of whiskey, bless him. Andy still opens a bottle of red an hour before shows. I tend to walk about during the day now where before we’d have been doing stuff for the record company. So I’ve seen a bit more which I love. Iain sometimes brings his bike and goes exploring. We wouldn’t have done that in the nineties. No time or too hungover.

Your songs and lyrics have meant so much to so many people.  I personally have been at more than one funeral where Nothing Ever Happens was played. How does it feel to represent or speak for a generation like that?

I love it when people tell me a song has meant a lot to them. That’s the prize for the whole effort. If a song moves one person it was worth the writing. But those songs don’t represent or speak for a generation. Some of them just catch the odd ear in a soup of nonsense. What these ears are doing in the soup is anyone’s guess.

My husband started a Facebook group, Scots In Victoria and there are now 3000+ members, it would be amazing if you gave them a shoutout at your Melbourne show.

It might be but I guarantee you I’ll forget.

We will look forward to seeing you soon and thanks for having a chat to us today.

Pleasure and thank you.

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Interview with Björn Gelotte (In Flames)

IN FLAMES represent the best of metal’s past, present, and future. New Wave Of Swedish Death Metal architects and innovative purveyors of groove, hard rock, and melody, the band’s artistry, influence, and stature loom as large as the vibrant style’s horizons. The widely recognized titans boast an impressive and diverse catalog celebrated internationally. IN FLAMES are as vital (and even more energized) today than when they unleashed classics like Come Clarity and Clayman in decades past.

“IN FLAMES are one of the few bands to successfully pull off a radical stylistic shift and not only maintain but actually grow their fan base, while also staying true to the band’s core sense of self,” Revolver Magazine wrote in 2020, saluting their dual status as hooky hard rock heroes and melodeath icons.

The continued popularity of anthems like ‘Only for the Weak’ (72 million streams on Spotify alone), ‘Cloud Connected,’ ‘Alias,’ ‘I Am Above,’ ‘Pinball Map,’ ‘Zombie Inc.,’ ‘Artifacts of the Black Rain,’ and ‘Come Clarity’ demonstrates how much the fans embrace the diversity of In Flames

The songwriting duo of singer Anders Fridén and guitarist Björn Gelotte (both of whom appear on every IN FLAMES release since 1995) persists as one of the most potent creative teams in heavy music.

Foregone, the furious fourteenth studio album, combines the greatest aggressive, metallic, and melodic strengths of their landmark records with the seasoned songwriting of their postmodern era.

“In a way, it sounds stupid to say we wanted to be more ‘metal,’ because we always felt that we were,” Fridén observes. “Over the last couple of years, the world became even more hostile and evil in certain ways. We have a war in Europe. People, in general, are more stressed. All of that energy and anger helped fuel this album. We went in to make something on point, heavier, and yes, ‘more metal.’”

Gelotte concurs. “We made an aggressive album. We kept the dynamics, some big epic choruses, heavy guitars, lots of kick drums, and melodies. That’s who we are and who we’ve always been.”

Foregone is the second IN FLAMES album with bassist Bryce Paul and drummer Tanner Wayne, the first with ex-MEGADETH guitarist Chris Broderick, and the third with Grammy-winning producer Howard Benson (MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE, THREE DAYS GRACE). Mike Plotnikoff (ALL THAT REMAINS, WARBRINGER) engineered at Benson’s West Valley Recording Studios. Joe Rickard (10 YEARS, STARSET, DIAMANTE), who played drums for IN FLAMES from 2016 through 2019, handled mixing duties.

“Tanner is the best drummer we’ve ever had,” Fridén says proudly. “I don’t say that to diss anyone that came before. Tanner has so much energy and there is so much stuff going on all of the time. Bryce is an amazing bass player, really, really heavy, with a good feel. Chris comes in with all of his knowledge of the guitar. His solos are way different from Bjorn’s and the combination of those two guys just works perfectly. It’s easy to do what I do on top of it because the foundation is so solid.”

Songs like ‘State of Slow Decay,’ ‘End the Transmission,’ ‘Bleeding Out,’ ‘Meet Your Maker,’ and ‘The Great Deceiver’ pulsate with hypnotizing power and furious anger. There’s desperation, a raw nerve exposed, brought on by the chaotic dystopia of post-pandemic society.

“This album is about lost time. Everything is going in the wrong direction,” Fridén explains. “We can’t make up for the lost time. That’s why the album is called Foregone. We’re destined to end. That realization creates different emotions – panic, frustration, fear. ‘Scary’ isn’t a horror movie or an angry metal guy screaming. The real horror is what’s going on in the news from around the world. We are basically doomed. The album is about the few moments we have left and what we do with them.”

The melodic guitars, crushing riffs, and high-speed tempos that define much of the IN FLAMES catalog first crystalized on their second album, The Jester Race (1996), complete with hints of the catchy choruses to come. Whoracle (1997) is the rawest and arguably heaviest IN FLAMES album from the 90s.

Metal Hammer declared melodeath masterpiece Colony (1999) “an undisputed fireball of an album.” Clayman (2000) introduced synths and more prominent clean vocals, with accessible hooks, without sacrificing the band’s overall intensity, resulting in their first Top 20 album in Sweden. Reroute to Remain (2002) took the groove element even further and broadened the American audience.

Soundtrack to Your Escape (2004) expanded the arena rock bombast. Come Clarity (2006) is a perfect metalcore slab, as majestic as the American bands IN FLAMES inspired. Even as it stepped away from death metal, A Sense of Purpose (2008) delivered some of the band’s best and most eclectic songs.

The gothic groove metal of Sounds of a Playground Fading (2011) paved the way for the unapologetic arena rock of Siren Charms (2014) and Battles (2016), albums full of Active Rock hooks. Fans of the more aggressive side of IN FLAMES heralded I, the Mask (2019) as a return to form. Foregone masterfully, if improbably, manages to serve all sides of the IN FLAMES fanbase, with powerful force.

“We’ve had our fair share of times when we were trying to please others,” Fridén reflects. “‘You should write with other people. You should go after radio.’ We tried it but it wasn’t for us. With this album, we didn’t even think about anyone else or any of that.” The major strength of Foregone, and of IN FLAMES altogether, continues to lie in the long partnership between the singer and guitarist.

“Bjorn and I have 100 percent trust in each other,” Fridén says. “He can give me a piece of music and know that I will give him something back he’ll feel proud about. I know his way of playing and it’s something I love singing on. He’s from that Ritchie Blackmore, Jimmy Page school of soulful, bluesy guitar players. And he has a good melodic sense. I know him inside and out and I love him to death.”

 Both men continue to follow their own compass. “It’s impossible to please everybody. So the most important question to ask is always, ‘Do we like it?’” Gelotte points out. “If I didn’t like the music we play, I couldn’t believe in it. It’s a lot of time away from family. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t love it. That’s why we’ve been able to do it for such a long time; because we actually enjoy what we do.” 

The band built a stunning reputation with devastating, crowd-moving, inspired performances around the world at every major rock and metal festival imaginable, on festival tours like Rockstar Mayhem and Ozzfest, headlining multiple treks, and touring with their heroes, friends, and giants in the genre.

The band regularly headlines some of the biggest stages and festivals in the world. The list of IN FLAMES tourmates boasts SLIPKNOT, MEGADETH, JUDAS PRIEST, KILLSWITCH ENGAGE, WITHIN TEMPTATION, and LAMB OF GOD. (Over the years, they even took newer bands like GHOST & GOJIRA as support acts.)

“I’m really proud of what we achieved and that we never went away,” Fridén says reflectively. “Sometimes you’re loved, sometimes you’re not, but we always pushed ourselves and created the music we felt was awesome. I’m so proud and happy with Bryce, Tanner, and Chris, what they’ve brought into the band, on the recordings, and with their energy, and where IN FLAMES is at today.”

A sense of pride, accomplishment, and continued vitality are evident every time the band takes the stage, and all over Foregone. The album itself represents IN FLAMES of the past, present, and future.

“Not caring about anybody’s opinion but ours is a great situation to be in,” Gelotte says. “We’re confident in what we’ve done. We love what we’re doing. And we’re constantly exploring forward.”

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