Thursday 15 March 2012

Rise To Remain // Interview & Live Review

Rise To Remain have had a great past year; they've released their debut album, signed to EMI, and welcomed two new members into the band. It was their first time playing at Fibbers in York so Est.1987 caught up with front-man Austin Dickinson to talk "City of Vultures", the new line-up, oh, and the time he got "stuck in a washing machine"!

Hey Austin, you’re about half way through the tour now- how’s it gone so far?
It's been great! The Heaven Shall Burn guys are amazing,  Adept, Malefice, Cytota- all the guys that we've had out on the road are really, really cool. Everyone's been gelling well which is the most you can ask for on a tour this size, like five bands. So, it's been great, all the cities have been fantastic, everyone's come down, rocked out, drunk beer, left, and we'll see them next time. And, as you say we're half way through so the good vibes are going. 

Front-man Austin Dickinson
It is quite a hefty line-up on this tour- with 5 bands including you guys…
Yeah, fitting people on stage is a bit of a challenge sometimes, but our TM [tour manager] and every TM on this tour is amazing and really accommodating, so it's been good. 

You’ve played a lot of big stages at festivals- what’s it like going from that to playing on a tour like this, in more intimate venues?
I think for us there's not that much of a difference apart from space. Maybe I get a little bit more nervous in places like this because you can see everyone and everyone can see you. It's this trust you have towards the crowd, because no offence to the larger stages but you can't really hear everyone anyway. But here you just hear everything. If you miss a cue, and everything goes deadly, then you have to try and rescue it. I guess it takes a bit more attention to detail in someways, but it's cool. 

You’ve recently had a bit of a lineup change and Josh and Adam are now in the band- how is it having these guys with you now? Refreshed the band?
Yeah, totally! It's been a really cool experience working with those guys. Obviously some of the fans are going to miss Pat and Joe, but these guys are absolutely brilliant and man do they bring it. It's been a pleasure playing with them and it's really cool just to have a bit of new blood going round the band; it's really encouraging and positive. 

Your first releases were EPs that you kinda of released yourself through Myspace  but your album "City of Vultures" you worked with Colin Richardson and Carl Bown – how was that?  Guess it was a different experience?
It was; I guess it was just a much longer process, and in someways it required a much finer attention to detail because we were working with such a world renowned producer. For us, he was our number one guy and to actually have him want to produce us was a bit of a shock and we just went into mental preparation; preparing everything, making sure everything was absolutely watertight. Because it was our debut as well there was a lot more weight to it than just a four track EP, so it was definitely different but a really cool experience. 

Carl told me to ask about the time Austin got stuck in the washing machine?!
[Laughing] I didn't actually get stuck in a washing machine: basically I think I drove Carl mental when we were recording. I think I actually drove him insane because we spent so long at his house. He was just the most amazing host and treated us really well, but by the end of it we'd spent so long on this project. I was messing about with the mic one day and was running back and forth in between it and sounded like I was stuck in a washing machine.

As I said, you released your first offering virally using Myspace- what role would you say social media has in the band now? I guess it’s changed with the decline of Myspace?
I'd say that Facebook, Twitter, all those things are really important to us because it means that we can connect with our fans and I think that requires a lot of attention these days because there's just so many bands out there. Having that exposure, you don't have to, quote on quote- be someone anymore to get widespread exposure, where as twenty years ago you had to be a big band if you wanted to get known and play shows. Nowadays you can just set up an account and go at it. So, I think it's really really important to keep on top of that and make sure that, amongst a sea of other bands you're really catering to your fan base and making sure you know what they want because that's what it's all about. 

You guys have had great support from Kerrang! and Metal Hammer – do you feel working alongside them, releasing downloads, has helped increase your fanbase because you guys have taken that DIY approach?
Ben & Austin on stage in York
Yeah, definitely, I think self promotion is such a powerful tool these days; but there's still a lot of be said for institutions like Kerrang! and Metal Hammer putting your name out there because they're a trusted medium. When you see a band in there, for like a die hard reader, you are going to go check them out. So we're very thankful to them for that. because it got a lot of people that we wouldn't have necessarily been able to reach out to for a long time, or ever, in to our band.

You’re now signed to EMI. I’ve spoken to bands before that have gone from doing everything themselves to then working with a big label and they said they found it hard to let go of the control because they were so used to handling everything themselves? How has it been for you?
I think that there's so much going on with us and we're so busy that we're already working our asses off and to have EMI on board, who are such a great label and really work their artists and really nurturing to UK artists then it’s great. That's very cool. And I get asked a lot if the musical side of things is affected by EMI and it's not at all. The truth is they actually signed us off the back of the record; it had been recorded and done for about six months by the time they'd heard it and when they did they really liked it and wanted to work with us. It was cool to be signed to a label of that calibre off the back of what you'd already done.

You’ve got an exciting year ahead- Warped tour, Download- are you looking forward to it and what else can we expect from you guys this year?
Yeah, The Warped Tour, Download Festival which is going to be amazing, I can't wait. Opening the main stage is like my dream just playing that stage. Other stuff we’re doing; Rock Hammering, Rocking Park, Sonisphere Spain, other things I can't mention, but we've got a lot of stuff in the pipeline. I think we made a promise to a lot of people that in 2012 we'd go everywhere. 

Which bands would you recommend that we check out?
Check out The Safety Fire who are like our buds from back home. We had them out on the last headline tour and they killed it. And check out Bleed From Within who are the biggest bunch of f**ks. They're hilarious, they're mean, they're mean, they're fighting angry metal machines. Go check them out, they're great!

Thanks Austin!

And here’s what happened when Rise To Remain took to the stage…

Guitarist Ben Tovey
“Thanks for popping our Fibbers cherry in style, York” announces Rise To Remain’s front-man Austin Dickinson at the end of the band’s stirring set. The sweat laden crowd, partly on a high, partly subdued because it was all over too soon, have well and truly worn themselves out.

From the moment RTR take to the stage with “Illusive Existence”, until the closing notes of “Bridges Will Burn”, it is one giant surge of music energy. The action on stage stirs an infectious attitude that reaches every member of the audience in some way; from those down in the pit, to the more restrained fans watching from the sidelines.

After a number of EPs, RTR’s debut album was finally released last year and, much to the crowd’s pleasure their set is heaving with tracks from it such as “Illusions” and crowd favourite “City of Vultures”. Despite their relatively young age, the band perfectly commands the stage, from Ben Tovey’s intricate guitar solos, to Austin’s blend of clean and screaming vocals.

On stage in York

With its piercing chorus and complex guitar riffs, single “Talking in Whispers” [released 9th April], is played alongside older material such as “Purify”. RTR are able to bottle this raw energy and transfer it down onto record. However, their live stage show is something which needs to be enjoyed in its entirety; from the spontaneous ambling up amps to Austin demanding the entire venue put their arms around one another.

Austin on stage at Fibbers

“With the dawn of a new day rising”:  the lyrics to “Bridges Will Burn” and RTR’s final song. Afterwards Austin fittingly introduces the two newer members of the band, Josh and Adam, who have fitted in seamlessly here tonight. If anything, the band’s sound and determination is now even more refreshed and this is the dawn of a new RTR; set to have one hell of a year! It was their first time playing Fibbers and the doting crowd wonder what took them so long, and when will they be back? RTR- they came, they partied, they conquered!