Every song has a story to tell, especially when they’re written by Whitby progressive metal outfit PROTEST THE HERO. The band’s material has always fed off the conceptual, indulging in abstract ideas that stretch creative limits with each track high-fiving the one before them. But every story has a twist; while hibernating in the studio, we caught up with vocalist Rody Walker who discussed the effects of motivation, old extended plays and how the group’s upcoming record doesn’t revolve around a particular concept.
Between comedic video blogs and an under construction website, fans are left in the dark about what you’ve been up to. Is it all part of the suspense?
I guess so. Its not strategic. It might seem that way but with this kind of thing it just always comes down to so much bullshit and everything that could go wrong is going wrong. We spent way too much time in f*cking Stoney Creek, I’m so sick of this God damn place. I can’t wait for this record to be finished so I can get the f*ck out of here. The Internet silence is because we’re just sick of being cooped up and we’re going nuts. I guess we just don’t want to expose the Internet to that side of us.
You’ve been pressured before to create a more commercial album, have you given in this time?
Oh no, not even close. This is definitely some of the most complicated stuff we’ve ever written. It’s over the top in every respect. Commercially, it won’t be very successful; were not going to be selling f*cking Lady Gaga records because integrity doesn’t sell like that. It’s definitely less commercial than anything we have ever done.
You’ve released a tab book essentially teaching others how to play your music, yet you claim that it’s scary how kids are learning to play your material. Are they fueling your fire?
I guess so. To be honest, I have nothing to do with the tab book. That’s Luke and Tim’s baby and they love it. I know what interview you’re taking about. I do think it’s scary because they’re going to leave us behind in the dust and this my career. It is amazing and I’m happy to do it although it will leave me penniless.
Do those kids push you to be even more progressive?
To some degree. I think it really pushes us to just keep striving for that song in our heads, to keep writing the music we want to write. These kids need someone to look up to in the right directions for artistic motivation. They don’t want bands who are just writing more commercial stuff because of the pressures around them, but bands that are doing whatever the f*ck they want to do. We have to maintain that mindset and write the songs we want to write.
With two concept albums prior to the new one, should we expect something similar this time around?
That’s actually where the biggest deviation is going to lie. There are a couple surprises; the album is not conceptual at all. It’s basically lost ramblings of ideas and us trying to make them rhyme.
The concepts of your past two albums seem reminiscent of a time long ago; does the new record draw any parallels to the world we live in today?
Absolutely. I think to be quite honest, one problem we had with Fortress was it was hard to associate yourself with the lyrics because its about a goddess and mythology. Even though I do think it’s relevant, it’s hard for people to associate with. It was even hard for myself. There’s a lot of first-person scenarios in the new album that I personally connect with more.
With your upcoming album being titled your third, what do you consider everything released prior to Kezia to be, namely A Calculated Use of Sound?
I consider that to be a calculated pile of horseshit (laughs). I think when we say “released” were referring mainly to full length albums. A Calculated Use of Sound was just a small EP that five young gentlemen slapped together, recorded in four days and farted out.
Is that why none of your older music is on the live album?
I guess so. I think the biggest part was we just don’t play them. They’re so old and I don’t know if we could even really remember how to play them. We’ve blocked that era of our childhood out of our minds.
We’ve grown so much over the year as people and musicians that playing those songs would really be a regression. I appreciate the people who have been with us all the way, but I think they can understand the distinction between A Calculated Use of Sound and the direction we’ve been headed in the past ten years and where we are headed now.
Are you inclined to play new material in the new year? You do have 18 consecutive tour dates in Europe come January.
So excited (laughs). I love Europe, but 18 days back to back? Really?
Sort of like the old days playing Warped Tour.
Not as many terrible bands as Warped though (laughs). Europe will be the first to hear the new songs, not that we’re excluding Canada or the United States, it just works that way. We have to get comfortable playing the new stuff live because those crowds are an opportunity for us now. No matter where, we have to practice. We just have to.
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