Vans Warped Tour 2009: Interview – Gallows

While surviving the heat and the exhausting being that is Warped Tour, guitarist Stephen Carter talks about the band’s progress, their future and how the music industry is littered with terrible artists that don’t belong.

Gallows1Photos Cred: Jeff Parsons

How does it feel to be the British piece of the Vans Warped Tour flag?

It feels really good actually cause’ there’s like a few British bands doing the tour this year. But, I think we’re the stand out band because we’ve done the tour before. When we done it the first the time we made quite a big impact. We toured America a few times after and coming back this time, we’ve been billed one of the bigger bands on the tour. Its awesome you know, it’s an incredible thing for us and hopefully, we’re gonna capitalize off this Warped Tour to make a jump to doing bigger headliner shows in the future in the States and in Canada.


Did you guys ever see yourself playing the tour when you first started?

To be honest, when we started the band, I didn’t even ever see us releasing an album, you know. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I’d be doing Warped Tour even for the second time and being billed really high as one of the main bands. It’s an incredible thing. I’m stoked to be here, it’s awesome.


How have you coped with the non-stop touring?

It’s really, really f*cking difficult to be honest! The last time we’ve done it was really different to this time. The last time we’ve done the whole tour, we went through Phoenix and all that and the hot states it was difficult. This time, we played two shows in California and then we went straight into Phoenix and Texas. Our lead singer (Frank Carter) got heat stroke three days into the tour, and then like, I got really bad heat problems and we’ve all been really struggling with the heat. But now that we’re moving up our way up the east coast and into Canada, the temperature has dropped and its more like it is at home and we can play all day, everyday now. We’re in a good place right now, I just don’t want to go to Florida!


How have the crowds reacted to the new stuff so far?

It’s been really, really good actually. Like the first time we’ve done Warped Tour, we weren’t well know and we’d play to like 10-15 kids waiting at the stage who came to see the spectacle of the band. While this time, we got the new album and toured America a few times before and now we got a good following behind us. Like there’s now 200 or some kids that come to see us play and know the words to every song before we even play and at the end of the set, there could be anything up to 2,000 kids there. It’s been amazing from our perspective, like coming in from the last one into this one, we didn’t know how it was gonna’ be. But we’ve just been made to feel more like home which is incredible.


How did you guys come up with so much anger to make Grey Britain seem like the terrifying monster that it is?

We just went in the studio and that’s what happened. Like we’d been off the tour for quite a while, hadn’t done anything and then we went into the studio, started writing and then a few months later we nailed what we wanted to do and we went in to record. Garth Richardson (producer) helped us bring out the aggression into play and helped us bring out the tones we needed to make the record what it is. Like we traveled the world a lot and we’ve seen good places, we’ve seen bad places, we’ve seen good music and we’ve seen f*cking shit music. Going into the studio with this record, we wanted to write the best thing we could offer. That’s what happened, Grey Britain just came straight out.


What did you listen to while writing the record?

I listened to loads of Sigur Ros and Mogwai. To be honest I don’t really listen to a lot of heavy music. I don’t like heavy music anymore because I play it everyday and when we tour, we tour with really heavy bands and it just gives me a headache now. Like the last few albums I’ve bought are Beethoven and Johan Sebastian Bach. My music perspective has totally flipped on me. But I was also just given the new Vultures United album and the new Poison The Well album and those two albums are f*cking incredible.


Do you think Grey Britain is sort of the same person as Orchestra Of Wolves?

No it’s different because for the first album Frank wrote most of the lyrics, while on this one all of us came together. Like the second album I guess is the next step we could have made musically. This is the whole band coming together as one. You can tell there’s a whole progression through the music, structure-wise and songwriting-wise and then God knows what we’re going to do for the next one.


Why did you guys feel the need to explain what’s happening in the UK through music?

There’s a lot of music out nowadays and bands are put on a pedestal where if they got something to say, people will listen. The easiest way to get a message across is to be in a band; kids listen, adults listen, everyone listens. The reason we tried so hard with this is because there were no bands around from where we’re from that had anything important to say. Like look at the music industry now, 3OH!3 are #1 in the U.S. charts. Brokencyde, Millionaires….they’re not bands. That’s not music if you ask me. Look at Anti-Flag, they got a message, they’re trying to say something and they’re doing it really well. We’ve come out, we got a message and we’re saying how shit our country is and if we don’t do something soon, it’s just gonna get worse. We’re not trying to say to anyone “here’s a problem, try and fix it”. We’re saying “here’s a problem, figure the rest out on your own”. Being in a band, you should be trying to provoke a good message. People listen to what you got to say, why would you wanna’ f*ck it up? Like these bands are writing songs about…what are the lyrics? “Just got paid, lets get laid” and Brokencyde saying something about “making my pee pee go hard”. Jesus Christ dude, what the f*ck.


Have you guys started brewing up any ideas for the next record?

I’ve been writing loads myself but it won’t make it onto a Gallows record because it kind of sounds like Bright Eyes. My girlfriend and I are writing stuff at home, so me and her are gonna’ try and see what we can come up with. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the next Gallows record, like this one just came out two months ago. I’m hoping we can start writing on the road so once we’ve finished touring, we can go in, get it recorded and go straight back onto the road. Taking 14 months to record an album is way too long.


Now its been said you guys have two more albums left in you. Is this true?

I don’t know. We’ll keep putting music out as long as people want to hear it. We could put our next record out and no one will buy it and we could be like f*ck it, lets not do this anymore. But then it could go platinum and we could be doing it for the next 20 years. Gallows will keep playing as long as our bodies can survive the live show. Could be a week, could be ten years, it all depends. But for the time being, we’re not going anywhere.


What do you hope to say to the world before Gallows fades away?

We showed people that British punk rock is not just three chords like the Sex Pistols! Yeah, we just want to show people that there is good music coming out from around the world, you just gotta’ look real f*cking hard to find it.


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