by Ryan Meehan
After three European tours, two trips across Canada and a nomination for “Best Metal Band” at the 2011 Indie Awards for their 2010 debut album “Eyes in the Night”. Strikers’ sophomore release “Armed to the Teeth” has turned heads Worldwide. Produced by multi platinum producer Michael Wagener, (Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Skid Row) Armed to the Teeth has sky rocketed Striker into the spot light. Including a direct support slot for Metallica’s two sold out shows at Rexall place in their hometown Edmonton Alberta less than 10 days after its release. Striker is at the forefront of the Canadian Heavy Metal scene for the whole world to see, and they’re our guests today in 7 questions.
RM: How did the members of Striker first get together? Who was the one artist that you can all agree was a major influence on each of you during the early stages of the band?
S: Most of us (the original members and the new members) all went to the same school or the school across the street. Ian and I wanted to make sort of an 80’s speed metal band when we had just gotten out of high school, seemed like the logical next step. After a while we got a solid line up and recorded our first EP “Road Warrior” and just went from there. I think one band we can all agree on is Iron Maiden as an influence. We always loved the two guitar frontman thing so we kind of followed that formula haha. A winning formula you know?
RM: What are the dynamic elements that are necessary when putting together a really great “classic” hard rock or heavy metal song? Are you at the point in your career where those elements occur naturally, or do you feel as musicians that is one of the challenges even the greatest bands have to work through every time they write new material?
S: Ha! I have no idea. The way I write music is pretty much completely spontaneous. Usually the only thing I think when sitting down to write is, well….I want to write a fast song, pick a tempo and just see what happens. Sometimes it’s great sometimes it’s real shitty. I think the dynamics sort of come out naturally, after listening to metal for so long you kind of just know what feels right as far as what should come next in a song I guess. I often think that I should be putting in more time into the songwriting but there are bands that are awesome and then try and up their “songwriting” and churn out some shit that is far from what people love them for. I guess there is no wrong way to do it though, it is art in the end.
RM: Let’s talk about the new disc for a second…The cover of the new album looks to me like it’s a drawing of a corpse having gold poured into its eyes out of what appears to be a UFO or a sombrero with hieroglyphics painted on the side of it…Who did that piece; and how far am I off in my assessment of the situation that’s taking place there?
S: God damn man that is really far off hahaha. The artwork was done by Eliran Kantor. “City of Gold” is a song about the Mayan religion which is pretty badass if you look into it. The artwork was a take on the idea of the “City of Gold” something like a curse, turning everything to gold. The “UFO” is a ceremonial mask that is pouring gold onto a Shaman type dude. You know, metal shit.
RM: How was the approach to the production of this record different than that of your last offering “Armed to the Teeth”?
S: This time around we went for a more modern sound. We wanted the big heavy drums and guitars and all that. I think that’s the biggest difference, most people seem pretty stoked on it. Some people miss the more retro sound from the older records but it is what it is.
RM: What’s the biggest compliment that you have ever received from a fan that has seen you live? Why did that particular accolade mean so much to you?
S: People have told us we are their favourite band, which is by far the best compliment! And it does mean a lot to us, to have our music be a big part of someone else’s life, that’s huge!
RM: In a three and a half star out of five review of the new album in New Noise Magazine, the individual who listened to the disc stated “Unfortunately, Striker can’t quite break out of its own shell. The obvious hero-worship makes some of the riffs feel a bit familiar, and other moments feel like they were tailor-made for the end stages of a Guitar Hero game…”. When you read something like that about music that is obviously your creation, do you take it as just being one person’s opinion or do you ever view it as input that you can use as constructive criticism?
S: Hahaha well he didn’t say it was bad so that’s ok I guess. The dude could have said it was a shit sandwich and I’d be ok with that. Just stoked that they took the time out to listen to the record and write about it. Different folks different strokes you know? Maybe we do need to break out of our own shell…whatever that would be haha.
RM: How would you best describe the musical direction this band is headed in? When it comes to the overall sonic landscape of the music, in what ways will the sound of the band be similar to the product that you’re putting out now? In what ways do you hope it will be different?
S: Shit’s going to get really weird on the next album, we have some pretty wacky ideas so we’ll see how that goes. We will always be a Heavy Metal band in the end, we do want to explore more elements of the genre though, since we can and there’s no rules we need to follow.
RM: What’s up next for the band in the remainder of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
S: We have some music videos coming out, so look out for that. We aren’t an overly serious band when it comes to music videos, so most of our music videos are pretty fucked. The next one coming is like a Rambo/Predator/Kung-fu homage with some ass kicking. Hopefully people like it haha. Other than that we are looking to start up the touring machine again in 2015 and get out there and shred!
Purchase “City of Gold”: http://shop.napalmrecords.com/striker
Official Website: www.striker-metal.com
Striker on Facebook: www.facebook.com/strikermetal
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