These guys are full of energy, they are hungry for Metal and for playing around, you feel it in every riff. They have bet I would say for a classic approach but they sound so true and powerful that they catch your attention from the very fast minute. They are part of what we might start calling NWOCHM, something that we also comment with Chad in these cool interview.
Hello Chad, Riot City debuts with his first full-length “Burn The Night”, how do you feel about that?
We’re all really stoked for it. It’s been a long time coming, so to finally be able to see the finish line is like we can finally breathe and just enjoy it, you know? And the single has been doing well on YouTube, which is incredibly humbling to see some of the feedback from the comments and the reviews that have come out so far. Personally, I know that I can’t wait to hold it in my hand for the first time.
Before that you have released a demo and a split with several bands. What was the feedback from that?
Maaaan that demo. It really caught a lot of traction. I wasn’t around for those days but it still comes up a lot. It’s what Riot City out there. We started getting festival offers, and doing some small tours around those, and eventually got us in touch with No Remorse, which has been the best move we’ve made as a band.
To be sincere, with that light baggage I didn’t expect a heavy metal storm as the one you unleash in “Burn The Night”
When I joined the band, it was still raw, and aggressive and in your face with every song. Then we started writing songs like “In the Dark,” and “The Hunter,” which are really melodic and more complex than the demo songs, but yet still maintaining that speed and aggressive element that made the band what it was from the beginning. There’s a good mix from the “old days” to now.
But let’s start from the beginning. Riot City is a four guys band, how did you start the project? Did you have clear from the start that heavy metal was the key for you?
I think it’s safe to say that we all agree on metal being the only thing we want to play. If you look at all of our other projects it’s all circling around different forms of metal. Cale started the band when he lived in Vancouver, but they didn’t have a name. Hockey is a pretty serious deal here, so when the Canucks got beat out in the playoffs people tore the city apart haha. So I guess he had an epiphany and was like “whoa…it’s a RIOT CITY.” And that’s how the band was born. Then he moved to Calgary and put it all back together.
You’re also in the fellow Canadian band Traveler, a great active, isn’t it?
Ya, Traveler is doing great! We actually just did the official release shows in our home base cities last weekend which were a blast. It’s really been a whirlwind of a year for me. It’s hard enough finding one band that has the vision and family-like mentality to make a dent on the metal community let alone have two doing it at the same time. It just doesn’t happen with how many moving pieces there are to pull it all together like this, so I feel extremely fortunate to be able to be in both. The coolest part for me is that both have taken completely different paths, but have reached the same point.
It’s curious because Traveler also shares great vocalist Jean-Pierre Abboud with Gatekeeper, another Canadian band. We can talk of a social & musical network or kind of coincidence?
JP’s in the exact same boat, having two active bands at the same time haha. He is literally getting off stage with us at Keep it True, into a cab, 12 hour flight, into a cab, right to the stage with Gatekeeper back in Canada. He’s a machine. But to answer the question, there’s no coincidence there. We’re a pretty tight community of musicians in Canada even though we’re all really spread out, so JP’s been on everyone’s radar for a while now. That’s kind of the beauty of Traveler is it’s comprised of musicians from a few different areas that are all on the same page. He’s a great guy to be in a band with, as well as a great talent.
It seems so. When did you start preparing the songs for your debut and how was the composition process?
Some of these songs have been written for years now haha. One of them was on the initial demo, so that’s about 4 years now. We write really organically as a unit. That’s why, if you notice, there’s no writing credits on the album, because everyone’s involved equally. There are probably 100 Riot City songs or ideas sitting in our phones and emails just waiting for there time or to be chopped for parts. Then we narrowed it down to what we wanted on the album.
So many ideas are always a great active indeed. Well, if we talk about style the first name that I suppose will come to mind to 90% of the listeners will be Judas Priest. You care about that, you feel proud or…?
Umm, it’s definitely something to be proud of. I mean being compared to a band that’s been doing it at that level for that long is never a bad thing. They’re obviously an influence, but other than vocally I don’t hear it as much as others might.
In fact, the resemblance between Cale Savy’s vocals and Ripper Owen’s vocals is quite remarkable
There are definitely some similarities. I think the power in their upper register is similar, and the vibrato.
The blasting riffs and speed melodic solos are another relevant part in your songs, they really sound powerful and addictive
Roldan and Cale just have this chemistry when they play. There’s times when we’re screwing around with a riff at jam, with no “next section” in mind and they both make the same change at the same time. It’s pretty incredible to watch to be honest. I don’t think some of our songs even need vocals. If we just let them solo over verses they’d be able to get the same point across. They’re both really good at playing with feel to get the emotion that fits the song.
Long live to twin guitars! Eight songs in the album, a number just perfect in my opinion, especially when we find no filler in it
That was the plan!!! I don’t think any band plans on there being filler, so it’s good to hear that there isn’t any. We wanted to put out a statement. People have waited long enough for this to come out, so we wanted something that was like “buckle up… you’re in for the ride now”
I also appreciate that although all the songs can be classified as heavy or US power heavy metal, you do not repeat the same scheme once and once again, every song has it own personality, right?
Definitely. The first song is about the eagle on the cover, and then there’s a song about a party, 329 is about the house the rest of the guys lived in before I was in the band. We don’t like to bottleneck ourselves into one thing. We write what we want to write about.
My favorite is The Hunter, a complex song with atmospheric moments, good melodies and some power tunes too. May be the track where you sound more like yourselves?
Good question!! I think it best describes who we are now. I hear it as the timeline of the band. It starts off really punchy and ahead of the beat. After the first chorus is very soothing and calming, almost like things are going too well. When Roldan’s solo hits, it’s like a frantic struggle and tension coming from everywhere to try and hang on and hold everything together, until finally at the end, we break through that wall and are right back on track where we left off before the middle section. It’s almost poetic.
I couldn’t describe it better than that. What are the lyrics about?
It’s kind of a play off of “Warrior of Time.” Mostly just about him being on the hunt for his prey.
The cover is also very Priest, a la Screaming for Vengeance or Turbo, isn’t it?
I can see where people are getting that idea from for sure. Honestly, that wasn’t the intention haha. We just bought a piece of art because we thought it looked awesome. It has the same elements I guess, the steel bird of Vengeance and the coloring of Turbo.
It works for me and I think is great point for you in terms of promotion anyway. Traveler, Gatekeeper, Striker, Skull Fist, Axxion, etc, etc… and now Riot City! It seems there is an eruption of heavy metal bands in Canada, we could talk of a NWOCHM (new wave of canadian heavy metal) now that this kind of terms is so much in use?
HAHA Roldan and I were just talking about that the other day. We were wondering when someone was going to come out with NWOCHM. There’s soooo much talent in this country right now, and it’s awesome to see them all doing well. Like you mentioned a few, but there’s Metalian kicking ass, Villain just released their EP which is fantastic, Hrom, Cauldron, Glare, Freeways, Spell. This list could be endless.
So we will start using the NWOCHM brand haha. I think your proposal can be very successful not only in America but also in Europe, where festivals as the Keep It True hang the sold out every year
Oliver runs an amazing festival!! We’re hopeful the album will gain traction in Europe. From what we’ve heard, it’s been doing well in presale so far, and we’re already booked to play Up the Hammers next year in Athens, which is going to be an unreal experience.
Sure! So, any tour date programmed?
As of right now, there are a few things in the works but nothing nailed down solid yet. One being a tour around the same time as Hammers so we can stay in Europe for a little while. Obviously we’d want to get out before then though, so we’ll hopefully have a better answer to this one soon!
Thanks Chad for your attention and congratulations for your debut, if you wish to add something…
Shiiiiit, being put on the spot. Umm, everyone that’s purchased the album through presale, we really appreciate it. It means the world to us to have your support, and hopefully it delivers to all of your expectations!! Catch y’all on the road eh?