Barn Burner – Kevin Keegan
Interviewed by EvilG
All photos courtesy of Barn Burner
Hailing from Canada’s heavy metal capital, Montreal, Barn Burner are a new band to Metal Blade Records that provides a refreshing change of pace. While their bio claims they are a “3 headed love child of Iron Maiden, Thin Lizzy and Fu Manchu” there is just as much Black Sabbath and Priestess (another great Montreal band) in their style. The band’s album BANGERS was originally released on New Romance for Kids Records but with their signing to Metal Blade, BANGERS is now being released under their banner. I got to speak with the band vocalist/guitarist, Kevin Keegan.
Hello to you there in Montreal, hope you’re ready for some Q-n-A with us today! So lets start with the simple, what is a "Barn Burner"? Is it a literal name or a metaphor for something such as success?
Success indeed, a very successful party! It is just supposed to suggest a real ripping party and the soundtrack to go with it.
When I first heard your music, besides the obvious Black Sabbath influence, one other great Quebec band came to mind, and that is Priestess. Have you played with them much or been at all influenced by what they’ve done? Or is it more that you both share a number of the same influences?
We toured for 4 weeks with Priestess and I found it was just long enough to steal the majority of their riffs and use them for Barn Burner songs. Jokes aside, they are indeed an influence to us among other things. I’d say our influences are different enough that we don’t sound too similar, Mikey is way to into really obscure 60s and 70s prog rock.
Since you’ll be a new band to most of our readers can you tell us the story about how & when you guys met and developed the Barn Burner sound?
We met through mutual friends and just wanted to play fun heavy metal. We started out with more of a classic rock thrust but eventually came to want something a bit fiercer.
Since your inception has the band maintained a consistent sound or is what we have on BANGERS an evolution from where things began?
Bangers is definitely an evolution from where we first began, you can sort of see the change within the album. Some of the songs have more of a boogy rock vibe and some of them are more rooted in metal. The same will be true for the next record, a movement towards all things faster and heavier.
What do you call your style (stoner metal, rawk, metal, hard rock…) or do you prefer to leave the naming conventions to fans and journalists?
We have been tossed into the stoner metal genre and I don’t disagree with that but we never sought out to classify ourselves.
Did you except that a label like Metal Blade would be interested in a band of your style?
Not at all, they were the last label I would have thought might be into us. I think they are stoked to have a band on the roster that is a little bit different, it’s worked well for both of us.
What doors have opened for you thus far thanks to signing to the world renown label Metal Blade?
Nothing really happened over night, things have been getting better gradually. We still have a lot of work to do ourselves, just because we have a great label doesn’t mean people are going to assume we are a good band.
Is the album title “bangers” a nod to the fans of metal, “headbangers”?
Yes, the concept behind the record is a world in which all the world leaders are replaced by bangers and the earth becomes a cesspool of beer and death metal.
With the album called BANGERS, is there a plan to have a song called “Bangers”??
No, I think we’ll just leave that as the title of this record.
Tell me about the song entitled “Brohemoth”? I immediately got a chuckle with the title as it of course brings to mind “Behemoth”. If a Behemoth is a “huge or monstrous person or thing” then is a Brohemoth the same thing except it comes in the form of your brother? Or is it just meant to mean something that is awesome?
The idea behind the song is a sort of post-apocalyptic setting where the end of the world is something in which is celebrated and embrace. The Brohemoth is then like a synthesis of the biblical chaos monster Behemoth with something just as menacing but in which you can share a beer with and watch as the earth crumbles into nothingness.
What are some of the things that inspired the lyrics on BANGERS beyond the obvious booze, broads, and Beelzebub?
Haha, there is a little bit of all of those things for sure. Alongside the fun and funny themes I tend to write about things that I feel are worth writing about such as animal rights, drug and alcohol abuse, religion, the trials and tribulations of trying to be a full time musician.
How did the album cover for BANGERS take shape? Has anyone actually carved that scene into wood for you yet or is it just digital artwork?
It was carved into a mighty oak many centuries ago and we discovered it while spelunking in the Appalachians! Haha, yeah it was drawn by hand by our good friend and multi-talented artist Cody Fennell. He came up with the character you see there on the cover, he is our mascot Bernard Burner.
Often when a geographic location starts pumping out bands, there is a common thread amongst them. Sometimes this is because a label will sign every band that is like one of the successful ones, sometimes it’s because the area actually has a sound. Do you think that the Montreal hard rock / metal scene shares any common threads in sound, style, or approach?
I don’t think there is enough going on in Montreal in terms of what we are doing to warrant a mass signing based on that. Bands like us, Priestess, and Trigger Effect are some of the only ones doing anything remotely similar to each other in Montreal and even then we are very different bands.
One of the styles that I think of when I think of bands from Montreal is technical death metal (Quo Vadis, Martyr, etc…). Do you play shows with those kind of bands or draw upon the same audience or do you find that the scene is polarized?
Polarized in a big way. Technical death metal is the genre of choice in Montreal for sure, they have the market cornered. I love that stuff but I think they probably think we are a bunch of pussies because we don’t have any break downs or blast beats.
You have some eastern Canadian dates coming up but you’re not making it all the way out east to Newfoundland – is it just too hard to go there because it’s an island?
I’d love to come to Newfoundland! We have yet to talk to a promoter out there who would be willing to have us.
What band(s) are you going to be touring with in 2010 and what bands would you like to tour with?
We can’t announce anything yet but hopefully we will be on the road all summer. I would love to tour with many bands, too many to name.
Is Barn Burner, or music, now your “jobs” or are you still “weekend warriors”?
It is far from our job, we want it to be though! Hopefully in the coming months we will be touring enough to get by financially.
Musically, where do you think Barn Burner will head – a BANGERS re-do, more rock orientated, or more metalized?
Things are getting faster and heavier but if you like Bangers I don’t think you’ll be disappointed in the next one.
How much of the BANGERS follow-up is written and what can you tell us about it?
It is completely written and we are really excited to head back into the studio. It is going to rule.
Will your next album also be on Metal Blade?
To close, what kind of metal fan do you think should check out Barn Burner?
The kind who loves to drink beer.