We recently had the chance to talk to Chris of Iron Kingdom. Based in British Columbia, Canada, this quartet have recently released their new album GATES OF ETERNITY. For more information visit www.ironkingdom.com
For the fans who are not familiar with Iron Kingdom, tell us a bit about the history of the band!
We named the band Iron Kingdom in 2011 just as we started to record the debut album ‘Curse of the Voodoo Queen’. We’d been playing for a number of years under a different name without any releases, just learning the ways of the industry, and playing gigs locally. We started out as a rock band just wanting to play music, and with time and new influences we became a traditional heavy metal band with the goal of bringing heavy metal back to the way we liked it best! After the release of the 1st album in Dec of 2011 we went on to tour parts of Canada and make our music video for the song ‘Voodoo Queen’. With more recognition around the world we decided to go back into the studio to record our 2nd full length album ‘Gates of Eternity’ with the hopes that it would do even better than the first! It was released in late April of 2013. So far in support of the new album we’ve played a Mini USA tour and we’re going to head out on our largest tour yet going all across Canada to do about 25 gigs! And there’s a bit of hope that we may get around to touring Europe over the next year or so.. we will see!
How was the reaction by the press, critics and fans for your debut album, CURSE OF THE VOODOO QUEEN?
We we’re actually pretty surprised with the press and critics, they seemed excited with the first album, I mean for the most part the reviews said the album was really good, with the odd suggestion for improvement and what not but in a nice way. So that was kind of a relief for me anyways, I know critics can be pretty cruel sometimes
The fans seemed to enjoy the debut as well, it’s got more of a hard rock feel to it but still metal, that’s not very common so I think a lot of people thought it was somewhat of a fresh sound for 2011, you know something different than the mainstream bullshit out there hhahaha.
In my experience, Western Canada has a strong Death/Thrash scene, so what made you want to do classic/traditional Metal? It seems you stand out as one of a very few bands doing this style.
Ahh good question, well its funny when I started the band I didn’t even know what I wanted to do, I just wanted to be in a rock band haha. Over time we just wrote and played music that was a similar style as what we loved to listened to, so I mean the sound came out of a very honest and true appreciation for Classic Metal and Hard Rock. No one ever just said hey let’s play Traditional Heavy Metal! It was more of a gradual thing that came with time. One member would start listening to a band they heard about from their friend or a relative, and say ‘Hey dude, you gotta check out this band IRON MAIDEN! they have this album Fear of the Dark it’s so awesome! I’ve got the CD in my walkman, here have a listen’ (Back when we had those amazing devices) then we’d check it out and start to really get into it! Then that band would become a small part of what made our sound.
Personally I never really got into death metal like with the growling vocals and all, I appreciate the talent in it and definitely the music is great, but I’ve always leaned more towards the classic sound of dual guitars and soaring vocals over trying to be more brutal than the other band.
Have you had much interest from Metal labels or have you deliberately stayed independent?
For now we’re a little hesitant to sign with a label, we would take any label’s seriously if they wanted to discuss us signing with them but we’d be very cautious, I mean everything that we’ve accomplished has been of our own doing, so for someone to tell us we need to change or do this or that, I don’t know if we’d be cool with that. But if they accept us for what we do and who we are then let’s talk! haha. We’ve had some interest from a major label, who knows maybe we’ll sign with them haha.
Was the song-writing and recording of your new album any easier this time around?
When we wrote the 2nd album ‘Gates of Eternity’ it was a challenging accomplishment, we wrote the majority of the album in a period of about six weeks, I believe that included tracks like Egypt, Crowned in Iron, Shadow of Death, Guardian Angel, and a couple others. All we knew was we had a theme and we had to follow up the first album with another epic! hahaha, try and out do our first epic Montezuma. So that was definitely tough, plus we had way less time to rehearse, I think Amanda had about 1 month to practice her drum parts after we wrote the songs before going into the studio to record them. Another interesting note was that unlike the first album we hadn’t even really gotten to know the songs all that well, it was like we wrote them and had to settle on what we thought was the best ideas before going into the studio, it would be too late to change anything once the drums got recorded. As far as how good the songs actually were, well we barely even knew what to expect as we got into the studio!
It wasn’t all hard though I mean we had a lot of fun doing it, and at least this time we knew more about the sounds we wanted and the process of recording an album. I think both albums had their challenges, just different ones haha.
What is the part of making album number two, GATES OF ETERNITY that you and the band are most proud of?
Well the fact that we got the chance to make a second full length album is a pretty big deal to us, we we’re extremely proud of the fact that it was written over such a short time and getting better reviews and feedback than the first album. We had improved as a band and so the songs were more technical and detailed than the first album, along with better knowledge of what we wanted to hear in the studio.
How hard was it to write an epic like ‘Egypt-The End Is Near’ that runs over 15 minutes, and to keep it interesting..not only for the listeners, but to play too?
haha well this is honestly my favourite part in the writing process! It just gets me so excited to really fully develop my ideas as to telling a story through music! I find on the shorter songs I just get started to tell the story, it’s like going to a movie theatre and watching just a preview haha sure it tells the story but what about all the twists and turns along the way?!
I don’t know why but I just love the challenge of trying to accomplish what you said, keeping it interesting for us to play and for the fans to listen to it. It’s not easy, but it’s like a mental puzzle, you have to map the song out from start to finish and really get into all the details. At times it drove me crazy to figure it all out, you have to write it about 6 times before it feels right haha. But I think some people can really hear the work that was put into the writing of the song and when they listen to it I hope it takes them on the same journey it took me. I try to change the emotions the listener feels throughout the song and I think that’s what keeps it interesting
I heard a rumour that the band had made a fairly high-profile TV appearance? Is this true and if yes, tell us about it!
Yea we were on Canada’s Got Talent. Honestly if someone said hey you can play in front of 1800 people in a huge theatre and get your song aired on TV across the nation, at no cost to you but the gas to get to the venue.. What would you say haha, we said Fuck Yea! Yea, we know it’s kind of cheesy and all but hey a gig’s a gig!
Have you shot, or any you planning to shoot a video? If yes, which cut will be the single?
Yea we did a music video for the song ‘Voodoo Queen’ off the first album. You can check it out online: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WCk42xJ171k
It has been a huge achievement for the band and we’re all really happy with how it turned out, I mean like I said before we’re not signed or anything so you have to figure out every detail on your own.
As far as making another video, one for the 2nd album.. we’ve thought about it, we can’t really guarantee there will be one, but it’s a possibility! I think Egypt would make a great video… oh wait.. your speaking of a music video, not a short film.. haha
What are the bands plans for the immediate future?
We’re going across Canada for our biggest tour yet! I believe there are close to 25 dates right now, going all the way up to the Yukon Territory, and through Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario all the way to Montreal and back home! There’s a chance we might book Quebec City as well, which would be the farthest East we’ve ever performed. We’re playing most of the major cities throughout Canada, and even some smaller ones like Prince George, BC and Lethbridge, AB. We can’t wait to hit the road!!
For more details on the Northern Kingdom Tour 2013 go to: https://www.facebook.com/events/423049737782312/