Interview by Cristóbal Torres
Tailgunner is a heavy metal band born in 2019 in nothing more and nothing less than England, the cradle of the genre. In the first week of 2022, the group became known with the single: “Guns for Hire”, which made the heads of all fans of the purest and most classic heavy metal explode.
After presenting two other singles: “Revolution Scream” and “Shadows of War”, it became clear that Tailgunner has a clear mission: to give England back the brilliance that it has gradually lost as far as heavy metal is concerned.
In mid-June, the group finally released their first EP titled: CRASHDIVE (2022), a work that compiles their first three singles and features a self-titled bonus track.
The response has been so good that, in just six months of existence, Tailgunner is already preparing its first national tour with nine scheduled dates.
We are facing the greatest revelation that British heavy metal has had in almost a decade and a half.
For this reason we contacted its bassist and founder, Thomas Hewson, to talk to us about what it means today to be a heavy metal band in England and also about their long-awaited debut album.
Cristóbal Torres (CT): How did you meet and decide to create the band?
Thomas Hewson (TH): I decided in Autumn of 2018 to put together the band I’ve had in my head since I was a kid, the ultimate heavy metal, with no compromises. I then spent 2 years fine combing Europe to find the rest of the lineup.
CT: Is your name due to the Iron Maiden song or why did you decide to name the band like that?
TH: Finding a name was a very long process. I spent most of the lockdown reading a dictionary and thesaurus whilst listening to records, writing down all the cool potential names. I had over 100 but they were all already being used. Tailgunner is taken from the Maiden song, but the simple reason is: it’s a killer name.
CT: What motivated you to play traditional heavy metal?
TH: For all of us, there is no other style. We don’t think of our music as traditional heavy metal. To us, that’s how Metal is supposed to sound. it’s not a conscious choice. It’s the only thing we were ever going to do. It’s the way it’s supposed to sound.
CT: There are many bands that reject the label of Traditional heavy metal or NOWTHM, what do you think about it? Do you consider that Tailgunner can be part of that genre?
TH: Yes, we consider ourselves to be part of the scene. It’s great to see so many people around the world that crave true heavy metal.
CT: A few years ago Olof Wikstrand (founder of Enforcer) said that when he started the band, nobody was playing traditional heavy metal. I ask you guys, are there more bands like you playing traditional heavy metal in England nowadays or are you an isolated case?
TH: There are other bands playing heavy metal in England, but the scene seems far stronger in places like Sweden and Canada.
CT: In recent years we have heard many classic heavy metal bands from Sweden and Canada, but very few from England. Do you think that the genre is no longer rooted in your country?
TH: Yeah, I would agree with that. Sweden especially seems the place for great music over the last decade or so. Visiting Gothenburg recently I walked home from the city one night and passed three separate heavy metal shows. You’d be lucky to get three at the same time in the whole of England.
CT: How was the experience recording the “Revolution Scream” video clip?
TH: Loads of hard work, but even more fun. It was the first video we shot, filmed in Liverpool. For a couple of the guys, it was their first experience of shooting a video.
Seeing the crew set up driving a cherry picker around the venue made me truly appreciate the scale of the production.
The aim was to make a classic, ‘more is more’ 80’s Metal style video, and we certainly achieved that.
A credit to the lighting tech working the shoot, and the Red Visuals team that shot the video.
CT: How has been the feedback that you have had in the last half year as a result of that song?
TH: It’s been great! Equally so with “Guns for Hire”, “Shadows of War” and “Crashdive”. To be able to play two headline tours in our first 6 months as a band, and selling out multiple dates has been incredible. The CRASHDIVE EP got almost 50,000 streams in the first few days and Tailgunner continues to grow by the day. Its blown us away.
CT: How was the recording process of this EP? The sound of the singles they have presented is excellent!
TH: All four tracks are taken from the upcoming debut album, which we recorded in an old Victorian chapel, in the dead of English winter.
We moved in, with all our equipment, lived and recorded there over a couple of weeks. The chapel is surrounded by a graveyard and most of the tracking was done in the dead of night, lit only by candlelight.
It was truly the best place to record a heavy metal album and we plan to return.
CT: Do you have more songs ready apart from the ones that appear on your CRAHDIVE EP?
TH: The debut album will contain 10 tracks, our recent EP is a taste of what’s to come!
CT: You guys are about to tour the UK and you already have an excellent EP under your arm. How do you mentalize to take advantage of the opportunities that will come soon and not fall by the wayside?
TH: Full investment and unwavering commitment to the cause. We are prepared to seize every opportunity with no hesitation. Heavy metal is our life, our greatest love and our reason to exist. We are hungry, our teeth are sharp and we’re ready to attack.
CT: Thank you very much for your time! Any final words for the readers?
TH: We will make it out to play for you as soon as possible. You can help us by spreading our music so we can fill a room full of headbangers! heavy metal for eternity.