May 25, 2010 - 4:40 pm
We’re sorry to announce that Hail The Villain has had to cancel their appearances in Toronto and Montreal on May 25 and 26. Unfortunately, the band is stuck in Pennsylvania with vehicle troubles and won’t be back on the tour until Friday. Lacuna Coil will be continuing their dates as planned, and you should definitely go out and see them!
We will announce some new dates in Toronto and Montreal shortly to make up for this. Thanks for your understanding.
April 29, 2010 - 11:04 am
April 8, 2010 - 1:16 am
We are a busy band these days and just wanted to give a major thanks to all of our fans for the votes and requests on radio stations in Canada and the USA! It is really exciting to hear that "Take Back The Fear" is quickly being added to the airwaves across N. America. Please keep voting and requesting our tunes!
It is also important to thank CHXX/Quebec City, 95.7 Radio X/Alma and Gatineau-Ottawa, 104.3 Radio X/Val-d'Or and 89X/Windsor. These stations added us without hesitation in the first week of release and we really appreciate the support in Canada.
We are also Clear Channels "Artist to Watch" and will be streamed on iheartradio.com on up to 350 stations across the US! There is so much going on these days that it is hard to really keep track of it all! Just know that as we prep for a year of straight touring that we will stay in touch at all times. Keep the messages coming and we will do all we can to make this year the evilest yet!
March 30, 2010 - 2:51 pm
|Today is an exciting day for the Villains. Our first single “Take Back The Fear” is now available on iTunes! Our album “Population: Declining” will be released on June 8 in North America, and we’re really glad that we can give you a taste of what’s to come…
You’ll probably be hearing Take Back The Fear on the radio in the near future, and we will be setting up an area here to get you request information. We hope to take over the airwaves with all of your help!
iTunes has given us the honour of putting our song in the ‘New and Noteworthy’ section.
Check back with us later in the day, as we will be announcing a pretty amazing tour that we will be on beginning next month!
March 14, 2010 - 10:25 pm
To all of you who had trouble getting in to our show at CMW this year we are truly sorry! We did not anticipate the level of attendance for this show and we now realize that it is a shame we played a show in Toronto at a smaller club. Honestly, we understand that many of our friends travel far distances to see us play and it is not cool that you were forced to wait in the rain or got turned away at the door.
We were really excited to finally perform in Toronto again, especially to see you all and chat it up after the show and I know I can speak for everyone in the band that we are deeply grateful to everybody who came out to support us. Please remember that we don't choose the venues we play for CMW shows. Most of the time a band is just lucky to be part of the festival.
Moving forward we will do all that we can to ensure that no one is turned away when we play a Toronto show. So many of our most dedicated fans and friends deserve better and this is not something that we ever want to see happen again.
Sincerely, Bryan, Joe, Chad and Drew
March 10, 2010 - 2:44 pm
This was a shitty day. When nothing goes the way I planned, I usually write lyrics and make myself feel better by getting all of my anger out. I am going to try something different and write about one of the best times of my life. That would be when we recorded our album inside a barn in Grand Bend, ON. This is a long story but one that I feel truly defined HTV.
It all started at the end of a very split rope and the most desperate of times. We had just finished a record under the name "FARENHEIT" called "Disconnected" which we thought was good but not great. Joe had sold his '67 Camaro for a worthless $6000 to make the record happen and we took out a large bank loan to finish the rest of the costs. There was pressure to make a breakout album that I think we buckled under by analyzing the songs so much that we squished the life out of them. Slow tempos, weak structures and a misguided view of who we wanted to be was the result of our efforts, and we felt that things had pretty much come to a stand still shortly after we released it. Not only that, but my voice under performed and I felt like maybe I just didn't have the pipes to lead a band to a real career. This put us in a position to make some heavy choices and really examine our future as a group. We were now in debt, so making a new record was not exactly an option, and things were getting more hopeless for a band that had already been through a ton of heartbreak.
We never said that it was time to pack it in but the vibe in the jam space was echoing just that. Without a miracle the future didn't look good. We had a meeting like we normally do but this time Joe had an option that meant heading down a road that we had been down before. There was a producer who spent most of his time in Vancouver and he had liked something about our band. It was good news knowing that he had done previous work with GGGarth Richardson, but we were tentative to trust anyone we didn't know from our previous experiences. However, this guy was different. He wasn't a star in the industry and he had just as much to prove as we did. We met Darryl Romphf a few weeks later and this is where things started to change.
Darryl flew in from Vancouver and sat in on a jam session. I remember distinctly rocking thirteen songs and then sitting down for the hardest pill I ever had to swallow. Darryl addressed the band by saying that he thought we were great. Then he looked at me and said "but the band is kicking your ass 90% of the time. I began to sweat because the thought of me being the one that would cost the band this chance was more than I could ever bare. He then said "but I can help you change that and then nothing will stop you guys!". I had no idea how he could help me raise my game but ten minutes later we were back at work. Over the next few hours we would finish the song "My Reward" and begin to work on "Take Back The Fear" and the excitement grew as our sound began to take shape. We sped up tempos, worked through some melodies, changed some beats, re-wrote some parts, and we clicked like we did in the early days of our band. It was a huge moment that was only supposed to be a meet and greet. This demo was going to be awesome!
As i said before, we still had no money and recording costs big coin. Not only that but if we were going to give it one last go it was going to be all or nothing. That meant doing the drums at a big studio and renting a ton of really expensive gear to get the tones we wanted. Darryl wanted his friend from Vancouver, Engineer Alex "Condor" Aligizakis to do the tracking but that was going to double our costs. You only live once though and if we were going to go down it was going to be epic, maybe a bit stupid but huge none the less. It was time to make our dream record!
Pre-production began and the six of us got really excited. The tunes were great and they included "Take Back The Fear, My Reward, Runaway, Try Hating The World, Glad To Be and Mission Control as the first six we would hit the studio with. It was a week filled with a ton of drinking, constant smoking, backyard bbq's and a shit load of fireworks. We shifted gears to Metal Works Studio in Mississauga, ON to track drums and bass which got really interesting on the last night of recording. Drew and I were heading back to the studio after an evening bank withdrawal and grabbing a bite to eat. We got mugged. Drew actually had a shank put up to his neck but we refused to give our wallets. Not exactly the best decision but we could ill afford to lose anymore cash. Without heroics we caught a break a ran from our inexperienced attacker. It was intense and this possibly horrible scenario turned out to add more fuel to a fire that was out of control. We were heading to Grand Bend to finish the first six songs.
None of us had ever been to "The Bend". It was a small place of a few hundred people but in the summer when we arrived it was littered with tourists mostly from the US. We took a drive the first day we got there and saw the sandy beach and thousands of party goers relaxing in the bright sun. We were all dressed in black and took a stroll by the water to soak in the sights obviously gaining attention due to our improper appearance. Nothing but ease and a calming of the senses was on our minds. Our producer had found the perfect spot for a band that had surrendered itself to the constant view of metal walls, smoke stacks and cars. We no longer cared about making a breakout record or signing deals or even what we had done before this album. It was a chance to make music for the simple reason of loving music and that was as pure and raw as being in a band should be.
There were problems, setbacks and torturous days of tracking guitars and laying down vocals so it was still not an easy task. Eventually we finished those six songs and with some gracious investment money we were able to return to Grand Bend a few months later with six new songs. This time we would be given a cottage on the beach but things had changed. It was fall and it was cold. All the tourists had left and the place felt dead. The vibe got angrier as did the music when the final pieces of our record were coming together. The calmness turned to jitters, the ease changed to aggression, and the birth of our sound was not only complete, but also an emotional journey of everything that it took to get to this point. Many bands can say that they put all they had into a record and I believe it, but this album was going to show what our music had taken out of us. We could now sit back listen to the raw nature of what we strived desperately to accomplish.
Maybe it's called Population: Declining because of the drop in people that Grand Bend saw from the first time we were there to the last time. We might of called it that because it sounded cool or because of all the things we lost trying to make the record. When I look back on everything I would like to think that it doesn't matter what we decided to call our first album. The way it sounds is all that matters and we live that record every day.
February 17, 2010 - 7:04 pm
Every band that has been together for a while has stories of injustices and heartbreak. When on the road it is common for bands to share their inner most secrets with each other and this perhaps serves as a bonding and trust process. Because it is so hard to survive in this industry it becomes crucial for artists to make those connections and helping each other may in fact be the best way to strengthen a career in music. Healthy competition is good but having friends in your corner never hurts when you are alone on the road.
Of course, this is also how rumors start. Every interview we have ever done always has a question about what it was like touring with so and so. In a world where information is so easily passed, we know first hand how opening up and telling our stories over and over again has bit us in ass. This is one of those stories. This is how Hail The Villain fought back and survived.
Three months into being a band, we were given what we thought was our first big break. It came from only our 5th or 6th show and was a long shot at best. The bar we were playing in was home to a fantastic act called "Balls Deep" and was formed by three old rock stars from the 80's. On drums was Darren Smith of "Harem Scarem", on bass was Stan from "Sass Jordan" and on guitar was Mike Hall of "The Killer Dwarfs". For 5 bucks we would go every Thursday night and watch these guys play in front of a packed house, and we would learn just how it should be done. They were good -really good. In fact, when they broke up the bar was never the same and ended up having to close it's doors. It was here however that Mike Hall stuck around one night to watch us and see what the fuss was about. Fortunately he liked us and thought we deserved a deeper look. He would set us up to meet a producer from Toronto, a name that we were very familiar with, and more than excited to work with.
A few weeks later we showcased for this producer at the Rivoli in Toronto. It was empty and our first time in the city but we still played pretty good. Good enough for him to agree to work with us and so it began. The empty promises, the lies and a good ol' fashioned "Welcome to the music industry" is what would turn us from "green" to a band with a mission.
It isn't fair to say that this producer fucked us. He did, but we let it happen. We just were not ready to being swimming in the big pond when we didn't even have a proper understanding of who we were as a band. How this all played out was that we were told to quit our jobs and school , move to Toronto and make a record that would be a no brainer, this ultimately leading to our domination of the World. We did what we were asked but we never made the record. Instead, the producer took Joe and Drew to form another band with another artist that he was working with. Stabbed in the heart. Never saw it coming. But that wouldn't last and the boys were more than happy to come home within a few weeks. What it did do however, was leave a scar and a reminder of what we set out to accomplish in the first place. Stick together and fuck everybody else.
So the experience in Toronto would make us stronger and more unified as a whole. Our home was Oshawa and that is where we belonged and where our sound needed to come from. Play shows around the World but home is where we create. And as I said before these stories have a way of biting you in the ass and this one has followed us around where ever we seem to go. I am sure this story has hurt and helped us along the way but that is the truth. I guess we're just kind of tired of always having to answer that question!
I like hearing these stories from bands. We are not alone when it comes to being battered in the industry. Some survive it and others can't take the disappointment of failure. We don't mind being beat up. It makes us angry. It makes us evil. It makes us Hail The Villain.
February 10, 2010 - 1:58 pm
Ever wonder what it would be like to tour the world for free? Stopping in major cities every day, seeing the sights, crashing in hotels and playing concerts seems like a fantastic job and for the most part it is. I can think of a million reasons why music is the best career on Earth, but none of those hold a candle to being on the road with your best friends. However, sometimes things go wrong and when you're hundreds or thousands of miles away from home, and when they do the term "shit out of luck" is by far the best explanation I could give! Bands that travel in vans expect that at some point it's going to break down at least once while on tour. Funny how on our very first tour we didn't even make it to the first show before an accident occurred, sending us to hell and back again.
We got the green light to hit the road with Drowning Pool 2 years ago. It would be the first time in our 4 years as band that we would go on an actual tour. I remember the first time we met our managers Eric Lawrence and Rob Lanni, and they gave us a some words to live by long before we would actually understand what they meant. "Canada is like boot camp!" they said, "If you make it through a Canadian tour you are ready for anything!". What they were getting at was that the drives between cities can feel like an eternity and the weather conditions are perhaps some of the worst you can imagine. Playing in front of 25 people after 13 hours of driving can be a major heartbreaker and believe me, for rock bands this happens all the time. Not to mention that anyone crazy enough to attempt a winter tour across Canada in van has a death wish!
Anyway, we were not going to let any of these factors beat us. Lets consult the checklist: Summer tour- check. Big van in good condition if not perfect- check. Trailer-check. Shows with a band that can draw crowds-check. Six drivers, food, hotels booked, money and GPS-check. All was ready to go.
Joe has rule and this is never to be broken. No one under any circumstance backs up the van and trailer except him. I like that rule and I abide by it. After all, Joe could back the thing through a virgins legs and she would never notice. He has many talents and guitar is only one of them. But for some reason our most trusted friend and a man that I could write a book about, decided that this rule did not apply to him. We call him Kawi and he is strange guy.
Kawi has been our buddy for almost the entirety of our career. He started by filming shows and doing merch, and eventually began loading gear and now has stage tech duties. He seems to live in a universe far from the one we all do, but Kawi is always there to help us through anything. It was somewhere in Northern Ontario when the rest of us were asleep that he decided to turn the van around for a gas stop he missed. While backing up, Kawi managed to jack knife the van and trailer to the point the rear frame on the van broke off. Not only once, but twice. He must not of heard the smash the first time, but either way the damage was spectacular. We didn't notice at first the extent of the accident which could of been much worse considering we drove 6 more hours to Thunder Bay with the rear frame practically dragging on the ground. When we did realize what had actually taken place, the tour became less of an adventure and more of a catastrophe.
However, luck was somewhat on our side. Our tour manager had a friend in Thunder Bay and he let us leave our now useless trailer in his driveway. The idea was far from convenient though. Now we had to fit all our gear in the van and get rid of everything else. No more bed in the back, no food, no pillows, no blankets, no extra anything. Just our gear needed to perform, six guys and five seats. One guy had to sit on the floor between the door, the gear and the seat. Considering the first show was in Calgary and we were still in Ontario, that "Boot camp" drive was looking a hell of a lot longer than we were expecting. To say that it was extremely painful would not do the drive justice. It was fucking hell. In fact the shitty motels we stayed in were all I could think about between drives.
We made it though. And we could report back that not only did we complete boot camp, but that we were ready to tour Alaska if need be! Well… as long as no one but Joe backs up the van and trailer.
January 31, 2010 - 2:36 pm
The first show Hail The Villain ever played was in the middle of a main street in Whitby, ON. It was done without a permit and more importantly it was done for a reason. Of course, there were a few venues that had small scenes in Oshawa and many in Toronto, but we didn't want to beg promoters to put us on shows when we really had no experience with a live audience. That in itself was a minor concern however, but we had issue with a night club situated on the four corners of town that decided we didn't look the part to spend money in their establishment. What better way to start an evil band then with a vindictive act that would either go humorously great or horrendously wrong!
We titled it "The Guerilla Rock Show". It would take a little planning and a few lucky breaks to make happen but the show would no doubt be the building blocks for what Hail The Villain would pride itself on doing and that is the unexpected.
First we were going to need a generator. You can't exactly plug into an outlet in the middle of the street. Since we didn't have access to a flat bed truck we needed to find a pick up truck that would hold the drums and the amps. Fortunately, a friend of the band had an old Ford that could do the job and with bungie cords we would be able to hold most of the gear in place. Also, we were going to need some loyal workers to drive the truck to its destination, some to film the event so we could prove that it happened, and others to keep quiet but show up on time for the would be spectacle.
Now we would have to devise a plan. The date would be Thanksgiving weekend so all the university students would be back in town to crowd the club scene and downtown streets. Not much point in playing for nobody. There was a parking spot that was directly across from the bar that a friend would need to occupy all day so that it would be our stage when the big moment arrived. An abandoned parking lot up north would be the setting for an outdoor soundcheck and a back alley close to the bar would be ideal for last minute preparations. With that, all we had left to do was tell a few friends to spread the word the day of the show and have a couple of buddies infiltrate the night club to tell its well dressed patrons to come outside and join in the ruckus.
The big day came and Chad and I dyed our hair different shades of blue. It looked dumb but so the fuck what, this whole idea was far from smart anyway! Joe's brother got us a deal on the generator and he spent the whole day getting the gear tied down and the truck ready for the show. A friend parked my car in the spot across from the club and we dropped by every few hours to feed the meter. Small town parking officers are real cock suckers and towing a vehicle would have made their year. All we could do now was wait and hope that nothing was missed which always seems to happen when you think you've done everything possible to prepare.
Nightfall arrived and the nerves began to set in. We took our circus on wheels to the abandoned parking lot and found that all was working the best it could despite only having one vocal speaker that just barely pushed enough air to be heard. It wasn't going to sound great but neither do mp3's and no one seems to mind them. It was time to take the show to the back alley to prepare for what was to be our first gig and all we could think about was whether or not we would even get a song in before the police shut the whole show down, not to mention the high chance that we would be arrested and have our gear confiscated.
While sitting in the parking lot Joe decided to do a check to make sure nothing had gotten fucked up on the drive over. It was then that a cop car made its way down the alley way to see what the hell was going down. It didn't look good with 15 people gathered around a truck full of gear that was all strapped down. The officers stopped the car and asked for our plan. We told them we had a show at the club and we were just getting ready to move our shit in. They bought the lie and asked if we played any Metallica so Joe serviced them a few acoustic riffs and the less than stellar cops were on their way to beat up drunks and do whatever it is they do.
This was our time. We had to go now. Fire up the generator, turn on the truck, signal the car to exit the parking spot, turn on the amps, man positions on the drums and hatch of the truck! It was going to happen right now!
We peeled out onto the busy street and jumped off the truck to a small awaiting audience and many unsuspecting street passengers. Drew started the first song but Joe wasn't ready. I quickly made haste to cover up the premature intro as a small soundcheck and soon enough we were into a song that I honestly can say I can't remember. The street began to fill up and cars would stop to get a glimpse. The owners of the night club would watch in disbelief as this "no named" rock band was stealing it's patrons to the non paying street. People were hanging out of their windows and we were killing it. No one knew what the fuck just hit them.
We played three songs and hopped back on the truck to be driven away without incident. For the next few months our band was all anyone in the scene could talk about. Not because we were good (because that was far from the case!) but because it was totally unexpected. It felt good. From that point on even the dumbest of ideas were at least worth trying. The sweetest part however, was pure and simple revenge.
January 25, 2010 - 2:40 pm
I don't watch television too often. When I do I usually flip on A&E and watch crime shows or Showcase in hopes of catching my favorite show The Trailer Park Boys. By now we should all know that reality t.v. is scripted, and I think it's better to take made up characters in a made up environment and make it seem like "reality". It may not be real but it's light years better and far more entertaining than a random group of morons being asked to go to rehab when we all know they are doomed to fail anyway.
I thought I would write this because late the other night I caught a "reality show" about a band who want to sign a deal and become famous. They said they were "real" and had a sound that would change the music industry. That is when I started to think about everything Hail The Villain has been doing over the past few years. I began contemplating why most bands believe themselves to be different or unique and better than anyone else around them. Why do we all feel that someone should take notice of what it is we all are doing?
As a rock band, we basically all play the same instruments as the band going on stage before and after us. There is usually four, five or six members, each song consists of the same elements with versus and choruses, it's loud, it has passion and it is always using the same notes put in different order to make up a sound. Nothing special about it. After that, the only thing separating each band is the level of talent and cohesiveness they have with one another.
I believe a better band or a band that can change the way people view the world of music is no different sonically than any other band. That is just a matter of taste and someone's general view of what good music is. A band that will sell millions of records and sell out arenas have something more in their personality and chemistry. A quality that distracts us from the daily routine so that we can be introduced to their universe.
I am a fan of music. I love bands and I can find special nuances in almost anything that is creative. I spend many hours breaking down songs and studying lyrics because I enjoy understanding where an individual is coming from. Even if I don't agree with it. The bands themselves don't have to tell me that they are unique or special. I will find it if I believe it is there. To tell me that it is great won't help alter my opinion and will in fact cause me to see a red flag before I even have a chance to care.
This is how Major Labels have failed the industry. People don't like to have shit shoved down their throats and they especially don't like to be told what is good to listen too. For example, I honestly did not care about Nirvana until after Kurt Cobain had died. The machine had sold millions of records and the world seemed to stop when they heard Nirvana was about to do something but I just didn't take the time to care. When I finally did, I found a wealth of greatness in their rawness and lyrical content that have forever influenced me as a songwriter. I know for a fact that I just wasn't the type to jump on the band wagon because everyone else said it was awesome.
Maybe I have no right to say this being that Hail The Villain is now signed to a major label. But what I do know is that we as a band will always "call the shots" and it is with great pride that we control all things creative. Hell I know how this works and I don't believe there is any other way than to do it yourself if you want to stay true and "real". No one knows us better than us so we have to be the ones who make it!
The whole point I am trying to make, for no greater reason than because I want to, is that music, like art, is personal. I love my band and we make music that we hope many people can relate to. If you don't then who am I to tell you why you should. That would defeat the purpose of creating something that begs to be loved or hated. You decide and we just keep making shit. I think that is fucking awesome.