Last month, Rise To Remain completed an extensive nationwide UK tour taking in venues all over the country including some cities that a lot of metal bands often leave off their touring schedules such as Cambridge (you can read the review of Rise To Remain’s Cambridge show here). I was able to catch up with Rise To Remain’s guitarists Will Homer and Joe Copcutt before the show at The Portland Arms in Cambridge for a long chat on touring, reaction to the bands debut album City of Vultures (read Rock Sins review of City Of Vultures right here), doing the splits on stage and assorted other things:
Jamie: Ok guys, usual stuff first, how’s the tour been going?
Joe: It’s been going really good, I think it’s the best tour I’ve been on so far.
Will: Yeah, easily the best, easily.
Joe: It’s good fun, we’ve got loads of our mates out with us. We’ve had the choice of who we wanted on the bill so The Safety Fire are like our best mates from London and we’ve always talked about getting a tour together and finally we are able to do it so that’s been very cool. Bleed From Within are also really good buddies of ours so it’s just been a load of mates….lads on tour really. It’s been wicked!
Jamie: Are there a couple more dates left after this?
Will: Yeah we’ve got Manchester, Leeds, Northampton, Nottingham..I’m sure there is another one…
Joe: No I think that’s it.
Jamie: You’ve really been criss-crossing the country.
Joe: Yeah because we’ve already been up to Glasgow and Newcastle it’s been a bit weird on the schedule.
Will: And Northampton got pushed to the end because Austin blew his voice out about two weeks ago
Jamie: Ah ok is he all healed up?
Will: Yeah he’s all healed up now he’s been to a vocal doctor and got it sorted out. So it’s all good.
Jamie: Cool. Is there any one show you think that so far has been the standout show?
Joe: Last night!
Jamie: Was it London last night?
Joe: Yeah, our home town show so that’s the one you look forward to. It was a special night, we played The Underworld which for us is our local venue so to fill that and sell that out it was packed..
Will: And it was Austin’s 21st birthday.
Joe: We had all our mates, all our family there, it was just off the chain but there’s been some other killer ones too. Birmingham was really good, Southampton was really good.
Will: Sheffield was pretty good.
Joe: Yup, Newcastle was good, it’s been really good. It’s been surprising because this is our first ever headlining tour and we had no idea what to expect. You always wonder if kids and people are even going to turn up and then we filled The Underworld you just feel a bit “WTF”.
Jamie: Does it feel really different compared to the support tours you’ve done?
Joe: Yeah, absolutely. Obviously because we’re playing a longer set
Will: The way the crowd reacts is really different. When you’re the support band they can get into it a bit but they don’t wanna blow all their energy for the main people they’ve paid to see.
Jamie: But this time it’s your crowd.
Will: Now it’s people coming to see us and it’s really weird and we’re not really used to this.
Jamie: I’ve seen you guys a few times like with Trivium, and with Five Finger Death Punch back at the Bar Academy Islington about two and a half years ago. You must look back at then compared to now and see quite a difference in yourselves and what you’ve learnt?
Joe: We’ve learnt a huge amount by touring with those guys, they show you the way of the road and everything. I think we’ve come on a whole lot when I think back to that show. I think we’ve come on a lot.
Will: I hope we have.
Jamie: Yeah you can really notice it, even with back then compared to when you played Sonisphere last year (2010) there’s been an enormous difference and you seem to have gotten so much better and more confident, on that day you had a tent full of people going nuts for you and you didn’t seem overwhelmed by it at all, you seemed to be loving it.
Joe: Absolutely! I think we’re feeling more confident. The album’s out now and it’s getting good feedback which is always good and we’re growing as a band and getting more used to being on stage and being on the road and just dealing with it all so it all helps.
Jamie: Totally. You mentioned the feedback on the album and I’ve seen different bits and pieces and it has seemed generally very good have you guys been pleased with the feedback and the reaction from everybody?
Will: We’ve been amazed by the feedback. It’s been quite a shock but in a really good way that all the reaction we’ve had has been absolutely positive. We literally put a year into that album, six months of writing six months of bloody recording *laughs*. We then had to wait like another eight months, nine months for the release and to finally get it out and to see that people are excited by it and really enjoying the album, it’s really pleasing, really satisfying.
Jamie: I just remember seeing Austin on Twitter every once in awhile when he used to pop up and it would always be “another day of recording”, “another day of recording”..
Will: Still fucking recording! *laughs*
Jamie: I think it was a pretty big coup for you guys to get Colin Richardson (producer) onboard (for City Of Vultures) was that difficult to get him? I imagine he must be pretty busy.
Joe: Funnily enough he was always on the top of our list, he’s always been on the top of my list growing up listening to all the records he’s done, absolutely loving every album he’d worked on, so we asked him and he’s been onboard from day one. It was amazing he seemed really excited by the band and he was so onboard it was awesome obviously to work with him. He’s a legend and one of a kind that’s for sure. He’s so particular and so anal about tones and stuff like that, I had no idea that it could go so deep into it. We were tone testing different amps, how many different amps did we try?
Will: We had about twelve different amps.
Will: Yeah, and four or five different cabs, about twelve different guitars. The twelve guitars were our own ones that we managed to blag, but they weren’t good enough! I don’t think we used any of our own guitars we ended up borrowing guitars from Charlie Simpson from bloody Fightstar! We met him at Sonisphere and it was just like “yeah…can we nick some of your guitars? *laughs* He’s got about fourteen PRS’s so he lent us two of them. As you do, just the fourteen.
Joe: It was wicked. Carl Bown also co-produced it and he’s worked with Fightstar that’s how we met Charlie and he was totally onboard too he totally got it and it was a wicked experience.
Jamie: Awesome, I’m guessing you guys aren’t thinking about recording another album for a little while yet but do you think you’d want to work with those guys again in the future?
Joe: We haven’t really given it much thought to be honest about who we’d want to do the next one with.
Jamie: I’m not surprised you want to enjoy this one a bit first.
Joe: Yeah, we’ve got some time off in October where we’ll start heavily writing again. We’ve got bits n bobs here and there but we’ll start heavily again and try and use the time wisely. I don’t know, we’ll see but I’d love to work with both of them again for sure.
Jamie: Have you got a bit of a break between the end of this and heading to the US? I know you’re going out there with Chimaira and Revocation.
Joe: Yeeaahhh….That’s actually been cancelled..(for us) now unfortunately. We were so looking forward to it but we’ve been offered another spot on another tour later on in January/February in the States and it suits us better and it suits the album release date in America better as well. So it’s just more beneficial that we pull the trip back. We’re gutted but it’s only until the beginning of next year, so it’s something to look forward to.
Jamie: It’s not like you’re not going at all.
Joe: Exactly, we’re still going. Obviously it’s a shame because we’ve toured with Chimaira before and they’re great dudes, it would have been wicked to go out with them again. Unfortunately it’s not meant to be. But we’ve still got the tour at the end of the year, Defenders Of The Faith.
Will: That’s going to be killer.
Jamie: I guess even compared to some of the other support tours you’ve done that’s quite a step up.
Joe: Oh for sure. I mean the biggest dates we’ve played in the UK for sure.
Will: Especially Brixton Academy.
Jamie: Yeah I’ve got my tickets for that already.
Jamie: Are you looking forward to touring with Trivium again?
Will: Absolutely, I’m looking forward to touring with In Flames as well. They influenced both mine and Ben’s playing as well as Trivium so its going to be good to tour with some of our heroes.
Jamie: I’m a big In Flames fan and I went to a signing of theirs in Camden a few years back around the time that Trivium had gotten really big off of Ascendancy and there were loads of people at the signing were wearing Trivium shirts and Anders from In Flames was a bit put out by it. He was saying “I want you guys to be wearing my shirt not Trivium shirts” so it seemed like there was a little bit of friction so it seems interesting that they’re now going to be touring together for a month. That was a few years ago though so things may not be like that anymore.
Will: I think they did a tour together awhile back so if there was any friction they’ve hopefully patched things up now.
Joe: In Flames are headlining in Europe.
Will: And Trivium are headling here.
Jamie: I guess that makes sense.
Will: Yeah, mix it up.
Joe: It’s gonna be wicked. And Ghost obviously, I haven’t heard much of them but what I’ve heard I love that stuff.
Jamie: They seem to have been off the scene for a good while and then this year come back almost from out of nowhere.
Will: Yeah to me it almost seems like a death version of Iron Butterfly, I love it. It’s proper doomy I love that sorta stuff.
Jamie: Do you know how long you’ll have (stage time)?
Joe: We’re not sure right now, probably about 25 minutes to half an hour. We’re second on, so everybody get down there early!
Jamie: I know sometimes when you get the big tours like that like when Trivium and Machine Head did The Black Crusade, Shadows Fall were the opening band and they were onstage the second the doors opened just to try and cram everybody in, its a little bit stupid to do things like that in my opinion as most people end up missing at least the first band.
Joe: It’s a shame, a real shame but that’s the way it is. We’ve been there many times. Literally on as soon as the doors open when there’s not even a single kid in and then eventually slowly they come in, and you come back at the end of the night and its absolutely rammed *laughs*. People have come to see the headline that’s why they buy the tickets. It’s just cool to get supports, it’s how you become a band and how you learn by doing support slots and then one day you get to headline the whole thing.
Will: Its lots of fun to tour regardless.
Joe: Its SO much easier supporting *laughs* there’s a lot of pressure on the headlining band for sure.
Jamie: With what you mentioned about your new plans to hit the US early in 2012 is that as far as the Rise To Remain diary is booked up?
Joe: Yeah, there’s talks of more touring in Europe after February, headlining in Europe and the UK again.
Will: It’s all about pipeline at the moment.
Joe: There’s loads of stuff floating about but its exciting man it’s gonna be a good year next year that’s for sure!
Jamie: Do you think you’ll be doing festival season again?
Joe: I hope so! If they’ll have us, or have us back.
Will: If they’ll have us we will definitely go along
Both: Love the festivals! *laughs*
Jamie: I know you guys did Sonisphere and Download this year…
Will: Did both the year before as well.
Jamie: I knew you did Sonisphere 2010 because I saw you.
Joe: Did we do Download 2010?
Will: We did do it because 30 Seconds To Mars were headlining the stage that day…
Jamie: That’s right they were.
Will: I remember that because I remember looking at their rig and thinking “ooo this is fancy”.
Jamie: Would you say this year either festival went better than the other?
Joe: Sonisphere this year was one of the best shows ever, I loved it in there.
Will: In the tent?
Joe: Yeah it was rammed in there it felt more like a gig or a club night.
Will: It really felt like a proper gig, plus we were on later in the day so everyone had had a lot more drinks, falling over each other a lot more.
Joe: Yeah that’s true rather than going on at 11 O’Clock in the morning, it’s so weird to literally wake up and play.
Jamie: I think you guys were on before Watain as well who are crazy black metal so that must have been quite an interesting experience.
Joe: Unfortunately we didn’t really see their show, we saw a bit from outside
Will: There were crosses on fire, pouring blood over themselves, you know it’s just the best way to start your day really.
Joe: So that was obviously really good, but Download is legendary, it’s always cool. I couldn’t say which one I preferred, they’re both great. I do love Sonisphere, we did quite a few Sonispheres in Europe as well so that was a totally new experience for us we hadn’t done any festivals outside of the UK so that was really cool, playing when it was boiling hot.
Will: Italy was amazing, I stood in the sun for a bloody hour and ended up with a tan.
Joe: We were on about 9:45 in the morning literally first band on stage still being built behind us while we were playing. But it was brilliant, the first beat of the first song there was an oil slick on my side of the stage, just a patch of oil that someone had obviously spilt and not thought to clean up. So the first thing I did was stick my foot in it and ended up doing the splits, not cool!
Jamie: Not really how you’d want to start the show…
Will: Also having done like a twelve hour drive and having had one hour sleep!
Joe: We’d been in Switzerland.
Will: Yeah, we were in Switzerland, we had to drive overnight and we had to be at the festival site at seven I think…
Joe: And then we had to be back in Belgium the next day, it got like *unload* (makes shredding motion) lalalalala *load back in*
Jamie: Good life experience for you though.
Will: Yeah. It’s been quality.
Joe: Good times.
Jamie: Did you guys get to stop anywhere or was it literally play pack up and go every single time?
Will: I think maybe once…
Joe: We got to hang out a little bit, there were quite a few of our mates on the festivals like road crew and sound guys. Architects were out there, playing after us most of the time! (Bring Me The) Horizon were out there as well so it was cool just to hang out even for an hour and then we had to fuck off to the next country! It was cool.
Jamie: Were there a lot of the bands all doing the same thing?
Will: Everyone was following different schedules.
Joe: We had quite a few “off date” shows in different places. We did a show in Amsterdam and we had an off day in Germany, so even though everyone was on different schedules it was cool, you did overlap sometimes. We were able to catch up with Horizon and Architects in France so were able to see more of them, it’s been good fun. You work the whole year and then you can just “have it” in the summertime.
Jamie: Have you guys been to Australia yet?
Will: Yeah we did Soundwave (festival) in February.
Jamie: Ah ok I was going to ask about either Soundwave or The Big Day Out, particularly as its festivals in the traditional “festival off season”.
Joe: One of the best tours ever.
Will: That tour was…AMAZING. Twelve days in Australia, only five actual gig days. So the rest of the time, the promoter, I think his name was AJ would just hire out local clubs and restaurants and pays for free drinks and free meals for all the bands.
Joe: About fifty bands go out on a night out.
Will: He would literally hire out about five clubs, three restaurants and there will be lots of gigs going on in the city at the time that we’d be allowed free entry to with our passes.
Jamie: That’s amazing.
Joe: It was.
Will: It was insane.
Joe: I want to go back there really badly. I plan to move there soon *laughs* Melbourne is so cool.
Jamie: If Rise To Remain from two or three years ago do you think they’d be pleased with how things have panned out?
Will: More than pleased. I think they’d be quite surprised with how well things have gone to be honest.
Joe: Yeah, we are! *laughs*
Will: Everytime we’re able to get ourselves onto something new its like “oh my god what the hell is this?!”, you just don’t expect it.
Joe: It’s been a bit of a whirlwind. These three years have been pretty much non stop but it’s been great. We’re doing what we all always wanted to do. You never really just sit back and think about it like that.
Jamie: I think as well it’s good that you’ve been able to build yourselves up gradually as a band in your own right regardless of all the stuff about who Austin’s dad is and I think that was a stigma against the band for awhile but I think you seem to be past that now.
Joe: I’d like to think so. When we started the band that was always in the back of our heads and everybody elses as well. I think a lot of people think “oh you’ve just been handed everything on a silver plate” which we haven’t. People just assume things you know what I mean? I think it’s harder to win those people over, especially in the UK people have been like “let’s see what you’ve got” stood arms folded at the back of the shows basically saying “impress me” and that’s a lot of what the mentality has been. So for us we’ve just thought “fuck that” we’re just going to do our band, have our own way, write our own songs and do what we want to do. We’re the ones with full control over everything we do. You just go out there and prove it to people that we are a good band we’re not just “Austin Dickinson and his mates”.
Will: More like Austin and The Remains *laughs*. I have to admit the whole Austin’s dad thing about us getting signed does crack me up because there are a lot of bands and I won’t name any names at all but there are bands we know or have heard of that do get a lot of stuff handed to them just because of their contacts.
Jamie: I’m sure.
Will: That never gets spoken about because they’re not related to a major metal singer it’s a friend of a friend of a friend. I think the most Bruce has ever actually done for us is give us a lift to a gig or give Austin a fiver when he didn’t have any money for lunch. Your typical dad stuff really.
Jamie: The show you did at the Bar Academy where you were supporting Five Finger Death Punch my mate and I saw Bruce there and we waved at him and he acknowledged us and gave us the look to say “If you alert everyone to the fact I am here I am going to kill you”.
Jamie: He didn’t want any attention he was just there watching his son like a normal dad nothing more than that.
Joe: He takes the tube in and out of London all the time.
Will: He loves the tube. I remember once we went to see Heaven & Hell and he got tickets for us and then afterwards he just came back on the tube with us from Wembley Park.
Jamie: Did nobody pick up on it?
Jamie: That’s great.
Will: He had a big raincoat on and a big bobble hat and no-one picked up on it. “That can’t be Bruce he’s not dressed in a shiny suit or a psych ward T-shirt”.
Jamie: The Kerrang Nirvana Nevermind 20th Anniversary tribute came out this week, obviously you guys were on there, how did that come about and did you actually get to pick your song?
Joe: Yeah we did. They asked us out of the blue really, we were in rehearsals one day and we got an email through and we were like “hell yeah that’d be awesome”.
Will: At the time none of us actually had Nevermind on our iPods, we still had it on CD’s back at our houses so it was like “oh god what are the songs, I can’t remember the names of the songs”. We all knew the songs but we couldn’t remember the names! We were singing them to each other trying to jam it out.
Joe: We were jamming bits of all of them and it was like “which one do we wanna do?” and by the time we’d done that obviously loads of other bands were getting the same email as us and the songs were going like hotcakes. But there isn’t a bad track on that album we would have been stoked with any of them. But I liked ours, we had good fun with it.
Will: We tracked it in less than an hour.
Joe: I did the bass and it was like actually: record, play, done in one take. It was cool we just had fun with it. Dez, the guitarist from The Safety Fire recorded and mixed it all, obviously we’re good buddies.
Will: He’s got his own little set up going, Black Bear Productions, he’s done all our demos and he did our first ever E.P.
Jamie: Nice, we’ll give them a shameless plug then! (There you go Dez & Black Bear Productions!)
Joe: Yeah so we just hung out and did it! I haven’t seen much of the feedback on the track…
Will: A lot of people on Twitter were saying they quite liked it.
Jamie: I think the feedback for the whole album in general has been people love it or people hate it, I don’t think there’s much of an inbetween. I think with a tribute like this that’s always likely to happen.
Will: Especially with Nirvana, a lot of people would be like moany little gits *laughs*. We tried to mix it up a little bit we detuned it all the way down to B. Again Dez has got a brand new custom guitar and he tunes it all the way down to B so we were like “lets just borrow that” and had fun with that.
Jamie: Have you been playing it at all on the tour?
Joe: We haven’t, we’ve been thinking about it cos obviously Dez is on the tour and he’s got his guitars here so we could just borrow his guitar for a song.
Will: Joe (from The Safety Fire)’s got a left handed one, though to be fair I could probably play on it *laughs*. That would be weird.
Jamie: Ok, last question, are you guys Simpsons fans?
Jamie: Favourite Simpsons character? It’s one of our standard questions.
Will: My last name says it all…Homer. I pretty much am Homer Simpson. I eat anything, act like an idiot, drink a bit too much beer and fall over a lot.
Joe: Mine’s got to be Santa’s Little Helper because it actually looks genuinely like my dog.
Jamie: Brilliant, alright guys thank you very much.
Will: No Problem!
For the latest rock & metal interviews (such as our recent interview with Malefice singer Dale Butler ) as well as news, gig reviews, tour listings and festival announcements please keep checking back with Rocksins.com on a regular basis. Rise To Remain play the Metal Hammer sponsored Defenders Of The Faith tour across the UK in December with Insense, Ghost, In Flames and headliners Trivium. Tickets are still available from the usual online outlets.