In the last of Rocksins huge series of interviews for the start of 2012 (albeit this one is rather late in publication) we talk to the frontman of one of the UK’s rising metal bands. During the Defenders Of The Faith III Tour which took place across the UK at the end of 2011, When the tour stopped off at London’s Brixton Academy I had the opportunity to spend some time with Austin Dickinson, singer from Rise To Remain before the show. We were able to chat about the band’s debut album City Of Vultures (read a review here), life on the road, Rise To Remain’s friendship with Trivium and many other things, so please read on for more….(anyone who’s interested in Defenders Of The Faith III can also read a review of the Brixton show here).
Jamie: Last time I saw you guys was on your headline tour in Cambridge a couple of months ago and you were playing a room about the size of this (dressing room) and now you’re about to play Brixton Academy, that’s a bit of a difference…
Austin: Yep, I would not deny that. Definite difference of about four thousand, nine hundred people! Every place is a great place to play though.
Jamie: Did you enjoy that Cambridge show?
Austin: It was fucking awesome man, people went nuts! Me and Ben got right into the middle of that tight ass little circle pit (see picture below), it was a good show man, every show on that headlining tour was a good one, we were very lucky. Playing Brixton now is like a dream come true, we’ve never done this venue. We’ve done almost every other mid-sized venue in London, I mean we’ve played Koko, The Underworld, so many different other places but we’ve never had the chance to play here so it’s a fucking honour to be able to play here.
Jamie: Do you think there’s any extra pressure on you for tonight, one because its your hometown show and two because of how well The Underworld show went on your headlining tour?
Austin: To be honest pressure is what you make it and we never really feel the pressure because we’re always having too much fun. So there’s the answer *laughs*, it’s always too much fun.
Jamie: Have the first few dates (of Defenders Of The Faith III) gone well?
Austin: Yeah they’ve been great. Southampton went off, Wolverhampton went off, and last night Manchester just fucking exploded. Manchester is always a great show for us and especially for Trivium, we’ve played there with them before and they always go down well. I think Manchester is just a city with a real rep for going off. They’re so hungry for it and that makes it a pleasure to play there. Of course tonight is the hometown show, so we’re looking forward to this one, this is the big show for us, really looking forward to it.
Jamie: Did the shows in Europe go well? I know you’ve been out with Trivium and In Flames for a little while now?
Austin: Yeah really good. We did Scandanavia for the first time which was amazing; In Flames were packing eight thousand capacity venues out there so it was just great and we went across to Germany, to Paris, to Brussels and everywhere we’ve been has been great, so the whole tour has been fantastic so far.
Jamie: I know when you were on your headline tour and I spoke to Will & Joe you’d just had to cancel your US tour with Chimaira and Revocation but the guys said you had something else lined up and that’s turned out to be the Machine Head tour, that’s a pretty good tour to get yourselves onto.
Austin: We were very happy with that when they came through with that offer, we were over the moon. Machine Head are one of our favourite bands and to be able to go out with them, even to be able to actually go to the United States is massive. It’s a massive deal for us and we’re really looking forward to that.
Jamie: How long are you going to be out there, is it roughly a month?
Austin: Yeah, just a little bit over that. It’s going to be a nice long slog out there.
(interviewer’s note, Rise To Remain unfortunately had to drop off the Machine Head tour due to the timing of their lineup change and recruiting new band members)
Jamie: When you guys come back from the US you’ve got the tour here with Heaven Shall Burn…
Austin: Yep we’ve got the headliner which just got announced a couple of days ago. We’re stoked because it’s the biggest venues we will have played headlining wise. We’re headlining Islington Academy back here in London which is great, we’ve got a long history with that venue. We can’t wait to be able to come back and show everyone what we can do with a little bit of a bigger production and more staging, more ambitious circumstances. It’s very exciting stuff for sure.
Jamie: Do you think the September headline tour has done you as a band the world of good in terms of conducting yourselves and knowing how to handle a headline crowd?
Austin: Definitely. If you spend your life playing half an hour sets that’s all your going to really be able to cater for, you know. You’ve got to get out there and get out of your comfort zone and see how high you can take things. The next headliner is hopefully going to be about an hour to an hour and a half of material from us so that’ll be the longest set that we’ve ever done and we’re relishing the chance to get out there and play for that long because these half hour sets can kinda go by over your head after you’ve done a headliner for an hour. On the headliners you really have time to lap up the crowd and get to know them and its a nice drawn out affair whereas these half an hour ones are just energy, energy, energy and then you’re done.
Jamie: I guess that feels like you’ve barely started and then it’s over.
Austin: Yeah, we’re just looking forward to having a bit more time next time out.
Jamie: The album (City Of Vultures) has now been out for awhile, the reaction to it has seemed really good from what I’ve seen, are you pleased with the reception it’s got?
Austin: You know what, it’s really pleasantly surprised us. You never know what kind of reaction you’re going to get, obviously you can love your own material that’s what you make of it because you love it and nuture it almost like its a kid. You spend a lot of time with it and then when you’re ready to introduce that to other people you never quite know whats going to happen. We’d been sitting on the album for about a year, we’d had it recorded for fucking ages and finally putting it out there and getting the reaction that we did was a breath of fresh air, just like “Fuck! awesome! It’s out!”.
Jamie: It must have been a real weight off the bands shoulders if you were waiting so long.
Austin: It was such a relief and it was a great thing that it was in the hands of some great people at EMI and our management at Raw Power, everyone was a hundred percent behind us and really believed in it and pushed it. When it got to September 5th it was fingers crossed and we ended up charting at number eighty three and we were over the fucking moon. We partied our heads off for a day or so after. Someone said to us “it’s not exactly number one” but we didn’t care, we’d made it into the fucking charts I know we’re not number one, dude we’re stoked! We’re happy with whatever life brings us and getting to eighty three with our first album is a big achievement for a band of our size and we’re honoured that people went out and picked it up and enjoyed it. It’s all we could ever ask for.
Jamie: With the combination of the album being out and some of the good press around the headline shows you’ve done since, do you think some of what I would call the “stereotypical negative publicity” around the band has started to go away?
Austin: I think that people on the Internet have kinda realised that their opinion doesn’t matter *laughs* you know I think people slowly start to realise that “no matter how much time I waste, at the end of the day I’m wasting time”. I’m complaining about shit that’s not going to get read by the band or acknowledged by the band, and a lot of it is just stupid bullshit and it’s always been like that, like you get comments on youtube videos “oh this is shit” or whatever. At the end of the day, who’s got the microphone and who’s got the guitars up there having a great time and who’s having a great time with us? That’s all that we give a fuck about. If you’re partying with us or you’re with us in general that’s all that matters. But I think some of the negative vibes have definitely gone away, it seems people are more willing to accept us and that’s great. We’ve definitely had to prove ourselves to a lot of people for awhile there. I like to think that we have proven ourselves and we still travel around in a van, we’re not one of these ritzy glitzy bands that has wardrobes and catering and money to burn, nobody does in this day and age! Even if that stuff was still going on we’d still keep it real because that’s how we like it. We’re a real band, and it’s nice that people are finally seeing that.
Jamie: When I talked about this with Will and Joe before they said that it seemed things had definitely started to turn around so it’s nice to hear that that’s continued.
Austin: It just kinda happened. Like all of a sudden Front (magazine) gave us a five out of five review, and Metal Hammer was like eight out of ten and Kerrang was like four out of five, it was like Damn! Woohoo! Awesome, thank you! It was so good to see a positive reaction. We definitely had a stigma when we started out and people wanted to write us off but I think that like any band that means it we just kinda kept our heads down and went on the beaten track.
Jamie: Has it been fun for you guys to be on the road with Trivium again?
Austin: So, so much fun! We miss those dudes. They’re probably the band that we’re closest to out of the bands we’ve toured with apart from The Safety Fire, who are people that we’ve grown up with and we took them out on our headline tour with us. Outside of that Trivium are the band that we’re closest to. We’ve toured with them a whole bunch of times and we’ve stayed on their bus and we hang out and watch movies together and just chat about life. They’re the most down to earth bunch of people and it’s not just the band it’s the crew as well. They’re all awesome, real class acts and it’s been a great tour, one of the best we’ve done.
Jamie: It must be nice because they’re a band who got very big very quickly and then had an awful lot of flak, they’ve been through a lot of what you guys have been through and it must be nice to have some really good friends who’ve been through it before and dealt with it and come out much stronger the other side…
Austin: It’s definitely good to talk to them about stuff like that, they’re the most professional and hard working band I know. They’re really professional and I know plenty of bands who get fucked up before they go on stage, go out there, play sloppy, it doesn’t matter cos the crowd loves it but how long will they put up with it for? Of course they love it they paid to be here but Trivium have never been that band and we as a result of that, I like to think that’s really rubbed off on us and we’re not like that either you know. No band on this tour is like that and it’s that kind of air of professionalism that I just really respect.
Jamie: Awesome, When I was talking to Corey (from Trivium) earlier he was talking about going to Australia next year and he was making noises about trying to get you guys involved with their Australian Tour, they know how much you guys love Australia.
Austin: We’d do it in a heartbeat we fucking love Australia! That place is hot when it’s meant to be cold! *laughs* What kind of a fuckin magical place is that?! It’s awesome. We’d definitely do that tour if its proposed and offered and all that, we’d definitely do it.
Jamie: Have you got anything else that’s been confirmed past the March headline dates?
Austin: Many things but unfortunately we can’t announce it yet. Things will be materialising and we’re very excited about it, it’s going to be a big year.
Jamie: Over the last two years you must have been one of the busiest bands going and I guess from what you’ve just said that isn’t going to stop in 2012 either?!
Austin: It’s not gonna stop, sorry Mum, sorry Dad, sorry Whitney (Austin’s girlfriend) *laughs* It’s gonna be a long one, I will be home I promise, and I’ll still be alive! But you know, it’s work and it’s work as usual. It’s what we enjoy doing. We really enjoy being out on the road and doing shows and that’s all there is to it. We’re in it to win it and we’re in it for life.
Since this interview, more of Rise To Remain’s busy 2012 schedule has been revealed. They’ll be opening the main stage on the first day of the tenth anniversary edition of the Download Festival at Donington Park in June, as well as (belatedly) making their first trip to America to take part in the Vans Warped Tour.
Rise To Remain are currently on the road with Heaven Shall Burn and Malefice on their headline tour which runs until March 18th. They play several shows including Islington Academy on Friday March 16th. Limited tickets are still available from Seetickets and the usual outlets. For more rock & metal interviews with your favourite artists please keep checking back with Rocksins.com on a regular basis.