2013 is sure to be a year Protest the Hero will remember. There have been ups, such as their successful Indie GoGo crowdfunding campaign for their new album “Voliton” and partnering up with Razor & Tie, and their share of lows, such as long time drummer Moe Carlson leaving the band. But they don’t let any events stand in their way. With a stunning new album and a tour underway, Protest the Hero are ready to conquer. Guitarist Luke Hoskin talks about “Volition,” music leaks, the loss of a band member, and crowdfunding.
The album seems to mix various genres of metal to come up with something different. The vocals are reminiscent of 80’s metal vocalists like Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford, but there are also gruff vocals in some tracks. The guitar is melodic at times and others heavy like it could come from a thrasher band. How did you mesh all these sounds to make something cohesive? Was this your intent regarding your sound?
Luke Hoskin: There is little intent when we write music. Occasionally, we might think about what will translate live better, but rarely consider the genre or subgenere any given part could be lumped into. We just stick to “us” and it turns out the way you hear.
The song “Underbite” is really interesting because it starts off like you’re at a concert and is addressing the audience for most of the track. It seems to be about shallow bands who don’t really connect with their audience. Can you tell me what is the inspiration behind the song?
LH: Honestly, every live show could be inspiration for the song…even our live show. I think it’s just a call to push ourselves a little further. Stop regurgitating the same old stuff you think people want to see at a show. No one wants to have you tell them your city is their favorite to play. Unless of course that city is St. John’s Newfoundland.
A few months ago Moe Carlson [former drummer] left the band to further his education. With the new album coming out and the tour going on, was there any sort of panic or anxiety when he announced his decision to leave?’
LH: There is always anxiety when it comes to writing and recording music. That’s what makes it so fun and interesting. And what ultimately makes the end product so gratifying. Moe leaving, as tough as it was, was just another curveball we had to deal with. We are used to adversity and generally face it head on. I was sad that he left, but I am comforted by the fact that he is happier doing what he is doing now. He’s damn good at it!
You guys will be heading out on tour to promote the new album. What’s the most exciting part about touring again and what’s the worst part?
LH: I am actually typing these answers from the front seat of the van! We are driving to Saskatoon Canada and I can’t wait to get there. Been 8 hours in the van today so far. The most exciting part is seeing people come out to the shows. It is very humbling knowing a lot of people spend their hard earned money to come see us play and have fun. We are pretty lucky. The worst part is sitting in a van so much. You have to find ways to use the time effectively.
Musicians and other celebrities are starting to experiment with crowdfunding themselves and while some have been successful, others have bee scrutinized. What would you say is the best way to go about crowdfunding?
LH: You will never know if it will work for you until you try it. You have to do your research. We did for over a year – our campaign didn’t just fall into place…it was a lot of work. And it continues to be a lot of work. It’s definitely not some get rich quick scheme that some people ignorantly try to point out. We spent our whole adult lives winning people over, earning their musical trust, and staying true to ourselves. Anyone who criticizes that has to look at themselves. I respect anyone who steps up and puts themselves out there like we did.
The album leaked before its release and it’s something that’s quickly becoming the norm with new albums. How do you handle leaks and what is your reaction to them?
LH: I had a problem with music leaks…eight years ago! The world has changed. Everything leaks, it’s just how it goes now. Resistance is futile! I think we faced it head on by self leaking to all our IGG [Indie Go-go] supporters the same day. That was our plan all along.
Do you have a song that’s your favorite or really means a lot to you from the new album?
LH: They are all like my little children. I love and hate them all at the same time…but equally!
Protest the Hero’s new album “Volition” is out now. The guys are currently on tour and will hit up Chicago December 7 at the Bottom Lounge. Tickets are available now. To get a copy of the new album and to keep up with the latest news, visit their website. Make sure to also follow them on Twitter and Facebook.