Interview: Three Inches of Blood
Wed, 06 Feb 2008 08:40:39
3 Inches of Blood Videos
Raise up the devil horns and pound your fists, because Vancouver's 3 Inches of Blood have released one of the most "metal" records that the Great White North has ever seen. The band is so "metal" in fact, that Joey Jordison of Slipknot fame decided to make it his first production. The result of this collaboration, aptly titled Fire Up the Blades, combines a black metal instrumental virtuosity with classic '80s metal vocal acrobatics for a sound that could set an arena ablaze. The songs tell fantasy tales through brutal delivery, and everything simply pummels. Somewhere on the road in the U.S., guitarist Shane Clark talked to ARTISTdirect about his band's sick new record, touring and how to become a Goatrider.
3 Inches of Blood definitely draws from classic metal, but your sound is still fresh. Would you say you've tapped into something that's classic, without re-hashing?
I would agree with that. Kind of our M.O. while writing the record was to have a lot of peaks and valleys. Because collectively, with our attention spans, no one wanted to have just one formula, or any formula in general, for that matter. We didn't want to have a monotonous-sounding record. Nothing against our last record, but that one was a little same-y all across the board. This one, I would say, the influences are still there, but we added more influences. It now runs across the board as far as our personal metal style that we're honing in with every record. To answer your question, I'll totally agree. There are rock and black elements in there, as well as everything in between.
The band's sound is definitely becoming more defined. The influences are certainly in tact, but this is a "3 Inches of Blood" record.
Of course. We're really happy with this record for many reasons. One of them is that we have a different lineup from the last record, and everyone's influences made the album a unique record. It's definitely heavy metal, but it's a little different.
You follow those black metal influences more on Fire Up the Blades.
Those come from me and Justin [Hagberg, Guitarist]. He and I wrote the record. We're definitely coming from a heavier background than the old guitar players were. When I say "heavier," I mean we added a much-needed aggression to the band—I think. When I say, "Much needed," that's just what we wanted to hear. We're aggressive riff-writers, and that's just the way it came out.
Did [producer/Slipknot drummer] Joey Jordison help capture some of that in the studio?
Absolutely. One thing Joey did was he really fired up the drum performance. That in and of itself is very much why the record sounds more aggressive. Everyone's performance is a lot more aggressive. Everyone stepped it up for the recording. But the drumming is a direct result of Joey's production. He really fired us up in the studio. We had a great time doing it. The positive nature of everything going on around us made everyone play his best. In turn that's where all of that aggression comes from, performance-wise.
It must've been cool to work with him, because he was a big fan of the band.
It's definitely good to be working with a producer who is an actual fan of the band, instead of someone going, "Hey I like your sound. I think I can work with this!" That would've been a bullshit scene, man. We had a guy who's a fan of the band, and he understood our vision for making the record. There was no butting heads. Joey was a killer fucking producer.
It was also the first record that he's produced. You guys could've gone for someone more established in the production realm, but it's great you chose the hungry new producer who also happens to be an extremely accomplished musician.
We could've easily gone with a veteran producer. It was our sophomore release. There are a lot of true, steadfast metal producers out there, who are doing great work these days. We're very wary of having everything kind of same-y though. You know that digital, precise, almost too perfect sound? That's about as far removed as possible from what we wanted to sound like. That was another bonus with Joey. He understood what we wanted to sound like. We listen to Rainbow, UFO, Diamondhead and Deep Purple. We didn't want to have that Peavey 5150, Pro-tooled drum thing going on that everyone does these days. So again, Joey got what we wanted, and we achieved an end product that we're really happy with.
Did you feel like you've evolved as a guitar player?
Touring the last couple years definitely made me a better guitar player. When it came time to do the record, we were so warmed up from touring. It was all kind of a whirlwind. When you're in the studio and kind of under a microscope, you realize, "Wow, man. I could really work on that." If I'm really happy with everything I'm doing musically, there would be a problem, you know? Musicians and artists always try and better themselves to reach that next goal. I digress a little bit. I'm really happy with the rhythms on the record; they're nice and tight. Justin and I are completely different guitar players from the last guys. We really pride ourselves on our metal rhythms, because that's our favorite thing in the world, pretty much. On my high things in life are sex, food and riffs [laughs]. I love laying down them rhythms. That's just my favorite thing ever. I definitely think the guitar playing was stepped up, and I think so far personally this is the best recording I've been involved in, as a group as well. Not to say that I'm done, because I think we can do a lot better. I think our next one will be the another step and the next progression.
The riffs are much cleaner than all of the popular metalcore. The riffs are almost as clean as the solos.
That has a lot to do with the guitar tones. Malcolm Young from AC/DC is one of my favorite guitar players, and he was a very big influence. If you listen to his guitar tone, he's basically playing with a clean guitar tone. Not many people realize that it's the way you play, not what your amp's doing. That leads to a great rhythm sound. It can be precise, because you can hear it.
You have that stoner rock sensibility from Kyuss and Down too. Do you think that could be another avenue this band takes?
I definitely think so, man. Everything we listen to usually isn't current. Most of the guys in the band are really good at working their way backwards, doing their homework and seeing what bands influenced the bands they grew up with. I mentioned Rainbow and UFO. I think a lot of those influences are going to shine through more, because that's where our listening tastes are at, and we're really always having intense Ritchie Blackmore conversations [laughs]. I think everyone's influences are going to shine through a little more. When I'm alluding to the next record, you're absolutely right; you'll definitely hear all of those other influences a lot more. Fire Up the Blades is a pre-cursor. It definitely showed us what we can do, and what is possible.
I don't think kids today go back and see the bands that influenced their favorite bands.
There are a lot of very intelligent people that do, but there are definitely many that don't. For example this tour we're on right now (Black Dahlia Murder, Hate Eternal), there's a definite death metal contingent out at the shows. This is really funny, because there are these younger dudes at the front of the audience where I am. They've got their arms crossed, and they're totally bumming out, because we're doing our thing, and they're not liking it. We're obviously not brutal enough for these guys. They want some brutal fucking death metal [laughs]. These guys are really young, but they don't understand that death metal came from thrash music. Hopefully, if we help a couple kids realize that on this tour, that's a good thing. Because maybe, they'll discover some bands that turn into their favorite bands.
You have a wide appeal, and it's great you can tour with everyone from Slipknot and Static-X to Black Dahlia Murder and Gwar.
We definitely stick out no matter what we're doing—unless we're playing with bands that are on the same page as us. We would really stick out on a Slipknot tour. In our own way, we fit in too, because we are different.
3 Inches of Blood offers more than most metal bands. It seems like you guys could have a whole mythos for fans to delve into. Maybe you could even have a Slipknot style following, like their "Maggots?"
We do have a fan club, actually. It's called the "Goatrider's Horde," and we are involved in it. You too can be a Goatrider [laughs]! Just with the fantasy elements, there's a lot of interesting shit going on in the lyrics. There are a lot of cool ideas, and that lends itself well to kids having another thing to grasp onto and have some fun.