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  INTERVIEW WITH FORSAKEN AGE

Johnny Main

johnny main

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forsaken age

As part of MetalTalk's commitment to bring you new and exciting bands, I sat down with Forsaken Age, a band in the classic Heavy Metal mould who are based in Auckland, New Zealand to find out how the band started, the low-down on their debut album, 'Back From Extinction', and to find out about the Metal scene in New Zealand.

I started off by asking the band how long they've been together to which drummer Tam Cramer told me that they started out in 2009 as a covers band called Twisted Metal before changing their repertoire in 2010 to original material and their name to Forsaken Age.

I delve a bit further and ask what the motivating factor was to move from being a covers band to one that performs original material to which vocalist Chrissy Scarfe gives me the short answer that they did it "(to) keep Classic Heavy Metal alive" before Cramer explains further telling me that "I think we all felt that there was more to us than simply going out and playing other people's songs. Don't get me wrong, we loved the songs that we were playing, but we just felt that we should be writing and performing our own stuff which would be a better way of expressing ourselves."

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"We were also swimming in a sea of Nu-Metal and Metal-Core bands", adds bass player Lee Scarfe. "In my opinion, both genres are dominated by trendy hipsters who wouldn't know real Metal if they caught their mummy fucking it, so we wanted to bring back real Metal - y'know, balls out, unapologetic metal! If you don't like it... leave the hall."

Cramer adds to the sentiment telling me: "I think too, that there's also a tendency for people to look down on covers bands – wrongly in my opinion, and that spurred us on to do more original material as well, to be honest."

Moving on, I ask the band about their debut album, 'Back From Extinction', which was released independently in 2012. First off, I ask them what it felt like to have an album actually out there to which Cramer tells me that for him, "(It was) like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders! We recorded, and produced it ourselves, so it'd taken a long time to get to that point. At one point in the past, though, we had it all ready to be released but at the very last moment we decided that we weren't at all happy with it, so we went back and rewrote and rearranged most of the songs then re-recorded them. For me it was happiness that it was finally over, mixed with excitement and a bit of fear about how it would be received."

Lee Scarfe explained to me that "(we) were very proud (of what we'd achieved) and also humbled that the response from the public and our fans was a lot better than we'd ever imagined. Music to me is very personal and it's really gut wrenching allowing other people to have it. In saying that, we did put out an album of proper heavy metal. No bullshit - just proper Heavy Metal."

forsaken age

With the first album out and available to buy from Amazon and iTunes, as well as the band's website, the next question to the band is an obvious one – how are preparations for the second album coming along? "We're working on the songs at the moment," confirms Cramer before adding that "there are already a couple in our live set which were written after the first album was released, and the reaction when we play those new ones live has been really good, so we're really looking forward to getting them recorded. There are a couple of others that we're still working on to get them ready to play live, and we will record them sometime in the future."

"The writing process is the fun part", Lee Scarfe tells me. "We're lucky this time round there are no time constraints, and we can write them and then test them in a live situation and then lay them down in the studio once they're refined and sounding how they sound in our heads at the moment!"

When pushed for more details regarding recording dates, the band are unsure when they'll be studio bound, with Cramer explaining that "there are a number of options we're looking at and we'll make a final decision once we're ready to start recording" before Lee Scarfe adds that "we want to produce the best Heavy Metal we can. This next lot (of tracks), we'll be pouring all our blood, sweat and tears into. This will be our best offering with no compromise, no quarter and no mercy given. This one will also be on vinyl!" he adds with a wry smile.

I enquire if the band has anyone in mind for producing the album or whether they will be self-producing it to which Cramer confirms that "no-one at this stage. We've been told that Mutt Lange is busy – apparently" before Lee Scarfe adds with a smile that "we were going to message Bob Rock, y'know, but then we realised he's already ruined one Metal band so let's not tempt fate, eh? Seriously, though, we're looking for someone who will be on our wavelength and who will give zero fucks for anything but Heavy Metal.

"If all else fails we'll produce it ourselves – even though this is a hard task and that inevitably leads to some random gladiatorial combat and jousting tournaments in the studio."

It's guitarist Warren Davies who has the last comment on the subject, telling me that "if Andy Sneap wants the job we'd be very happy – he does good work particularly on the Accept albums."

Bringing the interview back to the realms of seriousness, I ask the band about their song writing process to which Cramer explains: "Warren and Lee come up with riffs while Chrissy writes the majority of the lyrics, although I did write the lyrics for three of the songs on the album. Once Chrissy has written lyrics, we work on them together usually making small changes here and there.

"Obviously a riff and a set of lyrics isn't a song, so once we get together in the rehearsal room, we all throw ideas into the mix and contribute ideas about the structure, and arrangements to get to the finished article."

forsaken age

Chrissy Scarfe explains a bit further: "Yeah, I write most of the lyrics with some help from Tam, who also wrote lyrics for a few of the songs – one of them in ten minutes, just prior to recording, but once a song is there, there's a lot of discussion between the whole band with ideas and changes that can happen before we're all 100% happy with the end result. It may not work for some other bands, but it's the way that works best for us."

Lee Scarfe adds with a mischievous grin: "If you want the truth, we have a sweat shop in Bangladesh that churns the songs out for us. They also double as a call centre who can get you a really good deal on your current mobile phone plan! (laughs)"

When asked what the lyrical themes of the bands songs are, it's Lee Scarfe who jumps in first telling me: "As far as the 'Back From Extinction' album is concerned, the songs we wrote covered things like the Highland Clan battles, a war diary, being on the run from the Law, horses in various states of evilness and disrepair as well as insanity and those devil drugs. Some of the up coming subjects that we're tackling with the new material include Satan himself, of course, pleurisy, Vikings, and hopefully sex with beautiful women – quite a hotchpotch of subjects then, but something for (almost) everyone!"

At this point Cramer adds: "There isn't any particular theme, but we do touch upon subjects as Lee has said like historical battles, World War II as well as human conditions like drug abuse and psychiatric illness as well as the compulsory 'fists in the air' type Heavy Metal anthems."

Chrissy Scarfe adds: "Some of the songs have come from the strangest origins," which brings me nicely to the subject of where their inspiration does actually come from. Cramer has his tongue firmly in his cheek by telling me: "The Cooking Channel and Partick Thistle Football Club" are his inspirations while in a reversal of roles, Lee Scarfe comes over all serious (almost) by saying that his inspiration comes from "Manowar! Actually, Heavy Metal in general, harking back to when, as a kid, you would first open that vinyl or CD and (pauses), that feeling!"

Again Chrissy Scarfe sums it up nicely by telling me that Forsaken Age, like most bands, are influenced by "day to day life, movies and books we watch/read. Anything really that means something to one or more of us."

So, does the band have any timescales for the second album or do they have any plans for an interim release? "No specific dates as such," explains Cramer before adding: "We do plan to release something in 2014, though." Davies nods in agreement before adding: "At the moment, we're just concentrating on writing new material" before Lee Scarfe says that when it's ready, "the next release will be CD, download and Vinyl and we may release a preview track free before the album comes out too."

Obviously work on the new album takes precedent, but I ask if the band have any confirmed tour dates lined up for 2014 yet? "We do have some local gigs lined up over the early part of 2014. We've also got a few things still at the discussion phase, but any gigs will be announced on the band website and Facebook page once they are confirmed – so keep watching!"

Lee Scarfe resumes his role of band joker by telling me: "Tam is paying for all of us to go over and play Glasgow (his home town) and we're all very excited about it – except Tam, because he didn't know anything about it. Until now! (laughs). We do have some local gigs lined over the next couple of months and, hopefully, a couple of international support spots as well as a few potential New Zealand festival type shows, which are still to be confirmed."

Talking of support slots, I mention that the band have already supported (ex-Judas Priest vocalist) Tim 'Ripper' Owens, (Symphonic Power Metal band) Nightwish and Scottish Metal band Alestorm over the past couple of years, and I ask what was that like and what did the band learn from the experience?

"For me personally, opening for 'Ripper' was a great experience, as he's a bit of hero of mine," Cramer explains. "His professionalism was amazing and his attitude towards his singing and his fans was amazing too. Opening for Nightwish was interesting; they were very good at what they do, and very slick! We also opened for (Finnish Folk Metal band) Korpiklaani, and watching the effect that they had on the crowd was just a mind blowing experience.

We have supported more since then but we learned this isn't an easy life and these bands are not only hard working, but are seriously talented and very under rated. I also learned that pirates drink a bit (laughs)."

Chrissy Scarfe told me that from her point of view, "we learned as a band that it doesn't matter if you are playing to twenty people or eight hundred, but it's our job to make sure everyone there is having a great time and are nicely primed for the headliner, or if we are the last band on a bill, that the audience leave wanting more. It's a simple lesson but one that we learned early on and put it to good use at every gig we play now."

So, I ask, what can someone coming to a Forsaken Age live show expect? "A fucking good time!" is the short answer from Cramer before he goes on to tell me: "We celebrate classic Heavy Metal at our gigs, and we want people to be a part of the show, to leave our gigs sweaty and exhausted but with a huge smile on their faces. What we're trying to do is to return to the Metal shows of the 1980s, when bands actually interacted with the audience rather than staring at the floor and mumbling a couple of words between songs."

Lee Scarfe adds: "Our live show is like no other. In the traditions of old bands, regardless of the venue, we play it like it is our biggest show. There are no stops; it is attack from start to finish. You will leave our show knackered, like you have just been satisfied by a gorgeous harem after a decade in the desert," while Chrissy Scarfe and Davies both chime in too, that "you can expect a kick ass, head banging night of Heavy Metal. We make our shows as fun as possible with some serious old school Heavy Metal that your dad would love."

The band went out on a headline tour of New Zealand last year, and I ask them how they found the experience? "Interesting!” says Cramer before adding: "It was tiring but fun, meeting lots of new people, playing with bands we'd never played with before. It was good, and we learned a lot about the logistics of touring and what we should and shouldn't do on the next one – because there will be a next one."

"It was great," adds Chrissy Scarfe, "playing with some kick ass New Zealand bands – we had a blast. It was hard with all the travel at times, y'know, but it was all worth it! Spending that much time in a van or a car with your band mates certainly gives you a new appreciation of them."

Asked if there are any places they enjoy performing in, the band have differing opinions with Lee Scarfe quickly jumping in with Masterton and Wellington (both towards the southern tip of the north island of New Zealand) whilst Chrissy tells me that the Kings Arms in Auckland is a favourite - great sound and great atmosphere. Cramer is somewhat less selective, telling me: "Nowhere really stands out for me, I just like playing!" - a fine sentiment indeed.

Winding up our chat together, I ask them what they (realistically) want the band to achieve? Cramer is first to answer: "To keep playing music that people want to listen to and watch us play live, but not to kill each other in the process!"

Lee is characteristically jokey saying that he'd like them to be "the first Heavy Metal band other than Iron Maiden to do a tour in (Maiden's own chartered aeroplane) Ed Force One," whilst Chrissy tells me that she would like the band to "keep gaining momentum and to always strive for better – to keep writing kick ass Heavy Metal and to love what we do."

With that, we part ways but with so much enthusiasm in the band for the songs they write and the music they play, you can't help but hope that they really do get what they want, if not in 2014 certainly in the next few years.

Forsaken Age are:
Chrissy Scarfe – Vocals
Warren Davies – Guitar
Lee Scarfe – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Tam Cramer – Drums/Backing Vocals

Forsaken Age Online:
Official Website: http://forsakenage.co.nz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ForsakenAge


11.2.2014







 

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bon scott LIFE-SIZED STATUE OF AC/DC LEGEND BON SCOTT UNVEILED IN KIRRIEMUIR
The bronze statue is the result of a two-year crowdfunding campaign which was supported by AC/DC and the band's former bass player Mark Evans officially unveiled it...

mikkey dee BREAKING NEWS: SAXON WITH PHIL CAMPBELL AND MIKKEY DEE TO PAY TRIBUTE TO LEMMY AT GOLDEN GODS, HAMMERSMITH ODEON
Ticket price is a very reasonable £6.66 with all proceeds going to Nordoff Robbins, Teenage Cancer Trust, and Childline...

mikkey dee BREAKING NEWS: MOTÖRHEAD'S MIKKEY DEE ANNOUNCED AS SCORPIONS DRUMMER
"We would like to continue our Return to Forever tour with James, but we have to realize that his health is priority..."

alex dickson gun BREAKING NEWS: ALEX DICKSON REJOINS GUN
As exclusively predicted by MetalTalk last week, guitarist Alex Dickson has re-joined Scottish rockers Gun...

cockney rejects WEST HAM UNITED TRIBUTE 'GOODBYE UPTON PARK' TO BE RELEASED BY COCKNEY REJECTS
"We were all born within a mile or so from the hallowed Boleyn ground and have all stood on the terraces through snow, rain and sunshine from a very early age."

ac/dc AC/DC RELEASE TICKET REFUND DETAILS FOR MOST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES
If you don't want a refund, then we'll see you at The Olympic Stadium in London as we think we're about to witness a major piece of rock history...

deep purple IAN PAICE AND DON AIREY SCHEDULE SOLO EUROPEAN DATES AS 2016 DEEP PURPLE TOUR APPROACHES
Deep Purple are kicking off their 2016 tour next month in Japan, before heading to Israel, Russia and Europe in June and July.

steve hackett STEVE HACKETT TO RELEASE 'THE TOTAL EXPERIENCE LIVE IN LIVERPOOL', HIS ACOLYTE TO 'WOLFLIGHT' WITH GENESIS REVISITED TOUR
"Besides, it's not as if Liverpool is known for having any good music – there's never been a good band from there. Ha!"

lacuna coil LACUNA COIL LAUNCH NEW ALBUM TITLE TRACK 'DELIRIUM'
Lacuna Coil will be making their much-anticipated return to North America as part of the 'Delirium Worldwide' tour starting in San Francisco on May 7th

bibeau YOUNG, PROGRESSIVE BAND BIBEAU OFFER THEIR FIRST SINGLE/VIDEO, 'MARK THIS'
"We were also hoping to convey the look, feel and flow of some of the classic, timeless rock and metal videos from the height of MTV's popularity..."

virginmarys THE VIRGINMARYS ANNOUNCE HEADLINE UK TOUR FOR JUNE 2016
"It's going to be so great to get back in front of our home fans again, and really important to us to play some of the towns we've been wanting to come back to..."

weapon uk WEAPON UK TO HEADLINE THE RETRIBUTION ALIVE ROAD TRIP IN MAY
"They toured with Motörhead in the 80s, including four sold out shows at the Hammersmith Odean and I have to say, we're pretty excited about this!"

headbangers ball ICED EARTH AND ENSIFERUM TO HEADLINE MTV HEADBANGERS BALL TOUR 2016: FULL DATES HERE
"So brace yourselves for the ultimate Metal experience of a lifetime! See you in front row!"

bloodstock BLOODSTOCK ADDS MORE BANDS, DETAILS METAL 2 THE MASSES FINALS AND ANNOUNCES FIRST NEW BLOOD STAGE WINNERS
Bloodstock HQ is readying to send Team M2TM out on the road for the finals, but in the meantime, there's a few more band additions to the August bill

dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES ANNOUNCE UK AND EUROPEAN DATES FOR JULY/AUGUST IN SUPPORT OF NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'MAKE SOME NOISE'
The Dead Daisies, the biggest new name in Rock, have just recently announced the addition of Doug Aldrich (Whitesnake, Dio) as their new lead guitar player

wolf hoffmann WOLF HOFFMANN TO RELEASE SOLO ALBUM 'HEADBANGERS SYMPHONY' ON JULY 1st
"I have always incorporated classical music in my song writing with Accept, especially with 'Metal Heart', but I constantly felt there was so much more that I could do..."

jaegermeister JÄGERMEISTER RELEASE FULL DOCUMENTARY OF WORLD'S FIRST MUSIC GIG ON AIR, SEA AND LAND
"We go bigger every year and because of the nature of this world first this gig was not only a test of friendship but one of supporting each other too..."

john otway JOHN OTWAY PLANNING ON BEING FIRST ARTIST SINCE THE ROLLING STONES TO RECORD IN MONTSERRAT
"Although the old Air Studios are now derelict the studio in the basement of Sir George Martin's house is sound – it just needs rebuilding..."

fates warning FATES WARNING - NEW STUDIO ALBUM 'THEORIES OF FLIGHT' ANNOUNCED, ARTWORK UNVEILED
"There's a loose theme running through a lot of the lyrics, and this developed organically and separately..."

amon amarth RAISE YOUR HORNS AND BE IN AMON AMARTH'S NEW MUSIC VIDEO
Swedish Heavy Metal goliaths Amon Amarth are inviting their fans around the globe to be a part of their forthcoming video...

sixx am SIXX:A.M. ANNOUNCE THE "#REASONTORISE" CAMPAIGN, TOUR DATES AND 'VOL.1 PRAYERS FOR THE DAMNED' DETAILS
"It is our duty as citizens of this world to come together, communicate with one another and rise up to demand more of ourselves and our leaders."

armored saint ARMORED SAINT ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN FESTIVAL AND CLUB APPEARANCES
"For our first time in Spain, it's gonna be sick! And as if this wasn't enough - Saint is playing for the first time ever in Japan..."

black country communion BLACK COUNTRY COMMUNION TO REFORM IN 2017
"Preparing BCC Rocket Ship Re-launch for 2017 - all systems go."

tarja TARJA PREMIERES OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO OF HER NEW SINGLE 'NO BITTER END'
'No Bitter End', the opening track of the prequel album 'The Brightest Void', is the first glimpse of Tarja's new work – her heaviest to date...

stratovarius STRATOVARIUS RELEASE LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'UNTIL THE END OF DAYS'
"To me it's a testament to the fact that paying attention to song writing and production was expensive, but so worth it..."

brian johnson EXCLUSIVE: PROMINENT AC/DC CREW MEMBER GIVES REMARKABLE INSIGHT INTO AXL ROSE APPOINTMENT
AC/DC are covering themselves in case Axl's poor reputation for unprofessionalism manifests itself...

brian johnson THE DARKEST DAY OF MY PROFESSIONAL LIFE: BRIAN JOHNSON ISSUES PERSONAL STATEMENT ON AC/DC DEPARTURE
"I wish to assure our fans that I am not retiring. My doctors have told me that I can continue to record in studios and I intend to do that..."

thin lizzy THIN LIZZY ANNOUNCE BASS PLAYER AND NEW DRUMMER FOR 2016/17 ANNIVERSARY SHOWS
Thin Lizzy are undisputed legends and to be a small part of their lineage is a humble honor for me...

ian gillan IAN GILLAN TO PERFORM UNIQUE SOLO SHOW OF DEEP PURPLE CLASSICS IN BULGARIA
There is a possibility that Ian will also play some material from his catalogue outside of Deep Purple...

don airey DEEP PURPLE'S DON AIREY AND FRIENDS ADDED TO CAMBRIDGE ROCK FESTIVAL PLUS ATOMIC ROOSTER
Expect to hear many classics from Airey's illustrious past which includes time spent with Rainbow, Ozzy Osbourne as well as his current job with Deep Purple...

wildfire festival WILDFIRE FESTIVAL 2016 ANNOUNCE SUNDAY NIGHT HEADLINERS AND FIVE MORE ACTS
With June creeping ever closer, Wildfire Festival's impressive main stages line-up is all but finalised...

whitesnake THE END OF WHITESNAKE: DAVID COVERDALE TO RETIRE IN 2017
Whitesnake headline the UK's Ramblin Man Festival in July in what could be their final ever UK appearance...

axl rose AXL ROSE CONFIRMED AS AC/DC SINGER FOR THE REMAINING ROCK OR BUST DATES
The worst kept secret in rock is now official...

aerosmith THE END OF AEROSMITH?: NO FAREWELL TOUR CONFIRMED AT THE MOMENT
"A farewell tour is something we've talked about doing for years, let's say roughly in the last five years..."

hrh united ALESTORM, HAMMERFALL, FINSTERFORST, NAPALM DEATH, ARMORED SAINT, VENOM INC. AND EVIL SCARECROW ANNOUNCED FOR HRH UNITED
HRH United 3 will be an exclusive upgraded Metal Edition taking over the entire site @ Camp HRH, Pwllheli, North Wales...

rolling stones PROUD GALLERIES PLAYING HOST TO FABULOUS ROLLING STONES PHOTO EXHIBITION: TERRY O'NEILL TO ATTEND SIGNING SESSION
It's a wonderful book by photographer Terry O'Neill of Rolling Stones images from 1963 to 1965, an era when the Stones were just "breaking through"...

between the buried and me BETWEEN THE BURIED AND ME ANNOUNCE EUROPEAN SUMMER DATES
As well as the European tour dates, BTBAM have launched a live video for 'The Ectopic Stroll' whih you can see here...

jade vine LONDON BASED ALTERNATIVE PROG ROCKERS JADE VINE ANNOUNCE ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW
Jade Vine's music has been influenced by artists such as Pink Floyd, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, Anathema and Pain Of Salvation...
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