Blind River and King Creature have joined forces for a UK tour starting this May, which marks one of the first sets of gigs post Covid-19 lockdown and is a marker for everyones wish of a return to normality.
Its is certainly a paring to whet the appetite and MetalTalk caught up with Blind River vocalist Harry Armstrong to find out how the guys are transitioning back to some kind of normality.
MetalTalk: Gig alert! It must feel pretty great to be able to announce a tour, even a socially distanced one. How excited are you for this?
Harry Armstrong: “It’s NUTS!! We’ve spent a whole year going out of our fucking minds here. The effect this shit has on our health is insane. I am generally a happy camper, but shit is always going on all around the world and humans are generally idiots. But hey – there is a gig tonight, or a festival this weekend. Or even a jam tomorrow, so fuck it.
“A whole year without that release has pretty much transformed me into a miserable alcoholic. It is more than excitement for this tour. It is going to be like being able to breathe again.”
It is going to be a goosebump moment when you guys climb the stage in Southampton for the first gig. Have you had to work at keeping your vocals up to your usual level, or is that something which happens naturally for you?
“We have a warm up gig the night before in Gravesend, so we will see how well everything has held out then. It is pretty tough on the vocals. You can practice everything else either acoustic, or unplugged, but there is no replacing the blast of air I need to get to hit those long, loud higher notes.
“If I practice that at home the neighbours will probably call the police. We had our first jam in months this weekend just gone. I was getting scared of how it would go, but thankfully there was no problem. Just a very sore throat and a touch of tinnitus the next morning!”
It has been a really tough enforced period for bands and artists. How did you guys cope in general with the enforced break?
“Thankfully we finished ‘Made Of Dirt’ just before the first lockdown and immediately decided to push on with the album release. That kept us busy for a little while, but since then, it has been weird. Personally I found it pretty tough. I am what is considered a key worker, so I have not done anything else either than work and drink.
“And to be honest, my drinking got a little out of hand. I am usually pretty strong willed, so I have reigned it in a touch. But if we get another wave of this, I may not be seen again!”
MetalTalk marked ‘Made Of Dirt’ as “a step up in class for the Heavy Rockers”. I was certainly impressed with it. How has the reception been for the album?
“It has been really positive, but the most important thing is seeing what reception the songs get live. We have played most of the album live, by dropping a new song in our set here and there before COVID-19 came along, but now half the set will be made of, well.. dirt!
“We cannot wait to see how it mixes in with the old stuff and how people react to it when we are back on the road. Looks like we are about to find out!!
With the tour coming up, how are the band preparing? Do you think there will be some ring rustiness, or is getting back on stage for you all like the proverbial ‘riding a bike’ and you never forget what to do?
“The jam we had over the weekend went so well. I was amazed. But we all love doing this. There is no one in this band that is doing it for any other reason that fun and that makes us all really disciplined when it comes to knowing our respective roles.
“Everyone turned up at the studio straining at the leash. We blasted into the first song and spent the next few hours grinning at each other like morons. I came home that night feeling the most relaxed I have felt in over a year.
“This is like our meditation. It cleanses the soul. I think we are only in danger of being TOO ready!”
How did you get involved with Ben [Ward, Orange Goblin] and Route One Tour Promotion]? They seem really keen to get things up and running again…..
“I have been friends with Ben for many years. We have toured together in different bands and always kept in touch. I had been talking to him about a bunch of stuff just before he set up Route One and when he asked me if we would join his roster, it was a no-brainer.
“I do not think we could find a more well suited booking agency if we searched for a million years. It is all a handshake agreement and we know each other well enough to be certain that nothing but the absolute best will be done by all parties involved.
“This tour was their idea and being like-minded souls, we could not be more up for it.”
Have you played with King Creature before? I was impressed with their Set The World On Fire album also. Given both your pedigrees, this is shaping up to be one fucking fantastic set of gigs……
“Yeah, we got smashed with them at Ramblin’ Man festival a couple of years ago, so we know we are gonna have a blast on this tour. There will be a few complaints from cheap hotel bar occupants for certain.
“And I think our styles are different enough to make for a really cool gig. Something for everyone. Well… except the jungle / trance cross-over connoisseur, perhaps.[laughs]”
Any news on plans for another album? Have you all been sharing ideas during lockdown?
“We certainly have. It is one of the few things that has kept us sane, swapping riffs across the internet. There is easily an albums worth of half recorded ideas splattered over our various hard drives. We can now start the process of coaxing out the gems!”
Any message for the fans? What can they expect from the tour and the future of Blind River?
“This tour is going to show us at the hungriest we have ever been. We have been starved of what we do for so long, shit is going to kick right off!
“It is going to be something different and very unique. Join us!”