HAIL THE VILLAIN hails from Canada and is probably one of the few rock bands that I’ve actually liked recently. And they’ve got a great live show too. Their debut album Population: Declining, was originally released in 2006, but it’s been re-released again after they got signed to Roadrunner Records, THE label for anything that rocks hard.
AND Hail The Villain will be here for SingFest 2010. We got Hail The Villain singer Bryan Crouch on the blower for a few words.
Hey there! What’s been happening with you guys? We’re up at the cottage relaxing. We’ve been touring and we have two weeks off before we do some more shows in the States and Canada.
I must say, I’m not really a fan of anything harder than classic rock, but I was really blown away by your website. We wanted to go over the top and I think we did.
For those of us here who don’t know who Hail The Villain are, please tell us how you got the name. We were called Fahrenheit at first, this was when we were recording the album, but we noticed that the name was pretty generic, and the songs were all taking on a darker and evil tone, and because of that we decided we needed a new name. But we also had this idea to do a comic book thing for the record and we thought Hail The Villain was a perfect way to get both the name and everything to be in a comprehensive package.
I love the video for Take Back The Fear, with all that comic book-style animation. Are you guys comic book fans? We’re all kind of geeks, actually, and we’re all into video games and stuff, but mainly our inspiration came from Spawn, The Watchmen and The Crow, so we’re really into that until it came to a point where we wanted to write a movie for the record. And now that’s done. Every episode is being released via videos and comic books. The comic book is actually done.
Going by what I saw online, your live shows seem pretty animated too! It’s kind of like the whole animated thing runs into our live show too… like us being animated onstage. I don’t think YouTube does us justice when it comes to the videos of the shows, that’s why I can’t wait to bring it to Singapore for you guys.
So you’re going to bring that exact show over here? There might be some restrictions that we’re not aware of – but we’ll probably be told beforehand. But right now, I’d like to be as over-the-top as we possibly can and not hold back. We like to bring the crowd into it and let them know they’re just as part of the show as we are. My motto has been, “Humiliate myself as much as I can so that the crowd will know there’s nothing they can’t do”.
How do you guys sustain that energy show after show? I think I’d be flat after two songs. I dropped 12 pounds on our last tour! But we eat well, don’t think that we don’t. We actually can’t wait to get to Singapore and try Singapore food. The energy thing is probably conditioning. The more we do, the better we get at it. But I think if I’ve been off the road for a few weeks and had to do a show, I’d probably get exhausted after the first few songs and run out of adrenaline.
Are there any hi-jinks on the road? We’re in a van and trailer, so we don’t really have a lot sleep or places that we can go. We don’t even have a bus. It’s pretty much like this: We play our show, we pack our merch and gear into the van, we drive all night long, we get to the venue, we hopefully have a shower. That’s our goal really – if we get that shower, that’s a bonus.
So much for the rock star ethos then! I’d like to think of us as the anti-rock star. We’re extremely personable, we take the time to meet every single fan that we can no matter how big the venue is. I never ever want to have that tag attached to us, that we’re rock stars. We just love rock music and we love playing music.
I read that your songs are based on personal experiences. They’re all extremely personal. One of the songs I absolutely refuse to play live, just because of how the mood it’s put me in. These are true passionate songs. When it comes to live shows, I think we feed off the energy of the crowd and it’s a little easier to do, but truth be told, I do think about everything as I’m singing it, and I live that song every moment of it. It’s a bit difficult sometimes, but at the end of they’re still upbeat songs, even if they’ve got messages that would seem contrary to that.
So what do you expect for your show here? I think that people are going to be shocked, but every excited that a band is going to come out and truly be there for the crowd. We work with a company to do our videos that’s based in Singapore – Rune Entertainment. And Graham Perkins is the guy who got us this gig, actually. So it’s truly an honour to come and play music there. It’s really massive for us. I don’t even want to put expectations on what the crowd might be like. I just want to come out and play the show.
Are you guys already planning a second album? We are! We’ve already written a huge chunk for that. One of the things we’ve learned is that to never turn ourselves into something that we’re not, but to maintain the way that we are all the time. We obviously change a bit in terms of becoming better musicians, but I think our sound has become heavier than it was before, and we’ve also gone for a more melodic thing as well – less screaming, more singing, and music underneath. But it’s still going to have that edge – that’s the important thing to maintain.
What’s the most important component in the band? Passion. For what you do. If you really want to sound good, you’re going to trim a lot of that fat that doesn’t really need to be there. You’re going to make sure that you’re writing from the heart in all aspects. Lyrically, it has to be passionate. I hate writing songs about girls, I refuse to do songs about love, anything that’s played out trite or something that someone else has done before, or getting political on people, it’s not about that. It’s about truly finding yourself and relating to people. That’s how you make a great song. We’re still learning how to do that.
You mean you still haven’t found what you’re looking for? I think we’ve found ourselves, but we’re trying to find how to make ourselves better.
What’s the worst or best thing about being in Hail The Villain? The worst part is we want to release our record in every single part of the world and every country seems to say they want to release it, but we don’t have the time to get there. So what we’re trying to do is to make sure that we can hit every market. That’s a difficult thing. But we’ve got this great opportunity to do this, and we’re going to make good on it. Really.
For more Hail The Villain, check out their website www.hailthevillain.com.