Tuesday 26 February 2013

Interview time with Paul Ablaze (Blackguard)

If you haven't heard of Blackguard then you have been missing out. Blackguard has been kicking ass for the better part of a decade, sharing the stage with heavyweights such as Ensiferum, Lacuna Coil, Cryptopsy, Behemoth and a whole bunch more. Starting out in Montreal, Quebec the band has come a long way over the years headlining and supporting multiple tours. The first time I ever saw them was in support of Kamelot on their Pandemonium Over North America, previously never hearing their music, I instantly became a fan. After this interview I'm hoping a couple more fans will be born.

Before diving in why don't you pause and give yourself a moment to listen

without further ado...

1. Who are you?
-Paul Ablaze

2. Where are you from?
-Montreal Quebec Canada

3. What do you do?
-Scream incoherently for a band called Blackguard.

4. Why do you do this?
-Definitely not for money. I do it because I love it.

5. The story of Blackguard can get a little confusing, once upon a time you were known as "Profugus Mortis" and released a demo named Blackguard, after which you became Blackguard and released an album called Profugus Mortis. Why all the changes? and what is the story behind the two names?
-Ok wow. First of all we never released a demo called "Blackguard". Yes we were originally named Profugus Mortis, and released a record under that name called "So it Begins" on Prodisk Records.  We changed the name to Blackguard in 09 and named our second record Profugus Mortis to A) help people follow the band after the name change and B) As kind of homage to everything we accomplished as P.M. (I really wish I remembered where I read about this so called Blackguard demo, leaves me looking like an idiot here.)

Fan art like this just shows how loyal their fans are.
6. Too hard for power metal fans and too much power metal influences for heavier fans, taken from the Blackguard wiki page, do you agree with this statement? Or is some wiki editing soon to be required.
-We have a Wiki page? Nah that sounds about right. Hey it is what it is, I like that we tow that line between melodic death metal and power metal, it sets us apart from a lot of other bands. I don't care that certain people don't like us, I'm grateful for the ones that do and continue to support the band.

7. Progressive, Black, Power, Folk, Melodic Death, so many different genres have been thrown at your band but how would you best describe the sound?
-Personally I like symphonic melodic death metal, or power death haha. (power death, now that does have a nice ring to it.)

8. Having a sound that can span across many genres, what are some of the influences behind your material?
-Kalmah, old C.O.B , countless power metal bands, At The Gates . That list could go on and on and on.

9. "Storm" the upcoming album due out this spring, what can you share about this new release? How does it differ from "Firefight"?
-Storm feels like the perfect follow up to Firefight. Seriously I’ve never been so proud to be a part of a record. The riffs, the song structures, the orchestrations, everything is a vast improvement. I think fans of our Profugus Mortis record will like this one too. (well this news has me feeling quite giddy)

10. Embarking on quite the tour in support of this new album, 54 shows across the US and Canada, I assume you are most excited?
-While I’m definitely excited, I’m seriously nervous, 54 shows with only 2 days off is brutal. I'll either come back an alcoholic or in the best shape of my life. On a slightly more serious note we are all really happy to be back on the road with Jeff Loomis and our friends in Bonded by Blood , they're all great people and I know we're going to have a blast together. I've heard great things about Soilwork too and I expect this will be a great tour for everyone.

11. For new fans that may be wanting to check out this tour, where is a good place to start in your music?
Buy at: victoryrecords.com/merch/blackguard
-Most of the songs off Firefight would be a good place to start, like the songs "Firefight", "The Fear of All Flesh" and "Wastelands".

12. Speaking of tours and music, you have performed with tons of legendary bands. What are some of the best tour moments you remember? And favorite bands to share the stage with?
-There's been a lot over the years so it's hard to pick out favorites. I'd say some of the funniest times I’ve had on tour was on the Summer Slaughter in 09. It was kind of like Heavy metal summer camp. Every day we would show up pretty early with 9 other bands, take over the parking lot and set up a little village where everyone would hang out. Because we played around 4 pm every day I had a lot of time to explore whatever city I was in and get to know the other bands we were with. We actually had fairly regular poker games which were really fun, I think I won a few hundred bucks just from gambling over the course of that tour.

13. Starting out in Montreal, working your way up and being signed to Victory Records, what is some advice you can give to fellow Canadian bands who are trying to make it?
-Don't suck (keep in mind some people will always think you suck regardless). Be persistent in honing your craft and stage show and network with as many people as you can in the industry.

14. Piracy and file sharing, with the new album around the corner I am sure this will become a concern. What are your thoughts and opinions on the matter?
-I'm not too concerned about it because there's really nothing I can do to stop it. File sharing is a part of the industry now , yes it hurts the artist and labels but it does allow the music to get out there unrestricted. The only thing we can really do is hope we put out a good enough product that people will want to spend their money on it, or at the very least support the artist in other ways.

15. A tragic accident takes place and you find yourself on a deserted island. You only had time to grab 3 albums to listen to until the end of time. Which three do you grab?
-Best of Jamiroquai. Best of James Brown and maybe one of Armen van Burren's State of Trance compilations - I plan to dance myself to death.  (these answers are why I always ask this question, love it!)

Well I don't want to take up too much of your time, you guys have quite the busy year ahead of your. Any last words you would like to give to all of your fans?
 -Thanks to everyone for their continued support! We can't wait to see you all on the road. Come party with us!

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