Archspire is a young band from Vancouver, BC, who’ve come a long way in a short time. I first discovered them near the end of 2010 via one of our MISCELLANY posts and I’ve been tracking their news ever since. They feature two guitarists who blaze away on 7- and 8-string guitars, a bassist who works wonders on a 6-string fretless bass, and a drummer and vocalist who match them stride-for-stride. They churn out head-twisting streamers of technical death metal that should appeal to fans of bands such as Origin, Decrepit Birth, and Spawn of Possession.
Earlier this year, Trendkill Entertainment released their debut album, All Shall Align, which has been extremely well-received by both fans and critics, and they’re now about to embark on a European tour headlined by Decapitated. I recently got the chance to interview vocalist Oli Peters and guitarist Dean Lamb, through the good graces of Trendkill’s Virgil Palazzolo. The interview follows, and there’s some Archspire music at the end for those of you who haven’t yet tumbled to this band.
NCS: It’s hard to believe that almost a year has passed since we first wrote about you guys at NCS. A lot has happened since then. You got signed by Trendkill, All Shall Align has been favorably reviewed far and wide, you’ve been gigging a ton, and you’re over 3,000 likes on Facebook — but the biggest recent news is the European tour with Decapitated, Aborted, Fleshgod Apocalypse, and Cyanide Serenity. That is one hell of a line-up. How did this thing come about for you?
Dean: Well, we have been working with Virgil at our label, Trendkill for the past few months on setting this up. He has taken on a huge budget to help us out on this one, and it would have been impossible if it weren’t for his initiative and support. It’s really huge for us, and we can’t wait to show Europe what we can do, and what we’ve worked so hard on these past couple years.
Oli: It’s a huge honor. Virgil has done an incredible job and we wouldn’t be where we are right now without him.
NCS: Have you seen any of those other bands before or gotten the chance to talk with any of them?
Dean: We did! We caught the Decapitated Vancouver date a few weeks back at The Rickshaw Theater. It was really inspiring, there were a few times that I was talking to members of Decapitated and Fleshgod Apocalypse, and I was awestruck at how personable and friendly they were. It’s a really weird feeling to talk to musicians that have literally shaped your life. I’ve been a huge Decapitated fan for as long as I can remember.
NCS: Opening for bands of that caliber in places you’ve never played before, in front of crowds who may not know your music — are you feeling any stress about this?
Oli: We don’t really know what to expect. Basically, we have just been practicing like crazy and hoping we’ll be well received over there.
Dean: I’m a bit nervous, but it’s mostly nerves about logistics. Once we get into the swing of the tour, I’ll feel better. We still have a bit of preparation to do, saving up money and figuring out our gear setup.
NCS: Have you got your setlist worked out yet? And if so, what can European fans expect?
Oli: There are a couple songs that we feel most of our fans will want to hear, so we are gonna try to fit them in our opening set time. We’ll be adding a new one in every set to give people an idea of our new material, and the direction we’ll be taking with the next album. Regardless, European fans can definitely expect shitty jokes between songs and not much hair.
Dean: We have a 2/3 hair to no-hair ratio, which puts us at an early disadvantage in Europe.
NCS: Looks like the first date is in Germany on November 17. When do you leave Canada for Europe?
Dean: Our flights are booked for November 15th, so we’ll have a day before our first show to try and shake off some jet lag, and get all our stuff organized.
NCS: You’re really going to sweep the continent on this thing — Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Poland, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, France, Spain, Portugal, Switzerland . . . Are there any places in particular you’re most looking forward to seeing?
Dean: I’m personally very excited for Poland, and I’ve heard Spain is going to be incredible. I really have absolutely no clue what to expect from this tour, so it’ll be interesting to say the least.
Oli: I haven’t been to anywhere in Europe before, so I’m fairly stoked to get out of Canada and experience some different cultures.
NCS: How will you be traveling from place to place? Big fancy tour bus packed with babes and intoxicants, or hitchhiking?
Dean: We’ve been setup on a “Nightliner”, basically a small tour bus with a few bunks in the back. The main intoxicant in that vehicle will no doubt be the powerful stench of unwashed men and flatulence. We’ll be posting pictures now and then on our Facebook page so that fans can get the inside scoop.
Oli: Oh, and we’ve got an awesome litter box setup for Tobi in the back of the bus, and we’ll be auctioning off the contents after the tour on Ebay.
NCS: I know you’re still riding high on All Shall Align, but metalheads are always looking for the next song . . . So, I’ve got to ask a few questions about what’s on the Archspire horizon. From my snooping around the interhole, it looks like you’ve already got a name and concept for the next album, true?
Oli: Yeah, I’ve had a fairly solid concept idea for the past few months, and I’ve been trying to really develop that concept, building on what I’ve learned from writing the first album. I think the content I’ve been working on is creatively a bit more tasteful, and I’m really proud of how it’s turning out so far.
NCS: Anything you can tell us about name or concept?
Oli: I have a sort of a working tittle for the new album, but it’s still in its early stages. Without going into too much detail, I can say that lyrically it will contain a selection of short stories I have written as a continuation of the first album, based around accounts of specific beings attempting to “fathom” being awoken to coexistent infinite parallel universes. Basically starting from where we left off in Rapid Elemental Dissolve. Don’t worry, the will be NO CLEAN SINGING. I promise.
NCS: How far along are you in writing songs?
Dean: Well, we have two new songs completely finished, and our plan is to support All Shall Align for this tour, come back, and get back into writing mode. The new stuff we have been writing always focuses on being faster, more dynamic, and more interesting than previous songs. So, with every song, we try to have at least a few moments that we feel that we’ve never done before. I’m sure there will be some videos of our new material surfacing on the web soon enough.
NCS: Care to share any hints about what we can expect from the new music?
Dean: Some new techniques we’ve all been working on, as well as some solos I’m quite proud of. Tobi and I worked really hard together on some of these guitar parts, so I hope they translate well both in the studio and live.
Oli: Faster in some parts, and more refined overall. It seems like the more time we spend on writing a song, the more intricate and complex the rhythms and melodies get. And we’re extremely proud of the two new ones we’ll be playing on this tour, “Plague of AM”, and “Infinite Depth”.
NCS: Are you projecting a time when you’ll be ready to hit the studio and start tracking?
Oli: We’d like to have studio time booked for spring 2012, it really all depends on how fast we can pump out some new material. But who knows what’ll happen after this tour. I think it’s going to open up some doors for us, so it’s hard to plan 100%.
NCS: Completely random question: I saw that Oli got “Solve” and “Coagula” inked on his arms. An alchemy reference, but with other meanings. What prompted him to get those words inscribed on his skin?
Dean: Olí has a philosophy behind those pieces, I’m sure. But, keep in mind: I have witnessed that man get his balls tattooed. I stopped asking him about his tattoos.
NCS: Another random question: what’s the best story you’ve got from the last six months of touring and playing
Oli: We almost lost our trailer on the way through Regina. We had two threads of steel barely holding the whole thing together, which was packed with drums, guitars, amps, moniters, etc. It would have been possibly the worst thing that could happen to a band on the road, because I’m sure we would have caused a terrible accident on the highway. Luckily, we just happened to notice it by chance when we were stopped at a gas station.
NCS: So, I gather that there have been some last minute cost increases you’ve got to deal with on this trip. What can fans do to help?
Dean: Basically, we found out it’s going to be a few extra hundred dollars for getting our guitars across, on top of all the other costs we’re sure to run into. So we are encouraging anyone that can, to help donate! Our Facebook page has a “Help us out” tab, or you can go there directly via http://www.facebook.com/Archspireband?sk=app_139229522811253
NCS: And do you guys have any other news you’d like to share with our readers that I wasn’t smart enough to ask about?
Dean: Well, we’ve built our endorsement list up to two now! For anyone that’s interested, Archspire is now endorsed by:
Pick Satan – http://www.facebook.com/Picksatan
Pennyblack Tattoos – http://www.facebook.com/pages/PennyBlack-Ink-Tattoo-Art/125825424117905
Oli: For any North American fans, we have some game-changing details that we’re working out right now, so hopefully we can announce that early 2012. I’d like to take this very special moment just to add, “Also Piss”. Thank you.
Our thanks to Archspire for making time for this interview (and to Virgil for arranging it). Here are links to more info about the band:
And now here’s some music from All Shall Align. Also, Piss.