Following on from yesterday’s first salvo, we dig under the “X” to find the treasure chest containing the second part of “aar” interview with Chris Bowes…
No we’ve never done anything like this. Actually I think we’re the first ever band that you could call “folk metal” or “power metal” to play it. It’s all these pop punk, metalcore, alt-rock guys and then there’s us which is great because in the past we’ve found ourselves locked up with all these folk pagan bands. We’re just a bunch of people with rubber ducks who happen to like to sing about pirates so it’s kind of fun to be going on tour with these bands we’ve never played with before. I guarantee you there’ll be no one hailing Odin or drinking from a drinking horn, it’ll be cool dudes and dudettes which will be fun because that’s more like who we are. I’m looking forward to that, that’ll be incredible.
I was going to ask how a band like Alestorm fits in there but like you said, it’s not all about Dungeons and Dragons.
Exactly, we’re not that sort of band. I hate to say it but I think we’ve got plenty of “mainstream appeal” you know. We’re pretty accessible.
Yeah, especially on the last couple of albums I think.
Yeah, I suppose you could say that. When this band started out, we didn’t really know who we were. We wore frilly shirts and said “Arrgh me harties, let’s plunder some rum” but that’s just not us anymore. We’re being more honest with ourselves these days.
And with the kind of music you play, do you find there’s a lot of differences to somewhere like Australia where you’re quite big compared to the Russian shows you’ve got coming up?
I mean with the Russian shows we’ve got are actually quite comparable to Australia because it’s a similar sort of crowd size and I think that’s what’s great about this band; we’re not just big in the UK or Germany, we don’t have to stick to one territory as we’ve got fans all around the world so we get to go everywhere and no matter where we go, there are fans who’ll love it and we get to travel the world. We’d get sick of playing the same cities over and over.
On that note, we’ve got a huge South American tour coming up this year and that’s our first time which will be great, there’s so many places to go. It’s great fun and it’s such a brilliant feeling when you get off a plane in a random country and you go and play a gig and there’s people wearing your shirts. It’s so exciting because you think “Oh my God, I’ve never even been here and there’s people wearing our shirts!”. We’ve never been here and there are people obsessed with us, so that’s really exciting.
Are you playing Mexico on that tour per chance?
Yes, there will be definitely be a show in Mexico City in Mexico and we’ll play “Mexico” the song and I think that’ll actually be the high point of my career when the cheesy intro kicks in. I just think it’ll be packed with Mexicans screaming the words back at us and I actually can’t wait for that moment.
You should make a DVD of that, that would be brilliant!
That’ll be a moment worth filming for sure!
Alright, so onto something completely different now. I was a little bit late to this but could you explain the ham competition you held a little while ago?
For about a year now we’ve been joking about these bands who do these competitions on Facebook where they ask these questions to encourage engagement and all this bullshit and marketing crap. So every time you ask “Hey what’s your favourite song” we joked about giving away a years supply of ham, then people started catching on and getting obsessed with ham. That coincided with my recent realisation that you can do these competitions on Amazon, when someone clicks on a link or something they get entered into a competition that’s done randomly by Amazon and then they send some pre-paid stuff. In our case, I paid for 5 cases of 12 cans of ham so it’s genuinely real and I think some people dismissed it when it came out but it happened and I’d love to do it again some time. I’m not sure it’s the best use of my money though, spending it all on tins of ham!
It was different…
It was good fun yeah!
On that note, after Metallica’s collaboration with Lady Gaga, would you ever play “Magnetic Telephone” (a hybrid of “Magnetic North” and Lady Gaga’s “Telephone”) with her?
Wouldn’t that be fun! Obviously I don’t see that happening but we just wrote that song to sort of copy “Telephone” but not in a copyright infringing way. You hear all these lawsuits like the guy from “Blurred Lines” (Robin Thicke) being sued by Marvin Gaye and all that shit where you can’t copyright a chord sequence or the lyrics, we just copied the structure of that song which isn’t copyright infringing. It just lined up perfectly. I’m not sure Lady Gaga’s heard it or even why she would’ve heard it so it’s not gonna happen though it would be fun.
You could bring her onstage in Mexico
Of course, why not!
After covering the Taio Cruz song “Hangover” is there any artist you’d like to cover an Alestorm song?
I’d love people people to cover us, the only real band who’ve done it is the Icelandic band Skálmöld who covered “Drink” and we covered one of their songs which went out on a 7″ single. I’d love someone who’s not in our scene to cover us, I just love hearing that, someone who’s big and famous to tell us our band is cool. Maybe one day. I don’t really care who it is as long as it’s someone interesting from anywhere in the world with any music style.
Obviously I don’t want to ask a leading question but do you have anything you want to say to anyone who characterises you as a “joke band”? You must get asked that a lot!
“Oh they’re Alestorm, they’re one of those silly bands. I don’t really like them, I like proper music.” It’s really frustrating because we really put effort into our songwriting and people say “Oh they’re silly pirates aren’t they?” We write and perform to the best of our ability and yeah the lyrics are a bit silly because they’re about pirates but so what? Everyone writes about dumb shit. Pirates are dumb, there’s no way to get around that. Basically we’ve given up giving a fuck, we’re not trying to fit in anymore. There was a time when we released songs like “Death Throes Of The Terror Squid” and that would be our long serious song but by this point we don’t care, we’re doing pretty alright being for a “joke band” and people not taking it seriously because there’s a lot of people who really like it and we’re loving it. If you think it’s dumb, we don’t care, we’re taking this seriously. I think I’ve stopped trying to convince people and I’m just going to let them get on with their miserable little lives.
My last question is just a little one for me. When “Back Through Time” came out I really wanted to ask why you chose to pick on Vikings?
Well that’s just the thing, I was saying before how we’re lumped in with that folk, pagan metal scene we used play a lot of shows with those dress up “Hail Odin” bands and we all thought that was dumb, we just liked making fun music. There were some people who came to those shows with big burly beards who took vikings really seriously and genuinely believed Odin is real. They rejected us because we weren’t “true pagan metal” so we just wrote a song about pirates killing vikings just to piss off our fans. I can’t stand those people who have this ridiculous super-elite attitude to anything. It’s all music, who cares. Anyway, we basically wrote that song to piss of our fans!
No Grave But The Sea is out now through Napalm Records