Interview: Jonny And Matt From Attica Rage

I recently caught up with Attica Rage frontman Jonny Parr, and bassist Matt Ward, for a chat as they warmed up for a homecoming gig in Glasgow. There’s only one topic on my mind to begin the conversation with – Bloodstock 2016… First question has to be the most obvious, but how the hell was your first taste of not only playing Bloodstock, but also headlining one of the stages?! Jonny: [through a massive beaming grin]  “Amazing!” Matt: “Bucket list… ticked!” Were there any nerves beforehand? Jonny – “It was more surreal to be honest with you, watching Anthrax on the main stage when we were getting the cables out of the van…guitars out of cases and Anthrax are giving it yaldy on the mainstage!” Matt: “Bizarre standing waiting on Scott Ian to shut up for a minute so we can do our mic checks! We got really lucky to be honest with you as it was the last few bands of the weekend so no-one was really leaving the arena. We couldn’t have wished for a better slot, it was unbelievable” Jonny: “That’s just the start of it though, we will return!” Latest album, ‘Warheads Ltd’ has been out since the summer. Is this the road test for the new songs? Jonny: “Not really, a lot of them we had actually road tested a while back before recording them, trying out lyrics etc. We’ve been touring without an album for the last few years” Matt: “It’s been funny having people pretending that they know the words already and singing them back to you – wrong!, we’re like ‘No, not right’!” The album has a great deal of variety on it, and quite a progression from previous albums?
Jonny: “Definitely yes, we don’t just like the one style of music, so the sound does change naturally” Although the band has a heavy image, and songs like ‘Road Dog Forever’ and ‘Killer Carousel’, you also have tracks like ‘Ashamed’ with some killer hooks. Jonny: “That’s something that we’ve tried to do with every album. With ‘Ashamed’ we got to the end of the recording process and I was like…do we do it?…as it’s such a departure from what we had done before, but people like singing!” Matt: “Sometimes it’s the grizzliest of bikers in the crowd that shock you, you think that they want metal and all of a sudden they’re the ones singing the highest” To me, metal is too preoccupied with pigeonholing bands. Not many musical styles do this, but you tend to defy pigeonholing by appealing to a widespread audience. Jonny: “It’s weird that, it baffles us when people get tied down with all that stuff, when I got into metal it was all about variety and bands could have a slower “ballad”, everyone just accepted that” Matt: “It’s like in the last 15 years or so the amount of sub genres have exploded and people are putting bands in pockets, It’s metal and if you call yourself metal then you can play all of the genres if you want to” Jonny: “Lemmy had the right idea..’We are Motörhead and we play rock n’ roll’… but even then you had idiots saying ‘well no not really’” One of the impressive things about the album is the physical product. Incredible cover artwork, booklet, etc.. was this important to you? Jonny: “Thanks, hopefully we’ll get it out on vinyl at some point too, metal and rock bands still go down that route, when you compare an album sleeve to a tiny square on an mp3 player or your phone then they’re really is no comparison. Artwork has always been really important to us but none of us are artists so that’s the problem! With this one it was my wife that did it, all the sculptures, still life etc” Matt: “Apart from the tarantula…that was real!”
Jonny: “But I love looking through the sleeves checking out the lyrics, credits etc, still do it now” You also got to make a summer video for “All Summer Long” on the one day that it didn’t rain in Scotland! I didn’t see any upturned shopping trolleys on the beach though? Matt: “It was unbelievable luck, we threw caution to the wind and it paid off big time, it could have went the other way and ended up being a really ironic music video, put it this way – it was getting made that day regardless of the weather” Jonny: “We thought well if it does start raining then that’s your typical Scottish summer, if it starts to piss down then keep filming…it’s Ardeer beach not the bahamas!” How has being signed to Off Yer Rocka helped you as a band? Jonny: “They’ve helped market the album, helped with the press and PR, they’ve actually helped us get a lot of press in Germany and Sweden, so much so that, especially in Germany, it’s giving us a boost to get over there and maximise the exposure” And with that, the doors to the venue open and Jonny and Matt dash off to prepare for tonight’s gig, especially Matt who also performs with Mason Hill who are also on the bill tonight. Thanks for your time guys.   Interview: Dave Stott

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