With just a few weeks to go now until Gallows unleash their third, and self-titled album via Halfcut Records / Shock, Cassie Walker caught up with drummer Lee Barratt to reflect on the year that was and what we can expect from the new, improved Gallows who will be back on our soil for Soundwave Festival. ‘Gallows‘ is out Friday September 14th. Expand this post to check out the chat.
What a huge year it’s been for Gallows, where do you begin? What stood out most for you?
I would say getting the band going again was the thing that stood out the most, obviously we had a spell where people were wondering what was going to happen with Gallows when Frank left and then we had Wade come in. To me it’s the best thing that hass ever happened to the band. His aggression, it’s the boost that we needed and I would say since the turn of the year, everything we’ve done, touring Europe and the UK has been a massive success and in between we’ve recorded the record. For me it’s the best stuff we’ve ever done so it’s exciting times and I’m just glad that over the last year things have actually started to get going again for the band, rather than being stuck in this rut which I think we were for quite a while.
With the rut that you refer to was it lack of motivation within the band?
Yeah I think there was a definite lack of motivation since probably the start of last year, we knew we had to write a record and no one really knew what direction it should go in. Frank had big ideas of making it a big double record with a heavy side and a soft side and I guess it was confusing because I think the rest of the band wanted to write a ‘Gallows’ record you know, that’s what people want, they don’t want to hear a band that sounds like just rock music. Gallows on a lot of people’s belief is a punk band and it’s our belief as well and I think things came to a head when we couldn’t agree on a direction to take and Frank left the band. Since then with Wade coming in, that motivation has come back. Laurent, Steph, Stu and myself we started writing together again and I think the motivation is there to take Gallows places we couldn’t go before.
With Frank’s departure, it made worldwide music news did the band expect such a reaction?
We were obviously going to expect a reaction, he was a pivotal part of the band and such a exhilarating front man we’d be stupid not expect a reaction, maybe not quite as a negative one that we got to begin with. Devoted fans of the band writing us off before they even heard a note of music or seen us play and that’s still happening to a lesser extent but I think the general reaction now, from anyone who see’s us play with Wade is that we’re still the same band, we’re still kicking peoples arses on stage and that’s what we’ve got to do. We’ve got to keep doing that for the next how many months and years we’re on tour, just to keep showing people up.
Wade is in the same boat after the demise of Alexisonfire there was that same negative reaction, once it was announced that Wade was joining Gallows did you cop that same negative reaction from their fans?
We’ve had a few Alexisonfire fans come and blame us for them breaking up, which is definitely not the case at all. You know I’m not going to go into that but that definitely wasn’t the case, Wade knew what he wanted to do with us and he knew that Alexisonfire were pretty much done before he joined us so I guess everyone’s going to have a react at some point. Alexisonfire have so many fans all over the world and I’m sure some of them still blame Gallows for them breaking up, but I think basically a lot of the Alexisonfire fans have actually been quite positive towards the move, I think they all see Wade as such a character within Alexisonfire that they’re now willing to give him a chance with whatever he does in the future and I’m sure we share some of the same fans too. Also for Gallows to have that opening of fans who have followed Wade’s career. I’m pretty sure that him being in Alexisonfire is going to help Gallows in the long run because they sold a lot of records and have a lot of fans, people are going to be curious even if they don’t like Gallows, they’ll be curious to hear what Wade from Alexisonfire is doing now.
With Wade being based in Canada and Gallows being a UK band, how does the logistics works with the band?
It just needs a lot more planning than we ever use to, he comes over from Canada and we’ll rehearse before tour or we’ll take a few days off before anything happens. It’s not as hard as a lot of people would imagine, it just means he has to free up his schedule a bit more sometimes and we have to work around each other which was not always the case before, it was always whatever one person said would go and everyone’s a lot more flexible now I think, to make sure that the band works in the best way it can.
You are about to release your third record, which is self titled and the first with Wade on vocals. Wade comes from a guitarist and backing vocalist background, how was the dynamic in the studio?
It was great, it was really good. It was the first time that all five of us sat in the studio together for a couple of weeks, 12 hours a day, actually writing on the songs and I don’t think his background as a guitarist or backing vocalist really made any difference in the end. He’d come in as the front man, as the main vocalist, he’d spend days and weeks on lyrics and vocals for all the new songs and he had an idea with what he wanted to do when he came in, same as we did with the music and he was so dedicated to make everything sound as good as it should be and that dedication sometimes wasn’t there before and I guess it jumped over onto us for the record, seeing how ambitious and dedicated Wade was and it washed over all of us in the end I think.
Having that new motivation, it sounds like Wade’s become the ring leader for Gallows, has his experience and history made the band work harder at your instruments?
Oh yeah, without a doubt. I mean no musician likes to rest on their laurels. All of us are trying to get better and better at our craft from show to show, from tour to tour but I think definitely this time he’ll be in there making sure this record sounds as good as it should and I think the playing from everyone is a lot more dynamic and a lot more creative but also raking in that punk rock spirit I guess Gallows have always had.
I’ve heard the first single from the new album ‘Last June’ which is out now and sounding very classic Gallows, what can we expect from the new album?
I think ‘Last June’ is defiantly the track on the record that sounds most Gallows compared to the old stuff. It’s a decent representation of the record but it doesn’t tell the whole story. For me I would say the new record is a combination of everything we’ve ever done to be honest. It’s got the weird, disjointed hardcore parts from the first record, it’s got the big choruses from ‘Grey Britain’ and then it’s got the pure aggression from the EP, I would say there’s defintely a lot more choruses on this record than there has been on the others. Wade knows how to write a catchy tune and it’s not in a set out way either, I think when you will hear the record you will know that the aggression is still there but there are parts that really stand out instantly and I don’t know whether Gallows has ever been an instant band, I’ve always been told you need to listen to it a few times and really take it in, where as I think with this record every track is pretty instant you know, it’s memorable. I’m bias obviously but I think it’s the best work we’ve ever done.
It’s quite a bold move to make an album self titled, particularly on the third record and in history most bands self titled record is a 100% definition of that band, is that how Gallows feel at the moment?
Yeah definitely. I’m glad you said that, basically every band I knows best work is their self titled record, I think with us and with everything that’s happened, the fact that now the band feels solidified and confident I think this is probably the strongest we’ve ever been as a unit and it just made sense to call the album ‘Gallows’. We had other album titles kicking around but we’d always come back to the fact that this should be a self titled record and it’s just a statement from us that we’re not going anywhere, this record is our best yet, like it or lump it.
And before I let you go there’s lots of rumor flying around that Gallows are heading to Australia soon for an overdue tour, when can we see you back here?
I’m not sure if I should mention it but we will be back for Soundwave next year, we were meant to be on that first announcement but we will be over for that and it’s very exciting, I can’t wait.