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  INTERVIEW WITH FORSAKEN AGE

Johnny Main

johnny main

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forsaken age

As part of MetalTalk's commitment to bring you new and exciting bands, I sat down with Forsaken Age, a band in the classic Heavy Metal mould who are based in Auckland, New Zealand to find out how the band started, the low-down on their debut album, 'Back From Extinction', and to find out about the Metal scene in New Zealand.

I started off by asking the band how long they've been together to which drummer Tam Cramer told me that they started out in 2009 as a covers band called Twisted Metal before changing their repertoire in 2010 to original material and their name to Forsaken Age.

I delve a bit further and ask what the motivating factor was to move from being a covers band to one that performs original material to which vocalist Chrissy Scarfe gives me the short answer that they did it "(to) keep Classic Heavy Metal alive" before Cramer explains further telling me that "I think we all felt that there was more to us than simply going out and playing other people's songs. Don't get me wrong, we loved the songs that we were playing, but we just felt that we should be writing and performing our own stuff which would be a better way of expressing ourselves."

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"We were also swimming in a sea of Nu-Metal and Metal-Core bands", adds bass player Lee Scarfe. "In my opinion, both genres are dominated by trendy hipsters who wouldn't know real Metal if they caught their mummy fucking it, so we wanted to bring back real Metal - y'know, balls out, unapologetic metal! If you don't like it... leave the hall."

Cramer adds to the sentiment telling me: "I think too, that there's also a tendency for people to look down on covers bands – wrongly in my opinion, and that spurred us on to do more original material as well, to be honest."

Moving on, I ask the band about their debut album, 'Back From Extinction', which was released independently in 2012. First off, I ask them what it felt like to have an album actually out there to which Cramer tells me that for him, "(It was) like a huge weight had been lifted from our shoulders! We recorded, and produced it ourselves, so it'd taken a long time to get to that point. At one point in the past, though, we had it all ready to be released but at the very last moment we decided that we weren't at all happy with it, so we went back and rewrote and rearranged most of the songs then re-recorded them. For me it was happiness that it was finally over, mixed with excitement and a bit of fear about how it would be received."

Lee Scarfe explained to me that "(we) were very proud (of what we'd achieved) and also humbled that the response from the public and our fans was a lot better than we'd ever imagined. Music to me is very personal and it's really gut wrenching allowing other people to have it. In saying that, we did put out an album of proper heavy metal. No bullshit - just proper Heavy Metal."

forsaken age

With the first album out and available to buy from Amazon and iTunes, as well as the band's website, the next question to the band is an obvious one – how are preparations for the second album coming along? "We're working on the songs at the moment," confirms Cramer before adding that "there are already a couple in our live set which were written after the first album was released, and the reaction when we play those new ones live has been really good, so we're really looking forward to getting them recorded. There are a couple of others that we're still working on to get them ready to play live, and we will record them sometime in the future."

"The writing process is the fun part", Lee Scarfe tells me. "We're lucky this time round there are no time constraints, and we can write them and then test them in a live situation and then lay them down in the studio once they're refined and sounding how they sound in our heads at the moment!"

When pushed for more details regarding recording dates, the band are unsure when they'll be studio bound, with Cramer explaining that "there are a number of options we're looking at and we'll make a final decision once we're ready to start recording" before Lee Scarfe adds that "we want to produce the best Heavy Metal we can. This next lot (of tracks), we'll be pouring all our blood, sweat and tears into. This will be our best offering with no compromise, no quarter and no mercy given. This one will also be on vinyl!" he adds with a wry smile.

I enquire if the band has anyone in mind for producing the album or whether they will be self-producing it to which Cramer confirms that "no-one at this stage. We've been told that Mutt Lange is busy – apparently" before Lee Scarfe adds with a smile that "we were going to message Bob Rock, y'know, but then we realised he's already ruined one Metal band so let's not tempt fate, eh? Seriously, though, we're looking for someone who will be on our wavelength and who will give zero fucks for anything but Heavy Metal.

"If all else fails we'll produce it ourselves – even though this is a hard task and that inevitably leads to some random gladiatorial combat and jousting tournaments in the studio."

It's guitarist Warren Davies who has the last comment on the subject, telling me that "if Andy Sneap wants the job we'd be very happy – he does good work particularly on the Accept albums."

Bringing the interview back to the realms of seriousness, I ask the band about their song writing process to which Cramer explains: "Warren and Lee come up with riffs while Chrissy writes the majority of the lyrics, although I did write the lyrics for three of the songs on the album. Once Chrissy has written lyrics, we work on them together usually making small changes here and there.

"Obviously a riff and a set of lyrics isn't a song, so once we get together in the rehearsal room, we all throw ideas into the mix and contribute ideas about the structure, and arrangements to get to the finished article."

forsaken age

Chrissy Scarfe explains a bit further: "Yeah, I write most of the lyrics with some help from Tam, who also wrote lyrics for a few of the songs – one of them in ten minutes, just prior to recording, but once a song is there, there's a lot of discussion between the whole band with ideas and changes that can happen before we're all 100% happy with the end result. It may not work for some other bands, but it's the way that works best for us."

Lee Scarfe adds with a mischievous grin: "If you want the truth, we have a sweat shop in Bangladesh that churns the songs out for us. They also double as a call centre who can get you a really good deal on your current mobile phone plan! (laughs)"

When asked what the lyrical themes of the bands songs are, it's Lee Scarfe who jumps in first telling me: "As far as the 'Back From Extinction' album is concerned, the songs we wrote covered things like the Highland Clan battles, a war diary, being on the run from the Law, horses in various states of evilness and disrepair as well as insanity and those devil drugs. Some of the up coming subjects that we're tackling with the new material include Satan himself, of course, pleurisy, Vikings, and hopefully sex with beautiful women – quite a hotchpotch of subjects then, but something for (almost) everyone!"

At this point Cramer adds: "There isn't any particular theme, but we do touch upon subjects as Lee has said like historical battles, World War II as well as human conditions like drug abuse and psychiatric illness as well as the compulsory 'fists in the air' type Heavy Metal anthems."

Chrissy Scarfe adds: "Some of the songs have come from the strangest origins," which brings me nicely to the subject of where their inspiration does actually come from. Cramer has his tongue firmly in his cheek by telling me: "The Cooking Channel and Partick Thistle Football Club" are his inspirations while in a reversal of roles, Lee Scarfe comes over all serious (almost) by saying that his inspiration comes from "Manowar! Actually, Heavy Metal in general, harking back to when, as a kid, you would first open that vinyl or CD and (pauses), that feeling!"

Again Chrissy Scarfe sums it up nicely by telling me that Forsaken Age, like most bands, are influenced by "day to day life, movies and books we watch/read. Anything really that means something to one or more of us."

So, does the band have any timescales for the second album or do they have any plans for an interim release? "No specific dates as such," explains Cramer before adding: "We do plan to release something in 2014, though." Davies nods in agreement before adding: "At the moment, we're just concentrating on writing new material" before Lee Scarfe says that when it's ready, "the next release will be CD, download and Vinyl and we may release a preview track free before the album comes out too."

Obviously work on the new album takes precedent, but I ask if the band have any confirmed tour dates lined up for 2014 yet? "We do have some local gigs lined up over the early part of 2014. We've also got a few things still at the discussion phase, but any gigs will be announced on the band website and Facebook page once they are confirmed – so keep watching!"

Lee Scarfe resumes his role of band joker by telling me: "Tam is paying for all of us to go over and play Glasgow (his home town) and we're all very excited about it – except Tam, because he didn't know anything about it. Until now! (laughs). We do have some local gigs lined over the next couple of months and, hopefully, a couple of international support spots as well as a few potential New Zealand festival type shows, which are still to be confirmed."

Talking of support slots, I mention that the band have already supported (ex-Judas Priest vocalist) Tim 'Ripper' Owens, (Symphonic Power Metal band) Nightwish and Scottish Metal band Alestorm over the past couple of years, and I ask what was that like and what did the band learn from the experience?

"For me personally, opening for 'Ripper' was a great experience, as he's a bit of hero of mine," Cramer explains. "His professionalism was amazing and his attitude towards his singing and his fans was amazing too. Opening for Nightwish was interesting; they were very good at what they do, and very slick! We also opened for (Finnish Folk Metal band) Korpiklaani, and watching the effect that they had on the crowd was just a mind blowing experience.

We have supported more since then but we learned this isn't an easy life and these bands are not only hard working, but are seriously talented and very under rated. I also learned that pirates drink a bit (laughs)."

Chrissy Scarfe told me that from her point of view, "we learned as a band that it doesn't matter if you are playing to twenty people or eight hundred, but it's our job to make sure everyone there is having a great time and are nicely primed for the headliner, or if we are the last band on a bill, that the audience leave wanting more. It's a simple lesson but one that we learned early on and put it to good use at every gig we play now."

So, I ask, what can someone coming to a Forsaken Age live show expect? "A fucking good time!" is the short answer from Cramer before he goes on to tell me: "We celebrate classic Heavy Metal at our gigs, and we want people to be a part of the show, to leave our gigs sweaty and exhausted but with a huge smile on their faces. What we're trying to do is to return to the Metal shows of the 1980s, when bands actually interacted with the audience rather than staring at the floor and mumbling a couple of words between songs."

Lee Scarfe adds: "Our live show is like no other. In the traditions of old bands, regardless of the venue, we play it like it is our biggest show. There are no stops; it is attack from start to finish. You will leave our show knackered, like you have just been satisfied by a gorgeous harem after a decade in the desert," while Chrissy Scarfe and Davies both chime in too, that "you can expect a kick ass, head banging night of Heavy Metal. We make our shows as fun as possible with some serious old school Heavy Metal that your dad would love."

The band went out on a headline tour of New Zealand last year, and I ask them how they found the experience? "Interesting!” says Cramer before adding: "It was tiring but fun, meeting lots of new people, playing with bands we'd never played with before. It was good, and we learned a lot about the logistics of touring and what we should and shouldn't do on the next one – because there will be a next one."

"It was great," adds Chrissy Scarfe, "playing with some kick ass New Zealand bands – we had a blast. It was hard with all the travel at times, y'know, but it was all worth it! Spending that much time in a van or a car with your band mates certainly gives you a new appreciation of them."

Asked if there are any places they enjoy performing in, the band have differing opinions with Lee Scarfe quickly jumping in with Masterton and Wellington (both towards the southern tip of the north island of New Zealand) whilst Chrissy tells me that the Kings Arms in Auckland is a favourite - great sound and great atmosphere. Cramer is somewhat less selective, telling me: "Nowhere really stands out for me, I just like playing!" - a fine sentiment indeed.

Winding up our chat together, I ask them what they (realistically) want the band to achieve? Cramer is first to answer: "To keep playing music that people want to listen to and watch us play live, but not to kill each other in the process!"

Lee is characteristically jokey saying that he'd like them to be "the first Heavy Metal band other than Iron Maiden to do a tour in (Maiden's own chartered aeroplane) Ed Force One," whilst Chrissy tells me that she would like the band to "keep gaining momentum and to always strive for better – to keep writing kick ass Heavy Metal and to love what we do."

With that, we part ways but with so much enthusiasm in the band for the songs they write and the music they play, you can't help but hope that they really do get what they want, if not in 2014 certainly in the next few years.

Forsaken Age are:
Chrissy Scarfe – Vocals
Warren Davies – Guitar
Lee Scarfe – Bass Guitar/Backing Vocals
Tam Cramer – Drums/Backing Vocals

Forsaken Age Online:
Official Website: http://forsakenage.co.nz
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ForsakenAge


11.2.2014






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To commemorate the anniversary of the LiveMetallica.com site, the band are offering CDs and LPs of every gig they played in 2014...

kobra and the lotus KOBRA AND THE LOTUS AND THE TREATMENT ANNOUNCE UK TOURS
Kobra And The Lotus will be kicking off their Headline Tour on 24th September in support of their latest record 'High Priestess'...

rival sons RIVAL SONS RETURN TO UK FOR DECEMBER TOUR
The band appear on Letterman in the US on October 9th, and will have an exciting UK TV appearance to announce soon...

linkin park LINKIN PARK PLAY TWO NIGHTS AT LONDON'S 02 ARENA IN NOVEMBER
Following their exhilarating headline sets at the European summer festivals, Linkin Park return for their own headline tour in November...

evil scraecrow AT LAST! A NEW VIDEO FROM EVIL SCARECROW
"It's an emotional thing for us to watch back. We hope that translates to everyone that watches it too!"

sabctuary SANCTUARY POSTS LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'EXITIUM (ANTHEM OF THE LIVING)'
Sanctuary continue that legacy that they started decades ago, delivering yet another fresh take on "classic-sounding" Metal...

electric mary ELECTRIC MARY ANNOUNCE MINI ALBUM AND UK TOUR
Australian five piece Electric Mary are back to spread Rock n' Roll's genuine flavour to Europe...

accept ACCEPT REVEAL LIVE CLIP OF 'PANDEMIC' FILMED IN FRONT OF 750,000 PEOPLE AT WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL 2014
UK fans can catch the band live at The Forum in London on the 27th November 2014...

hornet HORNET ANNOUNCE NEW EP AND SINGLE
"We really wanted to just expand the sound we already had by incorporating more of our influences to make our sound more modern and diverse..."

jimmy barnes JIMMY BARNES ANNOUNCES NEW 30th ANNIVERSARY ALBUM 'HINDSIGHT'
2014 marks the 30th anniversary of Jimmy Barnes' debut as Scottish born Australian rock singer-songwriter...

dragonforce DRAGONFORCE SUPPORTS ANNOUNCED FOR FORTHCOMING TOUR
London based hard rockers Neonfly will support in the UK mainland, with Northern Irish Metalheads Conjuring Fate doing the honours at the Belfast and Dublin shows...

within temptation WITHIN TEMPTATION TO HEADLINE BLOODSTOCK 2015
Within Temptation appear as a UK exclusive. Prog Metal titans Opeth will also appear on the bill...

emigrate EMIGRATE CONFIRM NEW ALBUM FOR UK RELEASE VIA SPINEFARM RECORDS
'Silent So Long' is the second album from the band formed by Rammstein's Richard Kruspe...

highway to hell WINNERS OF HIGHWAY TO HELL 5 ANNOUNCED
Texas Flood are the overall winners from an outstanding field, winning a contract and an appearance at Hard Rock Hell...

grim reaper THE LEGENDARY GRIM REAPER RETURN TO LONDON
Get down to the Boston Music Room on 27th September for Grim Reaper with Amulet and Dark Forest...

quireboys THE QUIREBOYS ANNOUNCE UK TOUR FOR NOVEMBER 2014
The 30th anniversary celebrations continue with a world tour including a trip to North America and a nine date UK leg...

eric martin MR. BIG SINGER ANNOUNCES UK SOLO ACOUSTIC TOUR
Eric Martin will play nine unplugged dates in December 2014 with a mix of solo and Mr Big material...

absolva ABSOLVA ANNOUNCE NEW BASSIST
British classic Metallers Absolva are delighted to announce the appointment of new bassist Karl Schramm...

manowar MANOWAR ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM PLANS AND UPDATED TOURING SCHEDULE
Manowar will headline Loud Park Festival in Tokyo on October 18th 2014 and will then resume the 'Kings Of Metal MMXIV' World Tour...

skyscraper SKYSCRAPER RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'MONDAY MORNING'
This dynamic band has been taking critics by storm with their inimitable brand of melodic hard rock...

the more i see THE MORE I SEE ANNOUNCE OCT/NOV TOUR WITH SAVAGE MESSIAH AND BULL RIFF STAMPEDE
Featuring world renowned guitarist Gizz Butt, the band always deliver incredible live shows that combine passion, energy and breathtaking musicianship...

devin townsend DEVIN TOWNSEND REVEALS Z DETAILS AND ANNOUNCES SPECIAL ROYAL ALBERT HALL PERFORMANCE
Devin Townsend is extremely pleased to announce the release of long-awaited new double-album...

blastfest AT THE GATES, DARK FUNERAL, ROTTING CHRIST AND MORE ANNOUNCED FOR BLASTFEST 2015
Bergen, Norway, former home of the legendary Hole In The Sky Festival and considered thee black metal capital of the world...

exodus EXODUS REVEAL SPECIAL GUESTS ON NEW ALBUM 'BLOOD IN, BLOOD OUT'
Bay Area thrash Metal provocateurs Exodus proudly announce the special guests appearing on their latest showcase of unrefined rage...

panzer PANZER STREAMING LYRIC VIDEO FOR 'THE LAST MAN ON EARTH'
Brazilian thrash/stoner act Panzer have just released a new lyric video on for the second track of the album 'Honor'...

bush BUSH ANNOUNCE OCTOBER 20th RELEASE FOR 'MAN ON THE RUN'
Multi-platinum alt-rock band Bush have announced an October 20th release date for their highly anticipated new album...

absolva ABSOLVA RELEASE VIDEO FOR 'LIVE FOR THE FIGHT'
The video features Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) who is playing bass for the band on the forthcoming European Tour...

giants of rock GIANTS OF ROCK FESTIVAL: FIRST BANDS ANNOUNCED
The reformed Family and pomp rockers Magnum will headline the event...

weapon uk ESTRELLA TO SUPPORT GILBY CLARKE ON TOUR AND ANNOUNCE A NEW SINGLE
The band are currently gearing up for a thirteen date trek with Clarke that includes dates in Wakefield, London and Edinburgh...

weapon uk WEAPON UK ANNOUNCE TOUR DATES FOR NOVEMBER
Weapon UK have tour dates confirmed in support of their critically acclaimed album 'Rising From The Ashes'...

amulet AMULET DEBUT ALBUM 'THE FIRST' RELEASED IN SEPTEMBER: FIRST TRACK NOW ONLINE
The album track 'Mark Of Evil' has just been uploaded to Soundcloud. Raise your fists and bang your heads on this one...

michael schenker MICHAEL SCHENKER'S GUITARS STOLEN FROM GERMAN RECORDING STUDIO
German police are examining evidence and the studio for fingerprints and DNA evidence to help catch the criminals...

jimi jamison JIMI JAMISON OF SURVIVOR PASSES AWAY AGED 63
Jimi Jamison, lead singer of Survivor, very sadly passed away on Sunday night...

distorted harmony DISTORTED HARMONY UNLEASH FOOTAGE FROM 'CHAIN REACTION LIVE!'
The Tel Aviv quintet are looking forward to bringing their show to Europe this November...

ensiferum ENSIFERUM TO BEGIN RECORDING SIXTH STUDIO ALBUM NEXT MONTH
"We are convinced that this will be a ground breaking album for us and the whole genre. Modesty? What's that?"...

les-fest wildfire LES-FEST WILDFIRE ANNOUNCES FURTHER ACTS FOR SUMMER 2015
Max Raptor, Anihilated and more join the stellar array of main stage bands...

mystery deeexpus THE HOUSE OF PROGRESSION & THE MERCH DESK PROUDLY PRESENT MYSTERY & DeeEXPUS LIVE
It's a night of Prog at The Borderline on Tuesday 9th September, one of three chances to see this unique pairing...

butcher babies BUTCHER BABIES ANNOUNCE DETAILS FOR UPCOMING 'UNCOVERED' EP
The breakthrough Metal act have chosen five of their favourite tracks to get a makeover...

avenged sevenfold AVENGED SEVENFOLD RELEASE NEVER BEFORE SEEN ORIGINAL VIDEO FOR 'UNHOLY CONFESSIONS'
Take a fresh look at the 2004 track taken from the essential 'Waking The Fallen: Resurrected'...

reckless ambition RECKLESS AMBITION AND DIRTY LIONS TO PLAY THE ROCK PATCH THIS SATURDAY
Anyone who hasn't seen Reckless Ambition, then you are in for a real treat...

meshuggah MESHUGGAH ANNOUNCE 25TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS IN EUROPE
Celebrate 25 years of musical deviance on this tour which includes a date a London's Roundhouse...

mr big MR. BIG CHANGE RELEASE DATE FOR NEW ALBUM "...THE STORIES WE COULD TELL"
The original line-up are back with some of their most powerful material to date and their signature hard rock sound...

well eavy 'WELL 'EAVY - VOL. 1' COMPILATION TO BE RELEASED BY HANGMAN - AMULET'S OWN LABEL
Get down to the free entry release party in Camden on 29th August...

slipknot DEF LEPPARD TO PERFORM NFL PRE-GAME SHOW AT FIRST LONDON NFL GAME OF 2014
Joe Elliott: "I know what the atmosphere in the ground is like for 'our' football so I'm really looking forward to performing there before the NFL game..."

slipknot SLIPKNOT REVEAL NEW ALBUM AND TOUR INFORMATION
'.5: The Gray Chapter' will be released on October 21 followed by US dates with Korn...

hard rock hell HARD ROCK HELL 8 ANNOUNCES MORE ACTS
The Vintage Caravan, Blue Pills, Horisont, Spiders and Santa Cruz have been added to the line up for November...

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