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Luke 'Loki' Milne

Luke Loki Milne

michael socrates

As a follow up to my two reviews of If These Trees Could Talk albums 'Red Forest' and 'Above The Earth, Below The Sky', here's an interview I conducted with guitsraist Mike Socrates.

Congratulations on your recent signing with Metal Blade Records. How has life as a band been different for you since joiing forces with a label that has catered to bands like Symphony X Devildriver and Amon Amarth?

"It's been pretty great. Since the signing, we've just been holed up in the studio getting the new album tracked. Since Metal Blade reissued the older albums, it's given us a little push in the right direction and has introduced us to a new audience while we get this new record complete."

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The recent re-releases of your back-catalogue of music must be a bit of a blast from the past for you; what's your funniest/strangest memory of your earlier days as a band?

"There's so many to mention. It's hard to narrow that down. I think the past ten years have gradually brought us to where we are now in small steps. We have always been a slow cooker when it comes to progress, but I think that has always helped us in the long run."

You're currently in the studio working on your next album, due for release later this year. What can fans expect from your upcoming release, and how does it compare/tie in with your previous work?

"I think fans can expect that same trees vibe with a lot of progression from our past efforts. We don't like to repeat ourselves, but we also don't want to veer away from the sound that our fans have grown to appreciate."

Where will you be, or what will you be doing on the album's release date?

"Hard telling. Hopefully playing a show somewhere."

Other than your hometown of Akron, where in the world would you say you receive the strongest and most positive fan support as a band?

"Europe pops into my head immediately. The entire European continent has shown us so much love since the beginning. They have supported us from day one, and for that, we are eternally grateful."

Social media publicity and online music downloads have been both slammed and praised by many a musical figure over the past few years. As a band who has grown in the age of internet exposure, how have you as a band reacted to, coped with or flourished from the ups and downs of online publicity and promotion?

"I'd say it's mostly been a positive experience. Without the internet, we might not be doing this interview right now.

"The web really opened us up to so many people over the years, so we have nothing but good thoughts when it comes to how the internet plays into our band.

"Downloading is something you can't stop, so we figure it best to adapt and let the fans figure out how they will get their hands on our music. With all the free downloading that is out there many people are still purchasing music digitally, on CD and on vinyl."

If you could tour with one band (current or disbanded), who would it be and why?

"Tool. Because they are amazing."

What are you currently listening to in your spare time, and why?

"Everything and nothing at all. When were in album mode, it's hard to listen to anything outside of what you're working on. I do always go back to Tool, Radiohead, Pantera and other classics that I grew up on."

And finally, do you have any announcements you would like to make, or any words for your fans?

"Thanks so much for the support. We can't wait to share this new music with you and hopefully see many more faces than we have before."

Click here for the review of 'Red Forest' and here for the review of 'Above The Earth, Below The Sky'.




Wacken Winter Nights 2018 takes place between February 23rd and 25th 2018 and the great news is that you can now experience a full-on, top class German Metal Festival easily and affordably.

It only takes an hour to fly to Hamburg from London and we've had longer journeys than that within the capital and they were certainly more expensive than the £33 air ticket that just appeared in our 'flights to Wacken Winter Nights' search.


Wacken Winter Nights is organised by the same team who are responsible for the world's greatest Metal festival, Wacken-Open-Air and the 2018 bill includes Skyclad, Orphaned Land, Elvenking, Finntroll, Grave Digger, Aeverium, Comes Vagantes, Coppelius, Corvus Corax, Die Pressgëng, Elvellon, Heimataerde, Hell-O-Matic, Ignis Fatuu, Ingrimm, Irdorath, Johnny Deathshadow, Krayenzeit, Letzte Instanz, Mr Hurley und die Pulveraffen, Pampatut, Pat Razket, Schandmaul, Sündenrausch, The Aberlour's, The Moon And The Nightspirit, Torfrock, Visions Of Atlantis, Vroudenspil, Wind Rose and more.

Besides this rich billing of superb Metal bands, there is so much more to see in the festival area including the medieval market and also the walking acts and jugglers you will meet at the theme worlds, including Robert Blake, three-time World Cup winner of street magic.

Wacken Winter Nights is something not to be missed and you can check out the amazing ticket and accommodation prices right here.

We just priced up the whole four day trip with hotels, flights, shuttles and festival tickets for less than £300 and we don't think you will get a better value festival than that, anywhere.


MetalTalk recently sat down with Wacken founder and owner Thomas Jensen and that interview will be online next week and it's a fascinating insight into how Wacken originated from nothing to become the world's premiere Heavy Metal event.


Wacken 2018 takes place from 2nd to 4th August 20218 and as with Wacken Winter Nights, if you have never experienced all it has to offer, then you owe it to yourself to remedy that.

Already announced for Wacken 2018 are Judas Priest, Nightwish, Running Wild (exclusive), Arch Enemy, Dirkschneider, Doro (Special Anniversary Show), In Extremo, Sepultura, Amorphis, Amaranthe, Firewind, W.A.R., Belphegor, Mantar, Knorkator, Deserted Fear, Watain, Night Demon, Epica, Knorkator, Belphegor, Firewind, Deserted Fear and many more and we'll have more Wacken 2018 announcements during December.

As well as being the greatest Heavy Metal festival in the world, it is without a doubt the Mecca of Metal and the one thing that every single person who loves our music should have on their bucket list.

For 2018, MetalTalk have joined forces with Wacken-Open-Air to help you get to Wacken easily and inexpensively and you can peruse the ticket and travel options right here.

If you are interested in going to Wacken 2018 and have questions, please fill out the form below and we will contact you with answers to all your enquiries. You are under no obligation whatsoever by filling this form out. We won't add you to any mailing lists or send you loads of spam - all we will do is help you get to Wacken as easily and inexpensively as possible.



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