Raven – Still Exterminating Part II

Monday, 20th April 2015

Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Raven in a studio environment versus the live atmosphere?

Gallagher: Well we try to keep it the same. The idea is the three of us play as a band, no click track, no bullshit, and get that live feel. It’s almost unheard of these days, most bands build off a click track, or they play all the guitars and do things separately. We want the interaction of us three playing together, that’s why we do all the prep work building the songs and the arrangements the way we want them, but leave a little bit of space in case of some crazy little accident that makes a screw up brilliant, and we incorporate that part into what we are doing. We play live to get that live feel.

Dead Rhetoric: And what do you consider best about Raven maintaining a three-piece lineup?

Gallagher: There can’t be any passengers in a three-piece band. If anything goes wrong on stage, you have to scramble to cover. If you have two guitar players on stage and one guy breaks a string, it’s no big deal. If it happens with us, it’s a bigger deal. You have more room to play, and there’s a lot of adventurous music that has come out of trios. From Cream, ELP, Jimi Hendrix, and so forth. It’s not a limitation, we take it as a challenge and makes things very interesting. It helps live, if you are a two guitar band or a band with keyboards, if you are not 100% locked in it can make things sound fuzzy and off kilter. I’ve seen times where one guitar goes down and then the sound is like a million times better. We have that advantage from the get go.

Dead Rhetoric: Of all the albums Raven has done in their career, what would you say is the biggest game changer for your career and which one do you feel is highly underrated and needs to be looked at more from your fans?

Gallagher: Biggest game changer was probably All For One, that was the first album we did in a real studio with a real producer. We reevaluated what we were going to do with the music, whereas Wiped Out was let’s play as fast and as complicated as we can, we kind of dialed that back, a bit more for power, tightening the arrangements up. It really changed things around. As far undervalued, probably between Glow or Everything Louder. Glow is a very varied album, sort of up and down. It’s got some really cool, heavy stuff on there, and probably the only song that would come close to being a Raven ballad. And also Everything Louder, which was done frantically in four weekends in a low budget studio, the songs and playing are really good on that one. That’s going to be a pet project of mine, I’m going to have that one remixed at some point, give it its due.

Dead Rhetoric: Do any of the younger bands seek you out for advice, either on the musical or business side of things, and if so what words of wisdom do you try to impart?

Gallagher: We sometimes get asked that. Of course most young bands think they know it all- as we once did when we were young. And then you realize that you never will know it all, and you need to be a bit more humble about that. We’ve worked with bands and they’ve asked business questions and general odds and ends. Especially when you stay on the road with certain bands you end up getting really friendly. All I basically tell them is you have to do this for the love of it and enjoy it. You are on the road and you are playing maybe for an hour and a half if you are lucky, everything is geared to that. So you have to put up with an awful amount of crap- it can be real miserable. You didn’t get any food, the bus broke down, it’s freezing cold, you are underneath the bus trying to fix the stairs, all this crap- it doesn’t matter. The only thing that people see is when you go out on that stage and play for the fans. You have to be pro and turn that negative crap off and think about why you do this- to play music and have fun. If you are doing it for the money you are playing the wrong kind of music. You need to go write dance music, work with 48 other producers and do the next Miley Cyrus album. Sit in your bedroom on your computer and do that- because this is not about art for money, it’s more about art for art’s sake. If you get paid, that’s gravy. We have put an awful lot of work in, and we are finally starting to see some of the benefits.

Dead Rhetoric: Now that heavy metal music is entering a third generation of fans and musicians keeping the movement alive, is there anything surprising to you these days about its long lasting, far reaching appeal?

Gallagher: The thing that surprises me is the whole thing that came up in the late 80’s with the cookie monster vocals and the crappy sounding drums and the guitars. The edge of thrash with black metal, that still exists- because the genre was almost irrelevant once it started. Where were they going to go with this – alright, you went as fast and as noisy as you possibly can, where are you going with that? We play out and there will be some band opening the show and they sound like they are having a fight in a sheet metal factory. You guys ever heard of songs – ever heard of melody? Singing? Do you know what a good guitar should sound like? You just end up shrugging your shoulders and going, ‘oh well’. The world does not need a 49th rate Slayer (laughs)… really.

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