Edit: At first I only published the answers from guitarist Andrew Packer, but while I was browsing through my mailbox, I found out that vocalist/bassist Eric Harris also answered the same questions.
If you are into guitar driven, hard rocking stuff in the vein of Thin Lizzy and other acts from the seventies, Metal Blade’s new signing GYPSYHAWK could be well worth checking out.
First, your debut album is available for free download from your bandcamp site. Wouldn’t it be possible to make a bit of money on it now that you have a brand new album out? I guess you still feel your debut is worth paying for?
AP: – I’m sure it is possible to make some money on it, but as it is right now I’m not sure people have started flipping out over us yet regarding the new album. I’ve tried to come up with strategies for using the old album to help promote the new one, but frankly I’ve been more forward looking and haven’t found much cause to be concerned about what to do with what we’ve already done. And at a time when people aren’t buying much music I’d rather them buy the new one.
EH: – We’re not stupid. Hardly anyone makes it rich by playing music, much less selling their albums. We just want everyone to enjoy what we’re doing and what we’ve done. Maybe when we’re super famous that record will be worth something to collectors.
Was there feedback from fans or reviewers after the first album that you used when you started working on “Revelry & Resilience”, or did you know automatically which aspects you wanted to improve?
AP: – I think a lot of people were saying what we were already thinking, that a lot of the songs weren’t really ending up where we wanted them to go and that they were pretty instrumental and jam heavy. I can’t really say why we wrote songs like that originally except that I think we weren’t sure exactly what kind of music we wanted to write yet, and we wanted to have a more 70s sound. I guess using Thin Lizzy’s playing style mixed with more progressive acts like Captain Beyond and Deep Purple for the influence on structure just fucked with people’s heads. We knew we wanted to have the songs be more rock based than metal, and that were going to be primarily focused on guitar work. We wanted to keep that on the new album, but also wanted more anthemic parts and for the songs to arrive places. We may have gone too far in that direction. I’d like to get some place in the middle of the spectrum on the next album.
EH: – Not really. And if there was, we wouldn’t listen. We just write what comes natural, fuck everything else. If you spend too much time trying to please everyone else, you’re never gonna get around to pleasing yourself. Dig?
I notice that the titles of your albums so far follow the same pattern used by Anvil. Anvil also makes up each title from three words, with the first and last starting with the same letter. Is this a coincidence, or what?
AP: – Complete coincidence. I’ve never even seen the Anvil documentary let alone listened to their albums. the alliteration thing with the conjunction in the middle was something that happened on it’s own over time. It definitely wasn’t an idea until the new album. I think we’ll stick with it. It’s kinda like naming your albums I, II, III, etc, which I think is a pretty cool thing lots of great bands have done.
EH: -I must not pay much attention to Anvil because I have no idea what you’re talking about.
Your music, both on the new and the first album, has a very distinct live feeling. Is this something you set out to create?
AP: – I think so. We haven’t gotten into too much production heavy shit on our albums. Everything is pretty much recorded as it could be played live. We also need everything to groove and rock and be fun. We haven’t gotten into any atmospheric mood tracks, or acoustic instrumentals yet. You may see it as we evolve and expand our boundaries, but as of yet everything has been something that we’d want to play live and would work well live.
EH: – No, what you’re hearing is 100% organic. We’re not really genius masterminds. Again, we just play what we feel
Both your first album and the new one were recorded in around a week. An economic question, or is this simply the best way to work for Gypsyhawk?
AP: – Well it’s been mostly a matter of economics and that Zack Ohren has a tight schedule and has only been able to fit us in a week at a time. However, i’ve always been one of those “last minute panic” types so maybe the stress of having to do all my solos in 4 hours is good? It doesn’t feel like it. I’d like to have a day for each song, and that’ s including rhythms. It seems like having that kind of benefit would make for a better product, but so far the albums have come out sounding great so I can’t complain. After the recording. I complain considerably while recording.
EH: – Ha! That’s kind of just how it all fell. We knew we had a short time to get the job done so we made damn sure that we were gonna be ready. I think we could work well in any situation that we had to deal with. Just gotta keep on keepin on.
Having been involved in different acts in other genres, I was wondering what made you go for a sound firmly rooted in the seventies? A lot of bands are successful nowadays with a sound that goes back to the seventies or eighties. Do you think this is some sort of reaction towards the trends in today’s music scene?
AP: – I’m sure there’s a vast array of reasons for why a lot of bands are looking backward for inspiration whether it be the thrash revival, the NWOBHM sound, or just straight up Lizzy or Pentagram worship. For some it might be the music they’ve always loved. For others it might be something new that they’ve fallen in love with. For us, it was a mix of both and that we just didn’t want to play “metal” because everyone was doing it and all of us had already done it. At the time it felt like the other bands like Witchcraft and Graveyard were just in the same boat as us, but clearly those bands took off and now you have bands like Ghost and Red Fang that are gigantic so I guess people want to hear it as much as people want to play it. Then again, bands have been ripping off Sabbath since Sabbath began and still do to this day so yeah, it’s probably a trend that it’s so popular right now. Time will tell. But I think Neil Young was right: rock n roll will never die.
EH: – I’m not sure. I know that coming from playing metal and seeing two fucking million metal bands sprout up from every crack and crevice around the world, I got bored with it. I just didn’t wanna be another band with something to prove to the world. Humans are so fucking small and insignificant that it seems silly to me how serious people tend to take themselves. We wanted to play music that was strictly from the soul. All of our experiences wrapped in sonic cloth. As far as the 70’s/80’s trend, I don’t know. We didn’t start this band to jump on that bandwagon. We’re just four shitty dudes doing what we love.