Thursday 13 September 2012, 11:46 | By Andy Malt
Hardcore punk outfit Gallows formed in 2005, releasing their debut album, ‘Orchestra Of Wolves’, in the UK a year later. The album was then picked up by Epitaph for a US release in summer 2007, after which the band subsequently signed a deal with Warner Music.
Their next album, ‘Grey Britain’, came out through the major in May 2009, reaching number 20 in the UK album chart, though the band then parted ways with the label later the same year.
Though Gallows continued to perform live and in late 2010 announced that they were preparing to record their third album. But then in July last year frontman Frank Carter decided to leave the group to focus on new band Pure Love. Nevertheless, the rest of the band vowed to continue working on their new material and within weeks had installed former Alexisonfire guitarist Wade MacNeil as their new vocalist.
And so, in December last year, the band released their first material with MacNeil, ‘Death Is Birth’ EP, before this week releasing their new album ‘Gallows’, via their own label Venn Records. CMU’s Andy Malt caught up with guitarist Lags Barnard to find out more.
AM: When Frank left the band, was there any point when you thought that might be the end for Gallows?
LB: The news of Frank leaving the band never came as a shock to us. We’d been in this position numerous times before, so had considered who might take over vocal duties several times previously. Gallows is a band not one person.
AM: How quickly did you decide to bring in a new frontman?
LB: We heard Alexisonfire were breaking up before it was even officially announced. Having seen Wade front Black Lungs, and also knowing how much he was into the same music, art, movies as us, it seemed like a logical fit. Steph made the call, Wade flew over, we wrote ‘True Colours’ and this all seemed to take place within a couple of weeks.
AM: What effect has Wade joining had on the band?
LB: Wade has obviously got a great deal of experience being in a band. More so than anyone else in Gallows. So while we used to be happy not rehearsing and letting shows disintegrate into mindless chaos, he definitely brought in a work ethic to play better as well as play harder. This has seen us improve tenfold in my opinion.
AM: Did things immediately ‘click’ when he joined, or was there a period of settling in?
LB: There was definitely a period of settling in. But it wasn’t a case of starting a new band; this is Gallows and people expect certain things. The first tour we did was a magazine-sponsored one across North America. It was very hard but by the end of it we had found our feet.
AM: What has the reception to him been like from fans?
LB: When you’re young, the bands you like are a huge fucking deal. If anything changes, the sound, the singer, the image, then there’s going to be a reaction. Initially no one wanted to give us a chance, but the five of us had faith in what we were doing and what we could achieve. Our new record is testament to that. Any fans we may have lost won’t affect what we do. We’re about growing as a band, and we’re confident we will find new fans along the way.
AM: How has your sound developed on this album?
LB: This album is full of songs. I feel with parts of our older records, the vocals sounded somewhat detached from the music, but ‘Gallows’ is the sound of five guys working hard and working together in a studio every day. We focused on making every track as strong as the others and I honestly think we achieved just that. All killer no filler.
AM: How long did you spend writing and recording the new album? Does it include any material you’d started before Wade joined?
LB: The new record has riffs left over from the ‘Grey Britain’ writing period, as well as tunes written completely in the studio. We had so many ideas going in and only had one week to convert them into songs. I’d say it’s mostly new material written this year though.
AM: This is the first album you’re releasing through your own label, what led you to decide to go it alone like that?
LB: We’re strong believers in working for your art. There are bands out there that have never done the hard graft, who landed major label deals before they’d even headlined the Piss & Whistle in Shitsville. But that’s not what being in a band is about. It’s not about the money, we learnt that earlier on. It’s about taking control of your music and allowing it to grow organically. We don’t want others influencing our art.
AM: How does being your own bosses compare to being with a major label?
LB: Put it this way, it doesn’t take 50 emails to make one decision anymore.