Interview with Infared. (Band Interview)
Today we speak to Infrared. A classic thrash outfit from Canada. Starting their music careers in the eighties before going dormant and returning in 2014. Proper music never truly dies.
Let’s start with this: What’s the history of your band?
The band formed in 1985 with Armin Kamal, Kirk Gidley, Alain Groulx and Shawn Thompson. A local following ensued along with some national attention due to the Thoughts Caught (In Between) video that appeared on Much Music. After a few line-up changes, the guys moved on to other things by the 90s. When 2014 came around, the idea of getting the band back together came about. Shawn had moved to Florida many years ago so I became the new bass player. We played a few shows, honed in our material and in 2016, released the album No Peace which consisted of music that had been written back in the 80s.
After releasing No Peace, there were some great shows opening up for the likes of Anvil, Sacrifice, Atrophy to name a few. During this period, writing started for the next album that would consist of 8 brand new tracks. The album “Saviours” will be released on May 25, 2018.
What’s your musical history? (Trained or Amateur)?
I was formally trained in music at a young age with playing the organ and trumpet. As I got older and was introduced to rock and metal music, the guitar became my instrument of choice. This was self-taught. After a few years of playing the guitar, I switched over to playing bass which was also self-taught. I played both for a while but eventually decided to focus on the bass exclusively.
So what can you tell us about your latest album? (Inspiration. Sound. Style.)
The album is inspired by society and its shortcomings to humankind. There are so many disturbing ways in which humans treat each other that there is a great deal to write about. I would describe the sound of this album as classic thrash with a contemporary feel. Old school can easily be heard in the songs as that’s where our influences and creativity stems from. However, we all have been inspired by newer music which has a way of making its way into our sound.
How did you go about making it?
We kept honing in on the parts of the songs in rehearsals and as we would, Armin would lay down some scratch ideas to start building up the ideas into songs. We, as a group, would listen and refine again in rehearsals. This process would repeat until such a time where we felt we have a complete song. We don’t really go about shelving songs that didn’t make the cut because, if they didn’t make the cut, they aren’t good enough to be an Infrared song. There are always more ideas to come. As songs are ready to record, each of us would go to Armin’s home studio and lay down our tracks. At the end of the recording process, we sent the tracks out for mixing with Jason Jaknunas of Metropolitan Studios in Ottawa. He did a great job on our first album so we had him mix our second album as well. After that, mastering is done by Noah Mintz out of Lacquer Channel Mastering in Toronto. Then we start thinking of shooting videos for the album.
Anything you’ve learnt as you’ve gone along? Or have you simply tried a bit of everything to see how it works?
Writing and recording music has been a lifelong learning process. Learning occurs every time recording happens. We like to experiment a lot with ideas to see if they fit or not. This happens during our recording sessions. We like to be well prepared when recording but also like to leave the door open for some spontaneous creativity.
What sort of technology and instruments do you work with?
Everything is recorded using Logic Pro in Armin’s home studio. While there are a few different guitars used in the recording process, my go to is always my Music Man Stingray. This bass has such a great feel and sound that I don’t feel a need to use anything else.
Anything you’re keen to use on your next album?
There isn’t anything in particular in mind to use for the next album but we are always trying to push ourselves to try new things so I have no doubt we will have something up our sleeves.
Any future plans for your solo work, or do you have other projects on the horizon?
I don’t have any plans for solo work. We have pretty busy lives and Infrared is our main focus musically. You never know what may happen in the future but I think we all are putting our focus heavily on Infrared.
Any plans for upcoming live shows?
Yes. We have a show coming up opening for thrash legends Flotsam and Jetsam in May a few days after the release of our next album. This is a particularly exciting gig for me as I have followed Flotsam for a long time and I have managed to never see them live. Not only will I get to see them but share the stage with them. We also have another show coming up after that opening for Boston thrashers Black Mass. We are hoping to play more with the release of our next album.
Let’s have a few general questions now.
What do you see as a musicians role in society?
I think musicians play a significant role in society. Music is such a great release for so many people and a way for people to express themselves. It provides an escape from the stresses of life.
How’s the scene different in your country to what we’re familiar with? -Anything unique to your country?
The metal scene in Canada is an interesting one. While there is a decent niche of metal fans here, it still doesn’t match up to the scenes in Europe and South America. That’s not to say the scene isn’t good here, just more of a niche market than some other areas.
Where do you stand on music videos? -Do you see their value in today’s world?
I believe that music videos are quite important in today’s world. There’s so much music out there that an accompanying video gives more to the musical experience than simply listening to the songs. It helps to visualize the nature of the song and can also give a better insight to who the band is.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
We do everything ourselves….so we are our own business. Not much to change there. It’s nice to be in control of all aspects.
Any advice for new bands?
Don’t make music to please others. Make music that inspires you and stays true to your own creativity.
Let’s have some generic questions.
Star Wars or Star Trek?
Star Wars. I’m not really a science fiction type but the Star Wars series of movies I find is more appealing to people like me.
Sci-Fi or Fantasy?
Neither. I’m much more interested in nonfiction as I find the real world much more interesting than a made up one.
I like a good horror flick now and then. I’m much more into the suspense part of a horror film and less interested in senseless blood and guts.
Books or Comics?
I prefer books. Nonfiction books to be exact. I read a lot of biographies and autobiographies. I’m not into comics at all.
Trump or Putin?
Neither. If I absolutely had to pick one over the other, it would definitely not be Trump. I’ll leave it at that.
Anything you’d like to tell our readers?
If you are tired of hearing a lot of the same sounding heavy music, have a listen to Infrared as I don’t feel you’ll be disappointed.
Any last words for our readers?
Keep those horns alive \m/\m/