How many times do you think a band should get some kind of notoriety on a medium before it attains its highest honor? Sometimes once, sometimes twice; sometimes after six performance reviews and an album review. Bucketlist is a big fan of Montreal’s West Island wrecking crew Red Skies, and today we finally gave the boys their due diligence as our coveted November Feature Artist.
The journey started for these fine young cats further back than I’m willing to research. In late 2005, a renowned frontman by the name of Brian Fair (from Shadow’s Fall and Overcast) described the New England metal scene and the rise of metalcore. In this description, he had alluded to his hope of one day doing what he called a “kissing cousins” tour, where all the bands that had given birth to this movement would tour together as a throw-back to earlier days. This very concept is exactly what has drawn Red Skies together over the years. After a variety of different projects hit the burners, such as Kid Icarus (goddamnit I’m getting old), Red Skies finally saw the light of day in 2012. By 2013, the current lineup had fallen into place, and since then they have been marauding around stages with their signature vicious metalcore groove around our fair city of Montreal, and skull fucking as many ears as they can reach. 2015 marks the “waste islanders” coming of age; the time for “big boy pants” has arrived along with their debut, full-length DIY record Iron Sun. (If you’re only just tuning in now, you’ve fucked up.) In all of the magnitude of awesome that is Red Skies, I was able to get in a couple of question that we here at Bucketlist have been dying to know the answers to…
As part of your album release, you’ve included a backstory as to what the concept behind the Iron means. Where did this birth come from, and what made this concept come about?
When Cody first joined the band back in 2013, he was studying philosophy at Concordia University. He was given an academic suspension for barely passing classes and as a result Iron Sun was born… this sounds silly, but in retrospect, his low attendance was based on the fact that the earlier stage of his philosophical studies inspired him to write the concept and lyrics that we now know as Iron Sun. Essentially, Cody picked up on some interesting ideas in some of his classes that he transcended into the dystopian storyline that accompanied the new music that Red Skies was writing at the time.
As far bringing the whole thing together was concerned, there were tons of songs to choose from because Max and Charles were hard at work pumping out song after song. Fortunately, after many, many listens, countless jams, and rewrites, the band had finally agreed on which tunes would fit best for the album. Luckily for them, the lyrics Cody had already written somehow fit perfectly with the select songs. In fact, he barely had to edit anything; it just all seemed to work out so well, and Iron Sun was born.
Were there any parts of recording this record in particular that stuck out in some way (i.e. seemed nearly impossible or anything of the like)?
“Norrin Radd” as a song definitely pushed us to our limits, both vocally and from a guitarist’s point of view. Much of the record was a challenge, since it’s without a doubt our most varied and technical offering yet. At times, Cody couldn’t even lay down a single vocal track to “Norrin Radd,” and the riffs definitely caused some strain. Alas, we managed to pull it together and thankfully had prepared for this for months, which eased the recording process. All in all, despite being challenging, nothing was impossible!
During the recording of this record, did any of you shit yourselves in studio, and if so, how many times?
We were all on a strict diet of high fiber nuts and hot sauce for the weeks leading up to the record. Needless to say, our bowels were acting up as brutally as the breakdowns. Man diapers were a staple of our stay, and legend has it that an astounding 12 rolls of toilet paper a day were used during the recording process…just kidding…
Haha, in all seriousness, funnily enough, Cody typically drinks a few beers in studio to get in “the zone,” as they say, and the combination of constant water and beer consumption with Cody’s screams tensing his every muscle, he must have pissed at least 30 times a session… every so often you’d hear in the studio monitors in the other room, “Was that good? Okay, sick, I gotta piss.”
Can we expect any particular change in your performances now that you’ve got your first full-length out?
Most definitely. We’re going dark mode: all black clothing, serious faces, excellent tango moves, and a strict practice regiment all mean the baddest, most brutz version of Red Skies yet. We will still be the same old dudes, but now that we have something a little more professional to offer, we figured we’d step up our live game by adding to the dark vibe that Iron Sun gives off. You can let us know if it works.
What should we expect next? Do you have anything you want to announce going forward?
We will be playing all over Quebec in the coming year, hopefully touring come the summer. We have a music video shoot lined up, which we will begin work on right after the CD launch. As always, we’re writing as much material as possible, working on improving our live show, and bringing as much value to our fans as we can. Be sure to check us out at our next Montreal gig, which will be announced soon. Red Skies is nowhere near finished its run, so we can promise you more albums in the future.
Now personally, I still think that there was plenty of defecation, but of course, who am I to call anyone a liar? (And no, I’m not a scatophilliac; I did, however, just make you learn a new word!) What these little shit’s decided to leave out of course, was a badass opening slot on the Montreal date of the Tune Low Die Slow Tour (Including The Acacia Strain, Counter Parts and a whole lot more than your bowels are able to handle) on December 9th at Cabaret La Tulipe. A wise man once said, “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll.” But as any self-respecting pirate knows, “Red Skies at night, sailors delight.” Pirates also love cheese. Be a pirate; enjoy my cheese.
Written and Compiled by Jason Greenberg
Photography by David Afriat Photography
*edited by Kate Erickson