Interview with Armory:
After reviewing their great debut full-lenght album "The Dawn Of Enlightenment", I had to ask some question to the band about this amazing release, why are they not signed among many other things. Here are the answers that Joe provided to our questions.
First of all thanks for the interview, and let’s get started with the questions:
I.M: You have received great reviews for your self released 2007 debut full-length “The Dawn of Enlightenment”, are you guys finally signed? Or have you been in talks with any labels?
Joe: Greetings Dark Emperor. We are not signed. I am actually not sure how important it is for a metal band to be signed in today’s world. It is true that most metal fans (myself included) will tend to listen to and buy only bands that happen to be signed. However, I think the time is near when metal fans begin to realize that the music is what is important and not whether or not a band is signed and to what label. Over the past decade the music industry has drastically changed. It is now possible for a band to compose and record an entire album with professional level sound quality completely on their own as long as they have the right equipment and know what they are doing. Also, bands can promote themselves on the internet through social networking sites, sending promos to webzines and radio stations, and can even sell their music directly to customers, distributors, and stores worldwide. This is exactly what we have been doing to promote ourselves. The word is getting around that we are a serious metal band capable of making quality albums. Getting back to answering your question - We are in direct contact with several record labels, mostly for the distribution of our debut album. Sentinel Steel, The End Records, Nightmare, Hellion Records, Disk Heaven, Rock Stakk Records, Rock Avenue Records, and several others are all selling “The Dawn Of Enlightenment”. They all bought their copies directly from us through our website store. There are some record labels interested in possibly releasing our second album but I will not say who just yet. We still need to finish recording it and then we can decide what is best for the band. One thing is certain; we want complete control over how our music is composed and recorded, as well as how our albums are produced and packaged.
I.M: Why did you guys decided to re-record your 2004 demo and use it as your first full-length? Do you guys have more new material for a new album, or have you just written 12 songs since the band was formed in 2001?
The 2004 version of “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” is actually not a demo. It is the exact same ten songs as the re-recorded version (don’t forget the last two songs on the 2007 version are bonus track covers). The reason for re-recording is simply because we felt that we had great songs that were unfortunately recorded with poor sound quality. We were all basically teenagers at the time and had no idea how to professionally record and produce music. The opportunity arose to re-record the whole album and get professional level sound quality so we made the obvious decision. We had been working on new material for a second full-length album since as far back as 2003. We actually finished composing all nine original songs for the second album, which will be titled “Empyrean Realms”, at virtually the same time that the re-recorded version of “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” was released. In fact, we are currently already recording it. It is expected to be released sometime in mid to late 2010. We are completely confident that our second album will be a huge step forward for the band in all aspects, from composing and playing to production and packaging.
I.M: Why did Armory decided to play Progressive/Power Metal, instead of Death / Black Metal like most American bands?
The two main composers in the band, Chad and I, prefer the power/progressive and traditional side of metal. I get more inspired when listening to melody-driven and energetic metal. I also prefer clean singing and well composed vocal melodies. However, all of us like death and black metal to some degree. In fact, our bassist, Prez, is in another band called Soul Remnants and they play extreme progressive death metal. Also, our keyboardist, Rutcho, is in several other bands with a heavier style than Armory as well as a solo original Nintendo cover band called Vomitron. Although I believe that power metal is actually one of the most diverse metal genres, it has also evolved in the public’s perception as a generic and “cheesy” style. Some bands do fit this description but we do not want to be associated with music or lyrics that are generic or “cheesy”. I think our band name sets us up to be lumped into the generic and “cheesy” bands. If I could rename our band now I would choose something with less of a medieval connotation for more of a philosophical or cosmological connotation. It is a little too late for that though. All we can do is continue making albums that prove we have a unique and inspiring sound.
I.M: What are the main musical influences behind Armory’s music?
Mostly traditional and power metal bands but also some progressive and thrash. The sound of “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” was most influenced by the bands Iron Maiden, Helloween, Megadeth, Edguy, Hammerfall, Manowar, Riot, Gamma Ray and Sonata Arctica. The sound of our second album is mostly influenced by the bands Hibria, Children of Bodom, Heavenly, Angra, King Diamond, Vicious Rumors, Lost Horizon and Pagan’s Mind. In addition, we are influenced by music from original Nintendo and Super Nintendo video games, especially the Mega Man, Castlevania, Zelda, Final Fantasy, and Contra series. We also find inspiration from classical music and epic orchestral soundtracks like the ones from the Star Wars and The Lord of the Rings trilogies.
I.M: What would you say is the most complicated step in creating long (7+ minutes) Power/Progressive Metal songs?
Well, I’ve only composed a couple of songs that were over the seven minute mark but they were both less than a minute over. Chad composed the 13 plus minute title track on “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” almost entirely by himself. Each step in creating longer songs (or any song for that matter) is actually quite complicated. There is the generation of new material (riffs, beats, melodies, etc), the development of layers and fine tuning things, the coherent organization of all sections, and even the comparisons between songs on the album. All of these main steps happen simultaneously. For me, the most difficult step is just getting the song started in the first place. Chad and I have been composing songs together since 2001. I have realized that for the most part we work best when Chad records ideas for several riffs with programmed drums, bass, and keys and then I take his ideas and add new layers along with restructuring them and adding vocal melodies.
I.M: Where do you expect to see Armory in the next 5 years?
The most important reason for Armory existing at all is to release quality full-length metal albums. In five years time, we will have released two or three full-length metal albums and promoted them worldwide. Hopefully we will be regarded as one of the leading heavy metal bands around. It would be great if we could be touring the world as well but that may depend on getting outside support from labels or other promoters.
I.M: Any touring of the US planned in the future in order to get the band’s name out there?
Nothing planned yet because we don’t have financial support from a label or promoter. Most people don’t realize how many connections you need to book shows at quality venues or how much money it costs for travel, hotel, food, etc. We could probably put together a US tour ourselves but would end up losing lots of money, which is what happens to most bands. We love playing shows but we are not about to lose money when we should be making it! If we can get financial support from a label or promoter then we would surely be up for a tour of any kind.
I.M: Any other things you want to add for our readers?
I would like to thank you, Dark Emperor, and Infernal Masquerade webzine for doing this interview with us and supporting heavy metal in general. To our fans; if you have not yet bought our debut album, “The Dawn Of Enlightenment” then you should go buy it now or add it to your Christmas list. Also, late next year we will be releasing our second album - the goal of which was no less than to create the greatest heavy metal album of all time!
Thanks for the interview and good luck on your future endeavors.