By Rose Riot
Summer is here, and that means music festival season. One such festival that I am looking forward to attending in the Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Fest. Mayhem will be rolling through Atlanta in August and I will be prepared for the heat of the sun and the heat coming off of the stages. One of the bands I’m most looking forward to seeing is a band from Portland, Oregon called, Red Fang. I had a nice little conversation with the guitar player and vocalist Bryan Giles… [Video on expanded page]
Bryan Giles: I believe it’s been five years.
Rose Riot: You have all been in various other bands, how long have you been doing what you do?
Bryan Giles: I have been playing guitar since I was 14 and hopefully been getting slightly better through the years, ha-ha. I’ve been in bands for about 17 years. I was in a band called Last of the Juanitas, we were “math rock.”
Rose Riot: Red Fang just released its second album, Murder The Mountains. I know that some bands have a harder time agreeing upon the second album. How was it for you guys?
Bryan Giles: I think there is a lot of pressure with the second one. We had a lot of material to work with, some of the stuff on it pre-dates me being in the band. It was a combination of old and new ideas. It was more fun than putting together the first one because it was so collective. Everybody brought something to the table.
Rose Riot: I haven’t heard the first album, Red Fang but I really like, Murder The Mountains, how are they different?
Bryan Giles: Murder The Mountains has a lot more variety because so many people had their say in it. We have gained way more confidence as a band. We have more of a “Red Fang” sound. I mean it’s not like one song is country and one song is rock, but there is a lot of variety on it.
Bryan Giles: I think “Human Herd” because I sorta’ see it as the red-headed stepchild of the songs, ha-ha.
Rose Riot: I read that your music was “disparate,” but seriously, how would you describe it?
Bryan Giles: How about “northwest street-metal,” how’s that? Ha-ha!
Rose Riot: I hear old metal, punk, American rock-and-roll, sludge and a little stoner [rock] in your music. Am I right about these influences?
Bryan Giles: Absolutely! We are all pretty open; we let ourselves do what ever we want to do as far as musical styles. If one of us listened to Neil Young that day and is feeling it then that’s what we go with that day. We just go with it.
Rose Riot: How do you feel about the growling vocals of death metal over more of a singing style?
Bryan Giles: Honestly, I can’t say that I listen to a lot of that kind of music. I mean we definitely stand out from that. I consider Slayer to be the kings of speed metal. I think they are best because they are dark and sinister but they have real melody. I mean you can know the words to their songs and in some of this death metal there is something lacking, ya know? There is nothing to grab onto. Now in terms of shock value, death metal totally works. I mean if you want to freak your parents out and make them worry that Satan is crawling out of their child’s closet then death metal is great for that.
Rose Riot: Did you guys celebrate when you found out you had made these tours?
Bryan Giles: It was a combination of celebration and panic, ha-ha.
Rose Riot: Who are you most excited about touring with?
Bryan Giles: I’m excited about touring Europe and seeing The Sword. I don’t know, I think I’m most excited about seeing how this all works out. You should ask me afterwards! Ha-ha.
Rose Riot: Any plans to do any collaborative works with any of these bands?
Bryan: I’ve been talking to Thorr from Valient Thorr about doing a Christmas album but I’m not sure if he’s into it.
Rose Riot: What’s the plan for after Mayhem?
Bryan Giles: We return home for two days and then start a three-and-a-half week tour in Europe ending with the Hellfest in France and two dates in Calgary for the Sled Island Festival. We return home for 10 or so days before the Rockstar Mayhem starts. When we get home in August we plan to begin working on songs for our next record. We may tour some more this year but nothing concrete as of yet.
Rose Riot: If you had a time machine, what band or bands would you go back in time to see?
Bryan Giles: Really early Black Sabbath. I watch videos of them when they were kids, just cutting their teeth on metal. I got to see them at Oz Fest a couple of years ago and they were great but man, back in their hey day, they were the shit! I wouldn’t mind seeing The Beatles and maybe some early L.A. punk. I would love to go back in time and spend a couple of weeks in ’83 L.A.
Red Fang is on Relapse Records.
(Rose Riot is a photographer in Atlanta and contributing blogger for Tattoo Artist Magazine)