Saturday, August 5, 2017

Droid Interview

This next interview is with frontman Jacob Montgomery from technical thrash metal band Droid! He has some insightful thoughts on the band's newest release "Terrestrial Mutations", as well as the thrash metal scene in 2017! Many thanks to him for the great interview!

Skull Fracturing Metal (SFM):
 Hi guys. Congratulations on the release of your awesome new record “Terrestrial Mutations”! What did you set out to achieve with the writing of this album?

Jacob Montgomery (JM): Hey Scott,

Thanks! We are pretty proud of this one ourselves.

Honestly as horribly cliché as everything I’m about to say is, it is entirely true.

We set out to make the best record we could at the time. We were especially determined to rectify what we perceived (and still do perceive) as mistakes or rather studio naivety. This meant no compromise at all, whether it came to the performances, the writing, the production or the mixing, everything had to be as perfect as close as we could get it and I must say, while its not perfect, it is as close as we could get at the time given the circumstances.

I feel as though we accomplished what we had set out to do from day one, which is to assemble an album with a cohesive, yet varied sound that elicited a similar emotional response as some of our favorite records (an album you can totally get lost in).

SFM: Sci-fi thrash is a fairly popular style to play in the last few years, especially with Vektor’s increased popularity. Despite that, you guys sound very different from most sci-fi thrash bands. What makes Droid different from the other bands?

JM: I don’t know how much I agree with that statement to be honest. It seems with the rising popularity of a band like Voivod (who are probably now more popular than many of their peers from the 80’s) and Vektor (who definitely blew up recently), the idea of ‘sci-fi’ thrash has become more popular, but I don’t really see it as its own independent ‘scene’ today, really or a popular genre. Its more so that one band right now happens to be particularly popular and is directly influenced by another band who also happens to be very popular. There are some bands definitely doing it though (and doing it well) like Vexovoid and Armory.

A couple things definitely set us apart, one is that we incorporate a broader set of influences into our sound. Though the foundation is definitely thrash, it is a slower/mid-paced brand of thrash more akin to a band like Sacrifice (Japan).

Also I think one major difference for us is our lyrics. Though the presentation and sound is certainly science fiction influences (down to our band name), the lyrics are all about real life. Nothing necessarily entirely fictitious. If it seems as though it is, its merely allegorical.

SFM: Some of the patterns and chords you guys use in your music are pretty unique. How do you guys come up with those riffs? Does anyone in the band have formal training as musicians?

JM: Our new bassist (Chris Riley) went to school for music and is formally trained. Our Drummer (Sebastian Alcamo) took drum lessons growing up (and this may just be my personal opinion), but he completely honed his craft and developed his style independently

As for myself (Jacob Montgomery), I am completely self taught. It is my belief that it is the very fact that I am self taught that has allowed me to come up with some of these riffs/songs.

While formal training opens up a tremendous amount of doors musically and theory provides a great framework from which you are able to articulate/ communicate concisely what is being and or should be played, it is my belief that it can also a hindrance (at least an institutionalized approach and understanding of music and songwriting).

I have witnessed over the years many instances where musicians with formal training and a great understanding of theory are completely confined to the idea of where a note, a chord or a verse “should” go.

This lack of a ‘framework’ allows me a sort of musical freedom where I am able to take a song to where ever it is I feel it can go because no ones in the back of my mind telling me I can or can’t do something musically.

SFM: The new album was released on CD by Nightbreaker Productions, which is an Italian label. How did you guys hook up with this label?

JM: Very simple. Alex messaged us a couple of years ago about re-mixing/releasing our first EP (Disconnected) on CD. We were happy with the offer and our interactions through out the process, so it seemed like a logical step to work with them again.

SFM: I have to admit that I’ve been surprised the new album hasn’t gotten more of a buzz in the metal scene. Everyone I talk to that has heard it has loved the record, but I was expecting more people to latch onto it. What has the reception been like from your perspective, and are you guys happy with what people are saying about “Terrestrial Mutations”?

JM: Haha, it probably hasn’t gotten as much of a buzz as you’d expect because we have done very little promotional work aside from releasing it into the ether.

So far we have had an incredible response. It seems almost daily we are getting kind messages from people who are new to Droid and are tremendously enthusiastic about the album.

Bare in mind also that physical copies of the record are currently unavailable from the band and that we have non officially had our release show, so im positive it’ll find more people over the next short period of time.

SFM: “Terrestrial Mutations” is a long and ambitious album with some lengthy tracks. How does the songwriting process differ for these longer tracks?

JM: The song writing process is usually entirely the same for all songs (that being songs written one riff at a time). When I feel as though a sort of musical point (for lack of a better term) has been made, then the song is done. Sometimes we arrive at that point in a fewer amount of riffs.

A song like "Mission Drift", for example was written almost entirely in about 20 minutes. A song like "Amorphous Forms (Shapeless Shadows)" took years to complete, as it was played as an instrumental live for two years.

SFM: The thrash scene in Toronto has been lacking for some time. What do you think it will take to get people interested in thrash again here? Have you guys had any difficulty getting shows set up in Toronto?

JM: It’ll take some kids from the suburbs who have no regard for what’s popular to move there in droves. It’s not as though there has been a moment in the last 10-15 years where there weren’t great thrash bands popping up/record being made, its just not in vogue right now. Toronto is much more centered around traditional heavy metal.

I would say it has provided us with more show opportunities. Instead of being confined exclusively to heavy metal shows (which we have still some how fit on for years), we have played with punk/hardcore bands, death metal bands and so on and so forth. So far it has kept things interesting. There is often some element to Droid's sound that somehow allows for us to ‘work’ in many different environments.

SFM: What is next for Droid? Does the band have any touring plans lined up?

JM: We just played our first shows with our new line up last weekend in Guelph and Brampton and are doing a small run of shows in support of the physical release of our album in October:

Friday, October 6th in MONTREAL @Turbo Haüs
Saturday, October 7th in QUEBEC CITY @Scanner Bistro

Friday, October 20th in OTTAWA @House of Targ

Saturday, October 21st in TORONTO @Coalition T.O.

We are also planning more out of town shows in Ontario and possibly out of province for the fall/winter.

A second record is completely written and we are hoping we can get into the studio ASAP to record a song for a split sometime in the fall and eventually get in the studio to record our second full length in the spring of next year.

SFM: Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions. Any last words for the fans out there?

JM: Don’t be afraid to get in touch! We have been getting a good amount of messages/feedback from people who’ve heard us for the first time recently and its been nice to engage with people personally.

SFM: Be sure to check out and like Droid on Facebook!

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