INTERVIEW! The Raven Age talk playing live, the new album and more!

March 4, 2017

On February 10th, we were given the opportunity to chat with an exciting band that are really starting to make some noise about themselves. The Raven Age have been around for a good few years now, and tirelessly worked hard getting themselves about on the live music scene with it paying off hugely. Already having taken on huge roles as a support band for well established acts such as Alterbridge and Iron Maiden to name a few, their most recent one is being the sole support act for Anthrax on their ‘Among the Kings’ tour. A tour celebrating not just the 30 year release of the seminal ‘Among the Living’ but their last release ‘For all Kings’.


Admittedly, before hand I was unaware of the The Raven Age, so both myself and vocalist Michael Burrough (MB) had expected it to be short and sweet, as it turned out it was anything but! A true pleasure to talk with and a bunch of extremely likeable guys really gave me a good impression that really helps give that little extra buzz and excitement when seeing a band for the first time. Yesterday was the first day of your tour, how was it?


MB: It was pretty awesome actually, it’s always fun to get back out on the road, and obviously that first show is like ‘oh cool!’ everyone is in high spirits, you haven’t been lugging gear around for like a month so it was pretty good. There is obviously the few teething problems, set up always takes a little longer on the first day, we didn’t get much of a sound check which sometimes can unbalance you and throw you off a bit, but the show went well. I couldn’t really hear too much of what was going on in my ears because of messing around with this new system I’m using at the moment, it was my fault not the systems fault, I’ve still got to get used to it! After though from what we’ve heard, it was really good. That’s good, how have the fans taken to it? Considering they’re not really your fans just yet.


MB: Well that’s the thing, a lot of the support slots we’ve been on, that’s often the case, it’s us trying to get our name out there, and we do see people that do turn up for us and do wear our shirts and stuff, but when you’re playing with a band that you’ve never supported (we’ve supported these guys on the Maiden tour and stuff), but you can’t use it as an excuse. It’s a good vibe, when you’re up there and you’re looking out and see people are singing along, it feels like something is happening. So how about the early doors when you’re the opener, it must be great to get those people in early to see you?


MB: Yeah, that is probably one of the only nuisances and that actually shot us in the foot on the Maiden tour a couple of times, because there is just such a massive volume of people getting in, there has been a few cases like on the North American tour, there were a few shows where half the people actually didn’t get in when we were on, where as in contrast in South America, the fans are all there and ready at three, but the band won’t be on until six! I looked outside of this venue, and I’m going to name drop now because I’m sure it’ll make here day! There was a young lady in the front of the queue called Amber Vincent who had a tattoo on her arm and she’s been great, she is always at the front. That’s awesome, and just what you need too, especially as you’ve only released the one EP so far though, your debut album isn’t out yet! How long has it’s been since the band formed, 6 or 7 years?


MB: Yeah, um, those guys possibly wrote it even before then, I joined in 2013 and this album was pretty much done and recorded by May last year...I think it was, it might have been the May before you know! It was all pretty much there, and we were all excited and wanting to get it out, but then we had the Maiden tour so we wanted to get the name known a bit more before we drop it, and then we do a huge announcement video saying the album will be out in December! It was really stressful because I had to say (live) “You’re going to be part of something Luxembourg” point them at the screens and there was this little video that went up and it explained that this album was coming out with a little teaser, and then of course we found out that we’ve got an offer come in at the end of the tour like a little while afterwards from BMG who we have just signed with and it’s like, you’ve got a record deal offer, so that album now has to be pushed back. So the video from Luxembourg got something like 100,000 views in less than 24 hours, so I was like, this is the best thing ever! Then it was all of a sudden, yeah, it’s not coming out. Most of our fans have been brilliant and they’ve said yeah, we’re looking forward to it, we’ll wait forever but a few people have complained, but then when we’ve explained they’re OK with it. How has that been? I mean having that there, and then playing live, do you have to hold back on what songs you do play from the new album?


MB: You know what, I literally just had to answer something like that in another interview because yeah, that’s exactly right. I was just asked, are we going to try and tease the album or heavy things up? And the truth of it is, on the EP there are four tracks, and the first being a kind of intro track that we come out to, and then there’s three more, but all of those three are actually on the album and we were for a while playing a song called ‘Trapped Within the Shadows’ which some of our fans will have heard already because of a download being available for a while, but really we try and not show our hand, we don’t want to show everything off because then what would be the point in buying the album? I’m quite happy with the way it is all sounding and there are a few on there that really show some diversity in what we’re doing, there’s a lot of dynamics involved, there’s heavier stuff, there’s a softer song but the content of the song is a little darker so it’s pretty cool, I'm really excited about it. There are a few tracks on there that hopefully, could be those crossover ones that can become mainstream, because we’re not in this band because we think it’s the next Justin Bieber or mainstream stuff, but people have said, the things we are doing and it is available and accessible by all. Having just that EP out, and the album just sat there, does it make these larger venues and touring with these larger bands more difficult?


MB: Not really because most of our songs are pretty long, I mean our album is up in the 70 minute range, I think it’s 74 minutes long or something. So you know, metal bands are notorious for having long tracks, I mean, what Priest just did was quite hilarious, but fantastic, but why not? Why not have like an epic track. I remember seeing some notes somewhere once when we were doing the album and I think George or Dan had wrote down “Include at least one epic track, like 8 minutes plus!”, and I just remember thinking it was really funny, but then we also have to try and have some abbreviated and shortened down, condensed songs for radio play. One of the things we do have, we’ll be playing it tonight, we have a video for it which is ‘Salem’s Fate’, everyone will hear it and say what’s going on? Where was the second verse? Because we don’t do it, we go straight into the chorus and then bring the third verse forward so the song is 4-ish minutes long instead of 7. We cut another chorus at the end so you know, we do have to chop and change because some of our songs are so long, we could easily smash 40 minutes without releasing too much of what’s on the album, so that is helpful, very helpful! So obviously, you’ve got all that in the bag now, so what’s going to be next for the next album? Are you going to carry that forward, because you’ve set the bar high with 74 minutes for a debut!


MB: Yeah it is, but because of the style of music we can go through heavy stuff, some break downy bits, the hardest part for me is what George writes, a lot of it really is tough, I don’t really get to breathe much! It’s like sing, sing, sing, sing, sing! Plus I hear things in the music like, “that would be really cool if I just shut up and just let the music come through!” Like, “George, that’s a wicked guitar riff, don’t make me wail over the top of it!” but it’s just the kind of way it works, there’s a few places where that happens, there’s a few places where that doesn’t happen and really, the way we’ll combat that is to just carry on writing stuff. I mean George and Dan put a lot of stuff together while we were on the Maiden tour just sitting around during our off time, so I’m really encouraged, I know for a fact it won’t take us as long to release a second album as it did the first! We want to keep the momentum going. You’ve got to not quote me on this because it is definitely not the truth, its just how I feel, but I’m confident in the idea that we could release a second album before the end of this year, I mean, that would be great by all standards, but it is definitely not a real fact, it isn’t something to listen to or read into, it is just how I feel!


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