Interview by Jack Arkell
Times of transition can be a true test of a band, and when it comes to transition, there aren’t many things that are tougher to overcome than losing a founding frontman.
But Gallows have gone from strength to strength. Whether it be their stunning self-titled album released in September or their barnstorming UK tour, the hardcore punk outfit have continued to evolve since former Alexisonfire man Wade MacNeil joined last year.
Midlands Rocks’ Jack Arkell spoke to the frontman about a whirlwind 15 months and what 2013 holds for the revitalised Gallows.
MR: You played Birmingham’s O2 Academy 2 last night, how was that for you?
Wade: It was cool, the show was really good and we had a great crowd. Party time.
Obviously you’ve toured England before with Alexisonfire, but it’s been the first full UK tour you’ve played since joining Gallows, has it been what you expected?
A month ago I wouldn’t have known what to expect, but we’ve played so many crazy shows that I was ready for it when we came over. It’s been more than what I expected.
What’s been your favourite show of the UK tour so far?
Glasgow (at King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut) for sure. It was psychotic, a really great show.
Of all of the live shows you’ve played since joining the band, is there one that particularly sticks out as a defining moment for you?
Reading Festival this year was certainly a turning point. We played at the Lock Up Stage and it was a great show. It was the end of the summer, and there was an incredible atmosphere, it was like a prison riot.
The self-titled record is an excellent release. How much material did you write for the album, and how much was left off of the final product?
Everything we wrote for the album is on there. We abandoned anything that didn’t work; we didn’t want to mess around with bits of music that didn’t sound right straight away.
Of the tracks on the latest album, which do you most enjoy playing live?
That would definitely be Outsider Art. When you’re recording songs in a studio you tend to have some idea of what they’re going to sound like live, and that one builds and builds into like a football chant chorus, it’s definitely a great song to play.
The band tends to have a young fanbase for the most part, why do you think that is and is it something you’d change at all?
No, I mean I’m happy for my music to resonate with anyone, I don’t think you can be choosey really.
The band seems to be getting on like never before, made evident on the documentary filmed for release with the last record. What can you tell us about the current vibe within the camp?
We thought it was a great time to turn on some cameras and follow what the band is doing, and we all enjoyed the project. It’s such an exciting time for Gallows with the new record out and our current busy touring schedule, so we couldn’t be more happy.
The UK tour is almost over now, and you’ll be heading over to America soon. What does 2013 have in store for Gallows?
We have a million more tours on the horizon, we’ll be going to Australia in February and we also travel to South East Asia which I’m really looking forward to. At this point, there aren’t many places I haven’t visited, so it’s nice to see new places.
Do you have a favourite place to tour?
With Gallows it would be Norway. For some reason Gallows and Norway really resonate with each other, and it’s always a great experience.
How did you go about balancing the setlist in terms of new material and tracks from Orchestra of Wolves and Grey Britain?
We feel we’re playing a good cross section at the moment, there’s a decent amount of material from each album. Ultimately, we want to play what the fans want to hear.
So many bands are turning their backs on releasing albums in a physical format, do you see Gallows doing the same in the future?
I don’t think so. I suppose it’s a slightly archaic idea, but when you put everything onto an album that you release, you want to have a visual representation to go with it. For me, the idea of an album is still that you stick it on your turntable, listen to Side A a few times, then listen to Side B a few times. I think I may be old fashioned that way.