Holy Grail’s Touring Rush Leads to New Material Band Discusses

Holy Grail has been busting their asses off during their current touring route alongside Dragonforce. The band spoke to us about the tour and upcoming news in regards to the follow-up to their previous release "Crisis in Utopia". They have been brainstorming for cover art ideas, writing all new songs, and plan on hitting the studio after this tour wraps up. New album should be expected sometime by the end of this year if not sooner. Read what else was said and can be expected from here on out.

1. Tell me the tale behind Holy Grail?

Holy Grail started in 2009 in Los Angeles, Ca with the sole purpose of being a Greatest Hits of Metal from all eras. Each tour and recording we feel closer to our ambitious goal.

2. So you’re going on tour with Dragonforce and Huntress are you excited?

We were super excited to tour with Dragonforce mainly to see behind the scenes of how a band like Dragonforce pulls off such over the top music live. We’re also excited about the level of fun we’re going to have with Huntress do the fact that we’ve all been friends for years. And actually Tyler our drummer’s brother plays guitar in Huntress. So it will be nice to not have the “getting to know each other” period.

3. What are your favorite things about touring in the US?

It mainly has to do with food, like every time we’re in Philly; we gorge ourselves on Cheese steaks. We’ve also made a lot of friends all over so it’s nice to party with them when we’re in town.

4. Have you noticed the economy affecting your tour attendance or merch sales?

We haven’t noticed too much of a difference but we started touring after the economy took a header. But people we’ve met who’ve been in the industry for a while have told us about the good old days when there was money. We have noticed our sales and attendance increasing each time we tour so maybe Metal is stronger than Poverty?

5. What are the largest and smallest crowds you've played in front of?

We’ve literally started playing to no one. In Australia we had to start before doors once. We’ve seen a 6 person Wall of Death because they were the only people there. But we gave those 6 people a show. We’ve also played to over 12, 000 people in Japan which was buckets of awesome.

6. Any tour horror stories?

We were driving through the south and there were floods and tornados everywhere. We were on Weather.com trying to time out our escape from the storm. That’s probably not as scary unless you’re from Southern California. We’ve also had a crazy agro border agent who wanted to destroy all our merch at the border coming back into the US. We’ve also played a bunch of haunted venues but I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

7. Have you ever had an incident happen again and again when it comes to a tour?

We always have to wait for our singer Luna. That’s 65% of touring for Holy Grail.

8. What band did you have the best time touring with?

That’s a really tough question but if I was forced to choose it would be 3 Inches of Blood mainly because they took us on our first tour and showed us the ropes. Then we toured again with them when we were a little seasoned and it was a blast. Those dudes are too rad. Too bad they’re Canadian.

9. What the best prank you’ve played on bandmates or other bands?

We toured with swiss band Eluveitie and they sang a song in some ancient language and taught the crowd how to sing along with them. We then went on stage with big cards that said what we thought it sounded like in English. We got the crowd to sing “I bought some blondie, Pizza Squid Yo, I’m gonna drill ya, Obama’s in the yard”. We also switched out our singer’s personal mic in his mic case with an Elmo Toy Mic moments before taking the stage.

10. What's new in the recording of your music?

We are finished tracking for the most part and we are waiting to hear mixes. We are planning to finish mixing when we get back from the Dragonforce tour. We are also brainstorming Cover Art ideas.

11. Where are you in the recording process of the new album?

I guess we are in the mixing limbo, which is like musician purgatory.

12. Was your songwriting and recording process any different than usual for this CD?

Yes, we did fewer tours and shows in the middle of recording so we were able to stay focused on the songs and go more in depth. We also actually did pre-production. It was nice to know what songs were going to sound like before recording them.

13. Who writes the songs, what are they about?

Music and vocals come from all different directions with us. The majority of the songs come from riffs that became instrumentals that became full-fledged songs. The songs on this album were mainly about the triumph of the human spirit and not giving up.

14. Who is producing the album? How has the producer aided the recording process?

Matt Hyde is producing the album and “aiding” the recording process might be an understatement. Matt was involved from the beginning which was great because by the end of it he was just as emotionally invested as we were. It was like offering up your song to the songwriting gods and actually getting a constructive speedy response. We came in with over 30 song ideas and terrible decision making skills so if it weren’t for Matt we’d probably still be picking songs right now.

15. How would you describe the overall sound of the new album? How does it compare to Crisis in Utopia?

The overall sound is a more focused Holy Grail than before. The melodies are more melodic and the heavy parts are heavier. The new album has taken the essence of Crisis and packaged it in more well crafted songs.

16. Did the band have any definitive goals they were shooting for before the recording process began for this album?

There actually were no specific goals we just started writing what came naturally to us. We let the songs kind of lead us instead of dictating a specific tone or vibe to the album.

17. Are you using any new instrumentation you've never used in the recording process before?

Like "Hey guys I got a new guitar or bass I wanna use it on this recording". It was pretty straight forward with drums, bass, guitar and vocals except we’ve got a couple tracks that have cello on them. I’d like to say that I did the cello playing but no one likes a liar. I did want to use a classical guitar that I had signed by Zakk Wylde but it sounded terrible.

18. When did you start writing for this album? How was the songwriting process different/similar to previous Holy Grail albums?

We started writing in September of 2011 but there were song ideas from Crisis that were never realized that we got to bring to fruition this album. Songwriting was definitely less chaotic than our first album. Having a new guitar player and a new producer definitely altered our writing process. We did go back to the method of writing a lot of material as to not get attached to any particular song or riff. It might be art but it’s still a numbers game, especially under a deadline.

19. Do you feel any pressure for a follow-up?

There was some pressure but we were mainly excited to get in there and try to outdo ourselves. We were ready to record this album right when we finished Crisis, mainly to not make the same rookie mistakes we made on our debut.

20. When can we expect the new album to be released?

We are shooting for fall but we’ve never been a band that sticks to deadlines.

21. Have you been road testing any of the new material? If so, how have audiences reacted to the new material?

We’ve road tested 2 songs and they’ve gone over really well which gives us reassurance we’re on the right path. It’s kind of weird when were playing the new songs because people who are familiar with our old material are really paying attention, which from the stage can be misconstrued as boredom.

22. What are your expectations for the CD?

We haven’t really set any expectations for the CD because we never really wrote anyone else but ourselves. We’re already really happy and proud of the material we’ve recorded so if the CD is well received that’s a bonus.

23. Anything else you’d like to say or promote?

Don’t follow trends and think for yourself whether it’s Music, Politics or Religion. And most importantly, “Be Excellent to Each Other.”

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