2014 Alestorm interview with Chris Bowes
Perth, Scotland’s Alestorm return this summer with its fourth studio effort, Sunset on the Golden Age. The record marks the 10 year anniversary of the band born as Battleheart in 2004. Referring to themselves as Bacon Powered Pirate Core or Patagonian Pirate Polka, Alestorm has built a large underground following with its mix of folk, power, thrash and traditional metal elements.
Sunset on the Golden Age finds the band expanding its sound, adding even more elements such as black metal and surf rock. According to vocalist and keytarist Christopher Bowes, who checked in to chat with Metalholic and AXS Entertainment, he wanted to take the Alestorm signature sound and crank everything up a little bit more.
We really wanted to sort of emphasize the whole party side of things because let’s face it, I think that’s where most of our appeal comes from; people wanting to have a good time. So we aimed towards that. But I also think we’ve just refined ourselves as songwriters. There’s a skill to writing a three-minute party metal tune. I think we’re getting better at that these days.
In talking about the backstory on the album’s title, Bowes shared that he actually did research on pirates for the new album: “Everything I know about pirates I learned from Johnny Depp,” laughed the singer.
Bowes admits that when he began the band he figured the whole project would have a short shelf life, but Alestorm’s tongue-in-cheek celebration of the pirate life has taken on a life of its own. Bowes talked about his surprise that the band has had such success so far:
We were expecting to play maybe three or four gigs in a local pub like so many bands do, just play a couple shows then disappear. We had absolutely no intention of touring the world and all this stuff that goes on. It’s just insane. No one can expect this.
Joining Bowes in his pillaging and plundering are guitarist Dani Evans and bassist Gareth Murdock. Drummer Peter Alcorn joined in 2010, and in 2011 the band added keyboardist Elliot Vernon.
Alestorm released its debut album, Captain Morgan’s Revenge in 2008, and became an immediate hit with folk metal fans. Black Sails at Midnight would follow in 2009, followed by Back Through Time in 2011. The latter would land in the top 25 of the U.S. Heatseekers chart. Each album has seen the band’s fan-base grow wider across Europe and after a tour across America with Kamelot, Alestorm’s U.S. following is taking root as well. In celebration, the band released both a live CD/DVD set, Live at the End of the World, and a cover of The Village People’s “In the Navy”, in 2013. Speaking about the latter, Bowes shared that during the recording of the previous album, the band had asked fans which cover song they should redo, and “In the Navy” received a lot of votes. “We’ve had that hiding away in a box somewhere for years. It didn’t seem right to release it and we kind of sat on it,” offered the singer.
You can listen to the full interview with Chris Bowes above, as he talks about recording the new record, shares the story behind making the video for “Drink”, and reveals his favorite place to perform. He also touches base on his other band, Gloryhammer and the release of its debut album last year. Alestorm will spend the balance of 2014 and 2015 touring in support of the new record and hopes to include another U.S. tour in the mix.