The Raven Age interview with George Harris
The Raven Age is a self-funded melodic metal band started by guitarists and songwriters George Harris (son of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris) and Dan Wright in 2009. As the duo began to amass a good amount of music they added bassist Matt Cox, vocalist Michael Burrough, and drummer Jai Patel. The quintet released its debut self-titled EP in 2014, and they are currently working to complete their debut full-length album. But, standing in the way of that is a massive world tour opening for Iron Maiden, that will keep the guys busy for much of 2016.
Recently Metalholic caught up with George Harris to talk about The Raven Age; how the band came together, their music and the Book of Souls tour with Maiden.
Metalholic: Hi George, how are you doing?
George Harris: Doing good. Thanks mate. I was at a football game this morning. Thanks for holing on.
MH: No problem. Just want to talk a little about the band and the songs, which are really good.
GH: Thanks and glad you like them.
MH: When did you start playing guitar? At what age?
GH: I first started playing bass when I was around 12 for about a year or so. Then when I was around 14 when I picked up guitar and started messing around and never did really get to lessons straight away. Just messing around playing songs I like. Then I left it for about a year then picked it up again when I was around 15 and took it a bit more seriously.
MH: The band is solid and the songs have that old school metal sound.
GH: (Laughter) Yeah I don’t know what they call us with different genres these days.
MH: Yeah, that is true that people put their different labels on music. You put the band together back in 2009?
GH: Well, that was just me and the guitar player [Dan Wright] when we were just writing. The whole band didn’t to come together actually around 2013.
MH: Wow! Short-term but in your home country bringing in the crowds and at large theaters and large performances.
GH: Yeah, yeah definitely we’ve been lucky to gotten some cool shows. We been playing around London really at small clubs and venues and trying to eat our way out of London and the rest of the country. We found a booking agent and the shows started to come in and venturing to Europe and tour Europe a few times now with Mastodon, Khymera and Delain. And when this tour came up we got thrown into the deep end a little bit, and the madness. The madness were not quite used to and enjoying it at the moment.
MH: Who came up with the name for the band?
GH: That was I, actually.
MH: Is there a meaning behind the name?
GH: It has to do with the Tower of London. The Towers of London are protected by ravens and actually have been. And there are six ravens there now and the legend is if the ravens leave or fly away the towers will fall and the British Empire will fall. And that is why we are called The Raven Age.
MH: Are you and Dan the song writers for the band?
GH: Yeah, me and Dan. We started writing together back in 2009 for a bit fun really. With a bass and guitar pieces here and there and why not get together and start writing some stuff. Later on we decided let’s go for it and make a band out of this and just me and Dan writing stuff.
MH: The song released as the debut: “Angel in Disgrace”. My interpretation of the song is you do something bad, you ask for forgiveness from somebody and then they get stab in the back.
GH: Yeah, that’s it. With our songs there are meanings behind our songs but we want the meaning to be left to interpretation and let people make what they want of it–blah, blah, and that song really helped me is really cool to hear that.
MH: For the other songs you used for a reference?
GH: You mean inspiration for the song?
GH: The others like the intro, they’re made up stories loosely based on religion, decisions, and growing up in a religious family where you believe things or don’t and trying to find your own way. And “The Death March” is based on a book I read by Denis Avey called “The Man Who Broke into Auschwitz”. It is about the relationship with the guy inside Auschwitz and the outcome of both them.
MH: The EP was released last year and you are working on a full album to be released?
GH: Yeah, it is written and fully recorded and working on the final pieces at the moment and going back and forth with our producer. We have gained some interest from some labels while on the road but nothing solid and no release date.
MH: Who is producing the album?
GH: It is a guy name Matt Hyde, who worked our EP and went with him on our album and like working with him and what he dose. He has worked with some huge bands like Trivium, Slipknot, and Bullet for My Valentine and a lot of bands that inspired us in the first place.
MH: The other members of the band: Bassist Matt Cox, vocalist Michael Burrough and drummer Jai Patel you knew from school or your neighborhood?
GH: No, actually we found all three members online. Matt was the first one to join. We put an ad out on www.joinmyband.co.uk and he was the first one to reply and came down and we liked him and did multiple auditions and he ended up joining. And Michael we found from his old band on ReverbNation while looking for singers and listening to couple his tracks that caught my ears. I sent him a message and his band wasn’t doing much at the time and he lives on South Coast of England at Hastings and is quite far from London and a long journey to come up for rehearsals. Jai we found doing a drum cover on YouTube actually, and found out actually he lives in London and we hooked up to come down and record a song for us and got along really well and he is the final member.
MH: For the short time the band has been together you guys have been blazing from what I have seen.
GH: Yeah, since we’ve been together and got a booking agent we have been getting offers for the Download festival this year at Paris and loads of stuff going on at the moment and is great.
MH: It’s good that your dad is bringing you along for the tour for the exposure.
GH: He is very straight forward and believes in the band.
MH: The full album is to be released this year?
GH: Yeah, at the end of the tour or after the tour and we can’t wait to get the album out, and the EP is doing well everywhere and we’re fully excited about getting the album out.
MH: Any discussions about doing another tour across the US with other bands?
GH: Yeah, that would be great and ideal and jump after this tour and would be insane and when go back and try some more support tours and is working out for us really. And after this tour not leave to long when the interests die down and try to keep the hype up.
MH: This is a good EP, and what I have seen on YouTube you have the energy and the sound and just keep it going.
GH: Thanks very much.