Canadian titans Blackguard have been touring like no tomorrow, since the release of their latest works “Firefight”, the band find themselves igniting the flames ever so higher that this coming summer will be unlike any other. The guys took some time out of their heretic touring schedule to answer some questions about the groups’ newest release, Firefight and what else is lined up for the remaining year.
All Access Magazine (AAM). You’ve done nothing but touring as of recent; how is this tour currently going?
Paul: We’re on the road right now with Symphony X and Powerglove and it’s going very well. It’s a bit of a departure from the Deicide tour we did a few months ago; a little more tame and not as violent crowd wise unfortunately, but people are digging the new tunes we’ve been busting out for this run. This is our first tour playing Sarissas and Wastelands and it’s interesting to see how people are reacting to these songs in a live setting.
AAM How do you decide the first and last song that you will play?
Paul: We have a planned set list that doesn’t really change much from night to night. We decided on starting with Firefight to give people a good boot to the face musically right off the bat, and since Sarissas and Wastelands are slower songs it adds a nice dynamic throughout the set. We’ve been ending with either Allegiance or This Rounds on Me from the Profugus Mortis album. It’s sort of a coin flip each night over which one we end with but I like ending the set with some of our older songs since they’re really upbeat and people seem to enjoy them.
AAM You then have the summer off and will be hitting the road. What else is in store?
Paul: This summer we’re going to be playing the Heavy MTL Festival in Montreal. This is going to easily be our biggest show to date so we’re very excited about it. We’ve only done one other outdoor festival a few years ago but this one is far bigger in scale and has more of a European open air feel to it. I’m not sure what night we’re playing but KISS is headlining one of the nights and I can’t wait to see them play finally.
Right after the Kamelot run we’ll be joining up with Evergrey and Sabaton for the tail end of their tour. The Absence and Powerglove are also on that tour which makes it all the more fun. We’re having a blast with P.G on this tour and The Absence is also buds of ours.
AAM Where haven’t you guys been?
Paul: Too many places to count but we’re working on that. This past year we were able to scratch Mexico, Germany and The UK off our list and there’s more to come.
AAM I was at your Deicide show in Hollywood and you did the ‘Tornado of Death”. Have you had that as your annual tradition? For those who don’t know what that is, can you explain it?
Paul: No actually I just started doing that a few nights earlier on the tour but it’s something I’ve wanted to try out for years.
The “Tornado of death” is essentially a hybrid “wall of death” and Circle pit. The Tornado starts as a circle pit and the designated time/signal everyone is suppose to run into the centre or “eye” of the “tornado” making for some violent pits. The nights we did it, it worked really well and I think we’re the first to ever do something like that.
AAM So you left two labels and are settling in with Victory Records, are they what you wanted in a label?
Paul: They are because they were the most dedicated and enthusiastic about building the band and putting real effort into bringing us to the next level. I’m not going to sit here and bash Sumerian or Nuclear Blast because they are amazing labels and have done incredible things for the bands on their respective rosters. Unfortunately they just weren’t the right fit for us at the time and their priorities elsewhere, but that’s the business, not every band can be the priority all the time.
AAM Your brand new album ‘Firefight’ is out. What are your thoughts on the album?
Paul: I think it’s a great step forward for us musically. We wanted to make a meaner record and take a step out of the “folk” realm while still maintaining our love of classical and orchestral elements. I think we’ve done and great job and I’m even more excited about what we’re going to do next.
AAM What is a “firefight”?
Paul: Get a group of your friends together with as many Molotov cocktails as you can muster. Make two teams. Add alcohol, and watch the magic happen. (Add flaming arrows for added effect)
AAM How did you guys come up with name Blackguard? What does it mean?
Paul: We were brainstorming names and I believe it was out bassist Etienne who brought up the name. The definition we found for it (among many others) was “a group of vagabonds travelling from town to town…..” For me that’s a rather appropriate description of the touring lifestyle so I was all for it.
AAM Do you want to say anything else to our readers?
Paul: I really want to thank everyone who’s been supporting the band over the years and continues to do so. For those of you who have no idea who we are, come out to a show, have a beer and jump in the Tornado.