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Interview - Bill (Gang)

Interview with Bill from Gang
by Danny Sanderson at 06 November 2014, 3:02 AM

GANG is a Thrash / Hardcore project from Fismes. These guys have been rocking hard for quite a few years now, and our own Danny Sanderson had the pleasure of speaking with Bill about their new album "Inject the Venom" as well as their first trip to the UK.

Hi, this is Danny from Metal Temple, and today I'm interviewing GANG! How are you doing guys?

We're doing fine, we're here for a few days and we appreciate being here to play at SOS fest.

Have you been around Manchester and enjoying the sights, or have you just been in the hotel and then straight here?

Both, in fact. I arrived here two days ago and I've visited Manchester and Radcliffe and some of the suburbs, and the other guys arrived here today for the festival.

Have you ever played in Manchester before?

No, this will be our first time. It's our first time in England.

So this is your first UK gig then?

Yeah, it's our first gig here.

You've got a new album out called "Inject the Venom". Can you tell us what fans can expect from that?

It's, well, we hope it is, Old School Heavy Metal. We've come from that scene and what we wanted was for this album to come back to our roots of what we listen to every day, so it's only Heavy Metal. And we didn't want to over-produced it like some bands do today, with the same sound and the same mix, and we wanted to go back to those roots and make an analogue styled album. It sounds like an 80's release and we're really proud of it. It's what we are, it's what we like, it's what we sound like onstage. You shouldn't expect to have something modern with us.

Well, that's a great way of making an album. I've listened to plenty of albums where pro-tools has been used on it and it's been worked within an inch of its life, and it's hard to make it work live, so it's good that it is close to your live sound.

Yeah, we listen to a lot of Heavy Metal music, and we're often unsatisfied with many of the new bands coming in, because they all sound the same; they've got the same producers, the same sound, the same guitar amps and the same way of mixing the album, so we wanted to show our own personality and our own sound. We didn't want to use Pro-tools and anything that messes with the drums, bass and guitars. We recorded the drums with a mic and acoustic drums. It's quite different, and it's quite hard to get it to sound like that. It's a real sound, and of course that's perfect. In the 80's when a lot of bands like Saxon and Iron Maiden were starting out, the music didn't sound perfect, but this sound was good. We're definitely not Iron Maiden, but it has those elements. We wanted to get people interested in our songs, as well as our sound.

You guys formed in 1990, so you've been around for almost 25 years, and one of the things that you survived was the arrival of Grunge, which a lot of people claimed "killed" Heavy Metal, which of course it didn't. So did that movement affect you in any way?

Not really, no, because we came from France, which isn't the home of Heavy Metal, you know, so in the 90's we were young, we tried to do our own thing, mix up all of our influences. It took time in France to grow up, but things are going to be much better now, because after 4 years, we're finally back on stage. For the last ten years we haven't played live, because we had no drummer, and it made no sense to go on tour with a machine or to hire a drummer for a few months, so we've waited to find a good drummer, a friend of mine I've known since the late 80's. He started playing drums again for GANG, but because we had all this time off, we didn't experience the evolution of Heavy Metal like some bands would have. But all the changes and experiences over the last 20 years have made us stronger and more determined to play what we love, which is Heavy Metal.

Another thing which relates more to Heavy Metal that the band has been around to see, maybe, is the growth of Power Metal, which saw a resurgence in Heavy Metal. Do you think that helped having bands like that?

Well, nowadays, there's so many different types of Metal music. You can like Manowar, you can like Iron Maiden, you can like Gamma Ray or Helloween, but it's all the same to us. We listen to Hard Rock, and now there is so many things from Hard Rock to Death Metal, Gothic Metal, Thrash Metal; but at the end of the day, it's all got one thing in common: Heavy Metal. We've tried to focus on what we do and what love, and this is what we look for in music.

What was the writing and recording process like for "Inject the Venom"?

The Recording Process? Well, we've got into the studio after writing a few songs. Then we listened to them and said "This is the sort of stuff we want to do". As I said before, we recorded the whole thing analogue, with real drums, real guitars, no Pro-tools, and we made sure it was only the two guitar parts playing, as opposed to a big wall of 100 guitars playing the same riff to make it sound bigger and bigger. So we've only got two guitars, and sometimes we have a third guitar for certain arrangements. We didn't play together, because the studio wasn't big enough for it, but we recorded the whole thing bit by bit, and we did it like it was done in the old days.

What can fans expect from your show tomorrow afternoon?

We try to be ourselves, so if we're having a good day, then hopefully it will be a lot of fun and people can expect old Heavy Metal with lots of melodies, with high-pitched vocals, because my vocals are not grunts or growls, they're just high-pitched. A lot of people have said that it's a lot like Judas Priest at times, or an Iron Maiden vocal style. I think it'll be fun; we try to have fun onstage and we're not trying to be really serious. We want people to see a show, and if the stage is big enough, we'll be running around and making lots of noise. it's not very polished as I've said, and we want to focus on just being crazy onstage. You could put on a CD by any band and it will sound perfect, but it's hard to recreate live. Our albums are quite true to out live sound.

The artwork is quite vivid and powerful on this record. It's a drawing of a man injecting a baby with venom. What does that symbolise? Does it link into any of the albums lyrics and themes?

No really. The idea came from the previous record, which was an EP where we were doing some covers of Mercyful Fate, Motorhead and Scorpions and stuff like that, and the idea was to link back to that cover. We wanted a real painting, not anything that was photo shopped or a photo, but a real painting, and we found a painter in France, who did artwork including an Iron Maiden dictionary, in fact. And we really liked his work, so we contacted him and said that we wanted our own idea, like a mascot. We made a doctor character, burned some copies of the CD and sent them to him, and he came back with a painting of the doctor injecting Heavy Metal into the baby. We had him injecting a baby becuase we have been listening to Heavy Metal since the old days, and we wanted to show some kind of link to that.

That sounds really cool! After your set tomorrow do you have any plans for promoting the album in the near future?

We've made a tour. The album has been out since March, so we toured France, and we've got some more shows coming up in September and October. And then, once that's done, we've been thinking that it's time to organise a new record, because we want to have an album out next year, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary. And we're also planning on making another live album.

Do you think that you'll come back to the UK and play a full tour?

We would love to play here as often as possible, because England is the home of Heavy Metal, so for us that's very important. Of course, the situation is not the same as it was in the 80's, but this is where we can find the people that can give birth to Heavy Metal. We've got to play with some of our idols too. Soon we are opening for ex-Saxon member Oliver/ Dawson Saxon, and we've played with Blaze Bayley a few times, and we are playing with Absolva in October in France. And we'd like to come back to England and play London, Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle, places like that, because these were the places where some of the best Heavy Metal was born.

And quickly before you go, do you have any messages for your fans?

We hope that you will like the froggies playing Heavy Metal \[laughs] with a British touch. What we want people to know is that you should enjoy yourself, listen to what you want and don't be ashamed to love Heavy Metal music, because some people will tell you that it isn't trendy, and you have to play music a certain way, but fuck that! Listen to what you want, play what you want, and enjoy it. And have a lot of pleasure.

Thank you so much for the interview guys! I hope your show goes well.


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Edited 09 February 2023

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