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Interview - Jimi Maltais (Crimson Shadows)

Interview with Jimi Maltais from Crimson Shadows
by Aaron Price at 20 November 2014, 2:25 AM

With their new homes at Napalm Records and the release of a new album, Jimi Maltais from CRIMSON SHADOWS found time to talk to us about "Kings Among Men" and their unfortunate events with not being allowed to cross the US border, as well as Canadian stereotypes you could have gotten with their Indiegogo campaign!

With their new homes at Napalm Records and the release of a new album, Jimi Maltais from CRIMSON SHADOWS found time to talk to us about "Kings Among Men" and their unfortunate events with not being allowed to cross the US border, as well as Canadian stereotypes you could have gotten with their Indiegogo campaign!

"Kings Among Men" is on the brink of release, how do you feel about it?

It honestly feels amazing, this release really feels like an experiment. We wrote five new songs right after Wacken and did a little Canadian tour out to B.C. and back, so we released Sails Of Destiny a week before we left for Wacken and its just crazy that its all finally coming along. Even still we were in the studio recording in March and now its September its unreal how quickly time flies, but its amazing I can't even belie I can say my album is being released in Europe.

You're going to be doing a release show in Toronto then you're going to Europe with Alestorm, any UK plans coming up?

We're not really sure, we have some offers but as far as plans go we really don't have any. Tour as much as we can and do as much promotion as we can, especially being a new artist we don't have the advantage of having a large back catalog and having a bunch of music behind us in the public eye. We have been a band for eight years and only now are we starting to get into the public eye and we just need to stay there, so luckily Napalm Records are doing some amazing promotion. We also have the album streaming on Revolver's website for North America and Metal Hammer in Europe so it’s ridiculous that we have all these insane names backing us up and hopefully we can just keep going.

Are there any bands you dream to tour with in the future?

All of them, honestly we were lucky enough to play with Dragonforce back in the day. We were lucky enough to get to party with the band as well, I think if we managed to open a tour for Dragonforce that would absolutely help skyrocket us to a whole new level, any big power metal band would be great for us or even in the realm of Folk would be great.

Tell me about the songs on "Kings Among Men" what are some of the concepts behind them?

Really we went for metaphors to talk about the world but still keeping with the fantasy lyrics, I would say the lyrical themes are all metaphors for everyone like if you're going through shit just keep your chin up, you've got family and friends who will support you. One of the songs, "Heroes Among Us" is about the Canadian military and what they did at Vimy Ridge in the first World War and that's how we always introduce that song and we've had people come up to us who have served in the military and say stuff like "thank you so much for writing a song about the Canadian military" and we just say back what are you thanking us for? Thank you! We are just writing about a song that happened 100 years ago in France! Anyways the lyrical themes are just kind of like we all have loved ones and just keep positive.

What were your plans when it came to putting out the EP songs on this album?

Napalm requested it, we went in expecting to record 10 new songs, but since "Sails Of Destiny" was was independent and Napalm loved it, they told us when you record that new album we expect every one of those songs to be on there. Another thing a people don't know is all of "Sails Of Destiny" was recorded in one weekend in Godderich, Ontario. At least with this album we had at least a couple weeks to record and get it all done right.

What compelled you to make "Moonlit Skies And Bloodied Tides" an epic 10 minute song?

It’s one of those things where you just kind of keep writing and writing and writing, I listen to the song and every time I do I go back and just think this song kind of needs to be 10 minutes, like it takes you on this whole journey. The EP is a concept album about a Viking general, and this is the end as he watches his boat get destroyed by a giant sea creature and taking back the gold they took.

You started streaming the album online, what kind of feedback have you gotten so far?

It’s awesome, all of us have been getting random messages on facebook from people who we don't even know. I got a message from some guy in Arizona like "hey guys I just heard of you and im gonna contribute some money to your Indiegogo so you can get to Europe!" its really all awesome, and any promotion is good promotion. Relvolver and Metal Hammer are huge promotion for us.

I've noticed you scream a lot less compared to before, any specific reason for that?

Sometimes when you listen to an album it sounds like the singer feels like they have something to prove or they sing out if their range, with me it was getting the best product. A lot of the songs I tried everything possible, I've tried everything I can and as a band we decide what sounds best with each song.

What is it like releasing your first album on a major metal label?

I don't believe it, even though it’s all signed for and we have been talking about it for months. Even after the Wacken Battle Canada we were talking to a few labels that came to us with offers, I still just don't believe it. I won't get my hopes up until its all said and done, you don't want to get your hopes up and then get broken down by it after. I think on the plane to Europe ill pinch myself and go "holy shit.. This is actually happening."

This is also your first chance to release a vinyl, are you excited about that?

Oh man, I wish I could show you my collection, I have over 700 records and its growing. I know it may be a real hipster thing but I love it, I love the packaging you get and the pictures being bigger and the bonus stuff you can get. The fact that I now have a vinyl with my face on it just makes me laugh because I never thought this would ever happen.

Where did you pull your inspiration from lyrically?

We all worked on it together, so every songs is written by each of us. Even after all that we all stood around a kitchen table listening to our demo recordings we did in the basement and rearranged everything from there. All in all id say its not any single persons perspective, its an entire group effort between all of us and that's what you hear now.

Seeing as this album when it comes to the fantasy aspect is mainly about kingship and royalty, do you have any plans to make this a running theme on other albums?

I don't think so with this theme necessarily. I can't wait until we can sit down and write a proper concept album and maybe do something the way Rhapsody did where they wrote The Emerald Sword saga which spans 3 albums just following one concept and tied into each other, like a fantasy epic novel written in music. I hope that one day we can write a full concept album and really take people on a journey with out music.

Do you have a message for the unfortunate fans who were unable to see you in the US with BATTLECROSS?

I'm really sorry we couldn't get across the border, even if you have all your paperwork right if the border agent doesn't like you then you're not getting across. As heartbroken as they are if they can take a moment to consider we are absolutely crushed, we lost thousands of dollars in funds and promotions and everything by not being able to go, it really sucks and it really broke our hearts but we can't let it get us down. Just because one thing goes bad don't give up your whole dream, in the end we are really sorry but we will get there.

Last up, do you have any secrets you'd like to share with the fans, either completely off topic or about tour plans or music?

I can't really think of anything, with our indiegogo we have a ton of really Canadian stuff, hockey pucks… maple syrup. We are gonna really market our Canadian heritage, and maybe one day we will have Crimson Shadows bacon.

Thanks a ton Jimi, it's truly incredible to get to talk to you.

No man, thank you I hope to see you when we get back on the road in Canada, have a good one.


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Edited 08 February 2023

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