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Redshark's Philip Graves: "Now you turn off the internet and the people go crazy, I think that it's one of the worst drugs of the current world…"

Interview with Philip Graves from Redshark
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 19 April 2022, 11:48 PM

It is no secret that we have turned as digital as possible, perhaps we haven't really tasted what to be digital really is. There is a chance that the incoming VR technology will take us to journeys that we wouldn't want to get back from, like an endless trip, for life. The Spanish old school Metal band, Redshark, share the same fears as many others from the total digital world, making us a kind of slaves in the process. Through their "Digital Race" album, they hold nothing back, and fire everything they have. Steinmetal had a good talk with founder Philip Graves about what is going on within the record and his perception of old school Metal.

Hello Phil, it is good to have you for this conversation with Metal Temple online Magazine, how have you been doing ace?

Hi! How are you? Yeah! I'm very good with a lot of work with this new release… Rehearsals, interviews, RRSS… I'm full!

Storming with menace, and Redshark became a reality for me, such great energies are hard to come by nowadays, and not just the energies, but with a sense of a blazing wildfire, an old school fire. The band has been running for a decade, yet it gradually made significant steps 6 years ago. How do you summarize this last decade up until the debut album?

In the beginning of the band, Redshark only was a one-member-band like Bathory and after Mark Striker and Javi Bono joined to the band as power trio lineup. After that, we released our first EP "Rain Of Destruction" and some years after Pau and Chris joined the band. With this line up we recorded our first EP "Evil Realm". After that, comes the pandemic and we composed and recorder "Digital Race". Currently we are working on our live version and we have a new drummer that we hope to present to you as soon as possible.

With you being part of the Spanish Metal scene, which is somewhat mixed in its Metal directions, correct me if I am wrong, how do you find the support of the local base to Redshark’s musical direction?

The local base in Spain it's very good, the people have received this album with open arms and they like it so much. I know a lot of people in different parts of the country and this makes things easiest.

Going a little bit general here. You have been an old school Metal fan, I presume, for many years. What do you find in the essence of the old flame of Metal? What makes it burn bright for you?

Basically I like a lot of metal genres: Heavy Metal, Speed Metal, Power Metal, Death Metal, Black Thrash…I also like Hard Rock / AOR music, Rock n' Roll… And I like other genres like 80s Pop, Funk or Electronic Music. I think that it's all a mix of the 80s Heavy Metal (my favourite genre) and the other genres that I usually listen to.

Your sophomore EP, “Evil Realm” started something good for Redshark, with its reissue, as an extended version, under Bart Gabriel’s new label, Iron Oxide Records. I believe that also that EP paved the road for your signing with the French label, Listenable Records. What can you share about the journey towards being signed to such a significant label as Listenable Records?

The original idea was to release the album with Iron Oxide Records. We sent the album to Iron Oxide but they told us that Listenable was interested in releasing the album. We were approached by Laurent via email because he liked the album and we liked the terms and conditions. I think that “Digital Race” is an album that deserves to go far and this is a good opportunity for us to get a better edition and album promotion.

It was probably the right time for a full length debut record, and in the course of 2021 you were able to complete it. I am going to take you back just a bit, the album was worked on through a phase of the pandemic that was quite tough. How was it mentally possible for you to be focused in order to come up with the songs? I know that this pandemic, along with its lockdowns, wasn’t easy on anyone

You said it haha the pandemic ruined all the shows of "Evil Realm" and I thought that was the moment to make the best album possible. We hadn't a lot of problems for rehearsal because all the band members we live close to and we decided to continue working. We didn't want to be like other bands that they decided to stop during the pandemic.

Entitled “Digital Race”, it appears that you raised one of the possible fears of a lot of people, a kind of fear that is also partially hidden, or being put to bed at times as well. In your view, are we striving to lose ourselves to the digital universe, which we created? Do we feel comfortable about it to the extent of letting it all go and simply live with it?

Of course, one of the most important problems of 21st Century is the digitalization of the civilization. The people live by much through the computers and mobile phones, and this is a thing that we wanted re-vindicated. I'm not personally comfortable living with it, it's saturating and living glued to my phone, I don't like nothing, but if you have a band, nowadays internet it's necessary hahah

Through the artwork of the record, it looks that you are pissed off about this process humanity has been undergoing. What does your personal belief system say about that? In light of the album, is there a solution to this?

I think that it's difficult to find a solution. Now you turn off the internet and the people go crazy, I think that it's one of the worst drugs of the current world and all it's adapted to live with computers and social media.

Redshark walks the plank, the thin wooden board between what is traditional, and what is speed, and I might even mention a Thrashed up kind of form. I believe that being on that borderline makes “Digital Race” an enticing flavor of old school Metal. Even if we talk about a traditional kind of Metal subgenre, a lot can be done to make it fresh. How do you find the musical progress of the band over the course of “Digital Race”?

Thanks for your words! We appreciate it, of course! And in my personal opinion, I think that Redshark hasn't invented anything, our principal influences are Judas Priest, Exciter, Metal Church, Savatage, Death, Mercyful Fate… and simply we make the music that we would like to listen without barriers and being faithful to our essence. Our music it's the result of speaking with the heart.

The old school revival hasn’t been a stranger in the last two decades or so, therefore, a lot of bands are taking on the old flame and making it real once again, whether just the music, or also fulfilling the imagery. In light of the release of “Digital Race”, what makes Redshark special in a vast sea of bands? What makes it unique in a way?

It's possible that having a red shark as the band mascot makes it unique in the images of the covers. And as I told you before, I think that we haven't invented anything but we always tried to be as original as possible avoiding topics and typical lyrics.

The songwriting on “Digital Race” shows straightforwardness at its highest of orders, the stream of melodies, and high octane paces thunder from every direction. However, I believe that “Digital Race” is more than mainly the sense of speed and heaviness, what can you tell about how you arranged the songs? What were your inspirations that led you forward?

We always record rhythm guitar guides in our home studios before entering the studio, and this is the moment where we decide all the arrangements that we will record after. Nowadays it's easy working in your home before the studio, if you take advantage this, you can to get better results. My inspirations I think that are a lot of music that I listen every day, I'm very crazy about listening music, yesterday I listened Fleetwood Mac and today I listened Sabbat (UK).

For the sound engineering of “Digital Race”, you hired the services of Gonzalo Vivero. I noticed that he mainly worked in the Spanish scene, but it didn’t really matter who he worked with due to the reason that “Digital Race” got what it deserved, and that is its stellar sound. Other than the material, the attributed sound made the album an addictive listener. What can you tell about your vision of how the record should sound and the contrast to the end result?

Totally, Gonzalo and Jaume did a great job, without them, this wouldn't be possible, and for me it's important work with people that are friends of mine. Besides they are two great fans of Redshark music. I have clear that we wanted to get the better version of the second part of the 80s Heavy Metal made in the 21st Century.

 “Digital Race” might be your debut full length, yet this isn’t really new for you to experience songwriting, rehearsing new material and recording. Nevertheless, what did the process of “Digital Race” teach you as a songwriter and a musician? What are the lessons that you are taking onwards with you to the next Redshark album?

I think that won't be easy hahaha currently we haven't so much time like the pandemic but I don't mind to be 2-3 years to compose the next album. I want to maintain the level of "Digital Race" but as always, my objective it's making a different album but at the same time getting the 100% Redshark sound.

After the 80s keyboard driven intro of “Arrival”, I was heavily struck from beyond the stars with the rapid emergence of “Mars Recall”. Actually it's funny because I was watching “Total Recall” the other day, and it got connected for me. Such an energetic, and flamboyant, track, taking the band’s greatest merits and putting them to work for the display of a juggernaut. What can you tell about the creation of this song?

This song is from Javi Bono, and the main idea is putting yourself in the shoes of the main character, who's backing alone from a special mission from Mars, but not too far nor inventing new planets or galaxies, being like a more realistic story than in other cases. And yes, it's inspired by "Total Recall" haha the keyboard intro was the key of this epic song!

At the current state of the pandemic, things are starting to get better on the live scene front, therefore, it is possible for bands to schedule shows. What is the status in the Redshark camp in that aspect?

Luckily we played two weeks ago in Taunus Metal Fest (Germany) and this year we have some shows here in Spain because with the pandemic and other situations like the overbooking of band tours it's difficult because we don’t live from music, we have normal jobs and we need to be there all with time. I hope to play in European festivals or make dates in different European cities next year.

Phil, I wish to thank you for your time for this conversation, and of course for releasing such an album filled with conviction and admiration for the old flame of Metal. All the best

All the best for you! Good questions and killer interview! Thanks for the support my friend!



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