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Stewart Lawrence, Pat Doyle (Ignitor)

Interview with Stewart Lawrence, Pat Doyle from Ignitor
by Yiannis Doukas at 06 September 2009, 9:29 PM

The new album of the Texas based metallers IGNITOR has an epic theme, cool riffing and - for the first time - thunderous vocals by the one and only Jason McMaster. We took the opportunity and here is the basic composer Stewart Lawrence and drummer Pat Doyle talking us about greed, revenge, Texas Metal and other things. Oh, and beware of the spider queen!

Interview with: Stewart Lawrence and Pat Doyle from IGNITOR

Cheerz brothers from METAL TEMPLE. It has been two years since your last album Road Of Bones, with some lineup changes. But, before we talk about that can you tell me what are your impressions now with Road Of Bones?

Pat: We're generally pleased with it. Unfortunately both the recording and subsequent release of the record was minor disasters so it actually could've been much worse.

Stuart: I love the material, but I like to have it re-mastered.  

What happened to Erika and Annah and left the band? With Beverly did you know each other from before?

Pat: Erika became unhappy with the band's lot and direction. Annah took a job offer in Phoenix Arizona later that same year. Beverly was IGNITOR's original rhythm guitarist and we're extremely happy to have her back.

The big change is surely the entrance of Jason McMaster. How did you contact him? I found his vocals fantastic and surely the band ascended a lot of levels if we compare it with the previous albums. What is your opinion?

Pat: Jason and the band have been friends for years. He and Stuart play in a JUDAS PRIEST tribute band called SAD WINGS. Jason heard some of Stuart's stuff from The Spider Queen and joined the band in the fall of 2008. We're still pinching ourselves to remind us we're not dreaming!

Stuart: Yes, it is quite a pleasure to work with Jason. He brings so much to the vocals; I can't imagine anyone else singing those songs now.

Did you work in a different way as a band now that there was a concept behind? Did you start with the story and try to dress it musically or was it the opposite?

Pat: This album is Stuart's masterpiece from start to finish, so I'll let him elaborate.

Stuart: In the old days I would write a couple of guitar riffs and show them to Erika and she would start writing lyrics to them if she liked it. Then the rest of the band and myself would work on putting the rest of the music together. This is the first record where I wrote all the music and lyrics by myself. I decided I wanted to do a Metal opera, so I came up with the story first. Then, I just had to decide what parts of the story to illustrate with songs. Once I outlined the opera that way, it wasn't very difficult to come up with the lyrics and music. The lyrics had to describe the story and the music had to reflect the mood of the character.

Can you tell us a few things about this concept 'cause I don't have the lyrics? It seems like an epic story; have you included any metaphors inside?

Stuart: The story is about a young man named Helmut who was raised by his grandmother, Necretia. Helmut grew up understanding that his parents were murdered by an evil queen and sets out to seek revenge. When Helmut finally gets an opportunity to kill the queen, he discovers that she is young and beautiful and falls in love with her. He later finds out that the queen is not really beautiful, but a hideous spider that eats people. The spider is able to use magic to appear in any form it wishes. With the help of his grandmother, Helmut defeats the spider only to find out that the spider was actually his mother who was cursed by his grandmother when he was a baby. Helmut freaks out and kills everybody, including himself. The end. There is more to the story, but that is the gist of it. The story is literal, the moral is: greed is bad and revenge is folly.

Quite impressing was also the cover. Who made it? Did the lady - except her nice back - have a respective face?

Stuart:  Beverly, the rhythm guitarist, did the cover art. She wanted it to be like an old Frazetta painting. She is a very talented artist. It depicts the moment when Helmut first sees the Spider Queen. What album cover is complete without a hot chicks ass on it anyway?

What was the live activity of the band from the time you released the Road Of Bones CD and after? Are there any plans now for promoting your new album? Any chance for a return in European?

Stuart: There really wasn't any live activity after the album came out because Erika had quit. It took us forever to find a new singer. It is our great hope to return to Europe. Hopefully the album does well to make that a possibility. Right now we're just playing around Texas.

Texas always had a great scene especially in the 80s, although few bands became well known. What are your favorite bands from there? Can you point out the reasons behind the uniqueness of this scene? How are things there today?

Stuart: There are still cool bands, but not as many fans anymore. I have no idea why Texas bands sound the way they do, I guess they just don't know any better. My favorite Texas band is BLACK TORA. They used to be called WARRYOR. They are awesome, they are from McAllen Texas. TEXAS METAL ALLIANCE from Dallas is great I think they changed their name to WARBEAST. Jason's band BROKEN TEETH is awesome. HIGH WATT CRUCIFIXERS, CONDEMNED UNIT and BAT CASTLE are cool Austin bands that come to mind. There are lots.

I was surprised by the lack of soloing inside The Spider Queen. I believe that tracks like Evil Calling or The Games Begin would be more complete that way. What is your opinion?

Stuart: True, there isn't much soloing. I was just more focused on the lyrics and trying to make the songs very concise. If I wasn't immediately inspired to write a solo, I just didn't bother. There's a lot of melodic layering of guitar parts, which I thought was enough. Some more ripping leads might have been nice, but I just didn't feel it.

In many parts your music brought to my mind a lot of the Ripper period of JUDAS PRIEST. Do you like those two albums? Is there anything from the present scene that you like or your tastes are mainly in the 80s?

Stuart: Hmm, I like Jugulator, but that's really all I've heard of the Ripper stuff. I guess should take another look. I like PRIMAL FEAR, 3 INCHES OF BLOOD, some others but I guess it's just present bands that sound like the 80's. Luckily there are lots of 80's albums out there.  

Do you believe that Metal is something more than just a music? If yes, what can be the philosophy behind? If you can gather the affinity of the personality's characteristics behind any Metal fan, what would it be (if any)?

Stuart: Yes, Metal is more than music, but just like there are so many sub-genres of Metal, I think it represents different things to different Metal heads. For me it's about fun and fellowship. I love to listen to Metal and I like to play Metal that entertains others. I do like having the opportunity to add to the vast body of Metal music that already exists. It's like a giant denim vest that everybody gets to add patches too. (ed. note: fantastic quote!)

Have you composed any new songs right now? I mean are there any tracks left from the The Spider Queen sessions, cause - from its concept - couldn't fit with the others etc?

Stuart: No, there are no songs left over from The Spider Queen. I have only written one complete song with music and lyrics since. It is called We Are Ignitor. I have music for a few others, but I'm trying to decide if I want to try another concept record or not. I'm working on a story, but it's got a way to go before it is finished.

That's all. Thanx a lot; if you want to add anything else please do so. Keep the Metal flames burning!!!   

Stuart: Thank you so much.


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