Any way you look at it, it's been a banner year for local punk/metal band Power Trip. After four years of garnering a solid following, the band got signed to a national label, recorded a monumental full length and headed to Europe and Russia for the first time.
From his home in Dallas and in anticipation of tonight's gig at Dada, Lead shouter Riley Gale talked with DC9 about his band's recent trip to Europe and what he thinks of the Dallas punk/metal scene.
You are going to Houston to headline the Fallcore Festival. Is it surreal to be headlining an event that you have been going to as a fan for a decade?
Yes, there's been a lot of that this year. It is pretty surreal. I've been seeing Bane and Terror for ten years and I never thought I would be sharing stages with both of them this year.
How did the band get signed to the Southern Lord label?
That happened a few years ago when we played a Fun Fun Fun fest. After the show in Austin, this guy who was friends with someone at Southern Lord. He saw our set and he really enjoyed it. He had a good time. He said that we were something that the label was looking for. He put in a good for us and then label started talking with us. That was in 2011. We signed with them in 2012 and the new record came out in July of this year. We did a full American tour. Fucked Up was on some of the dates which was cool. We just got back from Europe on Monday. We went to Russia and Finland.
You guys have come a long way since forming in 2008.
Yes, we are playing with bands that I listened to in high school, bands that I looked up to. Now, I am lucky to call these people my friends. It's been a year of accomplishments for us.
Did you have a passport prior to this year?
Yes, I had a passport. I've been to Israel and I've been to Canada before.
How were the crowds in Europe?
It was a mix. It was different. A lot of places have different attitudes. We didn't get a reaction like people head banging and moshing. After the set, however, people came up and asked for pictures and really seemed to appreciate the music. You never know. Every day was a different crowd with a different vibe. It was interesting to say the least.
The band is always listed as a thrash/crossover band. Do you still consider yourselves a punk band?
Yes, definitely, we are a punk band. We came up in punk and I still love punk. We have punk beats in our music. My lyrics are influenced by punk. I think they would fall in the punk category. I think people should consider us a hardcore punk/metal band.
One reviewer wrote that you guys were one part Black Flag and one part Slayer. Did he get it right?
Yes, that is not a bad description at all.
Has the band's line up changed?
Yes, our drummer, Marcus, who was on our demo and our first 7 inch, left the band. Chris Ulsh joined. He is from Austin and was a good friend of mine.
Hell, every band changes drummers.
Yes, that is a common thing. I don't like to think of my band as five guys playing different roles. These are people who I have known for years. Without their help, the band wouldn't be what it is, be where we are. And you need to include managers and booking agents as well. We have to use backup drummers sometime because Chris is in a lot of bands and is very busy.
When you play locally, do you get a good sized crowd?
Yes, we usually do. It depends on the show.
What do you think about the area punk and metal scene?
I think it is really strong. I think there are a ton of really good bands. The kids actually care about the scene and going to good shows. When touring bands come through, they get treated well. What is nice is that a death metal band can play with a pop/punk band. Nobody gets pigeonholed. Ever thing is melded now. People have open minds and that is cool.
Is now the band's biggest moment?
I don't know. I don't see it as a make it or break it moment. I don't think music works like that nowadays. A band can blow up right off the bat. A band can get noticed later on. I feel this has definitely been a very successful year for us. We've accomplished a lot this year. We've done some good, strong tours. We have a lot to look forward to next year. I think it's all about the amount of time and sacrifice we want to put into it. We will see.
What was the biggest difference in recording Manifest Decimation as opposed to earlier releases?
Our producer had a big hand in how it sounded, how the songs turned out. He has his input on how the songs were written. He tried to make it a piece of music, not just 8 or nine songs on an album. We had time to explore options. It was a cool way to record, to be more artistic. It was more than hardcore anger all of the time.
The way the vocals were produced was interesting.
Well, I wanted to do that from the get go. We don't like modern thrash production. That is too clean. We wanted to have that old '80s sound. We wanted a soundtrack to the end of world. Why have music for that sound so clean? We wanted something that sounded like it was coming straight from hell.
Since it is the season, what's your favorite Christmas movie?
Oh, the one from National Lampoon.