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SLAVES TO FASHION - Exclusive Interview

Slaves to Fashion recently released their 3rd single from the album "The History of Heavy Metal"! The upcoming album pays tribute in each song to a genre of Heavy Metal and with their latest track "Sex, drugs & Rock'n' Roll" we can't wait to hear what comes next ! The band has pledged to release a new track EVERY MONTH!! and for that we sat down for a complete 1on1 interview with Torfinn to learn as much as we can about the band , past and future and what to expect in the months ahead !

How did the idea of making an album like “The History of Heavy Metal" come about?

I love heavy metal and I have always been fascinated by the way the genre evolved into so many different directions. I started listening to metal in the 80's and that was the time when the genre really started to divide into distinct subgenres. So, this has been a huge interest of mine for a long time.

It also happens that for many years I was teaching history in high school. One day I thought of combining those two interests: heavy metal and history. I started doing a lecture on heavy metal in my school, and then I was doing the same presentation in some bars and festivals. Someday, somehow, I just got the idea of making music that sounded like it could have been part of this fascinating story. You know, one thing leads to another… I started writing music and doing research about four years ago and here we are releasing it. I think it was about two years ago I figured it would be good to release it in 2020 as this is the 50th anniversary for the genre.

How many genres do you plan on featuring on the album?

That's a tricky question. Some songs are clearly inspired by one genre only, while other songs have several genres in them. The genres that have their own song that is purely inspired by one distinct genre are glam metal, thrash metal, grunge, power metal and NU metal. Doom metal, death metal, grindcore and black metal will be heavily represented in an extreme metal medley. But a lot of other genres, like progressive metal, groove metal, industrial metal, gothic metal, metalcore, folk metal etc. are also represented. There's even kawaii metal on the very last song of the album! Back to the question… Give or take, there will be between 40 and 45 genres and subgenres on the whole album.

Which track and genre did you have the most fun creating and which one the most challenging?

Most fun? Every song and every genre are so important, so that's just impossible to say! I think that question will have to wait until December when the full album is out. Right now, we're promoting a glam metal song we're really proud of but at same time we're recording thrash metal drums, getting a black metal logo designed and writing lyrics for a grunge lyric. I think a multiple personality disorder diagnosis is slowly sneaking in on me…

Most challenging? Every song is challenging because you might step on some toes with every decision you take here. Even the new single "Sex, Drugs & Rock 'N' Roll" had to balance the metal side and the pop side of that genre. How loud and hairy should the guitars be? Luckily, we got Beau Hill (Ratt, Warrant, Winger, Europe) to mix that song and no one knows the genre better than him!

The very first song "1970" was very challenging because we had to travel 50 years back in time and record everything on vintage equipment, old instruments and analog tape machines. There's even a Hammond B2 and a real mellotron on that one!

The last song will be very challenging because it aims to cover about 20 years of metal history in just one song.

How has the response been so far to your new album?

Just about everyone that hears the music seems to love both the idea and the songs. Even the local radio station wants me to talk every month about the latest genre we are releasing. Some people think we are crazy though… A few people think we missed some influences in a song, but you can't do a project like this without some healthy criticism. We get a lot of positive feedback and we're very excited that we have still seven more songs to release!

Do you plan on having any guest musicians?

We have a lot of guest musicians on every song. Too many to mention really. For each song we use musicians that really know the specific genre to make the song turn out the best way possible. I don't think any singer in the world could sing all of these songs… Maybe Devin Townsend! And I for sure can't play all these different guitar solos! Luckily, we know a lot of talented musicians, so it all works out fine.

In a way SLAVES TO FASHION is more like a band collective today, with different musicians and friends of the band contributing where they can. However, the core of the band are still the four guys that released "Artistic Differences" in 2011.

As a band you have been around since 2007.

What have been the biggest challenges you have had to overcome as a band?

I guess that would be staying together and wanting the same things at the same time. We entitled our second album "Artistic Differences" as a joke because that album was a really easy to make. But having four or five strong personalities in a band is like being married to five or four people at the same time.

You were on a hiatus from 2014 till this year. Does this new album also mean that you will be returning to full activity and playing shows when the current pandemic situation allows it?

Yes, we will. We already did one short liv gig at our release party for the first single in February so that was really cool. We played the single "1970" and we also did "Black Sabbath's "Black Sabbath" and "War Pigs" and Deep Purple's "Speed King". We were actually planning to a 1980s gig in May/June but for obvious reasons nothing came of it. The goal is to play the whole album and the whole history of heavy metal live.

What triggered the return to activity now?

The 50 years anniversary of heavy metal was the decision to do this right now. Also, everyone in and around the band really wants to get together and make music and play live again.

How do you go about composing the tracks from the new album?

Give us an example of how you match your tracks to the feeling of each genre.

It was basically the same approach for all the tracks. First, I did some basic research by listening to and reading a lot about the genre. I then made long lists of relevant bands, important albums, songs, timelines and musical genre traits. Then I narrowed it down to the key elements of the genre by focusing on some bands that were more important than others. I was trying to find the essence of the genre, so to speak. Then I put my mind into the frame I had constructed and start to write guitar riffs that would by typical for the genre. From there the songs evolved by adding drums, vocals, lyrics and finding the right sound. Every song was demoed in detail before we finally recorded the songs in different studios.

“Sex Drugs and rock'n' roll” is the latest single which also has a lyric video. Do you plan on creating more videos for the next singles and will we be seeing the band in any?

We were actually planning to be part of the video but the lockdown of course stopped us from doing that. Yes, we will certainly create more videos but we have to discuss if we will appear with corpse paint or not. Maybe we can do something in a blurry setting from Seattle in 1992.

With the lockdown situation affecting severely the entertainment and live music industry, do you think bands are getting enough support?

Rock bands have always stood on their own somehow, as an important part of society but also separated from the establishment. I think there's a great awareness right now among fans and music loving people about how important music, art and culture is. It's really good to see that a lot of people are attending digital live shows both to support the artists and having a good time. Music never dies. Rock never dies. Metal never dies. Art never dies.

What do you see the hardest part of “returning” to reality being for musicians?

I don’t think it will be very hard for musicians to return to reality. If your career survives this, you will be a part of great music future. People miss live music so much these days. I think the future for bands and musicians will be great.

Being a band that started of touring , releasing albums , then , going on a break and now returning after some time , what advice would you want to give someone that is starting off in music today and what 1 mistake did you make when you first started out you wish you could have changed?

Advice: Listen to the right people and to your inner voice at the same time. Find the balance. There's a lot of people telling what you should do but only some people will really help you. Find people you can trust and that are better than yourself.

The biggest mistake: We were too cautious and afraid of jumping on the first record deal in case something better turned up. It never did and we used way too much time on our very first album "Crossing Over".

What can we expect from Slaves to Fashion from your new album any future plans?

You can expect us to do a sincere and hard-working attempt in the next couple of months to honor and pay tribute to every genre and time period of the history of heavy metal. We poured a lot of energy into the three first songs that are released but the same amount of energy from the glam metal song will be present in the thrash metal song that is coming out in May. We'll keep doing that for the rest of the songs and we'll be releasing one song every month until the album is finished.

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