Interview with Christopher Bowes (Vocals, Keytar) (Alestorm)

I wouldn’t exactly class Pirate Metal as a genre really, but to see so many up and coming metal bands who hail us as the forefathers of Pirate Metal...




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Interviewed by Matt Seddon  (Writer/Journalist/Contributor)



Matt (MGM): Hey, this is Matt Seddon from My Global Mind webzine and I am here with Captain Christopher Bowes from Pirate Metal band, Alestorm. How you doing mate?

Chris (Alestorm): Hey man. I’m very good thanks. You just caught me in the middle of a BBQ sauce session.

Matt (MGM): BBQ sauce session?

Chris (Alestorm): Yeah bro. I fucking love BBQ sauce, and I have a massive pan of it cooking in my kitchen. If I could eat BBQ sauce for the rest of my life I would. I just want to pour it all over everything in sight. Dude, you have no idea how amazing it smells. I’m so hungry for it right now haha.

Matt (MGM): Man I want some now.

Chris (Alestorm): Tough, it’s all mine!

Matt (MGM): Anyway haha. Can you introduce yourself to our readers out there?

Chris (Alestorm): Hey guys, my name is Chris; I am the lead vocalist, keytar player and avid alcohol drinker in Alestorm.

Matt (MGM): So what was your first experience of rock and heavy metal music?

Chris (Alestorm): I’ll be honest man, I use to hate music. I grew up on loads of pop and shit, and I absolutely hated it. With me there was no “bridge band” like Iron Maiden or Metallica that got me into the heavy music, it was this band called Bal-Sagoth. You heard of them?

Matt (MGM): Yeah I know those guys.

Chris (Alestorm): Aye, they are pretty damn epic mate. So yeah, I pretty much dived into the metal scene through underground bands really. Discovered so many amazing bands by doing it this way.

Matt (MGM): So when and how did Alestorm first form?

Chris (Alestorm): Many moons ago. Basically I wanted to be in a power metal band and I wrote this song about Pirates. Anyway, when I started getting this band together I started writing more songs about Pirates… Like you do. For a long time we were inactive and didn’t really do a lot, and then we got some interest from Napalm records. When they offered us a record deal we started to get the ball rolling properly, and that can be seen as the moment when Alestorm was born.

Matt (MGM): Back in 2011 you went through a little line-up change and introduced Elliot Vernon into the band on keyboards. Why did you step back from these duties and get a new guy in?

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Chris (Alestorm): Well I wouldn’t say I stepped back from them as I still play my keytar onstage. However, by introducing Elliot we were able to develop the orchestral and synth parts in our songs. If you go back to a lot of the band’s older material then you will realise just how basic the keyboard lines are. It’s mainly harmony lines and shit. By having both me and Elliot on keys, we can introduce a more technical element to our music. Means I can run around and make myself look like a fool more now too.

Matt (MGM): You are on the verge of releasing your new album entitled ‘Sunset on the Golden Age’. I have to say it’s probably my favourite Alestorm album to date. Hangover is an absolute tune man.

Chris (Alestorm): Glad you liked it man.

Matt (MGM): Yeah it rocks. Anyway, with this new album, was there any one main song writer or was it a team collaboration?

Chris (Alestorm): With pretty much all of Alestorm’s other albums I was the main song writer. On this new one, I felt like I had a lot more help from the other guys. We all added our own little flare to the songs and I think the finished product is one of our best and most diverse releases to date. It was awesome to have some more creative input from the band and hopefully we can write like this again on the next record.

Matt (MGM): Lead single from the album is an epic little ditty called ‘Drink’. Why this chosen as the first single to be released and what was the concept behind the rather crazy music video?

Chris (Alestorm): You know how the music industry is man. We play the record label the album and they basically choose the catchiest, most “radio friendly” track on there and tell us to a video for that. As for the idea behind the video, we had no idea what we wanted to do with it. We just let the video production people roll with it. At first we thought it was going to be a bit shit, but when they told us we were going to be smashing through a big glass window into a room full of nearly naked women and a load of booze we were like….. Yeah. We are well up for that.

Matt (MGM): Sounds like a lot of fun haha.

Chris (Alestorm): Booze and naked women….. You have no idea how fun haha.

Matt (MGM): So, as well as being in Alestorm you are also involved in a side project called Gloryhammer. You guys released an album last year which was pretty awesome. Can we be expecting any new material any time soon?

Chris (Alestorm): I’ll be honest Matt, I absolutely love writing music. The thing is I have so much on my mind right now regarding the release of the new Alestorm record that I don’t really have time for anything else. The release date is only round the corner so hopefully once it’s out I can start some new stuff with GAlestorm interview pic 2loryhammer. I love playing in both bands and I love writing music with both of them man. Soon… Soon man.

Matt (MGM): So what does the rest of 2014 hold for you guys?

Chris (Alestorm): We had a pretty hectic year back in 2013; having released a live album, recorded an epic cover of ‘In The Navy’ and toured Australia. This year we wanted to do just as much, so as well as releasing the album in around 2 weeks’ time we also have an upcoming Japanese tour and of course we have Pirate Fest in the UK with our good friends in Red Rum, Lagerstein and Rainbowdragoneyes.

Matt (MGM): That brings me onto….

Chris (Alestorm): Oh my fucking god that BBQ sauce smells so good. It’s calling to me haha.

Matt (MGM): Dude, you are making me hungry. Stop it haha. Anyway, where was I. Oh yes. You said you are touring with Red Rum and Lagerstein. Those 2 bands also cite themselves as “Pirate Metal”. How does it feel to have inspired so many metal bands to start singing about pirates?

Chris (Alestorm): It is pretty surreal if I am honest man. I wouldn’t exactly class Pirate Metal as a genre really, but to see so many up and coming metal bands who hail us as the forefathers of Pirate Metal is pretty cool. I know when we first started a lot of people claimed that we were simply copying that shitty 80’s band, Running Wild, but we do our own thing really, and it’s awesome to see other bands following us down this path. We aren’t loners anymore haha.

Matt (MGM): Are there any particular dates you are looking forward to playing on the UK tour?

Chris (Alestorm): What date you coming to bro?

Matt (MGM): Manchester.

Chris (Alestorm): Manchester then haha.

Matt (MGM): I’m flattered haha.

Chris (Alestorm): Nah mate, we basically love gigging and touring. Every night presents us with a new experience so wAlestorm interview pic 3e are looking forward to all the dates.

Matt (MGM): Awesome man, I’m so psyked to see you in Manchester again. Talking about your live performance, what would you say your favourite classic Alestorm and favourite new Alestorm song is to play live?

Chris (Alestorm): What a horrible question man haha. It’s like picking a favourite child. Hmmmmm. At the moment it would have to be The Sunk’n Norwegian off of our past album, Back Through Time, and as for the new song, I am rather looking forward to start playing 1741 live. That song has some epic orchestral parts in it. It’s going to sound huge when we smash that one out live!

Matt (MGM): Again, another great song from the new record. I personally like Mead From Hell. Anyway, I’m going to let you go devour all that BBQ sauce, so this last question is going to be a bit of a fun one.

Chris (Alestorm): Oh I do love a fun question, and mmmmmmmmm BBQ sauce.

Matt (MGM): Ok, so if you could be trapped on a desert island with: A member of the cast from Pirates of the Caribbean, an unlimited supply of any alcoholic beverage and one CD… What would you choose?

Chris (Alestorm): Dude it has to be Johnny Depp for the first part. Who else is in those films?

Matt (MGM): What about Kiera Knightley? I wouldn’t mind a bit of eye candy whilst I’m stranded.

Chris (Alestorm): Matt seriously? She looks like a man! I like my women to look like women. God dude. She is certainly not a babe. As for an alcoholic drink; it has got to be frozen cocktails. Those are mint. What was the final part of the question again?

Matt (MGM): One CD to listen to for all eternity haha.

Chris (Alestorm): Fuck knows mate. Maybe some country and western or folky shit. Will keep me calm and relaxed.

Matt (MGM): Thanks for the interview Chris. I’ll hopefully see you in Manchester. Enjoy that BBQ sauce man.

Chris (Alestorm): Oh I will dude. Oh I will.

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