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As a rock band Striker always deliver exactly what their fans want. Over the years they have become well known for their unique brand of music that mixes metal, hard rock and 1980s hair metal together in a way that just seems to breed catchy choruses and harmonies with amazing guitar solos. Not only have the band developed a legion of fans along the way but their 2016 album, Stand In The Fire, delivered them a West Canadian Music Award as well as an Edmonton Music Award.
Now Striker return with their fifth studio album, a self-titled album nonetheless and Heavy’s Dave Griffiths was able to sit down and have a chat with Tim Brown Striker’s lead guitarist to see exactly what went into putting this album together.
“When we are putting together an album we actually all work on stuff ourselves,” Tim explains. “Then we all come together once everybody has their stuff together. We share with each other what we have all come up with and go through and then pick what we think are the best ideas and try to focus on those and get rid of the rest and we keep doing that until we have an album. We’ve all been writing music for such a long time that it all feels very normal for us to do it this way now. We always have a very positive atmosphere around it so it’s not uncomfortable putting our ideas forward.”
One of the things that hits you when you take a listen to this new Striker album is the fact that there is certainly no filler tracks here, in fact any of the tracks could have been a single and Tim is quick to put that down to the fact that the cull songs from an album both before they record and after. “For this album we ended up having something like sixteen songs but we wanted to make sure that we only had the best material so then we cut it down to ten and then we started making more cuts because we just wanted every song to be so strong. When we had it down to ten we started messing around and doing things like taking a chorus from one song and putting it into another song. It’s just a constant process of working towards that final product. In the end what it comes down to whether or song makes it or not is whether not we like it or not. The biggest thing for us is always writing music that we like, that we want to listen to and is going to be fun for us to perform. For us it is fun to create music so that’s how we do things – we write what we want to hear.”
Tim also says the band didn’t feel any more pressure putting together this album after the last became an award winner. “Winning awards is great,” he says. “But there are so much to awards that are out of your hands. We were very happy that we won a lot of awards for Stand In The Fire but if anything I think it made us more determined to want to work on new material, I don’t think it made us nervous or anything like that, it was just more exciting to see that someone somewhere was recognising our work.”
One of the things that has seen Striker make a name for themselves over the years has been their amazing live shows and while Tim says tracks that are going to be fun to perform live are sure to make their albums he also admits it’s not something that weighs on their mind too much when they are recording. “Normally when we record a track for an album and then go to perform them live we find ourselves completey reinterpreting the song. Often when we record there are multiple vocal tracks or guitar tracks and you have to take that stuff seriously because when you are live there are only two guitars, whereas we can do multiple vocals because there are more than one vocalist in the band. But yeah sometimes it can be really hard to re-arrange a track to do it live but that is part of the fun of it. We’ve played a track a number of times before we play it live so it feels like second nature to us but the interesting thing is when you play brand new music live at first people just stand there and look at us because they have never heard the song before. We were at a festival recently and we played two new tracks and the album wasn’t out yet and people were just kind of standing there, you know, they look at you and they are listening but they have never heard the song before. It’s funny then to watch people when the album comes out and people have the album it’s then fun to watch people because now people have listened to the songs a few times and suddenly they know it.”
Tim is quick to admit though there is no secret formula to how the band have developed the unique ability to play such great love shows. “We have been playing live now for so many years,” he explains. “And all the bands that we love are those 1980s arena bands and those bands have always had ridiculous stage shows and are great live. If you think back to bands like Van Halen they had the most ridiculous live shows and that is what we want to do.I grew up listening to bands like Van Halen, Megadeth, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden the real classic 80s metal bands. They were the bands that changed me to see what heavy metal could do. I just fell in love with that 80s sound for some reason and that put me on the slippery slope to searching for all kinds of old-school metal.”
Striker’s new self-titled album is out now through their own independent label and is reviewed on heavymag.com.au
Written by Dave Griffiths