Exclusive Interview: Solitary talk “The Truth Behind The Lies”!
“I’d like to think that the last thing that went through his head other than the bullet was how the hell Solitary got the best of him…”
Richard Sherrington (Vocals and Rhythm Guitar), Gareth Harrop (Bass), Andy Mellor (Lead Guitar) and Roy Miller (Drums) are Solitary, a major player in the UK Thrash Metal scene since 1994. New album “The Truth Behind The Lies” sees the band at their finest with German label Metalville Records licking their lips at the prospect of working with them. After reviewing the record, we were given the opportunity to have a chat with them and talk about the record they’ve released during a Global Pandemic, their first new material since 2017’s “The Diseased Heart Of Society“…
We think the new album is your finest hour; how have you found the reaction from those who have heard it so far?
Roy – The reaction has been nothing short of amazing! I think it’s best been described so far by one of our manager’s as “an angry album” but so far the reviews have been really supportive and seem to agree that it’s our best work to date.
Gaz – The feedback and reactions have been great, we set a high standard and really pushed ourselves with the writing and the performances on this new record, so to have such great reviews starting to come in from all over the world makes me feel like we really hit our mark.
Going into the recording sessions, how important was it to have original bassist Gaz Harrop back on board, having returned after 18 years for EP “XXV“?
Rich – When we knew that we’d need to find a new bassist, one of the main things we talked about was making sure we found someone who we knew would be a good fit. Over the last few years we’ve spent a lot more time away together be it in the UK or abroad and we’ve lucky that we’ve managed to find the right lads but we know from past experience if you get it wrong it’s a nightmare. Everything as been going so well since we released “The Diseased Heart of Society” we couldn’t afford to make the wrong choice, which is the reason why I thought it would be worth seeing if Gaz was available and interested. Almost immediately we realised what we’d been missing Gaz’s playing brings extra aggression and that definitely comes across on both releases.
What was it like working with a producer Simon Efemey (Amorphis, Napalm Death, Paradise Lost) on the record? How did you come to choose him to work with?
Rich – We were looking for someone to mix our last album so I thought it was worth asking if he’d be interested and after hearing Requiem and Nothing Changes he said he would be open to working with us on the condition that he recorded the vocals, so the relationship had continued from that point onward, we’re actually discussing studio locations for the next one. At times it can get challenging but you want to be pushed to be the best you can, what I still find amazing is the level of enthusiasm and excitement that Simon has for our material when you consider who he’s recorded and the amount of records they’ve sold. We are very lucky to be in the position that we are.
Andy – Richard And I worked with Simon Efemey on the previous record, (The Diseased Heart Of Society) as he recorded Richards vocals and mixed the album. I think Richard emailed a few different well know producers back then, hoping for a reply but not really expecting one. Simon replied back, liked what he heard and a few months later we were working with him. He’s a great guy with plenty of knowledge and stories to tell and it was a fantastic learning experience for both of us. So it was a no brainer for us to call upon him again for this one.
Gaz – Working with Simon was all a bit surreal, the guys had worked with him before but it was my first time. To be in the studio with a guy with that has produced such great records over the years was a bit of a dream for me, I’m really into production so I was making mental notes of everything and I made sure I got some good stories about my favourite albums he’s produced over a few beers in the evenings.
“The Truth Behind The Lies” has plenty of barbed lyrical points and the World has given you plenty of fuel for the fire in the last couple of years. How do you set about writing the lyrics and then fitting them to the music?
Rich – It can be very tricky, what I tend to do is capture everything that comes into my head wherever I am, to be fair with smart phones it’s much easier and I no longer need to carry a note book around with me. Then when we come up with some ideas I trawl through all my notes to see if anything stands out. I always have one song where I change the lyrics at the last minute as I decide they aren’t strong enough, on the last album it was “Wait” and this time around it was “I Will Not Tolerate”. The actual verses on “Tolerate” were my original lyrical ideas for “Abominate”.
The lead parts from Andy Mellor on record are impressive; how important was it to get the right mix for your sound?
Andy – Thanks, In terms of getting the right mix for our sound that’s all to do with Simon Efemey. He’s an advocate of trying to get the band to sound like themselves, using our own equipment instead of trying to sound like what’s popular at the time. I recorded the all the guitars DIY at home and then Si re-amped with our amps and mixed it all together at the studio. Due to work commitments and family we couldn’t stay for the mixing and trusted in Si’s skills as and excellent producer/engineer to deliver the goods.
Some influences on the record stand out; there are a couple of nods to 80’s Thrash legends like Exodus or Sacred Reich. Who have been the influences on the record and also on your career as a whole?
Rich – I supposed as a musician you are influenced by everything you listen too, but I’d say vocally the likes of Chuck Billy, Tom Araya massive influences in terms of how they deliver the lines maybe not so much in terms of their lyrical content over the last ten years. But I just want to write music that gives a similar feeling that I got back in the 80’s the first time I heard all those Thrash classics.
Andy – I can’t really speak for the other guys but I’d say our influences haven’t really changed that much over the years as a band. We still listen to the same bands from the classic thrash eand the 90’s Swedish bands such as The Haunted, At the Gates etc. I personally don’t listen to that much new music as the other guys probably do, Rich or Roy will say check this out, but I don’t really actively search for new stuff just old and set in my ways I guess.
Roy – I try not to let my influences affect the way I approach a song, I generally just play off the riff and fit the beat according. Saying that I’ve no shame in admitting I channelled my inner Lombardo when it came to abominate and let my feet fly for the 1st time since requiem.
Obviously 2020 has been a write off in terms of hitting the road so can we expect a lot of touring activities from you as soon as it is possible? Who would you like to tour with, if any dream tour was possible?
Roy – I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back out as soon as we get the green light and as much as our personal lives allow us. I’ll happily play with anyone, anywhere and at any time.
Gaz – 2020 has been a total write off, we had shows booked in Europe and shows to promote the new album lined up. As soon as we can get back out and playing again I’ll be a much happier person. It’d be great to be over in Europe again and get a couple of summer festivals in but like everyone else we are just going to have to see what 2021 brings. If we could literally tour with anyone you would have to pick one of the greats, I think I’d go with Testament, or I’ve always wanted to play with At The Gates, there’s two shows I could watch every night, and they look like they can drink!