Rise To Remain have been forever on the ‘rise’ these past years and have been making quite the name for themselves, but can they ‘remain’ (sorry, that was shocking!). We sat down with frontman Austin Dickinson and lead guitarist Ben Tovey ahead of their biggest headline show to date at London’s Islington Academy to discuss how they’ve got here and what advice they’d give to young bands. Oh, and also a bit of James Brown and Family Guy.
How has the reception been to your latest album ‘City Of Vultures’?
Ben: Its been pretty positive I’d say. We did a headlining tour last year and obviously this is our second one, and the numbers have increased. We’ve done a decent amount of sales. There’s been a lot of positive feedback online, there’s been a lot of guitar covers, vocal covers etc. And positive comments and stuff, so we’re really pleased with what we’ve gotten so far, and it keeps on coming in.
Ben, Have you ever seen any guitar covers and thought “shit, they’re better than me”?
Austin: The answer written across his face right now is ‘no!’ (laughs)
Ben: You know, I’ve seen a few contenders – some future shredders that’s for sure. There’s definitely a lot of talent out there, no doubt about that.
How has this tour been for you so far? We’re right at the end now – so you should be able to sum it up already.
Ben: It’s been really, really good. We had a crazy night in Manchester, the crowd were right up to the stage and literally spilling over the front. It’s been up close and personal. A lot of people singing along, a lot of people waving their arms around and a lot of good pits. You know, the usual.
What are your favourite and least favourite parts about touring?
Austin: My least favourite is load out.
Ben: I think probably like, eating. The drive is always the worst, the drive and the service station food is always the worst. The best part is obviously the show. I like to do a run before the show, so I’m always looking forward to that.
How do you guys keep yourselves occupied on the road, on your coach or whatever?
Ben: You know, you can watch a DVD, read a book, play some games. We’ve actually watched most of Family Guy on this tour.
Austin: Pretty much! It’s been season 11 all the way. I guess we tend to even like jam – play a bit of guitar or something like that. Obviously when we’re in the van it’s kinda hard, so we tend to just watch stuff or listen to music or do things that you probably expect people in a van to do for a long period of time. So we just tend to get on with that kinda stuff. And lot’s of smack! (laughs)
What sort of music do you guys find yourselves listening to? Is it what we’d expect or totally different?
Ben: There’s some James Brown going on, we had James Brown on the other day didn’t we.
Austin: There’s some James Brown. You know, James Brown and Cannibal Corpse. There’s like two extremes. (laughs) Salt and sugar. Why not!
How would you describe your music to someone who hasn’t listened to you guys before?
Austin: Rad noise coming out of gnarly looking dudes! We just wanna be Mastodon. I’d say that we’re a metal band with a whole bunch of influences and sub-genres, we even think outside of the metal box – rock, hard-rock, why not. I’d say there’s a whole bunch you can find in the album ‘City Of Vultures’.
What has been your proudest moment as a band?
Ben: Well tonight will probably be one of our proudest moments, but playing the Underworld was definitely one of them. Can you think of another one?
Austin: I mean it’s funny, it’s like our 5 year anniversary as band today. I’d say Download! Our first ever Download we did, back in 2008, in my Killswitch Engage t-shirt that was way too big for me and my boot-cut jeans that didn’t fit well (laughs). I had the time of my life. I think that that’s gotta be one of my proudest moments, I just loved every single second of it. And not that I didn’t love every single second of every other show after that, but it was just such a gigantic deal to have your first Download appearance, for me personally because I’m a massive Download fan.
Do you reckon that your Download performance on the Main Stage this year will take over that?
Austin: I reckon so. Yeah, Main Stage is the one!
Do you have any advice that you can give to any bands that are starting out now? Seeing as that you’ve worked your asses off to get where you are today!
Austin: Keep on doing it! Because times get very, very hard. Especially nowadays. For us as a band, we started out at a pretty difficult situation where we had everyone on the net or wherever, calling us this and that. Like ‘Bruce Dickinson’s sons’s band’ or whatever shit. And we fought through it and we’re here now.
Do you still get the whole ‘Bruce Dickinson’s son’s band’ stuff a lot now?
Austin: I don’t fucking care (laughs). It doesn’t matter what any of those people say, and I think that that’s important for young bands to acknowledge – that it doesn’t matter what a lot of other people say, as long as you persevere. You know, there is an element of just questioning yourself, look inwards at what you’re creating. Make it the best it can possibly be. Just keep going. I think that that’s the best advice I can give.
Obviously you lost your drummer and bassist and since then you’ve welcomed in Josh Hammond on bass and Adam Lewin on drums – how have they been adjusting so quickly for this tour?
Austin: They’ve been great! Adam’s been doing a fantastic job. It’s been a real whirlwind start to the year, as you guys can imagine, but like I said before, we’re here and it’s working. It’s been taken up a couple of levels.
How did you choose those guys as replacements?
Ben: We had an audition process. I went to study guitar at ICMP, which is like a college in London. We also went to Guildford and a couple of other places and we just went through them on the day and just found those guys and then had a chat afterwards, then made the decision that we wanna go with them. Had them in for like a weeks worth of intensive rehearsals and they’ve really pushed themselves on the tour. It’s been good times.
Finally, what are the plans for the rest of this year for Rise To Remain?
Ben: Well. obviously we’ve got the Download Main Stage coming up. And then Rock AM Ring, followed by Sonisphere Spain. And then we’re going out to Vans Warped Tour for 8 weeks. There’s more stuff on the horizon which we’re going to announce after that, but it’s pretty full on with these next 4 months.
Written by: Ryan Cooper