Irish metallers Call To Arms is a band we first came across with the release of their 5-track release, Invictus. It suggested band to keep close attention on with its potential and immediate enjoyment. Now the band is preparing to unveil their debut album, Fallacy, so time to catch up with the band and get to the heart of Call To Arms, look at that impending album and more….
Hello all and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
We’re Call To Arms, a modern metal band from Dublin, Ireland. The band was formed in the summer of 2013 by Dean Donnelly (Vocalist) and a former bassist. Niall Ennis and Daniel Tyrell quickly joined and after our first show Alex Caffrey joined as our permanent bassist. We’ve all known each other for years, and been in bands together before. We’ve now been joined by Kevin Twomey as our drummer, who was recommended to us by a close friend.
Having been involved in other bands how have those experiences impacted on what you are doing now, in maybe inspiring a change of style or direction?
All of us other than Kev, have been in bands together over the years before Call To Arms formed, for the most part we have taken CTA on as our only public musical outlet. I think from previous bands we just learned how we write best; slowly developing our sound and style, and I think it mainly just inspired us to get better.
What inspired the band name?
We went through a variety of different names but never could agree on just one. We got all members to bring a name they liked and picked the one that came out. Dean had seen an Avenged Sevenfold interview where M. Shadows talked about getting inspiration from the bible, so Dean got his bible and wrote down what had stood out most to him.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
As I said we had always been in bands with each other before. When forming CTA we had the ambition to just play live as much as possible and put every ounce of ourselves into our shows. We wanted to be the band you remembered/talked about on your way home after the show. We locked ourselves away and just practiced to play as tight as possible while putting on the best, most energetic shows we could do. To be honest, it’s only been in the past two years that we took a serious look at our sound, and take a serious, more mature approach to the actual musicality of the band.
Have your ambitions in that area evolved or expanded over time?
I think we are still driven for the pure love of what we do, music has always been the biggest part of all our lives, and I don’t think we’ve forgotten that.
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
When the band started we were all very young, and in the midst of the metalcore trend; at the beginning we wrote a lot of metalcore style songs, but with our own twists on it. Since then, our music tastes have grown and we take influence from a lot more aspects, the biggest one being Gojira, which is a very obvious influence on our upcoming debut album. We pushed ourselves on skill and writing levels, and came out with an album that is full of influences ranging from metalcore to black or death metal, so we have definitely evolved and will continue to do so as we see fit.
Has it been more of an organic movement of sound or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
It was a mixture of both really; the biggest factor being getting to see Gojira live. It was a life changing moment for those of us who saw it, it heavily influenced us, and from that we took the decision to push our abilities and change our sound to a much darker, heavier style.
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular other than the aforementioned which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
There is definitely a wide range of inspirations within the band, as I’ve said Gojira have definitely been the biggest for all of us in the past two years, they showed us a whole new way of bringing pure, brutal heaviness and mixing good melody with that, along with putting on a ridiculously amazing live show. Other than that I think we take certain aspects from bands we like into the music, but none have had the same effect on us as a whole like Gojira have.
Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?
Songwriting for us is a very long process normally, Dean is constantly writing lyrics, and myself (Niall) and Dan are constantly just writing new riffs. What normally happens is that either myself or Dan will have a few riffs we think could work together, and we will either piece them together by ourselves and bring a base of a song to everyone, or we will work with each other on piecing them together and then everyone has their input on the direction it should go, whether everything works together, and songs will normally have 3/4 variations of itself till we find something that hits us and that we’re happy with.
Where, more often than not, do you draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
Lyrically we take our main inspiration from just what happens in our lives and what we see around us. We all live in fairly bad parts of Dublin, between Ballymun and Finglas, so we take inspiration from the people we deal with on a daily basis.
Could you give us some background to your new release, Fallacy?
It’s been two years writing this album and the background is this. We have all had so many things happen to us and we had to grow up. We were put in situations on a personal level that some would say are beyond our years and everything that happened left us all very angry so we wanted to write a dark record ‘cause well for the most part we are not happy people and that influences the music in such a big way. We are pissed off and lyrically the album does have a lot of finger pointing or fuck you, fuck this, fuck that but instead of saying it so literally we wanted to try and challenge ourselves with what it is we are trying to stay and how we say it. No one ever sees the behind the scenes really. This has been us giving all our time to this project. We do work day jobs but we are thinking about music constantly so even when we were tired and we wanted to sleep I can guarantee you there has been many 2am writing sessions just cause it’s what we love to do and it is our release. I could not tell you how many studios homemade or not that we have been in trying to push this monster we are trying to create.
Give us some insight to the specific themes and premise behind its songs.
Well it takes a look at humans and how we live…Our morals, beliefs and such. We live in a fucked up world where quite frankly stupidity and ignorance is the norm and there are so many that just follow that path. I (Dean) found after I left school and went to college (I dropped out, I hated it) there was almost this standard that I had to reach in order to gain acceptance by people as if a piece of paper truly dictated how my life was going to go or who I would turn out to be. I disliked the idea that if I were going to be happy that I would have to swallow my pride and spend my time doing something I did not want to do. People became vultures to me. They would say shit to try and dishearten what I was trying to do musically because it didn’t fit the idea of me sitting in an office doing 9 – 5 day in day out. That is just an example of the many things written about on the album. Another example would be how people like to play the victim even though they are the ones trying to hurt you. There is a song on the album called Futile Existence and it dwells on the topic of the rat race in life. I know a lot people who preach love, unity and respect but show none of the three just mentioned in their actions. They are only here to benefit themselves and will step over anyone even the people they “care” about to get what they want.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
With this project we were in constant pre – production from the get go and by the time we got to the studio about 95% of the music was finalised but you will always get studios ideas to make the song that bit more interesting. In terms of vocals I (Dean) had all of my melodies ready and waited for my turn in the studio to try out other ideas because we did pre – production by ourselves and I wanted to wait for Josh Robinson (our producer) to be there because he is also a vocalist so we had a lot of fun just bouncing different ideas off each other. It was at times tedious but it was worth it.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
We love to play live and quite frankly up until now we have built our reputation solely on being a live band. We released two demos (I won’t even call them EP’s and they were terrible.) Anyway we have established ourselves as one of the most energetic live bands in Ireland. We just go up and have fun if I’m being honest. We are in your face and if you’re standing there with your arms folded trying to be a “cool kid” well I can guarantee again they don’t stand there for long cause our priority is to make people move. We don’t go up to sing a warm acoustic set. We want to be loud. We want to be aggressive.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
Opportunity doesn’t fall on your lap. We have to make it happen. Yes it is hard but there are ways around it. We are fortunate to be playing the Metal To The Masses competition where you try and win a slot to play on the New Blood Stage at Bloodstock. We also got announced for Aggressive Fest in the Czech Republic. We have many things to announce such as tours very soon so keep an eye out on our social media pages.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date?
It is a big positive if you know how to use it correctly. We are still trying to learn how to use it but so far it is doing us very good as it is easy to interact with the people who follow your band.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
Thank you for reading, check us out on Spotify, YouTube, Facebook and Instagram. Hopefully we can play a show near you sometime in the near future.
https://www.facebook.com/CallToArmsIRL/ https://twitter.com/CallToArmsIRL https://www.instagram.com/calltoarmsirl/ https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3ExTFKN9NDnrYhz9noEORQ
Pete RingMaster 12/03/2018
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