By Victoria Irvine
Losing a band member on the cusp of a tour is enough to dent even the most seasoned groups’ confidence. Losing two members at the same time is enough to destroy it completely. But for London-based rockers, Rise To Remain, it seems to have increased their self-esteem ten-fold. Already taking 2012 by storm, vocalist Austin Dickinson talks new beginnings, new material and a zombie joke which has gone way too far.
As we sit to talk, Austin is flustered. “We’re running way behind,” he sighs.“It’s OK though, it was worth it. We were in Liverpool last night and think we made too many stops for coffee. But we need to be on top form for the Glasgow crowd. You Scots are insane.”
His band, Rise To Remain, are currently on their much-anticipated Progression Tour, hitting a number of intimate UK venues and playing tracks from their critically acclaimed debut album, ‘City of Vultures’. “I can’t get over how well the fans have taken to the new material. I think it works so well because we put this album together to sound familiar but completely different at the same time. We’ve kept a lot of the hard riffs that fans love but there’s much more melody to the songs and that works great live. There’s a lot of songs where fans can sing back and when they do, I get shivers. There’s no feeling like it.”
Yet embarking on the tour wasn’t as plain sailing as the baby-faced singer would have you believe. Shortly into 2012, Rise To Remain took to their Facebook page to announce that they were parting ways with long-term band members Pat Lundy and Joe Copcutt. The news shocked fans who have been loyally supporting the band since their 2008 formation.
“We were obviously upset that we had to let a lot of people down. At the time we didn’t know how to get everything back on track but thankfully we were introduced to these two special guys and just thought ‘hell yes, we’re back’.”
These ‘special guys’ are Josh Hammond who took over on bass and Adam Lewin who plopped himself behind the drums. After a brief spell of chaos, Rise To Remain were whole again. “You have no idea how intense everything feels now,” laughs Austin.“It’s as though these two guys have been part of the band since we started. Their energy is insane and we couldn’t have found two nicer guys to write and tour with. They’re family already.”
This last-minute change to their line up boosted band morale just in time for the announcement that they were to play the infamous Van’s Warped Tour this summer, hitting 40 cities across the USA.
Reminiscing about the first time he heard a line in Blink 182’s song Rock Show ‘acting stupid, getting drunk with my best friends/ I couldn’t wait for the summer and the Warped Tour’, Austin gushes: “As soon as I heard that line and saw the bands that played the festival, it was a dream of mine. A dream I never thought would come true but here we are. I can’t believe it. We’ll be playing with most of my idols and that’s the part I can’t get over.”
Staying closer to home, Rise To Remain were also added to the main stage bill for Donnington’s legendary Download Festival in June. “I mean, wow,” he laughs, shaking his head in disbelief. “This will be our fourth time playing but to now be on the main stage. We’ve worked damn hard to get where we are but it still doesn’t seem real. As a band, we like to do a huddle before we play to rile each
other up but before Download we’ll probably be too nervous.”
Nerves have certainly never been a problem for the quintet. Renowned for their passionate live gigs and angst-fuelled stage presence, their performances rarely leave audiences without a bruise or two. Austin’s transformation from the pleasant boy-next-door at our interview to a ferocious animal on stage is impressive in itself. Their connection with fans is also unrivalled, as depicted through a bizarre trend emerging during this tour: zombies. At the mere mention, Austin grabs his hat as he roars with laughter: “Oh that. Yeah, I made a joke that if you dressed up as a zombie you could come on stage to sing with me. There have been one or two fans who have actually turned up as zombies. It’s really awkward but absolutely hilarious. I love our fans.”
Head-pounding drums, ear-splitting guitars, blood-curdling vocals and cameos by the walking dead – if that isn’t reason enough to peg Rise To Remain as Britain’s best new metal act then hell knows what is.
Check out www.risetoremain.com for more details about the band’s latest tour dates and releases.