TWO WORDS with ANDY D'URSO of legendary NWOBHM band Traitors Gate! 💿 Hi,it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal ANDY D’URSO of Traitors Gate, the well-known NWOBHM band! Let’s start talking about the early days of the band..When is this all begun? Which bands have influenced you? ANDY - Hi Giovanni, thanks for the opportunity to do this. To answer your question, the band originated around 1983, with the release of the 'Devil Takes the High Road' EP in 1984. We toured for around another 3 years after that, before the band split to follow other projects. Probably one of our main influences at that time, without doubt, would have been the mighty Judas Priest. There were others of course but the whole riff approach of Priest really appealed to us. 💿 Except DEVIL TAKES THE HIGH ROAD, Why in eighties wasn’t it the chance for TRAITORS GATE to record a full-length? ANDY - Good question! Anyone who was trying to get somewhere with a band in the early 80s will tell you that, although there were a few good independent labels for bands like us, there was also a lot of bands trying to do the same thing. We learnt very quickly that it really was a case of being in the right place at the right time. We still did some great gigs, and played with some great bands, so it's hard to feel bad about it. Don't forget also that bands were at the mercy of the industry then. The opportunity to self-release like you can these days was rare.
💿 For a few months is out your next EP called ONLY THE STRONG. We love this new work! Can you tell us somethin’about this platter and its composition process? ANDY - Thanks, we are very proud of this release. It's quite difficult to explain where the material came from really. Once we had decided to reform at the end of 2016, we thought it would be for one or two reunion gigs only. We soon realised that we wanted to keep going, so releasing something seemed the right thing to do. The material on 'Only the Strong' is probably a little different from what people may have expected from us but it was important to me to be able to write without trying too hard to recreate anything from our past. So I tried to write with a completely open mind, and simply waited to see what appeared. In that way, I can honestly say the material came from a sincere place. We like to think that the new material represents where we would be had we carried on playing since the 80s, and I'm happy that we still embrace the riff based power metal style that we all love.
💿 This album is a self-release. Is a starter in waitin’ for the main dish (a full-length)? Next, are ongoing any negotiations with some label? ANDY - Yes, actually we have recently finished recording another five tracks to add to the tracks from 'Only the Strong' and we have signed an agreement with No Remorse Records to release the ten tracks as an album. First release will be CD and Online (streaming/download) formats, with vinyl following later. We are very happy with the material on the album, and the guys at No Remorse have been very supportive. 💿 The real “news” in music industry is the return of vinyl; What’s your feeling about this classic format and the current music business? ANDY - Well, being of a certain age, vinyl is very much like an old friend. I still have days where I get my old vinyl out and play all the old stuff from when we were very young. There's something very special about listening to the crackles and pops over 'Unleashed on the East'! I think it's great to have vinyl back, and it seems to have been embraced by this generation also. As for the business itself.... I guess, compared to when we were actively seeking deals in the 80s, it's a lot more fragmented now. In a lot of ways that's a good thing, as there are ways for bands to make their material easily accessible now, and there is less control by the more corporate minded labels these days. The biggest change of course is the online world. Now you can self-release very easily, and have access to millions of people worldwide. The dynamic has definitely changed in favour of the artist now.
💿 A few days ago you’ve played at XMAS ROCKA in Sheffield. How much is important for you playin’live? ANDY - Playing live is everything. I can't imagine any rock band not wanting to play their material in a live situation. We were never afraid of the live environment, and we have been very lucky to play events like Keep it True, Heavy Sound Festival, Brofest, and of course, as you say The HRH Xmas Rocka a few days ago. It's a great question because, being a band from the NWOBHM era, there's always the feeling that you should only play the old material live, because that's what audiences expect from you. One thing I've learnt, especially from the last few gigs we've done, is that metal audiences simply appreciate good honest material. We played 'Devil Takes the High Road' on the weekend but after that, it was all the new material, and it went down a storm. That's all credit to the open mindedness of Metal fans everywhere. 💿 Lastly, What do you think about renewed interest for NWOBHM and Traditional HM? Love for “vintage” or a new “golden era” ANDY - Hmm, tricky one... I think it's great that people have an appreciation for where it all started. The NWOBHM movement was a reaction out of the demise of Punk I guess. You can actually hear the #Punk influence in very early NWOBHM. After this period, it started to become something a little more serious, with bands becoming technically more accomplished in their writing and playing. That's when the whole NWOBHM scene really exploded. To answer the question though, I think it's both things. There is a nostalgia element to it but I also think there is a strong appreciation for where it all began by a lot of younger fans too. I also think that we have to be careful about not fixating too much on the 'NWOBHM' label, as the Old School/Traditional scene became huge on the back of NWOBHM. I mean where would we be without bands like Priest, Accept, Scorpions, Saxon, Iron Maiden, Black Sabbath, etc? I see a lot of bands playing in the more Trad Metal style now, which is definitely a positive for me! Of course, I would love it to be a new 'golden era' , so we shall have to wait and see. 💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal! ANDY - My pleasure Giovanni, appreciate the opportunity