💿 Hi, it’s a pleasure for us to have on Hardrockheavymetal JEFFREY BLACK of GATEKEEPER Welcome!!
Cheers, we're happy to be featured on your page. Thanks for the support! 💿 Can you tell us somethin’about your early days of your career? When is this all begun? Which bands have influenced you and what’s the matter of your moniker?
The band was first started in 2010. Originally it was just a solo project for myself to write some barbaric heavy metal riffs and teach myself how to play guitar.
Eventually, the demos I put on Myspace and YouTube caught a bit of attention and I put together a full lineup in 2011 and started playing gigs and recording songs. In 2014 I moved from Edmonton to Vancouver and had to restart the band with a new lineup of musicians.
The name “Gatekeeper” is sort of a throw-back to classic bands with shorter, simple names and it reminds me a bit of my favourite band “Blind Guardian” from Germany. Influence-wise, it's mainly older heavy metal.
In the early days it was 90's Bathory, Candlemass, Manowar and Solstice.
There are loads where that came from of course.
Dio, Fates Warning, Fairport Convention and Mahavishnu Orchestra are some other great influences on me. 💿 “EAST OF SUN”, your new full-length, will be out on April 27th. Can you tell us somethin’about its composition process? Are you satisfied about this platter? We have the privilege to listening to it in preview and we were very impressed!
It's a mixed bag of stuff. Some of it are older tunes that have been re-recorded with the new lineup and re-imagined by our vocalist Jean-Pierre. A few are older songs written by me that the rest of the band learned and helped to arrange.
A couple other are totally new songs written by the whole band. We also included a couple cover songs as bonus tracks on the CD version.
I'm pretty satisfied with how it turned out overall.
We spent a lot of time in the studio chipping away at it which can be torture at times and there are always moments here and there that I wish were done a little differently but that's just part of the game! I'm glad to know that other people are enjoying the album.
It makes the efforts feel worthwhile.
💿 The real “news” in music industry is the return of vinyl; What’s your feeling about this classic format and the current music “business”?
I think vinyl is cool. Our singer JP and I live in the same suite and we've got a solid record collection here and we plays a lot at home.
There's something special about the experience of physically putting on a record, staring at the album cover and following along with the lyric sheet.
Of course you can still do this with other formats but vinyl records are nice and big and they feel like a complete package.
I feel like listening to vinyl is a more involved experience and I think listeners get more invested in the music when they listen this way. As far as the business goes, I'm ambivalent.
Sometimes I get annoyed about how fast-food and fickle the industry (and to a certain extent, the consumers) can be but at the same time I've grown to accept that things are the way they are and that there's only so much I can do about it. So we're going to keep plugging away, trying to do as much cool and interesting things as possible, trying to do things other bands might not think to do, to write the music that comes naturally to us.
My main goal is to play in the band that I would want to listen to and to put on the performance that I would want to witness as a fan. As long as I can do this, then I'm satisfied. 💿 “EAST OF SUN” will be out through CRUZ DEL SUR MUSIC. Can you tell us somethin’about relationships with them?
I've been a longtime fan of many Cruz Del Sur bands and they are held is very high esteem within our Heavy Metal community so they were first on my list when it came time to find a label for our album.
Enrico got back to me nearly immediately and we started hammering out a deal together shortly after hearing our pre-production demos.
He has been extremely supportive of us and has offered a lot of valuable advice and guidance as we progress through what is mostly new territory for the band.
On top of that, he has a fantastic team around him and the whole process has been pretty smooth (in my opinion) thanks to them.
Highly recommended! 💿 Can you tell us somethin’about your next live projects?
We just wrapped up a killer weekend at Northwest Metalfest in Seattle where we got to play with Q5, The Accused, Wild Dogs and some newer bands like Substratum, Time Rift and Skelator. Paul Davidson, the original singer of Heir Apparent also joined us onstage and it was incredible! In April we are playing with Q5 in Victoria and performing as the bar band in Port Alberni on Vancouver Island (April 20/21st) and next weekend we are packing our bags and flying out to Germany for the Legendary Keep It True festival!
We couldn't be more excited about this.
After that, we will tour across western Canada to promote the new album.
Finally, we are in the early stages of booking a European tour for spring 2019. 💿 We love the cover of your album..Who made it?
We love it too! Duncan Storr from the UK is the artist. He has worked with lots of other bands such as Skyclad, Dark Forest, Hawkwind and many others.
We had a short list of artists we were interested in working with and he was one of them, and he also got back to us right away.
This piece was something that we had already painted a while back but never used for a project, so we snapped it up and had him add a couple details to it, such as the sword and the tattoo on the character's shoulder.
Great artist, fantastic gentleman. 💿 Thank you so much for your time! See you soon on Hardrockheavymetal!
Cheers, thanks so much for having us!
(Thanks ClawHammer PR)