You chose to record your next record via fan funding on Indigogo, who came up with the idea to do that?
This has been an idea the band has been tossing around for a little while now. We've seen it be successful with some other artists and think it's a better way to get funding for an album then taking a big advance from a label. It was good timing for us as we don't have any obligations at this time to any particular label.
More and more bands are doing this fan funding, or fundraising to make albums. In this day and age, is it the best way to record?
I would say it's a good option for bands who have a dedicated fan base and it really reflects your popularity and how much faith your fans have in you to come through. With the easier access to music on the internet, this gives people an option to buy your record from anywhere in the world. There's places in the world where you can't go to the store and buy our album, so this is a way to guarantee you'll get the album when it is released. I don't know if this is the choice method for every band and there is an element of risk but it is definitely an alternative to the standard funding options.
What can fans expect off the new record? Is there a new direction involved?
With each of our records, there is always a maturity of sound. Since there is usually 2 or 3 years between albums we all grow as musicians and songwriters. That being said, we are still the same people and will always have something that sounds like "Protest The Hero" and don't write with a particular direction in mind, just let ideas come out naturally.
On Scurrilous, Rody did a majority of the writing as opposed to Arif, do you think it change the dynamic of the bands sound?
Lyric writing, yes. We've always left this as an open area for anyone to contribute and Rody wanted to be more involved in the lyric writing process. We liked the stuff that he was bringing to practice and encouraged him to keep going.
The cover of Scurrilous is a painting by Arif’s grandfather. What does it represent? When the band saw the painting, was it unanimous – this is what the cover has to be?
This was a painting that we have known for a long time as it was hanging in Arif's house when we were growing up. Arif brought the idea of using it and we all loved the piece of work. His grandfather's name was Jafar Petgar and he was a well known painter in Iran. Also, keeping it in the family and having a direct connection made it a lot more meaningful to us. I feel sometime bands don't put a lot of effort or thought into their artwork and I miss the days where bands would commission an artist to do an amazing piece of work to represent their album. We loved the painting and liked the idea of bringing it to a demographic that might never see it.
After nearly spending your whole lives together, being friends before you were even in the band, how much fun are you having doing this with your close friends?
We definitely have a unique relationship and I look at it as close friend who went into business together. We can't forget that we are a business and there's a lot of work involved, but it's pretty enjoyable work and I'm happy I get to do it with people that have always been so close to me.
Did you ever think you would get this far?
I take everything day by day. We started a band with the intention to play music and will continue to do that as long as we can. Nothing happened over night and we were able to adjust to how things were going as they were happening. It's always felt natural and no matter how much we accomplish there's still things we haven't done and that's what motivates me to keep going.
The sound of Protest the Hero has always intrigued me, because it is “melodic metal” as I like to call it. Who are some of your influences?
My influences are all over the map, and I've always been a music fan of all styles. Some of the more heavy ones are Sikth, Propagandhi, Aeon, Symphony X etc but I'm also a fan of jazz and fusion music (Guthrie Govan, John Scofield) as well as was raised on classical music and am still a big fan of Beethoven and Rachmaninoff to name a few.
Your first record, the brilliant Kezia, was a concept record. Would you ever go back and do a concept record of that nature again?
I'm open to revisiting the idea of a concept record but you need to do a lot of pre planning before your start writing. On more recent albums, we've had lyrics come after the music is written so it's a lot harder to bring it together with a concept.
It was said that Kezia represented the band members, how so?
I've never heard this, but the name translates to 'song of hope' and if anything that album was just that for this band.
What has been the best thing about Protest the Hero thus far?
Tough question. I think that just being able to be a musician for a living and essentially being in charge of your own destiny is something I'll never take for granted.
Now, void of a record label. Would you ever sign to a label again or just continue fundraising to make your art?
I'm not against the idea of working with labels, but in the past we've depended on using advance money to fund our album. That was the big bargaining chip labels had on you. By removing this from the equation, it makes it easier to negotiate fairer deals. We will still need someone in different territories to release and distribute our records and make our music available. I think a better business standard needs to be set so bands are feeling like they are getting value from pursuing these relationships themselves.