Interview: Gallows - ‘We had said everything we needed to say’

Andrew Trendell caught up with Gallows frontman and former Alexisonfire singer Wade MacNeil
Andrew Trendell caught up with Gallows frontman and former Alexisonfire singer Wade MacNeil

REPORTER Andrew Trendell caught up with Gallows frontman and former Alexisonfire singer Wade MacNeil to see what fans could expect from the future of the band.

HARDCORE rock giants Gallows are set to make their return to the region this month with their new line up.

Last year, the influential band’s infamous frontman Frank Carter left the band to form Pure Love - and former Alexisonfire singer Wade MacNeil stepped in to fill his shoes.

Reporter Andrew Trendell caught up with Wade to see what fans could expect from the future of Gallows.

Having seen Gallows’ previous line-up, one thing that struck me is how quickly the new line-up has become quite a cohesive unit. It just looked natural. How long did it take you to feel part of Gallows?

We hit the ground running as soon as I joined the band. We rehearsed for a little while in the UK then flew to California to record an EP and play some dates. That was full of ups and downs and gave the band some time to figure it out. The guys have been playing these songs for a really long time and it was still a big shake up for the band. After that really long US tour we played some dates in the UK, then we came off stage, looked at each other and we knew that we’d finally gotten there. Everything came together and we just weren’t worried about the future.

In terms of the British hardcore scene, they’ve become a bit of an institution. How did it feel to become a part of that, rather than just being ‘the new guy’?

They never made me feel that way. I’ve known them for a long time. I’ve toured with them before and we’ve been friends for ages, so they were really welcoming. After playing Download Festival this year, I just felt that something had changed.

So would you say that there’s a new energy in Gallows now?

Yeah. When a band is together for a while they become complacent and that happens to everyone. This band got really shook up to its core and had some really tough decisions to make but they pressed on because they had more songs to write. There’s definitely now an added enthusiasm for what they do. Together we’re heading into all of these new places. We don’t know what’s going to happen and we’re excited.

Your voice suits Gallows so well. How did you approach adding your voice to their sound? Did you feel any pressure to push your vocals in different directions or where you always just comfortable being you?

At first I definitely tried to push my voice to be more full-blown and harsh than I usually do, but I think that’s because of the songs we were writing. I’d just joined and we all wanted to make a record that sounded like that, but I think they wanted me to sing for the band because they wanted me to do my own thing. They weren’t interested in recreating the past.

Did you worry about the potential backlash from fans?

When anybody loves a band, they feel like they know that band personally – or own it. So when you change a band like that then people feel personally slighted by it. So I was expecting all of that to rain down upon me, but I wouldn’t have joined unless I felt that I could honour what they’ve already done. Every show we play and every record we make is one step further to solidifying the future of this band. The reaction is always getting better.

If I didn’t have this drive to write songs then I think I’d stop doing it.

Part of the reason that the old line-up broke up was because of disagreements over the direction of new material. Did you hear the new material before you were asked to join?

They had some ideas written but they pretty much got rid of most of it and started again. They were trying to write a certain type of record and getting lost in that process so we just started again and made the music that we love. In that aspect, it was quite simple.

Gallows were always seen as a very British band. How was it shifting to a more international dynamic?

I feel that the band had said everything that needed to be said on the last record. Those ideas would never have been revisited again. After a record like Grey Britain they had said all of that about life in the UK and ended that chapter in a very strong way. Whatever came next wasn’t going to be anything like that and that’s a natural evolution for the band. You’ve got to be constantly challenging yourself or no one will listen to your music and things become boring.

How do you feel about the state of rock music in general?

There are some very good records coming out. About five years ago there was an incredible amount of terrible metal and metalcore which became really popular. There was a big corporate hardcore take over which allowed for really interesting bands to do their own thing under the surface without anybody paying any attention to it.

- Gallows play Nottingham Rock City Basement on 11th October and Sheffield Corporation on 12th October.