Hunter City Madness has just released their debut CD, See You In Hell. This record is an all out assault on the senses and right from the beginning offers brash, aggressive and in your face metal tunes that will have listeners snapping their necks in no time at all. I recently spoke with vocalist Justin Gow about the band and their new release.

Now that your brand new CD, See You In Hell, is complete how do you feel about it? Are you satisfied with the outcome?
Justin: Yes, this being our first EP we are very satisfied with the response we have been getting both concerning the music and the artwork/concept. We are very excited to see where this first album takes us and we are stoked to hit the road and start writing new material for the next album. People seem to be digging the shows and the tunes right now which is always a plus so we are just seeing where this takes us and going from there.

What was the writing process like for See You in Hell? Did you guys all write together? How long did it take?
Justin: Scattered would be the best word I could use to describe the writing process, simply because these songs are the culmination of our incubation period as a band. In the process of playing shows, writing, rehearsing and promoting, we tightened up the songs and decided which ones we wanted on the album based on their ability to tie into the concept and their individual strengths as songs. Each song is written in a completely different way but in the same vein. Nat and Jordan both contributed on lyrics with me on different songs. Guitars were a group effort with guitarists alternating leads and so on and so forth. Jelko laid down all his drums on his own by ear with ideas here and there from the band and Sean threw his two cents in whenever he could, even Mat Laperle our recording engineer tossed a couple of helpful suggestions our way in studio.

What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of See You In Hell?
Justin: They can expect an audio assault of the mind and body, a sexually religious experience like getting a lap dance from Kesha in a nun’s robe while drinking straight whiskey from a ceremonial wine glass.

What is it that normally gives you inspiration when writing lyrics and is there a theme or themes behind the writing of this record?
Justin: I draw inspiration from anything and everything including culture, society, media, religion, war, death, love, intoxication, addiction, insanity and everything in between. The theme behind this record is madness and what drives a man to lose his mind and to what lengths he can go once that threshold of good and evil has been crossed. The story which accompanies the album depicts the theme of the album vividly and will be available soon on our MySpace.

The artwork is quite amazing. How is it tied to the album’s title?
Justin: The art is basically a visualisation of the concept behind the album. The front cover shows the character “Madness” as he is about to enter “Hunter City”. The lyrics sleeve is meant to mimic the writing of his note which he leaves to explain his actions which is the cover of the actual CD itself. Behind the CD there is a picture of the band that basically depicts us as the only survivors of Madness and his bloody massacre in Hunter City, and the back cover shows Madness as he is walking away from the destruction and chaos he reaped in the city.

Are there any tracks on the disc that are personal favorites or that have good stories behind them?
Justin: Ask any member of the band and they will all probably choose a different song as their favourite, but I love, “Spreading Panic like Legs” simply for the last few parts of the song. The song is about wolves and how people and wolves are very similar when you break them down. In my favourite segment of the song it breaks down and a wolf cry can be heard before insanity erupts and the lyrics are some of my favourite on the album. “Take me back to what I left behind, to the moonshine, to the scent of blood and pine. You have been warned, you called on the storm. So baby ride it home. It’s magical isn’t it? The way all those pieces fit when you shove them in. Baby never mind the meaningless thrashing of limbs, it will desist. It will. I know it will.” This to me conjures up images of a bloody yet beautiful feast, carnage and revelry entwined the poetry of the words in stark contrast to the subject matter they bring up. Plus the extra slow break down slays hard on the album.

Many of your songs are so hard and intense that I am sure they translate well into a live setting taking on a whole new life in front of a live audience. How does it make you feel when the emotion and power that you envisioned in the recording studio, come to life while playing in front of a crowd?
Justin: To put it succinctly – it makes us feel like a million bucks. Having people listen to us on-line or buy our CD or rock our stickers or shirts is all awesome, but nothing compares to the feeling you get when you are feeling the music, and the people are feeling you feel the music, and thus feeling the music in turn. It’s a cycle and it is one that we thrive on as a live band, we always strive to put on our best performance possible to give the kids the best possible concert experience. We want them to walk away still head-banging.

What is the hardest part about being in a touring metal band and what is the biggest obstacle your band faces?
Justin: The biggest obstacle for a touring metal band is getting kids out to the shows, especially when you are in a town where no one knows your name let alone your music. You have to do your best to stay grounded and focused and not get distracted by life on the road and it’s downfalls. There is a song by Canadian hip-hop artists Josh Martinez called “Hard Fall” and though it talks about a rap crew on tour, it is a great song and the anthem for any musician who has ever been on the road. You fight through the hardships and hope that in the end when you get home it was all worth it and you look forward to doing it again, learning from your mistakes and basically getting out there and doing what it is we love with the people we love to do it for.

Do you have any touring plans made yet?
Justin: Our next tour will most likely be during the reading week in February of 2011 or summer of 2011. All of us will be working full time or finishing up school this year so we won’t be able to hit the road to much during the year, but they’ll always be weekend warriors throughout Ontario, so be sure to stay tuned. When we do hit the road next, we’re aiming to cover Ontario, Quebec, and the East Coast so be sure to come party if you’re in the area.

Any closing words?
Justin: Spread the word, support the music! Tell your friends about us, pick up a copy of the CD on iTunes, come party with us at live shows, and check us out at online.  [ END ]