The last 18 months have seen some great collaborations come together. If you’re a heavy metal fan, one collaboration worth you checking out is Heavy Water, a collaboration that sees Saxon legend Bif Byford team up with his son Seb Byford. A rich mix of modern rock with a classic twist, you can hear the first results of this collaboration on their Red Brick City debut album which is out now. V13 recently spoke with Bif and Seb to find out more about how they ended up working together.
Thanks for your time. How is life treating you today?
Seb Byford: “Yeah, not too bad thanks, the sun is shining and things are slowly getting back to normal so yeah no complaints, stoked.”
So, tell us about Heavy Water, how did the idea for you both to work together?
Seb Byford: “I was at home throughout most of lockdown, I have a flat in central Manchester but the lack of green and fresh air was sending me a bit crazy so I decided to run back to the homelands. We have a studio in one of the barns at the side of the house, we had a lot of free time so we thought ‘fuck it, why not make an album.’ We wanted it to be a fun, egoless project, with no ties or boundaries to what style it should be. It has been a truly unforgettable experience to make a record with dad, it is something I will always look back on and be very proud of, we’ve created some great memories.”
Have you worked together in the past, and if not, why was now the right time?
Seb Byford: “We have done a couple of videos together, which you can find on Facebook and YouTube. I’ve also recorded the vocals on the recent Inspirations and the upcoming Saxon record, but we have never written and worked on a record together. I guess because of lockdown and there being no touring, gigs etc., we both had a lot of free time, which allowed us to make the record. We never really planned it, the moment arose, so we snatched it with both hands.”
The album was written and recorded during lockdown. Was that made easier by the fact that it is a family affair?
Seb Byford: “Yeah, it definitely made things a lot easier and quicker with us both being at home. We managed to get it all done in just less than a month, which I think is pretty good going!”
One of the tracks, “Revolution,” deals with a subject impacting all of us. Was there a particular event that inspired you to write about it?
Seb Byford: “No, no particular event, it is happening all day, every day and has been for years and if no action is taken, it will carry on for many more years to come. The song is an attempt to make people more aware of the current climate disaster. Don’t get me wrong, nobody is perfect, we all in some way or another add to the problem, but even making a small change can make a huge difference.”
Can you talk to us about any of the other themes on the album?
Seb Byford: “There are many themes throughout the album, I guess. We worked together a lot on the lyrics, really focusing on what they mean and what we’re trying to say. I guess the main themes tend to revolve around our search as humans for freedom and peace, the highs and lows and acceptance of change.”
With traffic off the road during lockdown, people have commented that this has helped the atmosphere. Would you agree and do you think we will quickly return back to normal when restrictions are lifted?
Seb Byford: “Yeah, I definitely agree that it has helped for sure. But I think it’s going to be hard to get people to not drive about after they have been caged for so long, I think at this point a good road trip is well learnt to be honest (laughs)! Like I said nobody is perfect but if we make small changes, combined, that can make a huge difference.”
Over the last 15 months, what do you hope the important lessons we have learned are?
Seb Byford: “I can’t really speak for ‘we’ but, for me, I guess I’ve learned to be more patient and acceptant. Times change, good times come and go, that’s the way things are. I’m just trying to use this time creatively and positively.”
Going back to the project, Biff has a rich history in British rock. What have you learned from working with him / being around him at work?
Seb Byford: “To work with my dad in the studio is an amazing experience, he knows the drill. His patience and attention to detail is truly inspiring, he strives for greatness and really brings out the best in you, he’s not afraid to experiment and think outside the box, a true legend.”
Biff, people talk about families having a favourite son/daughter. What is your favourite Saxon album?
Biff Byford: “Denim and Leather.”
On the flipside, Biff, what have you learned about working with your son?
Biff Byford: “He’s a great songwriter and singer!”
Looking forward, the album is out, what are your long-term thoughts for Heavy Waters? Have you looked beyond this year/album cycle?
Seb Byford: “Another album is definitely not off the cards, we’re just going to roll with it and see how things go.”
Thanks again for your time and good luck with the album. Over to you to wrap things up…
Seb Byford: “Thank you. All the best to you and everyone reading, keep the faith.”