While Trespass America might be over (If you didn’t catch it by August 28th, I’m afraid you’re SOL), one of the stars of the tour shows no signs of stopping. Of course I’m talking about Detroit’s Battlecross and if you haven’t checked out their masterful Metal Blade debut Pursuit Of Honor, you’ve got no right to continue calling yourself a metal fan. Guitarist and co-founder Hiran Deraniyagala recently talked with Popblerd while at the Boston stop of Trespass America and this is what he had to say:
What is “Blue Collar Thrash Metal”?
(Laughs) Honestly it’s a just a term that a friend of ours threw at us and I think it just really represents, I wouldn’t say a style of music, but it’s more the mix of what we are which is thrash. The “Blue collar” side kinda comes into who we are as people. Very hard working. Y’know the kinda mentality where you just have to bust ass and do your thing and shut the fuck up and do your job and kick ass. There’s really no other way to put it. Most bands gotta ditch that “rock star mentality” right out the door cuz it doesn’t vibe. That’s just kinda who we are. We’re just down-to-earth dudes that are about doing this for a living and we’re going to bust ass and do what we can do to make it happen.
How did Battlecross form?
The true formation of Battlecross was in 2007. Tony (Asta, guitar) and I are best friends, grew up together as kids. Started a band in high school and just had people come and go. 2004, 2003 we were a 4-piece and used the name “Battlecross” with a different sound and then in 2007 we got a new drummer. Mike (Kreger) stepped in and he basically stepped up the whole game of the band. It was like: “Ok, we got a drummer that can push boundaries and push us as musicians” so from there it was on. Don (Slater, bass) joined the band in 2008 and then Kyle (‘Gumby’ Gunther, vocals) joined in 2010. Our mentality was to take this as far as we can.
Why should fans check out Battlecross on Trespass and what separates you from the rest of the metal bands on the bill?
I’d like to say we’re a high energy thrash metal band. We’re not out there to create a different form of music and to sit there and say we’re gonna blow your mind with some new form of metal. We take influences from all different kinds of metal but I think the thing that grabs people is that it’s pure metal. We’re a metal band and I think for some people they say that’s kind of missing from what’s going on. There’s different bands out there doing their own thing and we’re doing our own thing. Basically when you go out and see us, you’re going to get everything from a tight set to a great live performance cuz that’s what we’re about. We’re not about standing in one place and playing our guitars and showing you how we can shred or “Look what I can do!” kinda stuff. We’re out there to kick ass and make a point. When you see our show, you will walk away satisfied.
Speaking of Trespass, what made this tour the right one for Battlecross?
Honestly, it was the opportunity. Five Finger Death Punch, Killswitch Engage and Trivium and all these bands are doing really big things. For us, it was a career decision. There were tours that we actually passed up on to do this one because number one, we’re playing in front of a larger audience…I would say maybe a more wide range, open-minded audience because you’re getting all different kinds of bands…and number two, Five Finger Death Punch really wanted us on this tour and we had to take the opportunity.
What other bands on the bill are you most likely to check out on Trespass?
Personally I’ve been checking out a lot of Killswitch Engage and FFDP and Trivium. God Forbid as well. I wanna give props to all the bands cuz they’re all doing their own thing but those guys specifically are just bringing the metal I think. All good guys. Really good people. That’s one of the things about it is you meet a good band but when they’re good people in general that just makes it better to like them and appreciate them. They’ve all been good to us and a lot of new friends are being made.
What are your touring plans following Trespass (Which ends August 28th)?
We don’t have anything solid yet. There’s stuff that’s in the works. We were supposed to do the Mayhem Fest Cruise which ended up getting cancelled. We have some small stuff we’re doing in September and hopefully, something will happen in November and December. In between that and our time off at home we’re just working on new material.
Seeing as how a lot of Pursuit of Honor contained material from Push Pull Destroy, do you have material ready for album number three?
It’s not ready but there are songs that are in the works. We probably have abut three or four songs that are done. We still gotta write some more. We’re very slow at writing. The number one thing is that we’re very picky about what we do. We really work on something and really tweak it and trim the fat.
What is your proudest moment since forming Battlecross?
Everything. It’s crazy how fast this has really grown since we first got signed. Getting signed to Metal Blade was a big milestone for us. That was the one thing as a kid you’re just dreaming about. To get that start, that push, so getting signed to Metal Blade was a huge deal for us. From there on, it was the next thing which was touring. We landed some small tours and the Origin tour and then this now is another big step. Getting to actually play arenas and big, big venues…at our level and this early in our career to be doing that is amazing. Even getting on Sirius XM Radio and having a number one song for five weeks, I mean, that’s incredible. The number one thing is we don’t let any of that stuff get to our heads. We stay pretty grounded and we just appreciate and take advantage of every opportunity that we get. We’re just humble and appreciative and we can’t wait to keep going. Next stop is overseas hopefully.
Why should music fans pick up Pursuit Of Honor?
I think it’s a no bullshit metal record. We’re not trying to be gimmick-y in any way. We’re just trying to go out there and play the best songs, the best music that we can give as metal fans. It’s basically metal fans writing a metal record. That’s the best way I could put it because we love metal and we love what we do and it shows on stage and on the record. If you dig metal, pick up Pursuit Of Honor.
For the latest on Battlecross and to pick up Pursuit Of Honor, head on over to their official website.
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