THE GREEN RIVER PROJECT
Questions are answered by : Mick Priestley - Guitar
MetalKings.com: Hi Mick, let's start from the very beginning. Can you tell us who and when formed the band?
Mick Priestley: Hi! I suppose I formed the band - Muggsy (bass) and I used to play for Camden Town rock band Nothin' To Lose. We did pretty well and raised Hell everywhere we went but there were always problems with the band - band members fighting over stupid things mostly. We'd had more lineups than Scotland Yard and things were starting to get to be a bit of a pain in the ass. We replaced our singer before going the 'Hotter Than Hell' club tour around Europe in summer 07, which basically brought about the demise of the band. We kicked our singer out, our drummer wanted to do other things, which basically left me and Muggsy scratching our heads. To be honest though, the whole scene in that area was kinda dying by that time. A lot of good bands had come and gone, and we were always pushing for a heavier sound. It was cool while it lasted, but it wasn't really what we wanted to do any more.
I wrote a few songs, put a demo together (the 'Dig Your Grave' EP, it was only a three-track demo at the time), Adrian (Erlandsson - Cradle Of Filth/At The Gates/The Haunted drumming legend) stuck the drums on the record but wasn't going to be a live member of the band, so we were put in touch with Alex Martin through a friend of ours who had seen him with Social Head Removal and knew he kicked ass! I called Andy (law-vocals) who we'd met before through gigs we'd done with Nothin' To Lose (Andy was singing in Headrush at the time), he wanted in and the rest, as they say, is history.
MetalKings.com: Why did you choose THE GREEN RIVER PROJECT for the band name and what does it mean?
Mick Priestley: There's something of a sinister meaning behind it - I'm a bit of a true crime/serial killer freak so there's a Gary Ridgway-influence behind the band name. I've always been fascinated with that sort of stuff. Not so much in a blood and gore kind of way, more through the psychology behind it - what would make an otherwise regular human being do that kinda thing? Anyone could go out there and murder a bunch of people but you wouldn't, I wouldn't, and neither would 99.9% of the population. There's a load of serial killer-influenced stuff through the band - there's something morbid about the imagery, the band logo, even down to certain sounds and parts of the songs. When I was trying to think of band names it was either gonna be 'The Green River Project' or '8213 Summerdale'…but I couldn't think of a way to say that number without it sounding like a mouthful. I'll let you work out what that one means.
MetalKings.com: How can you describe your music style?
Mick Priestley: There's a load of different music styles thrown in there. Everybody in the band has their different influences which is cool because it's something I think shines through on the record. From a songwriting point of view, I like to think it's a cross between Ozzy Osbourne and Yngwie Malmsteen, perhaps with a bit of Black Label Society thrown in for good measure! Every review we get seems to have a different opinion from the last with regards to our musical style, but that's what I would consider it to be. Heavy metal, bordering on neo-classical power metal in parts, but without all that 'wave your sword in the air' garbage. It's good old fashioned British heavy metal.
MetalKings.com: What kind of music do you listen to usually? What bands or artists a big influence on you?
Mick Priestley: I listen to all different style of music - which I think you definitely have to do if you're gonna write your own! My CD collection is something of a mixture, ranging from old-skool hip-hop music right through to death metal. I listen to a lot of classical music too - either piano-orientated stuff or violins sonatas mostly. My biggest influences would have to be bands like Ozzy Osbourne and Yngwie Malmsteen - I always listened to a lot of that stuff growing up. Guitar-led heavy metal has always been my sorta thing. I use to play the cornet when I was a kid but all that changed as soon as I heard Randy Rhoads on 'Blizzard Of Ozz'?nd it blew me away. At the moment I listen to a lot of hip-hop (which people seem to find unusual), and I like a lot of new stuff like Lamb Of God etc - it's super-heavy but never crosses that line where it starts to become a noise. A lot of people don't seem to see the difference between something really heavy that kicks your ass, and something that's just 'evil'-sounding, mega-heavy and basically shit. Lamb Of God kick your ass.
MetalKings.com: Who in your band is in charge for writing lyrics, do you have some concept behind the lyrics on the first EP?
Mick Priestley: Usually it tends to be me - not for any particular reason other than if I;m writing a song I tend to put it all together at once. I've got a fairly basic studio recording setup at home and I'll spend a lot of time jamming riffs into it, so as soon as something starts to sound cool I want to add to it straight away! It's not always that way though - we have a song called 'Time and Time Again' which Andy wrote a lot of the lyrics for, and another one called 'Take You Down'…the lyrics for that were Andy's too. The ideas behind my lyric tend to be relatively dark - I want to keep a heavy metal sorta vibe to it without going overboard. The lyrics tend to come from a negative standpoint, dealing with things like betrayal, anger, or that feeling where despite putting your heart and soul into whatever you're doing you're still getting beaten down by the world around you. It's difficult to work hard and yet still feel like the idiots around you are doing better. That's a concept that seems to come up in the lyrics a lot.
MetalKings.com: How did Adrian Erlandsson come to be a guest musician on your EP?
Mick Priestley: I'd been introduced to Adrian through friends ages ago, back in the Nothin' To Lose days. When the band broke up after the Hotter Than Hell tour, we all kinda went our separate ways for a while and I wrote 'Dig Your Grave' and 'Nowhere To Run', wanted to record them but didn't have a band! I recorded the guitar tracks at home on my mini-studio thing as a rough track and talked to Adrian, and he agreed to put the drums down on the EP - He's a cool guy like that! He plays drums for Nemhain at the moment among others - check them out at Nemhain.com.
MetalKings.com: Tell us your impressions about your first gigs.
Mick Priestley: So far we've only done two - but they've been absolutely wild! Our first show with THE GREEN RIVER PROJECT was opening London's biggest rock club, UNHOLY, at the Scala in Kings Cross. We were the first band to play the club, so I suppose the pressure was on, especially with it being our first show and everything. When the lights went on there were over 700 people in there to see us, and as soon as the gig started they all went berserk - which I guess was a relief! It was a huge stage in a massive venue and it all went really well, the crowd were superb and the sound was awesome. It was like the good old days! Our second show was headlining the Underworld in Camden Town. We played with Nemhain (Adrian's band), the Mercy House and Achilla, which was cool because it was a no-bullshit heavy metal sorta bill - every band kicked ass that night. As soon as the green lights came on and intro tape was rolling everyone started to cheer and we had a blast. Something cool about the Underworld is that it's very up-close and personal. The stage ends right where the crowd starts - you put your foot on the monitor and some kid tends to grab you by the boot - I love gigs like that.
MetalKings.com: When can we expect your debut album?
Mick Priestley: We're working on it right now! There are plenty of new songs in the pipeline and a few that mind end up as b-sides too. "Kill The Clown" is a track that we're hoping to get recorded pretty soon, as well as a bunch of others. Got a new song, with a working title of 'Sentenced To Die' that's sounding pretty kickass on the home studio too! We're wanting to get that one finished as soon as we can. At the moment there are so many things going on, we're wanting to get back into the studio as much as we can but between money constraints and time issues, it's frustrating not to be able to spend as much time in there as we'd like. That said, it shouldn't be too long. There will be new tracks sneaking up onto the website etc very soon….we'll keep you posted! The album's called 'From Hell To Here'.
MetalKings.com: Can you tell us more about the UK metal scene nowadays? Which bands are popular among metalheads? Do you have friends among other bands' musicians?
Mick Priestley: There are a load of bands in the UK that are great metal bands, even if they don't necessarily get the full recognition that they deserve. Bands like Crowning Glory kick ass, as do other guys like Social Head Removal and A Thousand Lies, way up there in the north-east. It's kinda sad to see a lot of these bands struggling to get places, only to be pushed back by a tidal wave of emo/pop-punk garbage clogging up the column inches and stealing the gig slots. All that stuff is just a trend anyway. The Mercy House are a great band, as are Nemhain and Achilla, who have a very Nightwish-y vibe going on. Firebrand Superrock are a great band too, even if they have a fairly bizarre name. Hunt for them all on google you'll not be disappointed!
MetalKings.com: Do your band members have any side projects?
Mick Priestley: Alex is jamming with Social Head Removal too who are a great band - very heavy, very cool. We're doing a few dates with them around the UK in July so it should be a blast! Andy's still doing a few shows with Headrush, and Alex and I are gonna be playing some shows over the summer with UK rocker Steevi Jaimz - he's got a new album ("My Private Hell") that's just been released so we'll be hitting the road to promote it. Originally when the idea was put to me I was worried it was gonna be super-cheesy glam-rock, complete with seventeen different tins of hairspray and faded leopardskin but it isn't, it's rocking hard and it's a cool album - which is the completely different direction from his old band Tigertailz, who insist on churning out further drivel and embarrassing themselves. Steevi Jaimz basically was the voice of that band and all his fans realise that, so it should be a cool tour!
MetalKings.com: Summer is the time for different festivals. So what plans do you have for summer 2009 - which fests are THE GREEN RIVER PROJECT gonna play at?
Mick Priestley: We'll be playing BLOODSTOCK festival on the 14th August - which looks like it's gonna be a massive one. Cradle Of Filth, Arch Enemy, Fear Factory, Amon Amarth, Saxon and Europe are on the bill among others, so it's a really exciting thing to be part of - check out www.bloodstock.uk.com for more information on it…something cool about this festival is that it's really built itself up from the bottom. Every year has got bigger and better, and one of those 'by the fans, for the fans' things so there are no egos and no pretentious idiots - It's a real heavy metal festival and we can't wait to get up there.
MetalKings.com: THE GREEN RIVER PROJECT is a new band on the Russian market and your popularity is yet to be grown here. So what do you know about Russia? Do you know any bands from this country?
Mick Priestley: To be honest with you, I've never been to Russia...but it's somewhere I've always wanted to go - and I've never met a Russian girl I didn't like! Your architecture is badass which is something that is lacking a bit in London. I heard there's a load of cool clubs to play in Moscow - hopefully we can get some dates sorted over there soon! I know Aria are Russian... I'm told there's a cool underground metal scene going on over there too so we want to get in there as soon as we can! Maria Sharapova's Russian... and she's hot! I guess that proves my earlier point... and Andrei Chikatilo was Russian, but I guess we can skip over that...
MetalKings.com: And your final words to our readers…
Mick Priestley: Make sure you check us out at www.myspace.com/greenriverproject08 - and drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send you some free mp3s! Spread the word, and we'll be coming to get you real soon...
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