Chris Kee caught up with Rich Sherrington, frontman of UK thrashers SOLITARY to see what has been happening since their last album, and to hear about their support of a very good cause…
You’re back in the studio now, but it’s been six years since your last studio album – why have you been away so long? What’s been happening in the world of Solitary?
We always intended to put a new album out within three years of releasing Requiem but albums cost money so you have to build your budget back up. We promoted Requiem for three years, then towards the end of 2011 a venue we’d done a few times was really struggling financially so to make some money they wanted to put a night on where all the bands played a track by the big four in their set. They asked us to headline, so for a laugh we did a set full of Slayer, Anthrax, Megadeth and Metallica covers. Word got around about how good it was and a few promoters got in touch asking us to do it again. So we agreed and ended up spending 18 months doing ‘Solitary Does The Big 4’ all over the place.
We then decided to knock it on the head and get the new album finished, but I got a call from Chris of Xentrix saying that they were reforming in 2013 and would we fancy doing a few gigs, then it kind of snowballed for offers wise as we’d not played our own material for nearly two years we accepted everything and thoroughly enjoyed it.
As we knew we wouldn’t have time in between the dates to finish writing and record an album we decided to release a live album to celebrate our 20th Anniversary and we put out I Promise To Thrash Forever in June last year.
How would you say the new material has developed and progressed since Requiem?
It’s definitely more difficult to play! We agreed that the songs needed to be short and have plenty of impact. With all the shows we’ve done in the last six years we knew the format of the songs which worked well live and tried to write an album full of material using that formula. Vocally, Requiem was a bit like Testament’s Demonic album – which felt right for those songs – however that approach doesn’t work on the new material so the pressure is on for me to get the vocal delivery right.
Tell us about Simon Efemey’s involvement with the project?
We built our own studio at our rehearsal unit in Preston, which means our recording costs are significantly lower than our previous albums. We approached a number of producers who we knew would be in our price range and we thought we’d chance our arm with some bigger names and incredibly Simon came back saying he would be up for it. We decided that the best approach would be to track the instruments at our studio and I would record the vocals with Simon at Chapel Studios. Simon’s got the demos for a number of the tracks and is into the vibe of the songs and apparently has a few ideas to take them to the next level.
You’re playing the Mosh Against Cancer show in Derby soon – how did you get involved with that? What can you tell us about the event?
Mosh Against Cancer is a Liverpool based event which has been running for a couple of years [this event is based in Derby]. My Dad died from cancer a few years ago and I was keen for us to be involved to help raise some money.
Solitary have been stalwarts of the UK thrash scene for over ten years now – what changes have you seen over that time? Is the scene healthy now? Is the future looking bright for UK thrash?
It’s actually over 21 years! When we started in ‘94 it was the Pantera, Fear Factory and Machine Head era so there was loads of bands knocking about to do shows with. Then came the Nu-Metal explosion at the end of the 90s and I think we were the only ones doing the thrash thing; but everyone seemed to appreciate it, the nu-metal bands respected us for sticking at it and we always went down well with the kids at the gigs. There was a Thrash surge around 2006 but we were not really part of that because we weren’t in a position to get involved with the long tours bands put together. We are really fortunate to know all the old bands that have reformed and have done shows with all of them which has been good for us.
The 80s bands reformation has brought the older people back out to the gigs and there’s also a younger audience so it’s a good scene to be part of and it’s also acceptable to wear tight jeans and have a battle vest so even though it’s not 1989, it feels like it is when you are see them stood in front of you!