By Brian Leak
It might seem strange to call a band that’s been around for 12 years up-and-coming, but Protest The Hero has yet to lose the youthful exuberance and hustle that made them so exciting in the first place. The band has taken their time to craft and release three highly acclaimed full-length albums filled with intense technical shredding and impressive drum work, as well as excellent vocal range from frontman Rody Walker. The Ontario natives have toured extensively with such well-known acts as As I Lay Dying and Chiodos, and are currently headlining a tour with support from Scale The Summit and Last Chance To Reason. Synthesis had the opportunity to chat with guitarist Tim Millar about the success of their newest record, Scurrilous, being featured in Guitar Hero and the woes that lead a ginger to shaving a ridiculously awesome beard.
How have you been enjoying the success of Scurrilous?
We’ve done some touring; a run in the U.S. and Canada and a summer European stint and there seemed to be a great response. It’s always nice to work so hard at a record and get a good reception. It’s also nice to have some more material to mix up in the set.
What made you decide to base the album and art on (band member) Arif’s grandfather’s painting?
Using the painting was a way to have a more personal touch to the album. We all loved the artwork and thought it was a nice way to breathe new life into a painting that might not have been exposed to audiences we have shown it to.
How do you feel the album differs from your previous releases?
We had some more time to sit with the songs and let them mature on their own. We made an effort to make the songs sound more like songs and not trying to smash a bunch of parts together. Using a more consis- tent tempo and repeating some parts helped with that, but still most of the songs don’t have a conventional song structure. Also, there’s no underlying concept lyrically and we decided to have each song be independent of one another.
What ?influences ?play ?a? big ?role ?in? your writing process?
I think all of us having different influences and bringing that to the table helps with our unique sound. A couple bands that have influenced everyone would be Sikth, Symphony X, Dream Theater, Lamb of God and Propagandhi.
What’s it like to have your songs featured in video games such as Guitar Hero?
It’s another way to get exposure toanewcrowd.It’snicetobeina game that is based on guitar play- ing and you get the music lovers audience as well as the gamers. We also had songs in some of the NHL games, so that helps as well.
You guys seem to have a lot of fun with your music videos. Which has been your favorite to make?
Recently, doing the “Hair-Trigger” video was a lot of fun. We just had a full day of goofing off in front of the camera. Also, the “Limb From Limb” video was a lot of fun; a little more work. We had to take some dancing lessons with a choreographer before we were ready for that one.
What lead to you shaving off your epic ginger beard?
I went to Norway for the World Beard and Moustache Championship and after being in that experience and not walking away with a prize- winning beard, it seemed like a good time to start fresh and have face meet razor.
What’s your favorite memorable moment from touring?
We did a Propagandhi tour in the U.K. a couple years ago which was a band that we all grew up listen- ing to. It was awesome to be able to share the stage and watch them every night.
What has kept the original line-up together for nearly 12 years?
We got an early start and it’s always been working since then. If it isn’t broken, why fix it? Things have been working out so we go with the flow.