Hi, Gatekeeper. “East of Sun” to be released next month. You must be excited?
Hello! We’re down to the last ten days before the album is released and “excited” barely scratches the surface. This album has been a long time coming and there are a lot of great opportunities coming our way because of it. The future is looking bountiful and beautiful.
First of all, we would like to know about the formation of the band. When and how was it formed? Do you think the band name ‘Gatekeeper’ perfectly decribes your music and philosophy?
I originally started Gatekeeper as a fun little project by myself. I was very new to guitar and just wanted to bang around some barbaric heavy metal riffs like some of my favourite bands. After putting up a handful of demos on YouTube and Myspace I started getting positive feedback from people in other bands that I admired. After this encouragement I began putting a proper band together. We started gigging, recording and putting out music and merchandise. Fast forward six or seven years and here we are now, going stronger and harder than ever. And yes, I’m very fond of the band name and I think it’s a cool title for a heavy metal band. I like the idea of being a defender or an underdog, fighting for a cause. Plus, it reminds me of my favourite band “Blind Guardian”.
Okay now tell us something about “East of Sun”, and the lyrical themes behind each track. What are the ideas you wanted to put across?
Our singer Jean-Pierre writes most of the lyrics these days but I’ve done my fair share as well. Much of our imagery and ideas come from mythology, old paperback fantasy novels, sometimes sword and sorcery films. The album itself isn’t a concept album or “about” any one thing but I think that it’s a tribute to myth, magic and heavy metal. It’s also about the human spirit, because that’s at the core of all fiction, I think.
Where and when did you record “East of Sun”? Are you satisfied with it?
The studio is called Harbourside IT, and it’s located in North Vancouver. Mike Rogerson mixed and mastered it and also did some of the engineering, though the bulk of the actual tracking was done by Angelo Boose. Our initial sessions started in May 2017 and continued sporatically until November. Harbourside is a recording school, so our album was recorded when there was a opening in the schedule between classes and student-booked sessions. It was pretty economical, but also a little stressful since it took so long. But I’m pretty happy with it overall, especially the drum and bass guitar performance. Every member came in a kicked ass on this.
Are you gonna to release some official band merch?
Yup, we are no strangers to the merchandise train! We’ve got the Cds and Lps in hand now, plus a variety of T-shirts and patches. We try to hire only the coolest artists in our genre for our designs. My favourite piece of merch that we sell are the hand-made Cds of our 2nd EP called “The Vigilance Sessions”. Each CD is contained inside a thick, cardstock envelope which is folded by hand and then sealed with a wax stamp of our band logo. The vinyl edition of our album looks incredible, so this is probably going to become my new favourite item.
What are Gatekeeper’s musical and non-musical influences?
We’re pretty easy to pin down. There’s lots of 80’s heavy metal, like Manowar, Judas Priest, Savatage and Omen. European stuff too, such as Bathory, Solstice and Candlemass. On a more personal level I’m also really into jazz fusion and prog rock like Return To Forever, Weather Report and Mahavishnu Orchestra. We’re also influenced by the illustrations of Frank Frazetta and sword and sandal flicks such as Conan The Barbarian and 13th Warrior.
Could you please express your personal views on religion and god?
I wouldn’t presume to speak for my bandmates but I don’t really have any religious views. It’s just not something that I think about too much. I know that we’re born, we live, we die. As far as I’m concerned, that’s probably the end of it. I don’t think we really carry much in the way or religious or spiritual weight in our music. We talk a lot about magic and mythology but I look at these as interesting stories, or metaphors for things happening in real life. Good stories have a human element to them—that’s why we still care of Shakespeare.
Shall we expect some gigs across USA or Europe near time?
We’ve been to the USA a couple times for festivals and tour dates and we hope to visit again soon! We will make our European debut at the Keep It True festival in Germany in less than two weeks, which is like a childhood dream come true! We are also booking European dates for early 2019 as well, since we are also booked for Hell Over Hammaburg festival.
When shall fans to expect something new from you? Videoclip, single, documentary etc?
Gatekeeper is always up to something! We’ve got a long string of gigs booked until the fall but otherwise we are moving into a new rehearsal studio which we will also be using for band-related video projects and we’re working on new songs now. I can promise you that it will not take another eight years for the next album!
Thanks a lot for the interview. Speak out to your fans, supporters, critics and our readers before we wrap up!
Thanks so much for your time and support. Please come out and say “hi” if you see us playing in your area. We’d love to meet you.