December 4, 2019 Interview – George Harris of The Raven Age
Out of London, England, The Raven Age has come a long way in the past decade. A promising band with a mix of melody, heaviness, speed and modern Metal stylings, you could easily imagine them sharing the stage with Bullet For My Valentine, Avenged Sevenfold, or Trivium. Already releasing two albums – 2017’s Darkness Will Rise and most recently, 2019’s Conspiracy – they have supported Iron Maiden on The Book of Souls World Tour in 2016, Anthrax on the Among The Kings European Tour in 2017, as well as Killswitch Engage and Tremonti on their tours in 2018.
Well on their way to being Hard Rock/Metal giants, if you do not already know, the time is now to learn about The Raven Age. Breaking down the band’s history, Guitarist/Founder George Harris sat down to chat everything from their new album to growing up the son of Iron Maiden’s Steve Harris, plus so much more.
Cryptic Rock – The Raven Age came together back in 2009 and, since then, you have released two albums and toured the world over. What has the journey been like, thus far?
George Harris – It’s been crazy to say the least. Looking at what the band was back in 2009 it was pretty much just an idea, and now we’re two albums deep and toured more countries than we could’ve dreamed of. It’s been up and down as I guess it is for every band; we now have two different band members in the team than we did when we started. I feel like the band is very much solidified and we’re ready to take on anything now.
Cryptic Rock – That is great to hear and the growth shows in the music. As the son of Iron Maiden’s own Steve Harris, it’s only natural music is in your blood. What was it like growing up with your dad in Iron Maiden, and what kind of influence did he have on your musical interest?
George Harris – It’s strange because I was obviously born into a family in which my dad did this very different job. To me it was totally normal, it wasn’t til I got a bit older that I learned it was something quite cool. (Laughs) I also had no idea how big a fanbase Maiden had. I think being around music in general all the time has subconsciously had a big influence on my musical interest. I was never pushed to start playing guitar or listen to music, I just gravitated towards it because I had the urge to play and figure out my favorite songs.
Cryptic Rock – That is very cool. The Raven Age is certainly their own with a sound ranging between modern Metal styles and more classic styles. When forming the band, what was your vision for The Raven Age?
George Harris – For me, I was always into the more modern bands, when getting into Metal anyway. So I thought my style was totally modern, but because we decided to add in clean vocals to set ourselves apart from the bands we were into gave us a more traditional edge. Looking back now, there’s definitely a lot of Classic Metal influence in the music too. However, I think I may have picked it up through the heavier modern bands that were themselves influenced by the classics.
Cryptic Rock – Let’s just say the band is quite a good balance of the new and old. You released your new album, Conspiracy, back in September. A lively collection of heavy and emotional tracks, what was the writing and recording process like?
George Harris – The writing of Conspiracy, to me, feels like it was in two halves. Myself and Dan (Wright) wrote a lot of it before we had our singer and guitarist change. So when we went through that whole situation the writing was on halt for a while, and when they joined we picked it back up – which was very different, in a good way. Tony (Maue) and MJ (Matt James) are also writers who were coming up with great ideas, so we re-recorded and added a couple new songs into the fold which made it on the album. When recording we used our producer, Matt Hyde, to track the drums and I engineered everything else myself, which works great for us as it takes away the pressures of red light fever in the studio and creates a relaxed environment for us all.
Cryptic Rock – Very interesting, and it worked out well in the end. This is the first album to feature Matt James aka MJ on vocals. What was it like working with Matt? Additionally, how has the chemistry of the lineup been working together?
George Harris – It has been great! When MJ joined the band, we already knew him so that was one hurdle out the way; we knew we’d get on well. However, working with someone is totally different so we had to find that out, and luckily we totally clicked regarding writing and working in the studio together. It couldn’t have been smoother in my opinion. He was totally on the same page and I have to say – even if I don’t wanna blow smoke up his arse – he’s brilliant in the studio with tracking. His pitch and timing is pretty damn great which makes my life a lot easier!
Cryptic Rock – He does sound great on the album. As mentioned, you have toured the world and been a supporting act for Iron Maiden. What have your experiences been like being on such a massive stage and in front of so many different cultures?
George Harris – It’s been incredible, to say the least. It’s all a huge learning process for us: we’re just trying to take it all in and enjoy every moment as best we can. We know how lucky we are to have these opportunities so we don’t take it for granted. The best thing is exactly that: playing in front of totally different crowds and cultures. You get to see not only the differences in places, cities and landscapes, but how the people are and their traditions. Everywhere is very different, which is great as it keeps you on your toes and makes you work hard to grab the audiences attention.
Cryptic Rock – That has to be exciting to experience all those different cultures like that. With 2019 ending very strong for you and the band, what does 2020 have in store for you?
George Harris – We’re unsure on what we’re doing thus far, but we’re definitely going to be going back into the studio and working on album number three – which we’re all super excited about!
Cryptic Rock – That is good news. Let’s talk more about influences. You said you were more into modern Metal, so tell us more about your personal musical influences.
George Harris – I’m into lots of different music, but some of my favorite bands that got me into doing what I’m doing are Parkway Drive, Killswitch Engage, Trivium, Funeral for a Friend, Linkin Park, Bullet for My Valentine.
Cryptic Rock – All good bands! Last question. If you are a fan of Horror and Sci-Fi movies, what are some of your favorites and why?
George Harris – I’m a fan of some of the older Horror movies, mainly because I was a kid when I saw these films and they genuinely scared the shit out of me. I remember watching Poltergeist (1982) when I was about 11 and being totally freaked out, the same with The Exorcist (1973). A couple of general favorites are The Thing (1982), Carrie (1976) and The Omen (1976). I generally like supernatural style Horror films that play with your mind a bit rather than a killer on the loose type films.