Photo : Promo

George Harris(The Raven Age) : “It’s been incredible supporting some of the biggest names out there”

English melodic metal band The Raven Age is back with a new album called “Exile”.

The album was released on September 17 via Explore1 Music Group / EX1 Records. The new album is a beautifully edited selection of songs with 11 songs, including 2 new original songs, plus fan favorites from their 2019 release “Conspiracy”, as well as hand-picked live songs from touring in front of a mass audience in Chile, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Interestingly, the frontman of the band is the son of bassist and founder of Iron Maiden Steve Harris, George Harris, with whom I chatted about the new release, the upcoming third album, touring and how difficult it is for him that his father is one of the most famous metal musicians ever.

HM : Your new album called „Exile“ is made of 2 new songs, alternative versions of old songs and live records. How did you come up with the idea to mix it all up?

George : We’d wanted to do some re-imagined more relaxed and or orchestral based versions of some of our songs for a while and deceived on a handful that we thought would work. However, we realised that we hadn’t put anything brand new out for a while so for our fans and also for us creatively we wanted to do two new songs to keep it fresh for everyone. The live tracks we thought we be a good reminder of what it’s like to play live and what we have to look forward to when the industry returns to full capacity. It’s exactly what we were missing when working on Exile.

HM : Father of yours is Steve Harris, founder and brain of one of biggest metal bands on the world – Iron Maiden. Does that represent any pressure and burden for you, that you have to succeed in music?

George : I don’t think it adds pressure in the regard of having to succeed in music. Being successful in anything is hard work and music is no different. I don’t look at it as if it’s a burden, I can’t help being passionate about music and interested in songwriting so I’m not going to apologise for it and do things a certain way because of who my dad might be. I like to keep things true to our band and just do the best we can regardless of the situation.

HM : Is there any special meaning of name of the album – “Exile” ?

George : The title Exile encapsulates exactly what happened to us all when the pandemic hit. We previously had 2 incredible years worth of touring the world with a noteworthy final gig at the London O2 Arena supporting Alter Bridge and Shinedown. We then flew across to the US on a radio promo tour which would’ve ended with 3 of our first ever headline shows in the states. Obviously that was all cancelled, we had no idea how long we’d be out of work, if it would come back and if we’d ride out the storm. So the term Exile was representative of how we felt.

HM : Definitely each reimagined song on „Exile“ has now taken on a new life of its own, but how you got an idea to do acoustic style album, since you are firstly a metal band ?

George : The idea of doing these songs stemmed when we were on tour. We set up a few half an hour acoustic sets in between shows when we were on tour in South America and we had to kind of break these songs down into a more acoustic style compared to the metal songs they were. We enjoyed the process and how they sounded, but thought they’d sound a lot cooler with some more production ie strings and piano etc.

HM : You wrote on your Facebook that you are largely in the process of making your third album. Can you tell readers maybe when it should be published and what they can expect from it?

George : We’re still very much in the process of working on a in 3 and we’re super excited about it. To be honest we don’t really have a solid idea of when we’ll be releasing it yet. But everyone can expect more traditional Raven Age songs for sure. We enjoyed doing Exile but are raring to get back to our metal roots.

HM : On „Exile“ there are two new songs. Are they maybe planned fot that „third album“, or did they start an avalanche of writing new songs for that album? Or is it something else?

George : The two new tracks were songs we’d been working on anyway that just so happened to be in a softer style so they fit Exile perfectly. They may have ended up on album 3 otherwise but it’s hard to say. they would’ve been gone onto the list of tracks to choose from but who’s knows if they would’ve fit in.

HM : You were support act to Alter Bridge & Shinedown, as well as many other great bands. What’s feeling being on the same stage with them ? And how mentally difficult is it to endure the situation now that it is very difficult to schedule just one concert, let alone a tour?

George : Oh it’s been incredible supporting some of the biggest names out there. Getting the opportunity to see how the likes of Alter Bridge and Shinedown operate on and off stage is a real masterclass. Also hanging out with those guys and getting to know the crews has been a lot of fun too. It does make it even more difficult thinking back to how great those times were now that it’s so tough getting on shows and even just travelling across boarders. Definitely took stuff like that for granted at the time.

HM : Tell us something about your streaming event ‘The Year The World Stood Still.’ What’s your feelings with this type of “technological events”?

George : The streaming event was something that we had real small ambitions for first of all and it grew and grew into this much bigger production that we hadn’t really thought out. We just started getting these big ideas about having a string quartet, pianist, digital backdrops and all sorts haha. But I’m glad we did it, as there’s obviously no fans there I feel like we had to make it excited even for us to enjoy and hopefully to create something visually cool for people to watch. I’m all for these type of events though, I bought tickets to Trivium and Architects live streams during lockdown and thought they were awesome. You just can’t beat the vibe of live shows though, no online show will ever compete IMO.

HM : And for the end, i want say you good luck for this album and the next one! Thanks for the interview!

George : Thanks a lot, much appreciated! George