– Hello and first of all, thank you for answering to our interview. How is everything doing with MYTHRA right now with the release of «Still Burning»?
It’s awesome thanks, a great time for the band. New album released very soon and some great Festival shows to play this summer!!!
– MYTHRA is a band with its roots in the NWOBHM. You were formed during the mid/late 70’s and, as many of the bands from that scene, you never managed to release a full album. Anyway if I’m not mistaken you did record one that your label back then didn’t want to release. Considering the sucess your previous releases had, why didnt they want to release it?
The album we recorded was never released at the time due to disagreements between our management and label at that time. It was nothing to do with the band members, we were just kids at that time. Very naive. All we wanted to do was write, record and play our music. We knew nothing about the business side of the music industry. Someone reflected recently that it is like trying to swim through shark infested waters. It’s different for us this time around. There are some awesome people in the underground metal scene, people like Bart Gabriel and Steffen Boehm. They have been great with MYTHRA.
– Anyway that full album plus some bonus came out in 2015 as the «Warriors of Time» anthology. Why did you decide it was the right time to do so?
I just mentioned Bart Gabriel and it’s all down to him. He is CEO of SKOL RECORDS but also a Metal fan which is important to us. He contacted us after we played our reunion show at BROFEST UK in early 2015 and asked if we would be interested in releasing an Anthology album of our best tracks from first time around plus some brand new bonus tracks. After talking to him we knew he was the right man to do that and so we agreed. He remastered the album and released it on his label, and also brokered a deal with HIGH ROLLER RECORDS to release the double vinyl album version. Bart also commissioned the album artwork of Italian artist Roberto Toderico which the fans absolutely love!
– In fact High Roller Records is a label that has done a lot for the NWOBHM and for traditional Heavy Metal. How does it feel to be part of their roster?
Yeah, our association with HIGH ROLLER RECORDS continues as our new album ‘STILL BURNING’ is released on Steffen’s label at the end of this month. HRR is so important on the underground Metal scene as it gives the fans opportunities to get hold of music from the bands they love. Physical formats are important to most fans and HRR provides many releases in vinyl and cd. We feel proud and are honoured to be on the HRR roster. We were blown away when they signed us to record a brand new studio album!
– You disappeared quite fast. What did it happen? You didn’t get back until the 2005 compilation album. What prompted your comeback?
We eventually disbanded in 1982 as a result of the label we were signed to at that time refusing to put out further releases. We were locked into a deal but no new music was released even though it was available. That had an impact on our offers to do live work so we disbanded and went our separate ways until our performance at the BROFEST UK reunion show.
– In line with the previous questions; have you noticed that nowadays thanks for the Internet and other tools that offer an easier access to music, that your music is reaching more people, both old and young? Maybe was also this is one of the reasons behind your reunion? As you have reached a cult status.
Yeah…communication nowadays is awesome. We are in contact with fans on a daily basis from across the world using social media. Our fan base has grown considerably in the last two years, all age ranges, and there is a lot of people looking forward to our new album
– So «Still Burning» is your first studio full-length album. How do you feel about it? Do you think it would have been much different if it had been released in the 80’s or 70’s?
The new album sounds awesome. We are really happy with the songs we wrote and recorded and the sound we have achieved. We have stayed true to our NWOBHM roots whilst, at the same time, achieving a contemporary sound and feel which is exactly what we set out to do. Bart’s production is great and the album reviews to date acknowledge that which makes us very happy
– The album title feels like a statement, is it? What did you want to express with it?
ABSOLUTELY…as a band we are STILL BURNING! Our passion for Metal has remained throughout our lives…it’s in our DNA hahaha
– You keep almost the original line-up intact. How has it been to work on new material together after so many years? How has your drummer, Phil Davies, fitted in?
We had a total blast writing, arranging, rehearsing and recording the new album. We did it in quick time too…around 3 to 4 months from start to completing the recording in Poland with Bart last October. It was a labour of love for us. Phil is an awesome musician, very powerful drummer and also a great guys too. He has fitted in perfectly, our younger brother 🙂
– Listening to the album it has been a nice surprise for me; it sounds quite traditional, as you used to, and keeps that British vibe from that period. Are you satisfied with the outcome? Was important for you to remain loyal to your NWOBHM roots?
Definitely, as I said earlier that was our intention and we have achieved that aim of staying true to our roots but also creating a contemporary sound. Everything is still there: the twin lead guitars and shredding solos, the driving bass, the pounding drums and the big choruses!
– In fact it still holds your old diversity, throwing in some rocky elements, some Speed Metal nuances… Are your influences still the same as they were back in the days?
Influences remain and build throughout our lifetime…we love the first generation Metal bands as much now as we did when we discovered them when we were kids. Discovering music as teenagers in the 1970s, it was an incredible time. Punk Rock emerged in the middle of that decade too in the U.K. which influenced and changed young people’s attitudes to the world around them. We loved that whole approach…giving kids a voice through the lyrics and sheer raw power and energy of the music. We have of course continued to listen to and appreciate music since that time and right through to the present day
– Several tracks here are anthem-like. I guess as this is your first album, that you will play a lot of songs off it on your shows, along with some classics such as «Death and Destiny». Do you already have set a clear-cut setlsit?
It is always exciting putting a set list together for shows. There will be a mix of classic MYTHRA tracks and brand new songs too at upcoming shows. We have played several of the new songs from STILL BURNING at recent shows and they have gone down a storm with our fans. We always love meeting our fans at gigs and we love playing our music live. The reaction we get is great and we put 100% into every show we do 🙂
– All this about «Still Burning» being said; how could you describe it in just 3 words?
POWER, ENERGY, PASSION
– As I have the chance of interviewing you, I would like to review a little bit your history. How was MYTHRA born and how were those early days of the band? You started back in the 70’s and played covers mostly, which were some of them? How did you evolve to write your own material?
We started out playing covers by our favourite bands including: Black Sabbath, UFO, Thin Lizzy, Scorpions. Then gradually introduced our own songs into our sets. We played up to three nights a week prior to recording our first EP, often playing 2 sets of 45 minutes each at gigs. This helped us build a very strong local fan base in our local area in North East England. They loved our own songs so we went into the studio in 1979 and recorded them!
– You also started under the name of ZARATHUSTRA. Why did you decide to change it and how did you come up with MYTHRA?
MYTHRA is a much cooler name hahaha
– Your first release was the «Death and Destiny» EP, that dates back to 1979, when the NWOBHM was emerging. It got a lot of success. What doors did this release open to MYTHRA? In fact you re released it again just a few months later for first time.
It was reissued several times in 1980 and spent 12 weeks on the independent record charts, peaking at number 2. This got us some great gigs including the amazing ‘Heavy Metal Barn Dance’ at Stafford Bingley Hall, UK along with: Motörhead, Saxon, Girlschool, Angelwitch, Vardis and White Spirit that summer. What an amazing day that was!
– What was your best moment of that era? Your most treasured memory?
Yeah, that show with Motörhead and those other great bands at the Heavy Metal Barn Dance…incredibly memorable for us to play that as a very young band 🙂
– MYTHRA also used to organise their own Heavy Metal Nights events. What was this all about and what where some of the bands playing?
We started to promote our own gigs in our hometown of South Shields so our younger fans could see us play live. Most of the gigs we did in 1978/79 were in pubs and clubs where you had to be aged 18 or over to get in. That excluded the kids so we decided to do something about it. Those gigs were amazing. The atmosphere was electric! We used to have our friends ‘Hellenbach’ (later signed to Neat Records) as our special guests. They were our age too so it was a great line up 🙂
– Surfing through your website I read something that has intriged me a lot. It’s stated back in the old days RAVEN was a four piece band. Something I bet most people don’t know. Who was that fourth member?
John and Mark (Gallagher) were playing the same pub and club circuit as us in the late 1970s with RAVEN, and yes they had two guitarists back then in those early days. I can’t recall the other guitarist’s name, that’s something the guys will have to confirm for you. They had become a three by the time they recorded their first single. I can remember seeing them several times at a great pub in Sunderland UK that both our bands regularly played called the ‘Old 29’. It was so intimate, tiny, a great atmosphere. Drummers would set up on the windowsill, with the rest of the band on the floor in front. That place was jumping hahaha. I have to say that John and Mark were special even back then…they had so much energy in their performances, and great songs too…
– And already done with reviewing your history, what does the future have in store for MYTHRA? What are your near-future plans?
Album release on April 28 and then more live Festival shows in the summer including: ‘Up The Hammers’ in Athens, Greece and ‘Heavy Metal Maniacs’ in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We are also playing our first show in the USA in October at ‘Frost & Fire’ in California. RAVEN are on the bill too so it’s going to be awesome catching up with those guys again!
– That’s all, thank you once more for answering our questions. If you want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you so much for the interview, and your support \m/
Vince High, MYTHRA (Vocals)