Interview with STUART McGILL of SILENT KNIGHT
Silent Knight are one of the most formidable melodic metal bands in the Country. After a busy and successful year the band aren’t resting on their laurels. Silent Knight is set to close out the year in style when they embark on their Master and Command Australian tour this November. I caught up with guitarist and band-mastermind Stu McGill to discuss all things Silent Knight and get some insights on what they have in store for fans on this tour and beyond.
Silent Knight is about to embark on, what some would say is, a long overdue Australian tour. What was the driver behind heading back to the east coast?
It’s definitely overdue . We have had a few offers to tour Australia this year that we had to reject, purely due to our finances. We labelled our German tour as the Master & Command tour, showcasing both albums and it just made sense that Australia should also be treated to the same tour. We were fortunate enough to do a few good deals with other bands and promoters and the timing was right so we went for it.
You guys have played a fair few shows on the east coast over the years. Are there any cities which you particularly enjoy playing?
They have all been exceptional, if I had to choose it would be either Melbourne or Sydney purely because they are the ones we’ve played the most so we have the stronger following in those cities which always result in bigger shows.
For any of your east coast fans who might not have seen you since your last tour, what can they expect from a Silent Knight set in 2017?
The band is in pretty good form right now, we’ve played a lot of shows this year. We are currently playing a pretty good mix of both albums and of course, we like to play a cover when we can – something we have recorded before and one that most metal fans will love. Perth, Melbourne and Sydney will get 60 min sets so there’s about 11 songs and I think we have about 40 minutes at the Ye Gods of Metal festival in Brisbane so will have to make the tough decision on which ones to cut.
As a promoter yourself, do you book and manage 100% of the tour, or do you get assistance from promoters on the east coast to help things run smoothly?
Depending on the city; Brisbane is a festival so we are fully guided and looked after by that promoter, who is doing a great job so far. I’m using a local company in Sydney who helped with the venue and local support bookings and I organised the Melbourne and of course, Perth myself. I’ve booked interstate acts for every show to help make each show more of a special occasion. Damnations Day will play Perth & Melbourne, Trigger will play Melbourne & Sydney and Wartooth are doing Perth, Sydney & Brisbane.
You’ve recently held the first Rising Force All Ages metal festival in Perth. What was the driver for starting this up, and are there any changes in your approach in organising Rising Force and Stromrider?
There has always been a bunch of younger teens enquiring about making the Stormrider Festival AA but its not really that easy to do in Perth, liquor laws are tight and there’s not a lot of venues available. I looked into Rising Force for about a year before the Vision Studios venue became available and it was amazingly suitable so I didn’t hesitate to book it and it went really well. There was a good mix of kids, teens, parents and general over 18 gig goers so im really happy about that.
The re-recording of The Masterplan is an exceptional product – I certainly see (and hear!) the value in re-recording these songs with Jesse on vocals and a production standard which matches the rest of your discography. Never the less others might think that you could have been better served writing and recording a new album. How have you found the reception to this release?
We get a lot of positive comments but we do get the occasional remark about a new album would’ve been better suited. We were sold out of the original and we wanted to have a strong merch game in Germany, plus putting the best example of our work forward to make a good impression. I know we made the right decision and we thank everyone for their patience with regards to the new album.
You’re playing a few shows on this tour with Damnations Day. I really enjoy their work. If there are any SK fans out there who aren’t familiar with them, how would you go about explaining what they bring to the table?
Damnations Day are a great melodic progressive/power metal band & Mark Kennedy is definitely my favourite vocalist in Australia, he has amazing power and a huge range. They have had great success touring Europe with Accept plus tonnes of big shows in Aus. I think both bands complement each other really well and I can’t wait to catch up with those guys again.
2017 seems to have been a good year for Silent Knight – A Festival appearance and tour of Germany, support slot with Dragonforce, some big headline shows in Perth, the re-recording/re-release of The Masterplan , and now this Australian tour – it’s a hard act to follow, how to you approach 2018?
It’s time to take a bit of a break from performing and start the writing process again. Cam has to sort some stuff out with his thrash band Cold Fate (reference to recording of the bands 2nd album) so while he is working on that ill be writing riffs for a new album. If a really cool gig opportunity comes up we’ll take it but other than that, this tour will be our last shows for a while and possibly the last time we play some of these songs for quite some time.
So, with the band set to head into ‘hibernation’ as they work on album #3 you could argue that this tour provides the perfect opportunity to see Silent Knight at the top of their game at the end of what has been a prolific 2017. With a high quality, interstate flavour to each and every line-up you’d be silly to miss out on the show when they roll (or fly) into your town.