Peter Lindblad of Powerline magazine recently conducted an interview with vocalist Biff Byford of British heavy metal legends SAXON. A few excerpts from the chat follow below.
On SAXON‘s newest album, “Sacrifice”, out on the UDR label:
Biff: “I just really wanted to make an album that I liked and not be beholden to the people who are not doing it. The fans are quite happy with that, so that was good … there are no ballads, just good rock music, just good metal music. That’s what I wanted to do. … We went back to the ’80s a little bit for two or three of the songs, just to figure out what made us great. I think ‘Warriors Of The Road’ and ‘Stand Up And Fight’ are sort of thrash-metal-y like the ’80s were, and yeah, I just wanted to play with Marshalls and Gibsons, really, and just play and not rely too much on too many digital tricks and just play like it is, really. Some of the stuff is quite modern, like ‘Made In Belfast’ is a really heavy song, with the Celtic sort of style. We were experimenting as well, but yeah, I wanted the songs to have that kind of push like it was just recorded yesterday, but still have that one foot in the past.”
On having “Sacrifice” mixed and mastered by British producer Andy Sneap:
Biff: “We’ve known him for quite some time, and we wanted to work together a little bit last year, or the year before, but couldn’t get to it. He had a little bit of time free ’cause the KILLSWITCH [ENGAGE] album was delayed a few weeks. So, I asked him if he wanted to mix the album, and he said he’d love to mix the album. So, that’s how it happened, really, just over e-mail. He came down to the studio to talk a couple of times, while I was recording the band, and we came up with a plan.”
On SAXON‘s early years:
Biff: “In the early days, we used to do like three sets. We used to stop and have a break and then start again. And usually by the end of the set, all of them were pretty rough actually. And we really didn’t do cover songs back then. So a lot of people used to ask for ‘Smoke On The Water’ and all. [laughs] And we said, ‘We don’t play that.’ And then they’d usually riot, you know what I mean? After a while, people would come to see us because we were a good band then, so we actually got on a little bit easier as time went on.”
On SAXON finding itself at the vanguard of a burgeoning movement, NWOBHM (New Wave Of British Heavy Metal):
Biff: “[Britain is] not like the U.S. It’s not like a massive country. In the U.K., it happened pretty quickly for us — two or three big magazines got a hold of it and gave us some fantastic reviews. You know, we played quite a few shows in the early days of [IRON] MAIDEN, like at Manchester University and places like that. And yeah, it was a bit of a melting pot of bands really. I remember we played with a band called SAMSON back then. Bruce Dickinson was their singer, so I got to meet Bruce fairly early on as well.
“There was definitely a massive change in the size of audiences that had interest in the band. I really think the magazines were a bit fed up with this punk thing. I just think they wanted something new to write about. And we were in the right place at the right time with some great songs.”
Read the entire interview from Powerline magazine.
“Sacrifice” (song) video:
“Sacrifice” EPK (Electronic Press Kit):