During the past few years, Rise to Remain has toured extensively throughout Europe, making appearances at the biggest metal festivals. But it wasn’t until summer 2012 that the London-based band crossed the pond to tour America. The Vans Warped Tour served as its maiden voyage, the band bringing its modern metal sound to audiences primed more for punk and hardcore-inspired acts. When the tour came to Columbia, Md., Live Metal’s Greg Maki caught up with frontman Austin Dickinson to talk about touring America, the band’s debut album (“City of Vultures”) and more. (And by the way, if you don’t recognize Austin’s last name, you’re probably at the wrong website.)
LIVE METAL: How has the Warped Tour been treating you this summer?
AUSTIN DICKINSON: Warped Tour’s been amazing. It’s been really, really cool. We’re nearing the end of it now, which sucks, if I’m honest, ‘cause we’re having a shit-ton of fun out here. It’s been cool. First time in Maryland. It’s humid. It’s leafy. It feels pretty cool to be here.
Who are some of the bands you’ve had a chance to check out and have really impressed you?
I’ve checked out, I think, pretty much every band that’s been on so far—whether it’s been wandering to and fro between the tour bus and catering or press or—here’s a surprise—going to watch a band. Between any of those things, I have managed to catch pretty much everyone. So it’s quite cool. Ghost Inside was one of the bands I was really looking forward to seeing, and I’m really glad I got to see them.
This is your first North American tour. I know you’ve been trying to come here for a while and have had some problems. How are you liking it?
I’m loving it. It’s exactly what I dreamed of. It’s exactly what I thought it was gonna be, which is a really, really fantastic thing to say because I had great, really high expectations for the touring schedule, and so far, it’s just been fantastic, and the kids have really taken to us, which is cool. We’ve had people that have been waiting to see us for like nigh on two years, and people that have no idea who the fuck we are and just catch us because either we’re playing before a band, they’ve heard good things, they like the name or they’ve seen our merch—“Hey, that band looks metal as fuck.” So it’s been cool. It’s been really good.
How do the crowds here compare to what you’re used to back home?
I still don’t know. It’s funny because it’s such a young demographic here. Kids are like 14 to 20-something. It’s a very, very young audience. What I do like is that they are really proactive about getting behind a band, so if you do a signing, people always turn up. If you’re selling a CD for 10 bucks, people will probably buy it. And that’s been the case with us. We’ve sold out of CDs, our label sold out of CDs, and we had to make more—which is great. That’s a great phone call to get and be like, “Oh shit! Really? OK, cool.”
Especially now because no one’s buying CDs.
I know. Good fuckin times, right? It’s awesome. We’ve been really thankful for the response. We’ve had a really good time with the audience out here. As for the audience at home—I don’t know—they’re pretty similar. Pretty much the same. I think if you’re into Rise to Remain, you tend to be a certain kind of person—about yea high, full of snot, no teeth, really angry. (laughter)
What is a typical day like here on the Warped Tour?
It’s usually like wake up 9-9:30 ‘cause you get told pretty much what to do, where you’re gonna be, where you have to be, at 9:30 every morning. So wake up, you’re either on in an hour and a half or you’re on in two hours, three hours—could be anywhere from 11 until 8 at night. You kind of find out on the day. Apart from that, you kind of make up the rest of the day with however you want that day to shape out, which is cool. We’ve been going out, spreading the word, hanging out in the crowd, watching bands, going out, trying to get people to listen to CDs and stuff like that. It’s been amazing. It’s been really cool ‘cause I guess this whole tour, the idea is it is what you make it. So if you want to have a really productive, great day apart from your set, it’s totally up to you.
Tell me about the album. It got its North American release (in June).
Yeah, it got its North American release just over a month ago. We’re really stoked with it. It’s called “City of Vultures.” It’s 12 tracks long. It’s really fuckin’ pissed off, and it wants you to buy it. It’s a metal record. We spent about five months in total kind of actually making it. We did record for about three months, then two months mixing and mastering. It’s been really, really cool. It’s been great seeing how people react to it. It’s been great seeing how people take to it, especially at first listen. And so far, it’s been doing really, really good out there, so go check it out.
Who are some of your biggest influences musically?
My biggest influences musically, probably like Killswitch Engage, Faith No More, Pantera, Metallica, Deftones. Whole bunch of different bands. Rage Against the Machine. Just so many different bands out there that wouldn’t fit together on a bill. As a singer, I go for singers that have got super unique, weird, out-there voices.
Who is someone who is maybe not necessarily an influence, but someone you like and listen to that might surprise someone?
Maybe Mike Patton from Faith No More. He does so much different shit with his voice. He can sing any style. He can write any style pretty much; at least, certainly, to my mind he can. He’s just a very, very talented guy. I really, really appreciate him, and I think he’s a fuckin’ awesome singer. He can do absolutely anything he puts his mind to. I think that’s true for everyone on the entire face of the planet, but he’s just one of the ones out there actually doing it.
For someone who hasn’t seen you guys play, what can they expect to see onstage?
It’s lots of energy. We all jump around a lot. We all shred a lot. We like to scream and sing a lot. You probably will get told what to do by me quite a lot, but it’s never anything too bad. I’m not gonna ask you to take your pants off, close your eyes or anything like that. It’s usually just kind of like, “Open this place up.” (laughs) If you come see us live, you can expect a really good fuckin’ time, and we could be your new favorite band, because that’s exactly what we intend to do.
As you said, you’re very energetic, you’re jumping around. Have you ever taken any falls onstage?
Plenty. I’ve nearly knocked all of my teeth out. I’ve slipped. I’ve fallen. I’ve tripped. I’ve fallen backwards and forwards. And I’ve also—I don’t think I tore it—but I really fucked up my ATL muscle [pointing at his leg], the one that’s there. I think that’s the ATL. Is it? I don’t know. Someone said so. We could’ve been in Atlanta. But that was what I tore, I think. That sucked. I fucked up my knee and my shoulder. But it’s cool ‘cause I hate this shoulder, so I’m winning. [Flips off his right shoulder.] Yeah, fuck you! (laughter) It just sucks ‘cause it’s attached to me. But yeah, I’ve sustained a couple injuries, sure.
A couple weeks left on Warped Tour, so what’s next for you after this?
It’s a secret, and it’s really fuckin’ cool. I’m sure you’ll hear about it the day it gets announced. We’re really stoked.
Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Thanks for listening!