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Fallstaf's Hitman Discusses Brass Metal And The Montreal Metal Scene

Montreal brass metal act Fallstaf already has a unique take on metal to begin with, but throw in the fact that the band's trombone player is a masked hitman and you've got a recipe for some serious metal mayhem.

Fallstaf recently released its debut full-length album "Bastard Sons of a Pure Breed" (reviewed here), and in support of the release I got the chance to engage The Hitman in conversation to find out the low down on brass metal and the Montreal metal scene. Check out the full interview below.

xFiruath: Fallstaf has a different take on music than the standard metal band. Was it always the plan from the beginning to use trombone in the band?

The Hitman: Well it came naturally because me, Ben, and Ian have been playing along for almost 20 years. I’ve always been playing the brasses – the trumpet and the trombone – so it wasn’t like a choice we made along the way. It didn’t happen by accident. We used to do some heavy metal when we were teenagers and we kind of put that on the side to work on other projects. In the back of our heads it was always like we’ve got to do another project with heavy metal.

xFiruath: With such a non-traditional take on metal, what genre would you use to classify the band and how would you describe the overall sound?

The Hitman: What I’d say we’re doing a new kind of heavy metal. We’re mostly influenced by bands from the ‘90s like Pantera and so on. Most of us grew up with heavy metal and rock with our parents. With Ian’s voice we kind of tried to not do death metal, but just like heavy metal with a singer who screams, but not too much.

xFiruath: The new album “Bastard Sons of a Pure Breed” is out now. Tell me about your band’s writing process for this album.

The Hitman: For the writing, it’s pretty much Ben and our friend Mike, he’s like the unknown member from Fallstaf. He writes most of the stuff with Ben, and they go come up with stuff and we work it out in the studio.

xFiruath: What sort of lyrics are found on “Bastard Sons of a Pure Breed?”

The Hitman: For the lyrics, we’re not set on one thing, it’s pretty much everything. Its stuff we’ve lived, it’s a little bit of everything.

xFiruath: What’s going on in the Montreal metal scene these days?

The Hitman: There’s a lot of good bands out here. For example, Slaves on Dope from Kevin Jardine, who recorded our album. The scene is pretty incredible but for the clubs, not all the clubs are into the heavy metal scene. If I go back like 10 or 15 years ago we had so many bars and places you could play around town, but now you can count them on your fingers. But it’s pretty cool anyway, we’ve got a lot of bands from elsewhere supporting us. You’ve got good, unknown bands with original stuff here.

xFiruath: Fallstaf performed a record release show not too long ago in Montreal. How was that show?

The Hitman: It did go pretty well. We had a good lineup, we had Slaves on Dope again. We had a French metal band by the name of Kintra, they are a pretty cool band. Most of the time the heavy metal bands all pretty much sing in English, so it makes it more original every once and a while to have French singing. It was pretty much a good night we had there, we had a blast.

xFiruath: What is Fallstaf working on in the near future?

The Hitman: We’ll be working on a new video, which will probably be coming out in January or February. Then we’re going to try to do some stuff outside of Montreal and Quebec. Maybe we’ll be doing shows on your side of the border next year. We’re working on that with our publicist. We’ll figure that out and try to expand out like that.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about what you’ve been listening to lately. Anything come out recently you’d recommend to your fans?

The Hitman: I listen to maybe four or five albums a week. Right now I’m listening to the last album from Mastodon, some Black Label Society, the new album from Five Finger Death Punch. What else? Some Mudvayne. I listen to pretty much everything, I’ve got a big collection of heavy metal CDs.

xFiruath: Anything else you wanted to mention?

The Hitman: I hope people enjoy the album. I know that some people kind of think that since I’m playing a character of The Hitman, the first time they saw the video on YouTube they thought it was the spy from Team Fortress. So I’m like “what’s Team Fortress?” It made me laugh. Personally I think I do kind of look like the character from the video game, but it was never my intention. It wasn’t until long after I started dressing like that that a friend showed me a picture of that character. It’s kind of funny.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur splits his time between writing dark fiction, spreading the word about underground metal bands, and bringing you the latest gaming news. His sci-fi, grimdark fantasy, and horror novels can be found at Amazon.

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