Interview: Dan Cleary – Striker

Canada is awesome. If you need proof behind this statement, I’ll back up my claims with “Jeff Waters.” More proof you say? Have Striker.

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Formed in Edmonton in 2008, the band have enjoyed a steady rise in popularity over the last few years, even managing to put in a few punches above their weight class in a special support slot. With the band about to release their third studio album, City of Gold, we took the chance to speak with lead singer, Dan Cleary.

Some bands struggle with the third album, others breeze through it no problem using the experience from the first two releases. We open by asking if the writing and recording process was easier on City of Gold.

“It’s always been pretty similar for each album. We kind of write all the time and then pick out what we like the most. This time we put a bit more effort into the pre production before we went into the studio which made the studio time more productive….I think haha.”

And what about the album itself, what can be expected of it?

Heavy as fuck drums, a lot more thrash elements, lots of “fuck you”s to the man!”

Preview of the upcoming release.

The album will be released this month via Napalm Records, as a side note we ask how the deal was formed. Whether the band approached Napalm, or did Napalm approach the band. “We had already recorded “Armed To The Teeth” and were looking for a label to release with. Napalm heard the album and got in touch with us and the rest is history.”

With history in mind, Striker formed at a time when the New Wave of Traditional Metal (as it came to be called) movement was in full swing. Like those bands, Striker came into the scene with a distinctly old school vibe and energy, unlike many of those bands though, they didn’t try and emulate their inspirations.

“We never set out to be like a particular band, we just wanted to be a band that played the type of metal we liked. Like we didn’t go “Hey lets be Iron Maiden” we just started having fun writing music that we liked and it went from there. I don’t see the point in doing that kind of clone thing, maybe when I hear an album better than Number of the Beast.”

I mentioned a particularly special support slot earlier, we asked Dan how they came to support Metallica for two nights in 2012.

“We got picked by a local radio station to be “the band” to open for them two nights in our home town Edmonton. It was insane. I never thought a weekend could go by so fast. It was really awesome, and all the Metallica guys were super cool to us!”

Official video for “Let it Burn”

Clearly Canada is supportive of local music, a trait that isn’t seen as often as it should be around the world. With radio stations and promoters on board, does the Canadian government itself support the local artists?

“Yeah totally. We have received a couple grants and support from our local government. Take that “The man”. There is a lot of support for the arts here, although it seems like they might try and cut it back because you know, artists are so rich and respected, why would they need any help….”

A final point before this turns into a Canada love fest, a point I recalled from Anvil’s book was the difficulty in breaking America. Jeff Waters of Annihilator fame has also mentioned it in interviews. While being able to build success and popularity within their home country and even Europe, both bands struggled to make real headway into the States. This was three decades ago though, with the internet at pretty much every finger tip, is the problem still there?

“I’m not really sure, I think the border is a bit blurred culturally these days. There’s been some massive artists come out of Canada. I won’t name any names haha. We haven’t had the chance yet to tour the states so I’m not too sure how we will do there. We will see in Oct/Nov with Onslaught and Artillery!”

On the subject of touring, we ask how life on the road is, is it still fun as it was back at the start?

We’ve had some pretty grinder tours” answers Clearly. “Sometimes it can get a little shitty, like when people start getting sick and stuff. But we still love it.”

Obviously on the road there are some home comforts you just can’t bring with you. We ask what the one amenity he really misses is, I’m sure many of you festival goers can relate to the answer. “You don’t appreciate a nice warm shower until you don’t have it” he says.

Moving from home comforts to on the road comforts, we ask what the most important item on the Striker rider is. It’s an obvious question.

Beer.”

Exhibit A

It might be an obvious question because metal bands like beer (which is a rule), but also because the band list it in their band interests on Facebook. Also listed is The Simpsons, this leads us onto our most probing and important question of the interview. Futurama, yay or nay, and more importantly, favourite Simpsons episode?

“Yeah Futurama is sick! That’s a super hard question…..right now as I’m thinking about it….maybe the one where Bart breaks his leg and can’t go in the pool. Milpool………”

Visit the Striker Facebook for more information and stock up on official merch here.

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