Savage Master - Stacey Peak

Savage Master - Stacey Peak

If you like traditional Heavy Metal, then I’m sure you have on your radar the second LP from US, Kentucky's SAVAGE MASTER, titled “With Whips And Chains”. METAL KAOZ Skyped the band’s frontwoman, Stacey Peak, to get an inside look on the making of the album and then know more about the band's immediate touring plans which will soon start on the other side of the Atlantic. Check below what Stacey had to say...

Savage Master - Stacey Peak

Hello Stacey! Welcome to METAL KAOZ!
Thank you for having me, Dimitris.

So, let’s start right away; how long did you work on “With Whips And Chains”?
We’ve been working on that for a while; we had a couple of songs already ready during our last tour that ended in November. So, we had the song “With Whips And Chains” and then “Vengeance Is Steel”. But for the rest of the album, it was just got it done pretty much at the end of November.

This album comes as a follow-up to the impressive debut, so what did you try to do differently in this album as compared to “Mask Of The Devil”?
We kind of wanted to keep it at the same style, of course, but we just wanted to do better. I think I added more rage to my vocals, we’ve got a new drummer who really adds a lot to the drumming, and the same goes for the guitars. So we all wanted to push it further.

Now that you mentioned the vocals, I think that in the debut I hear a lot of CIRITH UNGOL elements on your vocals.
I’ve heard about that before; I wasn’t going for that, but I think it’s a great compliment.

No one said that you did it on purpose, I mean, I’m saying that if you compare that vocals with what you did for the new album, I’d say you added a little bit more melody.
Yeah, absolutely.

So, was your intention to do it or this just how the vocals came up?
It’s a little bit of both. I definitely wanted to add more melody and do more vocally. But I think some of it also just kind of evolved after playing all these shows, I’m just getting, you know, the feel of it.

The reason for me asking this is that back in the old days no one was really paying attention to the vocals; they just took the mic and started singing, right? Whereas now, singers in Metal are trying to get more from their instrument and become better, so what are you doing for that? Where do you want to take your vocals?
Well, I just wanna keep working on them. The voice is a muscle so you can always keep working with it and adding maybe a wider range and higher pitch.

And at the same time, you’ve to be careful because all the excitement can really put a strain on vocal chords.
I know (laughs).

Again, Adam [Neal] produced this album, so how many degrees of freedom do you get having someone from the band producing the album?
I think it really helps because Adam has such a great vision and it’s really nice that he can not only do so much during the writing process, but he can also go in there and produce the album. It think it keeps the vision more solid.

And you have listed Bart Gabriel as the executive producer, so what was his input?
Basically, we produced the album ourselves and then sent it over Bart to add a bit of production. Basically, he kind of cleaned it up a little bit. He did a really good job, even though I don’t really know the ins and outs of it. I dunno exactly what he did but it sounds better from what we have given him. But it wasn’t much different either.

Although in the ‘80s old-school environment, sounding cleaner is not a good way to go, right (laughs)?
Yeah, sure.

I’m joking, of course. So, in the album’s cover artwork we see something like witch hunters and witches getting burnt; is there a connection between the drawing and the lyrics of the album?
Yeah, definitely. We’ve a few songs with kind of that thing, you know, witch-hunting or witch-burning and whatever. We always like to write about these things and werewolves and everything else like that so we definitely have that into our lyrics.

And how did you work with Chris Moyen in the making of the cover artwork? Did you give him any kind of direction or you let him paint whatever it felt right? Did he listen to the music?
We gave him a lot of directions and then had a look at his sketch and then we said ok, that’s really good but we also want this and that. We’re very selective and we have really certain things that we want to do. It’s like we’re kind of control freaks but we’re not as good as artists as Chris Moyen is (laughs). We gave him a lot of input and he really delivered every part and did exactly what we wanted.

What is going on in the album’s intro; are you invoking Satan?
Yeah (laughs).

Just checking… Can you say that using this kind of thematology is just to serve the extreme part of music or there is something deeper in the lyrics?
I guess there are different levels to the lyrics; basically it’s all about our mindset and attitude - just going out being yourself and having a good time. Figuring things out for yourself and be true to yourself. Fight for what you believe.

Sure, that sounds like an ‘80s Metal mentality. Although I have to be honest with you I didn’t see that coming that the band is from Kentucky, I mean, that kind of Metal from that place of the US is a little bit strange, right?
(laughs) Yeah, it may have something to do with why we are such control freaks because there aren’t really many bands around us but there is a little bit of a scene starting coming up right now and we’re trying our best to promote the Metal scene here. I mean, we try to bring bands here that we know or bands that we have toured with and help them get a show here. So every time we play, we’re getting a good crowd here. When we open for a band we’re bringing through, it means people will be there. Sometimes you’ll be surprised; sometimes you’ll think “this band will definitely have a draw, they have lots of fans online and everything” but then sometimes this is not the case. We always try to do our best and make sure that it’s gonna be a good show. It’s going really well for us, bringing bands through here.

I guess the hard question on this is if you see young faces in the shows or only the old-timers, like us?
I see a good mix, actually. I really do.

That’s good to know. Because, since the band is going to Europe to play a series of live shows, starting with ‘Keep It True’ - and that’s an amazing festival; I don’t know if you have any idea what you’ll be facing there.
This will be my first time overseas at all, personally. I’ve heard great things about ‘KIT’ and Germany and the music scene there. I guess I got a little taste of it just because we just had such a big response from German fans. I can tell that there are such maniacs over there.

I’ve been three times at ‘KIT’ and let me tell you, you’ll be extremely pleasantly surprised.
Yeah, I hope so. I’m sure I will.

Are there any plans to shoot a video for this tour and maybe make a video out of it?
Yeah, we’re thinking about making a video, it’s kind of in the backburner right now. There will be a video of us from ‘Keep It True’ though.

Yeah, they’re taking footage anyway because every year they release a DVD that contains footage from previous year’s fest. Why do you think (although I know this is a tough question to answer) this sound, the ‘80s, old-school sound, appeals more to the European metalheads than it does to the people here in the States?
Yeah, it is a difficult question. Hm, I don’t really know.

But you’re getting the same feeling, right?
Definitely, yeah. I’m not really sure why this happens though, I don’t know why that is. But I’ve noticed that - I don’t know why.

Hopefully, this will change.
Yeah, I think it might. At least there are some good festivals popping up here in the States for this kind of Metal, so I hope that it does help.

Sure. Speaking of the US, after the European live shows, there is nothing in your calendar, so what are you working on as far as the US is concerned?
We’ll be getting back on the road May 13th which is our release date for “With Whips And Chains” and we don’t have the dates in front of us but we’ll be doing a US tour and going to as many places as we can. We’ll be posting the dates to our Facebook page as soon as we have those dates available.

Are you talking about headlining shows or SAVAGE MASTER being a part of a package?
Probably little bit of both.

And I guess you don’t have the other bands names to tell me.
No, it’s not quite official yet, we’ll still work on it.

Ok. Do you know if Chicago is included?

We always play Chicago when we go on tour, I’m sure we’ll play Chicago this time too. We always do really well there, it’s only like 5 hours from where we’re located so, Chicago is always somewhere that we make a point of going to.

Awesome then! So, we’ll see you here, I guess. Is High Roller Records that will handle the vinyl edition of the album here in the States too or you’re working with another distributor for this side of the Atlantic?
It will be High Roller, yeah. It should be available anywhere where you can buy High Roller. That’s an improvement for us; we sold out the “Mask Of The Devil” copies we had.

Are there any plans to re-release “Mask Of The Devil” via High Roller?

We’re planning on re-releasing it; Skol Records will release the new album on CD and we’re kind of working with High Roller to do a vinyl of this album. So, I imagine this will also happen for the re-release of “Mask Of The Devil” with both labels putting it out.

Do you have any bonus material from “With Whips And Chains”, any songs that you left out but you plan to release later on?
We did leave a song out but I’m not sure what will happen; probably we’ll release it at some point later on, but I don’t know. It may not be in our next release – maybe down the road at some point.

Ok, Stacey these were my questions. If you have anything else to add, please do.
I just wanna make sure everybody knows that our new album “With Whips And Chains” will be out May 13th and it’s gonna be available on vinyl, CD and on iTunes digitally. Also you can get merch from us on Amazon (t shirts, beanies, tote bags, patches and everything).