Savage Messiah: The Download 2018 Interview

There's been a real throwback to the classic heavy metal formula in recent years, and it's bands like the UK's own Savage Messiah that are leading the charge. Fresh off a recent UK headline tour and before their Download set, we had a chat to see where their heads are at and what's next.

Hey guys, how’s it going?

Yeah, all good!

You played Download before if I recall right.

Yeah in 2016

What’s different for you this year and what’s stayed the same?

The layout’s different, that’s the strange thing but other than that, almost exactly the same

That’s great in a way, being familiar. Yeah almost 40 years no change, apart from it used to be one day. Gets a bit boring though, sometimes, no change. I think that’s what keeps people coming back, familiarity.

It's familiar, but they do change things up.

Small changes. Although, they do say that familiarity breeds contempt.

Anyone you guys are really looking forward to seeing this weekend, other than the obvious headliners?

Greta Van Fleet are playing the Sunday. Would like to see them, a lot of buzz about them, heard them and would like to say how they can deliver live, very curious. They’re very young, from Atlanta and sound like Led Zeppelin.

What’s one festival that you would love to play?

There’s one we are playing, Hellfest, we’re on the main stage so that’s going to be a trip and we can’t wait to do that. Other than that, we’ve been so lucky, other than Wacken, we’ve played some kickass festivals like Loud Park in Tokyo, one in Georgia, so yeah.

Is it a bit weird playing somewhere like Download and then - I mean, you played Rock City in Nottingham recently which is a totally different venue.

Yeah it’s quite different, but it’s not weird, just a different kind of show you know. When you’re doing your own gig it’s actually way, way better because anybody that bought a ticket came to see you so there’s less pressure. With a show like this it’s more about converting people so you’re very conscious of that but you just have to do your thing, y’know.

Got any surprises for us this year?

*Point to each other* - he’s performing in the nude. Ah but there goes the surprise!

Something of a cheesy one perhaps - what’s your best festival survival tip?

Go home immediately after you played!

Bring wellies? Gotta bring wellies. And if you have a tent, you gotta have another layer of polystyrene or plastic or something - not polystyrene, PVC is what I’m after-

What does PVC stand for?

Dunno but you pull it over your tent and you’re like doubly waterproof.

My best tip would be don’t die. Do whatever you’ve gotta do but don’t die. Bring PVC!

Don’t die and bring PVC? Sorted. So what’s the future looking like for you? Hands of Fate came out a little while, was really well received.

Yeah, it was really well received. So we’re doing another record, hopefully be out next year February or March, we’re doing one tour at the moment with Exodus, festivals as well of course. We’re doing a headline run in Europe in November and possibly going back to Japan in October. That’s not confirmed yet but we’ll see. Then next year we’re doing quite a lot of cool stuff - quite looking forward to it.

You mention Japan - what’s your favourite place you’ve played then?

We’d definitely say Japan, the fans are just so energetic over there, so respectful. I dunno, it’s just less snobbery it seems. Sometimes you go to certain markets like Germany, lot of snobbery there, UK very snobbish or can be, y’know, whereas Japan it’s not as prevalent y’know.

Do you feel the UK then has a lot of snobbery or elitism?

Yeah. That’s not my opinion - just look at the fact that whenever any festival announces a headliner, generally it’s met with moaning. Someone’s gonna hate it. People are just… we’re more entitled, we have a relatively decent standard of living, people are, y’know… For example, lived in London for 11 years, there’s a heavy metal gig on almost every night of the week. So people are a little more spoiled there.

There’s too much negativity sometimes.

Sometimes you can’t win because of that fact, so much negativity, but for example places like Japan there’s less of it. Still some of it but I think also, the way they perceived us over there is different. For example, the first time we went over there and played, a massive arena at Loud Park to y’know, 10-20 thousand people so you’re seen in that light from the instant.

Yeah in the UK it’s different because we’re from the UK, we did all our growing up here. When a band starts out they’re going to suck! We played like 200 gigs in the UK, we’ve done… 3 gigs in Japan. So instantly it shows, y’know, the Japanese a different side of the band.

It’s a scarcity thing too. When you go to Japan and the band’s already viewed that way and it’s the first album - there’s more value in scarcity. You’ve not started at zero, people having eyes on you and seeing you work your way up. The snobbery isn’t necessarily directed at our band, we think we’ve been pretty well received in the UK, it’s just within the scene.

I’d agree with that, there’s definitely appeal for that kind of thrashy, classic heavy metal sound - I saw you guys in Nottingham and thought it was fantastic.

Thanks, and Nottingham was pretty well attended. That tour and in fact Manchester, that was killer and London was killer and it really did take us by surprise because we’ve never really done a headline tour, not a proper one. The first we’ve tried in a few years and people just turned up and it was really rewarding, y’know. So onwards and upwards!

So I guess - you’ve played Download before, would you keep coming back?

As long as they keep asking us! I came here when I was 16, right, with all my mates, and we got split up, no phones, so I was on my own, and made new friends, which is very easy to do at Download let me tell you that, so to come and play in 2016 was so cool and to now be asked back again was just amazing. We’re all just fans, I came in 2004 and I was 15, I saw Metallica play without Lars Ulrich; I saw Slayer in a tent because their gear didn’t turn up… I saw Damageplan so I got to see Dimebag - y’know. So now, we’re a part - a small part- of that conversation and that’s so cool.

What would be your ideal festival and where would you hold it then?

What if it was our festival?


A place near me, I could sleep in my own bed! That’d be alright. Oh we’d headline! And we’d take the headliner’s guarantee no doubt about that. I’m only in it for the money! (Laughs) I’ll be honest, I’d want to see Slash and Duff. Well that’s tomorrow’s Download! Yeah so it seems like this year’s Download is my dream festival, we’re just not headlining yet - but dreams come true.

Well that’s all we got time for but thanks so much for your time and have a great set!

Yeah thanks!


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