ZT INTERROGATION: PRIMITAI PUSH UP THE INSANITY LEVELS WITH NEW ALBUM

Primitai guitarist Srdjan Bilic gives ZT’s Paul Castles an insight into the new album, Night Brings Insanity, and explains why the band’s devotion to traditional heavy metal remains as strong as ever

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ZT: Hi guys, thanks for talking with Zero Tolerance. Your new album, Night Brings Insanity, is out soon – you must be buzzing about it?
SB: We certainly are! We’ve been counting down the days until the release and can’t wait for everyone to hear it, and the initial feedback has been nothing but positive so we are excited to see the wider response.

ZT: The last time I saw you was a couple of years ago in Birmingham supporting Sepultura. I see there have been a couple of line-up changes since then?
SB: Our guitarist Tom Draper moved to the States but we remain good friends and he even guests a solo on the new album on ‘Conclusion Forgone’, and we were incredibly lucky to chance upon replacement Sergio Giron who has seriously raised the bar. More recently we were joined by new drummer and bassist Jonathan and Scott, formerly of Top 40 charting Dry The River.

ZT: Are the new band members old friends or did you stage auditions?
SB: Our new drummer is Guy’s life-long friend and fellow bandmate of past-gone bands, the drum clinician: Jon Warren. Guy’s brother Scott Miller has taken over the mantle on bass. They grew up playing in bands together so when they both became available following the break-up of their band Dry the River the decision was an easy one.

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ZT: Were these changes in personnel made before recording the new album?
SB: Scott and Jonny officially joined the band quite late in the production stage, so the songs and arrangements were already finalised, although Scott did manage to write bass on some tracks. Following the departure of Jamie (bass) and Chris (drums), the three of us (Guy, Srdjan and Sergio) pressed on and decided to set about writing and recording the new album regardless, as we had to seize the moment immediately or risk a long absence and falling off the radar.

ZT: I see you’ve an album launch show at the Black Heart in London?
SB: Yes indeed! Because of our unforeseen year out from gigging it’s been a long time since we had a headline show in London, so we are going to make up for the wait! It’s going to be one of our longest ever sets with all the new songs and fan favourites, and we’ve put together a great bill with two excellent authentic London bands, Future Shock and Night Screamer.

ZT:  Primitai’s reputation has always been built around straight down the middle heavy metal – is that still at the core of the new album?
SB: Very much so, we draw influence from many subgenres from classic rock, power metal to melodeath, so the end result is simply Heavy Metal really. The music can’t be pigeonholed to one type because there will be elements from the other ends of the spectrum. Our newest album introduces slight progressive elements in some of the songs, some rhythmically technical riffs and drum parts, mainly due to Sergio’s big Symphony X and Angra influences.

ZT: This is the band’s fourth album, have there been any particular changes in approach over the last few years?
SB: Night Brings Insanity is the most collaborative album to date. Founder and former guitarist Nick Saxby was the main songwriter up until 2013’s Rise Again, with Srdjan and Jamie Lordcastle contributing songs as well. This time every song was a collaboration, between at least Guy, Srdjan and Sergio, with Scott and Jonny making input too. We had to seize the moment last summer so we took all the riffs we had and finalised nine songs from May to July, in order to have them recorded, reamped, mixed, mastered, printed and promoted by spring 2016. This is all while working full-time jobs in three different towns, so we really pressed on as much as we could.

ZT: Do the songs on the new album carry any particular theme or concept?
SB: Some songs like ‘Black Rider’ and ‘Power Surge’ are metaphorical stories or characters that sum up strength and determination to carry on. ‘Night Brings Insanity’ is about nightmares and sleep paralysis, ‘My Last Escape’ is about escaping from captivity and the journey to freedom. ‘Brace for Storms’ is our “Viking Epic”. ‘Night Hunter’ is about the thrill and chase of a rock n roll fuelled night out. So there is a mix of ‘motivational’ songs and ‘heavy metal story telling’.

ZT:  You ran a Pledge campaign in support of the album, and it seems to have gone well – Just explain the strategy behind this.
SB: The Pledge Music campaign and pre-order campaign on our website was launched once the actual album recording was completely finished and mastered, so that we could guarantee the release date to our fans while giving them a chance to help us cross the finish line. The purpose was to raise money for the final costs such as manufacturing T-shirts and CDs – we wanted to offer high quality physical products that would justify their purchase now that we are fully in the digital age. Overall between the two sites it was a great success and it far surpassed our modest expectations. We raised enough money to get everything made well before the release date and Pledge introduced to new fans literally all over the world. Our older fans really answered the call as well.

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ZT: I hear Guy and Scott enjoyed recent road trip around the States, sounds fun?
SB: Scott was out in the States doing some roadie-ing/teching for a band on a US tour. I was fortunate enough to fly out to the North West and join them on the road. We then rented a car and did a bit of a road trip all down the West Coast taking in some of the culture in the form of various spectacular national parks, then lived it up in LA for a few days, even managing to catch Avantasia along with our ex-Primitai band mate Tom Draper.

ZT: What touring plans are in place around the new album?
SB: We’re looking to get out on the road over the summer for some decent support slots and hopefully do a tour in the Autumn.

ZT: Any summer festival slots booked?
SB: Not as yet as we only recently declared our return to live status, but the returning industry confidence in us should set us up for a busy end of 2016 and summer 2017, with hopefully some international dates too.

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