Barbarian Hermit released their new single “Reawaken” earlier this week. Taken from their debut full-length album, ‘Solitude And Savagery’ (which is out on 16th November), it encapsulates all that is good about the band in 2018.
Since the release of their ’01’ EP in 2016 guitarists Mike Regan and Adam Robertshaw have bedded in a new rhythm section (Rob “Spadge” Sutcliffe on bass and Gareth Manning on drums) whilst welcoming back vocalist Ed Campbell – who fronted the band before, in its early days. Their shows have become more like events than mere gigs, as anyone who saw their incendiary live performance at this year’s Bloodstock Festival will attest to.
As the PR campaign for the new album kicks off, we grabbed Adam for a quick chat about all this Hermit.
APF: You’ve been around for a while. There seems to be a rising wave of love for Hermit right now. Have you noticed it, and if so what do you think has caused it?
Adam: It’s been a slow rise over the last couple of years. It’s noticeable in terms of our social media following creeping up, more people turning up to shows that sort of thing. I think it’s just because we’ve purposefully kept a presence on the scene, gigging as often as we can in as many places as we can. It seems to be paying off!
APF: How was the writing of Solitude And Savagery? Was it easy pulling the 7 songs together, or like pulling teeth?
Adam: It was the easiest and the hardest thing we’ve ever done. We gave ourselves plenty of time to write and we love writing riffs so most of the songs came pretty easy. Some of them like Reawaken for example, we spent months honing and perfecting and I think that shows when you listen to it. As it got nearer recording time we started to feel the pressure a bit but thankfully that lit a fire under our arses and we ended up writing Laniekea, which is probably one of the most ambitious songs we’ve ever written!
APF: How was your week recording at Skyhammer? For those who haven’t been, what’s so great about it and why did you choose it?
Adam:It was amazing, a dream come true. We’d always said from the very start of the band that Skyhammer would be our studio of choice, just because of the output they’ve done over the years and their reputation as being the best in the business for our kind of music. It didn’t disappoint. Chris Fielding is a pleasure to work with. His attention to detail is astounding and he really knows what’s best for the song. Plus they have all this amazing gear for you to play through so we were like kids in a candy shop. On top of that you sleep and eat there while you’re working so it was like a little holiday for the band, and we actually came out of it having bonded more. We can’t wait to go back!
APF: What’s your personal favourite track on the album and why?
Adam: This changes every time I listen to it but I think Black Mass. I wrote the main chorus riff years ago and we’ve been banging our heads against a brick wall for years trying to fit it into a song and we finally did that, so that’s pretty satisfying, plus the rest of the song is journey through all our repertoire of lightness and darkness, groove and brutality. Ed’s vocals on that song are fantastic, Gaz hit it out of the park, and there’s some lovely interplay between myself, Reegs and Spadge. It’s a good snapshot of where the band is at right now.
APF: When you look back over your time in Hermit, what shows stand out as being your favourites, and why?
Adam: Obviously Bloodstock, as it was the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to and it was the result of months of blood, sweat and tears going through the M2TM competition. HRH in Sheffield was amazing. Again, a great turn out and it was one of the first gigs we did with the newer lineup. We’ve had some crazy shows at Riff Fest in Bolton over the years too. One sticks out where the boss of our record label came flying over the barrier and landed on my pedal board!
APF: There are stresses and strains in being an underground band, but also in being a successful one. If Hermit ever became big do you think you could cope with the fame and attention?
Adam: I think we’d have a good stab at it. Praise and attention is always flattering so I’m sure we could handle a bit more of that. Plus the money and other trappings that come with fame would be nice. One of us might end up dead though.
APF: You’re an integral part of the APF Records family? Which other bands on the label do you have a particular affinity with, personally or musically?
Adam: Under have been our boyfriends for years, I can’t wait to hear their new one. I think we’ve played more shows with Pist than we have any other band, it’s like we’re their unofficial support band. And I think because we were signed around the same time as Battalions, we’re releasing near to each other and have the same PR in Hold Tight! there is a bit of friendly competition going on but also a fraternity, like we’re going through the same stuff together, which is cool.
APF: What’s your highlight of 2018 so far?
Adam: That’s a tough one as it’s been a big year for us. It’s got to be recording at Skyhammer for me. With Bloodstock being a close second.
APF: Who’s the biggest bellend in Babs, and why?
Adam: Haha! Spadge. Have you seen his helmet?!
APF: How do you manage to not fanboy Mike Regan every time he walks in the room?
Adam: I really don’t know. I was a huge Bisonhammer fan back in the day so I still find it surreal that I’m in a band with him. The man’s a beast! All hail BIG DADDY REEGS!
Barbarian Hermit’s “Solitude And Savagery” is available to pre-order now from: