For their latest record Volition, Toronto progressive heavy-metal band Protest The Hero took matters into their own hands.
Since 2001, the band has earned a reputation for their energetic, engaging live show. That has no doubt played a part in the group having successfully secured slots alongside the likes of Alexisonfire, Avenged Sevenfold and more.
But after having released three full-length efforts on Canadian indie label Underground Operations, the group sought to reclaim their independence and got by with a little help from their fans.
Performing at Moncton’s Caveau next Tuesday night, Protest The Hero vocalist Rody Walker says the move to once again becoming an independent band was pretty much a no-brainer.
“Not to speak bad about the label but no label treated us in a way that we would have liked to have been treated,” Rody explains. “This time around, we were looking to not be in the back pocket of a label. When you accept an advance from a label, there is just so much baggage that goes along with it. It is a quantity of money that you will essentially never have a chance to pay back through record sales. And records, for a band like us, don’t sell. You are paying back $100,000 pennies at a time. To continue making music and surviving, we knew we were going to have to make some changes.”
One of those changes included launching a crowd-funding campaign via Indiegogo. Given the often extraordinarily high costs associated with making, releasing and marketing a record, many acts are opting to enlist their fans support when it comes to getting new projects off the ground.
In January 2013, the group got their Indiegogo campaign underway with a goal of $125,000. Within 30 hours of the campaign’s launch, their goal was met. By the time the dust settled, the group’s fans contributed more than $340,000.
“The success of the Indiegogo campaign caught us completely off guard because it could have gone either way: It could have been a crazy success or a big failure. Going into the campaign, we agreed that if we only raised $200, we were still going to have to find a way to get the record made.
“Initially, it was a very daunting process and a very scary thing to put your career in the hands of your fans. It worked out incredibly well for us though. We had even more devoted fans than we realized we did. The campaign really invigorated us to want to make more music and get back on the road.”
Admitting that the group didn’t tour their 2011 record Scurillous as intensely as prior efforts, Rody says that the correlation between the album’s success and the lack of touring was undeniable. Determined not to let history repeat itself, the band’s recommitment to touring did not come without a cost: Original Protest The Hero drummer Moe Carlson exited the band in mid-2013.
“We have only been on the road a short time behind Volitions but the ramifications behind our dedication to touring have been obvious and noticeable. It feels good, given the somewhat lackluster response to Scurrilous. We had some serious concerns back then that maybe our fan base was waning but to see the response we are getting on this tour, it has reaffirmed what we do in the best of ways.”
What: Protest The Hero with special guests The Motorleague, Intervals and Tactus
When: Tuesday Apr. 8, 8:30 p.m.
Where: The Caveau (located in the basement of Aura Nightclub), 700 Main St., Moncton
Advance tickets are $25 (plus service fees), available at Spin It Records (467 Main St., Moncton), online at ticketpro.ca, by phone at 1-888-311-9090