Those familiar with Canadian Lords Of The Shred Protest The Hero will know all too well that this is a band who do things their way. You needn’t look any further than their latest release, Pacific Myth to see this in action.

Pacific Myth was released track-by-track to those who signed up for a subscription format. Of course, those who signed up were treated to far more than just tracks with various trinkets and curiosities also made available. Put simply – it was a dedicated fan’s wet dream.

This April, Protest The Hero will be bringing Pacific Myth to Australia for the first time, returning to an adoring fanbase and a country which seems to grow more enamoured with progressive metal every day. Ahead of their arrival, we spoke with vocalist Rody Walker who helped us unravel the Pacific Myth, discussing how the innovative release format went down and sadly confirming that the Australian tour will be backflip free…

For now….

The Neversphere: Right now, you’re touring with August Burns Red throughout Canada. How has the run been so far?
Rody: It’s long as all get out, but these guys are such nice guys, and such a good band that it makes it really easy. They’re one of a kind. There’s very few times I’ve been out on tour and had so much fun with a group of guys.
The Neversphere: Now you’ve got some Australian tour dates on the cards. It’s been a little while between drinks for your fans here. Did it take much to twist your arm to get you back for a headline tour?
Rody: Oh, goodness no. I understand you guys had a bit of a heatwave at the moment…Canada right now is so fucking cold and terrible, I think we actually proposed the idea of going to Australia, we reached out like ‘Get us out of this frozen fucking tundra’. I mean, high 40’s is a little much though.
The Neversphere: There’s a massive amount of love in Australia for progressive metal at the moment. Guys like Protest The Hero, or Periphery or Animals As Leaders…This time around, are you really feeling the love from Down Under?
Rody: Yeah! There’s a really huge prog-metal scene in Australia at the moment and it’s really cool to be included in it, and feeling appreciated for once in our miserable careers [Laughs]. We haven’t been over there enough times to really payback the amount of love you send to us. Last time we were there, we met tonnes of people with tattoos of our band. One guy had an entire back piece of Fortress….

Now it’s like…We really appreciate the fans over there and we haven’t shown it very well but we’re going to do our damnedest to show it.
The Neversphere: How have the shows in Canada been so far? How much of an indicator are they for what you have in store for your Australian fans?
Rody: We’re pretty tame live [Laughs], in terms of jumping around and throwing our bodies around because we’re always trying to play our shit as accurate as possible. But you can certainly expect us to perform a wide variety of music from every album we’ve produced. We’ll play them as efficiently as possible, with some jokes in between…
The Neversphere: I guess that’s all we can ask of you…
Rody: [Laughs] Well you can ask more but we’re getting older…and tired…
The Neversphere: So no backflips?
Rody: Well I can try a backflip but it will probably be the end of my life…
The Neversphere: Hmmm…Ok…fine, no backflips. So, Pacific Myth is out now. Fans have had almost a year to hear the tracks individually via your fairly forward-thinking subscription service. Now it’s been released as a whole and you’ve had time to step away from it, do you think it went down well?
Rody: I think so. The EP format is always a little strange. But worst-case scenario it’s generated a lot of discussion. Be it musically or lyrically, thematically…A lot of people are just trying to figure out what the fuck is going on. I think the kids like it. The seem to sing along at the shows, so we’ll see if they know the words by the time we get to Australia as well.
The Neversphere: What was the mark of success for this to see if it was a viable form of release?
Rody: We knew going into it that this was really isolated to a very specific sect of our fanbase – the ones who are ‘all in‘. It certainly wasn’t going to grow our band at all. Someone who hasn’t heard of us before isn’t going to purchase something before they can hear it. But so many people signed up for it and it was fantastic and it was great to see the support.

Obviously we went in with a little confidence based on our IndieGoGo campaign, knowing that there is some built-in support there from the fans. At the end of it, we released it physically to the rest of the people who might not have liked the subscription idea or just didn’t have patience for the songs to come out.

The Neversphere: The IndieGoGo campaign for Volition, by all accounts, did seem to be a screaming success. What was that moment like? I picture the clouds opening above you and a beam of light shining down as you release you can drop a successful release without the shackles of a record label.
Rody: That was a really cool moment. We had pretty much resigned. Our third record hadn’t done extremely well, we were starting to settle down at home and members were talking about leaving. So we thought let’s do an IndieGoGo and if it goes well, we’ll put out an album and if it goes poorly we’ll still put the record out but maybe think about closing the doors on this fucking thing.

It was completed in 18 hours. It was an absolute shock and it was a breath of life back into the band. Without the IndieGoGo I don’t think we’d be around anymore.
The Neversphere: For your next release, how do you think you’ll play it? Will you crowdsource it via a third party, or perhaps a subscription format, or will you play by the book and release through a label?
Rody: I don’t think we would ever do a straight-up normal release again. But, I’ve been wrong before. I think there are so many new, interesting ideas out there. There’s a new way to release something every day it seems like. By the time we’re ready to release another record i’m sure by then we’ll have stumbled upon someone else’s idea that is quite brilliant. Then we’ll do it and we’ll look really smart when really, it isn’t us at all.
The Neversphere: I can see Protest The Hero being the first to develop a hybrid release system that’s both label supported and crowdsourced…Or I don’t know. I’m not in the band, man, this is your job.
Rody: Well, maybe you can think up the idea and we’ll release the album.
The Neversphere: And I can just put my invoice in the mail?
Rody: Yes, and I’ll send through a very, very small cheque.
The Neversphere: I noticed that Fortress is 10 years next year, which is a trip for me to think back to when I first heard it. But what’s it like for you, one of the dudes who wrote it, to think it came out a decade ago?
Rody: It’s weird to think of. We still play those songs every night but 10 yeas is a long time, we’re different people now but we’re still doing the same thing. A bunch of us are married with houses and cars and kids. Back then, we were just stupid little fucks living in a van getting absolutely shit hammered every night. That’s not a very good way to conduct yourself.

We use to be the young ducks. Everyone would come up like ‘Look at these fucking babies’. Now, we sit there and we’re a little bit older than most people on the tour [Laughs] like, that feels…kinda bad.

Our tour manager right now is quite a bit younger than us. He’s like ‘Oh yeah, I remember listening to that record when I was in elementary school’ and it’s like ‘Oh…Fuck’. I think he’s like 24 or something and has a really great way of making us feel old.
The Neversphere: Man…I remember being 24…
Rody: Yeah…Same…

[Sighs]…It was sweet…

Protest The Hero 2017 Australian Tour Dates

Tickets available now

Friday, April 21
Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Saturday, April 22
Factory Theatre, Sydney (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Sunday, April 23
The Small Ballroom, Newcastle (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Tuesday, 25th April 2017
The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring

Wednesday, April 26
Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)
Tickets: Select Touring