Tim MacMillar – Protest The Hero “Pacific Myths, Easter Eggs and Fan Deadlines”

In 2013 prog/math metal masterminds Protest the Hero made the decision to go on as an independent band, finding alternate ways to source the funding for future releases. Volition, the first album to come after taking this step, was funded via an Indiegogo campaign where fans sent in donations. Pacific Myth is the band’s latest addition to the catalogue as an independent act and would see the band taking a much more personal route for the fans who helped fund the project.

The EP was released one song a month to those who had paid for one of two subscriptions available on their Bandcamp page. Once a month subscribers would receive a new song as well as an instrumental track, guitar tablature, artwork and lyrics. There was also an option to receive monthly episodes of a documentary series on the making of Volition.

I recently caught up with guitarist Tim Millar and we discussed the new EP, the recording and production processes and plans for the future.

With Pacific Myth being released one song a month, this also meant that each month the band was having to get through composition, tracking, production and mixing under strict deadlines that they had set themselves. Comparing the process to previous releases Tim stated:

 “In the past we were bad at meeting our deadlines. For one reason or another, things would take longer than planned and we’d have to push the timeline we were given. I think in this case when we told our subscribers that we would have a song out on this date, it was a pretty hard deadline that we couldn’t really miss. So that definitely lit a fire and added some extra pressure”

After the band released Volition, they saw the departure of bassist Arif Mirabdolbaghi. The spot was filled right away by the band’s producer Cam McLellan. For 6 months Cam would find himself writing and tracking bass as well as producing the songs. When asked about the additional pressure put on his band mate, Tim said:

“We definitely don’t always see it ’cause we’ll go in and track, then we’re like ‘alright we’re done, see ya later!’ And then he’ll spend the next day putting everything together. He was definitely slaving over them. Then after that it would be going to mixing which was a crunch as well, ’cause you never know how many times you have to make a change or a revision before you run out of time. It was a level of pressure we faced every time, 6 times over instead of one album doing it all at once.”

Not only was the band under pressure to get the recording and production work done, but they also had their 10th anniversary tour for Kezia between the release dates of both ‘Tidal’ and ‘Cold Water’.

Despite the conditions the band went through to release the EP, fans would not be disappointed as Pacific Myth is by far the band’s most experimental release yet and even contains what Tim describes as a “musical Easter Egg” in a recurring riff from the first half of the song ‘Caravan’.

 “That section repeats itself four times in total. It’s eight bars and each ending was a riff from a different album. There was ‘Bury the Hatchet‘ from Kezia, ‘C’est La Vie‘ from Scurrilous, I can’t remember the one from Fortress right now [I’m pretty sure it’s ‘Sequoia Throne’] and ‘Drumhead Trial’ from Volition. The ‘Drumhead Trial’ one is really apparent because it is the same key and almost the same timing.”

So will we be seeing Protest the Hero releasing music month by month again in the future?

 “I do like the idea of giving people music spread out over a period of time, instead of our usual case where there’s two or three years between each record. It’s good to know that it’s an option, it’s something we can do. We don’t really have a plan for the next release, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”

 

Protest the Hero are currently touring for the release of Pacific Myth and have recently announced dates in both New Zealand and Australia with Melbourne band Closure in Moscow.

Interview by Jackson Calcutt

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Protest The Hero – Australian Tour Dates

21st April – Melbourne, Corner Hotel

22nd April – Sydney, The Factory Theatre

23rd April – Newcastle, The Small Ballroom

25th April – Brisbane, The Brightside

26th April – Perth, Amplifier Bar

Tickets On Sale Now

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