Interview With Saxon - 18th April 2011

Photo Of SaxonRob caught up with Biff and Doug from Saxon to talk about their new album, their main highs and lows as a band and much more.

You have been together as a band for 35 years now, what would you say you’re main high and low points have been during your career?
Biff Byford, Vocals : Well that's a hard question, There have been so many highs in 35 years, its just too difficult to pick from 35 years worth. The first Donnington was great, the one last year was great. There's different sorts of high points, be it an album or a show, most of the high points people know about though don't they. Its the audiences high point and not ours, the 2nd 3rd and 4th albums, the big 3 albums, their a big high point. The last 4 or 5 years have been good for us too.

When you first started out as a band did you ever think you would still be going 35 years later with so many albums under your belts?
Biff: Nah. We take it as it comes, Make albums, play music, get laid, drink, same as every other band these days, no difference there.

You are set to release your 19th studio album ‘Call To Arms’, has the process of making albums got easier over the years? Or do you find it slightly harder to make songs sound fresh considering you have hundreds.
Doug Scarratt, Guitar : we always think its going to be hard, but usually, something happens, something comes, you seem to think how many guitar riffs can you write, how many more lyrics can you write, but when you start, it just comes together.

Biff: With this album we did it a bit differently, we put a different team together to make the album with us. The last 2 3 albums have been quite bombastic, Euro rhythms in there, I think this one has gone back to a British feel for the band, were quite happy with this album.

Doug: We played the songs in the studio more, rather than constructed during the recording process.

Biff: On our last album a lot of the songs were separate, then pieced together digitally, there are performances that weren't performed, if you know what I mean. So its a more performance based album.

Are there any songs left over?
Biff:There's one extra track that will be on itunes, its a bastard, but that's the way of the world these days. Its called dirty double dealer, which is about the bankers.

What themes and stories do you cover within ‘Call To Arms’?
Biff: The usual really, Death, Mayhem, War, Vikings, Rock an Roll, Excalibur is on there, working too fucking hard, trying to finish things on time, that's on there, some stories, some life things, pretty much Saxon stuff really, its not a concept album.

‘When Doomsday Comes’ was written for the soundtrack of the forthcoming movie ‘Hybrid Theory’, was this something that you were approached for?
Biff: Well there two songs, There's that and, No rest for the Wicked which we wrote the song for the film, When Doomsday Comes, was partly written, they let me have the script, we had the riff, but we then fit the rest of the song around the film.

The album artwork is a reworking of the classic Lord Kitchener army recruitment poster, who’s idea was this?
Biff: Mine, I'm to blame for that, Its a well known image, I think we've had a lot of swords, an Celtic Knots and things, medieval imagery, so I thought of using something a bit different really, something to catch the eye. I like it really, we've got two designs running on the shirts, tour art work which is the sword and the steak and the Kitchener design. People have a choice in which to buy into.

Your back doing a pretty huge tour of the UK how have the shows been so far?
Biff: Really great, were averaging over a 1000 a night, way up from last time, were doing 12 shows, were on our way back up again.

How have you found picking your set list for the shows considering you have so much material to choose from?
Biff: Its difficult (is that Van Halen? Wolfsbane are currently sound checking while the interview is going on) Were just doing the set list now, we try to do a different one every night. Were playing 4 new songs, and opening with a new song, a lot of people haven't heard it, so its going to be brave so start with a new one.

You are playing Sheppard’s Bush Empire in London on St Georges Day, do you have any special plans for this show?
Biff: No, but I think the audience do, we don't pre-plan St Georges day, but there will be few things to give it a more English feel, but I think it will be a special day, an English band playing London, we have done it before, but the audience will make it a bit different with flags and singing along.

What do you have planned once your current tour comes to an end?
Biff: It doesn't end really, I think it ends in December. We have a few weeks off in August, I'm going Spain, we go off and do our own things.

What’s your take on the digital revelation killing off the music business?
Biff: Well, it is killing off the Industry but its not killing off the bands is it. Youtube and the internet, has been a fantastic thing for us, we had half a million hits on Crusader, its a lot, we have fans in China now, all over the world, that can click on poor quality videos, we use it a lot, our website is quite big, were on facebook quite heavy, myspace, were really into it, but it is wrecking the established thing of sign a band, pay an advance, its difficult for new bands and record company's, its OK for us because we have guaranteed sales. We don't use twitter because were too busy, we work too hard, were not gonna use it so we can just tell people we just had tomato soup. We read out guest book everyday, if some one wants to get in touch, its instant really.

Has the Internet helped a new generation discover your band?
Biff:Yeah it has, we have 3 maybe 4 generations of fans, as do Maiden and other acts from our time when we started out.

Where do you hope to see yourselves in a year’s time?
Biff: In a years time probably on tour, were putting together America right now, when you have an album, especially if its one they like, you have to hammer it into the ground, If your lucky enough to have a great album, then you have to hammer it to death, and keep doing so until you cant do it any more

One last random question that we ask every band, if you could be an animal out of a zebra or Giraffe which one would you be and why?
Biff: A zebra, its faster. I've seen Giraffes shagging, its awkward, they fall over a lot and there too cumbersome.

Doug, A zebra, I don't fancy a neck that long.

Thanks for your time is there a message for your fans reading this?
Keep the faith and were coming to town near you soon.

Interview By Robert Lawrence
 Band Members

Biff Byford
Doug Scarratt
Nigel Glockler
Paul Quinn
Nibbs Carter
 Latest Releases
Saxon - Call To Arms
Release Date - 23rd May 2011

1. Hammer of the Gods
2. Back In '79
3. Surviving Against The Odds
4. Mists of Avalon
5. Call To Arms
6. Chasing the Bullet
7. Afterburner
8. When Doomsday Comes (Hybrid Theory soundtrack)
9. No Rest for the Wicked
10. Ballad of the Working Man
11. Call To Arms (Orchestral version)
 Band Related Links
Saxon Myspace