If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you’ll know that James Delbridge – mastermind of the Canadian heavy metal band Lycanthro – is a good friend and regular guest. So it’s no wonder that I wanted to talk to him about his great last album Mark of the Wolf, the current Lycanthro line-up and his ambitious plans for the future. Enjoy reading!
André: Hi James, how are you?
James Delbridge: I’m doing alright all things considered, here in Ontario we just went back in lockdown which sucks. But it’s been great to have all this time on my hands to work on music!
You’ve been very active on social media for a few months now. Is it very rewarding for Lycanthro? And do you enjoy doing it?
Being more active on social media has definitely been a rewarding experience so far but in a peaks and valleys sort of way. We are at the stage now where we are currently experimenting to see what kinds of content our followers like viewing the most. Some days we’ll post something new and experimental and sometimes the fans like it and sometimes they don’t, and from there, we make more of the material that our followers seem to like, and that gets us the best reception. For example, on Instagram, we are constantly trying to find what kind of material our followers like and when we do we stick to it, such as our livestream talk show series and comedy reels. These things are not something you would find on a typical band’s Instagram page but the content fits and compliments our image and music, and I get the most enjoyment out of the experience when we can find those pieces of material the fans like the most.
Let’s talk about your current album. What characterizes people who are marked by the wolf?
People who are marked by the wolf are people who have transcended the next state of being, they have joined the inner circle, and have achieved total enlightenment! Haha, but honestly we can’t thank the people who have constantly supported us enough! Including all of you fine folks here at Epic Metal Blog, you are all truly marked by the wolf!
Indeed! I think your album sounds excellent, Is the sound very important to you in general?
Well, when you play a genre like power metal, the sound and production is one of, if not the most important thing. When we 1st started as a band and put out our 1st demo (and to a lesser extent our 4 Horsemen EP), the main criticism we got as a band is that the songs were good but the production had to be improved. We figured that the kind of music we play is a genre that needs top notch production and we definitely focused more on the overall production and sound of Mark of the Wolf more than we had on the previous releases and the album benefitted so much more from it.
You have a completely renewed line-up. Please introduce the new guys in the band to our readers.
Yes! Our new guitarist’s name is Forest Dussault, we met him when he responded to an ad we posted online and his playing completely blew us away! I always like to tell people that his playing is like if Luca Turilli and Michael Schenker had a child who went through a rebellious black metal phase! This is actually the 1st band he’s ever been in but he’s been adapting great and we can’t wait for people to hear his playing more as he is one of the best guitar players we’ve ever seen! In terms of our new bass player, his name is Stew Everitt. We met him because he is the cook at a local metal bar called The Koven. I saw him walk in one day with a Blind Guardian shirt on and we started chatting, where he told me he plays a bunch of different instruments, including bass. We asked him to come jam with us and our personalities connected instantly! He is a valued member of the band now as he’s a great bass player and a master of many other instruments like sitar and mandolin! Really happy to have both of them in the band.
How much input did the new members have on Mark of the Wolf? The songwriting is, as some people know, completely your responsibility…
I wrote all the tracks on Mark of the Wolf, and funnily enough, the new lineup isn’t really on the album. The album was recorded a while back with the old lineup. The reason it took so long is that we had a bunch of setbacks (both personal and due to covid) that made the album production longer than it should have. Our current guitarist Forest joined the band during the final stages of the album and he recorded a few guitar solos for the new album because we wanted to show off his skills and because some of the old solos on the tracks weren’t cutting it. He was the only one in the new lineup who had any input on this album, but his input made it better than we could’ve imagined!
How often have the four of you actually been able to rehearse together?
It’s been very on and off for us due to the constant covid restrictions here in Ontario, Canada. When we were able to we consistently rehearsed once a week for the 1st two months of this year. But unfortunately, we’ve spent almost 3 months of this year in lockdown so we haven’t been able to rehearse at all during that time. But we’ve all been keeping productive despite all of that, we all have home recording set-ups so it’s been easy to record demos and send them to each other to work on at home.
Is there a track on Mark of the Wolf that you are particularly proud of?
There are 2 that come to my mind. The 1st one is easily “Crucible”, it was the 1st song ever officially written for Lycanthro and it has still held up since then. I’m very proud of everyone’s performances and it’s always been a song that has been received well live. It’s the 1 song we never take off the setlist. The other track I would have to say would be “Evangelion”. I put the biggest amount of effort and emotion into this song as it was a very difficult and strenuous song to record. But, I feel like it was more rewarding to hear people tell me that it was one of their favourite tracks on the album, making the painful journey of recording the song worth it.
Have you already written songs for a successor?
Kind of yes! We have a new EP fully written that we wrote last year during the lockdown, we hope to get into the studio to record that in the fall, and that will be the official recording debut of the new lineup. As for a 2nd full length, we are always writing and we currently have about 4 or 5 songs written for one. We always like to stay productive and we are constantly writing and coming up with different ideas, so expect to hear new music from us on a more frequent basis.
Great news! I wrote in my review that I wouldn’t be surprised if you composed a rock opera one day. Have you ever thought about such an ambitious project? And do you like rock operas at all?
I absolutely love rock operas! Many groups that do rock/metal operas like Avantasia and Ayreon have been a huge influence on me. I 100% plan on writing a full-on rock opera for Lycanthro, and that is actually the plan for one of the future albums, an album that tells an epic and tragic story with a huge production and a few guests here and there. Doing a rock opera album is a dream of mine so yes we will do a rock opera album in the future. I have even toyed with the idea of doing a side project where it’s all rock opera albums with different guest singers/musicians. All those things are in the cards for us for sure.
Have you ever thought of covering a Savatage track? I think that would work well.
I have actually wanted to cover something off of Dead Winter Dead for a long time. It is my all-time favourite Savatage album. Even though I like the Jon Oliva era a bit better, that album to me was so perfect in its delivery in its story, emotion, and musicianship. I really want to do a track from that album and if I had to pick, it would either be the title track or “This is the Time”.
Last question: Assuming this pandemic is over soon: Are you planning to play gigs in Europe?
Europe is definitely our top priority in terms of places to play. We are mainly waiting for/seeking out the right offer or opportunity to come along so we can make it official. So to answer your question, yes we do plan on playing gigs in Europe, we really want to play for all of the awesome people in the greater European metal scene!
James, many thanks for your time! To put it in your words: Stay metal, my friend!