As frontman Mikey Heppner puts it, getting the latest Priestess album to fans was “a bit of a battle.” But the good news is the long-awaited album is finally out, and patient followers are now being treated to a cross-Canada tour.
The Priestess van is all loaded up and bringing the band to Whistler for a show at the GLC on Monday (Nov. 30).
It will only be the Montreal band’s second-ever performance in the resort, and audience members can expect a “solid” show with intense music and even a new visual element. Heppner said the band now has a projection show full of “intense psychedelia” to accompany its rock and roll.
But the star of the show will truly be the material from Prior to the Fire, the band’s new album, which was released in Canada in late October. With Priestess’ debut album, Hello Master, having first come out in 2005 it was, by all accounts, a long wait between releases.
While the band made apologies for the delay on its MySpace site, Chart Attack got to the bottom of the situation in an Oct. 30 article. According to the article, it all came down to differences of opinion between record executives at RCA and the band on what constitutes a complete, marketable record.
After recording was finished, the label came back saying they didn’t hear a clear single and asked the band to write more songs. The band members said they didn’t want to do anything forced, and they were proud of the finished album.
The end result was an amicable parting of ways, Heppner said, and the RCA execs even let Priestess out of its deal with the new recording in hand. The band landed on its feet and Indica Records stepped in to release Prior to the Fire.
“We’re really, really happy with it,” Heppner said of the new album.
When it comes to the issue of whether the record includes any clear radio singles, Heppner said he disagrees with the RCA assessment. They wanted a sure thing, something that sounds like songs that are already popular on the radio, he said.
“They don’t like to take chances,” Heppner said. “It wasn’t marketable enough for their money.”
The material on Prior to the Fire isn’t a huge departure from hits such as “Lay Down” and “Talk to Her” that made Priestess popular in the first place. The music has grown more “intense,” Heppner said, and it’s stuff that’s meant to be played live.
“It’s not avant-garde, experimental music,” he said. “People seem to think it’s a good direction. It’s just a natural sort of move for us.”
Radio stations are playing it, fans are “stoked” on it, and the band is excited to be playing the new songs live, he added.
And now that the long wait is over, you can bet it won’t be another four years before Priestess comes out swinging with even more new material. Heppner said though touring is the focus right now, band members are always writing “here and there.” Writing will begin in earnest when there’s a break in touring, he said.
Witness the return of Priestess on Monday (Nov. 30) at the GLC. Advance tickets are $15 at the venue, Billabong and Katmandu. Early Man and Trigger Effect are set to play the opening sets.