Interview with bassist Jordan Rhyno and vocalist Nick Allaire
Interview conducted by MetalMike
Date online: January 9, 2016
Antioch is a Traditional Heavy Metal band that hails from Ontario in Canada. Antioch II: First Strÿke is the band's debut album and as you may have gathered from the title, as well as the band name which is taken from a Monty Python movie, humor is a big part of Antioch's DNA. That and a strong love of 80s Heavy Metal by Judas Priest, Manowar, Metallica and others. In the following interview, Jordan and Nick tell us about the band, the recording of the album, their inspirations and don't waste an opportunity to crack wise.
MetalMike: Hails Antioch! How are things going for the band now that your debut album, Antioch II: First Strÿke is available? Why Antioch II? Isn't this your first album?
Jordan: Hey MetalMike, thanks for sitting down with us. Things are going slightly better than they were before we released the album. Thus, everything is awesome. This is our first full-length. We released an EP last year (2014) called Antioch. Like any good movie, Antioch II: First Strÿke had to sound just as appealing as the first. The next album will probably be called Antioch III: Back 4 More.
Nick: I'm excited for Antioch IV: Third Time's the Charm.
MetalMike: Before we get into the music can you give us a brief history of the band? How long have you been together in the current form and what were the members doing prior to forming Antioch?
Jordan: We are just four boys who came together to find the meaning of friendship and Christmas spirit. We've been together since late 2013. While we were all in bands before Antioch, Antioch is what I would consider everyone's first "serious" band.
Nick: The band's guitarist Alex and I have been in bands together since we first met in high school, but we could never find people who wanted to play the good stuff (Heavy Metal). By the grace of the metal gods, we managed to link up with Jordan and Brendan, thus creating Antioch: Four boys who wanted to play some Judas Priest-style Heavy Metal.
MetalMike: Who came up with the name Antioch? Does it symbolize anything or is it just a cool-sounding name? The band's logo is great, in an 80s way. Who is responsible for that bit of artwork?
Jordan: The name has a lot of meaning for us. It symbolizes hope, strength and destruction. Something we try to do with our music. The name was taken from the battle where King Arthur and his brave knights faced the ferocious beast in their quest to find the Holy Grail. The only thing that could stop the creature was the holy hand grenade of Antioch. Alex, our guitarist created the logo for the most part. Every band's logo should have a weapon in it.
Nick: King Arthur has never faced such a ferocious beast, so like the grenade, we too are ferocious.
MetalMike: Obviously the 80s period of Heavy Metal is important to Antioch. What attracted the guys in the band to that sound? Which bands are the biggest influences on your style and when did you first discover them?
Jordan: What attracted us to 80s heavy metal is the fact that it's the best damn music on the face of this goddamn earth. Judas Priest and Manowar are the two biggest influences on the band. After that it's a mixed bag. Some of us are influenced by old Metallica, some of us prefer mid-90s Load/ReLoad Metallica. Some people are influenced by Freedom Call others by The Aquabats, so yeah, it's a mixed bag.
Nick: I was attracted to it because it's the best kind of heavy metal, although I originally started off listening to the Big Four when I first got into metal. Also, which one of us prefers mid-90s Metallica?
Jordan: I believe Alex has a fascination with "Fuel."
MetalMike: There are a lot of bands around these days trying to recapture, recreate or just rip off the sounds of bands like Judas Priest, Omen, Metal Church, etc. What do you guys to do make sure that you maintain your individuality while still writing songs that sound like the music you love? Is it hard to maintain separation from your heroes?
Jordan: I have no problem with people trying to recreate those bands, because in that case, metal is going to be awesome again. When we write new music, we are always aware of what we did in the past and what we are doing in the present. We could just make all of our songs sound fast and furious and ultimately the same, but we prefer variety. We like to have the "Painkiller", the "Hell Patrol", the "Desert Plains", the "Turbo Lover", etc., etc.
Nick: I agree with Jordan. If we wrote nothing but songs like "Turbo Lover" and "Desert Plains", I'd be a happy man, but there does come a certain degree of scrutiny that we have to maintain so we don't sound like we're simply doing what has been done before. I feel that the music we make has the heart and soul of the 80s Heavy Metal, but done our way, and no one can replicate that.
MetalMike: What goes into a great, 80s-style Heavy Metal song?
Jordan: All around catchiness; catchy lyrics, catchy rhythm parts, catchy solos.
Nick: For the answer to that question, please consult the Judas Priest discography from the years 1980 to 1990.
MetalMike: Antioch II: First Strÿke is a very solid release, from my point of view, so has it generated any label interest? Is that even part of the plan or would you prefer to remain independent and not beholden to a label?
Nick: Thanks! We're glad you like it, Mike. As far as we know, no major labels are interested in Antioch at the moment (their loss, I know), but we have been contacted by a few independent labels. For the time being, Antioch will remain an independent band. If the right opportunity presents itself, we could very well find ourselves signed in the near future, but for now, these boys remain independent.
MetalMike: The cover art is very professional-looking and really emphasizes the old-school nature of the album. Who created the cover and was a big expense for an independent band or is money less important than having the right image?
Nick: That wonderful piece of artwork was created by Mr. Hervé Monjeaud. He's known for the artwork he does for Iron Maiden as well as Gamma Ray. We envisioned the artwork we wanted months in advance and we knew we couldn't just go with any artist to bring our vision to life. I believe it was our drummer Brendan who suggested going with Hervé. We contacted him and he loved our idea. The end result was nothing short of spectacular. I mean come on, it's a lion wielding a sword, wearing a pickelhaube helmet while riding a missile through space and being chased by a giant, iron space serpent. What's not to love?
Money is always an issue when it comes to making music, but if this was about the money, we wouldn't be doing the music that we love. You can't put a price on artwork like that.
MetalMike: Who writes the songs for Antioch? Is it a whole-band effort or are there one or two main songwriters?
Jordan: It's a band effort. Some people contribute less than others in the initial stages of some songs, but we all play an important part of this metal pizza of a band.
MetalMike: Who writes the lyrics and what kinds of things do you like to sing about? Many of the songs seem to be about "Heavy Metal" topics like "Enhammered" and "The Strÿker Rides" but are there deeper meanings behind any of the words?
Nick: as the vocalist, I feel a strong, personal attachment to the lyrics I write, as I can relate to them more, but I do not write all of the lyrics. I've written about 50% of the lyrics on my own and Jordan has written a large portion of the lyrics as well. We've also collaborated as a group on quite a few songs. I'm always open to ideas and contributions when it comes to lyric writing, and I'll never turn down amazing lyrics, even if I didn't write them. All of us have our own writing style when it comes to the lyrics, and when we collaborate, we can come up with some pretty crazy stuff.
Most of our songs revolve around battles, space, executions, war, religion, and other heavy metal topics like that. Some of our songs do have deeper/hidden meaning, but what would be the fun in spilling the beans? I'd like to leave the deeper interpretations up to the listener. What one song might mean to us might mean something completely different to someone else, and we think that's just terrific.
MetalMike: Where was Antioch II: First Strÿke recorded? Did you record the album like the bands back in the 80s with everyone in the studio at the same time playing together or was it a more modern effort with different parts recorded at different times?
Nick: We actually time-travelled back to the 80s so that we could authentically record it the way we wanted to. Why didn't we just stay? Well, we didn't think about it at the time.
Jordan: The record was recorded at the Lincoln County Social Club in Toronto; we recorded all of the instruments at once and went back to record vocals, leads, and other nuances separately. Since we did time travel we did use actual road maps, as our GPS didn't work once we got there.
MetalMike: What are your favorite tracks from Antioch II: First Strÿke and why?
Jordan: My favourite tracks on the album are "Iron Serpent" and "Ebon Star". Both have strong catchy riffs, and I think they both capture the variety of styles, moods, and atmospheres we try to convey.
Nick: If we didn't all love the songs, we wouldn't have recorded them (laughs), but if I had to pick a few favourites, I'd go with "Ebon Star" and "Antioch". They're both so unique. With "Ebon Star", there is an overwhelming dark tone to it, which we don't often take, and I really got to go nuts with the vocals on that song. Antioch is a true heavy metal anthem that I'll never get tired of belting out on stage.
MetalMike: Has Antioch been able to play live much? Are there many places to play in the Ontario area? Is Antioch and band you hope to make a career from or does it take a back seat to family, jobs, etc.?
Jordan: We've played a lot in our immediate area, but not much outside. There are lots of places to play in Ontario, but it's really just a matter if there are people that will come see you. For the important things, Antioch does take a back seat, but we are really just seeing where this crazy road will take us.
MetalMike: If you could tour with any one band from the 80s, which one would it be?
Jordan: Warlock, though if we're talking about bands that are still around Saxon or Doro will suffice.
Nick: My dream tour would be Judas Priest, Manowar, and Antioch. I would love to play in Europe with some of the European greats like Scorpions, Helloween, and even Alestorm (even though they're not 80s).
MetalMike: The internet has its pros and cons, like reaching lots of people through social media (pro) and illegal downloading (con). One thing that is definitely a pro is that fans can see bands from the other side of the planet on sites like YouTube. Does Antioch have any live music available?
Jordan: We have some songs stuff on YouTube, both of our albums are available on Bandcamp, Spotify, etc., etc. We haven't quite mastered social media. Our Twitter page is pretty much only filled with retweets from the current WWE Tag Team Champions, the New Day. I guess we should plug other stuff, and be more active, but we aren't really that type of goofballs.
MetalMike: What are the biggest challenges for a band like Antioch and, on the other hand, what are biggest rewards of doing what you love?
Nick: Our biggest hurdle is making sure we don't get classified as a run-of-the-mill 80s metal band just doing what has been done before. We're not worried about this at all though. We know we're a taste of the 80s, but we have our own style and we've heard nothing but good things over the past couple years and we're gonna keep doing things our way.
Our biggest reward is pretty much the way you said it, Mike; we get to do what we love. There's really nothing better than that. We get to go up on stage, play kickass heavy metal and watch all different kinds of people, young and old, headbang and mosh to the music we created. We hope one day to do it for a living and actually make enough money to get by. We don't want to be rich. We don't even want to be incredibly famous, but to be able to focus 100% of our time into making music that our fans will love; that's the dream right there.
MetalMike: What's up next for Antioch? A double-live album? A world tour in your own private jet?
Jordan: We have some ideas floating about. There will be something released in 2016, we just don't know what yet.
Nick: Those ideas sound good, MetalMike. Sign us up!
MetalMike: Thank you for taking some time and answering these questions. I wish you success and am looking forward to more great music in the near future! Let's finish up with where fans can access your music and learn more about the band.
Jordan: Thanks for having us. The sites you can reach us at are:
|Other information about Antioch on this site|
|Review: Antioch II: First Strÿke|
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