EMQ’s with INFRARED
Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview, courtesy of Victor, with Ottawa, Canada based Thrash Metal band, Infrared. Huge thanks to vocalist/guitarist, Armin Kamal, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My name is Armin Kamal and I play guitar and sing for Infrared. The band formed in late 1985 with Kirk, Gidley and myself writing some songs after discovering we loved Thrash Metal. We quickly found Alain Groulx to play drums and Shawn Thompson to play bass. The band put out a couple of demos, which were well received and even got a video on the nations music station, Much Music. Sadly, around 1988 or 1989 the band folded after some line-up changes. In 2014, 3 quarters of the original line-up (Kirk, Al and myself) decided to do a reunion show for fun and open up for our old friends and mentors, Shock. Since Shawn lived in the US, we recruited Mike Forbes to play bass and the rest is history. Since that reunion, we managed to record all our 1980’s songs, and deliver two albums of brand new music, “From The Black Swamp” being our latest album.
How did you come up with your band name?
Kirk was reading through some Megadeth lyrics from ”…Killing is My Business and Business is Good…” and saw the word Infrared and thought that would be a good band name. So, it stuck.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
We are from Ottawa, Canada, the nation’s capital. We have a fairly healthy music scene here with many genres of metal and several good clubs to play at. The bands all seem to get along and support one another. Many big acts come through town as well (pre and hopefully post COVID) for which we get to open for. That is always a blast!
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
“From The Black Swamp” is our latest album, released today (30th September). It is one hour of new music and twelve songs.
‘Evil Ascent’ (Lyric Video)
‘From The Black Swamp’ (Official Video)
Who have been your greatest influences?
We are definitely influenced by the greats of the Thrash genre, but our roots lie in Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Scorpions, and Black Sabbath.
What first got you into music?
I have always liked music. I used to dabble on the piano, but when I hit my teens, I bought a drum set. That was short lived as I could tell it was not my instrument. Then my friend Kirk got a guitar and I saw how fun and creative that was, and so I bought one too.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?
Oh, that is an interesting question. I don’t think it would be anyone from the thrash scene. I think if it were possible to bring him back, it would be Freddie Mercury. Matt Bellamy from Muse would be fun to work with, as he seems so creative. There is a bit of a theme there, great singers, musicians and songwriters. I think I could learn so much from them.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
I think Wacken Open Air. There are so many good ones, but this one is such a huge metal fest and it is in my home country, so it would be nice to go back to where I was born and show what I have accomplished.
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
No weird gifts really that I can think of. But nice gifts? One fan made shirts and hats of a souped up Trans-Am with our Infrared logo that was damn cool.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Be kind to one another. The world is a crazy place and we need more people to be kind and respectful and see the common ground instead of the division.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
As stated earlier, Freddie! Such a talent!
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
I love the creativity, the friendships I have made, and the feeling of connecting with music fans through our music. There really is no better feeling. Music has always been the positive part of my life and a great release for stress or sadness. There is not much I dislike…perhaps the business side of things? The non-creative part?
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
That is a tough question. The things that I would have wanted to change already have. There is less of a middleman that can exploit you these days. As you stay independent, you have full control and you do have a mechanism to connect directly with fans. Having said that, the market is so flooded that it becomes difficult to stand out. But in that regard, I think if you have good songs, and don’t give up, eventually you will reach more and more people.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
“…Killing is My Business” from Megadeth might be up there, which contains one of my favourite songs, ‘Looking Down The Cross’. But there are many, many albums that I like, so it is an unfair question. Albums from AC/DC, early Scorpions, Queen, Led Zeppelin, etc. How do you pick?
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?
At this stage, I am a digital guy. I love the convenience, and if the MP3s are of high quality, then it’s all good. Your entire music collection at your fingertips, what’s not to like. Vinyl has its nostalgia, but even when I was young, I was like, this is a pain in the ass! I have to dust my records, the scratchy needle, skips because of damage to the disc. I get that people like it, but I am too practical for that headache. Tapes were also terrible in my opinion. I can’t count how many of them were chewed up, or I would have to wind back up with a pencil, or they would get stretched and sound off time. So, for me, digital files first, then CD’s, but I don’t even have a player for those anymore. I have to use an old Blu-Ray player. Haha.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
Oh, that’s a tough question. We have gotten to play with many of our heroes. We have played with Sacrifice, Razor, Anvil, Flotsam & Jetsam, and Venom Inc. How do you pick? But, I will say that the most nostalgic was with Sacrifice since we played with them in the 80’s and then again 30 years later. We hit it off both time as they are super nice guys.
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
What I am already doing, working in high tech. Infrared is my passion, but it certainly is not my source of income. I would be living in a tin shack and on food stamps if it was.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Definitely, my three kids, which only leave room for two more and I can’t hurt anyone’s feelings! But if we are talking musicians, I would say, Uli Jon Roth, Lemmy Kilmister, Neil Peart, Paul McCartney, and Dave Mustaine (just to see the sparks fly between him and Lemmy ha ha). I think some interesting and eclectic music could be made with that bunch after the meal was done and some drinks were had.
What’s next for the band?
We want to get back out there and play songs from our new album and get back to the fans and friends we have made. We will continue writing as long as we are inspired and the music is good. Always looking forward.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
We use pretty much all of it. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Bandcamp, YouTube, Spotify, etc.
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
We are just really looking forward to releasing “From The Black Swamp” today, Sept 30th 2021 and hope that is resonates with metal lovers everywhere. It is a very personal album and our best writing to date. We pride ourselves on improving with each release.
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