Perth Power Metal act Silent Knight will be embarking on a four-date Australian tour in November, alongside a who’s who of melodic Metal in support acts. Rhythm guitarist and songwriter Stuart McGill is keen to hit the road, pointing out, “We haven’t played on the East of Australia for about two years now, since the release of the Conquer & Command album, so we’re keen to come back and see the Melbourne people again, Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane. I’ve played with Damnations Day a couple of times now, and they’re doing the Perth leg as well. I love those guys, they’re great. Mark [Kennedy]’s probably one of my favourite vocalists in Australia, so I’m keen to catch up with those guys again. There are a whole bunch of bands we haven’t played with before. I’ve heard a lot of good things about Trigger, so we’ve got those guys on a couple of the shows. They came highly recommended,” McGill reflects. “We’re playing a festival up in Brisbane,” he adds with excitement, “Ye Gods of Metal, which is almost sold out. We’re excited about all the shows. It’s always really good. We’ve been lucky to be given a lot of opportunities to play over there, all over Australia basically over the last few years. We had to knock back a lot of shows in the last year because we were saving up to go to Germany. So we’re really keen to come back.”
When it comes to Germany, Silent Knight revelled in the wealth of experiences to be had. “We were there July and August, we played the Headbangers Open Air Festival in Northern Germany, and we hooked up another three club-size shows while we were over there, and had a couple of days off at Wacken as well. It was pretty good exposure for the band, and a good experience to get out of the country and go to another one.”
As far as the must-haves to bring on tour, McGill stresses that, “It depends on the country. I would say that the Hammersonic Festival in Jakarta, that’s massive, you’d get about 30,000 at that one, and we thought, ‘Oh well, we’d better load up on merch,’ but it doesn’t sell very strongly there. There’s not a lot of money. It depends on which part of the world you’re going to. Obviously merchandise is very central for Germany, so any bands lucky enough to go over there, as much as you can take!” he chuckles. “We had three different T-shirt designs just to make sure we had it covered. It would have been nice to have some patches done, but we just ran out of money. Other essentials, we took our own guitar equipment with us, because you never know what kind of amplifier you might be given, so we invested in micro-gear. So at least we had a pretty consistent sound no matter which venue we played at, and that really came into its own when there was a band from the USA called Gothic Knights who did three of the shows with us and they didn’t bring any gear, and they were just lumped with either using the random stuff that was given to them, some of which was below par, or we were nice enough to hook them up with ours. Then they ended up buying the exact same gear as we have when they got home because they enjoyed it that much for travelling with,” McGill says with a laugh. “Definitely recommend getting some proper gear that’s suitable for travel, not just relying on what you might get, because it doesn’t always match up to what you were promised,” he finishes sagely.
Silent Knight recently went back and re-recorded their debut album, The Masterplan. McGill explains that, “When we first did it, we were pretty inexperienced. It mostly comes down to me. I was pretty eager to get an album done. I’d spent so long planning, and forming the band, and writing. It really just came down to being a little bit rushed in the end. It wasn’t quite as good as it could have been. It wasn’t down to the producer or anything like that. We sort of set a deadline and pushed for it. So when it came out, it was good, it had some good songs on there and potential. A lot of feedback came through, a lot of positive stuff, also the constructive criticism was pretty good too. And we thought maybe one day we could fix those things that we could have done better. Then we got a new vocalist who was Jesse [Onur Oz], who’s been on the last few releases, a couple of EPs and the Conquer & Command album. The songs are the same, I think there might be one mild tempo change in one song or the drum fills will be a bit different in some parts with a different drummer now, but for the most part it’s a refreshed version of what it probably should’ve sounded like at the beginning.”
Having toured nationally and internationally, McGill is undaunted by the challenges of geography. “We haven’t really let the location stop us,” he says. “We’ve travelled a lot around Australia. It’s more expensive, obviously. It’s not like living in Sydney and it’s $100 to shoot up to Brisbane or down to Melbourne. We travel as much as we can. We’ve got a really good following in Perth now. We’ve done five or six home shows this year, and they’ve all had really good turn-outs as well. So yeah, I guess there’s a lot of highs. There’s not a lot of lows. I mean, financially it’d be nice to have some more backing or some more management help. We’re generally doing a lot of DIY stuff, but that means a lot of control personally as well for us. We do exactly what we want to do, we don’t have to answer to anybody. I see it all as positive, I don’t really see any negatives at all. If it’s a negative it’s up to us to fix it. We can’t blame anybody but ourselves.”
As for what’s next for Silent Knight, things are already ticking over for McGill. “We’ve definitely flogged the hell out of these last two albums live,” he observes, “so it’s time to write some new music. I organise the Stormrider Heavy Metal Festival each year as well, that’s usually around March or April. And I’ve got a new festival called Rising Force which is from September. So I’ll be running those still. I think it’s time to take a bit of a break from the stage, and Cam and I will go away and start trying to write some new tracks, and hopefully come back fresh with a new album next year or maybe early the year after that. Cam [Nicholas] also plays in a Thrash band called Cold Fate, and he owes them an album. They’ve almost finished recording an album as well at the moment, so he’s gotta do his due course with those guys because they’ve actually been around longer than Silent Knight, so respect to those guys for letting us do our thing. But Cam’s gotta go back to where he started and finish that off before we invest too much. He can’t leave that band on their first album and us doing our third or fourth release, you know?”
Coming back to the upcoming tour, McGill emphasises, “We’re looking forward to seeing everyone on this tour. There’s four dates. You can grab presale tickets from our band store for Perth, Melbourne and Sydney at silentknightband.bigcartel.com. And the show in Brisbane, the Ye Gods of Metal Festival is about to sell out. I think there’s about 50 tickets left at this point in time, so you have to contact the event directly for that one. But definitely looking forward to catching everyone on the road. I hope to see everyone out there, and also we’ve got a bunch of great support acts, so I hope you guys can come out early and see those guys, and stick around to see us too and we can hang out together.”