Meeting Room 2 of the Manchester University Union has not very much space in it at all. The band are currently right in the middle of an eight-day tour of the UK with American metal superstars Clutch and hardcore act Candiria in support. There are plenty of stacks of chairs in our way, but we manage to squeeze a singer - Frank Regan - and a guitarist – Gareth Smith - of incendiary metal act Raging Speedhorn into the corner of the room to discuss their future, their (recent) past and where real rock music comes from…
That Raging Speedhorn worked intensively with Biohazard on their forthcoming album is no secret but when asked the secret to the successful relationship between the two bands Gaz was philosophical in his answer, “They are cool people to deal with. They’ve been in a band long enough to know not to piss people around when you’re trying to get the best out of them. They’re not rock stars or anything.” During their time together, the highly successful single, ‘The Gush’ was recorded as well as the album, which will apparently be out, “Some time this year. Hold your breath!” It may well be worth the asphyxiation on the evidence of that song which got them so very close to the Top 40.
Despite the single’s success, Gaz was again rather diplomatic with his views on the real impact of the record’s achievement, “I don't know if it did a lot. No disrespect to people who bought it and got it into the chart but we weren’t aiming to get into the charts with it. It’s not what we write songs for. Its not made us play to ten thousand people, or got us a big house. It’s just helped a lot more people listen to our music.” Playing to people who care about and, possibly more importantly, enjoy Speedhorn’s music is seemingly very important to the band, and rightly so.
Although playing enjoyable music is the band’s aim, Gaz reckons that they will not compromise their integrity in any way despite their previous success, “We’re not going to go more commercial just because that song got that far, but in the same way we’re not going to go completely hardcore. We’re just going to keep going the way we do.” Similarly, the band has refused to pander to their record company’s tastes, both previously and indeed in the future according to Frank, “Every record company will come up to bands and ask them to write a certain type of song. They might insinuate that you write songs a certain way or well…at the end of the day if we’re not happy with our song then its not going out really.” The last time the record company decided to make an executive decision, they re-released their eponymous debut album with the extra track, in an attempt to ride the coattails of the success of ‘The Gush’.
Raging Speedhorn have been closely identified in the press with other up and coming British bands such as Hundred Reasons, LostProphets and even My Vitriol. Frank is slightly dissatisfied with some of these comparisons, “It’s that they’re claiming that they’re rock bands. Especially My Vitriol because they aren’t anything to do with metal, they’re a fucking indie band and they always have been. They were around when indie was about and they couldn’t make it as an indie band so now they are a fucking rock band…LostProphets are their own style of music really. Not what we are. They are not what we’re about…Stuff like Hundred Reasons aren’t nu-metal. They aren’t what we are but they are closer to what we are. They’re more emo aren’t they?” Gareth is keen to point out that these bands are more labelled by the press than taking any personal action to fall into the same cohort as Speedhorn, and is also eager to distance his band from the current rap-metal scene, “I don't know if we deserve to be lumped in with the whole nu-metal thing because that’s Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit and bands like that. You get hard working bands like Charger and Matter and we consider ourselves in that ilk rather than with the nu-metal bands - just a hard working band.”
Whilst upon the topic of hard-working bands, tour buddies Clutch are mentioned and both Frank and Gaz were all too quick to sing their praises, “They will play with anybody. They’re exactly the type of band we want to be affiliated with: bands who just don’t give a toss. They get to play music in front of people and that’s IT.” As long-standing admirers of Clutch, they feel honoured to be supported by them and plan to tour America in support of them, but although this could be a highly lucrative opportunity, the boys seem less than bothered about the matter of ‘Breaking America’, “We’re planning on going back over there. Gradually. A lot of English bands make it their sole goal in life to make it and break the states. Like the LostProphets. We don’t consider any one place more important than another. We’re happy playing anywhere if its Europe or Corby. We want to do the states definitely but were not gonna rush over there just because its America.”
Their recent success can partly be attributed to some of the high-profile performances they have completed, notably Ozzfest and Tattoo The Planet. While they gained some public appreciation, the press had not been quite as kind as Frank explains, “A lot of magazines said that we played to no one and that they all went to the bar. I know for a fact that when we walked on that there were thousands watching. We know what we were playing in front of, enough people to make me go ‘Woah! Fucking hell!’” Similar to the earlier mention of staying true to their current sound, it was relayed and emphasised that despite the huge thrill of playing to an arena, as long as there is somebody watching, they are quite happy to play.
Well that’s that. Raging Speedhorn seem to be content with their current position as a highly respected, incredibly hard working band boasting a legion of fans that other bands may well be envious of. The future is of course holding lots of touring, accompanied very closely by crates of alcohol and “Virgins strapped to the back of dragons!”. Oh, and an album which will undoubtedly rip your head off.