Volumes talk hip-hop and metal’s intersection on Vengeance tour
Volumes reintroduced original co-vocalist Micheal Barr back into the fold with the release of their most recent single “holywater” to the delight of longtime fans. The band are planning to drop a new full-length at some point in 2020, but before then, Barr will be hitting the road with Volumes for the first time since his departure in 2015.
Barr’s live return came in a Japan festival performance, with his first full tour previously set to be a European trek with Born Of Osiris, which the band had to withdraw from. Now, Volumes will be providing support for the Vengeance tour with co-headliners Attila and Xavier Wulf in a tour package melding the worlds of hip-hop and metal.
The lineup also features nü-metalcore band Dead Crown, rappers OmenXIII and Idontknowjeffery as well as one more act to be announced. With the blurring of lines between hip-hop and metal, this lineup is capitalizing on bringing two scenes closer together by joining fanbases who already have a lot in common.
We caught up with Barr to discuss what the tour means for the continuously growing crossover between the two genres, heading back on the road with Volumes and what fans can expect from their new album.
This will be your first North American tour back with Volumes. How do you feel about hitting the road with the band again?
I’m really excited. We had a short run two weeks ago. We did a show in Japan, a really big festival [Blare Fest] out there that was put on by Coldrain, which was really fun to come back to as the first show. It was 4,000 people in a country I had never been to, so it was surreal.
To get back to the routine and that rhythm that you catch on the road, there’s nothing like being out there with your group of guys as one unit. When you catch that rhythm in the first or second week of tour, it’s just magical, and I miss that, so it’s going to be really fun to experience that with some of my best and closest friends. I’ve known Attila for so many years, and I’ve been through so many ups and downs with them, so it will be good to get back with them properly too and give this a good go again.
The tour has a pretty even split between hip-hop and hardcore. Mixing the two genres with tours has become more common in the past couple of years, with bands such as Code Orange and Jesus Piece bringing out a variety of rappers with them. Do you think this is going to be a more frequent thing?
Yeah, I do. I think we all need to lean on each other as underground and independent artists. It does matter what genre you play, but the thing with rap and heavy music is they’re both aggressive, so it goes hand in hand. If you go back to Aerosmith and Run-DMC collaborating on that hit song that they had [“Walk This Way”], that set the bar to where we are now.
I feel like what’s going on in the underground rap world reminds me of the DIY punk scene. We can relate to any young rapper trying to tour and find their way in the same way that any metal band did. There’s a renaissance happening with rap in that regard, and I think you’ll see a lot of tours be built upon that, where you need to lean on each other to make a great tour like this happen. If it’s possible, why not? Because both genres do coalesce pretty well, and I do think you’ll see more of it if we can pull it off correctly.
With the break out of the SoundCloud rap scene, hardcore and metal have increasingly influenced hip-hop. How do you feel about the crossover that’s been going on?
I think it’s more natural with bands like Code Orange or Turnstile. In those realms, it does so well because I’m a huge fan of punk music and those types of bands even though I’m in a more polished metalcore situation, but I think it’s really relatable. The whole skateboarding situation seems relatable where these kids skate together, and then they start bands while falling into punk music, more typically, or rap music, and I think it’s been happening for years.
Ever since I was a kid, I was in bands with rappers in them, and no one will ever know that. No one will ever hear those tracks or anything, but it’s not that weird. It’s becoming more common. There’s more of a bite to it and more of a hunger to fill for people looking for something different. You can only listen to so many songs on the radio until you look for more. I think it’s a good time for music in that everyone’s being open-minded right now, and I think the crossbreed of artists collabing, whether it’s rap or rock, is good for them.
Who are you most excited to see perform on this tour?
I am actually really excited to see Xavier Wulf perform because I’m a huge Seshollowaterboyz fan, and I’m a huge Bones fan, and that’s his whole crew and how his whole platform started. I’m really excited to see him every night and hang out with him because there are a lot of songs that I like that he’s on. I have a lot of respect for that whole collective. I think what they do is really cool there.
They’re from Southern California, so I’m really pumped because three or four years ago I was listening to these guys on SoundCloud when they were virtually unknown. Fast forward to now and we’re going to go on tour with them. I’m really excited to see how he does and also just hang out and be there for him because it’s probably going to be a trip for his crew to be onstage and for him to do these shows with bands that have been touring for years differently. It’ll be really interesting to see not the clash of the worlds but the mesh of them where everyone gets together.
So you’re handling vocal duties alongside Myke Terry in the band now. How does it feel splitting vocals with him as opposed to when you were in Volumes before?
It’s a task. When I came back to the band, the first thing on my mind was, “How is this all going to work?” You lose a member. Someone comes back. There’s a lot of work to be done in terms of getting the job done live. As far as the studio, though, it’s been really good. I’ve known Myke personally before this for a couple of years, not on a creative level but on a personal level, and I assumed everything would be kosher. As soon as we got in the studio, it was natural.
I feel his presence a lot, which was not the situation prior. I really didn’t feel like I could use the other half of a vocalist before, and now with Myke, there’s so much to offer and so much that we feed each other. We both can sing really well, so I think on this record there’s a lot of cool stuff and so much potential to be reaped.
It’s been fun to do this and not make it such a job. We have a good time and forget we’re in the studio making a record. We both have the same name. [Laughs.] It’s crazy, and some people thought we would clash and there would be problems, and I honestly thought it was going to be difficult, but it’s been a breeze. I’m hoping we can keep it going like that. He’s an awesome guy, and despite me coming back, I couldn’t do the job without him.
In the statement Volumes made about your return to the band, it was mentioned that Max Schad was working with you as guitarist in the studio, but you’ll have a touring guitarist. Who will be touring with the band for this upcoming run of shows?
We do have someone we trust dearly. His name is Sam Beck. He’s toured with Emmure and a bunch of other bands. We crossed paths with him because of [Emmure guitarist] Josh Travis and [Emmure vocalist] Frankie Palmeri, and they recommended him. [Beck] came out for those shows in Japan and pulled through, and we are going to take him on the U.S. run, and he’ll hopefully be along for the ride.
We’re obviously just feeling out the situation all around because everything is so fresh, and we just want to get everything right this time around. It’s rare that you get second chances or third chances like this as a group. We’re going to take him out and hopefully add him to the roster, but nothing is set in stone right now.
Volumes dropped a new single “holywater” a couple of weeks back now and said there will be a new record at some point this year. What do you think fans can expect from the next full-length?
The only thing I can describe it as is that everything that has been missing from the band is there now. I think there was an overall consensus that something went astray from the band. That isn’t me implying that when I left the band got worse because Different Animals was a great album, and there was some great music produced by some great producers that I know personally and love, but I think something was lost in the band as far as what it was built on.
We’re trying to get back to that nostalgic sound and feel that got us so excited to play music when we were 18 and quite honestly make it a heavy record again. I think that’s the main component that’s been missing with the band in my opinion. Since I’ve come back, I think it’s been about being a heavy band. Being a metal band and being an aggressive band that aren’t afraid to really put that out there with flying colors. So a really heavy, mature and well-produced Volumes record is what we wanted, and that’s what you can expect, for sure.
Volumes are embarking on the Vengeance tour later this month with Attila and Xavier Wulf. Tickets can be purchased here, and you can see the full list of dates below.
03/26 – Austin, TX @ Come And Take It Live
03/27 – San Antonio, TX @ Rock Box
03/29 – Dallas, TX @ Gas Monkey Live
03/31 – El Paso, TX @ The Lowbrow Palace
04/01 – Mesa, AZ @ Club Red
04/02 – Los Angeles, CA @ Novo
04/03 – Pomona, CA @ Fox Theater
04/04 – Oakland, CA @ Complex
04/05 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace Of Spades
04/07 – Fresno, CA @ Full Circle Brewery
04/08 – Reno, NV @ Jub Jubs
04/10 – Denver, CO @ Summit Music Hall
04/11 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
04/14 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cabooze
04/15 – Chicago, IL @ WC Social Club
04/16 – Pontiac, MI @ The Crofoot
04/17 – Cincinnati, OH @ Riverfront Live
04/18 – Mckees Rocks, PA @ Roxian Theatre
04/19 – Harrisburg, PA @ HMAC Capital Room
04/21 – Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
04/22 – Norfolk, VA @ Norva
04/23 – Atlanta, GA @ Center Stage
04/24 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
04/26 – Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor