Feature interview with Chris Billingham, founder and drummer of progressive rock/metal band PYRRHIC.
Interview by t-man
Lady Obscure Music Magazine: Chris, thank you for taking the time to give the Lady Obscure an exclusive Pyrrhic interview! First, I have to ask, when you were on tour as the drummer for Lost In Thought and were forced to leave the tour due to breaking your legs in an accident, what was this like for your state of mind?
Chris Billingham: Hey, no problem at all, thanks for giving PYRRHIC not only our first Interview in the USA, but our first Interview ever! Well it was a very traumatic experience I have to be honest. It instantly turned the most amazing experience in all of our lives into, especially for me, the very worst of my life. All in the space of a few seconds! It has been a very tough, grueling 18 months but thankfully I am now back fighting fit and am even hungrier and determined to succeed in my music career.
LOMM: Why did you not return to Lost In Thought once you recuperated AND how is your current relationship with the rest of the band?
Chris: I’m sure everyone will have heard several differing versions of events but I want to be completely truthful with you as I feel honesty is the best policy.
After the crash, the other LIT guys and I were decided on them waiting for me to be 100% before me carrying on with my duties within the band. LIT still had shows they were committed to though however. To cover this issue, collectively we decided that while I spent time recuperating, it was best for the other band members to audition a few drummers to cover my place as a ‘temporary fill in’ to make sure that the bands commitments were being met.
During this time the band would continue writing to make sure the band was still progressing. After a period of time I started playing drums again quite frequently and had also been writing some new material myself. I started speaking to members of the band about getting the band and also my integration moving a bit quicker as I felt I was ready to come back into the fold as I had material that I had been writing and the ability to fulfill my role again. Unfortunately it then became apparent that the ‘temporary’ drummer had actually been made permanent without my knowledge or of course agreement. The rest of LIT decided that they wanted to move on without me and bring in the new full time member. At that point LIT and I went our separate ways. I made sure that our parting of ways was kept as friendly as possible considering the situation. I still speak with certain members, with varying degrees of friendship.
LOMM:: Now the birth of Pyrrhic, a truly progressive and cinematic metal band. Tell us how this came to be and where this is heading?
Chris: Woohoo PYRRHIC! Pyrrhic came to be the only way a Progressive metal band should! It was created over a couple of pints of beer! The musical genius that is the Guitarist Mr. Dan Angelow, sent me a message over social networking site Facebook. He asked if I’d be interested in creating a progressive metal band. So we met up in a local pub and started talking the idea through. This project of ours then became ‘Pyrrhic’. Since then Dan and I have been writing material and starting to look for other members. So far we have around 1 hour and 18 minutes worth of material over 8 songs however there are a couple more tracks in the pipeline and also the new members also have ideas that they want to contribute. At this rate we’ll have to release a double album! We aim to take Pyrrhic everywhere we can, tours, albums, you name it.
LOMM:: Having heard the demos Pyrrhic truly has its own face and style which is getting harder to accomplish these days because there are so many progressive bands coming out. I would have to say Pyrrhic is an epic band in the sense of the music being so metal, progressive, and cinematic with a few very long songs, one being 18 minutes long. Tell us about what you are striving for for the debut album as far as the overall sound and what audience do you think it will appeal to?
Chris: Firstly, wow thanks for the compliments :). I’d have to say that our writing style is very indicative of our own taste in music. We are real prog fans and we really want to show that in our music. We want our debut album to touch on a lot of different aspects of Progressive music. For example have sections that are quiet dynamically that then explodes into a jungle of times signatures. That being said, we don’t want to write complex music for the sake of it, we want it to always be accessible and relevant for the listener as they are qualities that we appreciate ourselves. We hope that anyone who likes Progressive music in general will hear something in Pyrrhic for them, but we also want and hope that people that are more usually into harder rock or metal will also like some parts.
LOMM:: Tell us about the band members being Pyrrhic is literally in its primal stages.
Chris: Dan Angelow, the other co-founder, is a very experienced musician who has toured Europe extensively while he was with the theatre show ‘Circus of Horrors’ and with successful 80’s band ‘Doctor and the Medics’. He also owns and produces in his own recording studio. I have had toured and recorded with Prog metal band Lost In Thought. The other members I can tell you about when I’m allowed 🙂
LOMM:: Chris, what are your personal current favourite bands/artists and what are your influences that got you here.
Chris: Personally I have a big influence from bands like Dream Theater, however, at the moment I am listening a lot more to bands like Haken who I think are absolutely brilliant. Other bands that I draw inspiration from are bands like, Circus Maximus , Within Temptation, Above Symmetry, Leprous, Opeth, Porcupine Tree, Seventh Wonder, Transatlantic. Dan’s taste in music is largely similar but has a heavier background and tends to prefer heavier bands or parts of music.
LOMM:: Is Pyrrhic going to be a “project” so to speak or will this be a full time band and main priority of yours and the other members?
Chris: Pyrrhic will definitely be a full time band once we get off the ground and some momentum behind us. Thus far we have taken it easy and taken our time with the writing process and looking for members but once we have everything in place we intend to pick up the pace. Like I said though, the members do have other commitments in place and so we will be working around those. Dan has his studio and also plays for ‘Doctor and the Medics’ we also share another small project. Other members also have other commitments.
LOMM:: It’s really odd how the universe works, if you never broke your legs on tour there’s a good chance Pyrrhic may have never been born, please comment.
Chris: It’s funny that you should ask me this. I have often asked myself similar questions in the same way, ‘what if’. I guess we’ll never know for definite but Dan tells me that he has been wanting to start a band like Pyrrhic for a long time so our best guess is, yes, we think that once I’d come back off tour, he’d still have messaged me.
LOMM:: We at The Lady Obscure wish you the best success with Pyrrhic and will be following its progress to the finish line. I cannot wait to hear the album and see you on tour as well. I am now handing the stage over to you to say whatever you would like to us and all your fans…take it away..and thank you Chris!
Chris: Thank you very much indeed for interviewing me and giving us the opportunity to make new friends with all of your readers! We want to thank all of our supporters and fans! We can’t wait to let everyone hear Pyrrhic’s debut album and hopefully we’ll see you guys on the road, hopefully even in the US if you’ll have us!
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