Rise Against

By paul

We sent some questions over to Rise Against, here’s what frontman Tim Mcilrathhad to say….

PT: Hey guys, introduce yourselves and what you do in Rise Against!

Tim McIlrath: Howdy, this is Tim and I play guitar and sing.

PT: Where are you in the world and what have you been doing today?

TM: I’m home in Chicago, in between tours right now. I have a few weeks until we leave for our UK tour with Anti Flag and the Flobots, and our European tour with Strike Anywhere.

PT: ‘Appeal To Reason’ hit the shelves earlier in the month and it’s doing insanely well. It went top 3 in the Billboard chart in its first week. Did you expect it to be so well received so quickly?

TM: We didn’t honestly. We were still reeling from the success of our previous record, and thought maybe that was just a fluke the way people went nuts over it. We just put everything we had into this record and low and behold it’s been received even better than the last one so far. It’s pretty incredible to have that many people still give a shit about what we do. I think it’s sort of indicative of where people are at these days. I think they are looking for music that reflects the questions they have about the world around them, and not enough artists are doing that. Too many bands are shying away politics in a time when they should be embracing that. That’s what people want, and our band is living in a vacuum of bands with messages right now. I hope that changes and other bands give us a run for our money.

PT: How would you describe the overall sound of ‘Appeal to Reason’ compared to your earlier albums?

TM: I think we just got better at what we do. We are better players, I’m a better singer, we are better writers, and that all is coming through on the recording. I think Bill and Jason’s production and our relationship with them really comes through on the recording too. You can hear where our heads were at. You can hear the cohesiveness. We also are more unafraid now than ever to try new things, so you hear that too.

PT: What are your favourite songs from the album? Which stand out for you?

TM: The Dirt Whispered stands out because it is poppier than a lot of the stuff on this record or the last. Hero Of War brings its own vibe to the record for sure. I like Whereabouts Unknown as well.

PT: Tell me, where does the album title come from, what inspired it?

TM: I lifted it from the name of a socialist journal in America that was around at the turn of the century. I really thought something as simple as the title spoke volumes and I applied to our band and our message. I think we sing about common sense issues, not controversial or radical issues.

PT: You shot a video for ‘Re-education through Labour’. You guys tend to have really exciting music videos that are relevant to the song you’re shooting for. Is that something you always aim to do?

TM: Yeah, we shot a video that was pretty edgy. In spite of that, every tv station around the world with the exception of Kerrang TV had the balls to play it. I don’t know why Kerrang decided to censor it, but they did. Everybody else understood that it was an important video that needed to be played.

PT: You worked with Kevin Kerslake on the video for ‘Re-education through Labour’, as I believe you did with ‘Ready to Fall’. What attracted you to work with him again?

TM: He is awesome, he really is the video director equivalent of Rise Against, he’s like a fifth member. He gets the band, he likes to push the envelope, and he’s just a rad guys. He’s done some amazing videos over the years and I’m sure he’ll do many more.

PT: Four albums in now, you’ve got one hell of a back catalogue to choose from when picking sets. Is it getting harder and harder to choose which songs to play?

TM: It is ! We have a really tough time trying to figure out what to play. We only have about an hour, and there are so many more songs than an hours worth. We change it up, and try to play a little bit of everything.

PT: Are there any songs you’ll never play live?

TM: I don’t think we’ve ruled any out, but there are a few songs we’ve never played live and don’t really have any ambition to do so.

PT: You’re pretty much solidly on tour now up until December. How will you unwind over Christmas after such a hectic few months?

TM: We all went to our respective homes and just chilled out. It’s been a nice break with friends and family before we embark on our overseas journey over the next 5 months.

PT: In the New Year, you’re back over here in the UK with Anti-Flag & Flobots in tow. You’re good friends with the guys in Anti-Flag, and they’re a band who hold similar morals and beliefs as you. How important is it for you to tour with bands on ‘the same level as you,’ if you will?

TM: Very important, we not only want to tour with bands we love and respect for obvious selfish reasons, but we also want to bring bands that mean something to our audience so they can check it out, and hopefully that all becomes contagious and helps to further the mission of music that means something.

PT: Thanks for your time, anything you’d like to add?

TM: We can’t wait to get back to the UK and play for all of our incredible fans across the pond. Cheers !

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]