From the northern prairies of Canada hail thrash metal heads: Crimson Caliber
As an underground metal band in Canada it can sometimes be pretty difficult to tour and network face to face with a lot of bands from other cities. Sure, we have an online connection, and we are grateful for it (most of the time) But there’s nothing like a metal festival for meeting like-minded people who just want to rock! This is the exact situation in which I first connected with this thrash treasure trove of wonderful people.
In the following interview I got to chat with Amber Malley, bass player of Crimson Caliber, about festivals and the all-powerful beast: stage fright. Amber also shared some words about what the band is up to now and how it feels to be back in the studio. Read it all here:
Amber Malley // Crimson Caliber
MG: Hey Amber! Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with me! How Does it feel to be back in the studio with Crimson Caliber and what can you tell us about what you’re working on?
AMBER: It feels so good to be back in the studio and we are cooking up some of the best stuff yet. You can be sure that we will have a new single before the end of the year! The song is called Unrelenting Force, and we do have a studio update video on our YouTube channel that everyone should go and check it out.
MG: I personally have especially fond memories of Crimson Caliber at Loud as Hell fest in AB, both on stage and off. Do you have a favourite memory from playing at a festival? Or just a festival you have been to that stands out as really awesome?
AMBER: Our very first festival we played was Metalocalypstick in 2018! We had so much fun! That actually was where we first met you guys in Juliet Ruin! We went out there to show just how Albertans get down. We played hard and partied even harder. In 2019 at LAH we were beyond honoured to be able to grace that stage. We had been preparing for it for a long time, and when the moment came it just felt so right. Everyone was having fun, the atmosphere was everything you could have asked for, and when we released that inflatable swan in the crowd things got insane. Definitely a big highlight to our career so far.
MG: Yes! That inflatable swan moment lives gloriously in my memory as one of the best times I’ve had watching a band ever! The energy was great and that gigantic swan flying all over the place was the icing on the cake! While we are on the topic of festivals, do you have an ultimate dream fest you’d love to play?
AMBER: LAH was my dream fest for a long time but that dream came true, so if there was one that I could choose I think it would be 70,000 tons of metal! It would be so epic!
MG: When did your passion for bass begin in life? Was it something you picked up and loved right away?
AMBER: I have always been a singer actually. I was in choir class, went and competed in competitions, but I always wanted to be in a band. I attempted to learn guitar as a teenager but life just kind of got in the way. Trav and I had been together for a few years and we had talked about it a few times and one day the stars aligned and we found a great bass for a great price. Trav taught me how to play and I just learned as we built the band. There were days that I loved it and days I just wanted to give up, and I’m so glad I didn’t because this has been the best journey of my life. I love playing bass, and writing music with such amazing people.
MG: Would you say metal has always been your go-to, or have you had an array of genres influence your work?
AMBER: Growing up I loved my pop music, but my dad was and is a huge metal head so it’s always been around since I can remember, but I love all types of music. Hip Hop is a big one for me. Trav and I actually have a hip hop project on SoundCloud called Adept Syndicate that everyone should check out, but at the end of the day metal will always be my go-to.
MG: What advice would you give someone who has just set out to learn an instrument? Any tips you can share that you wish you knew earlier?
AMBER: The best advice I could give is don’t give up, and practice practice practice, and when you feel frustrated stop, put down the instrument, take a break and come back to it later. For a tip I would highly advise learning alternate picking as that is so much easier on your picking hand. For the first year I did pretty much down strokes because I felt like it was easier, but boy was I wrong. I play with a pick on the bass and I know some people don’t like it but I just want to remind everyone you are just as good of a bass player with or without a pick.
MG: A great local music scene is often integral to the enjoyment of being in a band, is there a good music scene in Medicine Hat? What is your favourite thing about it?
AMBER: For our small city I would say we have a very diverse music scene that is very underground. I enjoy that we do alot of multi-genre shows to try and meld our underground scenes together. I feel like we have a really good scene that everyone should come and experience. My favourite part about it is we are all like family and everyone looks out for one another.
MG: Being in a group passion project can have its ups and downs with lessons included. What is one thing you’ve learned about yourself by being in a band?
AMBER: I have learned to not get so upset with myself if I can’t get something right away, well I’m at least working on that. I actually have a fond memory of our second show we played as a band in Edmonton with Untimely Demise and I was so nervous because I wanted to make sure everything was perfect, that I played perfect and everything and I remember Matt (singer of UD) had said to me “ if everyone here wanted to hear you play perfectly they would put your CD in a CD player. They are here for a show so relax and have fun” and I have lived by that ever since and it has really made playing shows a lot more fun and enjoyable. I have also learned to be respectful when playing or attending any show because you are an ambassador for your band and you have to show people that you care and aren’t going to be the loose cannon at the show. Being professional is a huge thing in this industry.
MG: Are you the kind of person who gets nervous before a show? If so, what do you do to help yourself focus, and if not – what is your secret?
AMBER: Oh I get very nervous before a show. I usually have a couple beers before we play and that seems to help, and I like to sit there with my eyes closed for a couple minutes to try and settle the nerves. Honestly once we start playing all the nerves go right out the window and the endorphins take over.
MG: Lastly, are there any shows around the corner or not just yet?
AMBER: Right now we are still currently looking for a drummer, so no shows in the near future, but with our new lead guitar player Austin we are buckling down on writing new material. We hope that we will be able to grace that stage in 2022 and we will make sure to come with a vengeance! Keep your eyes peeled for some new Crimson Caliber and hopefully we will get a good fit soon for a drummer.