Say hello to The Raven Age's new singer Matt James

The Raven Age

The Raven Age have released a video for new song Surrogate, the first to feature their new vocalist Matt James. Matt is the former frontman of Wild Lies, and replaces former singer Michael Burrough who departed in December. 

We caught up with new vocalist Matt and guitarist George Harris to talk about the appointment and new direction for The Raven Age.

You’ve got a new singer! What happened to Michael?

George: "Yeah, we’re mega excited about Matt joining the ranks, he’s a great singer and has slotted into the fold perfectly! The frontman is not an easy position to fill, but we're completely confident in Matt and know he'll push us to another level! We parted ways with Mike in early December which wasn’t easy, but we’re all hyped up for the next chapter."

Was it a mutual decision for Michael to leave? 

George: "The decision was mutual, it just felt like the right time to part ways. I think the split has been the best thing for both of us. Fortunately it was an amicable parting and we're still in touch with Mike."

How did Matt come into the fold? 

George: "To be totally honest, we completely overlooked Matt for a couple of reasons. One being that we didn’t realise Wild Lies were no more, and we know those guys so wouldn't have approached him when they were still a band. Secondly, we originally didn't think the style would work because it was so different. But we couldn't have been more wrong!"

Matt, tell us a bit about yourself.

Matt: "I don't really not what to say about this, apart from, I'm Matt, I live in Henley, I love football and beer ha ha!"

What's going on with Wild Lies?

Matt: "The split had been on the cards for a while. We collectively felt we had brought the band as far as we could. We all wanted to go in other directions, and parted on good terms. I truly had no intention of jumping straight into another project, but The Raven Age opening came up and it was impossible to turn down. Before the first jam I was sceptical if my style would work with the sound the guys where looking for, but to my surprise the fit was perfect! I felt a connection to their music straight away, and the fact they are all such great guys made the choice easy! Now I'm super excited for the future."

Who contacted who?

George: "Matt spoke to our drummer Jai and mentioned that he'd like to audition, so we sent him a track and he nailed it – all while feeling mega ill, which was even more impressive. We had a good feeling about it but you never know until you get in a room together and jam it out, so we got Matt in the studio and it all just clicked into place. The rest of us had big grins on our faces when playing and we all knew what each other was thinking before saying it after Matt left."

Matt’s vocal style is different to that of Michael, how will this affect The Raven Age’s sound?

George: "It is very different, but I think that's definitely a good thing. If we had someone who sounded just like Mike it would've been weird. Matt has a higher range naturally, which actually helps with writing as it opens more doors. I love the different dynamic that Matt brings with his vocal performances."

Tell us about the new song Surrogate. What’s it about?

George: "It's about standing up for yourself, but also accepting your own fate and not giving a shit about what other people think, and not letting other opinions change your ways."

What can you tell us about the upcoming album?

George: "We're still working on it and it's still very much The Raven Age in terms of style, but the new vocals take it somewhere else, which I think people are going to love. The formula for our writing hasn't changed much, but I think we've seen a natural progression and maturity in our songwriting." 

What do The Raven Age have planned for the rest of 2018?

George: "We're supporting Savage Messiah on a run around the UK which ends at London Underworld on April 19 – it's going to be great. Then it's finishing the album and back out on the road for a pretty extensive tour in Europe. We're playing a load of festivals including opening the main stage at Hellfest and Volt Fest – so we're in for a fun summer! That's as far as our plans go until we know more about the album, but we're looking towards the end of the year for a release."

The Raven Age tour dates

Fri 13: Rock City, Nottingham
Sat 14: , Academy 3, Manchester
Sun 15: Cathouse, Glasgow
Tue 17: Academy 2, Newcastle
Wed 18: Academy 3, Birmingham
Thu 19: The Underworld, London

Luke Morton joined Metal Hammer as Online Editor in 2014, having previously worked as News Editor at popular (but now sadly defunct) alternative lifestyle magazine, Front. As well as helming the Metal Hammer website for the four years that followed, Luke also helped relaunch the Metal Hammer podcast in early 2018, producing, scripting and presenting the relaunched show during its early days. He also wrote regular features for the magazine, including a 2018 cover feature for his very favourite band in the world, Slipknot, discussing their turbulent 2008 album, All Hope Is Gone.