In Conversation With The Team Behind Heavy Montreal
By Dillon Collins
The ‘M’ at the beginning of Montreal should really stand for metal at this point. It’s no secret that the city has spawned some of Canada’s best heavy metal outfits – Cryptopsy, Augury, Despised Icon and Katakalysm all hail from Montreal, while Voivod and Gorguts likewise ascended from la belle province.
It should come as little surprise then that, since 2008, Montreal has played host to one of the biggest heavy metal festivals in North America.
Heavy Montreal, taking place this year from July 28-29 at Parc Jean -Drapeau, has featured a who’s who of the genre, from Iron Maiden and Metallica, to Slayer, System of a Down and Slipknot.
Metalheads Forever caught up with Daniel Glick, Director of Concerts and Events for evenko, and booker for Heavy Montreal JF Michaud to talk Canadian heavy metal, this year’s anticipated lineup and much more.
Q: Heavy Montreal took a hiatus in 2017 to make way for large-scale concerts including Metallica and Guns ‘N’ Roses. What do you think the time off has provided for yourselves as a company and the festival as a whole?
Daniel Glick: It allows us to take a look at what’s going in. We really liked what happened in 2016 with our smaller site. We felt it was a little more intimate. We liked a lot of elements about it, and it gave us a little more focus. We’re bringing that back this year. It’s kind of a new site. I think that’s going to be exciting. Parc Jean-Drapeau goes through a lot of renovations, so we were forced to move to another area of the island. It’s lovely. A new site is always exciting and it has a lot to offer for fans.
Q: This is one of the more deep and eclectic Heavy lineups in some time, with established headliners Rob Zombie and Avenged Sevenfold on the same bill as the likes of rapper Tech N9ne and classic rockers Helix. How important is it for you to diversify the lineup?
JF Michaud: I think one of the things that has happened over the past two years is bands have become significantly bigger. Gojira played the festival a few years ago and now they’re one of the hottest tickets in the city. Bands like Trivium, Sleep and Alestorm are bigger than they’ve ever been. For us it’s been easier to create something super solid. As far as having a nice diversity, I think we’ve always tried to keep the lineup diverse just so we have something super awesome for everyone. I think this year we were super lucky. A lot of the bands we reached out to for the festival were stoked to play and we were able to put together a lineup we’re really proud of.
Q: In 2017 evenko launched 77 Montreal, a punk centered one-day festival much in the same vein as Heavy. This year 77 runs one day prior to Heavy, with many festivalgoers availing of the ‘weekend warrior’ passes, and taking in both events. What do you think about the cross-over for punk and metal fans? It seems to be a natural fit.
Daniel Glick: There’s not a 100 per cent crossover. There’s people who prefer punk rock and people who prefer metal, but there’s a lot of people who love both kinds of music, and for them it’s like oh cool! There’s two festivals right next to each other on the same site. You can buy passes for both festivals with one click. It makes sense for people who grew up listening to punk like Rise Against, Sick of it All and Suicidal Tendencies to go see it the next day another festival with like–minded bands.
Q: Any artists in particular you guys are particularly excited for this year?
JF Michaud: Baroness is a band I’ve been trying to get on the festival for four years. I love them so much. In the same style of music Khemmis just released a new track and it’s so good. They’re actually the first band we sent an offer too. Their new track is so amazing and I can’t wait to see them live.
Q: Between 77, Heavy and your other summer festivals IleSoniq and Osheaga, there’s little rest for the company this time of year. I’d imagine it’s a very all-hands-on-deck type of approach around that time?
Daniel Glick: There are people now, part time employees, starting to work on all four festivals. A lot of coordination between all departments, production crew, marketing. Everyone is really diving into it. Come that first morning of 77 it’s go-time.
Q: What’s your take on Canadians as a heavy metal fan base, and really how they’ve embraced Heavy Montreal and made it their own?
Daniel Glick: We see a lot of people travelling from the west coast, maritmes, to come here for the weekend. We see the influx of fans. We love it because it’s proving to us what we really wanted to do, create something really special in Montreal and for the fans to bring people together.
Passes for Heavy Montreal and 77 Montreal are available now. For more information visit heavymontreal.com
MHF Magazine/Dillon Collins