"It’s just the recorded version of twelve of our songs!"

PRIESTESS attempt to plug their debut album...

When most of "just for the hell of it" punk band The Dropouts did exactly that to become indie outfit The Stills, lead singer Mikey Heppner decided to take music more seriously and rock it up a notch. And he named his new group Priestess to purposely sound heavy.

Hailing from Montreal, the four-piece belong to a diverse music scene, which famously boasts Arcade Fire as one successful export. Heppner cites the Canadian city as one of three metal capitals in the world - along with Tampa, Florida and Scandinavia - yet actually plays down his band’s metal status.

"We just consider ourselves a rock band," he says. "Every band is different and we play rock our way. I guess it kind of dwells into heavy metal territory from time to time but I wouldn’t go into a room full of 'metalheads’ and say, 'hey, this is my Priestess record, we’re a heavy metal band!’."

However Heppner’s outfit is steadily impacting on that fraternity. Recently storming Download and playing the Metal Hammer Awards aftershow - a "humbling experience" - their string of high-profile support slots has also granted them access to a widespread and hardened audience. Forging a name for themselves in the UK of late has been "helped" along by a tour with thrash metal legends Megadeth, and they have opened for the best from the early days.

"Yeah, continuing our history of lucky tours, Motorhead was our first proper tour into Canada," enthuses Heppner. "Black Label Society we did last fall. That’s a band we didn’t really know very much about; I mean we know Zakk Wylde because of Ozzy Osbourne. Their crowd was super, super passionate. Every single one of them had a 'BLS' t-shirt on. But what’s been awesome in the time since then is we’re getting a lot of Black Label Society turnover fans. Even people who didn’t go, even people here in England, who are BLS fans, are coming up to us: 'I heard you toured with Zakk, ah you’re cool with me!' It’s kind of an inside thing. So not only were the crowds huge and awesome at the tour itself but it’s had a lasting effect from association."

But Priestess - completed by guitarist Dan Watchorn, bassist Mike Dyball and drummer Vince Nudo - are discovering as much appreciation for their own headline shows, too despite upsetting a few non-English speakers along the way. Heppner used to introduce the set with an audacious: 'We’re Priestess and we’re going to fuck you!', a "silly" line his brother created, which was soon abandoned. "One of the main reasons I stopped saying it was when we played in French towns like in Quebec, they don’t hear the grammar. All they hear is like 'Priestess' and 'fuck you'. And it’s like, 'Eh? Fuck you, too!'."

On stage is right where the band want to be. "We consider ourselves mainly a live band and that’s sort of where our life is, just playing." It literally is about that, too. Heppner claims newly released album 'Hello Master' is "not necessarily a good live representation" and "just a recorded version of us playing" without being over-produced. Even its name has no impact. "It doesn’t mean a thing," he states. "It’s just a random title!"

'Hello Master' is out now on RCA / Lime Records
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