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Hail the Villain

Hail the Villain frontman Bryan Crouch recalls the band’s producer telling them they would be the perfect signing for U.S. label Roadrunner, but he never thought it would happen. But it did. The Oshawa, Ontario hardcore act will release its long-in-the-can independently made album, ‘Population: Declining,’ sometime next year.

“As far as Roadrunner goes, that was just a dream,” Crouch tells Noisecreep. “The day that we conceived this record, our producer [Darryl Romphf] was like, ‘You guys are Roadrunner band. We got to get Roadrunner on board.’ I never thought it would happen. That was kind of a pipe dream.”

When the band went on to sign a Canadian deal with Warner Music more than a year ago and landed heavyweight management with Toronto’s Coalition (Our Lady Peace, Simple Plan, Finger Eleven), Crouch and bandmates Joseph Stamp (guitar), Chad Taylor (bass) and Drew Dockrill (drums) didn’t give much more thought to a deal with Roadrunner. But someone else did, and invited senior VP of A&R Ron Burman to Hail The Villain’s New York showcase, which was actually intended for a Warner-affiliate label.

“We had a showcase for Atlantic, and Ron showed up. When he came up [to me], I didn’t even know who I was talking to. I just knew he was a really tall guy,” says Crouch, laughing (Burman is 6’5″). “I was just looking up at this guy with a huge smile on his face and he was going, ‘You guys were f—ing amazing,’ I’m looking at him, thinking, ‘Thank you. You were one of the 10 guys in New York there to watch us play.

“Throughout my conversation — because I heard he was Ron Burman and I couldn’t believe that I was actually talking to him — I was hoping that I didn’t make an ass out of myself,” he admits. “I didn’t think anything was going to happen. I just thought it was one of those meetings where the guy was ‘Great band; great to see you play’ and he was just going to go away in the distance, but when Atlantic passed on it [Hail the Villain], Burman was like, ‘Well thank you; I’ll take it.’”

Burman, responsible for signing Nickelback, Airbourne, Theory of a Deadman, Black Stone Cherry, Madina Lake, Collective Soul and others, told Noisecreep that “Hail the Villain are by far the heaviest band I have signed to date. They are heavy, but also very melodic with catchy commercial radio rock songs in the vein of Disturbed and Three Days Grace. They fit in perfectly with Roadrunner and what we do well here with radio and touring. They can tour with both radio rock bands and lifestyle/metal bands and hold their own well with either audience.”

“I think when it comes to Ron Burman signings, most of them are pretty damn smart, and his track record has proven that,” Crouch comments. “I don’t know if we’re the heaviest band he’s signed — I don’t know all the bands he’s signed — but I do know that Nickelback do come out with some pretty crazy stuff now and then, but as far as being very dark and evil and bad people in general, I think we’re definitely the heaviest band he’s signed for sure.”

It doesn’t sound like they’re evil, or should we say villains. “No no, but we like to be evil,” he laughs. “If you’re going to write anything, we’re definitely horrible people.”

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