Latest release: Crisis in Utopia (Prosthetic)

LA hotshots Holy Grail will be in Australia in September with the mighty Soundwave Revolution line-up. Still something of an unknown element in these parts, the no-nonsense metalheads have unleashed an EP and full-length album in their short career and are about to carve a name for themselves across North America before winging Down Under. Loud caught up with vocalist James-Paul Luna and guitarist Eli Santana for a brief chat.

Q: Hey guys. You’re going to be gracing our shores very soon, so what are you most looking forward to?
James: Meet new people, meet new chicks, meet new fans. I think it’s gonna be awesome altogether.

Q: So many of today’s newer metal bands seem to be trying to cash in on some current trend, but Holy Grail is pretty much about straight up metal. I have to congratulate you for that. What was the main inspiration behind that decision?
James: We grew up on classic metal and hard rock, to modern death metal and technical thrash metal. It’s a big smorgasbord of influences that we draw from, and we try and put it all into the one box, which sometimes is difficult. But I think it turns out ok in the end.

Q: It seems to me that it comes very naturally.
Eli: I guess because we don’t try to go for a specific genre of metal. We just try to do the best metal song we can, so it’s just like we all have one goal together so it all comes together pretty easily for us.

Q: So tell us about the name. Does it have any specific meaning, or did you just think it was a cool name for a metal band?
James: Well it does mean something, but to us it was a really cool name that hadn’t been used before. It has a lot of references… Knights Templar and early Christian and occult references and stuff like that that I thought was really cool subject matter, and the fact that the name hadn’t been used… I presented it to the band and it hadn’t been used and they were real excited so we went with it.

Q: You must have been surprised to learn that the name hadn’t been used already.
Eli: Extremely surprised. We couldn’t believe it.
James: We just figured that everybody in the history of music thought it was a bad name to name a band, and never did.

Q: To plenty of people here in Australia, Holy Grail is going to be a completely new entity. Tell us a little bit about the history of the band up to this point.
James: Well it started off that me and the drummer and our original guitar player were in this band called White Wizzard and it was very classic, traditional metal style. We wanted to branch out and do some more thrash metal and some more progressive and modern death metal style. We were into it. So we left the band, and that was the beginning of Holy Grail. And that’s when Eli entered the picture. We were looking for a second guitarist that could make the sound happen, and he was the perfect guy. The rest has been a lot of touring and a lot of good response ever since. So we’re real excited that people are into it.

Q: Do you think you’re lucky that you’ve come along at a time when interest in metal seems to be going through something of a resurgence?
James: Well, I guess it was good timing. I never realised that metal had ever really left.
Eli: I feel really lucky. I think we would have done this whether this was in or not. I didn’t think it would get to this level. I liked the music when I heard what they wanted to do, and I thought that we’d just play around town and piss off a bunch of scenesters in LA. I didn’t think we’d be going to Australia!

Q: Is that so? I guess a lot of people wouldn’t necessary think that Holy Grail is an LA sort of band.
Eli: I guess so! I think some people would think we are coming from Sweden or something.
James: Or Canada maybe.
Eli: I dunno. I guess we’re the oddballs here in the States.

Q: Well, you’re playing down here with Van Halen. That must be a pretty big thing.
James: I just hope we get to see them on the plane… catch some karate moves from David Lee Roth or something.
Eli: I think they’ll have a private jet!

Q: So what have you got on between now and when you’re down here?
James: Well we’re doing a tour with Toxic Holocaust through North America. US and Canada… most major cities in the US and Canada. It’s about a six and a half week tour. And then after that we have a few days downtime, and then we’re Down Under.

Q: It’s going to be the first time that a lot of people here have even heard you. You must be really looking forward to that?
James: That’s what we’re really excited about. It’s gonna be awesome.

Q: And what are we going to see from you guys when you hit the stage?
James: A lot of hair!
Eli: A lot of notes!
James: A lot of hair, a lot of notes and a lot of screams.

Q: No hair product though, I hope?
James: Oh, I have a few products…
Eli: We can’t afford it! We’ll have professional wigs made, and we’ll wear a different one every night. It’s gonna be awesome.