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Interview With Cage Fight's James Monteith

Recently, I spoke with Cage Fight's guitarist James Monteith -who is also of the progressive metal band Tesseract. Cage Fight is a part British and part French hardcore punk/crossover thrash band that is only on the up before the release of their self-titled debut album, out May 13th, via Spinefarm. James and I discussed the band's forthcoming self-titled debut album, the album's lyrical content, told a story from while on tour in Winnipeg, and much more!

Press photo of the UK-based crossover thrash/hardcore punk four-piece band Cage Fight.

Hello, James! James: Hello, thanks for talking to me! Right now, within the thrash metal and hardcore communities, all eyes are on you. It must be extremely overwhelming with so many expectations from people regarding your forthcoming debut album. It must even be overwhelming for anyone in the band to be dubbed “the next Hatebreed?”

J: Wow, are people saying the next Hatebreed? Obviously, my response is the Garth and Wayne "We're Not Worthy" -probably showing my age- as they are one of our major influences, but that's super nice to hear. To be honest, we didn't set out to head in any particular direction, but we've all been in bands before, and we wanted to do something that's a mashup of all the fun heavy music we love. Also, combined with it being an outlet for much of the frustration with the world we've been collectively feeling, we've just run with what Cage Fight has become in a short space of time and not really stopped to think about it. We're loving playing and hope people enjoy us live and the record, but we haven't had any expectations so far, and we're just seeing where this takes us.

You recently announced the release of your debut self-titled album, out via Spinefarm Records on May 13, 2022. How would you compare this record to anything else you have written in the past with any previous band you’ve played in? J: Well a long way back in time (the early 2000s), I was in a rap-metal band with hardcore influences with Jon, but we didn't do very much. After that, I played with several diverse groups, including a few electronic projects. I've also been in a funk band, funk-metal crossover band, and various other fads of the late '90s and '00s. In 2006 I joined Tesseract, which has been my main focus since then. Jon went on to play in the hardcore/rap-metal band Broken Chakra and has a history of other rap metal projects. Nick has been in pretty much every kind of band under the sun -that's what happens when you're a good drummer, as they're pretty rare. He also currently plays in the blues-rock band The Best Medicine. Rachel was previously in the band Eths, which was techy metalcore, and also, cut her teeth in various local death metal bands. So a wide mix! Are there any songs on the self-titled that you’re either excited about or even apprehensive for fans and new listeners to hear? J: One thing that I'm proud of is that there are no two songs that sound the same, and as the album progresses, it gets deeper and darker. I'm excited to see the reaction when people hear the closing track, "My Dreams," as it's us at our deepest and darkest so far. When Cage Fight was first conceived, did you always know the band was going to be used as a platform to discuss the immensely important socially and politically charged subjects you write about on your self-titled album? J: We've all been feeling the frustrations over the past few years around social injustice, racism, sexism, abuse, inequality and so on, so this became the perfect vehicle to get those feelings out. We didn't so much plan for it, but it felt right, and we went along with it. Plus, we can't talk enough about these issues as a society, so hoping we can play our small part in the conversation.

You have multiple tours lined up with some heavy hitters like Sepultura, Cro-Mags, and Napalm Death, along with a few festival appearances including Bloodstock Festival. Are there any bands you’d love to get out on the road with if you could book a tour right now? J: Wow, yeah, so many! I mean, you mentioned one, Hatebreed. Masters of metallic hardcore crossover. Body Count, who we cover on the album, would be amazing. But in all honesty, any cool band we vibe with and wants to go out with us would be amazing. I guess a pipe dream would be for Stampin' Ground to get back together.

What should people potentially seeing you live or hope to see you live this year expect from your live show? What would you sell it on? J: High energy, tight grooves, hefty riffs, the angriest vocals, and lots of fun. Do you have any plans to celebrate the self-titled debut album's release? J: We have an album release party at Blondies in Clapton, London, with support from the amazing Who Cares?. It's a tiny place, and it's going to go off! Then we hit the road with Sepultura, one of my all-time favourites, so I can't think of a better way to celebrate than that! Given that we're based out of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, do you have any crazy or funny stories from touring the country in the past with your other/former band? J: I do, indeed! Most of them center around being cold, and by far, my favourite was when Tesseract played a show with Fozzy in Winnipeg when we both crossed over on tour. I'm a big fan of Stuck Mojo, and the guys invited us on their bus for a few drinks. I think I told Rich Ward that I loved him for his low-string pinched harmonics, and it might have been a little weird 'cause he left shortly after. Then we ended up play wrestling with Chris Jericho and took some amazing pics. Which I can no longer find. This was in 2013, but I hadn't discovered Instagram. After the show, we went back to our unheated RV and slept in -20 temperature. We woke in the morning feeling close to death. Jay (our drummer) tried to boil some water and poured a bottle into the kettle, but upon touching the heating element, it instantly froze, and we built an iceberg in the bus. We got to the nearest truck stop as quickly as possible to avoid death, but I think we were still running on adrenaline from the night before. Finally, is there anything that no one asks during interviews that you wish they did and what would the answer to that said question be? J: What's my favourite beer?

Answer: All of them! Except peanut butter stouts, green tea IPAs, and all that strange inventive stuff. Thanks for taking the time today, James. Is there anything else you may want to add before you go that I may have missed that you wanted to share? J: Thanks so much for reading! Please do check out our album and videos. Hopefully, we'll make it to Canada soon!


Check out more from Cage Fight:

Album artwork of Cage Fight's self-titled debut album. Pictured is a female's hand with the band's name written on it.

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