Revolver has teamed with Spirit Adrift for an exclusive "fuego" vinyl variant of their new EP, Forge Your Future. It's limited to 300 copies worldwide — order yours now.
Nate Garrett is building a house. In March of last year, the Spirit Adrift leader decamped from his longtime home base of Phoenix, Arizona for the small town of Bastrop, Texas. It's been a brutal pandemic year, but he's confident that he made the right decision. He's digging it so much, in fact, that he's not only constructing a brand-new permanent home there — but he's also recruited his family to come live with him in the Lone Star State.
"We are still in the midst of a big move," he tells us. "We had a house built for us and a house built for my grandparents, who sold their place in Phoenix. It's on 13 acres ... down the road from where we were living outside of Austin. So it's been a challenge … but we're in the house. It's pretty much finished. The yard is kinda a quicksand pit right now. [Laughs] But we're good."
Nate Garrett is also building a trad-metal legacy. He's overcome a lot to get to this current "good" place — and he's mined those emotional lows (and highs) to create Spirit Adrift's epic metal expressions. The latest entry in his band's critically acclaimed catalog is their anthemic new EP, Forge Your Future, which he say celebrates, in part, the "life-affirming power of heavy metal."
The new release (due out August 27th on Century Media) follows 2020's outstanding full-length Enlightened in Eternity, and features three explosive jams — "Forge Your Future," "Wake Up" and "Invisible Enemy" — that Garrett wrote while adjusting to living in a new state amidst the pandemic's stay-at-home mandates.
"I was living in the woods and my wife was still having to go to work. I was starting to feel like Jack Torrance in The Shining," he says, laughing. "I always seem to forget that playing guitar … helps me with whatever is going on."
Thankfully, he says the "light bulb turned on" and he picked up his guitar. The music flooded out of Garrett and he generated over 30 demos, out of which came the three cuts on Forge Your Future — plus eight songs that will be on the next Spirit Adrift full-length.
"I think the next album is way more progressive than anything we've done since the early stuff," he says. "I've got all the fun uplifting classic heavy-metal stuff outta my system with the EP. Because if I tried to make the next album fun, uplifting and joyful I would be … [Laughs] full of shit."
Below, Garrett walks us through the pandemic's The Shining–esque moments and Forged in Fire binges that spawned the new EP, explains why Randy Rhoads haters should "shut the fuck up" and more.
WE SPOKE LAST FALL RIGHT BEFORE THE RELEASE OF ENLIGHTENED IN ETERNITY. DID THE FORGE YOUR FUTURE MATERIAL COME FROM THOSE SESSIONS?
NATE GARRETT No, I never use any leftovers. I started super seriously demoing and writing stuff in March of last year. We got to the house March 1st and then we went to a wedding March 7th in Washington State and when we got back everything locked down. I was living in the woods and my wife was still having to go to work. I was starting to feel like Jack Torrance in The Shining. [Laughs] I always seem to forget that playing guitar and writing and recording songs always helps me with whatever is going on. For some reason I forget that. So I was in the woods, losing my mind in the middle of March last year and then something hit me — and the light bulb turned on. Start writing music, dummy! [Laughs]
So I started demoing stuff and between March 2020 and October 2020 I wrote and demoed 20 songs. Then I got rid of all of them except four. And three of them are on the EP and one of them will be on the next full-length. I wrote a song in October of last year that was so much better than a lot of the other stuff I was writing that I realized, Oh our next album needs to be like this song. … Basically, over the course of last year I wrote about 30 songs, demoed them, threw all of them away except for like 11, three of them are for the EP and eight of them will be on the next album. I have lyrics for four songs; I need to write lyrics for the other four and start demoing the vocals. But yeah, the next album is written and demoed for the most part.
WOULD YOU SAY THE THREE FORGE YOUR FUTURE SONGS ARE A BRIDGE, STYLISTICALLY, TO THE NEXT FULL-LENGTH?
I actually don't think they have much to do with the next record. I think they have more in common with the previous record. Because through writing 20, 30 songs I got the title track for the new EP — that I knew I was definitely going to use for something. It was one of my favorite songs I've written. And "Wake Up," I had this chorus riff that I thought was so good. … So I knew those two songs worked together and they're a pretty obvious evolution from Enlightened in Eternity. So then it was figuring out the third song, which became "Invisible Enemy." And "Invisible Enemy" actually is kinda the best riffs from three songs that I got rid of.
"INVISIBLE ENEMY" TURNED INTO AN EPIC.
Yeah, thanks man, I was writing all this shit that was kind of Dave Mustaine–riff-type stuff, New Wave of British Heavy Metal into proto-thrash type of vibe. Going for Diamond Head and Mercyful Fate stuff. There were several songs in that style and I took the best riffs from those songs, put them together, wrote the transitions, bridge and all that stuff and that became "Invisible Enemy." Then the fourth song it became clear to me that that song was setting the tone for the next album. The fourth song outta the whole bunch was the first guidepost for the next album. Then I wrote another song that stood out as being completely different from what's on the EP. And then those two songs dictated the tone of the next album.
I'M CURIOUS TO HEAR WHAT THE NEW DIRECTION WILL SOUND LIKE.
I mean, it's different. It's the same, but different. I think the next album is way more progressive than anything we've done since the early stuff. I've got all the fun uplifting classic heavy-metal stuff outta my system with the EP. Because if I tried to make the next album fun, uplifting and joyful I would be full of shit. [Laughs]
SO WHEN I FIRST RECEIVED INFO ON THIS RELEASE, THERE WAS A TYPO THAT STATED THE TITLE AS "FORGET YOUR FUTURE." AND I WAS LIKE, HUH, THAT'S INTERESTING. WONDER WHAT'S GOING ON WITH NATE …
[Laughs] That's pretty brilliant. It's funny because on the next album there's actually a song that's pretty much about saying goodbye to your future — because it's not going to happen. [Laughs] But no, the title Forge Your Future came from my friend Cody Davis, who writes for Metal Injection. We did an interview last year, and people were already speculating on the double F title. And I was thinking of all this stuff, you know, pseudo-profound introspective stuff like Forgive Forever and shit like that. But Cody did an interview with me and he titled it Forge Your Future. And I don't know if he was hoping I would use that or what. [Laughs]
I started listening to the music … I had for the EP and I was like, It wouldn't make sense to write lyrics about wannabe profound forgiveness stuff, it was more metal. The music was fucking metal. I thought Forge Your Future was cool. You've got forge in there, and I was watching a lot of Forged in Fire, which is super metal. [Laughs] We had the ice storm [in Texas] … I chopped down some trees earlier in the year and I had all this firewood. And for the whole ice storm my wife and I kept a fire going the whole time in our fireplace and we binge watched every episode of Forged in Fire. [Laughs] That all made its way into the vibe of the EP. But yeah, I wanna thank Cody Davis for that title.
SPEAKING OF VIBES, THE TITLE-TRACK HAS THIS INTERESTING MOURNFUL, YET HOPEFUL, DUALITY: "CYCLE NOT REPEATING … FUTURE IS IN MY CONTROL." CAN YOU TALK ABOUT YOUR HEADSPACE WHEN YOU WROTE IT?
The lyrics to the title track are different than anything I've done before. It's a narrative. I can't help but write about challenges and real-life experiences that I'm going through or have gone through. I usually frame them in a narrative, or metaphorical language. But the lyrics to the title track I just wanted something badass and metal that had lots of vivid imagery with a very clear narrative and a setting. That's probably the closest I'll ever get to fantasy. But, it's actually not that close to fantasy.
I was feeling helpless, and I still am feeling helpless, because … I've had the goal and dream my whole entire life of being a successful musician and Spirit Adrift was on the brink. And we do fine — but we were on the brink of doing more than fine. We were on the brink of doing what would be my first bus tour, ever. I've never done a tour on a tour bus. I've never even done a tour on a bandwagon. And I've been doing this for a really long time. So even though the lyrics to "Forge Your Future" are narrative and telling a story, it's kinda telling my story — and everyone's story who's had their future ripped away from them by COVID. You gotta stay on the path. Our dreams and goals might be delayed a couple years, but that doesn't mean it's not going to happen.
We've all lost a lot of people this year from the virus, obviously … but dude I've had more friends die from drugs or suicide or the result of mental health issues this year more than any other year in my life. I think that song, and the whole EP, is really about how we gotta fucking get through this together.
YEAH, YOU HEAR ABOUT THE LOSSES FROM THE ACTUAL VIRUS. BUT THE PERIPHERAL, OR HIDDEN LOSSES ARE INTENSE …
I was raised in a way that you don't fucking complain. And I like that I'm that way. Because I think way too many people are ungrateful for what they have. But that being said, you can overdo the positive attitude thing and all the negative shit that's happening to you can build up and just destroy you. I think especially this year I've been a little more forgiving of myself for just letting myself say and feel: This fucking sucks. This is fucking shitty. And yeah, I know people have it harder than me, for sure, and I don't want to complain. But this fucking sucks. And everybody's suffering is relative to them. Spirit Adrift were right about to break some serious ground … It's hard to not tour for two years when that was half my life. But I just keep writing music. And that's what's helping me, and, as always, I hope it helps other people.
LET'S TALK ABOUT ANOTHER SONG. TO MY EARS, THE MID-SONG RIFF SECTION OF "WAKE UP" HAS GOT SOME "CRAZY TRAIN" VIBES. WAS RANDY RHOADS BIG FOR YOU?
Hell yeah. 100 percent. I think my favorite metal guitarist, at this point in my life, is Dimebag Darrell. If playing music is about the line between technicality and emotion and soul and having a unique voice, I think Dimebag Darrell is the best metal guitarist that's ever lived. But, Randy Rhoads was a huge influence on him. I love Randy Rhoads. There's a weird thing going on lately where people talk shit about Randy Rhoads' tone and that he's overrated … And you can all shut the fuck up. [Laughs] I got friends that will hopefully read this and know that I'm talking about them.
[LAUGHS] FUCK YEAH RANDY RHOADS. SO, IN TERMS OF SPIRIT ADRIFT, NOW THAT THINGS ARE HOPEFULLY OPENING BACK UP, ARE YOU LOOKING TO GET BACK ON THE ROAD LATER THIS SUMMER OR FALL?
It doesn't look like it man. The problem is that every band in the world is trying to tour. Despite how well known we are, we're not that high up on the totem pole. That's just the facts. We just haven't toured that much. I don't even think the majority of our fans have seen us live, even in our own country. …
I was pretty sick of touring by the end of 2019. I was a little burnt out … but I miss it a lot. We're ready to go. We want to get onstage and kick everybody's fucking ass. Whatever bands want to take us out. All we've ever done was headlining tours, and I want to do some support. We've been talking to High on Fire, YOB's people, there's options … And I'm gonna tell every band out there, "We're gonna try and kick your fucking ass off the stage. And I hope that you try and kick our ass off the stage, too, because that makes for a really great time."
I went and saw High on Fire when they were down here and holy fuck. It was like the most powerful experience I've ever had at a live show because I hadn't been to a show since December 2019 when we played Decibel Fest. God it was so fucking awesome. I cried like four or five different times. [Laughs] It was fucking amazing. It gave me hope that my life is going to come back some day. [Laughs]