Behind the scenes of 70000TONS OF METAL 2023:
EMPRESS (USA), OSYRON (CAN) and HEI’AN (SVN) talking about boat, bands, and bonding with fans!
“Every year since the very first 70000TONS OF METAL, The Original, The World’s Biggest Heavy Metal Cruise, set sail in the Caribbean Sea, we from CMM and our label service SAOL have been part of the crew. And every year, we are proud of taking artists from the SAOL roster with us to play the stages on board as one of the 60 bands to set sail with 3000 metalheads that annually represent more than 70 nations from all over the globe,”
The team of metalheads from Hanover, Germany lifts the curtain, and – along with three of the participating bands – grants a peek behind the scenes for the first time:
“We’ve very recently returned home from the 2023 edition of 70000TONS, as did US symphonic metal outfit Empress, Canadian prog moshers Osyron and Slovenian post progressive metal spearheads Hei’An, after rocking the ship. For us, 70000TONS OF METAL is a new adventure every year: extensively laborious preparations, full work schedules on board, coordinating all our friendly media people, and taking care of the interviews as well as the meet and greets on board. For our bands, it’s an equally big adventure and exceptional experience to travel to Florida, come on board a luxury cruise line ship and play their sometimes biggest international shows to date along big names such as Kamelot, Kreator, Nightwish, Dark Tranquility, Dragonforce, Destruction or Insomnium, meet fans and friends from all over the world, make new fans and celebrate their music with and be welcomed by the wonderful community of The United Nations of Heavy Metal at Sea.”
Here’s how Empress, Osyron and Hei’An experienced 70000TONS OF METAL 2023:
“We are so overwhelmingly grateful for the opportunity to be a part of 70000TONS OF METAL,” US-based Empress put down in their report: “Each of us had wanted to go on this cruise for years just as fans of music and, to not only attend, but to have the chance to perform was a real dream come true. We released our debut album, ‘Fateweaver‘, just last August and having the chance to be seen by such a wide audience at this point was huge. Performing on the larger stages to rooms full of metalheads definitely lit a fire. Once you get a taste of it, it’s impossible not to want more,”
On the topic of production value aboard the cruise: “It also gave us a view of what it’s like to work with a whole new level of production; the stage crews we worked with were nothing short of amazing. It was great to finally meet the folks at SAOL in person! They were the ones that made this thing happen for us, and did an amazing job with promoting the release of ‘Fateweaver‘, so it was great to be able to shake their hands and spend some time chatting. Being there also gave us a lot of opportunities to meet and chat with fellow artists, whether to make contacts or just to say hello! To be honest, it was surreal to get on the elevator and see someone who wrote a song that had inspired you. Probably the biggest thing that shook us was the chance to do a Meet & Greet session. We honestly did not know what to expect; we’ve performed on stages before and even though this was on a bigger scale, we were mentally ready for it, but this was a whole new experience. There was a line of people from around the world who were there to meet us, and that was quite a humbling experience. There were fans from countries we have not been to yet, but here they were, coming and telling us how much they enjoy our music. People we were meeting for the first time stood in line and brought copies of our album for us to sign. It’s hard to describe how that puts things into perspective, but it really got us fired up! We have been working on new music for the follow-up to Fateweaver, so that shock of new energy that we got from meeting so many people was encouraging beyond words, and it’s going to show in the new material. One of the other things we got to experience is fans telling us in person “Come and play in my city” and while we see that on social media, it’s different when it’s in person and you can see the genuine excitement in their eyes. We are looking forward to doing just that in the near future. In a word, this whole experience was incredible. It left us energised and hungry for more!”
Back home in the Canadian winter, Osyron are thinking along similar lines, hailing both crew and sailors: “It was an honour to be a part of something as legendary as 70000TONS OF METAL. It was an absolute blast! We had an incredible time, and we were able to meet so many amazing people from all around the globe – including finally meeting the CMM crew in person!
We are grateful to everyone that checked out our shows, came up to us to say hello (and sign our flag!), to everyone who visited us during the meet and greet, and to the people who worked their asses off to make this event happen.
We won’t forget this experience, and we certainly hope to make a return to THE BOAT one day #soon,” Osyron summarise their stay with a promise. How much the sailors would spark the band – and vice versa –, can be seen in this 70000TONS live footage of ‘Ignite‘ from their 2020 studio album ‘Foundations‘.
Carrying the momentum through the foreseeable future, the band adds: “For the remainder of 2023, we are working hard, booking as many shows as we can. We’ll be heading back to British Columbia here in western Canada to play a couple of shows. Those will be April 7th at Runaways Lounge in Kelowna and April 8th at Bully’s in New Westminster. Following that, we have some more shows and festival appearances this summer that will be announced in the coming months. Right away we’re announcing our show on August 5th at Loud As Hell XI Open Air Festival in Alberta, Canada!”
Despite both bands being gangs of tightly bonded, sworn in stage hogs with a ton of travelling and live experience under their belts, the event that’s often been referred to as The United Nations Of Heavy Metal At Sea, can still feed to even their sense of awe and wonder. Just how much of a mind blow is 70000TONS then for a young band? A band that’s reaching ad astra with their complex music, yet had played their very first show as a team just before getting on board? See for yourself in HEI’AN’s enthusiastic humble report: “70000TONS OF METAL was an absolutely INSANE experience for Hei’An. We just had our debut album release show – and the first show in our career as a band – the night before we boarded the flight to Miami to be a part of this legendary festival, making our sets at the Royal Theater and Star Lounge aboard the 70000TONS OF METAL cruise our second and third shows ever, which is something we still find hard to comprehend.
The whole experience on the cruise was amazing, the gigs were crazy, and a lot more people showed up than we expected (being a very new band, we half-expected to play empty venues, but – while they weren’t at maximum capacity – that wasn’t the case at all), a lot of people showed up to our Meet & Greet / signing session, a lot of people wanted to take pictures with us, we sold more merch than we expected, and just the fact that we could meet (and make) new fans from all around the world and hang out with them all week was a surreal experience for us, and also something we still find hard to process, as we would have never expected such a positive reaction to our music so early on. Plus, having the chance to meet some of the other wonderful bands – some of which we have been fans of for a long time – in person, and talk to them, hang out with them and connect with them, was something we are, of course, extremely thankful for, as opportunities like that don’t present themselves every day.
And most of all, it was just a great start to our touring era, as we have just recently returned from a mini-tour in the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Latvia, we have a gig in Villach on March 18th, we have already booked two more international gigs in March (TBA!), we have already been confirmed for MetalDays 2023, which is also a legendary festival we are very honoured to have the opportunity to be a part of, we can say the same for ProgPower Europe 2023 in October, and we have more shows booked that have yet to be announced, and doing our best to book even more shows for 2023 and beyond! And, in a way, after our release show at Kino Šiška in Ljubljana, 70000TONS OF METAL was kind of what started it all, so we just can’t find the words to express how thankful we are for that experience! We certainly hope to play at the festival again in the future!”
The adventure, the thrill, and the fulfilment of dreams – it all culminated in this wonderful second ever show that happened to take place aboard the 70000TONS OF METAL.
Hailing crew, sailors and all fans, Hei’An have put together a one minute recap for us, based on footage provided by 70000TONS OF METAL.