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Sign: Heavier than getting drunk and partying

June 24th, 2008

Sign have just performed on the Main Stage at Download Festival. Danny Montana talks to Zolberg from the Icelandic five-piece about their new album and his new lifestyle.

Sign Iceland Thrash Hits

If you’ve been to any rock festivals the last couple of years, you may have spotted a bunch of black-clad teens (yes, I know, there are a few knocking around there) with the Sign insignia emblazoned across their tshirts. That is The Sign Army.

“We have a really strong fanbase now,” smiles Zolberg, Sign’s 21 year old frontman and founder (picture, below). Indeed, that fanbase was seen filling the front rows at Download Festival 2008, singing the words back to every single song.

Over the past couple of years, Sign – completed by AD (guitar), Eagle (drums), Heimir (bass) and recent addition Aggi (guitar and keyboards) – have supported the likes of Wednesday 13 and The Wildhearts as well as hard rock heroes such as Whitesnake, Alice Cooper and Skid Row in their Icelandic homeland, as well as releasing two albums.

zolberg london abbi smith sign iceland thrash hits

Their first English-language album, 2005’s Thank God For Silence was their third full-length and the band wrote and recorded it all themselves. “We decided that we wanted to bring the ‘80s and glam parties back into the metal world. We were so young and it was really hard,” Zolberg explains. “That was when we learnt how to do it.”

They took the same insular approach to recording this year’s opus, The Hope but the results were much different. “This time around there were no rules and we knew our way around the studio,” Zolberg smiles.

The Hope is a much heavier affair and this direction is much to do with Zolberg’s new-found sobriety. “I’m the kind of person that just can’t drink,” Zolberg says matter-of-factly. “I’ve woken up regretting things and with twisted ankles. When I’m really drunk, I can’t even look into a mirror because the person looking back scares me.”

sign iceland london zolberg thrash hits

He claims it is a permanent move and that he sees a brighter future without alcohol in his life both personally and for the band. “When I’m sober and focused, I feel like I am the show,” Zolberg says intensely. “I have no fear about going onstage; I find it easier and have more control over my thoughts and my voice now. I suppose it’s like theatre in some ways.”

Thank God… was about getting drunk and partying. Singing those songs isn’t that easy any more because I can’t connect to them the way I used to,” he rues. “This album is about rising above all your naivety and gaining your purpose in life.”

The Hope definitely is a heavier album,” Zolberg says, nodding. “The Hope is about rebirth and that’s much heavier than partying.”

The Hope by Sign is out now on R&R Records
Photo of Zolberg by Abbi London

Bands

Download Festival – Saturday 14 June 2008: Interviews and photos

June 14th, 2008

Thrash Hits .com is backstage at Download Festival 2008 getting all the latest gossip from as many bands as we can lay our hands on. Check out a few interviews and some great live photos below.

Download Festival Saturday

Saxon – Biff Byford
Download #3
What are you looking forward to the most at Download Festival 2008?
You always look forward to the gig and hope that people have a good time. To be a band that plays festivals, you have to try and get the audience to lose where they are; to really get into the band and have a good time.
What is your main aim when you’re playing a festival?
I don’t really think festivals are about promoting a new album or anything like that. It’s all about all the fans together having a great time and the band just playing some great fucking rock and roll.

Brigade – Will Simpson
Download #1
How’s Download Festival 2008 been for you so far?
We’re so looking forward to playing in front of so many people that we wouldn’t get the chance to play for normally. It’s a hell of an opportunity.
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
Fighting With Wire. Not in a homoerotic way. We’ve been out on tour with those boys and they’re just absolutely crazy. The antics that they pulled out were some of the finest tour pranks I’ve ever seen.

Sign – Zolberg
Download #2
What’s been your best Download Festival 2008 experience so far?
Seeing Kiss was pretty amazing with the zipline and the fire-breathing. He was spitting blood.
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
Ace Frehley. I’d like to get him drunk and make him tell us jokes. I hear he’s quite a funny guy.

The Wildhearts – Ginger and Scott
Download #loads
What’s been your best Download Festival 2008 experience so far?
Scott: Rob Halford.
Ginger: Yeah, Scott enjoyed Rob Halford. He screamed, then he talked, then he continued to scream. Otherwise, seeing the Wildhearts tshirts out already. It’s great seeing them so early.
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
Ginger: Get Girls Aloud on the bill. No? Get Rammstein on the bill then. They would be the best headliner of Download if they played.

Johnny Truant – Ollie Mitchell
Download #3
What’s been your most memorable Download Festival 2008 experience so far?
Someone tried to break into our van last night while we were sleeping in it – a girl. We chased her off with a belt. We’re still here and haven’t had anything stolen. We’re pretty stoked that it’s our third Download and we’re one of those bands that keeps getting asked back.
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
I’d choose Biffy Clyro. They’re seem like rad dudes and they party. They’re from the same soil.

The Ghost Of A Thousand – Memby Jago
Download #4
What’s been your best Download Festival 2008 experience of the day?
I vomited last night. Today I’ve been walking around all the campsites because I didn’t know where I was going. I saw Madina Lake today. The hair was good. The drummer had a special needs moment when he grabbed his head and just started wiggling about!

Kids In Glass Houses – Shay
Download #2
What’s been your best Download Festival 2008 experience of the day?
I’ve only been here an hour. It’s all changed around but it’s all good. At the moment we’re much more concerned with the alcohol situation.
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
It would have to be Incubus for Brandon Boyd! He’s a good-looking boy with the voice of an angel.

Skindred – Benji
Download #3
How’s Download Festival 2008 been for you so far?
This is some scary weather man. Here’s the sun! Here’s the rain! What’s going to happen?
If you could share a hotel room with any band tonight who would you choose?
Seether. I know they’re good guys and have a lot of fun. They know when to start and they know when to stop.

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