Protest The Hero are in the UK to promote their new album Kezia, released on Monday, so I took the opportunity to catch up with Rody at their Portsmouth show.

R13: Can you introduce yourself and tell us what you play in the band?
Rody:My name's Rody, and mostly I just yell and sound like a little girl...I sing sort of.

R13: How did you all come together and who are your influences?
R:Typical story, it's kind of boring we were 13 or 14 in public school, which is the 7th or 8th grade. We were listening to NOFX and crap like that, and we were like "Let's play together". So we all learnt how to play our instruments, and developed a band for the basis of playing bad covers.

R13: You guys started the band when you were 14, unlike a lot of people who start bands at that age you've been able to keep it going. How have you been able to keep it going for so long?`
R:I think it's about a compassion for music, and those people who don't stay together really don't have that same compassion for music. We are all very driven individuals, and I don't think they have the same team of people behind them. Very early on we got a management deal and we've been with the same guy since we were 14, and a lot of people don't get that.

R13: What would be your advice to bands that are about 14 or 15 and just starting out?
R:Just keep doing it, don't regurgitate music as that's the way bands don't get notice, you're putting out the same shit that everyone else is and no one wants to hear it, and unless what your doing is really popular right now, than no one cares about it, because it's been done. I would try my best to be as original as possible and as true to yourself as possible, and that's really the only way to be successful and create original, interesting, innovative music.

R13: Kezia is your first full-length record, what are your hopes and expectations for it?
R:I would hope for moderate international success, we don't want to be the biggest rock stars in the world and we're not primadonnas in any respect. We have received a moderate amount of success in Canada and would hope to receive, in one way on another, that same amount of success internationally, and if that was just in the UK and America I would be very happy with that. To telll you the truth if we didn't sell another single record in the UK, US or Canada I would still be very proud of myself.

13: Where did the name Kezia come from?
R:It's John's daughter in the bible. However the name essential means song of hope. It is a very pessimistic album and it can come off in a very pessimistic way, we wanted something optimistic to show that we do believe in a certain amount of hope.

R13: The album tells a story of a girl from three different perspectives. How did you guys come up with that idea?
R:We are all big fans of literature it's really got a life or death ambience, it really just drives from our fascination...morbid fascination with literature. It's something we all came up with together and I hope it would be seen as a creative way of writing and recording.

R13: Was it hard to keep it flowing in the same direction with the three different perspectives?
R:Not really, we wrote the songs all in order, we had them in order lyrically. We didn't intentionally write a record that went together really well, but at the time we were writing in a style that wouldn't change. Really it wrote itself and it wrote itself very cohesively.

R13: Which bands and artists were you listening to most when you recorded the album?
R:We were listing to a lot of stuff, Spiral Architects, The Red Chord, personally I listen to a lot of Damien Rice, Jeff Buckley, Les Miserable. There was a very wide range of influences; our pallet has a rainbow of many different colours and shades.

R13: You guys are beginning to become a household name, if a major label approached you with a contract, would you sign, why or why not?
R:I don't think at this point we would be ready to sign to a major label for the fear of getting shelved or dropped. However we felt we were ready to be on a major label we wouldn't let the fear of being called sell-outs deter us from doing so, because I don't believe in the word sell-out unless you are compromising your artistic integrity, and I don't believe that we have done that in any respect.

R13: You have been getting a lot of press recently, is it hard not to let all the attention go to your heads?
R:Not really, we have been getting a lot of press and a lot of attention, and it feels great but we just got off the Dragonforce tour in the States, and we got spat on a lot on that tour, people really didn't like us. With every great thing that happens you have to keep it in your head that you're not that good and not everybody likes you and not everybody is going to like you. That's what's really important to our band, you see so many bands coming up that take themselves far too seriously, and they're not that good, but they think they are the hottest shit on the planet. At the end of the day you can't view yourself objectively so who are you to say how good you are. We are all very level headed individuals, maybe we have ego problems, as we have lack them, although we claim to have large egos on our websites, but it's mostly just a joke.

R13: What are the best and worst things about being on tour?
R:The best things, travelling the world, I would never have come across the ocean, meeting new people every night, travelling with some of the bands that we respect and listening to, that's fantastic, I never thought we'd be friends with the guys from Dragonforce. There are very few negative aspects, but one of them would be you don't really exist, you don't exist as a person, you drive in a van all day and you get out for about six hours, and you exist to a group of people attentively. I've lost all my friends at home and when I get home there's just my Mum and Dad there and you wish you had some real friends. That also works a positively because it makes us much more cohesive as a unit, all we really have is each other.

R13: How has the UK been treating you so far?
R:Fantastically, right now it's definitely my favourite nation that I've been to. The people we have met have a profound respect for music. Where as in the States and Canada, people are like "Do my friends like this?" "Is my hair right?" they are more interested in the fashion side of things. Over hear you do have your scene strict kids, but at the end of the day there is a profound respect for music and people don't care if their friends like it or not, if they like the music, they like it, and that is something that's really quite unique.

R13: From what you've have seen how does touring in the UK compare to touring the US and Canada?
R:It rains a lot less over there, but I like that it rains over here. Again it comes down to the kids, you can find great kids in the States who have the European influence and have a profound respect for music, but there are a lot of stupid dicks who are obsessed with one type of music, or one band and looking a certain way.

R13: You're playing of the Warped tour this summer, how does playing a large event like that compare to a smaller tour, such as this one? Which do you prefer and why?
R:I really like the small club environment, but there is something to be said for the large venue, an outdoor stage at a huge festival. We have only played one Warped tour date in the past and it was a lot of fun, and a lot of work. At Warped you spend the day running round, handing out flyers, trying to convince people to see your set, where as on small tours you sit around do interviews, drag yourself up on stage then drink yourself into a coma.

R13: What bands are you hoping to see perform or meet while on the Warped tour?
R:I would find being on the tour and seeing those bands a very nostalgic experience for me, but seeing NOFX every night will be very nostalgic for me as it's a band I grew up on, but don't listen to any more. I'm excited to make connections with bigger, cooler bands on that tour. To tell you the truth I don't really know who is on Warped tour, we have been on the road for about for months now, so it's hard to keep up with that.

R13: Did you ever think that you would have achieved so much at such a young age?
R:Definitely not. I never did well in school, so I didn't know exactly what I was going to do. I had no idea that this would take off to the extent that it has, even though I may seem very meagre right now, it is something larger than myself and it's something that I can't necessarily describe, or define within myself. I'm very intrigued and very grateful that the people around me have been able to help push it to this point. So the answer to your question is no.

R13: Do you find yourselves getting type cast as a serious politically drive band?
R:Yeah, definitely. People here hear older material call us left wing political activists, then they hear the newer stuff and we get called intellectuals with a very serious message. Though we are serious about music and the lyrics, we are not serious guys and we try and portray that, we like to drink, we like to smoke, and we like acting like morons. To understand the essence that is the band you have to see us in a live environment, because on stage we just make band jokes, we're unorganised you can tell that we don't take ourselves too seriously.

R13: Do you think people are over looking your comedic stylings?
R:Yeah, but were not really comedians but we do have comic intrigues, like we do bad jokes, if you go to our myspace it's one big joke. I control it all and I put up very condescending, egotistical blogs at ever chance I get. A lot of people don't get that, and think we should represent ourselves better, but we don't really care because its myspace I don't think any one should take it seriously, the best way to use myspace is to make fun of it, and everyone who uses it. It's a great promotional tool for a band, but it is a big joke, it's a joke in itself and it's something that needs to be made fun of, whether I do that well or not is up for debate, but I do try my damn hardest.

R13: What do you spend most of your valuable time thinking about?
R:Cigarettes, alcohol. I dunno most the time in the van I spend most my time think of bad jokes to say on stage, and then cigarettes and alcohol. I'm not that in depth of a person but I like reading but that doesn't make me an intellectual. I don't take many things serious, so I do spend most of my time thinking of band jokes, whether it's for on stage or just for saying for no reason at all, but sadly I haven't prepared any.

R13: Tell me something not many people know about the band or a band member?
R:That's a good may have stumped me. What most people don't know is we aren't one of those tough guy womanisers bands, we don't think it's right to go out every night and try and get with new girls and these scene sluts. It really bothers me that these girls exist and try and sleep with bands every night, they are really perpetuating that horrible stereotype and kicking feminism right in the ovaries. People talk to me back home and say that I must get so many girls, but that not what were about or why we started a band. Everyone has their sexual intrigues but I don't think anyone should be sexually exploited. A lot of bands have the opportunity to sexual exploit people and I really don't think that's right I don't respect bands that do it and I don't practice that nonsense myself.

R13:If you could have one thing right now what would you have and why?
R:A donut; a French cruller and a beer. Actually no, I'd have my little friend Squanzo, he is this guy that used to self merchandise for us, a really good looking Italian guy and all he used to do was dance and sing, but he hasn't been out on the road with us for a while, I miss that guy. He has a girlfriend now so he's got obligations and all.

R13: What can we expect to see from you for the rest of the year?
R:We have plans to come back over in the autumn, other than that our album will be released when we leave. You'll see us doing more interviews, very weird interviews depending on what time of the day it is. I had to do this one interview in the States at 7:30 in the morning, and it was really shitty. So you can expect shitty interviews, where we are only partially awake.

R13: Do you have any final words for the readers?
R:One message we always try to promote is no one should take themselves too seriously. If you ever get in a band that's even moderately successful don't take yourself too seriously don't ever let your head get bigger than it deserves to be, and even if it deserves to be big, don't let it get big, because that really shows the value of people and the integrity

R13: Thank you for your time
R:Thank you very much.