Norway’s Flight don’t believe in letting it all hang out—even if their denim jackets and feathered hair suggest otherwise. And the band’s decision to selectively pass around its demo instead of posting it for free on Bandcamp paid off in the form of a record contract. “A lot of bands nowadays produce demos and ship them around to whoever,” says Jonas Bye, bassist for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal-obsessed band. “We really wanted our first release to be a proper album.”
While that self-titled release only dropped in October 2015, Flight actually formed three years before, uniting musicians who played in various thrash and death-metal bands in Oslo. The band recorded its demo in late summer 2013 in just a few days, in the basement of guitarist/singer Chris Brathen’s mom’s house.
Flight gave their initial slate of six songs to Dave Sherwood, drummer of Amulet, a British band that had brought Flight over to England to play a gig. Sherwood passed the demo along to his friend (Bad Omen Records head) Will Palmer, who signed Flight just a few weeks after hearing their demo.
“It all went pretty fast,” Bye says. “We got in touch with Will in October or November 2013, and the contract was signed that December.”
While Sherwood’s mutual friendship with the band and label sparked the deal, it was Bad Omen’s distribution arrangement with U.S. metal powerhouse Prosthetic Records that sealed it.
“It’s really expensive to send stuff from Europe to the U.S., and Will had this network in America,” Bye says.
After inking the one-album contract, Flight hit the studio in February 2014, recording drums on the first day, rhythm guitars on the second and third, bass on the fourth and lead guitars on the fifth. It wasn’t until about six months later that Brathen—a guitarist/bassist-turned-vocalist who was still getting his sea legs—tracked the vocals.
“It was really hard finding a heavy-metal singer in Norway, because everybody’s doing the growls,” Bye says. “Chris discovered that he should just be doing it himself. He’s gifted and, within six to eight months after he started learning to sing, we were ready for him to record the vocals.”
In keeping with their tight-lipped style, Flight didn’t announce the signing of their contract until shortly before the release of their debut in October of this year. Now they’re primed to tour in 2016—and have about half their budget left to do so.
“You can measure everything these days with Facebook likes, and in the last few months ours have doubled,” Bye says. “When we played our first show, Chris had only been singing for about three weeks. It was a lot of fun—but we’ve gotten a lot better since.”