From Helsinki, Finland, hard rockers Santa Cruz began generating a buzz in North America behind their first two albums, Screaming for Adrenaline (2013) and Santa Cruz (2015). Now with a new album out, Bad Blood Rising, the buzz is getting even stronger. Rolling Stone recently put them on their list of “10 New Artist You Need to Know” and they’ve just kicked off a U.S. tour with Fozzy. Blending hard rock, metal, and punk influences, the band has earned a reputation for their energetic live performances and rock and roll attitude.
We caught up with frontman/guitarist Archie Cruz to talk about touring in the U.S., their new album, and the dreaded “glam” label they’re often given. The band is playing with Fozzy, Through Fire, and Dark Sky Choir tomorrow night at Canton Hall. Grab a ticket here. If you’re outside the City of Dallas, we’ve got their tour itinerary below.
It’s been a couple of years since you last played in the United States. Considering many of your influences are U.S. bands, what does it mean to you to play here?
Archie Cruz: To me, it’s the best place to play. I never get more excited than playing in the States. There’s just something about the dream of making it here that’s unparalleled by anything else.
On this current tour, how much material will you be playing from the new album? Or are will you guys be playing from your entire catalog?
Archie Cruz: We have a very short set so we’re squeezing in four songs from the new album.
Playing a supporting set on a national tour, you only have 30-45 minutes to win over the audience. As a band, what’s your approach and what do you want the audience to remember the next day?
Archie Cruz: We just want to put on our 100% percent for that short time and make the crowd feel something.
As a front man, who are some of your biggest influences when it comes to live performance?
Archie Cruz: I really dig Robert Plant, Diamond Dave, young Phil Anselmo, Sebastian Bach & Axl.
What sets this new album, Bad Blood Rising, apart from your last two full-length albums?
Archie Cruz: The sound is more fresh and the songs more developed.
Despite some of your punk and metal influences, Santa Cruz is often label as a glam band. Is this a label that the band identifies with? Or is it just a short-hand for lazy music journalists?
Archie Cruz: Yeah, I think it’s actually a backhanded compliment for people who don’t wanna really give us credit for what we’ve accomplished and trying to do.
Glam is often associated with image, be it David Bowie in the 70’s or Motley Crue in the 80’s. Do you think being labeled as glam forces people to focus on image more than the music?
Archie Cruz: I don’t really care about the label as I said, but still I think the “image” is a crucial part of a rock or a metal band.
I know there’s some European dates on the books this year, but after this tour with Fozzy, do you expect to return to the US in 2018?
Archie Cruz: That’s the plan, hope we can make it happen!