Earlier this summer, founding Power trip guitarist Blake Ibanez revealed in an interview with the Dallas Observer that he had gotten back in the saddle and started writing music again following the profound loss of frontman and longtime cohort, Riley Gale. While there is speculation buzzing that Power Trip tunes are in the works, Ibanez sat-in with Knotfest host Daniel Dekay to give one of his very first interviews about the launch of his new project, Fugitive.
Connecting with vocalist Seth Gilmore of Texas deathgrind outfit Skourge, the core for the band's “thrash n roll” cemented its foundation. Recruiting the proper personnel in materializing the project, Ibanez tapped drummer Lincoln Mullins of Creeping Death, Victor Gutierrez of Impalers opposite him on rhythm guitar and bassist Andy Messer to complete the outfit.
Instantly the band carried weight, making their debut during Frozen Soul’s congregation of heavy in Wrecking Ball Metal Madness in Dallas, TX this summer, joining the likes of Municipal Waste, Sanguisugabogg, 200 Stab Wounds, Undeath as the band's first show ever.
Their second, just one of the most prestigious metal music destinations in all of the country in the Psycho Las Vegas weekender. All within the same month, Fugitive had gone from private passion project to a fully realized band complete with two festival appearances and a punishing new EP in Maniac to show for it.
As for the impetus of the Fugitive and what would ultimately become the band's Maniac EP, Ibanez explained that he was potentially going to fill in for another band (one he couldn't really mention) and in rehearsing for that gig, he was playing in a different tuning that what he is usually with Power Trip. He began writing music playing in D standard and found that it allowed him to explore a different lane that what he had been writing previously - material he explained as being more "sleazy", "loose" and had a little more "wiggle room". A fan of the rock n roll spectrum of guitar music, Ibanez found a lane he had yet to drive and continued do it, reinvigorated by the possibilities.
As for the long game with regards to Fugitive, Ibanez spoke positively about the collaborative process in working with the guys in the project and how he loved having a hand in everything. Excited to see how the band charts their progress, the guitarist hasn't ruled out more music under the moniker, sharing that the likely roadmap will include at the very least another EP and depending on response - the investment in making a full LP is not out of the question.
As for the status of Power Trip, Ibanez kept the details pretty close to the chest but did confirm that both he and drummer Chris Ulsh have been working on material and they will continue to do so. While social media has offered some clues given the guys have connected with longtime producer Arthur Rizk, the first-hand confirmation is an exciting affirmation that a new chapter of Power Trip could very well be on the horizon. Optimistic about the direction of the material and the creative chemistry that is still very apparent, though the details were scant, Ibanez's obvious excitement when discussing the progress proved an interesting tell.
As for the misconception that Fugitive could run afoul of being a Power Trip 2.0, the stylistic departure ensures that won't be the case and also allows Ibanez to work a different creative muscle when it comes to writing. Detailing how Power Trip is attacking and really developed with precision, Fugitive's fascination with fast and loose rock still brings with it a sense of intensity, but allows Ibanez to pay homage to his classic influences like Thin Lizzy.
Rounding out the conversation, the guys touched on Ibanez's classic sensibility, his passion for being a collector when it comes to music, and what it has been like as a fan of Sacred Reich and Obituary to not only be welcomed into the fold, but invited to perform alongside such legends.
Stream the complete conversation with Blake Ibanez of Fugitive and Power Trip below.