Category: Interviews

So the world famous symphonic metal band that you are in decides to take a hiatus for a year to recover from a heavy touring schedule, what do you decide to do? Well if you are Marko Hietala from Nightwish you decide that it would be the perfect time to sit down and record a solo album.

Yes after the success of Endless Form Of Most Beauty the legendary Nightwish decided to retreat for awhile and Hietala decided that would be the perfect time to work on his debut solo album – Pyre Of The Black Heart. Now with the album about to be released Subculture decided to sit down and have a chat with Hietala about it.

Our conversation starts with Hietala telling me that he has been surprised by how many people have told that they love the album as he feels that it may sound a little different to what many people would expect it to sound like. “I feel like that a lot of people will listen to it and just expect metal,” he says. “And then it turns out to be a pretty versatile album but I guess song wise it does have a heavy metal identity, but it will be different to what they expect and for that I am pleased.”

We continue by talking about the kind of music that Hietala listens to himself and what genres inspire him. “Oh man I listen to so much music,” he exclaims. “Since my youth I have been a metal guy but I also listen to a lot of other stuff. Ever since I was a kid I’ve listened to jazz, Irish folk songs, classic, Elvis, The Beatles… whatever. My father had a very big vinyl collection, he was an enthusiast. He also played guitar and sang so that is where a lot of the versatility comes from.”

“I had been thinking about it,” says Hietala as our discussion turns to the very beginnings of Pyre Of The Black Heart and whether it was something he had been thinking about doing for years. “I had some lyrically stuff written and I had some musical pieces and then when the Nightwish sabbatical came I took all of those bits and pieces. And some were really just pieces of lyrics or pieces of music, suddenly they just all came up and they fit.”

“I had no ideas for a concept or anything like that,” he says continuing. “I just had some personal stories and personal visions written down, I had a bunch of those and I still have some leftover… quite a lot of them as well. I got the most interesting stuff together and then when I had that sabbatical year coming I got some musical friends in that I had known for years and they just really got into the music, so much so that they started to record, mix and produce the album. They also wrote some string sections for  some of the songs so without these guys the album wouldn’t look or sound as it is. They were a big help. I had some ideas and then they had lots of ideas on things. How to incorporate things, how to put drums here and there, they helped so much. This album looks like me but I think it looks like them to.”

I then ask Hietala what it was like sitting down to work with musicians that weren’t from his band after working with Nightwish for so many years. “I guess the biggest change was having to take that leap of faith,” he says after taking a huge pause. “You have to be sure that everything is worthy and you’re not qualified to judge. I had to be able to jump over that fence and once I did it was a great thing. But maybe the biggest change is that when you write for yourself you don’t have to think about the strengths or weaknesses of your band mates, which of course when you write for a band you take that into account. You think well if I take this chord or this melody it will sound more convincing and this time I didn’t have to do that though of course I take the responsibility of putting myself on the line if I put my face and name on it so in that sense it was actually taking on more responsibility and that made it scary.”

As our discussion goes on it also becomes very clear that while the Nightwish machine is going to keep turning this solo album is not going to be a one off for Hietala. “This started as a solo project and it feels like it grew a band of it,” he explains. “That implies that this will continue and that it isn’t over yet, but like I said my next year is full of Nightwish so it is hard for me to see what is going to happen. But there were pieces of music that we also went through and didn’t use on this album… and some of the stuff is pretty good. So there is every chance that we are going to return to this.”


You can listen to our full interview with Marko Hietala below.

Pyre Of The Black Heart will be released on January 24th.



Sydney metalcore outfit Harroway have exploded onto the scene with their debut single ‘Shine’ and after just one listen you can easily tell that this is a band that we are going to be hearing a lot about over the next few years. Made up of former members of Maybe I’ll Live Forever, Isotopes and Like Royals the band are already making waves so Subculture decided that it was time to sit down and have a chat with the band’s vocalist Matt Banks.

“We did the normal band stuff,” he explains when we talk about the band member’s past bands. “We did a the local band stuff around Campbelltown, played gigs, released an EP and then we had things like band members flake, they just weren’t committed enough and then bailed. We didn’t want to give up on the whole thing though, we love music… it is our passion. We want to do it as long as we can so we just said ‘fuck it, let’s find some new members.’ “

“It took a long time to find the right fit,” he goes on to explain. “Because some people just don’t want to do it or they see it as a hobby and just don’t want to take it to the next level. Then we found the right guys, but yeah it did take awhile to go from Maybe I’ll Live Forever to Harroway. But now we are back at it and stronger than ever.”

One of the first things that hits you when you sit down and listen to ‘Shine’ is the unique sound that Harroway have managed to create. I asked Banks how they arrived at the sound and whether it has evolved over the time they have been together. “I think we have always revolved around that metalcore sound,” he says. “During the writing process though I think that deathcore sound kind of crept in there and I think the metalcore died off a little. Essentially though I think it is just what we wanted to hear. I don’t think we are hearing enough of that in the local scene at the time when we were writing, given we did write these songs three years ago, at the time though we really did just write what we wanted to hear and at the time I wanted to hear more up-lifting tracks but at the time there wasn’t really anything coming out like that.”

“The original concept came from the fact that I was listening to a lot of Getaway Plan,” he continues as we talk more about ‘Shine.’ “I was really inspired by ‘Where The City Meets the Sea’, I wanted something upbeat, catchy and hooky but I wanted to make sure that it was ours and that I wasn’t stealing anything from anyone. I was just like ‘I like how this song makes me feel, let’s write a song like that.’”

One of the most amazing things about ‘Shine’ is that the band actually got to record it at the legendary Graphics Nature Audio studio in New Jersey and I just had to ask how that came about. “Well when we were in Maybe I’ll Live Forever we were talking to our producer over here, Sonny Truelove, about how with our next stuff we really wanted to do something out of the ordinary and we were hearing so much good stuff come out of Nature that we were just like ‘fuck it would be so sick if we could just go over there and record in the studio.’ Then a year later Sonny hit us up and was like ‘remember when you said you wanted to record over there? I’ve got this mad hit up with Putney and I’ve got a really good deal because obviously recording over in America is very expensive.’ You really do have to factor in recording costs, flights, accommodation and it ends up being really costly but Sonny ended up hooking us up with this sweet deal that ended up costing us the same amount that it would have to record here so we were like ‘fuck it…let’s go to America!’”


Shine is out now and you can look out for new music from Harroway in 2020.


The Used recently surprised all of their fans by suddenly dropping a single titled ‘Blow Me.’ That was the first release since the band had signed with Big Noise Records and shortly after the single was released the band admitted that they had been working on a brand new album after their festival tour. With the album slated for released in early 2020 and the band also embarking on an North American tour Subculture took the chance to sit down with Bert McCracken to see what fans can expect from this new album.

“It has actually been a dream come true working in the studio again with John Feldman,” he says referring to the fact that their old producer has returned to the fold as we talk about the work that has already been done on the new album. “It felt like a mission, an art project… it was a lot of hard work. It was a mentally and emotionally draining experience but to get back into the studio with Feldman as he worked at catching melody it really felt like the basics of songwriting and that is what it is all about. It was really nice, Jon Feldman is a true inspiration. I have said it numerous times but nobody works as hard as him, he is always ready to go no matter what. He can write four songs a day and they will all be really great. Just being in the same room as him is quite magical. If I lived in L.A. I would live really close to him so I could sleep outside his studio door…. that’s the magic of John Feldman.”

That leads me to ask McCracken what exactly it was that first sparked the thoughts about working with John Feldman again aside from signing to his label. “I’m not actually sure what it was,” admits McCracken. “We have maintained a fairly good relationship throughout the years. It is quiet overwhelming to me because I feel like in the past that I have been a difficult artist to work with and it might have seemed like I had burnt that bridge, but he is like a brother to me and it is just feels like home. It is something you are so comfortable and familiar with and this is our sixth or seventh album with him… yeah it was incredible, man We had some of the best times I think you can have writing and recording music.”

“We took a bit of an avalanche or volcano approach to it,” says McCracken when I ask whether he started working on the album in Sydney or if he re-located to LA for the entire writing and recording process. “When we were writing songs it was like we would just spew forth creative energy. We started working on the album maybe last October and then we demoed out about twenty or thirty songs, then we got into the studio with Feldman and just started from scratch with his process. Working in the studio with Feldman is pretty much the same thing day-to-day. You go in, you either start on a piano or an acoustic guitar and then you start to think about what kind of song you want to write. If it is a heavy song then you just rip out a heavy riff and then try to get an overall feel for content… lyrical content. Sometimes the lyrical content will write the song for you, but it felt really fun and free to be like ‘well what kind of song do you want to write?’ or ‘well what is some of your favourite songs, let’s write one that kind of feels like a wooden fence in the back-yard.” Anything is possible so it is really, really fun, nobody’s ideas are invalid, the whole band is throwing all their ideas at the wall and you see what sticks.”

The process was also so much fun that the band ended up with a lot more songs than they actually needed for the album. “We actually ended up with a bit more than that,” he says when I ask if it is true that the band ended up with twenty-seven songs at the end of the recording process. “There were about eight or nine that we were in the process of recording and then we were like ‘nah this one’s not good enough let’s move on.’ So we have about twenty-six or seven that we like, so we will probably put fifteen on this one and then call the rest Operation B-Sides.”

“In a lot of ways one child is always better than the other one,” says McCracken laughing when I ask isn’t picking which songs you like for an album like comparing your children. “I think it is like what it is like with children as well, you know straight away. You will be like ‘man this one is kind of gnarly’ or ‘this one is really fucked up.’ No, I think with a strong song it is really easy to tell in the basic skeleton version of the song. If it has a catchy melody or it flows well and everything just feels really natural, when it is like that you just know straight away and that is great.”

“I can’t wait for you to hear it,” he says to finish up the interview. “I’ve never really been someone that listens to his own records on repeat but I can’t stop listening to this one, it is so much fun and so interesting.”


The new album will be out in early 2020.



2019 has been a big year for father of desert rock John Garcia. The former Kyuss front-man returned to the airwaves with a new album after teaming up with The Band Of Gold. The critically acclaimed album then saw the legend himself return to the road for some live shows and only a few weeks ago it was announced that Garcia would be returning to Australia in January.

Subculture recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk to Garcia to find out what his Australian fans can expect from this brand new tour.

“I recently signed with a new Booking Agency and one of the prerequisites for him to pick me up and vice versa was that Australia had to be in the mix,” says Garcia as we start the interview by talking about the unique relationship that he seems to have with our country. “I try to get down to Australia at least once a year. Whether the shows do well or not I always try to get down there once a year because it is just a place I love to go, I have a tonne of friends down there and to be able to go down there and play music with The Band Of Gold for a live thing is bitchin’.”

The sad thing is though Garcia never gets to spend as long in Australia as he would like to. “ I would love to spend more time there,” he goes on to say. “But sadly I have an Animal Hospital here in Palm Springs that I help run so unfortunately I can’t be gone from my job nor my family and kids for that long. The plan was actually for me to play this string of shows and then fly my family down there to spend a little bit of time on the Gold Coast but unfortunately between my wife’s schedule and my son’s schedule it just didn’t work out this time, but I do get one day off in Byron so I am stoked about that… I plan on enjoying that day.”

That leads me to ask Garcia just how tough is it to combine touring with family and work life. “It is hard,” he admits. “It takes a lot of balance… and I mean a lot of balance. It is the same for the  rest of the guys, we all have normal jobs, we all have families, we all have kids…well Erin doesn’t have kids but he has pets that he calls his kids. So it is a lot of balance but really our families have to allow us to do this because without their support it would be very difficult.

Of course Garcia’s fans were very lucky this year with the release of his brand new album with The Band Of Gold and he says he is very much looking forward to playing some of the tracks off the new album on the Australian tour. “We want to come down there and play ninety minutes of music,” he says. “A good part of it will be playing songs off the new record but we will also be playing some songs off my first electric record as well. Of course I always throw in some Kyuss as well so it is always good to be able to go back and revisit some of these songs, it is always cool to play those tracks because they still make me smile, and if you have never seen Kyuss then this is about as close as you are going to get to seeing Kyuss. It is me with my band and I will show the songs an incredible amount of respect and we will get down there and do our thing.”

To finish off Garcia has a very special message for all his Australian fans. “ i just want to invite everybody who listens to this and reads this to come down and if you want some new rock and some old favourites come on down and we are not going to disappoint.”


You can listen to the full John Garcia interview above while all the tour details can be found below.




Brisbane alternative rockers Hey Geronimo have been making a name for themselves over the past couple of years with some killer sets at music festivals across the country. During that time the band have also dropped two critically acclaimed albums and have now followed that up with a brand new EP and single – both titled Waste Yourself.

To find out a little more about the EP and the band in general HEAVY Mag recently sat down and had a chat with Pete from the band.

“We actually first got together to do a Beatles tribute night,” he explains when we start to delve into Hey Geronimo’s history. “There were a few of us from different bands around Brisbane who got together and we had such a good time that we started a new band. That was a while ago now and now we have kind of evolved into a kind of art collective to be honest. We used to be a kind of party rock band but we have evolved into something a little more high brow now.”

“We’ve played quite a few festivals,” he says as we continue to delve into the past. “Probably the biggest highlight though was getting to play at Big Day Out when Red Hot Chilli Peppers and The Killers were on the bill that was pretty cool. Even to just be playing the same day as those really great bands was just a really cool moment.”

Soon our discussion turns to modern day events and we begin to explore where the brand new single ‘Waste Yourself’ came from. “Well PJ and I co-wrote this one,” he says. “We were both writing it at the same time but we both had a different idea about what it was about. His idea was that when you were with someone you would waste yourself on them and you would be asking them to waste themselves on you whereas the angle I was writing it from was that this dude was kinda depressed and he was literally just drowning his sorrows, so I guess it can be taken both ways but that was the angles that we were approaching it from when we were writing it.”

As our discussion goes on we soon learn that fans of Hey Geronimo may not have to wait too long for some new music as Pete is hoping that the band will head into some writing sessions during 2020. “I think we will be writing some new tunes to be honest,” he says when talk turns to the new year. “Hopefully we can record some new songs in the new year and maybe do something a little different. This EP is a new song with some old ones but I would say in the new year we want to record some new songs and maybe change the direction of the band a little bit to be honest… but we will see what happens, but yeah writing and recording new songs is the plan.”


Waste Yourself is out now.



Sydney alternative rockers Clouder have started to make an impact on the local scene with live shows alongside artists such as Tape/Off, Sketch Jets and The Lazy Eyes on the back of their 2018 debut single which saw them garnish radio play. Now Clouder and back with a brand new single and video titled ‘Stars & Clouds’ and have just announced a launch show on December 20th at Oxford Art Factory Gallery Bar.

“Yeah I went to university with Luke’s older brother,” explains Clouder’s Borna Crvelin as Subculture chats to him about how the band started at uni. “He, I and another class-mate of ours got to together to create a song and that song just happened to be the very first version of ‘Stars & Clouds’ which is our most recent single. As we went through that process I asked Luke if he wanted to start a band and he agreed. So we went out and found the people, then we started to write, record and rehearse and that brought us to January this year when we played our first show… and it has been pretty good so far.”

Everyone that hears Clouder comments on the very 90s sound that the band has but Crvelin says that influence didn’t really come from what he grew up listening to. “I grew up listening to my Dad’s records,” he explains. “So there was some Pink Floyd, The Beatles and a lot of those classic bands. As I grew up I discovered more of the 90s sound but the band has been influenced by West Coast bands like Duster, Idaho and Low.”

People that turn up to the show on the 20th can also expect something a little bit different from Clouder as well. “We wanted to have a bit of a different approach with this one,” save Crvelin. “We’ve teamed up with Josh McBeek who has become a very good friend of mine and so as opposed to just getting some bands together in a bar or pub we have decided to make a bit of a night out of it. So we’ve got some people that I have met over the years plus some bands that I really like and we are going to put on a show of modern Australian alternative music and I’ve got the director who made the video for ‘Stars & Clouds’ and he is going to do a little side-show of his own personal work and have it on projectors in-between the bands so it will feel more like an art installation rather than just a bunch of bands.”


You can take a listen to the full Clouder interview below.



The last couple of years have been a sensational ride for fans of The Butterfly Effect. The popular group seemed to be gone after it’s sad farewell in 2012, but then in 2018 Clint Boge returned and the band hit the road again. Then came a brand new single and now the band have just announced they will be performing at the Good Things Festival… but wait there is more. As HEAVY Mag had the opportunity to chat to Boge he admitted that fans have something else to look forward to as well.

“Yeah man ,it is just over a decade,” he says as we discuss just how long it has been since The Butterfly Effect played at a festival. “It was Big Day Out 2009, that was the last we graced a festival stage. We did the national tour and it was great – and that is what it is about festivals, man, it just has that different energy. When you are doing the smaller club shows and it is under your own headline it’s different. You kind of feel a little bit more pressure, but with a festival you can just let it all hang out, you just play the bangers… i use that term in adverted commas and use it loosely. You just play the fun stuff, you rock out for 45, it’s high-energy, it’s high-paced and everybody is into it. Then you go and have a couple of sherbets after the gig and everybody is in that party mode because it is just so much fun.”

As we chat we begin to reflect on the reception that The Butterfly Effect have received from their fans since returning. “We did the tour in August and we were filling venues like The Forum,” says Boge humbly. “That is amazing after being away for so long. I know we did the tour in 2018 which was also amazing because there was some trepidation and we were quite anxious about coming back because we were wondering if anybody would still want to see the band. But as soon as we put it on sale and it sold out within minutes you breath that sigh of relief and you go ‘shit there are still a lot of fans out there wanting to see the band and they want to hear new music.’ That gives you a sense of relevancy. After I left the band in 2012 I went out into covers land. I was playing covers in bars and pubs and I have to say it was a very humbling and eye-opening experience and I still do it, I still play covers on weekends here and there.

Next year marks a very special time for the band… its twentieth anniversary and Boge admits that the band has something very special planned for fans. “We’ve been working on new music,” he admits. “We are about six or seven demos deep and some of the stuff is sounding really good. Some are really big and are twisting and turning like ‘World’s On Fire’ on Final Conversation Of Kings and some are a little bit heavier and harking back to Begins Here, so it is a good smattering of the three albums and I think that comes with evolving as you do. Not only that but when you come back after being gone for so long it is almost like you are coming back with fresh ears, like you have a fresh perspective for the first time.”


The Butterfly Effect will be appearing at Good Things Festival.


Very few heavy Australian bands have reached the heights that Parkway Drive have. It is hard to believe that this all started when a young band from Byron Bay decided to release a split album (with another up and coming band called I Killed The Prom Queen) way back in 2003.

Since then Parkway Drive have really reached a pinnacle. Their last four albums have all reached the Top Ten on the Australian music charts while they also regularly make the main stage of major overseas festivals and can boast touring alongside bands such as Killswitch Engage, Bad Religion, The Dillinger Escape Plan and Bring Me The Horizon. Despite all those achievements it becomes very obvious when HEAVY Mag sits down to chat to Parkway Drive frontman Winston McCall that one of their proudest moments came just recently when they were announced as the headliner at the Good Things Festival.

“We are pumped because Parkway appearances at Australian festivals are as rare as blue moons,” says McCall with the excitement plain to hear in his voice. “I was stoked to see how well it (Good Things) went last year because I was stoked to see heavy music festivals back like that because there was a bit of a void there after Soundwave I think. There is such a huge community there so it is good to see a festival coming back around because it is such an integral part of the music platform. For for us to be able to play it is awesome but for them to give us the headline slot is fucking great because I don’t know if anyone else has worked out yet but this is a first for an Australian band to get that slot.”

As a discussion goes on McCall shares his feelings on something that has been occurring in the Australian music scene for a long time now. “In the past there always seemed to be the theme of Australian bands are awesome but no matter what an American band will take preference over an Australian band,” he says. “It seemed no matter how well an Australian band was doing they would never play over the top of an American band, which is really shitty. It was literally a reason that we didn’t play festivals in the past because we were not going to condone this behaviour – this mistreatment of Australian bands who were crushing it so hard. So for Good Things to give us that slot is a massive fucking deal…. we want to do it right.”

It draws comparison to what happens in the cinema world when an American blockbuster will always get precedence over a local film and I ask McCall why he thinks this practice seems so rife in both the cinema and music industries. “You’ve got the way the industry works in the first place,” he explains. “When you are booking a band at a festival in Australia you needs bands to play, the way booking works is you book a band and someone will be like ‘I will give you this band but I want you to book these as well’… that is just the way the industry works. On a deeper level though Australia loves American culture and I understand that people want to go and see an American band because they comes from overseas and they don’t get to see them all that often, but also Australia has a slightly skewed perspective on how popular bands are overseas. We tend to see everybody as huge it’s like ‘they are from overseas they must be fucking massive.’ and it was a big shock to us to go overseas and see bands that we thought were absolutely enormous playing for two hundred people. Then you see them playing an Australian festival and they are co-headlining and you like ‘how the hell are you in that spot? Why we were told we had to play three bands under you if we wanted to be on the bill… it is bonkers.’”

Now that Parkway Drive finally do have that headline spot at a festival on their home soil you could forgive them for feeling a little bit of pressure and McCall admits that it certainly is there. “We feel stoked but we have always felt pressure,” he says with slight laughter. “You see us get announced as the headliner and you hear people say ‘Parkway isn’t a headliner’ and we are like ‘yeah well we just headlined for 80,000 people a couple of months ago so I think we can do this.’ It seems no matter what there has always been people who have wanted to see us however they wanted to see us as which I guess is…let’s just say it Australia has Tall Poppy Syndrome… which is fine, no actually it’s not fine, but Australia also has fucking awesome people who have grown this band into what we have and we have a hell of a lot of fans who have been amazing and have pushed this band and got us to the point where we are now and I have a feeling that we wouldn’t be here if we were doing something that people didn’t like. So the idea of pressure for me doesn’t come from ‘can we do this?’ he pressure is more about that I want to bring what is above expectation and I one hundred per cent know that will happen.”

That answer makes me wonder though how does McCall feel when he is about to step out onto the stage at a large festival – does he feel nervous or does he feel exicted? “A little bit of both,” he says laughing after I pose the question to him. “It is a weird one because I find it hard to tell the difference between nerves and excitement to be honest. But when you start both of those things just disappear and it becomes a shared moment of enjoyment. Whatever that feeling is you have on stage you become focussed. But leading up to it it is weird, you find yourself getting that elevated heart rate, that butterflies feelings and all of those things… I don’t know how to describe it.”

“I definitely do remember that a couple of times during this last European festival season though I found myself having to tell myself ‘now just calm the fuck down, slow your breathing down, it is not the end of the world’,” he continues. “But I can’t remember how I got myself into that state. It is exciting though, it is an exciting thing. The mass of humans that you get to play to is something that only a handful of bands on this planet get to play to. A festival is always going to be the biggest crowd you get to play to, no matter what. The energy that comes back at you and gets harnessed is pretty intoxicating.”

We all know that he is right, getting to experience a band live at a festival is something that you only get to experience a handful of times in your life, so seeing Parkway Drive play at Good Things is a must see for all music fans this summer.