Category: Interviews

For anybody that thinks that the Murders In The Rue Morgue Volume 1 compilation might just be Melbourne-centric then think again. The next artist to feature on the compilation that we are taking a look at hails from Western Australia and was one of the earliest signing to Rue Morgue Records when the label was first starting out.

“Yeah I am Western Australia based,” says Brittain with a laugh as we start our conversation. “I’m a rock, metal singer who is probably best known for playing in a band called Shots Fired which were a hard rock group from WA. I also used to be in a band called Electric Dynamite out of Melbourne and just recently I have been playing with a Western Australian power metal outfit called Silent Knight.”

With so much musical experience behind him it is little wonder that Rue Morgue wanted him on their label and Brittain says the experience with the label has been awesome. “The journey with Rue Morgue began maybe fifteen months ago,” he explains. “I was in discussions with John, the guy who established and owns the label, and we wanted to produce some of my music through the label. We saw it as a way to get my music out there and a way to get the label up and running. We had great success releasing my 7’ and more recently my full album that also came out on cassette as well.”

“So, it just seemed natural to have one of my tracks put on this new compilation,” he continues. “The track that is one there has not been on any streaming services as yet, so nobody has really heard it except for those that bought my album. So, I think that is pretty cool.”

As he mentions streaming Brittain and I begin to discuss why it is important to still release music on CD, cassette and vinyl. “I think streaming is just a matter of convenience,” he says matter-of-factly. “It’s great when you are driving in your vehicle and you just want to have a mix of whatever playing, but I guess I appreciate it because I grew up with vinyls and tapes lying around the house. There was always music around the house so I guess it was something that was always comforting for me. It also felt real to me because you have a physical product that you can look at and admire… that is my take on it!”

He is also a firm believer that cassettes and vinyl are back to stay as well. “Oh yeah definitely,” he says when I ask whether or not he believes the comeback is real. “You only have to look at the statistics on sales in different parts of the world. Definitely cassette sales are on the rise compared to where they were ten years ago and I am sure that will keep increasing slowly. Also definitely with vinyl you can see that there is a renewed interest amongst younger people. I think it is here to stay, similarly with cassettes.”

“You can produce really great sounding hi-fidelity music on cassette especially if you get the steel-wound cassettes,” he says when we begin to talk about why music always seems to sound better when you aren’t streaming it. “It is almost CD quality.”

While it would be nice to talk about the joys of cassettes and vinyl all day Brittain and I finally laugh and bring the conversation back to what we were supposed to be talking about – his track for the Murders In The Rue Morgue compilation.

“It is a hard rock track,” he says still laughing. “It kind of gives a tribute to the English bands from the south and it features some great local talent from Perth, all of whom are my friends. The track is essentially about the bondage of religion especially in the inner-west and it looks at the mechanisms used to confuse people deliberately. John chose the track – I actually didn’t choose it – because it was his favourite track on the album, so he chose it for me. I didn’t have any issues with that because if people are into that kind of music, heavy rock, although it does have some heavy metal elements it is largely heavy rock. It also has some Deep Purple and Rainbow type keyboard playing and some shredding solos… so yeah it is just really exciting to have it finally produced on the compilation.”

And when it comes to why people should buy the compilation there is not better salesman than Brittian. “If you are thinking about buying it just go out and do it,” he says. “There is so much great local talent on there – the speed metal kings of Melbourne Espionage, Grant Burns is on there… there is just some fantastic rock and heavy metal on there.”

So take Brittain’s advice and go out and grab your copy today.

Being one of the hardest working bands in the world makes it hard to pin down a member of Kadavar for an interview. For a while I thought the retro rocker’s front-man Lupus  Lindemann was going to be my white-whale. But eventually we caught up with him while he was making his morning coffee and we finally got a chance to talk to him about the band’s upcoming Australian tour.

“We are really happy to be coming back,” he says with a small laugh. “It has been on our horizon for a little while now. There were some changes though with the two people we used to work with in Australia so that made things difficult, so we put it on the side for awhile while we waited for an opportunity. Now we have a chance to come back though and we are super happy that we have this chance. We have the new album as well, actually I think it has been two albums since we have been back to Australia so that itself is a good reason to come back.”

As a chat we talk more about their last tour and it seems like it was a tour that the band have fond memories of. “The last time we were there it was really cool,” he says excited. “We played at a couple of smaller venues that I really liked and we did Cherry Fest in Melbourne which I really enjoyed. There are good people there and that always makes for a good tour.

For many people Kadavar was unheard of until they heard a copy of their last album – For The Dead Travel Fast. The album has been universally praised with some critics labelling it one of the best rock albums of all time. Lupus admits though there is a catch to playing the tracks live. “It is a bit difficult,” he says when I ask how the tracks off the album have been received when they have been played live. “We used to limit ourselves in the studio to only record the instruments that we could only play on stage but with this album we added some synthesisers and extra guitars and choirs and all of that kind of stuff so we had to find a way with only three people to put that on stage.”

“Now some of us have to play synthesiser and guitar and our drummer is singing now as well,” he goes on to explain. “It has been a journey to see what the maximum is that you can do with three people, but I really enjoy the bigger sound and the extra dynamics that we are getting with the songs.  I think people are going to really like it.”

While playing tracks from For The Dead Travel Fast has provided some headaches for the band they say it is something they are getting used to. “It is our tenth anniversary this year so it is something that we are getting used to,” he says when I ask how the band normally goes about adapting album tracks to be played on stage. “We know what we can do and what is impossible but sometimes we need to realise that we have gone over that line but usually we do know just how far we can push it.”

“We do write the songs in a studio and we do record the songs in a studio live,” he says still explaining the process. “So we play them the way that we would when we on stage. That gives us the opportunity to see if it will work or not on stage later, because we normally don’t do over-dubs… it is all recorded live.”

Our discussion goes more into the praise that For The Dead Travel Fast received and I talk about the fact that some critics called it ‘a new benchmark for other bands’ while another called it a ‘masterpiece.’ That makes Lupus laugh. “See now I have done my masterpiece, nothing else I do now with ever matter,” he says continuing to laugh. “No, see for us we played music and did what we liked. Anything that people add to that all came much later after we were done with the album and by then I didn’t feel that connected to it. That is what musicians do, they no longer feel connected once they are done with an album. All the media and reviews came four months after we were done with the album and my head was already far away from it, I was already searching for new ideas. It is like giving birth to something and then just letting it go to see what happens.”

Kadavar hit Australia this month, all the tour dates can be found below.

 

 

The last couple of years have been huge for Australian band Ocean Grove. Their debut album, The Rhapsody Tapes, received both critical and chart success. Meanwhile behind the scenes the band lost two members and gained another while Dale Tanner had to step up and become the main front-man.

Now the boys eagerly await the release of their brand new album Flip Phone Fantasy and when we chat to both Tanner and newcomer Twiggy Hunter they are standing outside a venue in Wolverhampton where they are due to a gig that night. The fact that they are touring overseas has calmed the nerves a little before the release of the new album on the 13th March.

“We have loved this tour,” says Tanner and it is easy to tell from his voice that he is happy. “We are here with Crossfaith and they have been pretty wild but they are awesome bunch of dudes and they always put on a good show. We are playing to a heap of people that have never heard of us before so that is great because we are getting some really good exposure at a really important time. Having an album coming out soon and being on the radar of more people in Europe is a really positive thing.”

Being so well received in Europe is the perfect tonic for any second album blues and the boys are more than aware of that. “I wouldn’t say there are too many nerves,” says Tanner again laughing. “I think we disregarded them quite some time ago, actually I think when we were writing the album. Of course we knew that we had a challenge on our hands given the success of The Rhapsody Tapes and having gone through the line-up change and things like that, but once we had come to terms with the fact that these changes were somewhat inevitable and that the evolution was going to happen whether we liked it or not we kind of just embraced it and took it in our stride and we just thought let’s see what kind of magic we can create from this creation.”

“I think we were able to do that with this album,” he continues. “I think right now we are kind of sitting here in disbelief because this moment is finally here. It felt for so long that it may never come and that was probably the part that hurt the most – the time that it was taking when we knew we had some really cool stuff on our hands. We wanted to release it out into the world but we knew that we had to play the waiting game and so it is not so much nerves but more relief and some definite excitement. We are pumped because we are really proud of this album and we know that it is the best collection of our work. We have nothing but confidence in it and we know that it is going to blow people’s minds. March 13th can’t come fast enough for us because we finished it off so long ago that we have just been sitting around bored as fuck ever since.”

While there is a bit of a party vibe to Flip Phone Fantasy the album does explore deep topics such as mental health and both the boys are very honest about how intense the writing process was. “I think we were going solid at it for eight months,” says Tanner looking to Twiggy for reassurance. “I think in the moment we knew that something pretty special was happening. The first time when something clicks everyone would just look around the room and have that realisation that something special is going on and happening.”

“I think with this album what made it so special was the combination of me having to step up as front-man and having to take on more of that responsibility when it came to writing the lyrics and shaping the tone and message that came with the songs,” he says continuing. “That combined with Twiggy coming into the band meant that we had a brand new member coming in with ideas, lyrical content and musical content that we had never really touched on before or even experienced before as a band and in our creative process. I think they were the main factors but I think there were a lot of factors to why this whole album and in its writing and recording process  was unique and felt like a first time even though the band has been together for quite some time now.”

“This album felt like a fresh start and I think we approached the songs and the lyrics in a way of wanting to demonstrate a lot of diversity – especially emotional diversity,” he says. “I think that allowed us to show the real rainbow of human emotion and we were able to delve into some topics that we haven’t been able to touch on in the past because I guess the sounds of the songs didn’t really allow it. Some of our stuff from the past has been kind of teenage angsty and hasn’t allowed for some of the sombre things to come through. But now we have this diversity it really opened our eyes up.”

 

Flip Phone Fantasy is released through UNFD on March 13th.

 

 

 

There has been a love affair between Australia and British hard rockers The Darkness ever since their debut album Permission To Land which was released back in 2003. Ever since then the band have sold out every tour they have ever done here and thanks to their 2019 album Easter Is Cancelled the band are now popular with the younger generation as well.

As I get the chance to sit down and chat to band member Rufus Tiger Taylor it is clear to hear the excitement in his voice. “I just can’t wait,” he says. “Every time we come to Australia we have such a great time. It is just one of the funniest places and obviously the shows are going to be really great and it is always fun to look at the Oz schedule in terms of days off because as a band we like to do the occasional bit of surfing and mainly a little bit of tennis… and that can get pretty heated.”

That news got us into a rabbit-hole as we discussed the various great places there are to surf in Australia. “I actually learnt how to surf in Byron Bay,” he explains. “That was years ago and that is a great spot, but sadly I don’t think we are playing Byron this time. But I also love the chance to surg at Bondi as well.”

The band are also very much aware of the strong fan base that they have here and Taylor is quick to admit that they are another of the reasons why they love to tour here so often. “They are just brilliant,” he says when we discuss the fans and how they always seem to sell out their Australian shows. “They are brilliant every single time because they know how to have a good time. Everybody is always up for it and there is never any dickheadery, if that is even a word, but everyone always seems to be on the same level and Justin just seems to order and they do. They are just a great crowd, always have been and that is why we are so excited to be doing this. Especially now that the new album is out because we have seen a lot of growth for us in Australia since the album came out.”

Taylor is certainly onto something there. Easter Is Cancelled is an album that seems to have put The Darkness on the map with a whole new generation of Australians. Not only do the album do well in the charts but the big single “Heart Explodes” also found itself on a lot of different radio stations play lists. “It really has been great,” says Taylor reflecting on it. “You know when you write an album that is pretty much a journey album, and also a concept album, you don’t imagine that you are going to nail it for everyone. Normally with that kind of album everybody seems to have a different opinion.”

“But this seems to have been unanimously accepted,” he continues. “That is really cool. We all had our different picks of what songs we thought would do better and mine was “Heart Explodes” so that was really good.”

It is obvious that Easter Is Cancelled is an album that the band are proud of so there is little wonder that they plan on playing it from start to finish during their Australian tour. “We are playing the whole thing,” he says with pure joy in his voice. “We were so proud of Easter Is Cancelled we were just like, fuck it lets do the whole thing from start to finish exactly the way that it is on the album. We decided to do that because we really like it and it is an exciting step and adds a lot more drama to it especially with how hard some stuff is to play, but we love a little challenge. We do absolutely everything ourselves on stage so it is rewarding as well.”

“That obviously takes out forty-five minutes of the total set,” he says continuing to talk about what Australians can expect from their show this time around. “Then we have what we call the party set and we really just chose our favourites. Whatever is really working and has a flow together. Everything has to fit together, we do put our set lists together really seriously. Like at the start of the European tour we were doing “Black Shuck” at the start of the encore and it just wasn’t really landing, and we had to look at where we put it, is it the end or does is work better as an opener? But we already have a hell of a opener.”

No matter the order of the songs The Darkness are going to give you a tour to remember so make sure you grab your tickets right now.

 

 

 

Nearly forty years ago now one of the most influential bands in the thrash metal genre started up in Berkeley, California. It was 1983 when a small band called Legacy started out. That band became Testament  -a band that today finds themselves in a group called The Big 8 – a group that are considered the most influential thrash metal bands in the world and also contains bands such as Metallica, Megadeth and Slayer.

One of the founding members of Testament, guitarist Eric Peterson, recently sat down with me and chatted to me about the band returning to Australia for Download Festival.

“Oh yeah, it has been a while,” says Peterson as we begin to talk about the last time that they visited Australia. “What was it, back in ’13? Yeah, it must have been because it was when Steve (Di Giorgio) came back to the band. Now here we are in 2020 and we are just about to release a brand new album called Titans Of Creation. The new single hits tomorrow, the album comes out April 3rd so we will probably be playing that new track when we come down.”

Our discussion about the mighty Testament returning back to our fair shores leads us to further discuss Download as a festival and is clear that Peterson is excited that they are on the bill. “Download in Australia sounds awesome,” he says with a huge laugh. “And I am very excited about being able to play alongside My Chemical Romance. I was a big fan of theirs a while back and then they hung everything up. It is so cool that they are back, and I found out they were playing awhile after we said yes so I was like ‘woah that is a trip.’ I have to say that is pretty cool.”

Peterson’s love for My Chemical Romance runs pretty deep as well. “I think I first heard them when their third album came out,” he says. “I remember I saw the video for ‘I’m Not Okay’ and was like ‘hey that’s cool.’ I’m not normally into that whole emo band thing, but to me they were more than just your average emo band. I took the chance and bought their record and when I heard stuff like ‘Helena’ I was like ‘man.’ And my kids were in grade school at the time and normally I listened to much scarier stuff but when I listened to these guys my kids got into as well and I was able to share it with them. We were even able to go to live shows together to see them.”

We then start to talk about how important festivals like Download are and Peterson says their importance is not something that should be under-played. “They are extremely important,” he says with a more serious tone returning to his voice. “They give a band a chance to come and showcase for people. It is cool for bands to come and play with other bands that they normally wouldn’t play with, so it is just a good time and it is like going camping or going to a party or something.”

It also seems that Peterson is not against going out there and supporting the other bands that are on the bill either. “I do like to have a few hours to myself before we go on,” he explains. “But if one of my favourite bands is playing I will definitely go and see them, but normally about an hour before we go on I need to chill, warm up and try to escape all the hoopla.”

As we talk more Peterson tells me that Testament’s set at Download will be more than just a best of set as well. “We have a bunch of new songs that we are working on right now,” he tells me. “When I say new I mean the new singles that we are going to put out but also some songs that we have never played live before, some of the deeper cuts.”

“We have been touring a lot so we have just been playing the title tracks from some of the records,” he explains. “So we would like to mix it up a little bit, so I think for Download we are going to have a very strong set… with a lot of good stuff to pick from. We will definitely play our big tracks but we’ll put some new stuff in there, and we get the chance to try them out on Europe first so we’ll have a good idea of what is going to work.”

With Testament so well rehearsed before they hit our shores it is easy to see that these are going to be some amazing shows. They certainly will be if the band’s excitement are anything to go by. “We are super excited about heading back to Australia because it has been awhile,” says Peterson as we begin to wrap up the interview. “It is super awesome that we get to play Download and we have a couple of shows that we are doing on our own so we will be able to be more upfront with our fans. But Download is cool because people will be able to check us out that have never seen us before. And we have our new album so if you are a Testament fan you will not be disappointed.”

 

Testament plays at Download and their new album hits on April 3rd.

 

 

 

It is pretty often that you hear the phrase ‘this is the album that will make or break a band’ or ‘this is the band’s rebirth.’ Normally it is a gross over-exaggeration but that certainly isn’t the case for Norwegian heavy metal band Kvelertak and their brand new album Splid.

Even out of the studio the band have gone through a rebirth over the past twelve months. Ivar Nikolaisen came on board as the band’s new vocalist while they also welcomed Havard Takle Ohr to the fold as their new drummer. The result is a very different sounding Kvelertak on Splid. The old punk sound has given way to a new heavy metal sound that at sometimes even borders on prog metal.

“We actually started the writing process for the album back in 2018,” says Nikolaisen when I get a chance to sit down and chat to him. “Our guitarist that we call DJ he said ‘okay this time I want to do a party album.’ You know a lot of short songs and every song would be a party hit punk rock style, but it didn’t end up that way. It is almost a proggy punk album now, that is how it ended.”

Chatting further to Nikolaisen about Splid and it becomes really obvious that the album ended up taking on a life of its own. “We were just jamming a lot in the rehearsal room and it ended up the way it did,” he explains. “It feels like the first six or seven songs of the album have a real party vibe and then it is a darker vibe on the last songs. There are like four songs that go for longer than seven minutes and the whole album ended up going for like an hour – so it is a pretty long album.”

The party vibe of the album seems to also be affected by a lot of the goings on in the world today, and it is there where the darker side of the album seems to take over. “Yeah it is a bit of a doomsday album,” says Nikolaisen agreeing with me when I ask whether the world around them influenced the album at all. “That is also one of the reasons why we called the album Splid which means kinda ‘discord’ in English. You know there are things in there about the climate, things that all nations are dealing with.”

Of course the other big factor that influenced the album were the comings and goings from the band and that certainly isn’t lost on them. “There were a lot of changes,” says Nikolaisen with a slight chuckle. “Of course I am the new singer and we have a new drummer and we have a new record label and we have a new booking agency and new management – with all of that it almost feels like a new start for us.”

While the changes are pleasantly obvious on the album, internally the transition of lead singers for Kvelertak has almost seemed seamless. “I’ve know these guys for thirteen years and I even did one song on their first album,” he explains as we begin to talk about how he felt coming into the band. “I did some guest vocals for them back then and since then every time they have been in my town I have done some guest vocals live as well. They also supported my old band when they first started out back in 2007 and 2008. So, I knew the guys and I mean it is just rock ‘n’ roll, it isn’t brain surgery, you know?”

“I know how to do it,” he says continuing to laugh. “Of course at the same time I was a little bit nervous because the fans knew the old singer and he was a really good singer. I was a really big fan of his and I didn’t want to copy what he was doing so I started to do my own thing. But really I am just doing what I have been doing for twenty years with other bands. But this is a little bit different because it is much bigger than anything I ever done before, I mean it is not that big but for me I have only been travelling around in small punk, hardcore and metal bands and playing for like 100 people right across Europe for the past twenty years, so that part is new for me. Like today we are playing in Hamburg and it has sold out and I’ve been to this city and played a lot in the last twenty years, but each of those times I think I played in front of perhaps twenty to two hundred people. So of course it is different, it is a little bit more professional, but I think what we have done so far has been really good, people are still coming to the show so I think they like me, and the band are really nice to me… so I think it works.”

 

Splid is out now.

 

 

For Aussie Silverstein fans this year started with a bang as the Canadian post-hardcore outfit made the journey to our shores just to play at UNFD: The Gathering. Now those fans can get excited all over again as the band deliver their tenth studio album – A Beautiful Place To Drown.

I recently had the opportunity to chat to Shane Told about the album and it is clear that the band are just as excited about the release as their fans are. “We did start to take more and more chances,” he says when we begin our discussion by talking about the differences that fans will hear on the new album. “We did start to do things differently and take some different approaches then we have in the past. But we didn’t really set out to do that, we just found that was what the music and the art was telling us to do, so that was a really interesting process.”

Ten albums in and it feels like Silverstein have a maturity about them that hasn’t been there in the past, and that is something that seems to be showing in their music. “I think the big difference was that we didn’t follow any rules,” says Told going deeper into the album. “We have been a band now for twenty years and put out nine records and we came from a time where there were punk bands and there were hardcore bands. But there were also not a lot of tricks – it was basically a guitar, bass, a drum kit and somebody yelling or singing into a microphone. But music has changed so much over the past twenty years, there is so much you can do now in terms of over instrumentalisation. There are other ideas, there are different things that you can do in the studio, they are all things that we either weren’t able to do twenty years ago or we didn’t feel that we were allowed to do.”

“What happens though after twenty years we were looking back and saying ‘well The Get Up Kids would never do this’ and now we are like ‘who gives a shit,’” he says continuing. “It is 2020 and it is okay to use different instrumentalisation and it is okay to put electronic drums on a track. We wanted to put a saxophone solo in a song so we fucking did. We would never have done that when we first started the band but over time we have just decided that we will do what we want. We just thought that this was something that we wanted to do creatively so we are going to do it. Once we got over all that and said ‘okay we are going to break the rules that we have set for ourselves because why did we even have them in the first place?’ Once we did that the floodgates of creativity just opened and that felt really liberating because we were able to do whatever the fuck we wanted to do and that felt really inspiring.”

That leads to me ask him more about what was actually inspiring some of the tracks that are on this album. “An album really is a snapshot of a time. You can’t get away from that and I don’t think you should get away from that. Obviously you want to write timeless music, but the timeless part of it is in the song-writing. It is not just about being able to write a great song, it is about being able to tell a story about today that would have resonated in the past and will resonate in the future. But there is also always going to be a time frame. I mean take the 80s, you hear a song from the 80s and you instantly now that it is from the 80s – that was the production and that was the time… that doesn’t mean that it is not a great song. Every era has that.”

“So I think it is really important that you write about what you are going through,” he says continuing. “Sure with this album there is stuff about politics because how can you ignore that right now? I mean there is so much politics in the media, how can you ignore that? There is also so much going on with mental health and the whole thing about people over-consuming it is leading to this… and they are all things that we have to talk about.”

Capturing a snapshot of time like that can also lead to some painful memories and Told opens up to me and tells me that is something that has happened with Silverstein’s music in the past. “Let’s go back to Dead Reflection,” he says. “I was in a horrible place when we made that album. I had never been more depressed and it ended up being a very dark record, it is very hard for me to go back and read some of those lyrics because it was a bad time. Then you go back and look at Wind Shifts and I was in a great place and I wrote a lot of songs about good relationships. So each album is a snapshot of the world and about a time in my life and I think A Beautiful Place To Drown is no different. I think it is important for each record to tell the tale of the time – whether that be in our career or what is going on in the world.”

 

A Beautiful Place To Drown is out on March 6th.