Interview by Kris Peters By sheer virtue of the fact they were hand-picked by Foo Fighters for the Australian support slot, Hot Milk just HAVE to be a good band. But it's not until you sit back and listen to the band that it becomes evident that they are actually shit hot and if the Fooeys hadn't chosen them as support then they probably wouldn't have been doing their job right. Comprised of co-front people Han Mee and Jim Shaw who grew up together in Manchester, Hot Milk have captured people's attention on a global scale, amassing 50 million global streams across 3 x EPs and playing the likes of Reading + Leeds, Download, Lollapalooza, Rock Am Ring and more. Just looking through their brief, but busy career trajectory tells the true story of success, with Hot Milk deliberately restricting themselves to three EPs initially as a way of discovering their sound and musical identity and allowing time to fully flesh out their vision, rather than rushing to put out a full album. That planning and patience was realised earlier this year with the release of their debut album A Call To The Void, which has elevated Hot Milk even further into the sonic stratosphere. Thus, their current Australian run of shows, not just supporting Foo Fighters, but also containing two headlining shows in Melbourne and Sydney. HEAVY caught up with Han and Jim not long before their second headlining show, which is tonight in Sydney. "It was great," Han enthused when asked how the first show of the tour went. "But we're changing the set because we got angry at ourselves. It's one of them, it's like, when you're playing with the Foos you just have to do your best and have fun doing it. You've gotta absorb those moments. It's the stuff dreams are made of, really." We press Han on what she means by saying they got upset at themselves. "We're perfectionists, and we didn't play the best set we could play," Jim chimed in. "We basically came off the back of our own headlining tour," Han continued, "and didn't have time to think about what we were gonna do for the Foo Fighters. We kind of did a stripped-back version of that, and then we realised we need to do something specific for this crowd and specific for the Foos." In the full interview, Han and Jim talk about the magnitude of sharing a stage with Foo Fighters, having to shut that out and focus on the task at hand, playing their own headlining shows, the emotional difference between playing to tens of thousands with FF one night and then playing to a more intimate pub crowd the night after, what to expect from their shows, their debut album and how it was received, how they planned the album over three EPs and more.
Interview by Kris Peters It makes sense that someone who is already in a band would also want to dip their toes into promotion and putting on shows themselves, but it's not as easy of a process as you would think. Dealing with bands and booking for bands is another stress level of its own, and often the two - although seemingly perfect bedfellows - are too difficult to negotiate. It takes a special kind of person with an honest and genuine love of music to successfully blend the two into a functioning unit, and even then the constant source of emails and phone calls can become too much of a burden. One such person who has managed to combine both passions without completely losing his sanity (yet) is Brisbane guitarist for Dirty Brew and head of Brewhouse Productions, Mick Brew. Mick is a well-known and highly respected member of the local music scene and has been juggling his time and energy between both band and promotions for a number of years now. He has put on a consistently large number of successful shows and played at some of those and other big-name festivals, but his sights presently are firmly set on Brewhouse Production's annual end-of-year celebration of music to be held at The Back Room, Annerley on December 30. Featuring Counterfeit Limp Bizkit Show, F.U.C., Krave, Snake Mountain, We The Hollow, Dirty Brew and others, the annual bash will house 20 bands over two stages in one afternoon/night of entertainment that celebrates everything that is good about Australian music. HEAVY managed to track Mick down recently to chat about the event and the constant demands of the music industry. "It's gonna be a big day," he smiled. "Doors are at 12 with the first band starting around one o'clock. I just need to finalise those set times this week. It should be good. There's already a fair few tickets sold and if it's anything like last year, we sold nearly 400 tickets, so hopefully we can do that again." While many people call the annual event a New Years Eve Party, this year it will be held the night before New Years Eve on Saturday, December 30. It seems like a good idea to us, but we ask Mick why he isn't keeping it to the actual date of New Years Eve so people can remember more easily. "To be honest, New Years Eve was on a Sunday and everyone has the Monday off or whatever, but last year when it was on the Saturday and the Monday was a holiday it just gives you those extra couple of days," he explained. "It's not so much a New Years Eve party anymore, it's more of an end-of-year party for everyone to tell the whole year to get fucked and start again." In the full interview, Mick runs through a few of the bands playing and why he put them on the bill, where to get cheaper tickets from, how to help out bands by buying direct from them, the venue and why it is the perfect place for live music, the range of sponsors on the night, future plans and more.
Interview by Kris Peters The expectations placed on new and emerging bands in the modern era surpass any of those from eras gone by. Not only is there the sheer abundance of new music being released on a daily basis, but there is also the proportionately high number of new bands forming at a rate never seen before. Because of this, there is not only competition in the form of bands vying for their own slice of the market pool of listeners, but there is also the growing attitude of complacency when it comes to recycling familiar trends and genres while also striving to stand out and be heard. Melbourne four-piece alternative rock outfit Terrestrials are just one of a plethora of bands starting on that long industry road to acceptance and success, but have done everything in their power to avoid being absorbed into a growing pack of fresh artists by choosing to diversify their sounds within the label so graciously applied to them. While promoted as alternative rock, Terrestrials upcoming debut album Iridescent - to be released on December 8 - contains elements of many more styles and influences, creating, according to their press release, "intensely dark, melodic moods through subtle hints of prog rock and metal". HEAVY caught up with vocalist Scotty, Bassist Lee and guitarist Adrian to find out more. "Pretty pumped," Scotty enthused when we ask the boys how they are feeling about the album's release. "It's something that we have been working towards for a copious amount of time now. We were probably about a quarter of the way during all the pandemic stuff, and we were starting to get a bit of momentum happening up to that point. So it's been a bit of a journey, but I think it's that extra bit satisfying to get through having a little bit of resilience." We ask the band to delve into the musical side of Iridescent a bit more. "We did alot of songwriting over the years," Adrian began. "It's the best of, but it all fits together still. Quite a while ago Lee put together the song order, and we worked that into the album a bit with quite a few transitions. I wouldn't say the songs are that prog, but the album feels proggy." "There's moments of prog," Scotty continued. "It's called alternative rock, but it sounds aesthetically… We dipped our toe in a few different genres, just to a touch to keep things interesting for us, and it seems to be accessible to people." In the full interview, Terrestrials talk more about the direction of the album, what sorts of things they discussed going into their debut, the singles released and how they represent the album as a whole, the awesome video for Hollow Hands and where they came up with the idea, combining their influences in music, supporting Osaka Punch recently, their upcoming album launch show and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Helmet are a niche kind of band in that once you discover them you can't help but fall in love with their music. The problem is, they are also not a band given much exposure in commercial channels, which makes the task of discovering them ultimately harder. But infinitely more rewarding. Formed by Page Hamilton in 1989 - with Hamilton being the sole original member still in the band - Helmet have had a stop/start career, punctuated by a 6-year siesta from 1998 to 2004, but have consistently churned out high quality, and musically diverse albums. While their popularity peaked with the 1992 album Meantime and 1994's Betty, Helmet have always maintained an ever-increasing fan base, due largely to the talent and vision of their enigmatic frontman. Their latest album Left has been a long seven years in the making, with Hamilton taking time to chat to HEAVY about the final product. We start by asking how the album has been received. "Everybody tells me all the positive stuff," he smiled, "so as far as I know, positive (laughs). I don't read reviews and I don't pay attention. They send me emails saying you got this add and that add, and it's number 1 metal album in Australia on Spotify, and it all means next to nothing to me. My job's done as far as the album is concerned once it's released. Essentially, once it's mastered and the artworks done, and I pass it off to the label then I just have to learn the songs live and that's my job. I can't worry about the other stuff." Having an established fan base often means certain expectations when it comes to new music, with Hamilton admitting it has been an issue in the past. "I don't know about now, but I think early on with Helmet mark 2 everybody had expectations because the band had been gone for a while, and it wasn't the same rhythm section," he offered. "So, of course, we had expectations, but the first album was Size Matters in 2003 or 2004 when it came out after the hiatus - the band broke up in '98 - and I remember Decibel Magazine reviewed the album and a few years later they re-reviewed it, and they were like 'we were wrong about this one. It's a really great album, it just doesn't sound like Betty or Meantime'. You are always gonna come up against that. If you do an album that everybody holds in high esteem or a couple of albums, then people want that for the rest of their lives, I guess. But… I couldn't write the same song over and over again. It's just not in my DNA. I had a conversation… I sang and played on a Linkin Park song and Mike Shinoda said 'yeah man we made our first album and sold millions of records so we made our second album exactly the same' and I said yeah, my approach is different. I like to do the opposite. Some people are cool with it and some people are not cool with it." In the full interview, Page talks more about Left, its musical direction, expectations following the success of their previous album Dead To The World in 2016 and runs through HEAVY's review of Left and gives his opinion on what we thought.
Interview by Kris Peters The music business can be an unforgiving mistress. Bands can - and do - give it everything they have, writing, recording and releasing high-quality material and developing an ever-growing fanbase yet still see minimal reward for effort. But when the planets align and the wheel starts turning in your favour it can be a beautiful industry and one which suddenly starts giving. After plying their trade without much overall success for the last couple of years, Newcastle rock outfit Wayward Kings were almost by chance introduced to Tim McLean-Smith from new Australian label XMusic and the rest, as they say, is history in the making. The band released their new three-track EP Another Life Another Time last Friday, which, coupled with the recent signing, suddenly has the planets aligning in favour of Wayward Kings. HEAVY caught up with frontman Ryan Daley to find out the full story. "There's always gonna be a time when people are gonna judge you, or they're gonna hate it," he said matter-of-factly when asked how he was feeling about letting the EP free into the world. "I was talking to a mate the other day, and he said he didn't like ALAT, and that's awesome feedback. We're not out there to please everybody. Matt and I are pretty much the brains trust of Wayward Kings. We've played together and wrote together, and we come up with ALAT being a bit of a rock tune that's gotta be consumed on different levels, you know what I mean? I think it's good to have people in your corner that go it's shit mate, or it's fucken awesome, because they're the people that you really listen to. The more and more stuff we put out, the more people have a chance to have a negative feeling about it." In the full interview, Ryan talks more about the EP musically, runs us through each of the three tracks individually, how Another Life Another Time differs to their last EP The B Sides, releasing EPs over albums, signing to XMusic and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Much has changed with Metal Church since their last visit to Australian shores. The most notable, and tragic of which being the loss of legendary frontman Mike Howe in 2021. Having pressed on to honour the memory of their former bandmate, Metal Church earlier this year released their first album with new vocalist Marc Lopes titled Congregation of Annihilation, in the process ushering in a new era and paying the ultimate respect to their future by harking back to the music that first saw Metal Church rise to prominence. With the band kicking off their Australian tour in Melbourne on December 14, HEAVY sat down with Lopes to run through the album and his debut recording with Metal Church. "I'm ready," he smiled. "Ready to go. We just came off the road from doing a bunch of dates here in the States, so we're all ready to go again. We're doing - I call it a warm-up show - but we're doing a show a couple of days before we go to Australia here in California to get the pumps rolling again." It will be the first visit to these shores since 2019 so we question Lopes on what - aside from his position in the band - has changed with Metal Church since that tour. "The set list is tremendously different," he offered. "It's pretty heavy on the first few albums and our new album. We're having a really good time and there's a lot of energy. Anybody that's seen me play live with Ross The Boss or anything knows that I am pretty much a hypermaniac (laughs). That hasn't changed." In the full interview, Marc talks more about what to expect from the run of shows, the reception to the new album, how it returns to the band's roots, if that was a conscious direction, how it ushers in the new era of Metal Church, his transition into the band, any difficulties he faced making the album, what lessons he will carry into the next one and more. Tickets And Info: www.hardlinemedia.net
Enter Shikari have been a household name for almost two decades now, their unique blending of genres endearing them to a disenfranchised world starving for change. After the tables were turned during the COVID pandemic, Enter Shikari found themselves floundering without their reliable support network, at a creative loss with seemingly no resolution. Rather than allowing the state of the world to defeat them, the band took an introspective look at themselves and what was important to them, with the resulting album A Kiss For The Whole World - released earlier this year - reaffirming not only their passion for music but also their unyielding love affair with their fans. As is normally the case following a successful album release, Enter Shikari have been taking to the stage consistently ever since, with the juggernaut finally returning to Australia for the just completed Good Things 2023 Festival. Simon and Kyra from HEAVY were on hand backstage to chat with the band after the final set of their run of three festival shows in Brisbane. NOTE: due to interviews being conducted backstage at a music festival some audio might be affected
Frenzal Rhomb are as reliable as Grandma's recipe for scones, and probably twice as durable. For more than 30 years now, Australia's masters of punk and ska have gone about their business unchecked, churning out consistently high-quality albums with tongue more than firmly planted in cheek. The lyrics - while relatively easy to digest - are also cutting, honest, raw and delivered with the spite of a rattlesnake yet still Frenzal Rhomb can seemingly do no wrong. After appearing at nearly every known Australian music festival in recent times, the Frenzal train was finally docked at an International festival in the form of Good Things 2023, and despite drawing the short straw and having to play at the same time as Limp Bizkit, still managed to draw plenty of punters to their corner of the arena over the three shows. Kris and Simon from HEAVY managed to catch frontman Jason Whalley not long before the third and final show, and he was in typically laconic form. NOTE - due to interviews being conducted backstage at a music festival the audio may not be 100% crisp at times
For far too long, heavy metal on the heavier side of the spectrum has been overlooked at music festivals in this country. Even those that claim to be all about the metal generally stop short of having a bona fide, skull-shattering musical representative grace their stages. It happens that often that many have stopped even commenting on the fact, but the diehards have always been watching, waiting and listening. Those faithful few were rewarded this year when Behemoth were announced to play at Good Things 2023. They were by far the heaviest band on the line-up, and also one who generated a lions share of interest. How did they fare? Were fans finally satisfied? Simon from HEAVY caught up with bass player Tomasz "Orion" Wróblewski at the final show in Brisbane to find out. Just remember, this is an interview recorded live backstage so sound quality may vary...
Interview by Kris Peters Seldom does a fresh band on the scene command instant respect by virtue of past exploits. Music, as with most things in life of value, is more than having the ability to shred on a guitar or crush with your vocal techniques. It requires a certain level of respect and humility that are almost impossible to possess unless you have given your heart and soul to the cause over a prolonged period of time. Which is just the advantage Buried Shallow had when they burst onto the Perth metal scene in late 2022, armed with not only a devastatingly brutal bag of music, but also the right levels of attitude to command instant respect. Wasting no time with pleasantries, Buried Shallow plowed straight into battle, supporting up-and-coming metal outfits Nicolas Cage Fighter and Xenobiotic and drawing more people into their sonic army with every show. Following the mantra of strike while the iron is hot, Buried Shallow are releasing their debut, self-titled EP on December 1, with all five members taking time to chat about it with HEAVY. Things got off to the rockiest start possible when one of the members greeted the call wearing a Carlton jersey before things took a turn even further South when another of the band left from sight and returned wearing the colours of Port Adelaide. Resisting the overwhelming urge to call time before things had even started, I pressed on reluctantly. All in the name of metal, of course. We covered a wide range of topics, including how it feels to finally set the music free into the world, what they were going for musically, the dark subject matter explored in the lyrics, naming the EP after themselves and the expectations that come with it plus we get each member to run us through one of the five songs on the EP and explain the story behind it.
Interview by Kris Peters Punk royalty hits Australia next week when Californian punk legends Pennywise return to our shores as part of Good Things 2023. The lovable larrikins were only out here for a massive headlining run of shows last year, but such is the demand for their musical prowess and undeniable charm the good folk at Good Things have spun their plane straight back around and pointed it back in this direction. Pennywise will be joining Fall Out Boy, Limp Bizkit, Devo, Corey Taylor, Bullet For My Valentine, Behemoth, Sepultura, Enter Shikari, Frenzal Rhomb and more for a run of three shows through Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, with lead singer Fletcher telling HEAVY in a recent interview that the band is frothing at the bung to get back out here and play. Given their almost four decades of service to the Gods of Punk it is almost a given that Pennywise have played with pretty much every band on the planet at some stage of their careers, but that doesn't dampen Fletcher's spirit when it comes to festival gigs. "I don't know the whole line-up, but I know there's a couple of Aussie bands that I haven't heard of but people said I should check out," he said. "I think we've done Bullet For My Valentine before. Devo… we've played so many big festivals that we've probably played with every single band (laughs) but we just haven't seen them. Darren Hawthorn is our guy over there and our usual tour manager, and he actually works for Good Things on the production side so he'll have our list of dos. He will be like 'you're going to watch this band today, let's go'. And we'll grab a couple of beers, and we'll go check it out. We'll be making the rounds for sure. Obviously, Devo is one of the bands that turned my life around and got me into punk rock, so I'll be checking them out as much as possible. And Limp Bizkit as well. I'm a fan. I know a lot of people wanna hate them, but we toured with them on the Warped Tour when they were tiny and there was 300 people wathing them play, and I liked it. I liked it from the get go. It's hard, it's heavy. Yeah, it can get kind of goofy at times, obviously, but they're all cool guys and have always been good to us, so I will definitely check out some Limp Bizkit. Fall Out Boy is another band. Not my real go-to cup of tea if you must know the truth, but great songwriters with a good live show. We'll be making the rounds. It's gonna be a great tour. I like the diversity." In the full interview, Fletcher tells us what it's like backstage at shows like this, catching up with old friends you might not have seen for a while, their sideshows and how they will differ from the festival appearances, the early days of the band and where they fit in, what makes the Californian punk scene so special and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Good Things 2023 will be underway next week, with the annual music extravaganza kicking off next Friday, December 1 in Melbourne before hitting Sydney and Brisbane over the following two days. Every year the Good Things line-up manages to top itself, with this year's show being no exception. Headlined by Fall Out Boy and Limp Bizkit, Good Things also welcomes Corey Taylor, Devo, Enter Shikari, Hanabie, Bullet For My Valentine, Behemoth and plenty more, covering a wide range of genres and tastes. But, without an abundance of heavy metal, where would ANY festival be? And this year organisers have secured the talents of one of the best in the business with Sepultura making the trek from Brazil. HEAVY sat down with guitarist Andreas Kisser earlier this week to find out what Sepultura have planned for their visit. "I'm excited," he said, a massive smile running across his face. "It's been since 2018 we don't come back to Australia. The lockdown delayed everything by two years, and now we finally have this chance to play our new album, not only at the festival which is amazing with a very diverse line-up, but also our sideshows where we can play a longer setlist with more songs. It's gonna be a great way to close this amazing year for us. It's fantastic." We ask Kisser what the general feeling is backstage at big shows like this, with many bands catching up with each other after prolonged periods of time. "That's one of the best things about festivals," he smiled again. "It's not only the bands, but crew people that we know around the world and friends that we made in Australia that are following Sepultura for so many years. It's a great atmosphere. Who knows, some collaborations may happen and ideas and stuff. It's great. It's very fertile (laughs). It's a great situation to know people and to meet your idols." With Sepultura doing sideshows starting in Fremantle on November 26, we ask Kisser what fans at these shows might get that the band might not be able to explore fully at the festival appearances. "At the festival shows we have a shorter time," he offered, "around 40 to 45 minutes or something like that. For the sideshows we have our own headline show, so we can play our complete show the way we are presenting everywhere in the world. So we have a little more time to play newer and older songs. It's gonna be a more complete setlist for the fans, but on the festival we are going to represent of course the whole history. We're gonna play new songs and a few classics (laughs). It's gonna be very well represented of what Sepultura is all about. We're very accustomed to doing that, especially in Europe. When we do the festival run we have all types of different set times and stuff, so we're accustomed to building… we have kind of like a spine of the setlist that we are changing according to our limitations, but we're prepared. It's gonna be a beautiful celebration." In the full interview, Andreas talks more about what to expect, what has changed with Sepultura since they were last here in 2018, his entry into Sepultura and how it came about, how their sound has changed over the years, changing with the music industry and more.
Interview by Erin Eddy While She Sleeps are just one of the many massive bands that are included in the lineup for this year’s Good Things Festival. As such they will be on Aussie soil as of November 30, kicking off their stint here with a headlining show in Melbourne. HEAVY had the pleasure of chatting with bassist Aaran and vocalist Loz about their impending trip over here, as well as the release of their sixth studio album, Self Hell, which is dropping on March 15, 2024. The boys eagerly told HEAVY that they’re keen to escape the UK climate and enjoy some Aussie sunshine and that they will likely be taking the opportunity to get amongst it at Good Things and enjoy some of their favourite bands. We also discussed the new album and the direction their music is taking. “I think it feels like a natural progression, but also we’re trying to do something fresh for our fans,” Aaran explains. “We like to keep our fan base on its toes in terms of knowing what to expect from a new record from us. We’ve said it many times, but we don’t want to be a band that finds our sound then just sits in it.” Listen to the full interview to get the low down on the upcoming album, Self Hell, as well as what to expect when While She Sleeps is in Australia. The band will be performing at all three Good Things dates, as well as playing side shows on November 30 at Stay Gold in Melbourne and December 5 at The Brightside in Brisbane.
Interview by Kris Peters One thing that has always typified Australian music is the internal support system encouraged by those within it. Band members often share their talents amongst two, three, or sometimes four other bands, with his fellow bandmates offering words of encouragement and respect rather than bemoan the fact their guitarist, or their drummer is not exclusively a part of their musical gang for want of a better word. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule, but as a whole Australian music is made up of and populated by like-minded musicians who just want to play. Aussie rock outfit Palace Of The King is no exception, sharing its members with other bands such as Jon Stevens, The Screaming Jets and The Superjesus, an outside collective that adds nothing but starch to the Kings when all return to the fold. The proof of that is in the band's latest single Tear It Down, a high-energy rock track done only as Australian rockers can. The song is lifted from Palace Of The King's upcoming album Friends In Low Places, which will be released via Reckless Records next month. HEAVY sat down recently with vocalist Tim Henwood to find out more. We start by asking how Tear It Down has been received. "It's been great," he beamed. "Because it's quite a full-on written song. I don't know if you've noticed, but we've been putting a new song out pretty much every eight weeks for months now, and I've been trying to mix it up. The last one was a bit more of a cruisy Americana, Black Crowes kind of thing and this one's much more fast, risky, kind of 70s-tinged Queens Of The Stone Age type of thing. I've been trying new stuff, so every time I put a new post up saying here's a new single fans of the band have piped up and said 'I wasn't expecting this', so I gave them a bit of a banger. In the full interview, Tim talks more about Tear It Down and what the song is about, how it sonically represents the new album, the overall direction of Friends In Low Places, producing and recording his own music and the pros and cons involved, a brief history of the band, the album launch tour and more.
Interview by Kris Peters One song can tell a dozen stories and stir even more memories, but there's only so much that can be told in a four-minute window. The real stories, the ones that were happening while the public story was being written, generally remain in the hearts and minds of only those directly involved - and usually with good reason. But now, in an unprecedented move and one which would have possibly drawn consternation a mere 15 or so years ago, Aussie rock legends Choirboys are opening the vault of secrecy with a stunning new live performance combining music and tales. Forming in 1978, Choirboys rose to prominence on the back of songs such as Run To Paradise, Boys Will Be Boys and Struggle Town, songs that reflected their surroundings told in an uncompromising and honest fashion to great effect. They remain the honest toilers of the Australian music scene, traveling far and wide to play a show with their humour intact and their passion for music unwavering. So it is fitting that a band like Choirboys have elected to tell their story through a mixing of live songs and behind the scenes stories titled Run To Paradise, The Stories Of Australian Rock & Roll. It is a live-action event unlike any seen before in this country as told by frontman and one of the most down-to-earth guys in the business, Mark Gable. Gable joined HEAVY recently to chat about the show and life as a Choirboy. We started by pointing out the sheer magnitude of touring the band has committed to over the next 12 months. "I think considering the condition of the Australian music industry at the moment and how I feel about doing pubs and all the rest of it…," he trailed off, "and it was Tim Freedman I spoke to at the ARIA Awards and I went 'Tim, you've inspired me' and he said how come, and I said you know, Blow Up The Pokies because I just don't wanna do pubs anymore because all they do is have people go in and gamble. Of course, Blow Up The Pokies was about The Whitlams bass player who ended his own life because he gambled, and he couldn't deal with it anymore, and that's why the song was written. Tim goes, 'that's a bit extreme isn't it Mark?' (laughs). I was just thinking, I'd rather do interesting things, so hence we're doing lots of festivals. And the theatre show is part and parcel of that because… I think rather than just re-iterate the same old, same old, I would rather make it interesting, and the theatre shows are the beginning of that. The stories and the stuff that we've seen on the road and the stuff that's happened - the legendary stuff - I talk about that in the theatre show and also celebrate the music that we've seen which still exists, but a lot of the bands have come and gone. It's a different world out there now so we have to celebrate the way it was. Actually, I'm enjoying the new world; the internet world of new Australian bands who are breaking all over the world because of what we have now." In the full interview, Mark talks more about the theatre show and what to expect, how Choirboys have survived so many years in the industry, using other people's music to tell a story, the early days of the band and their initial vision, having to research and relive old memories and more.
Interview by Simon Russell-White As the saying goes 'get busy living or get busy dying!' This is certainly true for Greg Puciato, (the living part that is) multi instrumentalist and vocalist for Better Lovers, The Black Queen, Killer Be Killed, Jerry Cantrell's Solo Band, his own Solo band and, of course, vocalist for the now very deceased Dillinger Escape Plan. He is a man with an already distinguished career, and yet again he has turned up the heat on the majority of his above mentioned projects and is hitting our shores with his Solo outfit in Summer 2024. It feels like five minutes ago that he graced us with the first-ever Australian tours for The Black Queen, but believe it or not that was almost five years ago! Where does the time go?! Celebrating his second solo album Mirrorcell the follow-up to his debut 2020 record Child Soldier: Creator of God, this is the first time us Australian's will see Greg live as a Solo artist, with his band of course! Given the limited time with Greg I kind of wish I had a buzzer so we could talk about each project for the exact amount of time, the man is literally that busy! Recently having joined long-time friends Will Putney (producer and guitarist in Fit For An Autopsy) and three remaining members of now very deceased Every Time I Die (Jordan Buckley - guitar, Clayton "Goose" Holyoak – drums and Steve Micciche – bass) to form a new band Better Lovers. In short, this is a band that celebrates friendship, kinship and the pure love of music! Having just dropped their new single Two Alive Amongst the Dead, "this was actually the first single as a complete band, we wrote and recorded between shows on our first tour" explained Greg. Hopefully, we get to see Better Lovers in Australia sometime soon. Moving right along, recently Greg was given the honour to join Alice In Chains legend Jerry Cantrell (guitar and vocals) for a run of live solo shows, during this interview we capture Greg explaining a moment where a once long-time idol has now not only become a band member but a dear friend of Greg's, he talks about those little moments where he simply cannot believe the position is in and how a moment with Jerry on stage took him back emotionally. Greg also owns a record company Federal Prisoner which will be releasing the next The Black Queen record as writing has actually begun. The man simply doesn't stop, Greg expresses feeling partly overwhelmed with the amount of projects he has on but as he explains so well, is aware that time is against us all, so the time is now. Greg hasn't sat for many interviews for a little while, I wonder why? He went on to laugh about the chance of the Killer Be Killed boys suddenly giving him a call, to cut another record and/ or tour. He went on to explain how much Max Cavalera (ex Sepultura, Soulfly, Nailbomb and Killer Be Killed) loves to tour and is a huge influence on him. Who knows we may see another Killer Be Killed record in the future, this is something that seems very damn likely too. Greg Puciato has the incredible ability to separate styles and musical abilities between various projects, so make sure you grab a ticket for his first-ever Australian run of solo (with previously mentioned band) shows in January 2024, it promises to be a fun time. Tickets from destroyalllines.com
Interview by Kris Peters It is hard to fathom that Seattle rock outfit Candlebox have never toured Australia over the course of their 30-year existence. Since emerging from the popular music location during the mid-90s grunge scene, Candlebox have gone from strength to strength, with a remarkable number of record sales and music streams starting with their 1993 self-titled album which sold over 4 million copies and introduced Candlebox to the world with songs like Far Behind, You and Cover Me. It is even harder to comprehend that it takes Candlebox calling time on their illustrious career for the powers that be to coax them over to our part of the world, but that is just what has happened with the band poised to bring The Long Goodbye Tour to our shores in January next year. With a global tour planned, and the recent release of Candlebox's final album of the same name, frontman Kevin Martin sat down with HEAVY to talk us through what has been a stellar slice of music history. We start by jokingly asking how and why Candlebox have neglected their Australian fans for so long. "I've been trying to come there for thirty years," he smiled in return, "so you'll have to talk to the promotors about it. It's been a dream of mine to come out there. I have an extended Australian family over there that I love very much. I've been coming to Australia for the past 23 years and my affinity for that country goes beyond. I think I was Australian in a past life. It's just one of those things. I love that country, and I've tried to come for 30 years. I don't know why it's taken us so long. We've asked several times about coming for some festivals with Stone Temple Pilots and the guys in Live, but I guess maybe the Australian promotors just didn't think we were popular enough, but I cannot tell you how excited I am to be coming to play there. I'm looking forward to playing in the country that hopefully, at some point, I will call home." We bring up the fact that it will be a bittersweet moment for both the band and their fans seeing them here for the first and last time. "I think so," he sighed. "It's gonna be more interesting for me, I think than it is for them. I'm gonna give them two hours each night of my very best, but saying goodbye to this career has been strange. All Summer long there's been times standing on stage in front of 10,000 of my closest friends, thinking to myself this is gonna be the last time I sing this song with these people. It's a strange emotion, but I think for me being home during COVID and spending time with my wife and my son and realising just how much I missed of that life with them… was pretty Earth-shaking for me. And I sat down with my wife around September of 2020 and said I think I'm pretty much ready to put all this music thing behind me and be a husband and a Father, is that okay? And she says I would be beyond grateful but are you sure you can put that away? And I said I don't love it as much as I used to. I think it was being home for such a long extended period of time that I realised that music was no longer the love of my life, nor my mistress. It's almost as though she had become a close friend that I would bump into every now and then and didn't like seeing that much. I don't wanna be an artist who phones it in. I don't wanna be that guy. So when we went back out on the road in 2021 I made sure that the shows would be played where we wanted to play. The events that we were involved in were events that I felt were a good place for Candlebox to be, and it was all leading up to this goodbye tour of 2023 for the 30th anniversary of the debut album. So I was very conscious about what I was doing." In the full interview, Kevin talks more about the final tour, what to expect, how to wrap up 30 years of music in one show, the early days of Candlebox and where they fit in, if he has achieved everything he wanted from music, the success of their self-titled debut and why he thinks people gravitated to it, the changes in music over 30 years and how Candlebox has survived, the response to their new album The Long Goodbye and more.
Interview by Kris Peters One of the most endearing aspects of music is its natural ability to connect on so many levels. For the music lover one song can have a profound effect on your mood or dictate your path to an extent, but on the flip side, from a musician's perspective, music has so much more to offer. While many are content to stick to a limited scope in terms of creative output, others need more plentiful and different outlets to satiate their hunger. Faith No More bass player Billy Gould is one such person. Universally lauded and loved for his role in the band that has helped shape the sonic direction of music on so many levels, Gould also feels the pull of other sides of the musical landscape. Desires that need to be fed but can't be satiated in a full band or within hard rock/metal constraints. These musical callings are far removed from the universal appeal and acceptance afforded to Faith No More, but for Gould at least, they are of equal, if not greater, importance. He found that a number of years ago with the project Talking Book, an outfit that relies more on musical textures and exploration to paint an immersive sonic landscape more in touch with your inner being than your impulsive urge to purge your sins. Along with Talking Book bandmate Jared Blum, Gould is preparing to release the soundtrack for The Eclipse on November 24, a film that forced Gould to tap into a fresh side of his musical mentality and express his creativity like never before. HEAVY had the pleasure of talking with Billy Gould recently, and we start by asking him how he is feeling on the cusp of the soundtrack release. "Good," he enthused. "We've never really worked on a full feature film before like this. For the first time we didn't know if we were doing it right (laughs), but it came out alright. The director was really happy. I saw it on a big screen, and I was really happy with the way it all came together. It was a little intimidating when we first decided to take it on." We ask how he came to be involved with the movie and director Natasha Urban. "I've known her for a decade and a half," he said. "She has made a lot of other films that are interesting. She made a film in Nepal following a young girl as she grew up in different stages of her life and what happened with her family and I just kept in touch with her. We had spoken earlier about Talking Book records and I sent her a copy of that, and she liked them so she kind of knew the stuff we did. She is really into visuals. Obviously, as a director she is a visual person, and she sent me some photos when she was in a place called The Valley Of The Moon in Uganda, and we almost used that as a cover for an album back in 2011. So w kept in touch and when she decided to do this film she said I was the first person that she really wanted to do it. She knew the aesthetic that I take into things like this, and we saw some clips from the film, and they were very… evocative, with some stuff filmed in Super 8. Some of it was very textured, some of it was very saturated and to me her visuals are like what we do with sound, so I thought it would be a good match." In the full interview, Billy talks about the pressures of carrying a whole soundtrack on their backs instead of contributing just one song, the process of writing musical scores to a movie, creative music with a cinematic feel to it, how different writing for a movie is compared than with a band, how the writing process forced him into a different headspace and how he coped with that, the origins of Talking Book and future plans and more.
Interview by Kris Peters There is so much music being released on an hourly basis in the modern age that sometimes it is necessary to hedge your bets and look into outside interests that could possibly align with your own in an attempt to combine forces. This is much easier said than done, especially considering that something like that would usually involve having to work with other people thus reducing the individual impact of your work. The smarter - and infinitely harder - way to do things is to diversify on your own, but that then poses even more problems of having to make two projects work rather than one. The lucky (or more lateral thinking) few manage to dip their toes into two projects and weave their sonic tapestry into one wholesome product, as seen recently with US rocker Kurt Deimer who has combined his love of film with that of his music. In recent years Deimer began work on a horror movie franchise called Hellbilly Hollow, writing, acting and producing the films to an ever-growing fanbase. And what one thing do all good horror films possess? A metal soundtrack. Which is where Deimer found his niche, slotting his new track Doom into Hellbilly Hollow in the pivotal closing scene. Deimer has so much more going on both musically and on film that HEAVY just had to make time to chat with him to find out more. "I have two movies coming out in 2024," he corrected. "Scared To Death and then Hellbilly Hollow which is my horror franchise that I started. Doom features in the epic final scene of Hellbilly Hollow, which I why I originally wrote the song. It's just a slammer, man. It's bringing rock and roll to the world the way I do it and hopefully everybody sees that it doesn't sound like everything else." "We needed a good, epic song for the final scene. I wrote the song originally for the movie, that's what inspired it, and you can have a lot of doom in a horror type movie that's scary and a lot of scenarios that create that doom feeling. But I also write to try to help people realise other things that are going on in the world and things I've gone through in my life. I wanted to also point out that drug abuse - whether it's heroin or cocaine or any drug of choice, pills, whatever - can also create doom in ones life." In the full interview, Kurt talks more about Doom and how it fits in with the movie, other songs that will appear on the soundtrack, the storyline of Hellbilly Hollow and the whole franchise, having a role in the Halloween remake, other new songs he has recorded and what he plans to do with them, his love for Hoodoo Gurus and more.
Interview by Kris Peters What started as more of a way to fill in time during COVID before expanding its reach across three albums, the Leviathan trilogy set in motion in 2021 by Swedish symphonic metal legends Therion finally draws to a close on December 15 with the release of Leviathan III. It has been a spectacular sonic journey from the band, with each album exploring different musical territory while still paying homage to the sounds that have seen Therion endure more than three decades of sustained success. Featuring choirs and orchestras and the ever-present operatic mastery of Lori Lewis, Leviathan III is more than just the final chapter of a period of time that tested the resolve of us all. It is also an emphatic statement of individuality from a band that pushes most every conceivable boundary of the metal spectrum and comes up trumps every time. Vocalist Thomas Vikstrom joined HEAVY from Sweden to help put the final bow on an enduring legacy three years in the making. We speak with Vikstrom more than one month out from the official release date of the album, so we pose the question of what sorts of emotions this period of inactivity and anticipation evokes. "The waiting is boring, but it is what it is," he shrugged. "I'm very pleased with the result, and it will be fun to hear what people think about it. We're also preparing for going to Mexico in January. We're going to follow this up with a tour, so we start off in January in Mexico City with a full symphony orchestra this time. Then we're planning on going through Europe and maybe China. It's gonna be a lot of fun. It's funny, because for people this will be a new record, but for me, I have already digested it. For me, it's not a new record anymore because I've heard it so many times." It has been an epic journey over three years and three albums in bringing the Leviathan trilogy to life, and we ask Vikstrom if the reality of the process lived up to his expectations. "That was not the plan from the beginning," he replied, talking about having an album trilogy. "We started to write for a new album, me and Christopher, and exactly when we started - almost on the day - the COVID came and there was lockdown. I couldn't go there, and he couldn't come here, so let's send files forward and back and write like that, which works good today, actually. It's a pity we can't meet, but it did work. Since it was the lockdown it was hysterical. You could go to the supermarket once a day, that was it. So there was not much more to do but write new songs and work and order food from Burger King (laughs). So we started to write, and I was asking Christopher what kind of direction do you want to go with this album and his answer was it's gonna be good… Okay (laughs). That's a bit vague (laughs). In the end we had so many songs in different styles, everything from the hardest almost in the borderlines to pop because we just wrote. So Christopher said let's not make one album, let's make three and put them out in a short period of time. That's how the story was." In the full interview, Thomas reveals how Leviathan III wraps up the series, the musical aspects to Leviathan III and how they fit together, the vocal dynamics between himself and Lori Lewis and how they structure them, getting the balance between so many eclectic styles of music, the upcoming tour and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Australian extreme metal outfit The Amenta recently released a brutal album called Plague Of Locus, boasting an assortment of cover songs that have inspired the band and their music. The selection of bands paid homage to has a number of surprises amongst some expected tributes, ranging from local black metal bands like Nazxul and Lord Kaos to alternative acts such as Alice In Chains, Diamanda Galas and Killing Joke. It is an eclectic and broad list of artists, going a long way to giving us a better insight into The Amenta and what makes them tick. To celebrate, The Amenta embark on their first headlining tour in over a decade, kicking off on November 16 in Sydney and taking in an appearance at this year's Froth & Fury festival in Adelaide. It is a tour metal fans around the country have been screaming for, and one which sees blackened sludge machine LO! supporting for most shows in a twin sonic assault that promises to be as intense as it will be visually stunning. Keyboard/sampler Timothy Pope sat down with HEAVY to tell us more. "You never know what to expect with any release," he began, "but more so with covers. People might not know a lot of the bands we covered, or maybe they knew the songs too well and don't think we do good versions. You never really know how people are going to receive it but so far it's been almost exclusively really positive." We ask Pope why now was the right time for The Amenta to make this album. "It was something we almost started doing almost accidently when we started recording our last album Revelator," he explained. "We've always been a band where basically anything we write we record and it gets released. So there's not a lot of additional stuff floating around. There's no B sides or nothing we can put together a special release with, so it was a deliberate decision of let's try and record a couple of songs that we won't put on the album, but we'll just use the fact we're recording to get them done as efficiently as possible. Then if we need to do a Japanese import version with bonus tracks or anything like that then we've got some tracks. We recorded the drums of the Alice In Chains song called Angry Chair and also the drums for the Halo song Rise. We recorded them at the same time we recorded drums for Revelator, and at one point we even talked about having those songs on the album anyway. But as we went through those dropped by the wayside, and we decided to concentrate on the songs that we know are going to be on the album. They sat there for a little while not doing anything, and then we were talking about doing something with those songs and thought we would build it out to something more rather than just have two songs on Bandcamp. As we discussed it we came up with all this idea of all these bands we wanted to cover, and we decided to pin them all around this new song that we wrote especially for it and make it into a bit more of a solid release. Something that people could get their teeth into a bit." In the full interview, Tim talks more about the covers chosen and why, the broad spectrum of influences and how they shaped The Amenta's sound, how much the songs were changed from the original versions, the process of reworking each song, the awesome album cover, the one original song on Plague Of Locus and if that is a hint at the future direction of their music, the upcoming tour and what to expect and more.
Interview by Kris Peters The modern age of music is far more demanding than it was even ten years ago. To be able to give your band the best chance of success, often band members multitask with other roles within the music industry, trying to give themselves and their bandmates the best opportunities. One such way is to put on your own shows, not only to give your band gigs and exposure, but also for networking purposes. Combining the two is an arduous, often thankless task, but when done right can have great rewards. Just ask 100 Years War vocalist Lacca, who not only fronts the rising metal outfit, but also has an annual festival by the name of Metal In The Mountains. With this year's recent event a resounding success, HEAVY sat down with Lacca to talk more about the joys of music and spending time with his band. "It went really well," he enthused. "We had a great crowd. It was the first time in the open air in the middle of Beechworth, right behind the old courthouse where Ned Kelly was tried. It's a nice historic area with all these old buildings. It was warm weather. The sun was out, we were really blessed in that regard. The weather's always a concern when you're doing an outdoor gig, but we got a real good deck of cards this time. We tried to go outdoors last year, but it was wet, so we had to hold off." In the full interview, Lacca runs through the bands on the day and how they performed, fills us in on the hot sauce competition, putting together a show the size of Metal In The Mountains, the diversity of the line-up and why he made it that way, 11 Years War, upcoming new music, touring Japan and more.
Interview by Kris Peters The beauty of being a solo artist is the complete freedom of total creativity. While the burden can weigh too heavily on some performers, not so New Zealand-born and Melbourne-based multi-instrumentalist Rachel Trainor, who releases her debut album The Way Back Down under the name Nighteyes on November 10. A sonic tapestry combining dark rock, folk and electronica, The Way Back Down portrays a plethora of emotions, culminating in somewhat of a musical journey as told through the songs of Trainor. Trainor, who also has a history in circus and cabaret, gives herself fully to her debut offering as Nighteyes and offers a masterful soundscape that has to be listened to across the whole album to fully sink in. Rachel sat down earlier this week with HEAVY to talk about the album. "I'm really excited," she smiled. "I'm also pretty nervous. I think it's my first release with a solo project so doing everything myself is a learning curve (laughs). But I'm really looking forward to having this album out. I've been recording it and working on it for two years, so it's gonna be nice to have it all done." We ask Trainor to tell us more about The Way Back Down musically. "It's kind of got a bunch of different sounds on it," she measured. "I'm really inspired by artists like Chelsea Wolf and Darkher. I really adore the way that some of those artists mix genres a little bit. There's some electronic vibes in there; there's some heavy, doom elements; a little bit of post rock as well. I made it so all of my influences have come together." In the full interview, Rachel talks more about the sonic landscape of the album, the challenges of being a solo artist with a full band recording, what sorts of things she focussed on going into her debut album, the meaning behind the title, the singles released and how they represent the whole album, her circus and cabaret background and how she utilises that in her music, Friday night's album launch at Whole Lotta Love and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Since bursting onto the local metal scene in 2021 with their debut track Forever Know My Name, Blue Mountains based metalcore outfit Naugrim have wasted little in asserting their music, already sharing the stage with international acts such as Unearth and Darkest Hour as well as making a name for themselves at local festivals Canberra Metal fest, Winter Magic Revival Festival and Borderline Destruction. Rather than sitting back and enjoying the fruits of their labours, Naugrim are plunging even further into the metal landscape with the release of their debut EP Adversity which will be unleashed on November 10. To find out just where Naugrim has come from and how far they are destined to go, HEAVY sat down with frontman Greg McManus for a chat. "A little bit anxious I suppose," he admitted when we asked how he was feeling on the eve of the EP release. "There's a bit of the unknown. We've only been around a year and this is our first major release. We've played some pretty cool shows, but this is our first real test of the waters. A bit nervous." McManus has worked in the music industry for a long time, but even with his and the rest of the band's wealth of industry experience the creative cycle of releasing your first body of work still takes a toll mentally and emotionally. "It's funny, and I'm sure you're the same," he replied. "You see a lot of stuff, and you see a lot of different music and bands and things, and the one thing personally I have been trying to concentrate on is not letting that influence anything if that makes sense. Just trying to make sure that we're doing our own thing, and we're happy with it. So much stuff is popular, or you can see what is hitting really well, but it's still trying to do your own thing." In the full interview, Greg talks more about the musical side of Adversity, runs us through each of the five tracks individually and gives some insight into what they are about, the lyrical content and what message he wants it to leave, the stunning cover artwork and what it represents, future gigs and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Generally when the festive season rolls around and talk turns to Christmas albums the general chill that runs down most metalheads spines would rival that of the North Pole. Far too often a purely commercial venture by smiling sonic assassins out to further enhance their global acceptability, the Christmas album tale has long been fraught with fear and contempt. The year 2017 was a welcome exception when song siren Tarja released the devilishly wicked From Spirits and Ghosts (Score for a Dark Christmas). That album further showcased the infinite well of talent and creativity that defines Tarja, putting her own spin on music that normally brings joy and cheer and turning them to the dark side which such majestic beauty that even adults started to believe in Santa Claus once more. Well, maybe that's a bit of a stretch, but it did mean we didn't have to listen to Mariah Carey singing carols at every dark turn. This year Tarja returns with Dark Christmas on November 10, broadening her horizons by tackling other artists interpretations of Yuletide cheer such as Wham's Last Christmas, Mariah Carey's All I Want For Christmas and Paul McCartney's Wonderful Christmastime and mixing them with her own reworkings of classics such as Frosty The Snowman, Jingle Bells and Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. Plus, to put the veritable icing on the Christmas Cake, Tarja also celebrates the happiest time of the year by releasing her own Christmas original track, Dark Christmas. In keeping with spreading love and cheer at this time of year, Tarja sat down earlier this week for a chat with HEAVY to unwrap the presents. "You can call me a Christmas woman, alright," she smiled, laughing. "This is my third Christmas album. To do an album like this, very different, very much darker than usual… even though the songs that you hear are the songs that everybody knows. But when you get to listen to them, they have absolutely different arrangements. Very cinematographic, dark arrangements. And so I love this Christmas tradition that I have as an artist. It's a very, very important part of my career. I'm doing tours every year, at the end of the year since 2005. A long time." We dive into Dark Christmas musically a bit deeper. "This time I chose songs that are very, very known," she began. "There's Jingle Bells and All I Want For Christmas Is You, Last Christmas, White Christmas. I don't necessarily enjoy myself this kind of music. The music that sounds in supermarkets when you get there… it's too commercial and all yuk. So I wanted to escape from all that and make these songs more appealing to me first of all as an artist. I worked the arrangements with a man called Jim Dooley in Los Angeles. He's working only for films with movie soundtracks, so he understood my concept that I wanted to get was to get these songs completely different. Of course, the melody you know, but it's a completely different world when you emerge and listen to these songs. In some songs this time I took some creepy kids. There is a kid's choir brought into play from Argentina. My daughter plays drums and the symphonic orchestra with my voice. That's about it." In the full interview, Tarja explains why there is a six-year gap between Christmas albums, what she feels makes a true dark Christmas, using the children's choir and what that added to the songs, how she has reworked existing tracks to make them her own, the obvious covers and how they differ, if she thinks it is a child-friendly album, the original song Dark Christmas, making a video for all twelve songs and more.
Interview by Kris Peters The common perception with iconic bands is that their musical output understandably slows the longer their careers go on. This could be for a variety of factors that are too many to mention, but no matter how many excuses there are, try telling legendary Californian death metal outfit Autopsy that they should be slowing down. Coming just 12 months after the release of Morbidity Triumphant, the timeless warriors last week unveiled another slab of metal excellence in the form of Ashes, Organs, Blood And Crypts. A sonic barrage that sounds as if it were conceived in the bowels of Hell itself, Ashes, Organs, Blood And Crypts is, if anything, an ever more polished performance from Autopsy given that new bass player Greg Wilkinson not only has one album under his belt before this release, but also the fact he had more involvement in the complete album cycle. Wilkinson joined HEAVY earlier for a chat about the new material and more. "It's been good," he smiled at the response to the new album. "It was kind of scary putting two albums a year apart and some people were definitely nervous at how are they gonna put two records out and make them good." I point out the above-mentioned fact that bands generally reduce their output in the latter stages of their career, a point which he shrugs off casually. "I can't speak on behalf of before me joining the band, but there was that whole COVID lockdown thing," he measured, "that I think maybe built a little back up. And then me joining the band nad also having input in that stuff. There was four of us who could all write songs, so you have four people, you have a big break from shows; from writing records; from recording. The whole world shut down for a year and a half, so I'm sure those are all elements that came into play. In the end, the fact of the matter is I think once we get the wheels rolling we just keep going. It seems like we just kept going. Kinetic energy, that's my answer." In the full interview, Greg talks about the musical side of the new album, how it differs sonically to Morbidity Triumphant, how the singles released represent the album, the horror-inspired film clip for Rabid Funeral, how he is settling into his role in the band after joining in 2021, how he came to be a member of Autopsy and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Music has a way of providing comfort in a wide variety of ways. To the general music consumer, that comfort is a more personal enjoyment of the music, the lyrics, and the message, but the cathartic nature of music also extends to those making it. When Fuming Mouth vocalist Mark Whelan was diagnosed with life-threatening Acute Myeloid Leukemia he could have accepted and reacted to the news in a number of ways. But he chose his band and music. And that option helped him harness his thoughts and problems into a body of work that, although already close to completion, would provide support, encouragement and hope in his time of need. Some of the tracks were reworked and rewritten to reflect his new battle, but mostly Whelan turned his potential life negatives into a constructive force of nature that helped drive his creative output while also strengthening his resolve. That product was unleashed on the world last week when Fuming Mouth released their second album Last Day Of Sun, a triumphant sonic release of hope and courage against seemingly insurmountable odds. HEAVY caught up with Whelan, drummer James Davis and bass player Pat Merson to find out more. "It's been good, for the most part," Merson nodded when asked how fans have responded to the album. "It seems like the live reception has been good," Davis added. "I've seen people singing along to the songs and reacting to the music so that's been cool." We press the boys to tell us more about Last Day Of Sun musically and what they were going for with it. "Just something really heavy, really brutal," Whelan replied, "truly metal and beyond just death metal into worlds of heavy metal. Beyond that into some more melodic territory that you might hear, but ultimately bringing it back to big bands like Judas Priest with big guitar solos and making it more of a dynamic album than just one low tunes brutal death song after another." In the full interview, the boys talk about the two singles released and if they are a good representation of the album as a whole, Mark's battle with leukemia and how it impacted the album, what message they hope people will take from the album, recording with Kurt Ballou in Salem and what effect that had on the finished product, the early days of Fuming Mouth, their initial vision for the band and how it has changed since, live shows and more.
Interview by Kris Peters Devin Townsend is one of the few musicians who globally needs no introduction. Whether it be for his work with Strapping Young Lad or the Devin Townsend Project or anywhere in between, the man is an enigma. A legend. And a true gentleman of the metal scene. Known for his boundless energy and creativity, Townsend touches down in Australia this month for a run of four shows only, playing a splattering of everything from his back catalogue and material from his new album Lightwork. It promises to be one of the tours of the year, with the man himself sitting down with HEAVY recently to tell us all about what to expect. "The thing is, I've had the good fortune of playing with some fantastic musicians throughout my career," he measured. "But the group of people I've got working with me right now are the most capable of playing everything, so it's allowed for me to put together a set that I think is… a good cross-section of material. Also, because I've been touring with them for this whole year - and the sound person - I'm confident that it's the best I've been able to present the material by a longshot. Having that is really great for me, because, although it's been good in the past also there's been certain things where I think 'man, I wish that was different' or I wish that was articulated differently or maybe this player's really good at this but no so good at that or vice versa - not to be disparaging against anybody I've worked with, I've just got, like you say, a huge amount of material that typically I use different players for all of them. So what I've done with this recent one is I've just found people that I am confident can do all of it. And they had to learn how to do all of it too. The first thing that I did with some of these players… they didn't know how to play some of the stuff, and it took them touring to figure it out. Now, I feel that the presentation of the material is… I'm excited to be able to show it to people because I'm like, 'this sounds fucken great'. That's how I feel." In the full interview Devin talks about writing set lists, his essential non-essential things to pack for tour, pleasing as many fans as possible, what we can expect from the shows, the early days of his career and what he was expecting out of music, what some of his motivating factors were, how early experiences helped shape his career, what drives him to keep experimenting, retaining his passion for music, the creative process and if it becomes easier or harder over time and more.
Interview by Erin Eddy Verona Lights are out of Melbourne, Victoria, and have recently released their newest album, titled Minos. This is the second album vocalist Brendan Davine has appeared on, after joining the band to replace the original vocalist, but the first album Brendan feels like he has been able to flex full musical creativity. “On Adrestia, the last album, I didn’t write any of the music,” Brendan explains, “That music was already sitting there when I joined. It had just been sitting there for years and I got to do the lyrics and the vocals how I felt was right, but I didn’t get to actually write any music. So with the new album, providing riffs and ideas, I think this album got even heavier, because I was able to write stuff.” Brendan says Minos is a loosely based concept album, “If Adrestia was an album of self-discovery, Minos is an album of self-destruction.” The themes of the 10 songs on Minos chronicle someone stuck in the cyclical patterns of mental health struggles; the back-and-forth of the protagonist working their way through those feelings and their self-deprecation. Brendan does urge the listener to apply their own meaning to the songs, though. “I’m definitely one for ‘everyone should take what they get’ from hearing it.” Listen to the full interview with Brendan to hear the complete story about Minos and where the band has their sights set in the future.
Interview by Kris Peters Harnessing the intensity and intent of a debut album can be difficult. Public expectations are noticeably higher for your second release and your existing fan base has likely also grown significantly. Many bands attempt to replicate the things that went right the first time around and end up forcing themselves into a sonic box of expectation, but not so Australian metal outfit Escarion who have introduced elements of progressive and symphonic metal to their existing blackened death leanings for album number two, Towards A Futile Existence. To find out more HEAVY sat for a chat with guitarist/vocalist Johnny and bass player Rhys. "It's been really awesome," Johnny smiled of the early reception to the album. "We've got two really good reviews so far, and everyone that has listened to it has loved it. We had an album launch party last night, and we hosted it where we usually rehearse. We got a few friends to come down and have a listen, and it was great." We ask the boys to talk more about the musical nature of Towards A Futile Existence. "With this album, obviously coming off Pillars Of The Faith, our first album having a concept of Seven Deadly Sins and a much more subjective approach," Rhys began, "we have gone for a concept again, but this time in a broader sense where we are talking about society as a whole and the objective of looking outwards and towards the future and the bleakness of that. It's a very dark album." In the full interview, Johnny and Rhys talk about adding progressive and symphonic elements to their music, the addition of new member Gaia and what she brings to the band, how Towards A Futile Existence differs musically to their debut, what lyrical themes they explore, the album artwork and what it means, new single Zeitgeist and how it relates to the overall sound and more.