Desecrator, from Melbourne, are a band who has defied convention from the outset, flouting the rules of normality and acceptance by releasing a live album – Live Til Death – and an E.P before hitting the studios and releasing a studio album.
“People ask me this all the time,” laughed vocalist/guitarist Riley Strong of why it has taken so long to release a studio album, “and I wish I had a more valid excuse apart from that we just got on with shit (laughs). We brought out a live album straight away for a few reasons in the early days. One of the biggest things for us was we are a live band and we really wanted to harness and showcase that because we always wanted to be a touring band. We always wanted to play shows and go on the road so we thought the best way we could do that from the very start was to get that out there and show people why they should come to a gig. Then that kind of snowballed. We cut the 10” L.P, we did the Down to Hell release and that was always meant to be a stop gap before the album but then the line up of the band changed – not through any extreme, just one line up moved on as the next one came in – and things just kept happening. We kept getting gigs, we kept playing tours. Forward steps kept happening and it wasn’t the right time to pull the band off the road to finish writing and recording an album. I never thought we would have gotten to the seven or eight year mark without having a studio record but at the same time we’ve done so much that is kind of a testament in my mind that the traditional formula of getting a band together, playing a few gigs and then releasing a studio album doesn’t have to be the formula. You can do it easily in this current climate in the industry. As long as you’re succeeding and you are going forward and it feels like you are taking a good step up the ladder then do it whatever way suits. Play to your strengths. If your strength is playing gigs and getting out there then go with it. It suited us then but it got to the point now that it was time to put out a studio release.”
Although having been done before, releasing a live album as your debut can be fraught with danger which is why it isn’t done often. It is unexpected, and therefore has that shock element, and Strong admits that the decision was helped along through an outside factor.
“It was an older guy who knew the band,” he explained, “and we used to go around to his house and have a few drinks and he just brought it up once. He told us that because we were such an organic sounding band and it was such a raw idea that we should go for it. Everyone is trying to put out the most polished and highest quality release they can and because of home studio advances and technology you can. We thought we would go the other way and just put out a representation of what the band really is. It is a truthful expression of what the band is capable of and the only way to do that was through a live album. At the same time, because we set that precedence and put it out there from the start when it came time to doing this studio album we really had to sit down and say what do we want from this? We didn’t wanna go too far away from what we believe is what we’re about so we really needed to find our organic sound; our live sound and who we are in a studio. At the same time it was important to release an album that will sonically compete with international bands but still be true to what we think Desecrator is and that mission statement that made us comfortable in putting out a live album as our first release.”
To do that Strong says the band basically just made a conscious effort to release something that encapsulated the best possible mix of Desecrator live and in the studio. The result, To the Gallows, achieves that goal and more.

“Like every album we released it because we wanna spread our music and we wanna grow,” he expressed. “It always has to be a forward step. As a band you always wanna grow with every release or every new song you write. As time passes you get some more world experiences through touring overseas and meeting bigger bands, all these kinds of things that open your eyes or to a degree take off the rose coloured glasses that we’re all firmly wearing as young metal heads. It matures your writing and I guess that is something that you want to show through your releases as time goes on. Whether or not it was an intentional goal or it was just something that was always going to happen, becoming a more mature sounding band on this release and being a band that showed our years and showed the road we’ve walked – because we’re not a young band any more, we’ve been around and done a lot – I wanted to show that. I wanted to show the experience in the songwriting and also in the approach. Even in the appearance of the album I wanted it to have something that said this includes the road we’ve already travelled as well as the road ahead that we hope the album will help us to pave.”

With a blending of 80’s style metal laced with drippings of more modern metal, Strong admits that finding the band’s sound and identity has sometimes been difficult but also says it is something which has come more through time than necessity.
“For me as the orchestrator and chief songwriter of the band I never sat down and said the band has to sound a certain way,” he affirmed. “I also never sat down and said we need this amount of originality. There was no recipe. I wrote the songs that were within me and at the end of the day that’s all I can do. I can only write what I feel should be written and I’m only gonna write the songs that come out of my head. The guys are only gonna add their parts accordingly. Of course that is gonna be largely influenced by all the external factors of where I’ve come from musically, what I listen to and what’s around me so there’s definitely all these influences in there as a thrash metal band but at the same time the modern side of it is not that premeditated. It’s just because we’re in a modern age. Yes thrash metal is an old genre and the side of thrash metal that I connect with the most is the more classic side of the newer wave of thrash metal. That’s what I identify with, the songs where you can still hear… in the original Bay Area and the original German more Teutonic styles there was so many outside influences because these first rungs of bands weren’t copying other thrash bands because there was no thrash. They were copying rock and roll bands or blues bands or whatever they were into so there’s such a wider melting pot of what you call thrash metal in the early days. That’s the kind of stuff I identify with. I can hear all of the other genres. I can hear the hard rock that I like. I can hear the AC/DC in there. I can hear the Motorhead in there and all those things channeled through thrash metal is what I love about music. The modern twist is more just because we’re a modern band. We’re existing now, in 2017. Metal as a wider genre has advanced so far in so many different styles and sub genres that it’s important to not absorb that and to not feel that those bands are your peers because they are existing at your time. Whether we equal something that sounds like it harks back to a bygone era or whether we equal something that sounds original and current it doesn’t really concern me too much as long as people are digging the songs. As long as it’s coming out in a way that people find palatable and that I personally enjoy.”

Written by Kris Peters

BLACK STONE CHERRy

Black Stone Cherry were last here not even twelve months ago supporting Steel Panther. Originally slated as a headlining tour it was changed at the last minute, leaving some fans wondering the reasons why, but according to drummer John Fred Young there was nothing sinister behind the decision. With the band returning to Australia as headliners this month, Fred Young shed a little light on the behind the scenes decisions.

“We’re really looking forward to this tour,” he stressed. “Last time we came down with the Steel Panther guys we met so many great fans and people who have wanted to see the band down there for a long time so we’re really pumped about getting back. We’ve been out on tour here in the States for about three weeks and it’s been good. We’ve had some really good headline shows and this year has turned out to be pretty busy for us. We’re coming up on the anniversary of the Kentucky album release on April 1 and we’re writing new material already and kind of trying to get stuff together because probably in early September we’ll be back in the studio to hash out another one so… oh yeah, get ready for that!”

As for the change to support band status last time Fred Young insists it was nothing more than just logistics, but adds the band are psyched to get to do it again as the showpiece act.

“Honestly man, we just wanted to get close enough to smell the cologne,” he laughed. “We love the Steel Panther guys. Even before we played with them we used to see them at Download and hang with them for a bit and they are the nicest guys so when we had – obviously, as you said we had the headline shows booked – but our manager and their manager were talking and they know each other anyway and they asked if we would be interested in holding out on the headline tour and doing their support because they have a great draw already and we thought why not? It was so much fun that tour. The only hard part was getting up and flying all the time because we’re so used to the States and touring through Europe and England and riding that bus around (laughs). I still have crinks in my neck from last year but let me tell you something, it was worth it man. When I was a kid we started the band in 2001 – and we’ve had the same members ever since we had the first practice – and someone asked me recently how we keep from killing each other after being together for sixteen and a half years and I always go back to the fact that when we were kids we would skip school and just hang out until midnight and rehearse and my Dad and my Uncle – who were with the band The Kentucky Headhunters , a big Southern rock/country band here in America – they would let us have their old practice house on my Grandparents farm. We were just sixteen years old and we would jam until midnight and then burn ass at school. We would be so tired but we would just practice and cover songs and we grew up having… it was wild. This old house we would rehearse in didn’t have any insulation in the walls to keep heat in so my Dad and Uncle put up these killer posters and albums on the walls just to keep the heat in! You’re looking at Led Zeppelin and Cream and all the Motown stuff and Marvin Gaye and Al Green and even crazy stuff like Blue Cheer and the Yardbirds, so we grew up from very young teenagers having our rehearsals in an old shack that was basically a rock and roll museum in the middle of the woods and that’s how we got that rock and roll education that a lot of kids weren’t fortunate enough to get so we’ve been very blessed. I never thought we would be playing Australia. That’s the cat’s tits man. Now we’re getting to come down twice within a year and since this is the headline shows we’ll be playing for an hour and forty five minutes a night so people are definitely gonna get to get a good dose of Black Stone Cherry (laughs).”

Forming the band while still in high school in 2001, Fred Young says that back then they were just typical teenagers without a clear path of where their passion for music was going to take them.

“You know what?” he questioned. “We didn’t know where it was going but we knew we wanted to play music and we didn’t wanna get jobs and we just wanted to rock and roll. We were the epitome of a bunch of backward kids that really had no idea about the world outside of Kentucky and I remember some of the first times we ever practiced we were like… my Dad would come down and listen to us and help us structure songs and teach us about the music business and we always had this motto and it was WHEN we do something, not IF we do something so we were very driven young guys and that’s still the work ethic we have now.

“We kind of get lazy sometimes but it’s a team effort and that’s what it takes in today’s world. It gets harder and harder to stay relevant. The good thing is we’re that band who has never really had a hit (laughs). We’re just climbing so slowly and we’re like a tank man, we keep going up the hill and I think it’s great that we’ve never had an overnight success. There’s so many good buddies of ours that we’ve seen in other bands that have had great radio success and just killed it and they’re just not around anymore and I think it’s because with us we’ve kept this grass roots thing where we’ll play to 100 people here and 200 people there and now with this tour of America we’re packing out 800 seat rooms and that’s incredible. It’s been slow but I think rock and roll is something that’s never gonna die and it’s always gonna be around and I think we are just one of those bands that are a live act and we’re a word of mouth band. We’ve been able to make some of the coolest records but live is where we are really, really able to do what we do.”

After nearly seventeen years in the music industry, Fred Young says the band have learnt a lot about music and each other, and it is through these experiences they have been able to develop into the tight musical unit they currently are. It is a journey that has seen them grow up together on the road and has also brought about many changes in music as in life.

“Oh God, honestly, a lot,” Fred Young expressed when asked how the band has changed musically. “Actually playing together is one thing we’re more aware of. Before it was just about making the most bad ass riff and going out there and bashing but now it’s almost… for instance, last night we blew the P.A up (laughs). We did man, we smoked it and blew the hell out of it! We were playing a song called ‘Darkest Secret’ and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t right in the middle of the guitar solo the damn P.A cut out but we just kept playing and hammering it. Of course, we all use in-ear monitors so when the P.A went down our ears went down as well. None of us could hear each other so we just played it off facial expressions and vibrations because obviously the amp is in front of my drum kit so I can’t hear anything going on. Playing with each other so long it’s like you’re driving blind but I’ll be damned if we didn’t finish the song at the same time (laughs). It took twenty minutes to get the P.A back on and people were out there yelling but we were like man, we haven’t come this far to rumble have we? (laughs) It was fun and I think from playing so many live shows and being out on the road with incredible bands it’s really taught us how to play as a band and I think that’s one important thing we’ve learned.”

Another thing Fred Young says Black Stone Cherry have learnt to do is look back on previous albums and utilize lessons learnt both practically and musically when thinking about new material.

“We try to look back and make sure we’re including things,” he mused. “We’re not scared to go to different places but we always try to keep that core Black Stone Cherry of what we were like from the very beginning and I think we always get worried about getting too far away from that but now, especially on the stuff we’re writing at the moment, it’s like… it’s out there

“We’re not scared to go to different places but we always try to keep that core Black Stone Cherry of what we were like from the very beginning and I think we always get worried about getting too far away from that but now, especially on the stuff we’re writing at the moment, it’s like… it’s out there man.

“Not like as in progressive or anything but more no holds barred. There’s some more funky stuff, there’s heavier stuff, there’s a couple of songs that are even more melodic so I don’t know man. I think the great thing with bands – you look at Led Zeppelin and the Beatles – they never made the same record twice. Ever. Even with huge pop stars like Madonna you never saw the same record twice and I think that’s why people are really drawn to heritage acts and artists because they keep evolving. They keep that core of what they are but they keep growing and I think that’s what we’ve managed to do through all of this.”

Written by Kris Peters

 

 

INTERVIEW WITH SCARLETT JOHANSSON

Normally when a popular animated or comic book character is brought to life by an actor or actress for the big screen the internet goes into meltdown by fanboys outraged by the decision. Remember the recent outcry when Gal Gadot was announced to be playing Wonder Woman, or even the online petitions that started up when the original line-up of The Avengers was revealed.

Strangely when Scarlett Johansson was chosen to play Major in director Rupert Sanders real-life adaption of the 1995 anime Ghost In The Shell the naysayers online were strangely silent. Perhaps it was because of the fact that Johansson was already well known to sci-fi fans – after all she has been praised for her roles in films such as Lucy and of course her portrayal of Black Widow in the Avengers franchise. Or perhaps it was the revealing shots of Johansson in her skin-tight outfit that the role of Major demanded she wear that graced the Net very early on in the production process of Ghost In The Shell.

While many of the people who saw those pictures had little doubt that Johansson had the physical attributes to play Major she says the character was a lot more challenging than people would imagine. “The challenge for was really physical but then the emotional challenge of this character was even more difficult,” Johansson explains. “These questions come up that really haunt her – who am I, what is my purpose, if my body doesn’t belong to me then who do I belong to, does my mind belong somebody, do my experiences belong to somebody else? Plus she is experiencing betrayal and feelings of abandonment and all of the questioning. You know all of that is really hard to live with for the duration of filming.”

Anybody that has seen the original anime of Ghost In The Shell will know that Major’s story is a complex one and while the film is guaranteed to have some amazing action sequences the plot itself is very character driven. With her role in Lucy already behind her the notion of acting in a character-driven action film is something that is not lost on Johansson although she is quick to admit that it is also very rare in modern day. “I think it is just weird to have a character-driven story in this particular genre. To be able to be able to part of something like that is really… profound,” she says searching her mind for the right word to describe how she feels. “This film deals with all these questions – all these existential questions – these questions of identity and what it means to be human. And also as we strive to advance on experience what are we willing to sacrifice of the human experience. These are all pretty heavy questions and it’s nice to be able to explore them in this explosive universe that has been created here.”

One of the things that the critics who have seen the film have marvelled at is in fact that universe that has been created for Ghost In The Shell and that is certainly something that Johansson found herself impressed with as well. “The production team have done an amazing job of creating a world that has been inspired by the original work but also stands alone. The original artwork is something that Rupert has been thinking about since he was fourteen and that really inspired him. He has such an amazing visual vocabulary that it is all part of this larger conversation of this film. When I saw the final piece I was totally blown away.”

Johansson admits with a lot of the tight outfits she wears in Ghost In The Shell staying in shape was a big part of her life both before and during production on the film. “I was training so much and with the duration of training and with the workload etc I was actually in better shape at the end of the film then I was at the beginning,” she says laughing. “That is not normally the case, normally you find yourself deteriorating as the film goes on. But the workload was so intense that I had to live a very disciplined life and I actually liked that. I like the discipline of getting up every day and having the routine of going to the gym and that really helps me focus on my job.”

Ghost In The Shell is one Hollywood anime adaption that fans of the original series are certainly not going to be complaining about. It looks amazing and once again puts another notch in Johansson’s belt as she portrays another feminine hero that is a force to be reckoned with.

Ghost In The Shell is in cinemas now and is reviewed at www.heavymag.com.au

 

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

THE Black Dahlia Murder

“Australia’s just metal as fuck man, you guys like eat lightning and shit chains.”

Frontman Trevor Strnad laughs heartily, revelling in our Aussie death metal culture ahead of the band’s May tour. They’ll be bringing LA extreme metal group The Faceless and Putrid Pile, or Shaun from Wisconsin along with them, and Strnad’s excitement shines through as he admits, “I feel at home amongst the metalheads there.

“We didn’t have anything to do with the lineup, but it was such a pleasant surprise to see The Faceless, we know them very well, and we’ve toured with them a lot. We played some shows with Putrid Pile in the very early days. I know Shaun and love his moustache so much. I can’t wait to see that; it’s going to be awesome.”

Life’s certainly good for the singer, with the band having just completed recording the drums for the follow-up to seventh record Abysmal (2015). While the five-piece like to keep their writing separate from the road, the singer’s certainly found his tour experiences bleeding into the studio.

“You’re right, but I think a lot of it comes home from seeing other bands. We try to think about how what we write’s going to translate live, and there’s an effort to keep things clear. Even though it’s technical and fast music, you’ve got think about it coming out of some huge ass speakers at an outdoor festival. We just absorb information as we go, what not to do from watching other bands. We’re not through growing as a band. It’s an experience.”

The musician’s voice shoots up as our chat moves to 24-year-old Brandon Ellis, the young guitarist stepping into the fold following long-time axeman Ryan Knight’s departure.

While Ellis has been in the band for over a year, he’s working on this upcoming eighth record is not only his first time on a Black Dahlia album, but as Strnad passionately tells me, “his debut as a songwriter”.

“That is one of the most exciting parts for me. He’s been in a lot of well-known bands, but this is the first time he’ll actually have any of his music featured on a professional band’s recordings. The stuff he’s turned out for the record has just been so great. I’m excited as hell for the little guy; he’s so young (and our drummer too) that I kind of think of them as kids, my sons,” he laughs deeply.

A point of fascination was with Strnad being able to juggle writing new lyrics with his dark death metal column ‘The Obituarist’ on Metal Injection. Some of the hidden yet fresher jams featured in his last piece, from New Zealand boys Carnal to Greece’s Abnormal Inhumane, have certainly helped ground him. Strnad grows very introspective here, admitting that hasn’t always been a good thing.

“The only wall I ran into was that I just tunnel-visioned death metal in between me buying records and doing the column as well. When it came time to lyrics, I was like, ‘Okay well, I’m around these dead baby jokes 24/7. How do I be scary?’ (chuckles). So yeah I was kind of frustrated, but I enjoy living it this way where I just block out the rest of the shit, and I’m a total “Reign Man” for death metal. It’s the only thing that makes me happy,” he says emphatically.

“I was already just spreading as much as I could, so it’s been really cool for me. I see a massive hole in metal media for brutal death metal. It’s not being represented. So I just had to do it.”

 

Our chat deepens with the musician reflecting on just why it’s so rewarding to embrace death metal’s roots, saying, “One of the things I look to the most for inspiration for Black Dahlia Murder is the past and origins of death metal.“I always keep that in my pocket with what I’m doing, choosing the artwork and themes for the band… I try to think about us as a gateway band, and I realise that we’ve been that for a lot of young kids to come into the world of extreme music. So I try to think about an awesome, bright old-school album cover with classically violent themes. I want to embody what still gets my blood pumping. I don’t know what to say; I have arrested development for death metal at 15.”

 

…continued below…

His mention of Black Dahlia’s more classic albums brings third release Nocturnal to mind, which turns a whopping ten this year. One of those mainstay records, it still resonates with both band and fans alike, and Strnad relates his strong personal connection as he says passionately, “For me, that’s the first one I look back on, and I’m proud of, where we stepped into adulthood.

“If that’s the one we take to our grave, then I’m proud. But I also can’t believe it’s been ten years. It’s gone so fast because we’ve been on tour for most of it and we’re one of those bands where we take every single opportunity we can. That’s our credo, our promise to each other.

“We never claimed to be the most original band, what we do is definitely a melting pot of things that we like. But you can say that about a lot of death metal, you know? It’s one of those genres where it’s cool to mine the past. The Internet era has been a blessing for me in that regard, checking the annals of lost death metal time, just so many releases that never got their dues but are still great… With how many death metal bands I’m aware of, I can’t believe that I’m not running into them on every street corner. It’s crazy,” the frontman chuckles.

The quintet has always looked up to legends Cannibal Corpse and Napalm Death, working hard to survive the inevitable shifts in the scene and the heavy music world overall.

“That was the goal, Strnad asserts, “and we were trying to think long-term from as soon as we got signed. So playing for that longevity to be a band that people depend on… I want fans to be like, ‘Alright new Black Dahlia record’s coming. I’m just going to buy it’. They know what to expect, but they know we’re not going to turn out some tired-ass shit either. That’s why Cannibal Corpse are here. They’re hardworking and didn’t change, they just ignored the outside world and did their thing.

“It’s not completely selfish what we do. But as we’ve gotten better as players, we’ve always tried to do more satisfying stuff technical-wise, that we couldn’t do when we were kids,” he muses. “We have the formula to write a good Black Dahlia song down, but we’re always looking at the very small details of things and how to improve.”

Black Dahlia grew up within the Michigan hardcore scene, where death metal was present but scattered, and the singer says bluntly yet with a chuckle, “It certainly wasn’t California”. That’s why there’s always a punk heart to every show, and Strnad’s candidness continues as he states simply, “If you’re not out there destroying yourself, then you fucked up.

 

“It hurts to play an hour and 20 minutes of three-minute death metal songs at a million miles per hour. It’s not like playing other music; it’s Olympic. It comes with a big sense of pride, and it’s weirdly addictive.

 

“To me Australia’s just so metal dude, so I’m ready to be back in the midst of it.”

 

Gear up for when the Michigan quintet storms our shores for their Aussie tour, kicking off on May 9th in Perth.

 

Written by Genevieve Gao

BITERS

BITERS

Tuk Smith, frontman of Biters, is a striking figure. Hair a shade of jet black with the occasional shimmer of mystique blue, piercing eyes, and the kind of spirit one wishes to bottle up and wear as a talisman of fortitude. Musically intoxicated by the likes of the aesthetically exquisite David Bowie, it is clear that Smith places emphasis on wearing his music as much as he plays it. “I’ve always been attracted to both the audio and visual of rock’n’roll, so having a look has been important to me”, Smith affirms. “Art, symbolism, aesthetic; that visual, it ties into everything. I’m very interested in that. I’d probably dress this way no matter what. It’s not a gimmick, that’s just what [Biters] have.” But such a distinct semblance is not without its pitfalls. “[The look] is not necessarily working for us. I get called Noel Fielding all the time because people don’t know where this haircut originated.”

In concordance with his prominent rock’n’roll style are Smith’s attitudinal convictions. “People get to me, but I really don’t give a fuck what people are thinking. If you give up too much, you’ll get eaten alive as a frontman”, asserts Smith, with the sort of delicious forceful emphasis on “fuck” that makes your mouth water with audacity. However, Smith’s bad boy bravado melts into the shadows for a moment in an endearing glimmer of vulnerability one may not expect from this seemingly natural frontman. “I don’t know how I got here, I never would have thought that I would be frontman. It’s a thankless job, and a lot of pressure”, sighs Smith. “I used to play guitar in a band. I didn’t have to worry about the vortex of 2,500 energies on you at one time, trying to suck the life force out of you. You’re just fucking battling the whole time. Some days you’re a human being, you don’t feel like it.” It may be a thankless job, but someone’s gotta do it, and Smith certainly has the battle cries and war faces to contend with it.

One of Smith’s most well known battle cries voices “take me back in time to 1975” in Biters’ track 1975. Whilst Smith impatiently awaits his time machine, however, he’s busy combating 2017, an era inhospitable to the kind of blood, sweat and tears style of rock’n’roll emitted by Biters. “Straight up rock’n’roll has taken a back seat unless you’re talkin’ about heritage acts. People are always gonna love Led Zeppelin and the Stones and KISS. But as far as a newer rock’n’roll vibe, there really hasn’t been one. So it’s making it really difficult for us to find a home,” Smith laments.

Meanwhile, the 21st century sea of social media proves to be both a sweet and sour concoction for rock musicians such as Smith. “Social media has taken out all the mysteriousness from rock’n’roll. The larger than life aspect has gone. I am expected to be online and entertain people and take selfies. I could never imagine Bon Scott taking a selfie”, muses Smith. “It’s also been used for a lot of good because we were discovered through Spotify – a company I hate that rips off artists, that’s how we were discovered. I mean it’s definitely got its ups and downs. But I would probably rather live in the 70s.”

But Smith’s contemplations do not hang purely on retrospection, as indicated by the title of Biters’ upcoming album The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be. Whilst it may be easy to assume that this refers to the diversion away from Smith’s coveted 70s rock and towards an industry run by musical robots, the roots of this album are a lot more personal to Smith. “It’s about a cycle and how you never know what’s gonna happen. Some of the stuff that I’m into, some of the stuff I believe, who I’ve become, I would never have imagined ten, eight, five years ago that I would be like that”, Smith professes. “It also deals with reincarnation, so past lives and learning lessons. So the whole album plays like a bunch of lives – each song has a lesson. You know it starts out very ‘yeah I’m gonna take on the world’ with the opening track, and by the end it’s very defeated.”

In addition to The Future Ain’t What It Used To Be, Biters are also releasing a Record Store Day vinyl exclusive. As may be expected, vinyl and its retro roots are deeply valued by Smith. “I love vinyl and it’s back again. It’s really important for me that Earache, our record label, are behind us [on releasing vinyl]”, enthuses Smith. “I think [vinyl] gives somebody something real and tangible to hold onto. I think that there’s something inherent in our DNA, we like to collect. Even animals like ravens and crows bring things back to the nest. CDs suck dick, they didn’t last. But vinyl, it’s not the most convenient music format, but it’s killer. I like collecting original vinyl because it’s a piece of a time machine.”

The revival of vinyl provides a delightful symmetry to the music revival that Smith is keen on helping to induce. But whilst revolutionary upheaval of the current musical era may be an impossible chore, Smith’s highest career aspirations remain modest. “I’d like to be known as a great songwriter and a great musician. But I want to be recognised for the songs and the hard work and everything we put into it. You know, like my favourite artists.” And with artists like Nikki Sixx backing his corner, Smith’s dream may be emerging just on the horizon.

 

Written by Jeni Lambert

Pallbearer are a hard-working U.S. band that ever serious music lover should know about out. Since there 2012 album Sorrow And Extinction put the Little Rock, Arkansas, band on the map their unique mix of 1990s sounding alternative rock and modern day doom/sludge has seen the band steadily rise to new heights.

Their 2014 follow-up, Foundations Of Bureau, charted in the Billboard Top 100 while also earning a Best New Music and Band Album Of The Year nods from various music publications while the album was also listed by Rolling Stone as one of the albums of the year. Now with the release of their brand new album Heartless Heavy caught up with Brett Campbell the voice behind Pallbearer.
Brett admits that the band didn’t want to rest on the laurels of Foundations Of Bureau and again they wanted to push themselves. “We were essentially just trying to build on what we had done before,” he explains. “We want to continuously challenge ourselves as songwriters. Particularly with Foundations, our last album, we were trying to incorporate more elements of progressive rock and more progressive song structures because we are all really big fans of 1970s experimental music and progressive rock and we are really trying to push ourselves to kind of push ourselves with the template of our sound. So with Heartless I feel that we have spent so much time together on the road and just generally with each other we have gotten more comfortable with expanding our sound and our roles in the band and have been able to incorporate more of these complex ideas that we have always wanted to try and to strive to with the band. So this album is a compilation of a lot of the goals that we have had as a band from the beginning but probably didn’t have the skill to pull off until now.”

So where did Brett’s love for 70s music come from was it something that he explored when he was a child or was it something that he has fallen in love with later in life. “I really got into it as a teenager,” he says. “Probably about the same time that I was getting into metal. I grew up with a lot of old school country music because that is what was listened to where I am from. I’d hang out with my grandparents and they would listen to Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash and George Jones and stuff like that, so I think that story-telling thread of Pallbearer comes from that old country music, each song telling its own story. But when I was a very little kid the first thing I ever loved was classical music which of course has very sweeping, complex structures – not pop songs obviously. But then I started delving deeper into music as a teenager and one of the things that interested me in metal, aside from the outlet of frustration and aggression that you have as a teenager, was its open-endedness. Like in the sense there were so many sub-genres of metal that are all kind of different to one another but were all considered metal and then even within that you have the real left-field stuff within those sub-genres, bands that were really unique with experimental and really weird sounds. In the same way that metal seemed to me at the time was really free and limitless to me progressive rock had that feel to me as well. The idea that you could create these really imaginative and challenging song structures, that would also tell a story within themselves – within the music, and also that tendency towards that grandiose and majestic structures within stuff like Yes and Genesis, that epic feel really appealed to me as well – metal has a lot of that as well. So those two have always been the main striving forces in all areas. The epicness, the complexity but also the heaviness of metal and the density and the freedom of progressive rock and also the emotional directness of also classic country music.”

With storytelling such a big emphasis with Pallbearer’s music Brett talks us through how the tracks come together. “Musically sometimes a track will take a matter of hours to write and then other times it might takes months and even years. There have been songs where I will write four or five minutes of and then I might have to come to it because we don’t know where it is going, and that might be coming back to it a year or so later and then it just clicks. Or we might work on it over time and still never be able to figure it out or maybe it will just click eventually. So songs always take time, sometimes it takes a lot of work and requires a lot of revision and sometimes they just flow massively. I don’t think one way is better than the other it’s just determining what is best for the song. But lyrically that is the last thing we do, like we do the lyrics last – after all the melodies, even the vocal melodies are worked out before the lyrics are written and typically what I will do is take melodies that I have come up with and find rhythms in the melodies that I have written and I won’t write words to them until the words start to form an idea and then those ideas kind of become a stream of consciousness kind of thing and then I will just go back and re-edit it until it tells some kind of story, but the lyrics themselves just seem to come from the music. It’s a combination of what kind of story I feel the music is trying to tell on its own and whatever is going on in my life or the world around us, stuff I’m reflecting on. It is a combination of how I feel and what I am thinking about and what I feel the music is trying to tell as a story.”

One of the things that Pallbearer did differently this time was stay at home and record the album in Little Rock so going on the Dave Grohl theory of cities and towns imprinting themselves on an album does that mean that there is a little bit of Little Rock in Heartless? “Oh certainly there is, it’s inescapable,” says Brett laughing a little. “I think there is a little bit of Little Rock on each of our albums even though the second one wasn’t recorded here. We needed new equipment really bad because we’ve never really had super-high dollar amps or anything, so we’ve always just kind of used what we could afford, so as a result of that our equipment was constantly breaking down and it would have to be in the shop every six months or so, so we were always cycling through our back-ups. By the time we ready to record we were pretty much on the back-ups of our back-ups, all of our gear was in disarray and barely working so we definantly needed new equipment so this kind of goes back a long way because our EP from last year was an experiment to check out a studio in our neighbourhood that the three of us lived in, not even a mile away from where we lived, and we wanted to check it out to see if it worked for our purposes. They had all the equipment we needed to record analogue and on paper it seemed all nice, and that is why we did that EP – to test the studio. We ended up really liking it and liking the results of it, the EP was recorded really quickly for the way we tend to work and the engineers were really nice to work with so before Heartless we bought all new equipment for us to record with and to do that we were able to use the money that we saved by recording in town. So we had new equipment we can use now and in the future and we didn’t have to worry about hotels, we could record and then go home and sleep in our own beds. So that certainly relieved a lot of stress and recording in itself is normally pretty stressful with the way we go about it, we’re perfectionists as much as we can be, so recording here in town was beneficial all round and it was with better quality gear than we have ever had before.”

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

Hailing from Tasmania Taberah are a band that have really impressed all of us here in the Heavy offices this year. Their new album Sinner’s Lament received rave reviews right across the board and we thought we would get Dave Griffiths to sit down and have a chat with Taberah’s drummer Tom Brockman to find out about this band that are on the verge of their big break-out.

“As a band we’ve actually been together for eleven years which might shock a few people,” says Tom laughing. “Basically Johnno, who plays guitar and does the singing for us, have been friends since Grade Eight at High School. We would just jam at lunch times and what not and then we got some other guys together and made some music and then yeah we’ve just continued on from there and just tried to do the best we can.”

Tasmania has produced so many great musicians throughout the years and Tom says they have never really felt that being away from the mainland has held them back from discovering new music or as a band as a whole. “When it came to discovering new music we kind of did that through our parents when we were younger,” he says. “My favourite band in the world is Queen and Johnno loves AC/DC with a passion and all of that has come from our parents, that’s what they listened to. So we were kind of blessed with parents with good musical taste and we’ve gone from there and just flowed on to heavier things – going from hard rock through to metal. It hasn’t really been that hard, the Internet has made things a lot easier than what it was the old days. As far as getting gigs down here we kind of had it fairly easy that way as well. As you probably know Tassie has become known for having some world-class death metal, we have Psycroptic down here and the list just goes on from there. So when we turned up we were pretty much the only band doing our thing so people started to pay attention to us just because we were different I think. We basically just tried to talk to the right people and then we were given the chance because we were a breath of fresh air… without trying to sound rude to the other guys.”

That breath of fresh air has seen Taberah create a very unique sound and Tim says it took some time for the band to evolve into that sound. “It really is just an evolution from the old days when Johnno and I were jamming AC/DC songs at lunchtime. Then we got into Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath and Iron Maiden and things just kind of flowed on from that. A lot of the early songs that we wrote we pretty much just stole riffs from famous bands and just chucked them all together and called them our own songs. But it’s just basically been trying to make what we listen to – just make music that we would enjoy listening to. With Johnno’s vocals, well back in the day he actually didn’t want to be a singer. He just wanted to play guitar and be Angus Young or perhaps Malcolm Young. But he didn’t want to be a singer but then because of the style that we were doing there wasn’t really many options so he just kind of had to do it and over the years he has just kind of been trying to teach himself. We’ve been going for eleven years now so he’s had a fair amount of time to practice. When we put together an album we put the layers in there so he works on getting his harmonies all together and it’s just a lot of hard work that goes into it.”

With Sinner’s Lament ending up with a five-star rating from Heavy Tom was keen to chat about what went into putting the album together. “I’ll have to talk on Johnno’s behalf,” he laughs. “He does all the lines as far as putting together the tunes, but a lot of the songs on this one have got a lot of meaning to him. In our early work he was just kind of throwing some rhythms together and we just kind of create the coolest thing we could think of that was metal sounding but with this one there are a lot of deep meaningful stories behind each one. There are things that have happened in his life and he has put a lot of emotion into it. It’s hard to explain without going into too much detail about his personal life but when you actually know the heart and the soul that he has put into these songs it’s actually kind of amazing what he has actually put out there. Recording the album was actually a pretty drawn-out process though. We did the recording down here with Joe Haley from Psycroptic and we’ve done our first two albums with him and found that it is amazing to work with him but this time we unfortunately clashed with a fair bit of Psycroptic touring so every couple of weeks when Joe was home we’d all get together and try to record as much as possible, then he’s be off to Europe for six weeks and then back here for a couple and then he was off to America for two months. It was just very drawn out and then from start to end it’s coming up on two years since we did the original scratch tracks for it all. We did what we could when we could and Joe went out of his way to accommodate us when he was here but also for us we aren’t doing this full time so we had to balance it out with our time, family and work as well. It was mixed by Lord Tim of Lord & Dungeon fame as well, one of our favourite bands and a band we steal a lot of our stuff from. He wanted to work with us. We’ve played with them a couple of times, once here is Tassie and once in Sydney, but he got in contact with us after the show  and said he was interested in working with us on our next album so we jumped at that. Basically he just guided us through the whole process and we gave him creative license to add in parts and suggest things and he just created what he listened to.”

One of the tracks from Sinner’s Lament that has everybody talking is Taberah’s take on the classic Hotel California and it makes Tom laugh when I bring it up. “I don’t know how the decision came about to cover that,” he says still laughing. “At our practices we just mess around and like our said our musical tastes came from our parents so we often muck around playing tracks by AC/DC or The Rolling Stones all the classic rock, and it just started off that we started playing that song normally but with distorted guitars and then one thing led to the other and we just started to do it like Dragonforce would which was to ridiculously crack the tempo and we just ran with it in the end and we’re not sure how it is going to be perceived until people get a chance to hear it but my Mum has heard it and hates it… so fingers crossed. Her exact words were ‘butchered a classic.’

Taberah’s Sinner’s Lament is out now and is reviewed at www.heavymag.com.au Also make sure you check out website about more tour news for the band as well.

Written by Dave Griffiths

INTERVIEW WITH

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Vin Diesel & Charlize Theron

Normally when a popular animated or comic book character is brought to life by an actor or actress for the big screen the internet goes into meltdown by fanboys outraged by the decision. Remember the recent outcry when Gal Gadot was announced to be playing Wonder Woman, or even the online petitions that started up when the original line-up of The Avengers was revealed.

Strangely when Scarlett Johansson was chosen to play Major in director Rupert Sanders real-life adaption of the 1995 anime Ghost In The Shell the naysayers online were strangely silent. Perhaps it was because of the fact that Johansson was already well known to sci-fi fans – after all she has been praised for her roles in films such as Lucy and of course her portrayal of Black Widow in the Avengers franchise. Or perhaps it was the revealing shots of Johansson in her skin-tight outfit that the role of Major demanded she wear that graced the Net very early on in the production process of Ghost In The Shell.

While many of the people who saw those pictures had little doubt that Johansson had the physical attributes to play Major she says the character was a lot more challenging than people would imagine. “The challenge for was really physical but then the emotional challenge of this character was even more difficult,” Johansson explains. “These questions come up that really haunt her – who am I, what is my purpose, if my body doesn’t belong to me then who do I belong to, does my mind belong somebody, do my experiences belong to somebody else? Plus she is experiencing betrayal and feelings of abandonment and all of the questioning. You know all of that is really hard to live with for the duration of filming.”

Anybody that has seen the original anime of Ghost In The Shell will know that Major’s story is a complex one and while the film is guaranteed to have some amazing action sequences the plot itself is very character driven. With her role in Lucy already behind her the notion of acting in a character-driven action film is something that is not lost on Johansson although she is quick to admit that it is also very rare in modern day. “I think it is just weird to have a character-driven story in this particular genre. To be able to be able to part of something like that is really… profound,” she says searching her mind for the right word to describe how she feels. “This film deals with all these questions – all these existential questions – these questions of identity and what it means to be human. And also as we strive to advance on experience what are we willing to sacrifice of the human experience. These are all pretty heavy questions and it’s nice to be able to explore them in this explosive universe that has been created here.”

One of the big surprises people got when the first announcements were made about The Fate Of The Furious was the fact that respected actress Helen Mirren would be taking up her role in the cast. Perhaps it shouldn’t have been a surprise considering the award winning actress recently starred in the Red franchise as well but even Diesel laughs when the name is mentioned. “Helen Mirren!!!” he exclaims. “The truth of it all is what is so fascinating. She started calling me out on talk-shows saying ‘I love Vin Diesel and I want to be in Fast & Furious, make that happen Vin’ I was at a party a year ago, an Oscar party, and my agent introduced me to her and she said ‘I’ve been talking about you and I’ve been saying that I want to be in Fast & Furious get into together Vin, get it together’ and that point her role wasn’t written into the movie yet and the director and the writer flew down to the Dominician Republic to me and we worked on the script for a week and in that time we wrote her in because ultimately her character helped out, it ended up being a gift for us because her character provides the connective tissue that we really, really needed and was something that we perhaps didn’t realise that we needed for our part. One of my favourite parts of filming Fast was getting to do scenes with Helen Mirren.”

The other big change this time around is the man sitting in the director’s chair – James Wan exits and F. Gary Gray, the man behind films like the remake of The Italian Job and Sraight Outta Compton enters. “What we really needed was a director who was going to focus on our performances. It is why we have Oscar-winning actors in this film and it is why F. Gary Gray was the perfect director for this chapter. Because I knew from A Man Apart what Gary could pull out in terms of a darker character I knew that he would be perfect to be able to expose a more deadly and dangerous side to Dom Toretto and that was the thing that was most exciting about having him as director for number eight.”

 

…continued below…

 

Aside from Helen Miren and F. Gary Gray the other big newcomer to the franchise this time around is Charlize Theron and just one look at the trailer tells you she plays a huge part in Dom switching sides but also creates a romantic triangle. “She is rapacious,” says Theron when asked to describe her character – Cipher. “And of course she is wanting it all. And there are moments when she is not even knowing why she wants it all, she just wants it all and that says a lot about a character. I do think there is something about her that we haven’t quite fully delved into in this film which lends itself into great possibilities later. But just off the bat there is something great about just watching a character come in and take what she wants and doing it in a way that we haven’t seen before, and that is also the challenge. I remember saying to Chris ‘nothing that she ever does or gets away with can be of easy choice.’ That makes for challenging writing and a challenge playing it, but I think we came up with something that feels organic and also feels unusual in the way that it is laid out and also in the cause and effect of it.”

“As much as we working on the character and the development and wanting to create somebody that was unusual we had to come up with a look that had to celebrate that and fit that person,” says Theron switching to describing how Chipher looks. “My assistant actually came up with the hair, she just came up with out of nowhere ‘you should do dreadlocks’ and I think that everybody went to the… you know… the quintessential look of when you say dreadlocks but it was kind of a way of working out how to finesse that into something that was very sleek and almost dangerous looking… like her hair could be weapons, like her hair could hurt you but at the same time still look really beautiful… that was really fun. The clothes were also a lot of fun I just didn’t want to do the tight little business dresses or the business suits that everybody thought of initially for her. That was something that I thought of with her, that she was more artistic than that. Even though she is so evil there is something kind of cool about her.”

There is a big danger that fans are not going to like Cipher simply for the reason that she gets between Dom and Letty so why does Theron think Cipher goes after Dom in such a big way. “I think she chooses him is because he might have the most vulnerable aspect to his character, certainly more than any of the other characters,” she explains. “That makes her even more delicious because she can kind of prey on those vulnerabilities and I don’t think any of the characters would have lended themselves to the possibility of forcing somebody into a corner the way that Dom allows her to do it. There are things that are so important to Dom’s character, to Dom as a character, that the threat of losing of any of those things makes him more of a pawn for her and I think that is why she chooses him. And I think she also likes the challenge of knowing that he is somebody who swore his entire life that he would never break his code and I think she loves the challenge of taking on somebody like that and actually getting them to break their code.”

So what was it like working with the great man himself – Vin Diesel. “I think we were both excited to be working on something that was going to be surprising. And I think that the concept was surprising on its own. There were so many details of that surprise in every scene that we did together and I think we both kind of relished in that and it was a little bit like we would show up every day and we knew what the space was and ninety per cent of the time it was just me and him in the room shooting five or six pages of dialogue and you can have a lot of fun with another actor when you get to do interesting things like that and really get to play on words and meaning and when you’re allowed to push everything outside of its comfort zone and I think that we both had a lot of fun with that.”

Of course returning back this time around is one man that Dom did convert to seeing the world through his eyes – Luke Hobbs played by Dwayne Johnson and this time Hobbs gets to go one-on-one with his arch nemesis Deckard Shaw so what was it like for Johnson to once again work with Jason Statham? “Fast Eight gave myself and Jason Statham great liberty to just go because we knew what we wanted to do was just create a great relationship that audiences are just going to love. Like this Butch And Sundance kind of relationship where it is two guys talking shit to each other but a relationship is forming, a bond is forming and they are wise-cracking guys, they are also bad-ass guys. You know there were so many lines that I was improving with Jason, and Jason ‘s got the best sense of humour. He looks tough, and he is tough but I love cracking him up, so there is one line for example that he didn’t know that I was going to say. There is one line where I say ‘I am going to knock your teeth so far down your throat you are going to stick a toothbrush up your arse to brush ‘em’ and I could see his smile start and he is trying to stay in character and he completely busted out laughing… and I think that is in the movie. “

One of the things that fans of the franchise always look forward to every time another Fast & Furious film hits the cinemas is to see what incredible stunt the cast and crew have brought us this time around. In the past we’ve had cars jumping out of planes and cars jumping from high rise to high rise. The trailer hints at a pretty amazing stunt in The Fate Of The Furious that involves a torpedo and Johnson’s eyes light up as he gets to talk about it. “So there are moments in movies where you have to suspend your sense of disbelief,” he says gesturing with his hands. “That’s what we do when we go to movies and we love it, right? So when the torpedo idea was pitched to me it was like ‘okay so we are going to do something that has never been done before… with the character of Hobbs’ and I was like ‘okay tell me’ and then Chris Morgan tells me ‘you’re going to get out and then you’re going to grab hold of the door of the vehicle and then you’re going to be sliding on the ice going at 95 miles per hour and you’re going to re-direct a torpedo with your bare hand, not plural, not hands… HAND!’ And I said ‘so what do we do with it’ and he says ‘so you re-direct it to the bad guy’s car and you’re going to save the day. What do you think?’ And I said ‘ahhh… I f**king love it’ and we started high-fiving, me and Chris Morgan. Not at the absurdity of it and the coolness of it, but we start high-fiving in that audiences are going to crazy because they are having fun.”

The Fate Of The Furious hits Australian cinemas on 13th April and it will be reviewed at www.heavymag.com.au

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

Red Jumpsuit Apparatus return to Australia for the first time since 2014 this May and are planning to give long time fans a special treat by playing their debut album Don’t You Fake It from front to back.

“We will be playing it in full in the order we recorded it,” promised vocalist Ronnie Winter. “It’s the tenth anniversary of the album, so we thought it fitting to tour that.”

While a set list is normally hand – picked and therefore suited to a live performance, Winter is quick to point out that the band won’t have any problems tackling a full album on stage.
“I think a lot of people think that because I have been asked about it a few times,” he dismissed. “I guess it’s different for every artist but for me, I have final say on all the track listings and always have. I put the album in the order exactly how I would like to play it live if I had the choice so thus far it’s been flowing seamlessly. I know not all artists do that but that is something that I’ve always done because it has always been a goal of the band to play the albums the way we recorded it but what usually happens is we end up playing more of a greatest hits type of set – which is fine, that’s what the fans want – but whenever I release an album I do intend for it to listen to beginning to end and it’s the same thing live.”

With the songs having been penned over a decade ago, and some of them having never been performed live since, it is natural to assume that maybe some of the passion and meaning has faded over the years, but Winter refutes that notion quickly.

“Not for me,” he disputed. “Most of the lyrics are written about my life experiences, so I’m never short of passion with what I have to say and when I have to say it or about the time and place where I was at that time. It’s easy for me to tap back into that but as far as performing it live goes it is just a straight forward rock album, and I think that’s why people still love it. There’s not a whole lot of digital elements on it; it’s main guitar, bass, drums and vocals so we just really focus on trying to pull off the sound we had on the record and keep it simple with not a lot of stage production. None of that was out there when people first listened to the CD, so essentially we just rock it out and play it the way we recorded it.”

Don’t You Fake It spawned some hit singles, including ‘Damn Regret’ and ‘Your Guardian Angel’, but perhaps the most significant of all – which is still popular and relevant today – is ‘Face Down’ which addressed the issue of domestic violence.

“That song has just never gone away,” Winter recounted proudly. “Not only that song, it’s the same with quite a few on that album but ‘Face Down’ is one that did a lot of good. We raised almost $20,000 for the National Coalition of Domestic Violence, and I spoke at conventions about it, so the subject is something we like to visit at least once every couple of years. In the U.S our biggest market is the Christian rock market, which you guys don’t have in Australia, but our last six number one Billboard songs in a row were all on the Christian rock chart, and they are still discovering our earlier music. They are connecting with the band and the songs so then it kind of rebirths itself again, and this type of thing tends to keep happening, so it’s great for the music and the band. I hope it lives forever.”

 

Ten years is a long time in music, and Winter is the first to admit that musically the band and its members have morphed considerably in that period.

“We’ve changed a lot since then,” he conceded. “There’s no doubt that music wise we’re far superior to we were when we were younger, so we’re able to do more intense, intricate chord progressions now. Some of the players that I have now are better than some of the players I was working with when I was a younger man, and I’m a much better singer now. The truth is I wasn’t even really going to be the singer of the band even though I wrote the songs. We kept trying out lead singers, and they couldn’t sing it the way I wanted them to so I wound up the singer out of necessity (laughs). I wasn’t even a great singer! I wasn’t classically trained in a choir or had any vocal training; I just got stuck into it. I’m just a drummer and a songwriter, so I was a little nervous in the first couple of years. I wasn’t that good live, and a lot of people made sure to tell me that on line that I was terrible and I should quit and luckily for them and me I got a lot better (laughs). Over years of doing something over and over again, you do get better so I’m glad that ten years later I can sing the album live the way I did in the studio. I’m proud of that.”

When Winter first entertained the notion of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus becoming a touring band, his sight wasn’t set on world domination or longevity, but rather his focus was merely for a creative outlet for the punk blood he found coursing through his veins.

“When I started this band it was a side project,” he recalled, “because of my other band… my brother Randy plays the guitar and he was in the studio and recorded parts on Don’t You Fake It – which a lot of people don’t know – but before this band I had another band which was a prog metal band, so my whole thing with Jumpsuit was just me on the couch with an acoustic guitar. I kept writing punk rock songs because I was listening to bands like Pennywise, Strung Out and NOFX, so I was writing all these punk songs with punk vocals – and punk post-hardcore kind of stuff doesn’t really fit in a metal prog band – so I kind of started recording these songs on my own with a couple of my friends. The initial intention was just to try something different other than the band I was already in, and then people started liking it straight away! We put out demos, and I realised maybe this was what I was supposed to do. A couple of years later my brother ended up joining me, and we put all our focus on this band instead of trying to run two bands at once.”

From the outset, Winter was determined to utilise experienced learnt from past endeavours to ensure this new project gained traction, and it wasn’t until eighteen months after the band formed in 2003 that they started touring and releasing music.

“Like I said I was already in another band with my brother,” he explained, “so we had gone through a lot of trials and tribulations with those bands. We made a lot of mistakes and had a lot of success and one thing that I learned was it’s better to spend more time songwriting before you are ready to go into the studio than worry about putting out 20 or 30 songs right away because most of the time people only like three or four of them anyway. So essentially what I discovered was what was going to work better for me was just take my time, craft my songs and release a smaller amount over a longer amount of time and that was something we just learnt, Randy and I, through experience from our previous bands.”

 

Written by Kris Peters.

JJ Peters says ‘he’s doing fanatically well’. Speaking with HEAVY from NYC, he’s suffering from the cold on his down time, taking a short break on holidays after finishing p a few months on their Europe tour. Russia, Eastern Europe, touring with Suicide Silence and now the Deez Nuts front man is hitting reset.

The new album “Binge And Purgatory” drops this month and the hype around the album has been a far deal greater than its predecessor. Two years in the making, Peters says things weren’t much different in terms of the production and lifeline of the new album compared to previous release Word Is Bond.

“We pretty much used the exact same formula as far as the process we went through for as we did for Word Is Bond,” says Peters. “It was almost two years to the day that we went to the studio last time to record. It’s kind of like we used Word Is Bond as the preproduction for this album in a strange way, like we were so happy with how that came out but there were certain things that we wanted to fix and change and do differently that we kind of learnt from those experiences to do them the way we wanted to for this album.

“With the same team working on it, going about it with the same process, I think that’s resulted in this complete, well-rounded album that we’re so happy with”

Peters doesn’t seem very concerned that fans may compare the two albums and complain of the same songs being written, in fact, Binge And Purgatory is stylistically a fresh sound for the group. “Musically and lyrically, the two are different – it’s just the process was the same. We enjoyed working with the same team, like Andrew [Neufield] from Comeback Kid producing [for us]. It was really more about emulating the process, but not emulating the same album. Everything happened organically and came together the way it did and we didn’t use necessarily the writing process to write the same album, we just wanted to be in the same environment to put out the album we’ve put out.”

Differences in lyrics, Peter’s influences for the new songs have naturally been drawn from different sources, two years being a fair amount of time to gain new influences in life for music. “It’s always whatever is going on in my life at that time. I’m just in a different place in my life than I was and I think I’m kind of comfortable with the fact I’ve approached the topic of partying more times than most people have,” Peters giggles.

“I think I’ve done it in as many interesting as I possibly can, now I’m kind of comfortable that I’ve covered that topic entirely, many times, and I kind of just wanted to write things that were on my mind and flex my abilities to write a bit more, do some things I hadn’t done before.”

Don’t be fooled in to thinking that Peters has hung up his party hat in favour of more stiff-collared pursuits – life changes direction in time, as we all know, and Peters is happily finding a balance between more mature persist and the life of a rock band frontman. “There’s an element of that,” says Peters, “But at the same time there’s parts of touring that insist upon my life in order to put on a show and whatnot.

“I tend to be pretty fucking introverted and quiet by nature so, you know, sometimes I need the liquid courage to get up and be the person I am on stage. I’ve talked about that element of my life enough.”

Hearing Peters describe himself as introverted is quite a surprise given that on stage, he commands a massive presence, albeit to talk with him, Peters speaks fast, a little jitter in his tone for all that he is quick and eloquent – are there perhaps two sides to his character? “For sure. If I was as full on and as boisterous and as loud as I am on stage at home, that’s a part of myself that’s who I am but that’s me performing and putting on a show, having a good time.

“Obviously there’s lots of elements to everyone and I tend to jump in to that role when I’m performing and writing but there are, many other elements to me that aren’t that person.”

Indeed, current single ‘Discord’ sees Peters letting go, giving it his all in a song of rough and wholesome truths, gritty guitars and heartfelt vocals ripping apart a full three minutes in a tantalising fashion. Fans will love it – but you can’t please everybody. Some of the more narrow-minded comments on the Youtube video say daft things like, ‘2001 called, they asked for their music back.’ This is a great source of humour for the hardcore frontman, who doesn’t completely dismiss the statements. “I can definitely see elements of that and I wouldn’t disagree with it,” Peters concedes.

“We’re like kids who fucking grew up on nu-metal and metalcore and shit so like obviously that’s gonna be banging around in our heads and definitely going to influence us and affect the way we write music in a lot of ways. But we also kind of go down a lot of different paths. I hear a lot of things that other people don’t. That song is definitely grounded in the hardcore side of every music, rather than like bands like P.O.D. It’s open to interpretation and people can think what they want of it… But I don’t 100% agree with that, but I don’t disagree either.”

 

Written by Anna Rose

Listening to Voyager is a thoroughly enjoyable experience – seeing them play live is out of this world. Yes, hyperbole, but it’s damn well right. The Perth experimental rockers have a particular way of manipulating sound, defying genres and setting the band on a platform all their own. Yes, their music is an experience, but watching a member play solo and totally immerse themselves in the music is a real treat – and that’s exactly what guitarist Scott Kay has done. Ahead of the release of their new album Ghost Mile, Kay has been making Youtube videos where fans can see him stripped down to his strings, playing to some of the awesome tracks on the upcoming release. One such track is current single ‘Ascension’. In his video, Kay is so seemingly at ease, at the moment and one with the music. “We’ve been practising this stuff for quite a while, so the writing for this album has been quite long and quite extensive,” says Kay, “We’re pretty relaxed with at least that song now which is good, and I’m glad that translated.

“I see it as less of an internal thing and more of an external thing when I’m performing. When you’re doing something like a play through when it’s just you in the room, I can be more alone in that respect. When you’re in your zone on your own and your zone with the audience, the passion is the same; you’re just trying to involve more people.”

 

As a group, Voyager appear to have an aura about them that causes them to be lost in the moment, a true love for what they do that is emitted in the music – but does Kay feel that’s the kind of mantra they adopt in their live performances? “We’ve had this discussion quite often as a band, that at the end of the day, we’re entertainment. We’re there to put on a show. It’s better for people to say you’re bad than to say you’re bored. It’s probably the worst insult ever if you’re failing as an entertainer if what you’re doing is boring so we try and take that on board, we take that quite seriously, we try and project a fun and enjoyable vibe and part of that is knowing the music so well that we don’t have to be consciously thinking too much about it – last thing I want to do is internally freaking out about what I’m doing when really I’m there to project fun to the audience!”

 

Voyager is evolving. With the release of Ghost Mile, the band have intertwined some sombre undertones reminiscent of The Cure while breaking into a bit of Fair To Midland heaviness. Often characterised as prog-metal, it seems a shame to pigeonhole Voyager into such a limited category when they are clearly setting out for something in particular. “There is something about our sound that doesn’t make it too much of any one style,” muses Kay, “We’re taking bits and pieces from stuff we like and throwing them into the pot, and on top of that we’re not doing that consciously. We just go on gut feeling and roll with it.

“regarding classifying ourselves, we’ve given up – we don’t feel it’s useful. What is useful is trying to write the best music we can, and I think through the nature of what we like as individuals, it comes together and turns in to something that makes sense. It’s still cohesive, but there’s no conscious decision in what we’re taking inspiration from, it just turns in to a big melting pot.”

 

Similarly to the group Fair To Midland, Voyager, both stylistically and melodically, are seeing this flexibility of style as an opportunity, a gateway to greater prospects. “What’s cool about that band [Fair To Midland] is again, I find them hard to pigeonhole but their songs are so cohesive, they have a with a pop structure but they do all this weird stuff within that that I think is really cool and in that respect, I guess that’s where we’re coming from as well – we like the songs to be cohesive and make sense, but we like to explore what we can do within that structure.”

Indeed, with exploration comes evolution and so comes progression, and perhaps that’s where the ‘prog’ comes into it all – Kay agrees. “I think that’s how we like to keep things interesting. The song has to make sense, we want people to follow us on the journey not get lost in it but along that journey, we might throw a curve ball, and that’s kind of what we’re hoping for the new album. It’s like nothing we’ve ever written before – it’s heavier, it’s darker, but I think it will still make sense to people even though it’s very much treading new territory for us. It’s the first thing we’ve ever recorded with a blast beat in it, but we think it works quite well.”

 

Setting out on a headlining national tour in support of Ghost Mile, this interesting new turn for Voyager should prove to be a point of interest for fans attending the shows, Kay hoping the new direction will translate well to the live stage. “I’m envisioning it as being more of an ebb and flow,” says Kay, “The record for me has this real dip in the middle where it goes into some darker territory, and I’d like to get that vibe happening with the set and have the set reflect the flow of that album as well.

 

“I’ve stoked that people are on board with it. I want Voyager to be a band that sets the standard for the way people consume music these days in the sense that, I think people should listen to music and decide whether they like it or not based on just listening, forgetting about ‘what kind of subgenre is this’ and just listen to it and say ‘do I like it’? That mentality is good for the listener, so they can just listen to whatever music they want to, whatever band they want to, without feeling either stigmatised for it or that they can or can’t listen to it based on their other tastes, so they can forget about all that and decide whether they like it or not – and it’s good for the bands because it means the bands can just evolve and do what they feel is true to them and I feel like that translates into music that’s just better overall. It would be better for everyone to just remove these labels and instead to just embrace whatever is going on to just decide very honestly whether they like what they’re hearing or not, not based on a label.”

 

Written by Anna Rose

Suitably accompanied by his high-speed freight train guitar riffs that echo his band’s colossal slogan ‘DON’T FUCK WITH THE TRUCK’, guitarist Jeremy Widerman is all set to embark upon a headline UK tour with his band Monster Truck. Currently sporting a high-ranking resumé of touring companions, you may have seen Widerman headbanging with the same vigour of an Angus Young bobblehead on tours with the likes of Nickelback, Guns’n’Roses and Black Stone Cherry. Whilst still in the midst of touring with Billy Talent, Widerman recently graced Facebook Live with the euphoria of a kid in a rock’n’roll candy shop to spread the news of an impressive run of dates with Deep Purple on their upcoming ‘The Long Goodbye’ tour.

However, this is not the first time Truck and Purple have collided. “We did a small run of shows with them here in Canada a few years back and I think it was a really great fit, especially since they are one of our key influences”, Widerman wistfully recalls. And when stars collide, there’s usually a meteoric bang… “Its funny that we’ve come so far since then. The shows we did with them a long time ago were some of the biggest shows we had played up until that point and they somewhat kicked off the beginning of us opening for massive and legendary bands like that”, muses Widerman.

Nonetheless, Deep Purple were a catalyst for Monster Truck in a time prehistoric to these initial shows, when Truck were but an embryo in Mama Rock’n’Roll’s petri dish. “The main thing we wanted to bring to our music in the beginning was the thick and distorted organ. It was something not a lot of bands do these days and it’s such a cool and unique vibe”, Widerman noted upon discussing Truck’s Deep Purple roots. It’s perhaps this unique vibe that are turning many legendary heads towards Monster Truck, and Widerman certainly doesn’t want to become a cookie-cutter band anytime soon. “We are always attempting to shift things up a little while at the same time staying true to what we started. Probably the toughest thing is finding a happy medium between the two”, Widerman alleges.

Whilst touring with Herculean bands such as Deep Purple could prompt an unquenchable thirst for touring with every living legendary artist etched into the archaeological record of rock music, Widerman has other ideas. “We did a short run with the Rival Sons and I think it’s something that we would like to do again someday. It’s amazing to tour with legends of rock, but with the Sons it feels more like a family of new/modern rock bands that are pushing forward with something new in the face of a dwindling interest in rock music,” Widerman enthuses. “It feels like a noble battle to keep this kind of music moving forward in the right direction.”

And a noble battle it certainly is. Yet, whilst interest in rock music may be fading, Widerman’s 2016 tour comrades Nickelback posit (with tongues firmly in cheeks) that everyone wants to be a rockstar. Subsequently, a sour paradox exists whereby noble mutineers like Widerman fight for an extended expiration date of the foundations in which the highly misused ‘sex, drugs and rock’n’roll’ rockstar formula is built upon. “I think the idea of [being a rockstar] is definitely glamourised to the point where everyone thinks they want to be one. The reality is something quite different”, Widerman warns. “Although I wouldn’t trade my work or life for anything in the world, it is certainly not a job for everyone. It’s part nature and part nurture where you kinda have to be brought up into it and you kinda have to be built for it naturally.”

But is the concept of ‘rockstar’ all but a mirage seen through the last ounce at the bottom of a bottle of Jack Daniel’s? “Perception is reality”, Widerman states with the same conviction that social psychologist Dr Philip Zimbardo may exert upon debating this topic. “I think under the right circumstances anyone can feel like [a rockstar]. Sometimes standing up in the karaoke bar and really killing your favourite song can evoke that sensation. Everyone certainly deserves to feel that way at some point in their lives.”

So now that they’re firmly standing on the shoulders of giants, Monster Truck are way past the base camp of their journey to the top. “I feel like we are currently in what I refer to as the ‘Bonus Round’”, Widerman professes. “It hasn’t made me try any less or care any less and we are certainly still pushing to make great records and work our asses off, but we are so much further and have done so much more than I ever expected that everything that comes from this point forward is icing on the cake.”

 

Monster Truck are tenaciously climbing their way up the ranks, with not a bump in the rickety road of rock’n’roll in sight. But what becomes of someone who gets in their way and recklessly ‘fucks with the Truck’, just as their merchandise advises against? “Nothing. We’re harmless”, Widerman confesses.

 

Written by Jeni Lambert

 

 

Interview with ALEC BALWHIN about “THE BOSS BABY”

One of the strangest films to come out of Hollywood in quite a while has to be the animated film – The Boss Baby. One look at the trailer and you can easily see that the film is outrageously funny but when you realise that screen legend Alec Baldwin is technically voicing a baby then you could be excused for thinking ‘what am I in for here?’

Of course strange is never something that should hold back cinema and it was little wonder that The Boss Baby managed to knock Beauty And The Beast off the number one spot at the box office in its first weekend of screening in the United States. With that little feat behind it the cast were only too happy to spill the beans about everything that you need to know about The Boss Baby.

“My character is an executive at a corporation called Baby Corp,” explains Baldwin. “He’s then sent to spy on people and to find out what people want – what parents want. It’s kind of market research really. I suppose it is really industrial espionage. So he goes into this home to get information for his company and the trick is that he is a baby – he’s an industrial spy, he’s a market researcher, he’s a visionary, he’s a businessman, he’s an MBA… and I could keep going because he is so many things… in the body of a baby. But he goes into this house to get information for his bosses at Baby Corp.”

With the crazy premise aside the main story behind The Boss Baby is a unique way to look at the relationship between an older brother (Tim) and the new baby in the household and Baldwin says he believes the film does it really well. “Tim is in this house,” he says. “And in that house it is Tim time all the time – because it is just Tim, and then along comes the boss baby and he’s not just a baby he is your worst nightmare of a baby. He’s a clever baby, he’s a conniving baby, but the film wouldn’t work if Tim wasn’t smart to so we had to make the Tim character pretty smart to but with a heart of gold. We didn’t want to lose that because he really is a little boy. So the interaction between them is a very big part of the story.”

With such an amazing body of work behind him a lot of people out there were wondering why Baldwin was attracted to such an unusual role but he says it was a very easy decision to make when he decided to take it. “I loved it because it is just so nuts,” he says smiling. “The idea is just so silly but Tom (the director – Tom McGrath) is just so clever that I knew that he could pull it off. And the film has this amazing heart when I become won over by the thought of being part of the family.”

The other big part of this film is the stars and Baldwin says he was pleased to be part of such an amazing cast. “The back drop of this film is family and you have Lisa Kudrow voicing the Mum and Jimmy Kimmel voicing the Dad and then there is Miles Bakshi the grandson of the famous Ralph Bakshi the illustrator, and my nemesis is Steve Buscemi who plays Francis Frances. Naturally it is going to be crazy and there a lot of crazy scenes and wild action because with an animation you can do anything.”

Baldwin says he also believes that animated films have also changed over the years. “I think with animations now in regards to the pyschelogics of the characters they make the animated characters more like actors and they behave like them and exude like them. They shoot us reading the lines and they use this computer thing so the boss baby character will do all the things that I would do and perhaps he even does it better!”

Another big name actor in the cast of The Boss Baby is the man that a generation of people know as Spider-Man, Tobey Maguire who also says he enjoyed his time on the wacky comedy. “I play the adult version of Tim Templeton,” he explains. “Originally Tim is a happy seven-year-old child with two parents – he’s an only child and then his parents have a baby and he knows that he is going to have a little brother but he is not happy that he is going to have to share the love of his parents. And then when the baby arrives he is suspicious and discovers that he is a little boss baby, a little man, who has an agenda and he wants to expose him.”

Like Baldwin Maguire admits one of the things that attracted him to The Boss Baby was getting to work with director Tom McGrath a man who is known for helming animations such as Megamind and most of the films in the Madagascar franchise. “Tom is great,” says Maguire. “He is very easy to work with but I admire his creativity and the fact that he is imaginative. He is so funny and I think that he has found such a great tone for this movie. It’s a funny movie and it is relatable. It’s a relatable in a real world way even though it’s told through fantasy – through a really fun idea that is essentially Alec Baldwin being a boss baby which is a blast!!!”

The Boss Baby is in cinemas now and is reviewed at www.heavymag.com.au

Written by Dave Griffiths

COUGH

These days six years seems like an eternity between albums, but as Parker Chandler, vocalist and bass player for Richmond, Virginia’s doom metal merchants Cough explains, when you are inside that bubble and staying active it’s not just time away on hiatus like the rest of the world sometimes sees it.

“I started playing in Windhand as well during that time,” he said of the break between Ritual Abuse in 2010 and Still They Pray last year. “Our guitar player had a kid too so there was different life events that came between but we still practiced pretty consistently. We did two years of touring pretty solidly for Ritual Abuse, then we did the split album with Windhand. In the time between Ritual Abuse and Still They Pray we also did two tours of Europe and also fit Australia in there so we stayed pretty busy during that time. We didn’t exactly do nothing (laughs).”

Since breaking into the scene with their debut E.P The Kingdom in 2006, Cough have painstakingly built their reputation amongst the elite of the doom genre, with Electric Wizard, Candlemass and Cathedral all playing large parts in the evolution of Cough’s music.
Mixing a blend of hefty doom and bloody rock, Cough’s music is a psychedelic mix of black metal, sludge and blues that feels as though you are being crushed from within by an unseen force that throws your soul into a concrete blender and spits it out through a raging furnace.
This pain and torment was used to great effect on their third album, Still They Pray, with Chandler admitting the music and lyrics are highly personal to the band.

“Yeah, it’s pretty autobiographical,” he said.”It’s all taken from real life events. We hide them more with metaphors on some tracks and less on others.”

One positive aspect of taking such a long time between albums is the extra time it gives you to work on your music, and Chandler says this played an important part in the finished product.
“I think we had more time to fine tune the songs,” he added. “Some of the ideas had been kicking around since probably 2012 so we had time to play around with them in that time. I think they went through a lot of changes over that extended period of time. We would leave them and go back to them so it was all over the place but it also gave us time to get them right which was important to us.”

Doom metal is not regarded as one of the more popular genres, but it is certainly a sub genre that has a loyal following. When pressed as to why Cough have had such success within a specialized genre, he laughs and says that it is probably more to do with their attitude and free spirit.
“I think we are just easy going guys,” he smiled. “We’re definitely not competitive. We don’t really think in terms of that. For the most part what we do is not a way to get by or anything like that. We played a handful of festivals this year, just with friends and stuff like that. You meet new people and they become your friends but it’s not like its cut throat in the doom market. You just have to have fun with what you do.”
Cough’s brand of doom metal is also a little left of centre, with the aforementioned subtle, yet effective blending of black metal, sludge and blues, with Chandler saying that the roots of blues are prevelant in most music today.
“If you think about it in regards to the blues it is the real origin of metal if you go back far enough,” he said. “Over the years it developed slightly more of a chaos edge to it and it has grown from there. Over the years we have messed around with a lot of different sorts of sounds, colder sounds with progression and stuff like that.”
This month, Cough will be bringing label mates and long time collaborators Windhand with them to Australia for a handful of shows, with Chandler speaking highly of their touring partners.
“I’m in both bands so I have to say that (laughs). We’ve been friends… we met up with Windhand shortly after we started, before I was even in the band in 2009 so we’ve always gotten along pretty well. It’s exciting to be travelling with a band like that who we have a good history with.”
This won’t be Cough’s first time in our country either, with previous trips affirming their Australian fans interest.
“I dunno,” Chandler laughed when asked why they go well in a country where doom isn’t in the more popular end of the music market. “I feel like it’s… its pretty good down there for what it is. I mean, you don’t get a lot of acts down there to begin with, especially in a genre as small as ours. I feel like maybe you have a more dedicated fan base or maybe just a live music fan base in general. We definitely appreciate the support we get.”

Written by Kris Peters

INTERVIEW WITH WILL ARNET

The battle between Batman and Robin and The Joker has now been raging in the DC Comics for a number of generations now and that battle has also crossed over to the small screen and the big screen over the years.

On the small screen many of us grew up watching Adam West as Batman fighting against a more comedic version of the The Joker while director Tim Burton cast Michael Keaton as Batman to take on his manical version of The Joker played by the legendary Jack Nicholson the 1989 big screen adaption of Batman. Of course then came one of the best comic book movies of all time with The Dark Knight which saw Aussie actor Heath Ledger in his Oscar-winning role as a Joker who menaced Gotham City and could only be brought undone by Christian Bale’s Batman.

Perhaps the most brutal and darkest Joker tale though was in last year’s The Killing Joke which saw the Mark Hamill voiced Joker do the unthinkable to Batgirl. While the Batman vs Joker rivalry seems to have got darker over the years director Chris McKay, a man who has been making us laugh for a number of years now with the hilarious Robot Chicken, tones things back a little with the latest Batman movie to make the big screen – The Batman Lego Movie.

This movie sees Will Arnett (Despicable Me, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) voice the Caped Crusader while Michael Cera (Juno, Superbad) plays his sidekick Robin and Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover, Due Date) takes on the role of the spurned Joker.

The trio are only too happy to talk about their experiences on the film.

Hearing Arnett talk about playing one of DC Comics’ most famous heroes and you instantly know that the fact that this is a Lego movie did not stop him from wanting to make the role really his. “It was kind of fun to take an iconic character like Batman and kind of play with the rules that have always been there for him,” he says with a really serious tone. “I could keep it consistent with the fact that he is really good at what he does and having that bravado but at the same time making him a little bit more flawed and a little bit goofier. You know that is the license that we took and it made sense within the Lego world to be able to do that and we’ve tried to expand on that in this movie and really try to get down to what makes Batman tick.”

Fans of Batman and The Joker are also going to see a very different relationship between the two this time around and Arnett says they went deep into the relationship between the two to see what they could do with them this time around. “Their very existence is very dependent on each other,” explains Arnett. The Joker is only a bad guy as much as Batman exists to allow him to be a bad guy and vice versa. So they are in a relationship in that sense – they do depend on each other and what would happen if they both took a step back and understood that to be the situation?”

Arnett says it was also interesting for him to work with his two co-stars – Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera. “It was a very experimentative and collaborative process,” he says. “We got to try and lot of things and I had never been in that situation. It is very rare that you get to laugh on a very profound level and especially in this kind of environment where you are sitting in a recording booth, but we had countless times where we had really big laughs and we were making each other laugh and surprising each other. That element of surprise I think came across in the film as well, it made its way into the movie even though we just made it up on the spot. We also have Robin in the film and we have Michael Cera playing Robin and he is super fun. Of course obviously Michael and I worked together years ago on Arrested Development and I was really excited when I heard that they wanted him to do it. I ended up emailing him and saying ‘I know they want you to do the film, please do it. I want you to do it.’ So I was so excited about and he ended up being amazing. Michael brings this great wonderment to Robin. When Dick Grayson turns up in Batman’s life Batman has to take care of him and from there the character of Robin develops and we get to see that – the genesis of that is really, really cool.”

Playing Robin to Arnett’s Batman is Michael Cera who says he was keen to take on the role because he was such a huge fan of The Lego Movie. “I loved the first one which is why I was so excited when I was asked to be involved with this one,” he says with a huge smile on his face. “I went and saw that in my neighbourhood in a theatre that was mainly full of kids and I think I was the only single adult person there and I had such a great time… it was great. I expected to like it but not as much as I did. I loved it, I thought they had such a fun tone and pace to it which is not that common in animation now, and to be that funny… that is rare.”

 

…continued below…

He goes on to say that the character of Batman lends itself to comedy really well. “He’s a great character to do a comedy about because there’s so many versions of him, so many people have done it but nobody has ever approached it from a comedic stand point and it is very easy to ask a lot of really good questions about him – like why is he so lonely? What is really driving him and he’s on his own and very private so what does that look like? Where does that exterior go? What’s underneath it? Will’s just the really perfect guy to cast for that I think… not just because of his voice which is unbelievable but also his comedic sensibility.”

With so many takes on the Bruce Wayne/Dick Grayson/Batman/Robin storyline in the past Cera says that here the screenwriters have had their meeting become very accidental. “He (Robin) accidentally weasels his way into the fold,” he explains. “He forces himself on Bruce Wayne as an adoption case through a misunderstanding basically, and Bruce Wayne doesn’t quite know what he is saying yes to or what he is signing up for… not in all the confusion. And then he accidentally stumbles upon the Batcave and accidentally stumbles upon the secret that Bruce Wayne is Batman and then he is kind of in because he either has to kill him or make him his side-kick.”

Cera says he also had a great time with the director. “Working with Chris is always a blast,” he says. “He’s encouraging and he’s excited and he’ll just let you explore, and sometimes that can be daunting but with him it wasn’t and you would stumble on new things with him and then really embrace them and that would carve out a whole new thing… sometimes that would even just be for one joke or some kind of line delivery, and so you start to feel really appreciated… and that is really encouraging. It’s a classic thing I think when you have a boss who empowers you by allowing you to feel like you have a voice in what you are doing and I think that always makes people better at each task somehow, and Chris is like that – he’s a good boss.”

On the flipside Zach Galifianakis, one of Hollywood’s funniest men voices The Joker a role it almost seems like he was born to play. “The Joker himself is a great villain because he is unpredictable and wild and somewhat clever and witty but sometimes he’s not. So he’s a great, great villain and the Jack Nicholson version of that was very inspiring obviously.”

Galifianakis says one of the best things about working on The Lego Batman Movie was the fact that he was working with a team and getting to do more voice acting. “I think on the first day there was Chris and then a bunch of people in the recording session and it was very free-form and I have to say that I went home and I told my wife ‘these guys are good to work with, there is no ego – they are nice.’ So even though I had just met them it was as if friends had got together and we were coming up with this character because they were very gracious and let me do my thing. With the voice stuff you have to exaggerate it enough so it is not a real voice, it’s not how people really talk because it is cartoon or animation it is a little bit more heightened I think. I get to over act even more.”

He says that also helped him get into character with The Joker straight away. “We jumped straight into it. I mean these characters already have history so you have that, these come with a history already so you don’t need too much, but the dynamic Will and I kind of did improv with that on the day – the jealousy stuff, the inter-personal relationship between the two of them that was really born on that day while we were just playing with each other.”
Like Michael Cera Galifianakis says he enjoys working with Arnett. “It was either at the first or seconding recording when Will and I got together and I found that really helpful. I mean I’ve known Will for a long time – strangely our relationship is actually a lot like Batman and Joker when I think about it – but it’s helpful when you can have that back and forth and it is also helpful that I have known Will for many years so we have that built-in repour. “

The Lego Batman Movie is in cinemas now and is reviewed at www.heavymag.com.au

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

AS PARADISE FALLS

Just when they should have been celebrating the imminent completion of their debut album, Brisbane’s As Paradise Falls were left devastated by the untimely passing of guitarist Glenn Barrie.

This tight knit band were left reeling by the sudden departure of their band mate and friend and the future – if there even was one – looked suddenly bleak.

Taking time off to reflect and grieve, the band also parted ways with their vocalist and only recently revealed Shaun Coar (Vessel Born, Bound for Ruin) as the new focal point, with Jimmy Upson filling the coveted guitarist position.

After taking more than twelve months to rediscover their passion for the band and music in general, As Paradise Falls recently released their first single and video with Coar, ‘Star Blind’, a scathing critique on the modern day celebrity which also, as does the upcoming album, retains the guitar work laid down by Barrie at Karma Sound Studios in Thailand before his passing.

“He did all his tracks before he passed away,” explained Coar, “so they were actually in the mixing stages when it happened. That’s a big thing and it’s important to get it out and show what kind of guitarist Glenn was. He did some great work on the album and he was involved in putting the pieces together as far as writing so it was important to us to keep it the way it was.”

Although not being with the band at the time of Barrie’s passing, Coar says he still feels great empathy towards the situation, and says the remaining members of the band have each had to deal with the tragedy in their own way and time.

“It isn’t easy,” he agreed. “I wasn’t there when it happened but I’ve always been friends with the guys but I think they are gradually moving on past what happened. Getting the album out and getting it finished was a big part of the closure of everything and when it comes out I think they’ll feel a whole lot better about things. It was a big part of me joining up because I felt as though – because Glenn put all his guitar tracks on the album – and I feel as a last piece people needed to hear it and see what a great guitarist he was and I wanted to make the best possible album I could and honour that. The guys too wanted to put out the best album possible to pay tribute to Glenn and what a great guy he was. They’re getting there slowly. I don’t think it will ever be the same but it goes a bit step forward.”

The first step towards that recovery came recently with the release of ‘Star Blind’, a song which was not only therapeutic for the band themselves, but also the legions of fans who had been patiently waiting for new material. It marked a new direction vocally for the band, a move that while necessary, was also unchartered territory.

“It’s been great, a lot of positive feedback,” Coar gushed. “It was a bit of a risk getting it out there because the previous sound of the band before I came along there was a lot… there was no clean vocals, it was all straight heavy so we’ve changed things up a little bit and the positive reaction has been pretty much the majority. A couple of people here and there wanna hear some heavier songs which they’ll get on the album.”

The single itself is an indictment on the modern celebrity culture and is a worthy introduction to As Paradise Falls with their new line up.

“It’s more about celebrity culture and the culture of fame in this day and age with the internet,” Coar disclosed. “People think the best thing in life is to be famous and what people do to get famous these days is completely different to what it was twenty years ago. It used to be something where you would contribute a lot more in the way of science and literacy and that sort of thing but these days you can stumble on it and not contribute anything to society and it’s more of an observation on that than anything else. I really don’t have a problem with people being celebrities; it’s just that aspect of it.”

The album, Digital Ritual, will be released in mid June, with Coar noting that the title pretty much gives away the lyrical direction.

“The album is about how people centralize their lives around digital media,” he affirmed. “When you wake up your phone is the first thing that you look at and its often the last thing you look at before you go to bed and we kind of build our lives around that and these days more than anything people are looking at their phones and not up and around them and having real life experiences. Its more observations of every aspect of that: how that has changed things… Obviously there are a lot of great positives for it. Everything is more convenient but there’s negative aspects as well and I’m just covering those things.”

“There’s some heavier tracks on the album,” he continued, “and there’s some melodic ones as well. I think ‘Star Blind’ has the most traditional song structure but there’s other songs on there a bit different. It’s definitely varied but ‘Star Blind’ is a pretty good representation but there’s a bit of light and shade in everything to give it a whole body of work.”

Considering the bulk of Digital Ritual was finalized before Coar and Upson came on board it is feasible to assume that the pair would be keen to stamp their ascendency on future material, with Coan admitting that the sound could deviate a little from its current format.

“I think we struck a note in certain parts of the album that we’d really like to explore,” he confessed. “So there will be a big chunk of that album as far as feel and mood that will be taken on but of course there will be some new stuff on the next album that I think will be interesting to pursue. That’s what I was going for. I think we’ve just scratched the surface of it musically and I would like to explore that further. As we’ve been getting through all this we’ve also been building up material for the next one and I’m really liking where we’re going with it. It’s got a nice dark mood to it that hopefully people enjoy.”

This sort of swing from totally heavy vocals to a blending of clean throughout isn’t a decision any band takes lightly but it is something that Coar says is a conscious decision and has been spoken about as a band.

“That’s just the type of vocalist I am,” he shrugged. “They knew what they were gonna be getting when they asked me to write for them and there’s definitely some clean vocals on the album already so I probably wouldn’t wanna go all out on the other end of the spectrum but I will definitely be exploring cleaner vocals. There won’t be anything too happy though (laughs). I think we’ll still be a dark band and that’s the way I wanna keep it. It’s about finding that line where everything just works well. I know sometimes when you listen to bands and you get cleans it’s too much of a juxposition from where you are full out screaming to this happier part. It’s what throws people off so if I can get that mix right I’ll be really happy.”

Written by Kris Peters

 

AS PARADISE FALLS, MIRRORS, TROJANS
THE ‘STATE OF MIND’ TOUR

Friday, March 24th – Melbourne 18+
Last Chance Rock N Roll Bar

Saturday, March 25th – Melbourne AA
Wrangler Studios

Friday, March 31st – Newcastle 18+
Hamilton Station Hotel

Saturday, April 1st – Sydney 18+
Bald Faced Stag

Sunday, April 2nd – Wollongong AA
Mix N Mosh II – Towradgi Surf Life Saving Club

Friday, April 7th – Brisbane 18+
Crowbar

INTERVIEW WITH TOM HIDDLESTON

When you mention movie monsters to a cinephile, then chances are their thoughts will either go to Godzilla or to the greatest movie monster of all time – the legendary King Kong. As a character, the menacing great-ape with a knack for smashing up aircraft has appeared on television and movies 69 times. The most notable appearances of course have been in Cooper and Schoedsack’s 1933 classic King Kong and of course Peter Jackson’s epic retelling from 2005.

Now Kong returns to the big screen in Jordan Vogt-Roberts’ Kong: Skull Island a film that consists of an amazing cast including Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, John C. Reilly and the man that all Marvel fans know as Loki – Tom Hiddleston.

For Hiddleston this is a chance to turn around the way that cinema lovers view him. Here he is no longer the gangly, awkward, evil… adopted bad guy and instead he is the hero that is trying to do good in this world.

When asked to describe his character Hiddleston says, “Conrad is a British SAS tracker. He is someone who is trained in military reconnaissance and recovery. He is a kind of lone warrior… a survivor and his special skill is rescuing lost soldiers. Because of his affinity with the natural world, he knows how to read the terrain and understand the jungle. He is a professional tracker, and he means… no man left behind.”
As mentioned earlier Kong has become one of cinema’s most recognisable characters, so much so that it almost now a privilege for an actor to be asked to star in a King Kong movie and that is a fact that hasn’t been lost on Hiddleston. “Kong is an icon of motion pictures,” says Hiddleston with a sense of pride in his voice. “He’s an icon of the cinema. He’s been present in people’s imaginations since 1933…. and he’s certainly been in the minds of audiences and people that love movies. I think Kong represents so many things. He is the mystery of the unknown and he’s a terrifying force of nature. He was also a sentient being with an intelligence that we don’t understand and I think that we are captivated by that. We are captivated by Kong’s power and majesty.”

Of course one of the criticism of Kong movies of the years has been that most filmmakers that tackle bringing him back to the big screen just don’t seem to know how to be creative enough with a new story. That certainly isn’t the case with Kong: Skull Island though and from the posters currently hanging in cinemas it is not hard to see that Jordan Vogt-Roberts has really used the visual aspects of past war greats such as Apocalypse Now to bring a new feeling to the Kong movie.

“Kong is being re-conceived as a myth come to life, an idea in the mind of man,” says Hiddleston as he reflects on the story at hand with Kong: Skull Island. “It’s something that really couldn’t exist, it’s an answer to a theoretical equation and he is truly monstrous in size and scale and scope. He is ninety feet tall so therefore taller than people have been used to and his power is unknown. I think the journey of Kong in Skull Island is that he goes from being a figure of terror – an Alpha predator who seems to be a destructive threat but he becomes an emblem of the natural order.”

So visually spectacular is Kong: Skull Island that it didn’t take very long for the studio behind it to decide that it should get an IMAX release. Hiddleston is quick to agree that the visuals for Kong: Skull Island are amazing. “This film will be an immersive spectacle,” says Hiddleston proudly. “I think that it will breathtakingly beautiful. There will be the most thrilling action. It will feel really rugged and raw and exciting.”
Hiddleston has every reason to be proud of Kong: Skull Island as it is the kind of film that works on all levels. There is amazing action, an original story and it looks brilliant.

Kong: Skull Island is in cinemas now

 

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

Dead Letter Circus

Ten years ago, a little known band from Brisbane released a debut EP in to the Australian mainstream with no concept of just how far time and touring would take them. Their creative style was spontaneous, improvised, with guitar textures that interlaced with subtle synth undertones – and it was a smash. Dead Letter Circus were the new face of prog-rock.

Fast forward to the now and Dead Letter Circus are fresh off their anniversary tour, having taken to stages around the country with a reimagining of the first EP. ‘The Endless Mile Tour’ was a celebration of not only Dead Letter Circus’ achievements, but the music and the fans that have been with them. Frontman Kim Benzie speaks of the experience with a profound sense of satisfaction and joy. “It was a really interesting experiment for us because we did the tour without the CD coming out – we kind of did it for our own entertainment, really.”

“Normally at every Dead Letter show we’ll have everybody singing along to every song but on this tour, we didn’t have the flashing lights, we could see the crowd, they could see us and no one knew any of the songs bar a couple we had previously released. It was really awesome, it was unlike any other tour we’ve done before.”

Dead Letter Circus embarked on The Endless Mile Tour without the support of a new album release. The reimagined album at the time, was yet to drop, but the reception Benzie says they received for what they had done with fan favourites was phenomenal. “It was interesting to see people take it in and the songs have just taken on a life of their own – they as much belong to the guy listening as they do to us so just to see them go through the motions of ‘Oh wow, it’s that song!’” When you put the band’s eponymous album on a more sombre pedestal, it’s still as good as it ever was. “It was a pretty much a one-off” says Benzie, “We’re not sure if we’ll ever do this tour again so it was an interesting to perform songs for the first and only time.”
Not only was the calibre of the performance different as well as the vibe of the crowd, but Benzie experienced live performance in a whole new way too – though not one he had purposely intended. “[I had a] really interesting experience where I had to have a root canal on the day of the first show,” begins Benzie’s gnarly story. “I could barely open my mouth, [it was] the most pain I’ve been in in my life and I said ‘I have to go to the dentist or I’m not going to be able to do the show.’ They squeezed me in for an emergency root canal and the aftermath of that is pretty severe.

“I had to spend the first week in this crazy Nurofen/Codeine haze. Like, I don’t really remember the first couple of shows, I was in this really weird state. But for me, it added to the mood of what was going on because it was such a different vibe at the show as well – my personal state was quite altered. Thank God it wasn’t a heavy tour!”

“It came to a really beautiful end when we came to Melbourne the next week,” Benzie continues. “Through the week I kept thinking ‘I can’t believe this is happening to me’ and when we rolled in to Melbourne it was the first day I felt better and decided not to have any painkillers. Ian Kenny, my mate from Birds Of Tokyo and Karnivool, was coming to the show and we’d been playing John Farnham’s ‘You’re The Voice’ on the tour – we tried it out in Newcastle on the third date and it tore the roof off! Ian was coming on and we were like, “Hey mate, you wanna jump and do this track with us?” It was impromptu and we swapped lines, doing opposite voices and it was one of the most epic experiences I’ve had on stage.

“We have a lot of singalongs – one of the most awesome parts of being in this band is when you hold the mic out and people scream the words back… But there was something about this song with Ian. It may have been the loudest singalong I’ve ever heard.”

Medicinal drugs (though acquiring them can be nasty) can sometimes result in euphoric experiences. Dead Letter Circus it seems had the time of their lives on this particular tour and it’s sweet to hear they feel they got everything they hoped they would – and then some. “It was kind of like watching the movie ‘The Hangover’,” Benzie laughs. “I feel like there were definitely points of that week where I’d been looking forward to it so much I couldn’t believe it was accompanied by this intense bad feeling and then it just peaked at a point where I was like, far out, life really is about that pendulum swing and I really got to experience that week.”

With such a positive reception for the stripped back tour it’s surprising to hear that the band have no intention of doing something quite like this again. “Definitely not. I feel like we need to flex our muscle now. That was a really beautiful, unique experience for us but I’m just really excited to going back to thumping DLC.”

“I’d say for now I’m satisfied with the ambient side of DLC – it was always supposed to be a one-off. The Endless Mile for me is a gift to the people who have had this music in their years, the ten years they’ve been with us and come to all the shows, these songs have been a part of the soundtrack to their life. It’s almost like a time capsule in a way – ten years for anyone, you grow a lot and you change a lot in that time and how we approached the songs. Every song for us is our attempt to answer a question.”

And the questions keep rolling – with an as yet to be named album currently in the works, Dead Letter Circus keep on writing and will keep on being heavy. “I think if anything, we’re gonna be pushed in a direction to be more heavy and upbeat in this new album,” says Benzie. “The goal is to have two albums out this year and so far everything is going well for that – we’ve cancelled all social life for the next few months to make it happen. We are full on in to the next process now while The Endless Mile goes off to packaging.” And with that, Dead Letter Circus will wrap up a remarkable celebration of ten years on the scene – here’s to the next ten years, boys.

 

Written by Anna Rose

DEADLIGHTS

Tynan Reibelt has a sensational voice. The enigmatic frontman for metal heads Deadlights has a syrup-rich voice that’s slides across a wide range, impressive to hear and perfectly complimenting the angry vocals provided by bandmate Dylan Davidson. It’s songs like ‘Order Without Order’ that are evident of the band’s potential as a whole, with Reibelt manipulating melodic changes through pensive verses with ease. That pensiveness in the song is entirely intentional. “I guess it’s just about the state of the world,” says Reibelt, “It’s my escape and my solitude.”

“I’m a bit disenchanted, I guess. We’re such a reckless society, we’re so angry, so demanding, we lost patience a long time ago and I lost my patience with people too. This song in particular resonates with me because I’m looking for answers in all the chaos, just like everyone else.”

All Deadlights’ songs have incredibly catchy hooks – their debut album Mesma is full of post-hardcore tracks with an anathematic edge, difficult not to become ingrained in your psyche before the song is even over, and for all that it seems intentionally simply crafted for the purpose of being memorable, the Brisbane four piece have been hard at work to prove they aren’t just another post-hardcore Aussie group. Reibelt is of the opinion that the music was made to be enjoyed first and foremost. “I guess we don’t have any misconceptions about being the greatest band ever but we definitely want to be remembered,” he says.

“It’s a plus for me if someone can come up to me and say they love a particular song or it resonates with them in a certain way – but really, we just do what we love because we love doing it.”

For all that Mesma is heavy, full of angsty lyrics and captivating riffs, Deadlights as a whole are drawing from a rather eclectic source of influences. Citing the likes of Bob Dylan, Rage Against The Machine and Tool as their inspiration, it’s incredibly intriguing to try and pick apart the new album for hints of those music legends. “I guess it’s more what each member of the band is listening to, who likes what and what influences they can bring to the table,” Reibelt explains. “It’s not like we’re setting out to sound like any of those bands, we just love that we can be so diverse.

“It’s not so much a collective influence as, this is a group of people who have come together, loving different kinds of music and found a way to put it together to create something fresh.”

And fresh indeed is Deadlights’ sound – the aforementioned melodic runs in the opener of Mesma sees Reibelt surreptitiously merge from the major to minor keys with a certain captivating slyness. But when he’s writing his vocal melodies, he’s not actively thinking of what he’s doing – or so he says. “I guess I’m really going with what feels right,” says Reibelt. “It’s about what the guitars are doing, sure, but it’s also the lyrics – it’s what I’m feeling that needs to be projected and understood with what I’m singing and saying.”

Indeed, the new album required a producer who would understand the empathetic and personal nature of Deadlights’ music. Bringing on board legendary producer Andy Marsh to finely tune Deadlights’ vision was, in Reibelt’s words, both an education and – though not necessarily one they’ll consider repeating in future. “Andy is great at what he does and never did he say to us, ‘this isn’t good’ – he brought things to the project that meant we could create the best version of what we had envisioned.

“I mean, he certainly knows his stuff but we needed someone who was invested in the project and not looking at it as a money maker, someone who believed in the sound. Andy didn’t always push for the goal so we had to guide him to our way of thinking – but all in all, we’re really happy with the result and experience we have in working with Andy!”

It was a fruitful collaboration in the end – the reception to Mesma has completely blown up, launching Deadlights in to a spotlight they hadn’t conceived of, with several reactions on an impossibly personal level from fans to track ‘Misconceptions’ in particular. “It’s just blown up over night!” Reibelt gushes. “Anyone who has heard the album has had nothing but good things to say about it all and it’s been pretty surreal, mind-blowing I guess.

“But look, we’re just a bunch of guys who are out to do what we love best. We may have a growing following, be playing all these shows but all we want is to love what we create and if people like it with us, then that’s awesome.”

 

Written by Anna Rose

 

INTERVIEW WITH Director Eric England

Director Eric England is not somebody that needs an introduction to most Australian cinema fans. His horror flick Madison County became a favourite for many horror film fans while his last film Contracted did amazingly well on the film festival circuit here Down Under as well.

Now England returns with his brand new film – Get The Girl – a film that isn’t the typical style of horror that we have come to know and expect from England. Instead this is a film that mashes genres together in such a way that while it borders on horror it also has a strong crime feel to the film with a little bit of comedy thrown is as well. With the film about to be released on DVD and VOD here in Australia Heavy caught up with England to talk about his experiences on the film.

England says the film arrived on his lap through the screenwriter Graham Denham. “He had this brilliant idea for a movie,” says England with the excitement showing in his voice. “It was about this guy who stages a fake kidnapping in a bid to win the affection of this girl who has his interest. To me it was kind of originally conceived as a straight-forward horror movie and everytime Graham and I would sit down to talk about it I would say ‘to me this seems like a really absurd comedy’ and I felt that I wanted to see a movie about the kind of people that buy into this and the person that sets this up and it kind of just spawned from that. And I’ve always been a massive fan of films like Fargo and Very Bad Things – movies that take almost slap-stick comedy crimes and watch them go horribly, horribly wrong so I thought this would be a great opportunity to not only dip my toes into that kind of genre but to do the same with a few other genres as well.”

One of the surprising things England found while putting together the movie was that it wasn’t hard to stray from his normal type of horror and put comedy into the mix as well. “I tend to be a bit of all over the place kind of person with my interests,” he says. “So I can switch back and forth from different genres of music, or I can start my day with a horror movie and then end it with a romantic comedy, so my interests are all over the spectrum so as far as my storytelling it felt really natural. Horror and comedy are actually pretty similar because they both rely on timing. If you can set up a scare and a pay off then you can do pretty much the same thing with a joke. It was fun allowing the actors to bring their own kind of comedy to the role.”

Unlike when Australian filmmakers decide to mix genres together England said investors behind the film were not scared off at all. “We were very lucky that because we coming off Contracted the producers really trusted me to be able to do something different. They were actually excited to work with me and while some people were a little sad that I wasn’t doing a straight-forward horror they weren’t. Coming off Contracted I was determined to take the opportunity to do something different and spreading my wings a little bit. I think anyone who has taken any notice of my career were like ‘what??? What is this?’ I think the fact that Get The Girl was coming from the guy that made Contracted made it even weirder for them. So for some people they had their heads tilted with confusion but once people saw the movie they could see that it didn’t completely abandon the genre root, there is obviously a fair bit of genre in there, but there is a lot of comedy in there as well. So there was so excitement but also apprehension.”

England admits one of the most important things that needed to be done in order for Get The Girl to work was to make sure that the character of main character of Clarence worked. “It was really hard to balance sympathy and drive for Clarence,” he says. “I wanted to inject some of my own passion into him and I tend to be a very OCD kind of personality so I really wanted to invest into the idea of somebody that is a romantic – a true romantic – and they believe in love at first site, which in this day and age is also kind of creepy and weird to some people, especially when you consider the new generation seem very adverse to commitment and while some of it was very romantic so of it was also very creepy and so I wanted to ride that line.

Rather than use that to make a statement or to have a commentary in there I wanted to really just have the events play out very true to the character and what those scenarios would lead to and then let the events play out based on what these characters would actually do and just see where that would lead me. So it was kind of a fun and therapeutic exercise in finding out what people’s motivations are and what really leads to some of these more bizarre news stories that you hear about in real life – I just wanted to trace that back in movie form.”

When asked about whether or not Clarence’s really personal opening monologue has a little bit of himself in it England says it does. “I think it does,” he says. “Just to the degree that in the first draft of the screenplay he was a bit of a hero and I really wanted him to be more of a under-dog. That was again interesting because in today’s social climate… especially here in America… it would work better from someone being an under-dog and kind of rising to the top and being a saviour of sorts. But again I viewed it through the eyes of romance and love and I was watching things like The Great Gatsby and these things that are love stories that are based on a lie. I thought that added a lot more conflict but then when you start adding social commentary it starts to skew it a bit. So that certainly came through in the first draft and was part of the attraction to the story for me but as it evolved it became more and more about Clarence the person so I started to use my imagination and let it run wild.”

With so much of the film hinging on Clarence England admits that it was a really tough role to cast as well. “It was really tough,” he says. “There were a few other actors that we were interested in that just didn’t work out and Justin Dobies that ended up playing the role was kind of a breath of fresh air because he embodied this charismatic and handsome young man but also had this vulnerability to him and had this quirky sensibility and natural humour, so it was a very unique mixture and I think Justin does a great job blending those together to become a mix of Ryan Reynolds and John Krasinski almost. I think that introduced a very likable charm to both him and the role. It was tough at first but once we found him it was a real godsend.”

He also admits that the chemistry between his romantic leads – Justin Dobies and Elizabeth Whitson didn’t come naturally. “It had to force it,” he says laughing. “Elizabeth was coming off this really bad break-up and she was totally against romance. I wanted to put them in as many scenarios as I could that would allow them to bond so we went out as a cast and we hung out and we did table reads and rehearsals, so we did everything we could to try and make this film feel like a personal experience. We ended up feeling like a family while we were making it so that was really nice and that translated to screen really well. It was interesting because while I wish we could have done more with it I think the kind of thrown-into-the-pool-at-the-deep-end scenario that the film is really lends itself to that kind of environment and while Justin and Elizabeth didn’t have a lot of time to get to know each other that kind of worked for the movie as well – she didn’t know him and she had to learn to trust him over the course of the events so art really mirrored real life.”

Get The Girl is out now on DVD and VOD through Bounty Films.

Written by David Griffiths

“[I’m] just hanging out waiting for my new record to come out.” Mastodon drummer and vocalist Brann Dailor has had some time on his hands lately. In the three years since the release of their album Once More ‘Round The Sun, Mastodon have not exactly been idle – Dailor for instance, has food on the brain. “I’m smoking a chicken right now – a five hour ordeal, I’ve got to check on it.”

Still waiting for their eighth studio album Emperor Of Sand to drop, Dailor has a little time to kick back and reflect with HEAVY. “It’s always a fun time,” he says, “It’s always really exciting, we’ve been so close to it for the past year and gone through all the stages of writing and recording it, worked really hard on it, you know? Hopefully someone actually likes it – we like it!”

Indeed, it is important to like your own work, because otherwise, what wold be the point? Dailor’s answer to the stating of the obvious is perhaps the best response ever “I would have to quit.” 


Ye Gods, can you imagine such a thing?! What on earth wold the drummer for one of the greatest bands to ever emerge in hard rock do with his newfound time? “You know when you stay in a fairly decent hotel and you go down for breakfast, you know, and you’re like ‘Oh I’ll see what’s happening down there’, maybe some scrambled eggs, you know, whatever they’ve got kicking around in those silver bins, all those breakfast foods.

“And then in some places you see a guy in a chef’s hat and he’s got a couple of little pans there and you’re like oh… My God. Omelette station, let’s DO this!’ I would like to be the omelette guy. Everyone loves the omelette guy, I think that would be a cool job. I make omelettes at home all the time, I have a proper omelette pan and I’ve been practicing making omelettes – I’m telling you, I’d be good at it!

Fans will be relieved to hear that for the time being, Mastodon are still happy to be on the customer side of the breakfast buffet, still creating new music, and with Emperor Of Sand, awesomeness has returned. The conceptual storyline is intricate, involved and such a well thought out plot that the simple process Dailor describes toward its compilation is surprising and of course, witty.

“You know it’s like 7th grade creative writing class stuff – when it comes down to it, it’s a very simple outline and I try to fill in the blanks and try to make that work in the context of the album, make that all work with what everybody else wants to do as well, then have it work in tandem with the people who have been diagnosed with a terminal illness and what that feels like.”

Writing new material is no different from the creative process of any other band – but for Mastodon, the new album carries more deep and serious meaning, ones that resonates closely with many members of the group. Quickly, the excitable go-lucky musician from the start of the conversation has turned in to a more serious and contemplative person. Evidently the darker side to the new material is difficult for Dailor to discuss.

“[The album is] a whole other form of art, another cool link that I think our fans will appreciate – we’ve taken the time to create something a little more immersive, that they can really sink their teeth in to and get the whole cinematic vibe from. The first song we put together was ‘Sultan’s Curse’ and it really triggered in my mind of vast desert wasteland and that was the springboard for the whole thing…

“That was in the very beginning stages of the record and you know, my mom had been very sick for a very long time and Troy’s wife had just been diagnosed. Bill’s mom hadn’t even been diagnosed yet, that happened a couple of weeks later. This all developed and really didn’t come in to focus until we went in to record – it’s really all kind of travelling along at the same time, it’s a miracle it lines up and we’re actually able to get everyone in to the studio to record because everyone’s so busy, you’ve got people that are really sick, people in your family – you’re trying to take care of them but at the same time you wanna make music because, you know…” Dailor pauses for a moment.

“We’re four healthy people at the moment, thank the universe… So yeah… Yeah. I just clue off of imagery, I write it down and get it all organised as I possibly can and submit it to the guys. I’m like ‘hey man, I don’t know how personal you want to get – I mean, I know what Troy’s gonna wanna write about, it would be impossible for him not to want to write about his… I couldn’t imagine sitting here knowing my wife had cancer, it would torment my mind. I knew that everything that came out of his pen was going to be about that situation. You know it’s all sorts of inspiration that people pull out of everyday life for songwriting but we didn’t need to go further than what was staring us in the face.

Indeed, as far as looking for influences to write new material, nothing comes close to being as a heavy a topic as that of cancer. It’s a heavy subject and it’s commendable that Mastodon were able to find an escae in the additional imagery to the music.

“I think when we’re writing it, it is somewhat of an escape and… First of all, it’s our job and it’s awesome, it’s wonderful to have this place to put stuff like that because everyone goes through cancer – and it’s frustrating to watch someone to go through that. Any artist is going to submerge themselves in their art and all that stuff will find its way there.

“It helps on the surface, it helps down below too, but it doesn’t really make it any easier. Bill’s mom passed away probably midway through the writing the album from brain cancer and so… But the day his mom died, we went to his house, went in to his basement and wrote the back half of ‘Roots Remain’.

“It’s in there, it’s wide open and totally bare naked – it’s probably the most vulnerable our band has ever been. I think we’ll get an emotional payback with a connection with the people, and that’s all you can really hope for with your art, is that it makes a connection with someone else, that it’s evocative in some way, that it’s helpful in some way for someone else.”

“I guess I just feel like I want to help anybody if I’m on the planet, and I don’t really have many tools to do that – one of the only tools I have is playing music. I know that muss has helped me through just about every single tough situation. It’s our contribution to the humans.”

As the new album so cleverly ties in with Mastodon’s 17 year discography, forming one epic saga, in many ways their music forms a documentation of life’s journeys. “For me, it’s almost my story of adolescence in to adulthood and I think the guys would agree to that – follow suit.

“We’ve written a lot of music, over 90 songs and we’ve tried to change it up with everything we’ve put out there and I’m proud of it all – we’ve made good use of that 17 years.”

Still writing, still surprising at every turn, Mastodon, though they may not know how they create such magic, won’t be running dry of ideas any time soon. “I just know that we do try to look for new versions of ourselves in everything and try on different hats. We look in the mirror quite often to see if we’re being real, and if the hairs stand up on the back of our neck – we know that if it happens one time, it’s worth pursuing.”

“We’re just gonna follow wherever it takes us, we have that desire to want to do something different – couple more albums then maybe that’s when I retire. I don’t know when we’re supposed to bow out, but when that happens, maybe that’s when I’ll be making omelettes in hotels.”

Written by Anna Rose

Interview with Dane DeHaan

Young an upcoming actor Dane DeHaan has shown throughout his career that he is always up for a challenge. He’s taken on tough, demanding and often dark roles in films such as Lawless, Kill Your Darlings and Devil’s Knot. He played Spider-Man’s nemesis The Green Goblin in The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and even took on a pretty much experimental role in Metallica Through The Never.
That vast acting array was the perfect background for DeHaan as he approached yet another challenging role – the role of a young executive named Lockhart investigating the hidden agenda behind a strange ‘wellness’ retreat in the new thriller A Cure For Wellness.
“A Cure For Wellness is about this guy named Lockhart. He’s an up-and-comer on Wall Street who gets sent to this health spa to look for his CEO who hasn’t come back. It’s a simple task go and get the guy and bring him back before the company goes under, but he gets stuck there like everybody else. At this spa nobody seems to ever leave and a lot of crazy stuff seems to happen. As an audience you pretty much follow my character on a journey as he tries to put together the pieces of this puzzle. He’s got to get this guy back to his office but it’s really this old, ancient problem that becomes pretty horrifying. I think it is the opportunity to watch a movie that is compelling but also terrifying. It’ll be fun to watch but it will also leave an impression on you… there are just certain scenes that will really shock you. It’s almost a dare… I dare you to watch it.”

One of key stories in A Cure For Wellness is Lockhart meeting the mysterious Hannah played by Mia Goth. “Lockhart first meets Hannah at the castle… the spa,” explains DeHaan. “At first he doesn’t understand what he is seeing… it is almost like a vision. And she is playing this song that seems really familiar to Lockhart and then he finally finds her and she is feeding ham sandwiches to something in the water and I think he is not only bewildered by her but mystified by her because she is this strange creature. She’s also a lot younger than everybody else at the spa which really confuses him because she just didn’t seem to fit into the puzzle at all.”

For many film buffs A Cure For Wellness is the first time they will have had a chance to see the acting work of young actress Mia Goth and DeHaan says that she is perfectly cast to play Hannah. “In a lot of ways Mia is not unlike Hannah,” he says. “Mia has a lot of intrigue but also a sense of innocence around her as well. Mia is also this really committed actor and while it isn’t her first movie it is very early on in her career so she is really hungry and really committed and is all about things being as real as possible and her intentions are all in the right place… she’s really pure. Yeah it has been really fun getting the chance to work with her. Then there’s Jason (Isaacs) who is the opposite of Mia. He’s the old pro. He’s all about things being as real as possible and exploring moments. Jason is all about hitting his mark and saying his line – he has his thing and he is amazing at that thing. He has this theory where he doesn’t like memorising in lines before he gets to set he likes to memorise them when he gets there and he feels like that gives him a more organic experience. He’s a lot different to Mia and that is one of the things that I did in the movie I got to work with a lot of different kinds of actors every day.”

The film also gave DeHaan the opportunity to work with one of Hollywood’s most interesting and diverse directors, Gore Verbinski, and DeHaan says it was something that he relished. “I really liked working with Gore,” DeHaan says. “I think that somebody have a photographic memory but I believe that Gore has a cinematic memory. He shows up and he knows exactly what he is doing, he knows what shots he is doing and where he is going to use those shots in the movie. He also has this amazing way that really feeds your performance and it gives you a sense of the genre and just the energy with which it is going to be shown and also portrayed to the audience. And he is so on top of every aspect of the film – the props, the acting – it’s like he has the entire movie in his mind and he knows exactly what he wants and then it becomes my job to bring what he wants to life.”

DeHaan says one of the most challenging part of the film was when he had to film the tough scenes with Lockhart in the isolation tank. “They were really intense scenes,” he says. “It was also an intense experience because there were some takes where we would just do a series of it and I would just be under water for like 25-30 minutes. It wouldn’t have been that bad if I could have had goggles on so I could see but I couldn’t see anything. The lighting is pretty dark and moody and there is a camera coming at my face which really was just like this dark, blurry thing coming at my face and then I’m in a leg cast and have wires that are literally holding me in the tank horizontally. So even to get out, if it were possible, would be pretty much impossible so throughout that whole process I just had to keep playing mind games with myself.”

A Cure For Wellness can be pre-ordered on DVD and Blu-Ray right now.

 

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

DOCtor LIVINGSTONE

When a band describes their sound as a ‘twisted brothel’ you just know that they are going to have a lot of people curious about the sound that they conjure up. The thing is it is probably a pretty accurate description of the sound that French black metal outfit Doctor Livingstone have managed to create on their brand new album – Triumphus Haeretici.

Anything hard – hardcore, black metal and death metal and Doctor Livingstone have melded into their latest album to deliver an album that critics are labelling one of the greatest ‘black metal album of 2017’ something that a quick discussion with two of the bands members Rel and Reverend Prick reveals is a bit of a surprise for the band themselves.

The band are really pioneers of the French black metal scene and Rel explains there has been a couple of decades of hard work for these guys and it is finally paying off. “Doctor Livingstone started in 1996 or 1997,” he recalls. “In the beginning we were more punk rock or hardcore music but things got darker and in 2014 when Six and Reverend Prick joined the band, they were from the black metal scene, and then things got mixed up automatically and that is why our music sounds the way it does today. We didn’t do it intentionally, it just happened… accidentally really. Because of the influences of Reverend Prick and Six, there was never a moment where we said to ourselves ‘hey let’s do this style of music. It just happened like that – I had the hardcore background and they had their background and that is why it sounds like this today. When I was younger I listened to everything – hardcore, punk, thrash metal, black metal, electronic music and even pop music. I started playing music when I was 11 and I fell in love with Guns ‘N’ Roses.

When I ask about the French metal and hardcore scene and briefly mention German and Scandinavia Rel laughs, “You listen to German and Scandinavian music? I pity you… nah I’m just kidding.”

Reverend Prick intercedes with, “French black metal is the best black metal in the world!” before Rel goes on to explain that he doesn’t actually listen to a lot of French black metal. “I did ten years ago but today I don’t so I can’t tell you a lot of what is going on aside from the fact that there is a lot mixing going on, there a lot more bands that now mix-up hardcore and black metal, but not in the same way that we do. That doesn’t mean we are better or anything or even the original but yeah there is a lot of mixing-up going on.”

Reverend Prick again interrupts with, “France has the best black metal scene in the world because Doctor Livingstone is part of it!!!”

Rel says despite what the critics are saying they really didn’t do anything different when they were putting this album together. “We did what we always do,” he says. “I wrote the songs before we went into the studio and then I showed them to my bandmates. Then we start working on things, transforming things by changing the pace or tempos or rhythms. Then there a lot of things we do in the studio, in the moment, like adding the percussions and adding the atmosphere. Then with the lyrics we just add the vocal lines as we are recording – nothing is done beforehand. I write everything but then the other guys are like – let’s change this or change that and it’s when we all start working together that things start getting interesting. That is probably the one thing we did do differently this time because with all the previous albums I just did everything myself and that wasn’t really interesting but this time but this time there was teamwork and that is why I think the album sounds the way it does today.”
He goes onto say that the album was very much inspired by some very modern topics. “We take a look at human condition, we like to talk about ourselves but not in an egocentric way, but we like to talk about the theatre of life and the comedy without giving out any lessons. We just like to talk about how we see things and we like to do it with irony.”

As we start talking about the band touring in Europe during November Reverend Prick again chimes in saying. “We want to come to Australia please tell us if there is a tour manager that would like us… if you are a tour manager and you are reading this please contact us.”

“For now we have a few shows in France coming up,” says Rel getting things back on track but laughing at the same time. “Next year we are aiming to do a European tour… we’re not too sure yet. One of things we love about touring is partying, forget about playing on tour we prefer all the things outside of that – the sleeping, the eating, the partying, the drugs.”

“AUDIENCES SHOULD BE SCARED BECAUSE WE SPREAD THE WORD OF THE LORD OF THE UNDERGROUND,” bellows Reverend Prick.

“No… no, that is just a bad joke,” laughs Rel. “I hope…anyway.”

So if you are a tour manager willing to take on Doctor Livingstone don’t forget to contact the band but for their fans in Australia right now they will just have to sit back and enjoy Triumphus Haeretici which is out now.

 

Written by Dave Griffiths

COUGH

These days six years seems like an eternity between albums, but as Parker Chandler, vocalist and bass player for Richmond, Virginia’s doom metal merchants Cough explains, when you are inside that bubble and staying active it’s not just time away on hiatus like the rest of the world sometimes sees it.

“I started playing in Windhand as well during that time,” he said of the break between Ritual Abuse in 2010 and Still They Pray last year. “Our guitar player had a kid too so there was different life events that came between but we still practiced pretty consistently. We did two years of touring pretty solidly for Ritual Abuse, then we did the split album with Windhand. In the time between Ritual Abuse and Still They Pray we also did two tours of Europe and also fit Australia in there so we stayed pretty busy during that time. We didn’t exactly do nothing (laughs).”

Since breaking into the scene with their debut E.P The Kingdom in 2006, Cough have painstakingly built their reputation amongst the elite of the doom genre, with Electric Wizard, Candlemass and Cathedral all playing large parts in the evolution of Cough’s music.
Mixing a blend of hefty doom and bloody rock, Cough’s music is a psychedelic mix of black metal, sludge and blues that feels as though you are being crushed from within by an unseen force that throws your soul into a concrete blender and spits it out through a raging furnace.
This pain and torment was used to great effect on their third album, Still They Pray, with Chandler admitting the music and lyrics are highly personal to the band.

“Yeah, it’s pretty autobiographical,” he said.”It’s all taken from real life events. We hide them more with metaphors on some tracks and less on others.”

One positive aspect of taking such a long time between albums is the extra time it gives you to work on your music, and Chandler says this played an important part in the finished product.
“I think we had more time to fine tune the songs,” he added. “Some of the ideas had been kicking around since probably 2012 so we had time to play around with them in that time. I think they went through a lot of changes over that extended period of time. We would leave them and go back to them so it was all over the place but it also gave us time to get them right which was important to us.”

Doom metal is not regarded as one of the more popular genres, but it is certainly a sub genre that has a loyal following. When pressed as to why Cough have had such success within a specialized genre, he laughs and says that it is probably more to do with their attitude and free spirit.
“I think we are just easy going guys,” he smiled. “We’re definitely not competitive. We don’t really think in terms of that. For the most part what we do is not a way to get by or anything like that. We played a handful of festivals this year, just with friends and stuff like that. You meet new people and they become your friends but it’s not like its cut throat in the doom market. You just have to have fun with what you do.”
Cough’s brand of doom metal is also a little left of centre, with the aforementioned subtle, yet effective blending of black metal, sludge and blues, with Chandler saying that the roots of blues are prevelant in most music today.
“If you think about it in regards to the blues it is the real origin of metal if you go back far enough,” he said. “Over the years it developed slightly more of a chaos edge to it and it has grown from there. Over the years we have messed around with a lot of different sorts of sounds, colder sounds with progression and stuff like that.”
This month, Cough will be bringing label mates and long time collaborators Windhand with them to Australia for a handful of shows, with Chandler speaking highly of their touring partners.
“I’m in both bands so I have to say that (laughs). We’ve been friends… we met up with Windhand shortly after we started, before I was even in the band in 2009 so we’ve always gotten along pretty well. It’s exciting to be travelling with a band like that who we have a good history with.”
This won’t be Cough’s first time in our country either, with previous trips affirming their Australian fans interest.
“I dunno,” Chandler laughed when asked why they go well in a country where doom isn’t in the more popular end of the music market. “I feel like it’s… its pretty good down there for what it is. I mean, you don’t get a lot of acts down there to begin with, especially in a genre as small as ours. I feel like maybe you have a more dedicated fan base or maybe just a live music fan base in general. We definitely appreciate the support we get.”

Written by Kris Peters

For one band this year the march to performing at CherryRock017 will be a well-worn journey. Since forming in 2014 Melbourne’s very own Child have brought their unique mix of blues and hard rock to the festival twice… yes that’s right these CherryRock veterans are about to go into the trenches for the third time.

As has become the custom for bands that are selected to perform at the unique festival Matthias from Child says the band were told they were on the bill by Cherry Bar owner and CherryRock organiser James Young. “Yeah our good friend James Young let us know,” says Matthias with a laugh. “And we are really excited because we are looking forward to getting back up on the stage at the end of AC/DC Lane because it is always a good view from up there. This normally all starts with James asking you to play at Cherry or James coming up to you somewhere. Our first meeting with James was at a show with My Left Boot in 2013, that show raised his awareness of us and we’ve known him quite well ever since. There is always a certain buzz at Cherry and obviously there are a lot of venues, and you can have good ones and bad ones, but at Cherry it always seems to provide that vibe and of course CherryRock is just a massive, massive version of that. It’s such a tight community that get around to it – the underground rock ‘n’ roll scene and it is just amplified when you have 800 people there as opposed to some 200-300 people. For rock bands you can’t really go past it, basically it’s the home you can’t deny it.”

Matthias also doesn’t have to think very hard when I ask him what some of his highlights have been at CherryRock over the years. “Definitely playing with Red Fang is right up there,” he says. “That was quite a moment and we didn’t play at CherryRock last year but we were on tour with Kadavar who headlined CherryRock last year and just being there to witness them play after being there with the shows throughout the tour you could really see a massive lift in their performance as well, just because of the vibe so that was pretty memorable as well. It is a day where many beers are consumed and maybe a few memories are hazy but there is never anything that you walk away from where you are thinking ‘oh that wasn’t right’ or ‘that wasn’t fun’, it’s always for a lot of people in Melbourne as good as Christmas. For this year’s festival I’m really excited to see Nashville Pussy, mainly because Bonnie the bass-player spent a fair bit of time on our tour bus over in Europe last time we were there and we’ve never had the chance to see her play before. I’ve also only ever seen a few songs of Shihad when they opened for Sabbath so I want to see them do a full set as well. It’s hard to pick just a couple of bands that you want to see because CherryRock is a whole experience – you get there when it starts, you map out your day between the two stages and then it is just a massive ingestion of music.”

So many people have talked about Child’s unique blend of blues and hard rock over the years but Matthias says it was not something that they set out to ‘create’. “Obviously everybody is a mirror of your influences, really,” he explains. “This was the band that was started so then there was a platform for actual honesty not just ‘oh yeah that sounds great we’re going to be like this’ or ‘we’re going to sound like this and try to get to this place.’ There was never anything like that it was really just a reflection of how our gut sounds, there is no hindrance on the music for any ulterior motives apart from art itself. It’s hard to explain why we sound the way we do or anything apart from we’re clearly a fan of the blues and being a fan of heavy music but it is what it is and it all comes from honesty at the end of the day. I picked up the guitar pretty late actually, it would have been about Year Eleven I think and the lead up to that was quite a lot of metal and that’s what you do at that age, I was listening to Megadeth, Anthrax, Slayer, Overkill and so on and I was also a huge fan of Nirvana as well when I was younger so that was the natural progression. But then I started to realise that there was more to music than just playing past and I started to get into some of the more unusual bands. Then when I started to mature I discovered the blues and I was captured straight away… I was like ‘yep that’s me, every time I listen to a band this is what I’ve been searching for.’ The one hundred per cent it was Red House by Jimi Hendrix. And then there was Voodoo Child the thirteen minute live version with Steve Winwood and Jack Cassidy. The day I discovered Hendrix that was the most profound moment of my life.”

CherryRock017 will be held at the Cherry Bar in Melbourne on the 7th May. Bands that have been announced so far include Shihad, Dwarves, Nashville Pussy, Bala, Bottlecap, Totally Unicorn, Child, Mooner, Amyl & The Sniffers, Zombitches, Stiff Richards, Kelompok Penerbang Rocket… and there are still more to be announced.

Child also have their album Blueside out now as well.

Written by David Griffiths

Amyl And The Sniffers

With the announcements coming out about CherryRock017 we already know that this year’s festival will feature international acts such as Shihad and Nashville Pussy but often the announcements about the local bands get pushed to the side… but not here at Heavy!!!

One of the local bands fronting up to CherryRock017 will be St Kilda four-piece rock outfit Amyl And The Sniffers who have made a name for themselves over the past eighteen months with the release of two well-received EPS, Giddy Up and Big Attraction, while they have had successful shows playing at festivals such as Chopped and Sounds Of The Suburbs as well as opening for the legendary Cherie Currie at her Cherry Bar gig in Melbourne.

Heavy caught up with Amy from the band who simply couldn’t hide her excitement at Amyl And The Sniffers being selected to play at this year’s CherryRock and she says there was no second thoughts about it. “We just simply got a text message from James Young [the owner of Cherry Bar, the Godfather of live music in Melbourne and the man who gets to personally hand select every band that plays at CherryRock] and he asked if we wanted to do it and we were just like ‘yep lock it in… LET’S DO THIS!’” she says laughing out loud. “Pretty straight forward but we are very excited. Me and James have been good friends since the band first started. One of first gigs was at Yah Yah’s, which he also owns and he must have come along and watched us some time. I met him once, I saw him there and he was dressed in a cowboy suit and I was like ‘wow love the suit’ and we pretty much just became mates from there. He’s a nice bloke.”

When we delve into the history of the band Amy said the band simply just started because the band lived together. “We just came from uni and work together one night and we just set up to record. We wrote and recorded some music and the next day we were a band. Everything was all pretty make shift but we’ve had a fun time. We were really inspired by 1970s Australian pub rock and stuff like that – a bit of the Melbourne garage sound going around at the moment as well a bit of punk, a bit sexy but a lot of good times. Living with my bandmates is pretty good – I don’t really have any complaints from the band side of things but I do wish they would put the dishes away. I do love them all to bits though.”
So does living together make it a lot easy to record and to jam? “Yes and no really,” says Amy. “We have a new bass guitarist now, our original bassist left, but back then all our rehearsal and recording stuff was set up in his bedroom so we could just all jump in there and practice but in another way we were in his personal space… his bed was right there. I’d literally be sitting on his bed while we were recording. So it was easy to book things and chat about things though. Recently though we’ve been going to Bakehouse Studios… we’ve done that twice now… and it is actually so much better. There’s a proper PA there and it’s huge and nice. I prefer a studio definitely.”

 

Amy admits that the new Big Attraction EP does see the band try to change their sound up a little bit as well. “We’ve been playing these songs pretty much since we started being a band,” she explains. “We thought it was time to put them out there so the wider audience could give them a bit of a listen, but this time we’re trying to sound less garage and rockier. Declan wrote a lot of the songs this time, so it’s more hookey with some sharpie shit. We sounded really garage because it was cheap, which I guess we still are cheap, but it was done in four hours, and we wrote it on the spot it was made the shift. So now we want it to sound heavy, tough and mean but less like it took four hours.”

For many Melbourians there first introduction to Amyl And The Sniffers was at the Cherie Currie gig, and Amy says the night was a night of mixed nerves for herself. “It was very exciting because she is a huge inspiration for me… I think she is an absolute legend,” says Amy. “It was probably one of our only shows where I have been properly nervous before, but it was a good night. I was backstage afterwards, and I went to put on some Motorhead on the juke-box, and she told me to turn it down. I didn’t get to talk to her much, but it sure was an honour getting to play with her. I try not to think about it [the nerves] much, and I just tried to think it doesn’t matter what she thinks because she is just another person. With the nerves, though I just try to channel into energy and then turn it into fun… try not to let inhibitions get the best of you!”

Amy says there are a few bands on the CherryRock bill that she is looking forward to checking out as well. “I’ve heard that Nashville Pussy are supposed to be pretty good,” she says. “But I also want to see – Stiff Richards are cool I’ve seen them before at Cherry, and they blew me away.”

CherryRock017 will be held at the Cherry Bar in Melbourne on the 7th May. Bands that have been announced so far include Shihad, Dwarves, Nashville Pussy, Bala, Bottlecap, Totally Unicorn, Child, Mooner, Amyl & The Sniffers, Zombitches, Stiff Richards, Kelompok Penerbang Rocket and there are still more to be announced.

 

Written by Dave Griffiths

 

INTERVIEW WITH GARY OLDMAN & ASA BUTTERFIELD

This year is shaping up as a brilliant year for people that love space-orientated films. Of course we have the big blockbuster Guardians Of The Galaxy 2 heading into cinemas very soon but this has so far been a year when there have been plenty of films out there for those that like their space movies to be a little more serious.

We’ve already seen Life – a film which saw Jake Gyllenhall and Ryan Reynolds battling a space creature on the International Space Station in a film that was a seriously good suspense thriller and of course there was Passengers – a film which tested the audience’s moral stance as Chris Pratt decided to ‘wake’ Jennifer Laurence despite the fact it would ruin her life. Another film that crept into Australian cinemas with very little fanfare was director Peter Chelsom’s (Serendipity, Hector And The Search For Happiness) new film – A Space Between Us, a film that sees a human born on Mars travelling to Earth for the first time.

The star of the film is Asa Butterfield, an actor who is not a stranger to science fiction after his wonderful portrayal in Ender’s Game. As an actor Butterfield has also shown that he can handle seriously dramatic roles – something that he proved with brilliant performances in the Holocaust drama The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas and Martin Scorsese’s masterpiece Hugo. In The Space Between Us Butterfield has to mix his sci-fi knowledge with his dramatic acting experience and he does it wonderfully well.

In fact it was because the role was so challenging that he accepted the opportunity to play it in the first place. “Firstly I think Gardiner is an interesting character,” says Butterfield. “Whenever I read I script I always look out for originality and characters which will challenge me and will give me the option to do something completely different and this was exactly that, because he is so unexperienced in the real world and I thought it would be interesting to try and convey that kind of feeling. Gardiner has lived his whole life on this space station on Mars. Ever since he was born really so he has had a pretty limited experience of the outside world. Pretty much all he knows is what happens on Mars and the few snippets of information that he gathers through different things to find out about Earth, which is something that he loves and craves. His whole life revolves around this idea of one day getting to Earth.”

With such a dramatic move from Mars to Earth Butterfield says some of the challenges facing Gardiner are things you normally wouldn’t think of. “The first thing to affect him is the change in gravity,” he explains. “That causes difficulties for him with walking and running… just about doing anything really. But he eventually gets to used to that but then his whole experience with social interaction is so limited that he has no idea what to do in certain situations. He doesn’t know how to read social cues and doesn’t understand sarcasm, there are a lot of different things that actually come across as pretty funny in the film and they were really fun to play with. There is also a sense of belonging which I think we can all connect with as well – belonging somewhere and feeling like you are worth something. Gardiner doesn’t really feel that at the start of the film because nobody knows that he exists. In his own words – ‘how can he be indispensable if nobody knows that he is alive? And so his whole motive of finding somewhere where he belongs and feels safe is something that I think everybody needs and that everyone strives for.”

Butterfield says one of the other things he loved about working on The Space Between Us was that he got to work with Hollywood star-on-the-rise Britt Robertson and screen legend Gary Oldman. “Britt has been so much fun to work with,” he says. “I mean this whole story revolves around Gardiner and Tulsa’s relationship so Britt and I had a lot of fun. The way their relationship evolves throughout the film is kind of interesting because they balance each other out. Tulsa is this maniac kind of energy and Gardiner is much calmer. Gary was brilliant to work with – he is a really nice guy and he is a phenomenal actor as well so getting to work with him for a few weeks was a lot of fun. I think I’ve learnt a lot as well, I mean he is cool and he is really, really funny and he makes the whole mood on set feel really, really light and not too serious.”
Oldman, like Butterfield, says that what made him want to work on the film was the script. “Firstly it was a very good script,” he says thinking hard. “It was unusual and it had this great charm to it. It’s a family movie and I thought it was a great character and a great script and it was a chance for me to finally get to work with Peter Chesolm whom I have known for over twenty-five years.”

He says the challenge of playing such an intriguing character, like Nathaniel, also drew him to the film. “This man that has such as a single obsession and passion,” he says with passion himself. “He has this drive which I guess you could say is kind of loosely based on this kind of Richard Branson like businessman/scientist/entrepreneur. He fulfils this passion and this ambition only to then be thwarted and then presented with an even greater challenge which is the young boy – Gardiner. When we first see Nathaniel we wanted to see the youthfulness, the drive and the energy of someone that can run Genesis – that can literally come up with these ideas and then make the material up. So he wanted to see that drive and that passion and that enthusiasm. And then we have that bit where I step back from the company and years later you see that not only being outside, not only taking a backseat but also becoming more and more reclusive but he also has the strain of keeping that secret of Gardiner. It’s taken its toll on me and it is only when they start discussing about bringing him back that it reignites the fight in Nathaniel. When you see those interviews with Richard Branson you really do think that everything is possible… you can see it in their DNA – they are driven and they are unstoppable.”

If you missed The Space Between Us in the cinemas don’t worry you can pre-order it on DVD/Blu-Ray right now.

Written by David Griffiths

 

Interview with EMMA WATSON

Bringing a much loved animated film to life is no easy process. People are always going to be critical on whether or not the movie looks or feels the same way that the original did. That kind of criticism and speculation was always going to be ten-fold for Disney with Beauty And The Beast. The 1991 Disney animated version of the classic tale has become a much loved family film for nearly two generations now. When Disney announced that director Bill Condon would be bringing the story life in a real life fantasy film the big question seemed to be not whether or not it would work but who would play the character of Belle… after all she is one of Disney’s most important Princesses.

When that answered was delivered in a statement declaring that Emma Watson would play the lead role it actually seemed to quell some of the online banter. After all Watson herself is loved by families right around the world thanks to endearing role of Hermoine Grainger in the Harry Potter series of films. Still for Watson this was an epic role to take on… and that was something that certainly wasn’t lost on her.

“Beauty & The Beast when you think about it is really like four movies in one,” explain Watson. “It’s an action movie, we’re making a live action film, there’s a huge amount of stunts – there’s wolf fighting and horse-riding and you know guns and sword fights and all of that going on. It’s also a comedy – the comic timing of characters like Cogsworth and Lumiere and Mrs. Potts, it’s just hysterical in my opinion. Then on the other hand it is a romance, it’s a romantic drama… and then it’s a musical… and then there’s music just really added onto the top with dance and theatre really. So you need somebody at the helm of a movie like this that can really do all of those things and it takes someone quite special I think to get that all working really well and I think Bill has done a really good job with that.”

Of course having the characters from the animation, especially Belle, being just carbon copies in teh new film would have made the film quite boring for audiences so what differences did Watson see in her character from the animation to this film. “We wanted to make sure that we… we know that she loves reading, we know that she loves travel… but we also wanted to give her this element of being quite industrious and quite practical and very inventive,” she says proudly. “So in the animation Maurice is the inventor but in this film it is actually Belle that is really forging forward and innovating and coming up with new ways of doing things which I thought was interesting and was an idea that I loved. Belle also does some teaching in this film, not only does she love reading for herself but she actually loves sharing her love for books and she loves sharing the things that she finds special and interesting. And I loved that too… that she wants to share. And she also has a new song… it’s only a small, baby song. It’s a reprise so it’s only really a verse and a little bit of a chorus but it’s very beautiful and we expand a little bit on her past and we see really what is the story of Belle’s life before she goes to the castle and meets Beast which I think is a really lovely extra detail which we didn’t get from the original.”

Aside from a brief moment in Harry Potter Emma Watson isn’t known for her dancing and singing so was that something new that she had to approach to do Beauty And The Beast? “So I started rehearing the film in January and we started filming in March-April kind of times. I had a few months learning things, especially the waltz which for me I realised… I said this to Anthony when we were filming… that dance is the story of them falling in love and so it had to have so much communicated through it, not just as a dance but how two people interact and how that perception of each other changes and it is all wrapped up in this two or three minute moment and we wanted to communicate so much so I realised that I couldn’t just be a dancer and just know the dance steps perfectly, actually what was going to make the dance special was if I did what I’m good at… hopefully… acting. That was what was really going to bring it to life and tell the story. So it was a really special experience for me. I love to dance, I have always loved to dance, so getting to learn this specially choreographed dance between Beast and Belle was definitely a highlight. I think I was so focussed on doing what I had to do to support him (her co-star Dan Stevens) during that dance it really helped me because I couldn’t focus on how nervous I was. Both of us were just trying to work out the logistics of how do you do a three minute… you know… strictly come-dancingesque waltz routine with a Beast. I mean he is three heads taller than me.

“It was really challenging and I think we were so focussed on the challenge at hand it really did help carry us through. It was a very bonding experience. I actually think that I’m going to suggest that on all of my movies my romantic co-star has to learn to do a dance with me because there is just no better way to bond with someone.”
Of course you can’t talk about Belle and Beauty And The Beast without mentioning her dress. From the animated movie we have seen countless women over the years try to replicate Belle’s look and her famous yellow dress so what do audiences have in store for them with this rendition of the movie.

“In the end what we decided was the most important thing for this dress to do was that it had to dance beautifully,” says Watson. “We wanted the dress to feel like it could float. Like it could fly. Like it was the third, like almost the third person in that dance. And we started with a much heavier and more intricate, probable more historically accurate dress but we realised that it wasn’t telling the story that we wanted it to tell so we went with something much lighter made of chiffon and it does… it’s just perfect for that moment. We were really pleased with it in the end.”

 

Written by Dave Griffiths