Interview: Outsiders Code

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 08.08.13 | Issue # 350



With their smashing debut album making waves nationwide, Outsiders Code drummer Alex Wakem chats with Daniel Cribb about the development of Australian hardcore and why they’re staying true to their roots.

“There’s such a split scene over here,” Outsiders Code drummer Alex Wakem says of Melbourne hardcore. “There’s these little sort of factions doing their own thing; bands who are just sticking to their own crew, and it’s almost like there’s the same seven or eight bands on the bill at their shows,” he explains its somewhat stagnant nature. With Outsiders Code featuring members of 50 Lions, Higher Power, Hopeless, Warbrain and more, Wakem has a fairly good incite into the scene. “I just kind of keep Outsiders Code the only thing that I’m doing otherwise I wouldn’t have any time to myself. I don’t know how the others do four or five bands at a time. There’s too many things to do and it is just craziness,” he laughs.

Although he hasn’t played in Perth for a while, he frequently visits the state as a drum tech for Frenzal Rhomb. Frenzal often employ heavier acts to open their shows, so Wakem’s witnessed the WA scene develop into an unstoppable force over the past couple of years. Outsiders Code’s debut record, Exiled From Birth, has been receiving nothing but outstanding reviews, so he’s excited to head back over and play. “Everyone that’s spoken to me about it has been like, ‘Man, it’s a really good record, and you guys are staying true to being a hardcore band, rather than having singing parts and bits like that’. All the post-hardcore bands these days have anthem singing parts, whereas we’ve kind of stuck to our guns and just want to do hardcore. Kids have really liked the record, and I’d have to say it’s probably the best record that I’ve ever done.”

The choice to mix and master with iconic producer Chris ‘Zeuss’ Harris was one to further embed a true hardcore essence into their songs. “All of my favourite bands, like Madball and Hatebreed and so on, have used Zeuss. I wanted to use him because he always makes a record sound really fat. It still sounds natural; it doesn’t sound completely triggered or anything like that. He knows how to bring out the fatness in a record.”

The record’s cover art features a black and white sketch of an old Russian mobster grasping a walking stick with prison tattoos, which encompasses everything the band stands for. “The whole Outsiders Code thing is taken from the Russian mafia, and how they’ve got an outsiders code agreement where they don’t speak about anything and they keep everything to themselves, and I think that just carried on throughout the artwork.”

With the caliber of the band’s lineup, there was no chance Exiled From Birth was going to disappoint. But most of the hype surrounding Outsiders Code steams from their live show. When the project was birthed, there was never any intention to play shows, rather release the odd track here and there, from bits and pieces unused in their other projects.

“When we were demoing, we just had the idea that we wanted to play straight up hardcore. Most of the stuff was already written, because Luke [Bainbridge] had a bunch of old 50 Lions riffs that they never their record. The guys in 50 Lion were like, ‘Nah, we want to do something different, let’s go in a different direction.’ It was almost like all the songs that Luke had written were put on the back burner and we used them for these, which is pretty fortunate, because I reckon the songs are really good.”

WHO: Exiled From Birth

WHAT: Outsiders Code (Resist Records)

WHEN & WHERE: Friday 16 August, Prince Of Wales, Bunbury; Saturday 17, Amplifier; Sunday 18, YMCA HQ