Interview: Fear Of Comedy

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

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BLACK COMEDY

Although they’ve only just launched their new record, Fear Of Comedy vocalist Laith Tierney tells Daniel Cribb they won’t play the songs ever again.

Since their formation in 2005 as a straight out punk band, Perth’s Fear Of Comedy have transformed into an experimental doom rock band. Their latest offering, Delapsus Resurgam, aside from being seemingly cursed, is their darkest and heaviest work to date.

“I think we’ve got a cursed CD player things happening at RTR FM,” frontman Laith Tierney begins. “The day I took the album into the station, during the Out To Lunch show they played a track off the album and it got five minutes in and it skipped and they had to turn it off, and we’re like, ‘AW, NO!’, and it actually happened the week of the Killing Joke gig. They played the single from the album and that skipped before it got to the main verse, and we’re like ‘What the fuck’s going on’,” he laughs. “Our CDs are cursed!”

They may have four releases under their belt, but Tierney sees Delapsus Resurgam as a debut. “We’ve got several releases out already but it’s almost like a completely different band. The previous Fear Of Comedy album was like a punk album and this is as far from punk as you can get. I’d say it’s our second album and our forth release. But it also works as our first release if you just ignore everything that we’ve done in the past, which is probably a good idea.

“Tastes and abilities evolve and you just grow up; the music grows up and the people grow up. The old stuff is from a time when we were still growing up,” he explains. “I’ll probably ditch this [sound] and get a new one in a couple of weeks. You’ve got to be like David Bowie and Madonna and shit and reinvent yourself. ‘Oh, now I can play Jazz. Let’s make some fuckin’ jazz. I couldn’t play jazz five years ago’.”

When queried on what direction the next Fear Of Comedy record may take, he rattles off “jazz-post rock death metal” with such speed it could actually be a possibly. “Without being silly, it could be more electronic, it could be anything because your directions do change. It happens to every band – every good band anyway. They start experimenting with new sounds and new directions…a lot of people ask about it and freak out, ‘Oh my god, how come your sound’s evolved?’ – doesn’t that mean we’re doing it right? What are you doing standing in the same place. You still sound like The Ramones now, man. What’s going on?”

The band’s ever-evolving lineup no doubt played a role in such a steep genre change. Just before heading into the studio a year ago, one of the band’s guitarists, James Styles, left, leaving Tierney to play the guitar parts. Then, as they were finishing the record, Yaegar Mora-Strauks [keys] signed on with Styles rejoining a few months later. Right before they launched the album, the band’s 2005 guitarist, Ben Waters, also rejoined the band. Following the album’s launch show, drummer Liam Dunn left the band. As the only common denominator in Fear Of Comedy, Tierney feels the need to shake things up and keep it fresh.

“I think rather than teach the drummer to play the songs, we’re just going to write a whole new album. We’ll never play these songs again probably…it’s almost like three members of the band have nothing to do with the songs that we’re playing, and that’s boring. They didn’t have as much say or input as they should and they’re really talented guys, so I want to write whole new songs with them. It’s a whole new lineup, so a new album will have to come out of it as soon as possible.

“We won’t change genres too much because we do have that dark alternative thing going on, even though we’ve changed from more punk to more prog, it’s still always been a little bit gothy, so it’ll still work whatever we experiment with.”

WHO: Fear Of Comedy

WHAT: Delapsus Resurgam (Independent)

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Interview: Outsiders Code

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

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RULES OF ENGAGEMENT

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

Goodbye, Drum Perth!

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As of tomorrow, Drum Perth will no longer exist… kind of. Street Press Australia is converting Time Off (QLD), InPress (VIC), and both Drum Sydney and Drum Perth to a fancy weekly magazine called The Music which focuses on a lot more efforts. It’s exciting change, which you can read all about it here: http://themusic.com.au/news/all/2013/07/31/iconic-music-titles-receive-major-overhaul/

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Interview: 50 Lions

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 01.08.13 | Issue # 349

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BREATHING ROOM

“It’s got to a point where there’s not much more that we want to do,” 50 Lions vocalist Oscar McCall reveals. Daniel Cribb finds out why their third record has been sitting on the sidelines for three years.

With the Australian Warped Tour making its revival this year, 50 Lions frontman Oscar McCall recently spent some time comparing it the US event. “I was looking at it and I just remember back in the day that’s what everyone kind of aspired to do, and these days it just seems like a bunch of bands that no one really cares about anymore that still want to tour. It’s not even pop punk or hardcore; it’s just a bunch of b-grade metal bands,” McCall says of the US Warped. His verdict on the Australian lineup is more giving, citing Hatebreed and Parkway Drive as clear winners. Those who know anything about Parkway might notice their frontman shares the same last name as the 50 Lions vocalist – they’re brothers. And McCall is quick to point out that there’s a certain assumption that tends to arise after the initial connection is made.

“I think a lot of people have this misconception that we piggybacked off them and they were the reason we toured and this and that, whereas we kind of took a different path from day one and they gave us a few opportunities which was great, but we kind of did our own thing 99% of the time,” he says. “Over the years we’ve only done four tours with them in total. So bandwise we don’t have that much interaction.”

One of those four tours was in 2010, which was 50 Lions’ busiest year. In-between touring Australia numerous times, they ventured to Europe twice, Japan and New Zealand. But then the touring cycle for 2009’s Where Life Expires came to an end and we haven’t seen much of the band since. It was time to write another album, but living in separate states and not having a permanent drummer made things difficult.

“We’ve all got other stuff going on so [50 Lions] took a bit of a backseat and now we kind of casually do shows when they pop up. If the opportunity is there for us to go to Perth, or go to Asia, this or that, we’re just going to take the opportunity and hangout, catch up and play a show. It is what it is.

“We all kind of work full-time, and you’ve got to kind of make that sacrifice, and I think we made that a few years ago and did a solid year and a half of touring. I think now it’s got to a point where there’s not much more that we want to do. I mean, I don’t really like taking my annual leave to go and sit in the van for 30 days in Europe and have shit weather and not see much – I’d rather have a proper holiday, and I think the other guys feel the same way. We do weekends and kind of short runs here and there, but there’s no real kind of bigger picture.”

Their last release came in the form of a 7” titled Pray For Nothing – material that was plucked from their third, unrecorded record. “We had an album written early 2011. It was just a bunch of files that we sent back and forth and added bits and pieces to, and we didn’t actually plan on recording any songs, but our drummer was like, ‘We’ve got these songs, we should do a 7” or something’, and we kind of had a bit of a practice and recorded them, and they were the more solid songs of those 10 or 12 songs that we wrote in early in 2011. There were a few songs that we recorded and didn’t release because we didn’t think that they were ready. We haven’t really been working on stuff, but that’s not to say that six months down the track we won’t be back in the writing process, you never know.”

WHO: 50 Lions

WHAT: Pray For Nothing (Resist/Six Feet Under)

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

DRUM MEDIA: Black Flag Column (Issue 349)

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 01.08.13 | Issue # 349

The-Swellers

BLACK FLAG

PUNK AND HARDCORE WITH DANIEL CRIBB

Every now and then a band does something that really throws a spanner in the works. With their new album due out in a few months, Michigan’s The Swellers have begun work on a US tour that’s simple, effective, and sounds awesome.

I discussed the Australian Warped Tour in my last column, and The Swellers were part of the recent US lineup. They’ve obviously taken onboard its DIY mentality because this October they plan to embark on a US tour largely based around house shows, asking fans to email them if they can host a house show.

“The plan is to play anywhere and everywhere we can. Even multiple shows in a day if we can. Acoustic sets will also make an appearance quite a bit,” the band posted on Facebook. I imagine the same kind of concept in Australia probably wouldn’t go down as well, but it would be interesting to see someone give it a crack. Playing at a slew of farms on the 12-hour drive between cities would be interesting, but I doubt the rural community would enjoy such a venture. The band will be filming the whole experience, so hopefully a DVD will surface.

Another band going back to their roots, last month announcing the departure of bassist Dave Anderson and split with label UNFD, Melbourne’s The Getaway Plan temporarily streamed a new single on their Soundcloud last week. The tune, Lovesick, will be released on double A-side 7” Lovesick/Mirrors this month. It was taken down on Sunday night for some reason, but you can score a download of it when you pre-order the new 7” off their website. Lovesick/Mirrors is the band’s first independent release since leaving UNFD. It seems a wise choice to test the waters with a release like this. You can catch them at Rosemount Hotel Saturday 14 September and YMCA HQ Sunday 15. Lovesick takes off where there last record, Requiem, left off.

And The Getaway Plan aren’t the only ones who have been busily working on their next release: Tonight Alive have premiered single Lonely Girl off their upcoming album, The Other Side, AFI have (finally!) given some concrete information on their new record, Burials, which is set to be released October 22 via Republic Records, The Devil Wears Prada – who were here a couple of weeks back with A Day To Remember – have announced their new record, 8:18, will be released on Roadrunner Records September 17, Californian pop punkers Zebrahead are streaming new single Until The Sun Comes Up on their website and New York punk rockers Iron Chic (featuring members of Latterman) have revealed they’re gearing up to hit the studio to work on their first full length since 2010’s Not Like This. To top it all off, Anti-Flag are streaming a re-recorded version of 1999’s Police Story on PropertyOfZach.com. Grab your iPods and credit cards and go crazy!

It’s been a quiet couple of weeks in hardcore, and unfortunately the only notable occurrence was North Carolina’s Double Negative deciding to call it quits. They’re great at writing lyrics and music, but not so much goodbyes: “Double Negative has decided to call it quits. A thank you list would be to long, you know who you are and we do too. But thanks to everyone.” Sooth those burns with the knowledge that Ex-Nora bassist C. Spliedt now writes children’s books. On top of whipping up designs for The Dillinger Escape Plan, The Gaslight Anthem and Poison The Well, he’s been illustrating for kids. His first release, How Do The Animals Live?, is available from Amazon. Maybe Double Negative vocalist Justin Gray will go on to open up a daycare center.

CD Review: Transplants

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 25.07.13 | Issue # 348

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TRANSPLANTS

IN A WARZONE

26 July, 2013

It’s been eight years since we last saw a Transplants record hit the shelves, and In A Warzone is miles apart from the band’s last effort, 2005’s Haunted Cities. It’s their most consistent album to date and gives the impression they spent more time on the songs and writing together.

Being a punk supergroup, the best way to analyse In A Warzone is to pull apart the songs and critique what each member brings to the table. It’s interesting to hear Blink-182’s Travis Barker hold a simple beat rather than thrashing his arms in every direction. There’s ample opportunity to unleash, but he manages to restrain himself, leaving the duel vocals of Tim Armstrong and Skinhead Rob to do most of the work.

Rob is upfront for most of the record, but Transplants are at their best with Tim Armstrong behind the mic (Come Around a prime example), and even then Armstrong’s voice is so distinctive that you might as well be listening to Rancid. Rob’s one-tone singing almost gets annoying after a while – when he’s not pushing husky melodies from the back of his throat, he actually doesn’t sound too bad.

While this is a decent album, with a line-up of this calibre, the music produced is below par. The fact is, if it weren’t for the status of Transplants’ members, no one would really care about these songs. But, as they have made widely known, this band is an excuse to hang out with friends and make music, and their carefree and fun attitudes towards this project definitely come through in these 12 songs.

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/reviews/album/2013/07/26/transplants-in-a-warzone-daniel-cribb/

Show Review: Ball Park Music 12.07.13

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 19.07.13 | Issue # 347

Pic by Daniel Cribb

Pic by Daniel Cribb

BALL PARK MUSIC, EAGLE & THE WORM, JEREMY NEALE

METROPOLIS FREMANTLE: 12/07/13

Pop with a grunge edge kicked off the final date on the Thanks Ewes Tour, as Brisbane indie pop frontman Jeremy Neale put his vocal chords to the test. Every time Neale pushed his smooth melodic voice to an aggressive, scream-like yell, he commanded more attention from the room.

The Fat Wreck sticker plastered front and center on Richard Bradbeer’s bass was the first clue in figuring out Eagle & The Worm’s origins. With a horn section supplying a ska vibe and the rest of the band throwing in elements of pop and rock, it’s a difficult task to describe their sound. Whatever category they fall under, they do it loud and well. A five-part harmony to finish out their set left audience members in silent awe.

No sooner than Ball Park Music surfaced amidst a melody of ‘80s pop classics did people tie their shoes, secure the contents of their pockets and erupt into a dancing fit. iFly saw frontman Sam Cromack discard his guitar and run in circles around the stage, throwing his microphone franticly between hands whilst rolling out every hand gesture known to man. Without a guitar to anchor him down, Cromack has the charisma and energy that few other frontmen possess.

Halfway into their set, a bra made its way onto the stage. After a brief discussion on Cromack’s “tiny hairy nipples”, the rest of the band vacated the stage leaving the vocalist in front of a keyboard and under the spotlight for Coming Down. While the intimate performance was a good way to break up the set, it would have greatly benefited from bassist Jennifer Boyce’s harmonies.

Despite the serious nature of the few songs that followed, more underwear was tossed onstage. It was clear the audience wanted more party tunes, and that’s exactly what was delivered in the form of Sad Rude Future Dude and Literally Baby.

The Next Life Already, “a fun but a bit depressing” new song, revealed they’ve got plenty of hits left up their sleeve, and old fans were treated to a one-off performance (or so they said) of Sea Strangers.

It was the upbeat, key-driven songs that were the real dance numbers, and after a concise encore that ended with The Beatles’ Eight Days A Week, there was not a Fence Sitter in sight.

Daniel Cribb