Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Interview with Lachlan R. Dale (ADRIFT FOR DAYS, SERIOUS BEAK)

If you follow Temple of Perdition regularly, you probably have stumbled upon this review  on “Huxwhukw” by the Australian band SERIOUS BEAK. Lachlan R. Dale is guitarist of this amazing band (and a few others as you’re going to find out) and owner of the label with the best name ever ART AS CATHARSIS. Now I leave you to read what the guy has to say and please pay attention to his last words.

To start with, how did the things with SERIOUS BEAK happen, when did the idea to form the band came up and why did you decide to play exactly this kind of music?
Three of us used to play in an old quirky grindcore band together EBOLIE. We got bored to playing sloppy grind, so our songs became more complex, more interesting and more involved. Despite this we were still seen as a "sloppy comedy grind band" in the Australian metal scene. Eventually it was in our best interests to make a clean break from the past and begin a new band.
Really we just play what we love and what interests us. We don't have to be a band like, say, NAPALM DEATH where every song sounds almost precisely the same. As our drummer Gene likes to say, we write the songs that we want to hear.

Probably writing such amazingly complicated and mind-boggling record as “Huxwhukw” is not easy. Was that a long process? Was the music well thought out in advance or you were improvising during the recording?
The process is very long. One song in particular – “Tui/Tuo” - was written over an 18 month period. That isn't 18 months of regular writing mind you, but the writing process is very long and involved and painful. That’s why we can't play too many live shows - our music takes too fucking long to write and to rehearse!
There are a few improvised tracks on the album, and I bet you can pretty easily pick which ones they are.

What was more difficult - coming up with ideas for the separate parts of the record or combing these ideas and making them sound as a whole?
We always think as part of the whole. Being an instrumental band we don't have some obnoxious vocalist to crack jokes in between songs, so we're always working out how to join our set together to be part of a cohesive whole.

“Huxwhukw is the supernatural long-beaked cannibal bird and servant to Baxwbakwalnuksiwe, the Cannibal-at-the-North-end-of-the-world in Kwakwaka’wakw mythology. Huxwhukw uses his long, snapping beak to crack open the skulls of men to eat their brains and pluck out their eyeballs.”
This description fits perfect with the sound of the album “Huxwhukw” if you know what I mean. Did you have the same association when naming it or it’s because of the name and the myth itself?
The music definitely came before the name. It was later on when we sat around and started trying to describe and name the songs and the album that we decided on “Huxwhukw”. I'm a pretty big fan of anthropology and the culture of indigenous tribes. I mentioned this little myth to the rest of the band and the name instantly just clicked.

You all play in different bands, probably play and played in other projects together as well. Which are your most important ones, not in terms of success but the ones that brought you the most pleasure playing in them? Can you measure that or the level of emotion is different?
I'm very lucky in that the 4 bands I play have very different concepts and involve me in very different ways.
SERIOUS BEAK is an enormous technical challenge for me, but most the music is written by Tim (guitar) and Gene (percussion). This band really pushes my playing ability, and the emotion is high-energy.

Most of my serious writing goes into my psychedelic droning doom band ADRIFT FOR DAYS. Playing in ADRIFT FOR DAYS is an immensely personal emotional catharsis for me. It's definitely more... reverent; the music has a bit of a spiritual and deep emotional connection for me. I write and play some of those riffs when I'm in some pretty intense emotional states. They're almost little mantras I keep repeating until they have enough meaning to be brought to a rehearsal.

Then there's BATTLE POPE (which also features Gene on drums) which is our stupid rock band. We get drunk, party, play obscenely catchy sludge rock and thrust our genitals. It's incredibly non-serious and fun. It's a great outlet for stress.

Lastly there is DYKE DESTROYER; a mysterious improv noise collective. We have annual meetings and rituals, but I'm afraid I can't go into too much more detail for fear of being prosecuted.

You’re currently preparing new album with – ADRIFT FOR DAYS. I found the previous one, “The Lunar Maria”, only few days ago and I’m blown away! At what stage are the recordings, when do you plan to release it, tell me something more about the sounding?
Thanks Vania, your kind words are appreciated. We finished mixing our follow-up to “The Lunar Maria” last Sunday. The new album is called "Come Midnight". It sounds incredible and will absolutely eclipse our debut. We're all much happier with this one.
We're looking to release the album around July or August this year on my label ART AS CATHARSIS (though if we get an offer from, say, SOUTHERN LORD or NEUROT we're not about to say no!). The sounds and songs on this album are far more dynamic - we do everything from truly miserably droning doom, to drug-induced psychedelic rock, to really pretty post-metal, to tribal jams, to groovy-as-fuck stoner sludge. And the production sound just obliterates “The Lunar Maria”. I'm so fucking excited!

Australia (and probably New Zealand) has a pretty diverse underground music scene, as far as I know and I don’t know much, which unfortunately stays a bit in the periphery of the music world. Is only the remoteness the reason? How do you see your music reaching more people outside your area?
Australia has a hugely diverse underground music scene, possibly because of our isolation. You know, to drive from Sydney to Melbourne takes about 12 hours. To drive up to Brisbane takes about 13. We're very geographically isolated - and what that really means is that you're not able to strike it rich playing music. I think that helps foster the experimental, underground and DIY ethic that seems to be prevalent here.

I can definitely tell you, there are plenty of Australian bands in our underground that make the more famous bands in their style look like amateurs - like SPACE BONG for droning doom, or LOOKING GLASS for psychedelic stoner rock, or THE KILL for grindcore, or TANGLED THOUGHTS OF LEAVING and SLEEPMAKESWAVES for post rock, or BRIAN CAMPEAU for an acoustic singer/songwriter……I could go on and on. There are so many incredible and unique bands in this country. It makes me very happy.

What is the motivation behind ART AS CATHARSIS? Non-profit record label and promoter, is that right?
It’s my label. I created it 6 months ago just to house all the projects I play in (ADRIFT FOR DAYS, SERIOUS BEAK, BATTLE POPE and DYKE DESTROYER), but already its burst far beyond that. I do this for my love of music. I basically just try and use big words to bully people into listening to the music that I really love and appreciate.

What's next, for SERIOUS BEAK, the other bands you're involved with, the label? Tell us what exciting things we can expect from this part of the Australian underground you are involved with?

SERIOUS BEAK will have a remix album out in May 2012.

ADRIFT FOR DAYS will release their awesome new full length in July 2012.

ART AS CATHARSIS are putting out an incredible compilation of Australian stoner, doom and drone during April 2012. There's never a dull moment. Follow ART AS CATHARSIS on Facebook to keep up with it all:

Thank you for taking the time to do this. Is there anything I missed but you think those who are reading this should know?
Support your favourite underground artists.

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