PAGAN with Crave Death, Blind Girls & Masochist. Crowbar, Brisbane Saturday 18 August, 2018 At 8pm on a Saturday …
Melbourne outfit Bury The Kings might have been silent for the better part of two years, but that hasn’t stopped the determination of this band to take whatever opportunities come their way by the throat.
With a savage new EP V set to drop May 18th, we took time out to chat to frontman Bailey Schembri about what motivated the themes behind the EP, what the band’s plans are for the year ahead and why the band dropped off the radar after their last tour two years ago.
HYSTERIA: There was a huge silence with the Bury The Kings. Now that your back, what’s your game plan?
Bailey: After our last release, we went into a slump after touring. We wanted to keep playing shows but we had mishaps with band members, and everything came to a halt. It took us ages to start picking up the pace and making music again. We wanted to make something brand new before we started getting back into action again.
What’s the current lineup then, and how did this form of the band come to be?
We have 3 members that have stuck it out since the beginning, but we found bass players and drummers are impossible because the good ones are all already in good, committed bands. We juggled through bassists and drummers, but we’ve got a bassist now which is great. We’ve been using a fill in drummer whenever we can. We had Raymond Martin for a bit playing for us, who is the vocalist of Wraith, but at the moment we don’t have any shows coming up so we haven’t got a drummer lined up as of yet. We all live in Melbourne so we want someone closer to home as well.
How has that Melbourne music scene helped Bury The Kings, and how has it changed since you were active two years ago?
It’s matured a lot. Plenty of locals have really grown, and we really wanted to do that as well, not having to many breakdowns or whatever. We wanted our own sound to fit in with all the creativity with the scene that’s going on at the moment. For a while our guitarist, who writes all the stuff, he wrote a bunch of skeletons, and then we came up with the idea of using the 5 stages of grief as a major theme, and incorporated those ideas into the writing aspect to see which song would fit in different stages. Scotty from Alpha Wolf produced, mixed and recorded the record which was super helpful for all of us. He also helped in the writing process which was great.
Recently I’ve had some friends and family pass which really hit me emotionally, so writing something that relates to yourself really brings a new level to a song.
[ Bailey Schembri ]
I wanted to touch on that, because you can hear that abstract, a-tonal heaviness coming through these songs. How much influence did Scotty have here?
We’d have the complete tune recorded, but as we were going along he’d see parts of the song where he would suggest things to be a bit better than what it is. It was super easy working with him because he knew what to change in each song to make it a lot better than what it originally was, so we were super stoked with that.
Let’s go to Take Me With You, the first track from this forthcoming EP. Where was this when you took it into the studio, and what was the ‘behind the scenes’ experiences that influenced it?
That tune changed the most out of all the songs we took into the studio, and also turned out way better than we thought it was originally. It’s the first song really that we’ve had that clean vocals on it, which was so odd to write, and Scotty helped out with that. In the studio we threw around some different ideas on how to make it ‘massive’ sounding, so I think he really hit the nail on the head with that.
What made you decide to think about clean vocals this time around?
When hearing a specific part, you can really tell what stylistic changes it might need, but I steered away from cleans in the past because of self-doubt with singing live and being able to uphold the studio sound. This time though, I figured that if I kept having those self-doubting thoughts, I’d never get around to it, so I figured I may as well try now and see how it goes.
The ‘grief’ concept has been visited by a few bands now. What experiences informed that for you?
Recently I’ve had some friends and family pass which really hit me emotionally, so writing something that relates to yourself really brings a new level to a song. You can get a bigger connection with your fans as well if they can have a direct connection to that experience. Even in the most recent years there’s been guys in the band who have lost people, so we can all identify with it and it gets things off your chest getting those things out of your mind and into a tune.
How will such a theme effect you live?
It gives you such a clear head after writing it down, but it’s also nerve-wracking imagining performing such emotional songs to people. However, if the crowd can see the intention behind it all I think it’ll be great, and it’ll be cool for people to have stuff to listen to as well.
There’s also a theme of ‘Bargaining’ that runs really strongly here. Can you unpack that more?
Bargaining was the hardest one to write, because it’s really hard to portray that emotion without offering some kind of explanation. It’s more so the feeling of being able to bargain, because it’s lots of different emotions rather than just one. That’s where we came up with the idea of mixing the anger and depression stages a bit in order to articulate how people can feel with these kind of things.