’68 with Grenadiers, Pagan + Crusch Northcote Social Club, Melbourne 21 July, 2017 It just …
Searching through the Reverence Hotel, Hysteria attempt to find a quiet space in the crowded backroom filled with gear and empty beer bottles. For Perth band Statues though, this is absolute luxury.
“It’s the best backroom on tour so far” laughs vocalist Alex Shom. “Well here and Crowbar are actual back rooms,” adds guitarist Scott Kay. “For us it’s been over two years since we’ve been back [on the East coast] so it’s been way too long. It’s sick being on tour with another Perth band too. We love the Cursed Earth guys.” I can’t think of any other point recently where two Perth bands have toured the East Coast too. It came at the perfect time with our new record and trying to get ourselves back out there. At this point we literally want to play as many shows as possible!”
Since it’s such a momentous occasion, Hysteria asks what the band will remember most from the tour. “I think the one thing I’m going to think back on is how much closer we’ve become from this tour. Just how easy it’s been. It’s going to all be happiness; it’s been really good, seriously,” says Shom. Surely there must be something that’s tested their patience? “The most arduous thing is the drives,” explains Kay. “We did 11 hours from Brisbane to Newcastle, so if anything was going to test us it’d be those long ass drives. We’re not at each other’s throats at all though!”
Shom says wide-eyed of their trip to Sydney “Damnation [Fest] day was so hectic. We were the odd band out; the ‘token emo band’ of the evening. But people received us really well and we felt so comfortable.” Kay continues, “I was apprehensive about the day because all the bands are of a particular, very heavy style. I didn’t feel there was enough crossover between us and the rest of the lineup but the crowd was fucking awesome. They were really enthusiastic and I think throughout the tour all the venues have had their own unique vibe. Every show’s been different.”
We worked out it was a 19-1 ratio with time. Say we play a half hour set after like a nine-hour drive; for every one minute on stage we spend about 19 minutes driving.
[ Scott Kay – Statues ]
To get them through their arduous journeys, “a whole lotta prog” is a good way to start according to Shom. With cold and flu tablets and Red Bull also making an appearance (Kay says “I’m the only one who isn’t sick; Shom decided to term the bus Incubus”), that still doesn’t explain how they’ve managed to make their way through some of the longest trips the country has to offer. “It’s fucking difficult,” says Kay. “It’s a matter of saying to yourself ‘do I really want to do this?’ and if the answer is yes, then you find any way you can. You always find a way if you really want to. We’re just stoked to play shows man. We worked out it was a 19-1 ratio with time. Say we play a half hour set after like a nine-hour drive; for every one minute on stage we spend about 19 minutes driving. If you can laugh at it, that’s what will get you through… I can say we’ll be back soon. There won’t be any more two and a half year breaks.”
Latest UNFD signings Cursed Earth are the War March tour headliners, but guitarist Kieran Molloy doesn’t see them as a band ‘below’ them on the lineup. “They’re a great band from Perth and we’ve always seen them as someone we’d love to tour with. We didn’t even think about the logistics or anything like that. It’s not always about who’s going to pull the most people, it’s about giving the best show possible to the people who’ve paid to be there. They ticked all the boxes.” The rest of Cursed Earth and himself have been in Melbourne for the past few days, but Damnation Fest has waylaid their plans a tad. “We’ve been in Melbourne for about 2 and a half days now,” says Molloy. “We had four days off in between Sydney and Melbourne and we planned on coming down to see the sights. But after the two day weekend of Damnation we spent the rest of the week recovering. As you do!”
It’s been a better reception definitely. There’s also a lot more responsibility. We’re a band that doesn’t usually like to drink before we play. So it’s 11:30/12 you finish your set and you’re ready to have a beer and chill out, but everybody’s leaving!
[ Kieran Molloy – Cursed Earth ]
So other than a surprising hangover that’s delayed their plans, what’s surprised him the most about the shows all down the East Coast? Molloy laughs, “the fact that people turned up.” “You get told when you’re on a supporting run is that the only way to prove your mettle to touring companies is how many people you can bring organically to a headline show.” After supporting international acts like Killswitch Engage and Kublai Khan, there’s a significant difference between opening and headlining says the guitarist. “It’s been a better reception definitely. There’s also a lot more responsibility. We’re a band that doesn’t usually like to drink before we play. So it’s 11:30/12 you finish your set and you’re ready to have a beer and chill out, but everybody’s leaving! Having two bands from Perth it’s a lot of sourcing and bringing everything together. If we aren’t going to do it, it’s not going to get done. If we show up and no one’s doing sound or on the door, it’s on us. It hasn’t been uncomfortable though; it’s different, and that’s the fun of it.”
After announcing their signing, Molloy says they’ve already noticed a huge jump in the interest . “One particular thing for me was getting off the five hour flight from Perth to Brisbane and I had a whole bunch of emails, including about this interview, come through. It hit my inbox all at once with 10 different things we have to organise. Normally when we’re on tour we might split up, go have a beer and that’s it. But it’s super exciting to know that people are engaged and interested in what we’re doing. So we’re more than happy to take it on.” So are the band nervous about the sudden influx of fans and media interest? “Every step along the way is full of nerves in the music industry,” laughs the guitarist. “You kind of get it beaten out of you. The whole thing is anxiety inducing but we’re taking natural steps without getting scared as they get bigger.”
Every step along the way is full of nerves in the music industry, you kind of get it beaten out of you. The whole thing is anxiety inducing but we’re taking natural steps without getting scared as they get bigger.
[ Kieran Molloy ]
Those natural steps have made their way into the band’s upcoming EP Cycles of Grief Volume 1: Growth. Recording it in 2016, Cursed Earth have clearly been through a number of personal and career highlights since they first laid the tracks down. “Some of the music we recorded a year ago it actually sounds quite sterile to us,” says Molloy. “There are little things we’ve changed here and there to change the vibe. I don’t think we’re a different band… every song has a life and just because it’s recorded doesn’t mean it’s finished. We’ll continue to evolve and change them as long as we continue playing them… Considering we have such short songs, it could be forever!”
We close off our chat by discussing exactly how they’ve been making it around to every stop. Their touring van has afroturf on the top and the band have been taking full advantage by making their own ‘summer in winter’. The guitarist gestures at the Wicked van emblazoned with a mural of Jimi Hendrix: “You can’t expect the same people to put you up two weeks or a month every time we’re over here. So we’ve been pulling up on the side of the road, putting deckchairs up on the roof and having a few beers. We’ve got the Bluetooth speaker, esky, and just chill out.” No pun intended of course.