Hands up who’s seen The Castle? You know, the most Australian movie ever. Apart from …
West Aussie four piece Nucleust have set upon the world their long awaited debut album, Terra Cerebral. The album is a worthy ode to the forefathers of progressive metal featuring songs, much like the latest single, Quantum Umbrella, made up of immeasurable twists and turns.
Just a few days after the release, the band will loading up the van for an extensive run of tour dates, seeing them hit just about every nook and cranny in the country. Currently on his way to tour rehearsals, we caught up with the band’s guitarist, Max.
Hysteria: How does it feel to be so close to finally getting this thing out?
Max: It feels really good, man. It’s been such a great experience for myself, especially because I’m not sure if you know, but I actually got on board and recorded the album myself at my own home studio, which we call the Fridge Box Studio. There’s a reason behind it, as well. Because basically, I just brought a fridge box from a JB Hi-Fi, and then put foam into it and make it like an acoustic environment, and we recorded the vocals inside of it and after that we just called this space Fridge Box Studio.
Yeah. So it was the first song actually got on board with recording something in that level. Which you’re serious, it’s going to be your first album for my band. Honestly thanks to Stevic from Twelve Foot Ninja, because he was the one who actually encouraged me to do it. ‘Cause I was first place I had a chat with him, like a couple months ago before we start recording, and I asked him if he actually records bands. We ended up getting to a point of, he told me, “Hey. Why are you not recording it yourself? That’s what I do”. And I say, “All right. I’m not sure if I can do it”. And he said, “Don’t worry, just ask me. I’ll help you out as well”. That’s what exactly happened, so I just bought a couple of hardware that I needed to make … just to record it better, a couple of [bits of software] that I needed. Again what Stevic suggested. Just trust your own ear, and that’s what I did.
Yeah, and I’m pretty happy. So that’s one of the reasons I should be really looking forward to it, and I really want to see what the feedback is.
The other one is basically, this is our first album, which we put all our energy and souls into it. I believe … I’m really, really proud of it because I feel like this is exactly the kind of music that I want to do at this point. One of the greatest things about this album is basically, it’s a whole band that’s it as well, because me and Shay, specifically, are heavily involved in the writing and recording of the songs together. It’s such a great band effort.
Doing the whole album, recording it, and just undertaking that massive technical duty. Is it something you’ll ever do again? From what I understand it could be quite intense.
100%, man. I would definitely 100% do it again. Maybe next time we’ll take more time doing it. Because with this album everything kind of ended up being at the last minute thing, which put a bit of a pressure, a stress on all of us. But I will definitely do it next time, but definitely will take it easier and slower and maybe have more time to record the album. Spend, like, a year to do it instead of, you know, two months.
The thing with us, when we say progressive metal, we really believe in the definition of progression.
How did you find the debut album process? It seems like every band kind of has their own experience tackling this thing.
As I mentioned, it was such a weird and exciting experience because our last two EPs that we released before… I kind of wrote the whole song, and then just give it to the other band members and they’d just get on board and learn how to do it. Whether it was Shay or a couple of other songs.
But this time we, me and Shay decided, say, “Hey. You know what? We should just write the whole album together, side-by-side”. So this time instead of me just finishing a song and then tell everyone, “Hey. There you go. Your parts. Learn it,” it was basically just a session.
Shay comes to my house or the other way, and then we’d just say, “Hey. What do you got?”, and then “Hey. Look at this. Check this out. I got a pretty cool riff”. Shay’d say, “Yeah, that’s really cool. How about I play this after that”? Just literally like that, man. So we just sit down together and just come up with riffs and then we’d just say, “No, that’s shit. No, that’s really good. Oh, that’s all right”. And then we’d try to pick the best ones. Then we worked on transition, which is really important for us to get.
I really like the music to have a good flow. If you remember our first EP, it wasn’t big like that. We had a lot of breakdowns between. There was a lot of stop and start. I don’t really like that way anymore, I really like the whole music to have a really nice flow, the least amount of stop and start. The flow has to be that good that when you listen to it you don’t even feel the changing of the riffs.
Sort of like the song Quantum Umbrella.
The thing with us, when we say progressive metal, we really believe in the definition of progression. So when you listen to the album, we probably don’t have any repetitive parts in our song. Maybe one or two in maybe the whole album. Everything starts like there’s one riff, you start it, and it ends somewhere else. That’s our whole point of view of progressive, so that’s what we believe progressive metal should be like this. It’s only our point of view, anyway. Because of that we always starting from a … It’s like you’re telling a story, you know what I’m saying. It’s like you’re telling a story. You start it from somewhere; you finish it somewhere else. And if you keep repeating the same story in between, people are just going to get bored. That’s my perspective at least.
It makes it really hard, because, if you’re going to have ten different riffs in one song, which is five minutes, then if you want people to really have a lot of good connections with those riffs, you have to have great transitions between those riffs. And that’s all we work on our keeps.
Because I notice in some bands they have a passage of drums in between a song on theirs. We really didn’t want to do it with the melody like with the actual music, so musically we wanted to have a good transition. Like using the right harmony or using the right scale going from one melody to the next one. So we really are kind of cautious about those things, and take it to a perspective that’s like, “Hey. We know that. We know this. Let’s have it on board and use it”.
So that was the perspective, basically, just making musically works and having great transitions, basically.
So now you guys are about to take this thing on the road. What’s it like getting the songs “road ready?”
Yeah, yeah. That is a bit of a challenge. We actually, this is the third jam we’re going to have this week, by the way. So, we jammed Monday, Tuesday, and tonight again. We also have a show on Friday, supporting one of our friends, which is kind of like our pre-tour show as well.
It’s not easy. I’m going to be honest with you, because we don’t have much time, really to master them. So it wasn’t again, the matter of hours and hours of practise every day for all of us just to make sure, because we really kick you out. We want it to sound really tight, and we want it to sound really close to the actual record. Because of that, right after we finished recording we all have been practising like crazy. Hours and hours of the day, just to make sure we can commit to that deadline, which is starting the tour next week.
It is hard because we are a four piece band as well. There’s only me that plays guitar, and there’s lots of layers in our songs, though, which we need to be really careful about not using too much backing tracks, you know what I’m saying? Because we don’t want to put guitars in backing tracks. I’m going to play all the guitars. There might be some strings, or some small arpeggios in the backing tracks, but we want to make sure our live set up is somehow in a way that sounds like a four piece band, because we are a four piece band, and that’s really important for us. You probably going to keep it that way forever because … It’s just how we are. We are a four piece band. We are a band with one guitar, one bass, and that’s a characteristic of the band in my opinion.
Terra Cerebral is out today. Read our review!
NUCLEUST TERRA AUSTRALIS TOUR
Saturday, August 5: The Loft: Warrnambool, VIC
Friday, August 11: The Evelyn Hotel: Melbourne, VIC
Saturday, August 12: The Music Man Megastore: Bendigo, VIC
Friday, August 18: The Basement: Canberra, ACT
Saturday, August 19: Dicey Rileys: Wollongong, NSW
Sunday, August 20: Frankies Pizza: Sydney, NSW
Thursday, August 24: The Small Ballroom: Newcastle, NSW
Friday, August 25: The Back Room: Brisbane, QLD [Shredfest]
September 1st: The Boston: Perth, WA [supporting Frankenbok]
Friday, September 8: Badlands – Perth, WA
September 15: Prince Of Wales Hotel: Brisbane, QLD
Saturday, September 16: New Tattersalls Hotel: Lismore, NSW [Metal United Down Under]
Sunday, October 1: Capital, Perth, WA (Supporting Haken)