Old rona may be hanging around like a party guest who’s overstayed their welcome, but …
Australia’s very own warriors for the earth In Hearts Wake have just unleashed their hot new album Kaliyuga; a passionate record for the band’s fifth full-length release and one that was born out of fire, according to bassist and clean vocalist Kyle Erich.
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“Honestly, we just had a bit of a fire in us going into the record. We had a lot of time off after recording Ark, we haven’t written any music for almost two years. And I think, honestly, we really needed that reset to know what we wanted to create again. And when we did get back in the studio, it felt like we were recording Divination again. We were all just super excited to be there, super excited to put something out.” says Erich.
In terms of theme, Kaliyuga couldn’t be more the opposite from the band’s last album Ark, with the two albums representing the elements of fire and water, respectively. That being said, according to guitarist Ben Nairne, there were still some similarities in the recording process of Kaliyuga.
“Obviously, we’re still the same band, still the same members that were on Ark. It’s naturally gonna have some similarities. But I think the biggest difference with it was that we didn’t confine ourselves to any boundaries as far as the musical side of things went … Usually in the past maybe, we might’ve gone, ‘Oh, this is a little bit too much’. Like, ‘Is this In Hearts Wake?’ But, I feel like with Kaliyuga we really just went with it, and if it felt good and sounded good, if it was fun, if it had those cool elements to it, we just stuck to our guns and went with it.” says Nairne.
Exactly. Like we’ve kind of tippy-toed around it for a while, and this time we just were like, ‘We don’t care if we offend anyone. It has to be said.
[ Ben Nairne ]
This lack of confinement has only made for a stronger record with Kaliyuga, as is plays from track to track as one of the band’s most diverse and experimental albums to date.
“We had a lot of really big ideas going into Ark and I think that we kind of, we didn’t not do them, but we didn’t do them to the extent that we wanted to by the time we finished the album …And this record, every song had a big idea attached to it, whether that be an instrument like a didgeridoo or, you know, even just a lyric that we could base the entire track around.” says Erich.
“So basically, we weren’t going in thinking every song has this genre attached to it or something like that. It was more idea-based writing, and I think that has led to a really diverse record.” continues Erich.
Another thing that sets Kaliyuga apart from In Hearts Wake’s previous albums is the message behind it. While they’ve always set their sights on mother nature in their music, with confronting tracks like Worldwide Suicide on this record, they’re not mincing their words.
“Especially with Worldwide Suicide, we’ve done the environmental issue a lot of times, but we’ve never really just literally just said it without a metaphor or something like that.” says Erich.
“Exactly. Like we’ve kind of tippy-toed around it for a while, and this time we just were like, ‘We don’t care if we offend anyone. It has to be said.’ So, we just went with it.” adds Nairne.
Worldwide Suicide isn’t the only track on Kaliyuga with a strong meaning either, with songs like Crisis, Dystopia and 2033 all carrying socially and environmentally aware messages through their lyrics; and such strong messages are exactly what In Hearts Wake set out to achieve on this record.
I think every member of the band had some sort of small epiphany, where they were like, ‘I really want this to be more than just music, I want this to be something that I can be proud of. Something I can look back on and say that we made a difference’ and all. That we did something positive. And I think we’ve really translated that into Kaliyuga.
[ Kyle Erich ]
“Ever since we were getting ready to record Earthwalker and Skydancer–we were in the writing process for it–I think every member of the band had some sort of small epiphany, where they were like, ‘I really want this to be more than just music, I want this to be something that I can be proud of. Something I can look back on and say that we made a difference’ and all. That we did something positive. And I think we’ve really translated that into Kaliyuga.” says Erich.
“You know, metal, hardcore, it’s derived from the punk days, and that’s always been mostly based around a political point, you know, ‘Are you making a stand against something?’… And I think it’s pretty important, the kind of music that we’re playing, that we’ve got such a good platform to spread a message of some kind, so why not make it something of substance that has some importance to it?” adds Nairne.
“With Worldwide Suicide, we were in the studio recording that while the fires were burning in Australia, in California, the Amazon. And we’ve been preaching this for a while now, and we do cop a little bit of flack for it. People are like, ‘Oh, In Hearts Wake, talking about the same thing again’, but we were kind of just fed up, and we’re like, ‘No, we’re serious about this.’” continues Nairne.
Beyond just their songs, Kaliyuga sees In Hearts Wake walking the walk in their quest for a better planet–with Kaliyuga marking the band’s first 100% carbon-offset album; an achievement that Erich and Nairne hope will inspire other bands and companies in the future.
“We’ve done our best over the years with planting trees, and we don’t use plastic bottles and things, we haven’t for years now, we always bring our own stuff. But, you know, we were doing Marine clean-ups with all the debris, and there was a couple of years ago that we were still using like blow-up plastic things at our shows and we had some CO2 and a bit of pyro. And that was the exact kind of stuff that we were against.” says Nairne.
“I think this album, we’ve finally gotten to the point where we know how to actually put this album out and the message actually coincides with what the band is actually doing. Like we can talk all day long, but it’s time to actually do what we set out to do and what the music is trying to say, you know?” adds Erich.
While the process of carbon-offsetting Kaliyuga–by measuring all the carbon dioxide produced in the making of the record (including freight, flights and electricity)–may seem like the obvious step forward for the band, it’s not something they always thought was possible.
“The main factor in wanting to carbon offset, and it was also a pretty big experiment, like ‘Can, can it be done? Is it possible to measure all of this stuff and then come up with a figure at the end?’ And it turns out it is, and it’s actually not as difficult as what people may think. And I guess we want to spread that message, to show other bands and other companies that it can be done.” says Nairne.
However, no band in 2020 has been unscathed by the current global restriction due to COVID-19. Besides all touring plans being pushed back to 2021 and plans for the Son of a Witch, Hellbringer and Dystopia music videos being changed last minute, one other disheartening aspect from our current global crisis is the return to our reliance on single-use plastics; albeit in the name of safety.
“It’s really tough seeing stuff like that. And I mean, I guess it’s necessary, but I think the main message is some things are unavoidable like that for the health and safety of the public. But what everyone needs to do is then do their best to counteract that, and not be using single use plastics in other places where they can easily be avoided.” says Nairne.
“There’s always going to be setbacks and there’s always easy ways to do things and sometimes that’s not the most ecofriendly or best way to do it, but, now that we’ve come this far, I think that after this pandemic, hopefully we’ll be ready, more prepared. Cause maybe we’re only using those things because we’re not prepared with options that are environmentally friendly.” says Erich.
“I think we’ve always been strong believers in, we do the best that we can. We’re not perfect. No one’s perfect. Obviously if the world was to thrive, we wouldn’t exist. If none of us existed then the world would be great. So, we have to do the best that we can while we’re here, you know?” adds Nairne.
With Kaliyuga marking the end of In Hearts Wake’s elemental saga–with previous albums Earthwalker and Skydancer representing the remaining two of the four elements, earth and air respectively–the question on most fan’s minds will surely be ‘What comes next?’
“Far out, I don’t know. Everyone says the cosmos but (laughs), I’m not really too sure man. Maybe we’ll just start it again. Or maybe there’ll be a fifth element by the time the next album comes out dude.” says Erich.
“I mean, I’m not sure as far as the theme for the next album, but I think, musically, it’ll be more diverse than ever. So, you know, probably heavier than the heavy stuff on Kaliyuga, and then even lighter than some of the lighter stuff like Crossroads on the next record.” adds Nairne.
Regardless of what comes next for the band, Erich and Nairne just hope people enjoy Kaliyuga and come into the album without any expectations of what you think you know about In Hearts Wake.
“It’s definitely the most confident we’ve ever sounded before. I think this is the first album we’ve gone in and just completely known what we wanted to create and actually done what we set out to do, which is really exciting. Feels like we’re really confident writers now. I know it’s taken five albums (laughs), but.” says Erich.
“I see a lot of people judging our friends’ bands and other bands on the internet and stuff like that, but you have to understand that the people writing this are also human, and they’re putting everything, their heart and soul into these records. So just be open minded about it and realise that bands do evolve as they grow as people, obviously their music’s going to change as well.” says Nairne.
But as far as the singles, everyone’s been loving it so far, our fans have always been so supportive and they’ve been extremely supportive over the singles of Kaliyuga, so we’re just over the moon about that.” continues Nairne.
“I’d just love people to go in, and to listen to the record with an open mind. There’s a few tracks that’ll definitely throw people, and I think as a whole, when you listen through the record, it really is quite a journey. So, I hope they just sit through, don’t expect anything, but just kind of hear the album as it plays through, you know. And I hope they enjoy it.” says Erich.