Being in a hardcore band for 25 years can make it pretty darn tough when …
Brisbane fresh-blood hardcore act Frailmind have made a quick follow-up on their debut EP Mortal from earlier this year with a significantly groovier new track, I, Expire.
MORE: KICK OUT THE JAMS with IN HEARTS WAKE // PRIVATE FUNCTION: It’s Always Their Line REVIEWS: ALPHA WOLF: a quiet place to die // MARILYN MANSON: We Are Chaos // NOFX/FRANK TURNER: West Coast Vs. Wessex // IN HEARTS WAKE: Kaliyuga // KING PARROT: Holed Up In The Lair // MOVEMENTS: No Good Left To Give // iDKHOW: RAZZMATAZZ // FRAILMIND: I, Expire
While the up-and-coming four-piece consists of members from various older bands in the local Brisbane scene, Frailmind have had to do some work to find their sound, and according to guitarist Sam Ballinger, that work has paid off on I, Expire.
“It’s definitely a step forward. The EP [Mortal], bar one track, was written all in 2014 by myself before any of the members were in this band, and so it’s a product of the time, definitely. And then it’s about, you know, six years too late, I would say, that that EP came out. This new stuff is definitely what we should have started with, and then I think we’re on the right track.”
While this funkier, more nu metal inspired sound on I, Expire confidently sets the track apart from their older work, the message of the track stands strong on its own; a message that will no doubt be familiar to many listeners, as explained by vocalist Keenan Kuz.
“I, Expire was mainly written regarding mental health, mental illnesses, especially with that being such a big focus at the moment with COVID affecting people in that sort of way. It’s something that I, and a lot of people I know, have struggled with for a while, and I just want to bring that more to people’s attention and kind of throw it in their face.”
While the song’s message relates more to Kuz on a personal level than the rest of the band, it’s something that band members Ballinger and bassist Cameron Yates agree that most listeners will be able to relate with.
“I think it’s something that everyone goes through at some stage, you know, some people more than others, but definitely affects everyone in some way,” says Ballinger.
“Yeah, like everyone in this band sort of deals with their own different shit, and it’s better to talk to someone, you know, get that dialogue started,” adds Yates.
Fans of heavy music will know that hardcore and other heavy genres have always been a positive outlet for deeply emotional messages. With I, Expire tackling mental illness in its lyrics, singing about something more meaningful comes with the territory for Frailmind.
I think writing in the heavier sort of music in the first place, you’re not doing it for the money. You’re not doing it to be a pop star. So, I think it’s very important that you are a hundred percent your true self, no matter how in-your-face it is to whoever it is.
[ Sam Ballinger ]
“I think writing in the heavier sort of music in the first place, you’re not doing it for the money. You’re not doing it to be a pop star. So, I think it’s very important that you are a hundred percent your true self, no matter how in-your-face it is to whoever it is. Because you’re not doing it for the money in the first place, so you’re not trying to be fake. You’re just trying to express yourself,” says Ballinger.
Of course, singing songs about mental illness and personal struggles is never an easy task, but it certainly helps that Frailmind were already close friends before they formed the band. Having known each other for years leading up to Frailmind’s formation in 2019, it almost seems like fate the way things have ended up for the band.
“We’ve just sort of like, organically meshed together. Like Sam and [drummer Jesse Dobbyn], we’re doing some stuff and we’re like, ‘Oh, we need a second guitarist or bass player’ and I sorta fell into doing bass. And then it was like, ‘Oh, I’d want Keenan to do this’, after a whole lot of trying to pin people down, like Keenan’s the best fit for it. He’s good at what he does and he’s a good guy,” says Yates.
“We’re all just great mates, so it was just easy. It was just like, ‘Hey, I know you play bass, do you want to be in the band?’ ‘Yeah, sure’. Done (laughs),” adds Ballinger.
Despite the members of Frailmind all having a history in the local scene, with the members collectively having played with the likes of Make Them Suffer, Polaris, Chelsea Grin and Fit For A King in former bands, this new band is a new start. One of the biggest benefits of this new start is in the group’s collaborative writing process, with the band confidently finding their sound through I, Expire.
“It’s a bit more cohesive with what we all like, because like Sam said, he wrote most of Mortal by himself, and then we all sort of came in like, ‘Oh, we like this, we like this’. So, it’s a lot more of a blending of all of our individual influences, put into one song,” says Yates.
“Besides my last band that played two shows, I guess this is the first project I’ve had that has actually released music as well as wanting to progress with that. Especially working with like, compared to my first band, not all of us could agree on our form of music, and it was a lot of one person’s writing this, or one person’s chipping in. Whereas this band is like a collective of just writing, and we all have different influences which come together and form very well with the sound we’re trying to go for,” adds Kuz.
With Frailmind being a new leg up for most of its members, the band hope to achieve a few more milestones together that they’ve yet to hit individually through their former bands.
“Personally, I think the biggest goal for me in this band is, I want to get overseas with this band. That’s something that’s always been a little bit of a pipe dream. I seem to have broken down those barriers from when I was a 16-year-old in my old bands, and gone, ‘Oh, you know, I want to play with Chiodos one day’ or something like that. And then it ended up happening with my old band, so, it’s starting to come together and be like, ‘Oh, okay, this is actually an achievable thing.’
“It’s not like a teenage dream anymore. I’m 27 now, and I think, I’ve got like, I’m putting myself down to four years I’ve got to get overseas (laughs),” says Ballinger.
While the boys have big plans ahead of them, for now they’re confident with the sound they’ve put together on I, Expire. While the track may not technically be the band’s debut, for Ballinger, it is the starting point for what’s to come in Frailmind’s future.
“I kind of want this to be the breakthrough track, in the sense that, not that it’ll get a lot of use straight away, but this is who we are, and this is the base for it. I’d rather not dwell on what we did with the previous release, I’d rather have this one be the main focus. Then if, you know, if people’s will is to listen to Frailmind, I’d want this one to be like, ‘Ok, this is where it started’,” says Ballinger.
“I just want people to be like, ‘Man, I’d spin kick my best friend to this track’ nearly, but like ‘I’d also care about them emotionally a lot’ at the same time (laughs),” adds Yates.