ST. SINNER // Warehouses of Dreams and Darkness

st. sinner 2023

If you’re a metal-ish band and don’t drop a video in a disused warehouse, are you even a real band? It’s something that our National Capital ‘core destroyers St. Sinner once pondered.

MORE: COAL CHAMBER: No More Dark Days // NECK DEEP: Rating: 8 Middle Fingers REVIEWS: GREEN DAY: Saviors // CASEY: How To Disappear // ST. SINNER: Dysphoria (feat. Belle Haven)

Though they have inhabited abandoned spaces to record vision, they opted for hellscapes and fever dreams on their latest single Dysphoria, an ghoulish animated trip through the dark corridors of our subconscious. Filling it to the brim with emotion courtesy of David de la Hoz of Belle Haven, guitarist and mastermind Rory Maclean talked to Hysteria about how it all came together, how our Canberra peeps are travelling, and what’s next for these exciting young upstarts hailing from the seat of power.

neck deep hysteria

Hysteria: First of all, we need to talk about that animated video clip for Dysphoria. It’s just stunning.

Rory: The last video we did was for Headcase. We did it through a guy called Guy Veers, who was awesome. He’s fucking incredible. We were going to go through him again for Dysphoria, but we kind of ran out of money. So we decided to go in a completely different direction with it from what we originally thought. We’re like, ‘why don’t we just do something animated?’ So that’s what we decide. So there was this UK-based dude on Instagram who I’ve known for a little bit who’s done some art that I really like. He’s @hollowedgraphix on Instagram and he’s done videos for Periphery and bands like that. I hit him up and asked, “Hey, how much is the video clip?” and it ended up being cheaper than what we were originally envisioning. I brain dumped on him all of my fever dream ideas for this video and the lore behind it and how it sort of fit into our story. And he was like, “yeah, man, I got you.” He came back with that, which is sick. It doesn’t feel pretentious saying that either, because I didn’t make it. [laughs]

It’s a far cry from the usual disused warehouse or the band screaming at an empty field video clip. There’s no shortage of those.

[laughs] Funny you mentioned that! For the Headcase video, we were like, we can’t do a guy screaming in the middle of nowhere and we can’t do a disused warehouse. We just can’t do it. And then the only location that we could book that was going to fit with kind of vaguely what we wanted was a kinds disused warehouse, and we were like, “fuck.” But yeah, no, it is a bit different. Doing something completely animated I hadn’t seen for a while. Maybe Medicine for Bring Me The Horizon. So I was like, okay, cool. Let’s do something like that.

There’s tropes in every music genre. I mean, the black and white super high grain video for metal bands. The indie band frolicking about a field. It’s almost like a rite of passage.

Yes, Deftones did a few of those. They can get away with it though, because they’re Deftones.

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True. For the track, how did you get Belle Haven to collab? Was it a long time coming?

At the start of last year, we were supporting Banks Arcade at their Canberra show and Belle Haven were the touring support. I kind of had known about them for a little bit, but it was a cool thing. Then we met David [de la Hoz, vocalist] and the band and we really just sort of hit it off. He was a lovely, lovely dude, and I was like, “oh, I’d love to do a song with you guys,” and I’m thinking he’s looking at us like we’re going down the avenue of “yet another local band wants to do song with me. Go away.” And well, I was. [laughs].

At that point, we were “local band wants to do big things coming soon”, but he actually responded to my email. So we had a chat at the show and then I emailed him. It would’ve been two months later and I’d said “Hey, I’d really love to do a song.” We didn’t have a song written yet, but there was nothing there. I was like, yeah, I’ve got demos. I was lying and I was like, ao, I’ll fucking write something. And so myself and Sam [Thornhill] and Caleb [Jonas], who were the other two boys in the band, it happened really quickly. Dysphoria happened super quick.

We sent [David] the song and he was like, “Dude, this is fucking sick. I love it.” It was gratifying and also kind of encouraging. It felt like we’re doing the right thing if someone who is “successful” or at a point where we want to be at is liking the stuff that we’re doing.
[ Rory Maclean, St. Sinner ]

Really? Dysphoria doesn’t sound like something you put together in an afternoon.

I think it took us three days to complete the song and then we left it intentionally. We kind of intentionally wrote it to have a feature on it. And there was a few people obviously that we wanted, but they couldn’t do it for whatever reason. David, the whole time was like, “yeah, I’d love to.” We sent him the song and he was like, “Dude, this is fucking sick. I love it.” It was gratifying and also kind of encouraging. It felt like we’re doing the right thing if someone who is “successful” or at a point where we want to be at is liking the stuff that we’re doing. He got us the track back within a week. He was a machine! It was super, super easy and really open to changes to stuff as well. No weirdness, just a really good experience.

Here’s the inevitable “how is the Canberra scene doing” question, because I’m from a major metro area and am pretending to care. Jokes aside, what is life like in Canberra as a heavy muso?

It’s … a double-edged sword. The Canberra metal scene, the metal and rock scene is a thing. It does exist. I promise. There’s four people here. It’s growing. [laughs] So it’s still a very new city and it doesn’t have that sort of history. You know what I mean? If you go to it does. But it I feel like has died off and is only now just resurging and just growing. You don’t see a lot of bands tour. You see some, but you don’t see the majority. If there’s a relatively big tour going on, you don’t see them come through Canberra for two reasons. One: we don’t have a premier music venue. We have the Basement, which is a sick venue, but it’s in the north of Canberra, like 30 minutes away from the city. Two: it’s not for bands like us, it’s kind of for rock bands at a minimum, I would say we’re kind like an emo-metalcore kinda band.

soundworks dec hysteria

But for rock bands that are playing using any sort of variant of distortion, if you’re not playing indie rock or surf rock or if you don’t sound a little bit like Thirsty Merc, then Canberra generally doesn’t pop off for you. I think that’s just because it’s an alien thing a little bit. However, I don’t know. I could also be talking out of my ass, because Hands Like Houses do come from here and they’re awesome. But I think what we do a lot, we’ve done one show in the past eight to 10 months in Canberra, and that was at the start of December 2023.

I feel like we have to work a little bit harder because we get out, we do most of our shows interstate, but we’ll go to Sydney and people will be like, “oh, that’s a Canberra band.” There’s kind of like a stigma there, but it’s not necessarily a bad thing. I kind of like it. I kind like being from on the outside of a city that we’re going to and then going in and getting people into what we’re doing. So yeah, it’s a weird thing. I quite like living in Canberra. I like living here, but the music scene here is a bit closed off.

What’s on the table for 2024?

So we have a bunch of music that we’re sitting on without obviously giving too much away. We’re sitting on some shit and we’re in the middle of a cycle. So the Identity Crisis era, we’re just, I would say even just sort getting into that now with the second single. So next year we’re doing an East Coast tour of our own. I see the dates and it makes me anxious. We have more releases, so just more music. More, and I hate the word, but “content.” We just want to be putting out more stuff and getting to more places, which feels like the same goal every year, but I think this year we have a much more structured plan and it’s ready to go kind of deal as opposed to always being on the back foot and trying to bust out something with nothing prepared.

Purchase and stream here.

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