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Perth chaotic metalcore outfit Statues are no strangers to the east coast of Australia. Despite the distance, the band have made the trip many times over, and they’re about to come round again; packing the van for a headline tour that stops in Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide.
When Hysteria chats to bass player Matthew Templeman, the band are only a few weeks out from tour. But already, excitement has begun to set in.
“We love going over east. We always have a great time and now we’re playing with some old friends, which is really cool” Templeman says.
One of the highlights of touring for Templeman is the chance to connect with people from across the country. “It’s so welcoming and it has been for so long,” says Templeman. “There’s always someone volunteering a couch for us to crash on.”
“I just actually like being on the road and doing something different and just being around like minded people. I think that’s what’s really great about it.”
This time, Statues are on tour to celebrate the release of their new album No Grave, No Burial – the band’s most technical and cohesive release to date. The five-piece took their writing to the next level, creating a concept album based around the consequences of a civil war. It’s an album that is born out of the band’s political mindset.
“We feel pretty strongly about a bunch of human rights abuses that are going on in the world as a result of the refugee crisis, and everyone always thinks of that as a political situation because there is obviously a lot of serious political ramifications with all of that“ Templeman explains.
“We feel like the story of the individual could get a little bit lost and so we wanted to try and, with our limited experience and knowhow, tell the story of what it might be like for individuals going through something like that.”
“The story follows a character being forced to leave his home in a really tragic circumstance, and just the process of him trying to find somewhere safe for him and his loved ones to reside. That’s the very short synopsis of it.”
“One of the reasons that album is the length that it is, is because eventually we really want to start playing the whole album through in its entirety as our live set”
Not only are the concepts behind No Grave, No Burial larger than anything Statues have attempted before, but the writing process was more collaborative as a result. Writing songs that not only worked together, but served the narrative meant that the band often had to write lyrics before music; something that was new for them.
“It just sort of happened naturally where Scott had written a couple of tunes that had a bit of a similar vibe, and we are like ‘Hey, is this the time to do this?’” says Templeman. “We’re really massive progressive rock fans from way back in the day, so the concept album has always been on the list.”
“Then we sort of started flushing out the story with our vocalist Alex. He really should have all the credit, he wrote the entire concept.”
With the album finally out in the world, Statues have a new challenge; how do you translate a concept album to the stage? How do songs work when removed from their context?
Templeman says that this upcoming run of headline shows is just a taste of things to come. “One of the reasons that album is the length that it is, is because eventually we really want to start playing the whole album through in its entirety as our live set,” he says.
“That’s not happening this time, just because we figured we wanted to play a few older songs for the people that have stuck with us for a while. But yeah, that’s definitely the goal eventually. To be playing it front to back, that will probably be happening later this year.”
It’s important to note that it’s not just the ‘concept’ part of the album that’s fresh for Statues. No Grave, No Burial also sees the band take a step up with writing and production; across nine songs the five-piece flex their technical muscles, while simultaneously increasing production values across the board – another hurdle they must jump during their live shows.
Luckily, the record was engineered by Matthew Templeman himself – allowing them to try new things on stage. “The advantage of me engineering the record [is] getting a few backing tracks we’ve not really done before…and just some new sounds in the live environment, which we’ve not really been doing before.”
With all the hurdles that Statues jumped to make the concept album work; is there a chance we will see another one?
“I would really like to do it again. I don’t know if I can speak for everyone,” Templeman says.
“It would be cool to try and continue a story within the same universe but not necessarily with the same set of characters.”
Statues begin their No Grave, No Burial album tour in Adelaide on Thursday 22nd February. After that they hit Sydney on Friday 23rd February, Melbourne on 24th & 25th February, before wrapping up in their hometown of Perth on 3rd & 4th March. All shows are supported by Arteries.