Latest release: Create/Collapse/Repeat
Band site: ironhide.bandcamp.com
Brisbane’s Ironhide aren’t afraid of pushing boundaries, with a sound that bridges hardcore, death metal, grindcore, progressive music, doom and just plain noise. Having recently released their debut album Create /Collapse/ Repeat and with a slew of gigs coming up including a spot on the Brisbane leg of the Loud-approved Bastardfest, we talked to co-vocalist Lochlan Watt about their influences, guest appearances on their record, the Brisbane heavy music scene, touring and more.
Q: As pointed out in our review, your album contains a very eclectic range of influences from throughout the heavy music world. How difficult can it be to maintain some semblance of order while writing songs when there are so many different elements there?
A: It can be difficult but we are all fairly experienced with how bands work and all throw our opinion out there. We do make a conscious effort not to let anything stray too far from what we have created in the past and what we intend to create; having said that, over time the boundaries of our sound have broadened quite a lot. Having only had the one guitarist for the album did also make it easier, and often he would come to the band with the whole bulk of a song done. He is also able to translate our ideas into riffs quite well. While Shaun (Burke, guitars) essentially leads the creative charge, it still feels like an organic process where everyone has their say on how it should be and is stoked on the final result.
Q: Given the diverse outlook on the album, what are the band members’ listening habits like? Travelling in the van during long trips on tour must feature some intriguing playlists.
A: Everyone has the common interest of heavy music but other than that there is some variation even within that. Shaun likes to play things like Weezer and Pat (Ruggles, vocals) can be found putting on some hip-hop every now and again. Mostly it just ends up as a wide range of metal bands though with whoever is intoxicated at the time taking control of the beats.
Q: You share Ironhide’s vocal duties with Patrick Ruggles. Who are some of your main vocal influences?
A: Pat comes from a more hardcore background and that is reflected in a lot of his delivery. I’m the more metal guy. Bands like The Ocean, A Secret Death and The Rivalry have been pretty big influences for vocals across the board.
Q: The album also features a range of guest appearances. How did this come to be?
A: I’m a huge fan of The Ocean and the idea was basically inspired by that band’s albums Aeolian and Precambrian, where they employed a lot of guest vocalists across the whole thing without it sounding gimmicky. As it was our first effort though, we figured it was best to keep it all to the one song, and that the finale would be the best place for it. Everyone on the album is friends, and we recorded all the guest vocals at a practice room in Brisbane with a vague idea of how the song was going to finish up, because we were going into the studio without that particular song fully written. Rob (Allen) was up in Brisbane on tour with In Trenches, Nathan (Wyner) got the train up from the Gold Coast and got drunk, Cameron (Gillard) owns the studio and Matt (Cook) was the guy recording it. Mike (Deslandes) from Coerce added some stuff once we were down there, he owned that studio and we became mates during our time there. We were also friends with the Palm boys, and after showing them the album on a Japan trip late last year we just got Toshi (Takahashi) to lay some stuff down and e-mail it over and have it put into the mix afterwards.
Q: Interesting. Some bands seem to collaborate for its own sake rather than to benefit the material, but the additional musicians add a great deal to the record. Who are some other Australian artists you’d like to work with in the future?
A: I think we got the guest vocal thing out of our system, and certainly aren’t be rushing to get guest spots lined up for our next release. Having some like Winston (McCall) from Parkway Drive do something on a track would definitely be cool, but at the same time we’d only have people that are our good mates on a recording. Perhaps we’ll meet more people along the way, though it could be cool having Dale (Halliday) from Night Hag and Tim (Smith) from Defamer on a track one day.
Q; The band has seemingly looked to the past, present and future with the album, making it available as a free download, selling CD copies and also doing a vinyl release. Do you think more bands need to make their music available in different formats to better adapt to the various ways people now consume music?
A: The internet is undeniable and we believe in embracing it to the fullest rather than trying to get blogspots taken down and fighting the futile fight against music piracy. Many people have donated to download the album, and as it stands we’ve pulled in over $500 thanks to pure downloads. Our past bands never came close to making that kind of money with a physical product. CDs have begun to feel a little worthless and expendable to us, yet vinyl is something a little more tangible, unique and ultimately more desirable to the serious music fan in 2011. Most bands definitely seem to be adapting to the times and it’s exciting to think about the future possibilities.
Q: Moving on, the band’s touring schedule includes a performance on the Brisbane leg of Bastardfest. What are your expectations for this festival?
A: We just see it as a great opportunity to play with some terribly good bands and have a great time. The festival itself provides a great opportunity for a band like us to showcase ourselves to a wider range of people which can almost never be a bad thing, except at a Wiggles concert. We’ll drink lots of beer.
Q: What do you think Ironhide can bring to the Bastardfest table that the other bands can’t?
A: A youthful exuberance. We are all fairly animated with our stage presence and like to try and put on a good, honest show. We’re the only band with two standalone vocalists, too, so expect a little more mayhem.
Q: You’ve been an active member of the Brisbane heavy music scene for some time now. What are some great up-and-coming bands from that part of the world that our readers may not have heard of, but should check out?
A: I recently started using the name MONOLITH that I’ve been running with for tours for a while as a record label, so the bands I’m most stoked on right now are the bands I’ve been working with. Idylls are really solid, grinding metalcore kind of like Agents of Abhorrence meets Converge meets Orchid. We share a bass player with them and they have a new 7″ coming out soon. Capeweather are awesome old school post-hardcore/screamo kind of stuff, Waiting Room for your passionate and metallic hardcore punk. I’d also recommend Acid Snake, Downpour, The Fevered, The Schoenberg Automaton, and the new Defamer album is going to kick your face in. P.S. Check out monolithmonolith.com
Q: Do you have any other musical projects in the works at the moment?
A: I sing and play keys in a band called Nuclear Summer. It’s a post-hardcore kind of thing, and while it’s still kinda dark it’s much more melodic and a less metal vocal approach than Ironhide. We’re recording an album at the moment. I’m having a bit of a play around with some stuff for a solo recording project that may or may not ever see the light of day.
Q: Good to hear. What new releases have you been enjoying lately?
A: My top releases from 2011 would be Born of Osiris – The Discovery, Coerce – Ethereal Surrogate Saviour, and Night Hag – Gilded Age.
Q: Any famous last words?
A: Smoke weed every day.