Latest release: Digital Lies (Independent)
Band site: www.lord.net.au
After taking a hiatus from touring in 2011, Wollongong/Sydney melodic metallers LORD are preparing to release new album Digital Lies and are hitting the road for an extensive tour. Bassist Andy Dowling took time out from finalising the new material to talk about the making of the album, the upcoming tour, recent shows with Iced Earth and in Germany, their appearance at the Darwin leg of Bastardfest and more.
Q: There’s plenty to talk about regarding recent activity in the LORD camp. First cab off the rank; what’s the latest on a release date and label for the new album Digital Lies?
A: Very good question! To be honest, we’re not 100 per cent of when just yet. We originally intended to have the album out by now, but we’ve had a mountain of delays (as we appear to have every time we go into the studio). It’s not ideal, but we have really wanted to make sure that this album is done right. No short cuts. The album will still have a 2012 release, I can guarantee that. I would hope that we have a release date in the next few weeks. Either way, we’re confident that it will be worth the wait.
Q: Can you tell us about the inspiration for the album title?
A: LT (Lord Tim) is the brain child behind the concept, but I’ll do my best to explain. The title track of the same name depicts a dystopian future where technology is augmenting mankind. It’s got to a point where it’s gone beyond normal and is actually encouraged by the ‘powers that be’, with all of the propaganda and spin that a corrupt government can assemble.
There are a couple of different points of view in the song. There’s a narrator that outlines how we’ve evolved, the propaganda that’s spewed to the masses to make them believe that all that is taking place is working towards a bright future that the population deserves. There’s also a point of view of a person who has decided that this direction of life is not favourable for him, but he’s been abducted against his will and forced to undergo augmentation procedures. It depicts the horror associated with being cut open and technology forced upon him. Intense stuff.
Q: Indeed. Once again, the cover art was done by Felipe Machado (Blind Guardian, Iced Earth, Gamma Ray). Can you tell us about the concept this time around?
A: The cover had to reflect the lyrics of the title track, so we decided to subject our long-standing mascot to the same kind of tortures. It’s a little different to the song idea because Felipe had his own take when putting the artwork together, but we believe that the intent of the song still comes across. The album as a whole has a real ‘tech’ undertone running through the music, so the cover represents the album as a whole and not solely inspired by just the title track.
Q: LORD has a reputation for a wide-reaching sound that expands far beyond the realms of heavy metal. However, do you think fans will still be surprised how far you’ve extended yourselves with the new material?
A: Yes and no. I think people will be surprised with certain elements, but I also believe that we have already built a reputation, as you have mentioned, of being quite diverse with our music, so people will not be terribly shocked with any of the songs. If you enjoyed the last album Set in Stone, I dare say that you will really dig this one as well.
Q: The band made its return to the live scene by supporting Iced Earth in Sydney and Melbourne earlier this year. How was that experience?
A: It was certainly a nice way to come back to the stage. Both shows really helped us get back into the groove of playing live again and why we love it. The crowds were fantastic and it was a real honour to play with Iced Earth. I got to spend a bit of time with the guys and they were fantastic; genuine dudes and quite down to earth. It was just a shame that it was only a two-show Australian tour. Hopefully we’ll get to share the stage again with them in the future.
Q: You also recently trekked to Germany for the renowned Headbangers Open Air festival. It’s not the band’s first overseas jaunt, but tell us about that experience.
A: Germany is a great market for the type of music we play, so we jumped at the chance to play the festival. We had a great time and were treated really well by the organisers and fans. It was only a brief trip this time around, but we’re hoping that it will begin to open new doors for us in 2013 and beyond. There are a lot of people in Europe that have been waiting for us to come over and play, so we’re hoping that it won’t be just Germany next time.
Q: Does the band have any more overseas touring in the pipeline once the new record is released?
A: We’ll be in New Zealand next month, if that counts? (laughs) Apart from that we will be back to Japan early next year, and have had offers to travel to Southeast Asia, Europe, the US and India. It will all come down to the almighty dollar and if we can afford to get it all happening. The interest internationally is growing steadily for us, so we just hope that we can afford to get to all of these places in the near future.
Q: Good to hear. The band is heading out again for a huge national tour. How excited are you to get back on the road after being on hiatus during 2011 and only doing selected shows thus far this year?
A: We’re pretty excited, but nervous as well. Crowds in Australia for Australian-based metal haven’t been the best over the past few years, so we’re hoping that we get a great response as we have dropped a lot of money into the tour. In the end there will always be a risk, and we do it for the love of it. Fingers crossed we’re not financially crippled by the end of the year so we can keep it all going.
Q: Did the band feel it was necessary to take some time off from touring? Did you feel like the band had become over-exposed on the live scene perhaps?
A: Absolutely necessary; we were burnt out. We have no management and no real label financial support, so we run and fund everything ourselves – totally DIY. In some aspects it’s great and in others it totally sucks balls, however we do take a lot of pride and satisfaction in doing it all ourselves, even if there are limitations and the stress levels get higher than sometimes necessary.
I don’t believe we were over-exposed, but we did know that taking time away from the live scene would help us when we go back out to play. The only downside to not touring is not having the income from playing live. That was the only struggle we came across, and we’re still going through that now. It will take a while before we’re back on our feet financially.
Q: Will LORD be road-testing much new material at the upcoming shows?
A: We sure will. We’ll be dropping a couple songs in from the new album at the beginning of the tour and then adding others as the tour progresses and the new album comes out. We will also have a few songs that we have either never played live before, or very rarely. It should be a really fun set.
Q: The band will also appear at the Darwin leg of the Bastardfest tour. What are your expectations for this show and in turn, what can punters expect from you at the festival?
A: Our first trip to Darwin in 2010 was fantastic. We had one of the best turnouts of the tour, and had such a great response from the locals up there. This year we’re hoping we can recapture that same vibe, and will be making sure that we pull out all of the stops to make sure it’s a show they remember. We’ve formed a great reputation up there, so we want that to continue.
Q: You’re renowned for your diverse taste in music, so what have been some of your favourite releases of 2012 thus far?
A: To be honest, I’ve spent most of this year catching up on the last few years’ worth of music! There have been only a small number of releases this year that I’ve checked out, but the top of the list is definitely Anathema’s new one, followed by Accept and Kreator’s latest efforts. I did get a copy of Richard Marx’s new one, but I haven’t had a chance to spin that one yet… I’ll get back to you on that one (laughs).
Q: Any famous last words?
A: The usual – thank you as always to everyone who takes the time not only listen and enjoy our music, but comes out to shows, buys our merch and purchases our albums instead of downloading them for free. You guys are keeping the LORD train rolling, and we will always be thankful for that. As long as you guys stick with us, then we’ll make sure we keep supplying the goods.
LORD is on tour with Electrik Dynamite until December:
14/9: The Patch, Wollongong NSW
15/9: Bald Faced Stag Hotel, Sydney NSW
29/9: The Basement, Canberra ACT
13/10: Esplanade Hotel, Melbourne VIC
14/10: Karova Lounge, Ballarat VIC
19/10: Tempo Hotel, Brisbane QLD
20/10: Shailer Park High School, Brisbane QLD
20/10: Billys Beach House Hotel, Gold Coast QLD
26/10: Newmarket Hotel, Bendigo VIC
27/10: Bang!, Melbourne VIC
28/10: National Hotel, Geelong VIC
10/11: Bastardfest @ Browns Mart, Darwin NT
16/11: Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston TAS
17/11: The Republic Bar, Hobart TAS
23/11: Fowlers Live, Adelaide SA (A/A)
24/11: Night Train, Broken Hill NSW
8/12: Home Tavern, Wagga Wagga NSW