Latest release: The Inherited Repression (Riot!)

It wouldn’t be overstating the fact to suggest that Psycroptic is Australia’s premier death metal export. Now rarely seen on these shores as the fields and halls of Europe and SE Asia beckon more frequently, the Tasmanian quartet has just completed a tour with Swedish legends Nasum and will be making several more local appearances before the end of the year. Loud recently spoke to drummer Dave Haley.

Thanks for the time today Dave. The last time we spoke we just before Bastardfest last year when Psycroptic hadn’t played in Australia for over twelve months; it’s almost a year later and you haven’t really played here much since! 
I wouldn’t say it’s a conscious effort not to play too much in Australia. It’s just kinda worked out that way over the last couple of years. We do have to pick and choose what we do because we’ve all got commitments with work and stuff, especially Jason. He’s got a family. We’re not band that can play around Australia every week, so we just like to do what we feel is going to be the more fun shows, the cool shows. I’d love to be playing 2-300 shows a year but it’s not a reality. We just stick to ones we wanna do. When we got the opportunity to do the Nasum tour, we jumped at it because we’re all fans of the band. It’s history in the making. This reunion tour is never going to happen again. We got the offer and we were excited.

The European tour you did earlier in the year, you had to use stand-ins because Cam and Jason weren’t available to do the shows, is that correct? What was it like, doing a tour like that?
We had Joe Payne who used to play in Divine Heresy and Nile. He filled in on bass and Zdenek Simecek from Godless Truth did vocals. That was actually his second tour with us filling in. It was an interesting tour. Obviously without Cam and Jason touring with us it’s going to be different. Sonically, it sounded like Psycroptic. It was still a killer tour to do. It was kinda to keep the ball rolling, because the album had just come out and we got a last minute offer to do Europe so, we decided we had to do it one way or another. In the end it turned out really well.

It’s been pretty busy for you since then because it seems like you no sooner got them done than you were out on the road with Ruins.
I can’t exactly remember what dates we did with Ruins when we returned. The most recent tour we did was with Goatwhore and Impiety. Before we went to Europe we did a small run of Ruins dates, and then a couple of days later went to Europe and did Psycroptic, had a break for a few weeks and then went to South East Asia and did a few dates over there. So it’s been a reasonably hectic start to the year, but I’m always up for shows.

The Nasum shows won’t be the last for Psycroptic in Australia this year. You’re now doing a couple of the Cannibal Corpse shows and you’re also doing some Bastardfests and a mini-tour in WA.
Yeah, people will be sick of us by the end of it. But we are planning to, for each run we do,  change the set list and do some new songs we haven’t done before, just to make it interesting for ourselves and for people who might have seen us at the other shows. If people saw us at Nasum it will be a completely different setlist from the one we do at Cannibal, and a different one again for Bastardfest, just to mix it up.

You have five albums to work from now. Is there any chance that you’re going to go through the catalogue and perhaps pull out some songs that you’ve never actually played live before?
We have talked about it. We’ve started actually playing with click tracks – backing tracks – so we’re looking at a whole bunch of songs that we’ve never tried before. So far it’s working out really well. We went through and picked out about 25 different tracks we’re going to work through and see which ones work and which ones don’t.

I spoke with Joe during the time you were working on Repression and we talked about how different it was to previous Psycroptic albums, yet it seems to have been accepted very well. As we both know, there are plenty of people out there with pretty black and white ideas about how a particular band should sound, so were you surprised by the generally positive response The Inherited Repression received?
I guess we’ve been pretty lucky in that all our albums have been accepted pretty well. There’s always gonna be some detractors here and there, but you get that with anything. I guess, with this album, it probably was received better than Ob(Servant), and more widespread appeal. We’re still gonna have the detractors, but at the end of the day we can really only please ourselves. As long as we’re happy with it, and we’re stoked with it, then it’s more reason for us to keep writing and keep moving forward. If we were trying to please our fans, we’d be doing them a disservice because it would be the same album everytime. That’s something we try and avoid because it would be plain boring to just do the same album over and over again. And we wouldn’t be still doing it if we were just rewriting Scepter of the Ancients or Isle of Disenchantment. We wrote that music over ten years ago. It’s all definitely evolved from there. Not detracting from it, we’re just in a different musical landscape at the moment.

This is the first chance I’ve had to talk to you since last year’s Bastardfest. I watched you in Sydney, in that stinking hot room at the Sando, play three sets in a row, three different styles. It was pretty amazing to watch, but what was it like for you up there?
It was a pretty intense day! I think I got through five or six litres of water and probably dropped about ten kilos, but it was a good challenge. I’m used to playing two sets in a row, but not so much three sets! I’m always up for a challenge, so yeah, I thought I’d give it a go.

Psycroptic will appear around Australia at various shows:
31/8– Amplifier Bar, Perth WA
1/9– Elliot St Bar, Bunbury WA
2/9 – Newport Hotel, Fremantle WA

with Cannibal Corpse:
5/10: Billboard, Melbourne VIC
6/10: Metro Theatre, Sydney NSW

at Bastardfest:
13/10: HiFi Bar, Brisbane QLD
10/11: Basement, Canberra ACT