Latest release: Sleep for the Masses (Independent)
Sydney based band Recoil V.O.R. [Voice of Rule] are currently touring the country. They do so in support of the latest album Sleep for the Masses and look set to make a powerful impact on homegrown punters. Having supported international acts as well as playing overseas, they are more than capable of delivering a blistering live set. Loud talks to vocalist Wade Mckay on the latest happenings as well as delving into the insights gained from their collective industry experience.
You’ve got musical equipment endorsements with Cort and Peavey, which is great. How do you feel the Australian scene is going at the moment, given your experiences?
Yeah, getting the brand awareness out there is great. We’re mostly DIY and those guys back us in the equipment department but not in pushing the album. For the scene, we take the good with the bad but you’ve got to network and things don’t come for free. For this tour we’re catching up with some bands, the guys that I love playing music with and just having a few beers. We love playing on stage and turning it up loud – just getting out there and doing it.
How much rehearsal goes into pre-tour and who are you taking out on the road?
A lot of rehearsal and we’ve already jammed twice this week. Coming up to a tour or a gig, we strenuously rehearse. Our boys Deprivation will be out there with us, man and we’ve known them for a long time so wanted them along. We all get along so it’s good.
For interstate shows, do you just hop in a van and drive around here and there?
A few years ago we would just get in a van and do it but what we’ve found if that our endorsers usually hook us up with a backline or we used other band’s gear so we just catch flights. The drive fucking kills us and then we can’t play to our potential so we’d just rather catch a flight, do what we have to do and then fly back. We really just need the support for the equipment and that is the main thing for the tour.
How has your style changed in the last few years?
We’ve still got the heavy roots but we’ve just expanded on what we are as musicians and bringing other influences to light. So, this album, Sleep for the Masses, is a push forward for us and we didn’t want to do the same thing twice.
You’ve got some collaborations such as with Jahred from Hed PE on the song ‘Unto the Paradox’. Is anything else in the near future that you can reveal?
I would love to heaps of shit but it just depends on what opportunities come along and also on what songs we’ve got at the time. That song really suited Jahred and since he was first in mind, we were lucky that we could get him. I’d like collaborate on different people’s albums but it depends on the opportunities.
There are snippets of dialogue on the album too. How did that come about?
We didn’t want to repeat making the Will to Sin album again. We thought about it and it was a natural progression that just went that way. We had to do it for our own sanity, our creative abilities and to challenge ourselves a little bit. It went that way thinking we’d give things a try and if it worked, great, if it didn’t, we’d try something else. We’re all different with our ideas and don’t rule things out.
How does the songwriting process happen in the band?
Matt [Martorana – guitar] usually comes in with a bunch of riffs or part of a song section and we all just build on it from there. We all have a hand in the song writing process.
Touring with international bands, what voice preservation skills have you learnt?
To be honest, it is not as strenuous as it used to because I have learnt techniques in taking care of myself. It is a big no-no to not get enough sleep and to drink too much booze. You just cannot do that night after night. You’ve got to know when to call it quits and it is just one of those things you’ve got to look out for, you know. I’m no spring chicken but I can still pull it off night after night but I’ve just got to be careful. If I have a bender, I’m going to be fucked. When we backed up Otep recently, I had bronchitis but didn’t realise until I got back and went to the doctor. No wonder I felt like a bag of shit because I got no sleep and drank every night. So, it is one of those things and I’m trying to keep on top of it but sometimes it gets away from you.
For the Australian scene, where do you to see things heading in how people access your music given the way the industry is changing?
Oh man, over the years what we have seen is that is has gotten more DIY and more online. Obviously everyone knows that but with our latest album, we’ve gone to a lot of trouble to create a good physical product. Back in my day, I loved to buy records that are new and well packaged. I’m totally up for that shit now too but you can’t stray away from it. You’re either on board or you get left behind.
I grew up on scouring import shops for records and then listening to the whole album back to front, track by track. Something is lost in flicking through digital files.
I think it takes away from the passion that is in the music. I’d camp out for tickets in the stairwell at the back of some shopping centre waiting for Ticketek to open or would order in albums and you had to wait three weeks to get it. You’d actually cherish it and look at the artwork, read who they thanked and all of that shit. I think a lot of that stuff is lost. It won’t go back to the way it was but we are trying to keep a little piece of that and put out something that people appreciate.
So is touring the only way to get an income stream?
Well, man, with interviews I’ve read with bigger bands, they seem to base their income on touring and merchandise. That is what we can sort of survive on as well. It is the only thing you can do man because everything is digital and we hardly make much money from that sort of stuff but touring is it. For the albums, we have these alerts to find out things and we discovered that our first album was downloaded about four thousand times on one torrent site. So, we lost potentially fifteen thousand grand from that and then you wonder how many other people have downloaded it. You’ve never going to fully stop it and I’d rather that people have the music but at the same time, it could have funded our next album, you know what I mean.
Going back to the hard work in creating a product, is it difficult to afford a producer?
We’re lucky that we have a good mate of ours [Steven Knight] and he gives us good deals and stuff like that. But yeah, you’ve got to pay for that shit, man. Anyone can do albums in their bedrooms these days but it doesn’t mean it is going to be a hundred percent. If you want to put out something that is worthwhile and that has some heart behind it, you’ve got to do the hard work.
How much time do you spend on the lyrics and on what you want to put across?
That depends. Sometimes I write the lyrics on the spot whereas other times I’ll take them away to work on and in three months time I’ll have to song written. It depends on how the song flows and on how many times we jam on it. We’re a big believer in recording things to CD that you can do live. That doesn’t go for every band but that is something that we believe in so if I write and sing something a certain way, then it should be done live. You can’t always do it with say four guitars on a track but you can get the bare bones of it and if you can rock that then that is fucking sick.
Speaking of doing it live, are you hitting up any coming festivals for time slots?
Ah, man, I think there are a million bands hitting them up. We’ve put our submissions in before and all of that but to be honest, from what I’ve heard is that some are just not really interested in too many Aussie bands. It is more the international bands as can be seen from the line ups. Dude, we have played all over the country except maybe Perth in some shit shows and some killer shows. But for the festivals, everyone wants to be on it but there is only a limited amount of spots. If you’re not selling or not hot at the moment, why would you get on there? I don’t really mind what time slot as it would be great for morale, for the band and for the resume if we got in. I don’t know how the promoters think though, man. An international band gets three thousand people but ten local metal bands at a decent venue might get a hundred people. I do not know what is going on in this country but that is just the way it is.
I would have thought that the same people who are aware of international tours would also be hearing about local gigs through similar channels?
There is not enough of a population to support local bands and there are too many bands all trying to do the same thing. So, no one really supports each other and then the punters do not want to spend their money on local metal bands when there are so many international acts coming out here all of the time. Personally, that is what I get from it.
Don’t necessarily take it as a negative as it can inspire you to kick ass playing live.
Oh definitely man and we’re a bunch of positive blokes. It is just that we have been slogging at it for so long and seeing our friends’ bands fall apart. There are so many good bands in this country that sometimes, a little bit of a break would be awesome, you know. I’m not complaining because I’ve done international slots and it is good stuff but I want to do heaps more of it. We played club shows in the West Coast of the US in 2011. It wasn’t anything massive but we had a really good time, made some good connections and played some pretty good shows. We were happy about that. Funnily enough though, we didn’t play LA as it is more for music business and not for a performance side. For any small bands we saw there, they were still doing what they do in Sydney in a little shitbox playing to ten people. So yeah, we were told about that and saw it.
Where do you see the sound of Recoil V.O.R. going in the next few years?
The next album is going to be different again to the latest one because we are all growing and changing. When other bands change they keep the rawness of it and what they are about. But they usually change or do something different because, to me, it keeps the listener on the edge and they want to hear something a little bit different anyway.