NEKROFEIST Interview (Australia)

Answered By Rob Giles ( Bass ) 
Update 11 Juni 2012

Nekrofeist was forged in the industrial heartland of Australia’s East Coast. Despite having crossed paths individually at various points in their musical careers, it wasn’t until 2008 that the band hit upon the current lineup; consisting of Dave Tinelt (vocals), Damon Bishop (guitar), Paul Gilroy (drums) and Rob Giles (bass). They found among themselves a common desire to create intense, heavy music that drew from classic thrash metal of the past, yet with a modern twist. It all began in mid-2008 when the band entered Main Street Studios with engineer Adam Jordan (Nick Oliveri, Crash Tragic) to record their first track, entitled Nerve Rack. After mastering the audio at Sterling Sound in New York, a video for the song was produced with award-winning videographer Daniel Cartwright behind the lens. Dark and confronting with a classic horror theme, the video was aired on both free-to-air and cable music programs multiple times and earned the band a solid underground following. A raucous local launch gig was soon held for the band at their local pub, where the band played to a packed room of local supporters and metal fans. 2009 saw the band kick things up a gear with a renewed sense of determination. The band re-entered Main Street Studios once again to record their follow-up to Nerve Rack, titled Kills Everything. The mastering was overseen by UE Nastasi at Sterling Sound, New York. A companion video was produced again with Dan Cartwright, this time set in a forest nearby their homes. The video received heavy rotation on Rage and generated more attention for the band, helping to earn them an indigenous arts opportunity via Gadigal Music in Sydney. By the end of the year Nekrofeist had entered Gadigal Studios to record their debut EP with Producer Ash Manning (Tourettes) and Engineer Lachlan Mitchell (Naxzul, Henry’s Anger). By 2010, Nekrofeist’s debut EP was ready to be released to an unsuspecting Australian metal audience. The CD was unveiled in stores throughout Australia via MGM distribution and iTunes, to strong critical acclaim.

“Nekrofeist hit a different stride from the thrash revivalists... these Australian metalheads have a lot in common with the first wave of thrash.” – Terrorizer Magazine
“If I were at a gig hearing this, I would buy it!” - Mystic Metal
“The songs strongly suggest a band to watch.” – Drum Media
“…quite strong, especially for a debut… catchy, coherent and well structured.” - The Metal Forge
“I can see a big crowd moshing along to this at an outdoor summer festival for sure.” – My Global

A string of local and interstate launch gigs gave Nekrofeist a chance to bring their new material to a live audience, where the songs from their EP were very well received. The EP also enjoyed radio airplay courtesy of TripleJ, ABC National Radio and many other local radio stations. Nekrofeist’s blistering track Government Ruins was included in a compilation album celebrating the 20th Anniversary of ABC Radio National’s Speaking Out program, distributed by Universal Music in Australia. Nekrofeist were also invited to perform at the compilation’s prestigious launch event, held at the historic Studio 22 in ABC Studios, Ultimo. The black tie event was attended by politicians, executives and past and present ABC Management. The success of the Speaking Out compilation propelled the song Government Ruins into areas the band had never dreamt of, particularly inflight radio. Both Qantas (International) and Virgin airlines featured the track in their inflight radio systems, exposing the band to new listeners with every takeoff. On Australia Day 2011 Nekrofeist performed at the annual Yabun festival in Sydney’s Victoria Park. In the event’s ten year history, Nekrofeist are the first metal act to play at the event, which in 2010 attracted an audience of over 15,000 people. Nekrofeist are excited to have the opportunity to present their music to a new audience, in a daytime festival, on such an important national holiday. In 2012, Nekrofeist entered the studio with producer Darren P. Jenkins to record their debut album, titled "Without Reserve Or Regret". As the title suggests, this album is as direct as possible and pulls no punches musically or lyrically. Nekrofeist are primed and ready to hit the stage to showcase their powerful new music. In 2012 Nekrofeist intends to play any and every stage they can get to.

Nekrofeist Timeline:

*Recorded the track “Nerve Rack” at Main St. Studios.
*Produced video clip and received rotation on Rage and Channel V.
*A packed local launch gig introduces the band.

*Recorded the track “Kills Everything” at Main St. Studios.
*Produced video clip and received rotation on Rage and Channel V.
*Awarded an Indigenous Arts prize through Gadigal Music, leading to the recording of their debut CD.

*Debut EP is released to positive reviews.
*Government Ruins is included on the Speaking Out compilation album.
*Nekrofeist perform at the Speaking Out launch event, held at Studio 22.
*Government Ruins is included in both Qantas and Virgin Airlines’ in-flight radio entertainment.

*The first ever metal band to perform at the annual Yabun festival in Victoria Park, Sydney, on Australia Day.
*Both promo music videos make their debut on MTV Classic's Headbangers Ball program in Australia, Asylum TV, Bright House Cable Network in the USA and Tape.TV in Germany.
*Nekrofeist's debut EP is given a glowing 7/10 review in UK metal bible TERRORIZER.
*Government Ruins is included on Terrorizer's March cover CD 'Fear Candy'.
*Kills Everything is included on the Helter Smelter 2 compilation.
*Choke is included on the Euphony Fusion 4 compilation.
*Destroyed is included on Drum Media cover compilation cd for the month of October.

Can you tell us in depth about NEKROFEIST influences? What contributes to your playing style, your performing style? intense, heavy music that drew from classic thrash metal of the past, yet with a modern twist.
Individually speaking all four of us have very different influences, but there is an area where we share common ground and that is the dominant influence in Nekrofeist. Bands such as Testament, Anthrax, Machine Head, Megadeth and Pantera are part of that core of influences in my opinion. Outside of that, we have our own individual influences that also play a smaller part in shaping the sound we have – and i believe this is where we draw our NEO-CLASSIC “modern twist’ from. Damon (Guitar) is a great fan of Ozzy's guitarists Randy Rhoads and ZakkWylde, and their influence is easy to hear in his playing style. Damon also grew up on classic bands like Pink Floyd and Queen, so there's that factor too. Dave (Vocals) has been a big Motley Crue fan since his teens, and also loves Steel Panther. Dave's solo material goes beyond simply metal also, I've heard him sing commercial rock in the vein of Nickelback and even country music. Dave has had a lot of experience in covers bands so his versatility is one of his strengths, I think. Paul (Drums) listens to a lot of metal; Slayer, Sepultura, Rob Zombie, Prong and Dream Theater are all favourites of his. He also listens to heavy rock like Rollins Band, Motorhead and Led Zeppelin. For me, I'm content listening to all kinds of music and my CD collection reflects that. In terms of metal, I love everything from Opeth to Tool, Dillinger Escape Plan, Goatwhore, Slayer, Maiden or Sabbath, I love it all. I'm equally happy listening to music I grew up with; Beatles, Little River Band, Elvis Costello, the list goes on. Gogol Bordello are one of my favourites at the moment, along with Tenacious D, Philm (Dave Lombardo's new band) and Grand Magus.  Our performing style is something we just let come naturally, it's not something we force or choreograph. Some would say it's important to appear professional and I totally agree with that, but there's a line where I think audiences know when something's fake or a put-on. They know straight away if you're not genuine and with such a limited time to make an impression on an audience I think it's more important to put in all the energy you can and have fun with it.

Tell Me About " Nekrofeist " Ep, “Nekrofeist hit a different stride from the thrash revivalists... these Australian metalheads have a lot in common with the first wave of thrash.”( Terrorizer Magazine ), What do you think that to be something so distinctive that? Do you think you have managed to create something different in essence?
The EP came about through a competition we won, like an arts development prize funded by the government. It was aimed at Indigenous musicians, although in Nekrofeist we only have Dave (our frontman) who is actually of an indigenous background on his father's side. We wanted to make a hard hitting EP that established an identity for Nekrofeist and represented what we were about at the time and I think it does that job well. It was a great experience to record and it certainly shows our 'thrash' influences while keeping a modern twist we were aiming for.

" Government Ruins " is included in both Qantas and Virgin Airlines’ in-flight radio entertainment. and I Know This song included on Terrorizer's March cover CD 'Fear Candy', can you tell me about this fact?
Through our opportunity to record the EP, we met a lot of great people who became supporters of the band. Rhianna Patrick is one of those, and we owe her so much. She was the first to play our music on national FM radio in Australia, and in addition to her radio job she also compiles a program for in-flight entertainment. She was kind enough to include us in her program, it's one of those cool achievements that look great on a band bio! Terrorizer gave us a great review for our EP, we were so proud. I received an email from their editor, who recognised us because she was from our home town in Wollongong. An amazing coincidence considering Terrorizer is produced all the way over in the UK! So she helped us sneak a track from the EP onto their compilation CD called 'Fear Candy'. It was a great bit of exposure and we gained some new fans from that.

Tell me Too About song " Destroyed " is included on Drum Media cover compilation cd for the month of October 2011 ?
We were offered an opportunity to have a song included on a compilation CD that comes with Drum Media- a popular street press magazine in Sydney. The CD was delayed for a long time, and no disrespect to the other bands intended, but the music they included varies in quality a lot. It was a rather expensive exercise for little return and I'm not sure we would pay for that opportunity again.

What are some labels you'd like to work with? and Who is " Gadigal " ? that is an small Independent label?
We are thinking about labels a lot at the moment because our new album is almost ready. It's the subject of much discussion I would say, and of course there are a lot of metal labels we would love to be part of. Some labels have already expressed interest in the album, Australian and international labels too. I don't want to give away too much at the moment while we are still in these early stages, but hopefully we'll have some very good news for you sooner rather than later. Gadigal is an indie label in Australia, yes. They're a label that focuses solely on indigenous artists, and are funded by the Australian Government.

How does it feel to come from a developing scene in Metal/Thrash/Groove ? Australian isn't exactly known for death metal, but we noticed that you guys have a small, growing, tightknit community going.
If we're not known for our Australian metal now, we sure will be very soon, mate! Australia has a developing scene for sure, it's always growing and we're proud to be part of it. Bands such as Deprivation, Tensions Arise, Ouroboros and 4ARM are really representing Australia well overseas. Heaven The Axe are another great Aussie metal band that I saw recently. It certainly is a solid community and our fans are the best kind of support you could hope for.

You guys tend to use small bits of melody in your Metal/Thrash/Groove, in the form of technical sweep parts or tapping sections. Lots of bands seem to be doing this, but you guys really bring the mosh as well. What's the secret to your songwriting?
I'm glad you appreciate the melody in our songwriting, because balancing that element with "the groove" or "the mosh" is exactly where we want to be. To me, the only secret as such is the chemistry between Damon, Paul and I. It's a special musical collaboration and we seem to bring out the best in each other.

How do you construct your songs?
We all have a hand in arranging and shaping the songs. There are a couple of methods we use, the most common is to start simple, with a riff or even just a feel or direction. We often discuss and dissect our own past work and areas we can improve. "We should have done that this way", etc. If we think we have found a direction we want to go, we just play and bounce ideas off each other. We'll pursue an idea until we have a groove and few riffs that work well and flow together. We'll then record a rough arrangement and pass it onto Dave, who finds a thread lyrically. Dave then comes back to us with suggestions about how an arrangement might work with his words and we build from there. Some other songs come about differently. If Damon, Paul and I are really set in our direction and focused, we will completely arrange a song musically, crossing all the t's and dotting the i's. Those are often the ones I write lyrics for, to give Dave a direction. Destroyed was written this way, as well as a song on our new album called Grim Demise.

In reference to one of the above questions, do you think Australian has a "sound all its own"? If not, do you think it will ever develop one? Australian has developed kind of a taste for the bizarre in Death Metal etc. metal so do you think it'll be similar with Groove?

Always, yes. I believe Australian metal will always have its own unique sound, provided the bands aren't aspiring to sound like something they're not! That's the key, isn't it? Our national identity needs to be preserved, not diluted.

Nekrofeist recently completed recording our debut album " Without Reserve Or Regret " with Darren Jenkins (Deprivation, Daysend, Paradigm, Mortal Sin). We will release the album later this year, to coincide with a tour. Can you tell Process of material is, are you very satisfied with the results of work Darren Jenkins for this material?
Yes, we are very excited with the progress so far, it is sounding much more polished than the EP. We’re currently at the mixing stage, about a quarter of the way through. Darren Jenkins is a very thorough, very dedicated guy, with an intense attention to detail. He’s very good at what he does and we are lucky to have someone who believes in our album. It’s going to sound awesome when it’s done.

About Vocalist of the band, whether it's true character Dave Tinelt still you are looking for this? Is the old characters in the band Mortal Sin is actually still he carried on Nekrofeist?
Dave was offered the singing job in Mortal Sin in February while we were recording our new album. It couldn’t have come at a worse time to be honest, as it was a big distraction from our work. Dave had no intention of leaving Nekrofeist, but it raised a lot of questions and created a lot of unnecessary tension regardless. After much discussion we gave Dave our blessing and continued with him singing for both bands. It gave us a significant profile lift so it was certainly worth the effort in that sense, but in the end Mortal Sin dissolved after only two gigs with Dave anyway. Nekrofeist is strong, and Dave is still with us of course. So the short answer to your question is; Yes, we are carrying on together.

Where do you see the Australian Metal/Thrash/Groove scene heading in the next 5-10 years? and Especially from New South Wales, Still evolve?
In the next few years I can see the Australian metal scene really growing and developing further. There are so many great metal bands coming from Australia, particularly those I mentioned above. You know, tastes are always changing and I can see this “screamo” trend dying out sooner rather than later. A lot of younger bands are going back to a more traditional thrash metal sound, like early Metallica, which I find really encouraging. Speaking for Nekrofeist, I know that we are always evolving too, particularly if you compare the stages of our material. You have our early iTunes singles (“Kills Everything” and “Nerve Rack”) which were fairly straightforward, then we stepped that up considerably on the EP with better production, more groove and an overall heavier tone. The new album goes a big step further again, it has similar elements to the EP but there are also songs that are very dark. The new album shows all of our facets, I think.

What do you think of bands from other parts of the world? Do you listen to any Metal/Thrash/Groove metal from Asia, Europe, etc.?
Absolutely! I can’t speak so much for the other guys, but I really like to follow what bands are up to and discover new music too.

Name 5 of your favorite albums and tell us why you think they're relevant to your influence:
Wow, just off the top of my head I would have to say my top 5 would look something like this:

1. Corrosion of Conformity- Deliverance
2. Spiritual Beggars- Ad Astra
3. Pantera- Vulgar Display of Power
4. Bruce Dickinson- Chemical Wedding
5. Metallica- Ride The Lightning

I could make a top twenty and still agonise about it all day, there is so much music that I love. I guess this top 5 represents my metal influences. Ride the Lightning was a big influence on me as a metal bassist, in my late teens I would play along to that album and stare at posters of Cliff Burton in my room.

Vulgar Display really opened my eyes to metal with a different feel, that groovy approach. Pantera were an influence on all of us in Nekrofeist, no doubt. I discovered COC after enjoying the Down album, I wanted to hear what the other members did and I discovered Crowbar that way also. The way COC pushed Pepper’s vocal made a powerful metal/southern rock combination that I loved, and still do.

I grew up on Iron Maiden but when Bruce left I felt they lost a lot of appeal. Bruce’s solo work is among his best in my opinion, even better than some Maiden albums. Chemical Wedding is a dark classic that never ages, if we can manage to harness even a fraction of that energy I’ll be very proud.

Spiritual Beggars are stoner rock, with a heavy groovy twist- they use Hammond organ and have a very unique sound. They belong in the 70’s somewhere

Thanks for the interview Rob! NEKROFEIST rules and we look forward to reviewing your new album! Stay Metal.
Thanks for the support! The new album is coming along great and sounds massive! We can’t wait to share it with you, we’re so proud of it!  

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