Interview with Morgan Leigh-Brown (Acolyte)

It’s Dean from Silver Tiger Media and today I’ll be speaking with Melbourne based band Acolyte, which I would like to thank for taking the time to speak with me.

First on the table is a challenge: can you in one short paragraph, sum up the history of Acolyte from conception to the current day?

Acolyte is the collision of many different ideals and genre’s. It started with the founding members working towards the creation of something beautiful for themselves, resulting in our debut release ‘Shades of Black’. Since then the band have attracted new members who are truly amazing writers and players. The band is not afraid to evolve, try something different and push the boundaries for themselves and their extended fan base. The result… nothing will be visited twice, the music is always respected and absolute quality is never compromised. Everyone as a whole just really enjoys what they do within this project.

Shades of Black, what does the album’s title reveal about the album’s impact and themes?

The soundscapes are full, haunting, hard hitting etc containing many epic climaxes, alongside many subtle, pretty open moments. The theme is a little darker across the board. When I was trying to design what the record would look like as a visual translation of the music, I thought of smoke and the way it dances around, coiling and unravelling in many different ways and in many different whites and greys. This is when I recall the working title coming together. It is also taken from the very first extended epic the band ever wrote together, currently unreleased, it might find its way out in the future… I guess I didn’t really have to search too far.

This same EP led to you supporting Twelve Foot Ninja on their last tour here, what was that like for you?

This moment was surreal. The record just kept gaining momentum for us, leading to a very near sold out launch. Something I think about what we were doing caught their attention enough to trust us with Main Support for all dates across their record release and coinciding tour. It was the very meaning of ‘being thrown into the deep end’ coming to fruition for us, however its where we want to be and where I think we thrive as a unit. We all had such a fantastic time with all the boys and their touring team. Everyone on that tour was such a professional and we learnt a lot from them and the experience.

Since the release back in 2016, how have you felt the reception has been so far?

The journey of this record has been truly mind blowing and completely humbling. It saw us through learning who we were as musicians and taught us about who we wanted to be as a band. It gained itself an award nomination for ‘Best Heavy Album’ at ‘The Age Victorian Music Awards’ last year, and it now features 3 official singles with video accompaniment along with being featured numerous times across the globe. As a debut release it has achieved more than we could have ever dreamed of and has taught us so many of the right lessons in preparation for the release of our next record. We love our fans, I really must put out there that we really have the best, most loyal, lovely fans… some who fly around the country following us. Without them we wouldn’t be in the position we are now… we are so grateful for them.

The song Space and Time, you released a music video for, what was some of the work that went into making the music video?

We decided early on which songs were going to be the singles and in which order they would be released. We engaged the extremely talented Gary Robertson from Jarrah Film to Direct, Edit, Shoot and assist in producing. Over our time together we have really been able to gain a lot of understanding and respect for one another. The concept for this clip particularly was extreme and it had such an ambitious schedule as far as shooting destinations etc. Gary allowed me to really emerse myself in the creative world for this one as Concept Designer, Project Manager, Producer & Creative Director. I love working with Gary and he has taught me so much about the craft and strength of film as a medium… It has almost become a new passion for me. For this the band conducted 4 individual shoots, 2 of them being over 24 hours of continual shooting. We travelled to the country, into the desert, into hidden, black, industrial art studio spaces etc. We had a local bands budget but we had big visions, the will to make it happen and an incredible artistic team surrounding us who believed in our vision. I must say at times we were fighting cows (they love drums by the way), fought a blackened sky kind of fly plague that came down on us in the country and shot in heatwaves upwards of 55 degrees under the summer sun. I see the video as an extension to our music. It puts a face to the sound and feel so as per our band ethos, there was never going to be any compromise for total quality or our vision for the final product. We are all exceptionally proud of this one.

Space and Time is an eight-minute long song, what were some of the challenges that you faced piecing together such a song?

I think this was another ambitious decision to release the extended cut, but also a choice we had made early on. The hardest part of creating a music video for that length of time is making it appealing or interesting enough to entice viewers to watch the film for the full duration. Gary was a trooper during the editing faze. We had around 19 to 20 hours of footage that could have been used so it really was an ‘edit and work it as far as you can then walk away for a good week break’ situation. By doing this, fresh minds, fresh ideas, fresh perspectives were applied which I think was one of the most important decisions made. Gary is also incredibly talented and willing to go to amazing lengths for an idea he is inspired by or believes in.

You have a Space and Time tour coming up in August, and with that in mind is there any song of yours that you enjoy playing live?

I think where our music off ‘Shades of Black’ is concerned, though it might be new for some, for us they have been around and in our set for quite a long time. We are proud to announce the addition of 3 new incredible epics into our live set for this string of dates. We have really pushed ourselves with the new material as we work towards the sound of Acolyte 2.0. These tracks we have such a great time with at rehearsal and we really cannot wait to showcase them in a live setting, in conjunction with our best known tracks, perhaps a little improve… we are still working on the final details.

What are some of the ways you prepare yourself for such a tour?

Physical, mental & endurance preparation is very important for both the body and our craft.

Thanks again for chatting with us and we hope to catch Acolyte very very soon!