G’day Lauren here from Silver Tiger Media thanks so much for taking the time out to answer some questions. With the release of your latest album at the end of year, can you explain the recording processes that went into this album?
We rented out a studio space in Arthur Street, Homebush for a year where we wrote most of the songs. The first part of the recording process at Electric Sun Studios was working with Stevie Knight for instrumental pre-production and then working with Dave Petrovic on vocals. Pre-production was on and off from October 2016 right up until February 2017 and then we began recording at the end of March, then finished the mastering process around June 2017. You could say that the whole project was 2 years in the making.
What is a typical day in the studio for you guys?
There is unique chemistry between all of us that people looking from the outside may never understand/comprehend. When we get into the studio, we usually joke around for the first 30-45 minutes otherwise we would distract ourselves throughout the session. We all know that we’re a bunch of jokers so it is important to let off that steam prior to working hard. After that it’s work until exhaustion and then we review the session.
Are you happy with end project sound wise?
Once we knew it was time to record, we were researching and looking for a particular production sound and it was obvious from the start, we all knew that it was going to be Stevie Knight and Dave Petrovic. In the beginning, we heard the pre-production versions of the songs and we were amazed, months later we heard the raw takes and were blown away thinking, how can it get better than this? Well, the final mixes came and we knew we had something special.
Is there a particular track on the album that is a personal favourite?
I love all the songs. Each song is unique and special in it’s own right. Personally though, the track “No Compromises” always makes me feel like I have no limitations and at times, puts me in a trance of feeling invincible. I go from 0-100 with all my emotions, being joyful, angry, sad, accepting, raging, pain, pleasure, Mike will tell you that it feels like Gohan from Dragon Ball Z reaching Super Saiyan 2.
How has the response been with the news about the album?
Our families, friends and fans have all said the same thing… “FINALLY!”. People have noticed all the new images, change of lineup, teasers and they’re digging it. The project has had its own buzz and hype for quite some time as we kept people in the loop with what our plans were. Two years later, the new chapter begins, we have been eager for IT, listeners have been waiting for IT, and others don’t know that IT’s coming.
What can the fans expect from the album?
Each song is a different story and make you feel a certain way. You aren’t going to be hearing 10 songs that are “I Believe In You”. When we collaborate musically, we all have multiple tastes and are influenced by multiple things at different times. Stevie and Dave played an important role in connecting the dots that molded the distinct sound of this album.
Where do you find the inspiration for the lyrics as well as musically?
Melody is key. I believe if you have an okay melody, you have an okay song, if you have a great melody, you have a great song. I wanted to make each melody just as memorable as the others on the album.
When putting together lyrics, I always ask myself metaphorically, which theme park has the craziest ride? Of all the stories I’ve written, which ones do I want to represent this current moment? The lyric writing process was done differently to the last record. I would normally write lyrics as I go with writing the melody, but this time I was so focused and determined on writing melodies that surpass the last effort that I didn’t even think of the lyrics until later. I wrote them all after all pre-production was done. Half of the lyrics were written during a moment of realisation that made me angry, disappointed but yet determined to change all that and refuse to stay in this hole created by my mind or actions out of my control. The remaining half of the songs I wrote 5 times over because I had started to get out of that hole and I was no longer sure which story was screaming out at me…the long process started to hinder my vision and choices. I wanted to leave Sydney, leave work, leave the hectic lifestyle behind and focus on these last songs, so I stayed a few days up north at Shoal Bay beach away from it all. To be honest I ended up writing the songs in a day after spending the rest of it trekking, swimming, quad bike riding, escaping. I just became so relaxed that it was like the songs were already written and just had to put them on paper. I guess that’s where in the lyrics the essence of hope, and the drive and feel to overcome obstacles originate from.
Can you explain the art work of the album?
The album is titled “No Compromises”. It’s the short, no beating around the bush statement of stop listening to people tell you what to do, think and feel and start what you know has always been right. The DC warpaint in that photo is symbolic of the people who choose to step up against the grind. If you take a look carefully, there are shadows of bars from a padded cell, which portrays the message: ‘if this is your way of thinking, you are crazy and should be locked away’.
I Believe In You was released a few days ago how do you feel the response has been?
Everyone has loved it. It’s an aggressive sounding song with a positive message behind it. The vocals are pretty heavy, even in the hook and people are still coming up to me trying their best not blow up their voice and imitate the chorus. Looks like I succeeded.
You guys once played a pre-game show for the Rugby League at ANZ what was that like for you?
Every time we go past ANZ stadium someone always has to say “ahh Bon Jovi have played there, so has AC/DC, Metallica, Foo Fighters, Adele, oh that’s right, we have too!”. It was like here’s 50 people inside a shoe box, now here’s thousands of people inside one of the biggest stadiums in Australia. It just felt so right, so natural. Personally, I felt like I had been preparing for it my whole life. The endless watching of Bon Jovi performances and saying it’s this or nothing, happened for 10 minutes and I was ready. We all had fun.
Is there anything in particular you guys want to do in 2018?
We definitely want to tour more and play with good bands. We want to spend more time touring around Australia than our previous efforts but our biggest goals, which are starting to fall into place, is tour overseas. We are about 90 percent confirmed in touring the Philippines in January/February and then we would like to hit up Japan and Europe. We could even move there, who knows.
Gday! Lauren from Silver Tiger Media here, thank you so much for taking the time out to have a chat
Hey Lauren, Rhys here, vocalist from Sevsons thank you for taking the time to speak to us!
So you guys head out to support Haken at the end of the month what was that like finding out you would be sharing the stage with them in Sydney?
I think it was an extremely proud and exciting moment for us, being given the opportunity to support such a hugely successful and talented band, they’re one of the biggest names in the progressive genre. We’ve been working very hard in order to get ourselves in this position and we’re very confident that we will rise to the occasion and can show that we have what it takes to play such huge shows.
Any hints on the type of songs the fans can expect to hear at the show?
This show serves as the release of our new single ‘Myopia’ so of course we’ll be playing that! We’ll also be playing some favourites from our debut album ‘Ad Infinitum’ which we released in February, so I’m sure we’ll be able to get the crowd moving a bit in anticipation for Ivanyi and Haken!
Any pre show rituals you guys have before a show?
I haven’t noticed anything specific from the other guys, personally I like to take just a few moments to get my head in the right place before going on stage. I guess a pre-show ritual in a sense is our song choice for when we come onto the stage – we’re currently walking on to Wu-Tang Clan. It’s fun, I think progressive music scene can get a little stuck in viewing itself a specific way; it’s fun to break those pre conceived notions.
How do you feel the fans have responded to the single Myopia since its release?
The response to ‘Myopia’ has been overwhelmingly positive, we’ve been receiving a lot of messages from people that we didn’t even know were fans! We’re very happy with the response and to us it indicates we’re headed in the right direction with the new songs we’re working on!
Can you explain to us what work goes into bringing us a single like Myopia?
A lot of our songs are the product of jamming and coming across a specific riff, and we then work from there. Our guitarist Christian is great at fleshing songs out and when he and our bassist H get together they always manage to really bring a song to life. It’s a lot of trial and error and sitting down to refine the sound, and it always helps working with a talented producer like Stevie Knight and having the song mixed by someone as talented as Clint Vincent of DLC. In my opinion, that was a winning combo production/mix wise.
Is there a particular track you really enjoyed playing for people live?
‘Myopia’ is definitely our favourite at the moment, it just has such a huge driving force to it.
What do you feel is one of the biggest achievements for the band so far?
Supporting Haken is definitely the biggest achievement so far in terms of focusing solely on band milestones. However, from a more general view point, I think our greatest achievement has been staying confident in our sound, growing and gradually playing bigger shows. At the end of 2016, we supported Caligula’s Horse at a sold out Newtown Social Club; at the end of 2017 we’re supporting Haken at the Factory Theatre. I think that growth in itself is a big achievement.
How would you describe Sevsons to people?
I guess if I had to cut it down to a few words, it’d be ‘groove, riff-based rock with big soaring choruses’. That’s a hard one really, I believe we’re fashioning our own unique sound, I’d much prefer to show them our songs rather than describe our sound!
Who would you say your influences are?
In no particular order: Dead Letter Circus, Karnivool, TesseracT, Porcupine Tree, Steven Wilson, Mastodon, David Bowie, Circa Survive, Caligula’s Horse…etc etc
Do you have anything in the works for next year you can share with us?
In November 2017 we’ll be heading into the studio to record a new EP which we’ll be looking to release early next year. We can’t share any other details at the moment, but we will be making a massive announcement very soon about a show we’ll be playing next year, so keep your eyes peeled!
As Melbourne connoisseurs of rock will attest to, a visit from Steel Panther is always a welcome highlight of every year they cum come down under to share their seed semen sound, yes that’s it, with willing recipients.
As always, the colourful crowd is out in force including several lovely young ladies sporting their attributes in little more than fishnet drapery. No prizes for guessing how cold it actually was in Melbourne due to the breasts bearing sufficiently accurate temperature indicator devices for all to admire. I sincerely hope nobody lost an eye. But nipple measures and areola atmospheric indicators aside, we know Steel Panther will give us one hell of a ride. A brief catch up with the lads in the afternoon certainly set my mind at ease that Steep Panther were ready to fire on all cylinders, but tonight’s performance carries a significance beyond the might of our globally revered pussy pounding protagonists. Steel panther has brought along to our fair shores a most exciting addition indeed. None other than the mighty Black Stone Cherry.
The news months ago of Black Stone Cherry coming to Australia after 15 years had a significant effect on me personally, to the extent that I had my reservations. To clarify this remark, I would simply ask readers to consider that my excitement had reached such heights that I actually was fearful of disappointment. Having enjoyed their heavy rock prowess for a significant time and simply loving their quite unique bluegrass edge, my exhilaration in anticipation of tonight was beyond reasonable. I reflected on a pre-tour interview with John Fred Young and considered yet again at the marvelous Kentucky nature of he and his kin folk in the band, wondering how such truly genuine and kind natured people could possibly be of a stage presence and ilk to enhance the might of their music.
Having the early opportunity to review their most recent offering in Kentucky, the album and, quite forthrightly the soul of the state too, I was of the firm belief that this benchmark achievement had released their souls from the confines of commercialism, and their performance tonight was to be in that same vein.
But I remained in doubt as to what I would see. It was always going to be sensational to see this band live for the first time, but events and circumstances culminating in the astonishing Kentucky weighed heavy on my anticipation.
I check in with my pal Dennis Huff from KOMP radio Las Vegas, connoisseur, of all things rock, who puts my mind at ease that I would be in for something very special indeed. That simply added to the excitement. Fuck, what’s wrong with me?
The time arrives to meet the guys and sit down to some interview time, despite the days pressing schedule. So much to do and so little time, yet Black Stone Cherry were determined to make everything work in accommodating neighborly Kentucky style. Yeah, I know right? Yet more hard rockers with hearts of gold. And as you will glean from the interview below with Chris Robertson and Ben Wells, we are talking some genuine, forthright and damn fine folk. Please rest assured that John Fred Young and Jon Lawhon are equally exceptional gentlemen that make meeting them a genuine privilege. I am quite certain that these fantastic people would not realise it, however, we are tremendously grateful for their kindness and generosity toward our children. The tremendous effect they have had on our sons will travel with them the rest of their lives.
So with some further background information covered regarding the group and their works, it’s on to the show. The guys appear, still making time to stop greet us first, before taking to the stage. Now I’m worried.
How can these modest, and movingly exceptional people possibly turn the hearts and minds of the waiting Steel Panther faithful? Then, Black Stone Cherry open the proceedings with such furious rock force and vigorous stage presence that I’ll wager none present will ever forget. My breath quite literally taken away. A sensational set list representative of their commitment to musical superiority over fifteen years, but their stage performance was so far beyond anything I could have possibly conceived, I remain blissfully dumfounded. John Fred pounded the piss out of a tormented drum kit with such raw ferocity and skill that I remain astounded it survived. Ben jumped, moshed, kicked, bounded, bounced and threw the crowd into a thrilled frenzy of excitement, all while playing the guitar with such astounding precision that my gob was on the floor for the first three tracks. Blistering bass lines and stage celebration from Jon was thunderously sensational, providing the perfect rhythmic groove throughout each and every track. And out front leading the way vocally was Chris. I have only one thing to say about his performance vocally and musically. That is simply that I only now understand what John Fred’s description of Chris as a ‘beast’ actually means. It was my foolish presumption that in had an understanding of this brilliant groups sound when spinning Kentucky with the volume on eleven. I have never been more pleased to say that I was wrong and will be forever declaring in blissful reminiscence that ‘you haven’t heard Black Stone Cherry until you have been to a live show’. Thank you guys because you have redefined the term ‘blown away’ for me forever. The live show, right down to an homage to the mighty Motorhead, was so far beyond all that I could have hoped to see and hear, that it is my fervent intention to make clear to all who love a genuinely energetic and overwhelming rock performance, you MUST see Black Stone Cherry live. And as for the crowd? I have never before witnessed a group of people turned from crossed armed skeptics to shrieking, hooting, howling, horn throwing, admirers in one support set. There was a good number of Black Stone Cherry fans to begin with, but an entire crowd of Black Stone Cherry fans left the building at show finale. I am certain all now can’t wait to see their return to Melbourne very, very soon.
Thankfully there was sufficient break from Black Stone Cherry to recover sufficient energy to honor Steel Panther. After bearing witness to many Steel Panther concerts, the undeniable truth is that I cannot get the grin off my face the entire time. From Asian Hookers played and displayed, to our shredding metal guitar specialist Satchel being beaten close to death with a massive inflatable cock. From inflatable ladies to the real thing paraded willingly for our amusement to the bare-breasted offerings of crowd members aloft shoulders, Steel Panther and their show never, ever disappoint. Their musical might be only equalled by their unique approach to celebration of the magical glam metal years, made manifest for our enjoyment in the present. Stix chats with me pre-tour should you wish to enjoy a cackle.
Their show is nothing short of sensational musically but the entire ‘package’ always delights. Seriously, who wouldn’t want a Steel Panther show every week. I was a little disheartened to see that Festival Hall did not reach full capacity to welcome our beloved Steel Panther, and I’m quite certain many will be sorry they missed this show. Outstanding as always and so much fun. Lexxi, your hair is as fine as ever. Thank you for bringing it along. And thank you Steel Panther for coming down-under to us again. I’m sincerely sorry we didn’t turn out in the numbers you deserve.