Most bands take years to catch on and that’s assuming that they take off at all. Grinding it out in a band, building recognition and respect, and cultivating that fanbase is a never-ending journey for groups. That long road between deciding to start a band and having a strong following can take years or decades to come to fruition. Or you could be Australian old school death metallers Werewolves and become an overnight sensation within the genre.
Since dropping their debut LP, The Dead Are Screaming, in 2020, the band has been on a tear of releasing new music, which will continue on June 24 with the group’s third full-length, From the Cave to the Grave. For fans of old school death metal, it’s certainly an exciting time to follow the Australian group as there appears to be no slowing around the corner for Werewolves. I recently caught up with vocalist/bassist Sam Bean over Zoom to discuss his career and the group’s future.
What got you into extreme metal in the first place?
Sam: It was a little bit of a progression right around the time I was 15. I wasn’t really interested in music before then. I think I got into N.W.A. just because I liked music that got up people’s noses. I just got a taste for obnoxious music from that. Instead of staying with gangster rap, I heard the Aerosmith album “F.I.N.E.” and that’s one of their more hard-rocking ones. It’s kind of funny, I was listening to that thinking I was such a badass and walking around like “Yeah, Aerosmith.” The school I went to, barely anybody else listened to metal.
There was this one guy called James and he was a proper metalhead from the rural areas. One day he turned up in my study dorm like “So, Bean, I hear you think you listen to hard music” and I was like “Oh yeah man, Aerosmith is so fucking sick man” and he was like “Right” and handed me a tape of Slayer Reign in Blood and he goes “I’ll be back in a month for the tape.” I listened to it and I thought it was hilarious. I thought it was the dumbest thing I’d heard in my life. I was just like, “This is so shit.” I was listening to it and two things happened. I was the biggest nerd in the school and one of the coolest guys was a drummer. I was walking past him in study and he heard I was listening to Slayer and he stopped and he went “Bean, you’re listening to Slayer?” I went “Yeah, it’s so stupid. It’s total shit but I’m kind of getting into it.” He goes “Dude, it’s not total shit. That’s one of the best drummers in the world right now.” I go “For real?” and he sits down and broke it all down for me and that sort of changed everything for me. The other thing is that was back in the day when you had to handwrite your homework and I was a slow writer so I was playing a lot of Slayer just to pace myself in writing just so I could get more homework done. Within a month, I was loving it and listening to it going “This is amazing.” When James came back for his tape he asked what I thought and I asked if he had any more.
I was really lucky because that was back in ’91 and I reckon that was the golden age of death metal. That was when Earache was in their prime and every month there was another crazy release coming out: Carcass’ Necroticism, Napalm Death’s Mass Appeal Madness EP, Morbid Angel’s Blessed Are the Sick, Bolt Thrower’s The IVth Crusade…just each month you’re getting hit with another amazing album. If you were even just half listening during that era, it was almost impossible not to get into death metal. That’s where all the energy was. That’s also the first time all the overseas tours hit Australia, Sepultura followed by Morbid Angel, and that just opened the floodgates.
How did you get into playing bass then?
Sam: Same school, same time, same place. My study partner was my best friend, still is, a guy called John Flower, which is quite funny: John Flower, Sam Bean. The guy is a bit of a genius. He’s one of those whose interests will change quite frequently but he’ll master it to a complete degree within 12 months and just move on. Anyway, he got a taste for guitar and heavy metal around the same time. He learned how to play guitar really quickly and there was always a guitar lying around and somebody who could show me stuff so yeah, I learned how to play guitar off him. It became apparent pretty quick that who guitarists are in this genre, they’re really good. With Matt (Wilcock) in Werewolves, I think I’m a good guitarist but it’s night and day between us. He’s something else and the same goes for other guitarists I’ve played with as well. I’m nowhere near that level. It was drilled into me pretty early on that bass would be a good career choice for me. The other thing was who were the coolest death metal vocalists at the time? Glen Benton, Dave Vincent, dudes with a bass strapped to them. I was like, I wanna be like them! Maybe minus branding my own head but Glen Benton was sort of my role model.
Metal has a good chunk of bassists who are either the frontman or a huge part of the band. You have Lemmy with Motörhead and Steve Harris with Iron Maiden, just to name a few.
Sam: The music gets pretty complicated pretty quickly. If you want to be able to do interesting vocal patterns, you need to be on something where it’s simplified a little bit for you [laughs].
How did you figure out that death metal vocals were something that you could actually pull off?
Sam: Same era again, at school. I think I learned to do the vocals just so I could piss everyone off [laughs]. It was all the same impulse, really. It was a new, inventive way just to piss people off. That was it. You just kind of worked it out. In the Berzerker years, I really had to step it up, again, to my detriment. It was a case of going into the booth and just going for it, yelling your head off. The crazier and the harder I went, the better. It’s taken a few decades and a few vocal surgeries to realize that’s not the case.
Oh yeah, I can’t even imagine what kind of strain you must put on your voice.
Sam: It’s one of the things you don’t realize but it’s doing it, not quietly, but at a medium volume where the volume is enough for the voice to naturally distort without causing real damage. It’s a narrow band you work between but once you find it, it sounds brutal beyond all brutal and you can do it for ages. The go hell for leather approach, don’t recommend, two thumbs down, zero stars out of five [laughs].
So what was your first band that you played in?
Sam: I was back in school and we did a Morbid Angel cover, “Visions of the Dark Side,” and we managed to struggle through it. We were a covers band and we played two shows. One was that one (where we played Morbid Angel), and then we played another one that was a total car crash and I think we gave up the song about halfway through. That was it for me for years. It was basically from that to 10 years later and Berzerker. For me that was a case of sticking an ad up in a music store going “I’m a metal guitarist/vocalist and I’ll even do bass. Looking for anyone else who plays this sort of thing. I want to do it heavy or we could just jam and hang out, whatever you want.” Didn’t have anybody answer that one for about a month or so and then Luke (Kenny) called up with an Earache contract in tow and hey, presto, I’m in my first real band.
What was it like to record that first album with Berzerker?
Sam: It was thrilling, you’re pinching yourself constantly because it was for Earache Records, which was still a big deal at that time. That’s where all the bands I grew up listening to were on and Digby (Pearson) was a big, famous figure in the metal world so it was kind of like the dreams coming true that I’d barely dared to dream. It didn’t take long for all that to fall apart though. If I can remember a few things for those sessions, it’s that we didn’t know what we were doing. I was certainly amateur as hell. Luke, as driven as he was and with as many bands as he’d done, he was still trying to figure it all out. It was a thrill, I was just like, holy shit, I’m coming out of this world where I was just a spectator and then once you’re in it, my lack of experience…we were butting up against that every day.
Do you feel like you guys grew pretty well from that during your time in the band?
Sam: There was a period when we did and that was when Matt joined for the Dissimulate album. Right about that point it did but it was brief. I think the main problem with Berzerker was that Luke kept looking at musicians as people he could hire and fire and swap out and replace and that takes a lot of energy. You can maybe do it a couple times in a band’s career over a couple decades but if you’re just doing it every album or every tour, it grinds things out pretty quickly. You’re just spending all your time teaching people how to play this unreasonably fast, ridiculous shit. It takes the wind out of your sails and the other thing is that you need a lot of commitment to be in a death metal band. It’s a lot of sacrifice and not much comes back so if you’re a musician and you’re sacrificing relationships, career, a nice warm bed to sleep, and regular wages to go on the road and take on all comers and that band isn’t committing to you in return, no one sticks around for that. There was that brief period of growth where we were a proper band for Dissimulate and the rest of the time we were dragging it along the hard way.
How did Antichrist Imperium get started?
Sam: Matt’s the main guy in that one, I guess Matt and Dave Gray from Akercocke. At the time, they were both playing in Akercocke and I think Matt had been writing material for a couple of years, but at that point Jason Mendonça, who’s the main guy in that one, guitar and vocals, was moving away from live performances and also just doing band stuff. They sat on these songs for a couple of years with nothing happening and at that point it didn’t look like any other Akercocke stuff was going to happen so they were like, alright, let’s do this album. They’re a three-piece and were going at it as a London three-piece and then the bassist/vocalist dropped out. It was just pure chance, once again. I happened to be in England on holiday, I was living in Australia at the time, and I was staying with Matt for a few days and he’s like “Dude, you don’t have to do this but would you be up for doing some death metal vocals for this band, Antichrist Imperium? It’s your holidays so I don’t want to pull you off your holidays to work.” I said “Man, are you kidding me? I’d love to do it.” We had a touring lineup for a while that was Matt and Dave Gray for Berzerker so we rehearsed over at Dave’s studio, not far out from Heathrow. I thought it’s gonna be cool to catch up with Dave again and see the old rehearsal studio again and take a trip down memory lane. I turned up there and basically knocked out all the vocals for the first album in one night. I didn’t think too much of it but I think it was about six months later they said “Oh, the album is being signed to Apocalyptic Witchcraft Recordings.” Then, before I know what’s going on, he was like, “Dude, can you sign this contract for the label?”
With the first one being very seat of the pants, was the second album a little more planned out for you?
Sam: Yeah, Matt’s the mastermind behind it and Dave will give his drum performance and give four or five commands or request, and he’ll do the artwork, but they’re mostly little things that give it a different direction. By then I sort of had a better idea of what they wanted to do differently. That one was a longer one, a production period over years but you’re getting to see the first hints on Volume II of when you have 40-minutes of straight death metal style. It’s impressive but it gets boring pretty quick. Matt’s got this ability to put in these passages or moments to let you breathe, or these moments where you can really build up tension more than you can when everything is distorted. That was my first crack at submitting a song as well, which was the closer “Sermon of Small Faith.” We work on Antichrist Imperium pretty differently. Werewolves goes on brief skids where it just happens. It’s just bang, done, before we even know what’s going on. Antichrist Imperium we demo up and then the demos get worked on and riffs get mixed, matched, replaced and that will go on for a year or so. Then Dave does his drums, which usually vary a lot from the songs we’ve given him so there’s another period of mixing and matching. Then vocals, clean parts, then we change our minds and Dave will have a request and things will change again. It takes a few years and the album doesn’t look anything like its finished state until the last fortnight of mixing.
Is it important for you to have those different bands where you have different creative outlets with different processes and final products?
Sam: Not so much for me, it might be for the other guys. For me, I thought I’d walked away from music in 2017 or so. We put out the third Senseless album and there was zero response for that and I thought I’d done everything I needed to. Then Antichrist album two came out and was really well received. I thought it’ll always be pretty much a studio band so it’ll be a little work, but then Werewolves came along and I thought “Alright, it’s a band now.” I had thought I was done. I didn’t have any creative urges or anything like that. I was just kind of thinking this seems like a fun thing to do. Almost by accident now I find myself really putting effort into a few bands at the same time!
How did Werewolves get started then?
Sam: Matt and Dave (Haley), they play in another band together with some Australian legends called Abramelin and I think between rehearsals one day they were out grabbing a coffee and talking about how good Panzer Division Marduk is and how great it’d be to do a band like that where you don’t have to worry about all the musicianship and dynamics and you can just get all snotty and blast. I think at the same time, they both record with numerous bands, they were caught in some long recordings and they were like, let’s see how fast we can actually record an album. I think Dave asked Matt if he knew anyone who could do some vocals and play bass and Matt was like, “I think I do” and contacted me. Of course I know Dave Haley, I think the entire metal world does, and when he asked me to be in a band with him and Dave, I said “Yeah, that’d be great.” I said that on a Friday and by Monday, Matt had managed to write an album. It sounded like stock standard death metal riffs, beautifully played and I was like, alright, drummers usually take months to get their shit together. I think the next week Dave had finished all these drum parts, so suddenly there’s this really well played guitar and these really well played drums and both of these guys are looking at me like “How’s the lyrics and bass coming?” Two weeks later, I think, I had finished lyrics and Matt came over to my city; we live about 800 k’s away. Recorded bass, went into the studio, smashed the shit out, and basically a month after the band started we got this album with artwork. We didn’t even have a band name. We were like, “Should we try shopping this around?” I think at that point Dave was going on tour in the States so he took the finished recording with him on tour, caught up with a few labels, Matt and I sent it to a few others, but it ended up being on Prosthetic, which put the best offer in.
So was that just the easiest recording process for you ever then, just knocking it out that quick?
Sam: By far, yeah. It happened real quick, man. We had no idea if it was gonna be any good when we finished it up. I get stuck on lyrics so I said to the guys that I didn’t know how long it would take to get something decent. They said “What would Will (Rahmer) in Mortician do?” Matt was constantly drilling it into me: don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t make this harder than it needs to be. Put something there. It was a totally different approach that I’ve ever worked where you work the material and you work it some more, cut, copy, paste, fix, fix, rehearse, practice, change, chop. This time it was like, smash it down and let’s see what comes out. It works these days. We’ve all got a couple decades experience each to lean back on.
How blown away were you guys by the overwhelming reaction to it then? Did that catch you off guard at all?
Sam: Yeah, Matt and I were laughing our heads off like, of course it’s the band where we just chucked it together as an afterthought, just as a little self-test. Of course that’s going to turn out to be the most popular fucking thing we’ve ever done. Cynical, surprise, hilarity, I think that’s the only way I can put it. I don’t know what Dave’s reaction is, he doesn’t give himself over to emotional extremes and by then he was probably already halfway through recording another album. Definitely for me I was surprised when Antichrist Imperium turned up in my life as another band to do, [and] then to have Werewolves take off like it did, I was just like “What the fuck?”
How did you guys end up with the name Werewolves then?
Sam: The hardest thing about doing the first album was coming up with the band name. We did all the songs, artwork, design, mixing and mastering, everything and didn’t have a band name. Matt always had a vision of what he wants the band to be like, the impression it has and stuff. He had said at the start that he wanted to call it Werewolves. I said “Dude, there’s already lots of bands called Werewolves or Werewolf or Lycanthrope or Wolf Madness. It’s kinda hard.” I spent a few weeks just chucking band name after band name just to see if the guys would be into it. Some of them were things like Knuckle Dragger or Hairy Tongue. I think I called one Oath Cannon Beast Knuckle [laughs]. I think I called one Gender Fluid Hetro Death. I said we’d get so many hits on Twitter and all the kids under 21 will love it. Eventually nothing was really working and Matt went, “Fuck, we’ll go with Werewolves.” Now I couldn’t imagine it being called anything else. I challenge anyone to take that band name off us.
What’s your lyric writing process like for the band?
Sam: The first album was almost free association, just sitting down with a pen. That’s simplifying it a little bit. It’s probably the Glen Benton or the (James) Hetfield technique where you listen to the song and you work out what rhythm you want and then once you’ve got that rhythm down, which looks like Morse Code on a lyric sheet with a series of dashes and an occasional dot. Once you’ve got that you start trying to match words to that. The other way, as well, I usually just have a lyric document. I’m a bit of a magpie with phrases and quotes and stuff so if I hear someone say something cool, which is quite often just listening to Matt and Dave talk, I’ll take something from there and just whack it in. Half the time when they go, “Oh man, the lyrics on this are pretty killer,” I’ll say “Guys, you don’t recognize all the shit that you say in there that I just stole and stashed in?” It’s a lot of mix-and-match stuff like that. I didn’t start trying to make sense of anything until album three.
How affected has the band been by the pandemic?
Sam: Not hugely in that we live in different states. One of the things I’ve noticed over the last few years is that not many people realize that Australia is broken up into different states and the approaches of each state can be vastly different from the others. For example, everyone was going “Oh my gosh, Australia is a facist state. Everyone is getting locked down and shoved into concentration camps” and I’d be out to dinner without a mask on looking at my phone going “What are these idiots on?” However, if you were living in Melbourne, that was very much the case. There were very early attempts at pandemic mitigation that no one obeyed and then the government in response then went “Right, fuck you all” and came down pretty heavy. That’s when widespread mass lockdowns happened and the police made sure people with passengers in the car weren’t going five K more than the house and shit like that.
It seems like the first album was everyone writing and coming up with material in their own town, in their own house half the time. It didn’t affect the writing and recording process but it did mean that we couldn’t really catch up. That was very difficult to do. It probably slowed down our ability to do live shows. I remember when the first album came out and we saw the reaction it was kind of like, well, shit, let’s think about live shows. I started practicing the bass and vocals for it then but ended up taking a two-year break from that because there’s obviously no point. It’s just a coin toss whether or not things would get shut down.
How excited are you to get back to live shows?
Sam: I’ll be excited once the first show is done. When you haven’t played in awhile, you get nervous before shows until you get that first gig out of the way and the adrenal gland gets drained and you get that first gig confidence up. The best way of explaining it-do you play in a band yourself?
No, I have no musical ability.
Sam: [Laughs] No worries, like that ever stopped us. The best way to describe it is like when you were back at school and you knew you were going to have to race the 5,000 meters or something like that in two months’ time. That’s the closest feeling to it. It’s this feeling of “Oh Christ, I’ve got to start practicing. I’ve got to get in shape.” That’s what it feels like. Once that first one’s out of the way, then I’ll be enjoying it.
What makes the three of you work so well and be such a strong, cohesive unit?
Sam: Similar mindset. There’s not two people trying to make snotty, obnoxious blasts and one person being in it to fulfill some ethereal, creative impulse. We’re all just trying to be fuckheads and we’ve got the perfect vehicle for it. Anyone who’s played in a band knows that music is half of it and then there’s the work side of it, and we’re really lucky in that each of us kind of specializes in a different area. Matt’s really good at the studio side of it and the production side and dragging an album through each stage of the production process. Dave is really good with things like band bookings and just having the biggest teledex in metal, the biggest phonebook. If we need something, he knows someone. My skill is more along the lines of promotion so I tend to write all the horrible P.R. press release copy that people see. I like doing stuff like that. Normally when you have a band, it’s one poor put upon person juggling all of that and they quickly burn out and get frustrated and that leads to band tensions. With this [band], everyone is pulling their weight and as a result of that, no one is really having to overextend themselves either.
Being that you’ve been in bands that that wasn’t the case, how much of a relief is it to be in one where the working relationships are so easy?
Sam: Fucking great! I probably wouldn’t do another band where it was a hard working relationship. There’s been a couple bands where the offer to get involved has come along and I’ve said no just because I see it as being hard work, but because of not so much a power imbalance but an experience imbalance. With this one, I’m probably the least experienced guy out of all of them. I’m 47-years old, I don’t have limitless twenty-something energy to spend on doing everything so it works for me.
Was the writing and recording process like for the follow-up, What a Time to Be Alive?
Sam: It was pretty similar. I think before the first album had come out, I think Matt had written another three albums so they chose the songs, Dave smashed them out, and then they turned to me about how the bass and vocals were coming along. I spent a little more time with it. I didn’t demo out for the first album but I did demo for the second one. Something I do a lot with Werewolves is I give the other guys veto on vocals and lyrics, which makes things really easy for myself. It means I can try and experiment with different things and it’s not a stake to the heart if Matt or Dave says it doesn’t work. I can turn off my moral compass when it comes to doing the lyrics and say some stuff which, if it goes through unedited, could get us cancelled. Matt and Dave are distant enough from it where they can say that I can’t say that or to take a world out. I’m fine with that. It’s not like “Oh, the lyrics are my babies!” I’m not pulling a Jim Morrison on any of them. That makes it easy and that’s the first time I took advantage of that. As a result of that, the lyrics and the vocals are a big step up. I had them all demoed up and sort of let them give their advice and go to town on it. I redid them, got the thumbs up and them to sign off on it and then went into the studio. That made it a lot easier and just made it sound better.
Then that one comes out and gets a great response too. Is that when you realized that this is actually a thing you’re doing that had legs?
Sam: The best way to put it is that the biggest Berzerker album that came out was Dissimulate. When that came out, the reaction was huge and the press cycle for that was intense and huge. And the wave of haters was huge as well. I think the second Werewolves album, I was doing press for that and expecting a few weeks of interviews, written interviews and features and stuff but not much. I thought it’d be a very niche, angry group of people who would be interested in it. It ended up going for almost two months and I think by the time we got into the third month I was like “Fucking hell, I’m so tired of talking about us and myself,” words I thought I’d never say [laughs]. The reaction was just beyond. When we did the first album, we thought we had bottled lightning. We were happy to put out albums, get an advance for another album, and use that to put out another album. With album two it was like shit, how far can we take this?
How has recording the new album been?
Sam: Good. It’s probably the first time we’ve actually seen the pandemic slow things down a bit. We’ve had the album finished for awhile and, if the label was up for it, it probably could have come out as a digital release for Christmas last year, comfortably. They’re spacing things out and a lot of that is because vinyl production has slowed down around the world. The writing was still smooth. In the space of a couple years I had done an Antichrist Imperium album, vocals and lyrics, I’d done a couple of Werewolves albums, I’ve worked a full Amenta live set, and we’ve also worked on another unnamed album between us as well and I’d done vocals and lyrics for that. I was empty. I went, “Guys, I don’t know if I’ve got anything left to say. I don’t know if theres an angle left.” They gave me a bit longer to get the lyrics done for album three than previously. Before it was a couple weeks and that time around I was given a good three, four months to get it done. The funny thing is that instrumentally, albums three and four were recorded at the same time in the same sessions. So Dave had recorded albums three and four in the one day and Matt did it over a couple weeks like he always does and I had done the bass for those albums in one day. We’re up to the stage now were I’ve had about a year to do the vocals and the lyrics for album four and I’m paying more attention with them to this time around. I’ve got a master lyric sheet but success has you second guessing yourself a little bit. Are people going to get sick of you just mouthing off like a dickhead for another album? I think I’m going to have to not change what I’m talking about but find ways of improving. The other thing is that, because we recorded all the instrumentals at the same time, I don’t want to have album three part two come out, so album four a little bit of time is going to have to pass before I put that down. That’ll happen over the next couple of months. Album three, it was weird, that massive recording session to get that one done. It’s a bit of a blur.
That’s a good problem at least, having the third and fourth album mostly in the can then musically.
Sam: Yeah. It’s great for the other guys although I am slightly terrified that any week now Matt is gonna be like “Here’s albums five and six.” Yeah, it was good to get all that done. It was pretty hardcore. Matt just has to record what he’s written and Dave’s the drummer so he comes up with his own beats. I’m just a humble bassist trying to shadow what Matt’s playing. Doing two albums of that is cramming a lot of tricky, challenging, muscular stuff into a month or so of learning. When I was doing the bass for albums three and four it did mean that for a couple of months, any free time was just sitting down and learning bass lines. It’s not the most fun way to spend a day, I way prefer writing, but I’m just sort of going, fuck, any day the next one is going to come out! I really should just worry about the vocals I’ve gotta do for album four before I worry about the bass I’ve gotta do for albums five and six [laughs].
So what can we expect out of album three?
Sam: Just like album two but better [laughs]. If you’ve heard albums one and two, then you’ve got a pretty good idea. There’s no surprises. We’re not going to hit you with a big string section or a female vocalist or beat boxing or stuff like that. There’s a few small, little changes. I think album one was just primal fury. Album two was like some of those early grindcore albums where it was a mugging, break, mugging, brief break and it’s very enjoyable for how it comes together. I think album three, the songs are very standout. It’s still an experience of getting fed into a wood chipper but I think each song has almost a payoff moment in there where, instead of just sitting around and getting beat up, there’s a good three points in every song that will make you pull that metal face. There’s a couple of songs on there that I’m very interested to see how they go down.
Do you ever get nervous in general at this point before an album comes out?
Sam: Not really. My feeling before an album comes out is thank fuck [laughs]. That usually comes at the end of a recording session, pause, then a few months of steady pimping, getting everyone all frothy about it. By the time it comes out, my fucking work is done but also I’m at that age where, honestly, I don’t care if no one likes it. What’s it gonna do? I’ve got a mortgage that’s paid otherwise. If anyone goes online and talks shit about it, I’ll still go online and start shit with them just because it’s funny [laughs].
What do you enjoy about the aspect of death metal of putting something out there that offends the masses?
Sam: I’m 47 but I’m still 16 and a bit of me still likes N.W.A. and talking about beating up women and shooting people and stuff like that. It’s horrible and I don’t advocate it and I’m pretty sure they were joking. I’ve always been attracted to things that are so extreme or offensive that my initial reaction is laughter. Once I’ve stopped giggling like an immature little idiot, then I like to see how far the line can be pushed. I think the sin with a lot of death metal when it comes to offensive stuff is they don’t realize that what’s offensive has changed in the last twenty years. If you talk about a horror song where you disembowel someone with a chainsaw and eat their face, sorry man, a few million bands have done that now for the last twenty years. You’ve gotta go at it a bit different. The same people who say you can’t say anything these days or that there’s topics you can’t touch. I think you can touch them. There’s plenty of taboo places you can go but you better be ready to back yourself up and your motives better be a little bit better than being an immature fuckhead.
How current do you stay on what’s going on in the world of death metal?
Sam: I grew up during the golden age of death metal where the game was getting changed each month and now a lot of it sounds like everyone doing the same sort of thing so I’m not really up-to-date. Dave’s very up-to-date. Matt’s slightly more up-to-date on the local scene but he’s a little bit more like me. If you go through my Spotify you’re as likely to get Riceboy Sleeps or Massive Attack as you are a Nile song. With Matt it’s equal chances of getting Rick James as it is Revocation. I’m not hugely up-to-date. One of the features of being middle age is that you lose that passion to everything day in and day out. I think the last band I heard that I was like whoa about was the last time I was hanging out with Dave in Melbourne and he played me some Extermination Dismemberment, this brutal death metal band from Belarus. I had just finished talking about how I think brutal death metal is boring and he’s like “Look, I normally think the same but check this out” and I was like “Whoa.”
Going off something you said there, what is your local scene like for metal?
Sam: Pretty good, man. There’s a lot of good bands around. There’s a lot of good musicians around. I can remember twenty years ago there used to be features in overseas magazines saying that I bet you didn’t know Australia has a metal scene. These days it’s no longer the novelty it once was. As far as the health of the scene, I’m still recovering from a hangover the previous weekend. I live in a town called Adelaide and there was a metal festival here and there were bands playing on alternate stages from mid-day through 11 p.m. and it sold out. It’s a decent sized venue. There were big pits, people going down stage diving, and total mayhem. It went down like an absolute blast. The same weekend this happened, at the other end of the country, is an even bigger metal festival called Full Tilt Festival happening with even bigger bands like Thy Art is Murder and that size. It’s healthy. There’s a lot of bands getting out and before the pandemic hit as well lots of these bands were touring in heaps. Back in the day when Berzerker went and headlined European tours and U.S. tours, we were the only Australian band doing that. Now there’s heaps and it’s great.
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