Something’s bustling in the Australian heavy metal hedgerow… Ladies and gentlemen, we proudly present to you – Flitcraft! And, more specifically, the band’s prime mover Phillip T. King, who stopped by at Sentinel Daily HQ recently to talk about the band’s upcoming – and very splendid – new album, Our Long Journey To The Middle…
Hello and welcome to Sentinel Daily! First off, who are you, and what do you do in Flitcraft? “Hi and thanks for having me! I’m Phillip T. King, and Flitcraft is somewhat of a “solo project” for me, as I write the songs and perform the vocals, guitars and bass, and a fellow named Jack Phillips recorded the drums for me for this first album. I had lots of spare time in the recent lockdowns, and because my other bands had to slow down (I had been working with Melbourne bands Galaxy and Butterfly) it was the perfect time to get around to finishing some old songs and writing some new ones from all the ideas on the “to-do list.”
I, like the proverbial Father William, am old, and quite out of touch… what is the meaning behind the name Flitcraft? “Flitcraft is the name of a minor character from The Maltese Falcon, a crime novel from 1930 by Dashiell Hammett. Ever since I read that book, apart from the character’s symbolic meaning, I’d always loved the look and sound of the word Flitcraft; but if I gave you any more explanation it might spoil a great book so I’ll leave it there”. (laughs)
Heavy metal is a broad church, and the readers of Sentinel Daily are a mixed bunch – which of them do you see Flitcraft appealing to? “That’s a great question and one that I’m actually wondering myself! I get some varied opinions on this from friends whom I’ve shown this music. It’s definitely heavy metal/hard rock, but it has psychedelic elements, some seventies vibes, some progressive elements. It’s progressive and metal but definitely not “progressive metal”. Maybe like if Kansas recorded British Steel. (laughs again) Apologies, this will probably just confuse your readers further!”
No apologies needed – Kansas and British Steel are two of our favourite things here at SD! The production on your new album is fantastic – tell us a bit about how you put it all together. “Thanks for that; I’m thrilled with the production and mix on this record. Of the albums I have made so far, this has come closest to what I wanted it to sound like in my mind, which is a marvellous feeling. Putting it together was a matter of making the demos as detailed and close to “complete” as possible, including live rehearsal with Jack on drums. That way, when we went in the studio there was no question about the parts and no doubt about the structures, harmonies, effects, etc. We just had to get the best take of each instrument and move on. We worked with Sam Johnson who engineered (and later mixed) the album at Holes and Corners Studio in South Melbourne. Working with Sam is a joy, so we got all the takes… and the album was recorded in five days, which I put down to the amount of preparation we did and Sam’s knowledge in the studio – and his way of getting the best out of a performer”.
Who would you say are the main influences on Flitcraft’s music? Are there any pre-existing ‘Flitcraftian’ bands? I personally hear a bit of old Hawkwind here and there, as well some classic Judas Priest as we touched on earlier… “I absolutely agree with that, and I’m glad you said it because that’s really the atmosphere I want to create. The music I make is always naturally heavy metal with a psychedelic component. And there is simply no greater metal band than Judas Priest; I love the grandiosity of their seventies stuff, and the hard-nosed simplicity of the eighties material. So I would say that Priest, along with UFO are the main influence on that side (Michael Schenker is the reason I usually put a guitar solo in a song…) and then bands like Hawkwind or probably Pink Floyd more so… I love how their music sounds psychedelic and spacey even in their most pop-oriented or simpler songs. Blue Öyster Cult do that expertly as well, and I’m a big fan of theirs. That’s what I strive for”.
UFO and BÖC – this is getting better and better! And what about you personally now – who inspired you to take up the cudgels and lead a rock n’roll life? “Music is the one thing that has always been in my life; and I have always had love and time for it. Music is the one constant. My father plays guitar and sings, music was always playing in the family home, so every time I’ve been creative or collaborative it’s been around music, and mainly hard rock and heavy metal. But the people who inspire me to get out and do it… are probably more like film makers and writers; in the past I’ve learnt a lot about how novelists, screenwriters and directors, took their creative inspirations, sometimes very small ideas, and fashioned them into great works, sometimes alone and sometimes in collaboration. But the process is always the same, a small spark of inspiration becomes an idea, and you take it out there and work on it and find the right people to make it a reality. That kind of work ethic is very inspiring to me”.
Current problems notwithstanding – any chance of seeing the band live in 2022? “Yes sir! I have every intention of playing gigs with Flitcraft and pushing the record. Of course it’s uncertain times, wild really… you can’t know if a gig will happen until the night in some instances. It’s very daunting, even the simple act of just booking a venue and asking some bands. But we’ll be taking small steps at first anyways, just Melbourne/Victorian gigs, and hopefully expand when things settle down again”.
Anything else you think the readers of Sentinel Daily should know about the band that we haven’t touched on yet? “If you want some new Aussie heavy metal / hard rock that’s a bit out left field as well, check it out! And a big cheers to Sentinel Daily for the support”.
It’s a pleasure – thank you for the album and thanks for taking the time to chat!
Flitcraft’s Our Long Journey To The Middle releases on February 4th.