It’s a busy time for Tasmanian terror squad Psycroptic; The proud progenitors of a new album, As the Kingdom Drowns, which drops today, the band are also about to head out on the road for another round of dates across Australia (kicking off in Geelong in just under three weeks), so of course we here at Sentinel Daily jumped at the chance for a chat with drummer David Haley to find out what’s been happening – and what’s going to happen – with the band their year comes to a loud and very metallic end…
The new album’s out today- have you been pleased with the critical responses to it that you’ve seen thus far? “Yes. It’s actually been the best received critically of any of the albums we’ve done so far. Obviously the public hasn’t heard the whole thing – they’ve heard half the album, but everybody seems pretty enthused . But definitely from the critical standpoint it’s been the best-received album we’ve done so far, which is really cool”.
As a band you’ve been doing this for a fair while now – do you still get nervous around the time of an album release, or are you past all that now? “Yes and no. I’d like to say ‘nah, couldn’t give a fuck’ which to some degree is true, but you always get a few butterflies and wonder how the record is going to go down. Perhaps it’s curiosity. You’re nervous because you’re curious. No one want’s their art panned! But it doesn’t really change the way we work in the studio. We don’t stick up reviews or Facebook comments in the studio! I guess the nerves or curiosity are a by-product of the whole process”.
As I said you’ve a few albums under the collective belt now; do you tweak the recording much from album to album or have you found a modus operandi in the studio that you tend to stick to? “Every album has been completely different in the way we put it together from start to finish; In the early days we’d write everything in the jam room and have it note perfect and then go in and record it. But then over time it’s just morphed between albums. It’s been an organic process, nothing’s really forced… in a lot of ways we probably should sit down and be more precise about things but we don’t – a lot of it is done on the fly and that has spilt over into the music creation process. It’s cool – it gives us a bit more creative freedom in the studio”.
I would imagine it’s easier to keep things fresh by doing it that way? “Yes. It doesn’t feel like you’re doing things the same way over and over again. And we’re still super excited when we submit the finished article and get the physical copies of the albums back. It’s a cool completion to the artistic project. We’re the project manager is you like, and it’s good to see things come to fruition”.
Will be be hearing a fair portion of the new album in the set when the tour starts? “If we can learn the songs in time, yes!(laughs)… Because we change things in the songwriting process right through to recording, I might learn a song in rehearsal and it comes out completely different by the time we record it. So I’m in that process at the moment, going back and learning the songs. It’s pretty fucking difficult (more laughter)! But it’s fun. It’s almost like past Dave was giving future Dave some cool shit to do – ‘this part’s going to be fun to play live!’. But we are looking to bring some new songs into the set”.
The tour is a fairly extensive one, and you’re also doing runs of shows that stretch to five or six days without a break, which is reasonably unusual for bands that play in Australia – would you say the metal scene is strong enough now to sustain midweek shows in smaller regional areas of Australia? “That’s a challenging question! I think the scene in general is good. In some regards it’s always been good. Certain bands are popular at certain times and certain people are going to come out and watch. Australians are pretty supportive of live music in my experience. So for us to do a tour that takes in both Capital cities and regionals… we know some of the regional turnouts won’t be as good. But it gives us a chance to check out places we might not have seen in a while, and play to people who might not ever have seen us, and also to play in the sort of venues we might not have seen in a while. So it keeps us grounded, keeps us working, and it’s good because a tour like this gives us a lot more opportunities to work on these songs. I’m trying to answer the question on two fronts; economically it might not be the smartest move, playing in the small towns, but when you are in a band you move from city to city and every show helps to pay the bills. We’ll sleep wherever we can, so our costs on the road are pretty low, but the best thing for us is we’re getting the opportunity to try out these new songs live. I guess if you put the product out there, and it’s good enough, then people will come out to the show. And Monday night is Monday night wherever you are in the world, which isn’t ideal but playing a show is a lot better than not playing a show. For us anyway”.