Melbourne rockers Shotgun Mistress have a very exciting album on their hands in the shape of their self titled debut, which just happens to come out through Crusader Records this very day. It’s such an exciting album I’ve got guitarist Matt Wilcock on the other end of the phone to tell me all about it – and the band the made it.

The album is out today, but there have been a fair few reviews flying around already. Have you been pleased with the critical reaction? “Mostly it’s been pretty good. The only thing that I’ve seen was a little bit negative was that somebody thought it was a bit long, that there were too many songs on it”.

That was our very own Gavin Strickmann in his review, I believe… “Oh, okay, right… that’s a fair call. We originally intended to just record a bunch of songs, and then pick the best ones. But by the time we reached the end of the process we were pretty excited about everything! So we thought we’d just chuck it all on the record. The way I thought about it, anyone who is going to buy the album, why shouldn’t they have the extra songs? I’m a big fan of Slash, and I know he did an album with seventeen songs. And I thought if he can do it, the least I can do is try and write a few songs that are OK… Other than that, every thing we’ve read has been pretty cool, and people seem to be digging the songs. People are into a different selection of songs – not necessarily our favourites, and some that we found quite surprising. But overall it’s been positive, which is good”.

A lot of our readers aren’t actually Australian, so they might not be too familiar with Shotgun Mistress at this point – can you tell us a bit about the band, the motivation for putting it together? “I guess… I’ve spent most of my life playing death metal and black metal, but all through my life I’ve loved rock music – AC/DC, Guns n’Roses, Motörhead… anything guitar based. After playing extreme music for so long I just had an urge to play something different, play some rock music… Luckily I knew a bunch of guys who I knew would be cool and be into that idea. Our drummer Dave (Lee) was in the first band I ever played with when we were seventeen. Glenn (Patrick), our singer, I knew a long time ago, probably fifteen years ago. And I did some stuff with our bass player Ben (Curnow) a long time ago. I guess I, for lack of a better word, ‘assembled’ everyone, and we all got on. We all like the same music, give or take – there’s a bit of variety which is cool, and that comes through in what we play. So we came together in 2018, started making some noise together… it all turned out pretty well I guess!” (laughs).

So, with your ‘professional’ roots in extreme metal, was it a different writing process putting this album together than, say, writing for a record by The Berzerker? “With Shotgun Mistress, we make a real point of keeping everything simple. There’s a reason why AC/DC and Guns n’Roses are still selling albums after so many years. Albums that came out thirty years ago or longer! So we just want to keep things simple – verse, chorus, bridge, solo… and we try to focus on the song, not trying to show off or be clever. We just want to make the song strong. Glenn’s quite good at that, coming from more of a ‘pop’ background than me and Ben. We’re the ‘metal dudes’ in the band. Glenn has a real knack for writing a chorus. But there’s no real magic trick. Trying to make a good rock song”.

Well, let’s talk about a few of them. I’d like you to give me a sentence or two about each song on the album “Alright”. He says alright but he’s inhaling doubtfully. I press on.

We’ll kick off with the opening track, Born ‘n’ Raised. “Heavy rock. This is hard! There are a few tracks that verge on metal on the album. I wouldn’t say it was a metal song, but it definitely has that tinge to it. I really like the vocals on it. There’s a real attitude to them which I guess was why we put it as the first track on the record”.

Next up is Devil In Disguise. “Again, rock, you know? I’m going to be saying the same thing for every song!” (more laughter).

Okay – why don’t I let you pick out a couple of your favourite songs then – tell our readers about those. “I really like Collide which has been released already as a single. Just because it has a different kind of groove, I guess… Describing those two previous songs the word that came to mind was rock, whereas Collide has a different, almost disco sort of intro in the way the bass and the drums work together. Then it gets heavier”.

Give us another one. “No Friend of Mine is a good one. We released a version of that ourselves , a demo version almost, when we started out, and that’s about as close to a ‘commercially viable’ song as we get I think. I’m not overly qualified to talk about the lyrics but it deals somewhat with domestic violence. It’s in relation to somebody Glenn knows but the overall message is anti-domestic violence. It’s one of two more serious songs on the album. Most of our lyrics are about drinking, girls and having fun! Also May She Never Walk Alone, which was released as a single this week, was based on a tragedy that happened. It’s the only ballad on the album, it’s pretty close to the heart of someone in the band”.

You say you put out No Friend of Mine originally yourselves – which is more and more prevalent these days – so what led to you hooking up with Crusader Records to release the album? “Well, we recorded the album and basically we shopped it around to a few labels. We got a little bit of interest here and there, but we got an email back from Mark Alexander-Erber, who is the head of (Crusader parent label) Golden Robot Records. He basically said that he’s happened upon the press kit we sent them and he loved the songs. So we had a bit of communication with him. I think he wanted us to be the first Aussie band to sign to Crusader. It just went from there. We did a few singles to test the water for both parties, and everyone seems to be happy, we’ve kept things moving in an upwards trajectory. Or at least as upwards a trajectory as you can have at the moment. Things are going pretty well, which is good!”

I guess there will be some sort of touring in support of the record. “We’ve got some dates booked, and some mor ein the pipeline, but it’s such a painful time, you know? We’ve had a couple of shows cancelled in the last couple of weeks. It’s pretty miserable for everyone at the moment. We had a show pencilled in a couple of weeks ago, and for it to go ahead only thirty people could come in and they had to be seated… We’ve got a tour coming up with Electric Mary – it’s really exciting, they will be great shows – in Perth and Adelaide for early August. Things are looking good for those. But the following weekend is Sydney and surrounding areas, which isn’t looking good at all”.

I don’t want to end on a miserable note, so is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers of Sentinel Daily? “The album is out today! It would be great for anyone who is into rock music, likes a bit of noise, to check us out! And keep an eye out for us live because fingers crossed we will be playing soon. Come and see us, buy us a beer and buy a tee shirt!”