Proving that New Zealand can produce more than Lord Of The Rings and bad jokes about sheep, Antagonist are ready to level Australian audiences yet again as part of Parkway Drive’s pending Australian tour.
Antagonist front man Sam took some time out to give us the following interview…
Interview w/ Sam (Vocals) of Antagonist
By Cameron Chambers
Hey mate, thanks for speaking
to us today.
Hey bro, how you doing?
Really well thanks man. Just
for the record, can you tell us your name and what you do in the Antagonist?
Yep. My name is Sam Sam and I
For those that are unfamiliar
with the band, can you give us a bit of background info on the band,
how you got together etc…
In about 2004 and myself and our
bassist Josh… we were putting together a band that was going to be
like Martyr AD and we met up with some other dudes who were trying to
do a band like Arkangel… real Euro stuff. Anyway, we joined up through
mutual friends and we all knew each other through our old bands.
We had a different guitarist at
the start who ended up leaving and then our drummer left so we ended
up finding Ross who had played with Josh in The Warpath. We knew Boozy
because he had played in other bands in Auckland and yeah, everyone
was down to play metalcore coz no one was really playing the style we
wanted in New Zealand at the time. So yeah, it just went from there!
Did you have a set idea of
what you wanted the band to sound like when it first started up or was
it just a case of jamming and seeing what happened?
We just wanted to be a Euro sounding
metalcore band, ha ha. We wanted to sound like a US band trying to sound
like a Euro band, ha ha. I have no idea what that means but I’ve heard
a few people describe us that way before.
After we lost our first guitarist
we got Ross and Boozy so we really started focusing on writing and we
just wanted to write good metalcore that wasn’t watered down and you
know… we just wanted to keep the integrity and just be super heavy
but still be hardcore at the same time… just with a metal edge!
By all means we’re a metalcore
band but we still think of ourselves as a hardcore band.
How would you describe the
band to someone that hadn’t heard you before?
Like some random dude on the street?
Perfect, ha ha.
I dunno hey. If it was some random
dude then I’d say we sounded like Slipknot except good, ha ha. Slipknot
with better style or something. We’re just heavy and fast and I dunno.
We’ve got a lot of shit behind it and besides the music there’s
a lot of fucking passion and hate and energy.
It’s a good outlet for us…
or as much of an outlet as it can be.
A hard stance on social issues
is becoming less and less common with bands these days, but you guys
have taken a prominent pro-vegan stance. Are your lyrics a way for the
band to let people know how you feel about veganism as individuals or
are you hoping to educate and encourage others to look into the vegan
Well, all our lyrics, whether
or not they’re vegan… they all bring issues to light. It’s not
so much preaching as just being yo, this shit is going on! If I write
a vegan song then I won’t just write that it’s bad to eat meat or
diary… I generally speak in metaphors. As long as people see it then
hopefully they’ll fall through the cracks that you open up for them…
you know, encourage them to check it out.
We have a song about Suicide Girls
and back home in New Zealand it opened up a whole bunch of shit. No
one had questioned that before or said that they didn’t like it so
just saying something can hopefully open some people up to question
things. Most people that listen to music don’t really listen to the
lyrics… they don’t really pay attention but for the few kids that
do it’s all about letting them know that there is shit going on.
For a small country New Zealand
is consistently churning out quality bands. What’s the scene like
back home and how do the shows compare to the ones you’ve played here
That’s kind of a hard one. It’s
so up and down, especially lately. When we were starting up… or even
before we started, it just seemed like every good band in New Zealand
bar a couple… well, most of the bands that were drawing big crowds
broke up over a six-month period. We lost a lot of venues and a lot
of promoters left and got married and got over it, so there was this
whole period of time where there was nothing going on.
A year ago it was killer and we
had really good shows. I mean, we don’t really have big numbers
but the kids are sincere and siked. There’s not as much focus on the
shit doesn’t matter, like hair and that shit. Kids just do whatever…
they look mongrel and they are there for the music.
Just lately it’s gone a bit
strange. There aren’t many bands playing and things are a bit stagnant.
Shit goes through phases and New Zealand is especially so up and down.
From what we’ve experienced Australia is pretty standard, like, if
the shows are done right then there’s always a crowd. There’s always
going to be kids that suck but you get that everywhere and it doesn’t
matter because for everyone one of those kids there are a million that
Who are some other bands from
New Zealand that kids should check out?
There’s a band called The Chase
and they’re awesome. They used to sound like Casey Jones and Comeback
Kid but they’ve come into their own. They’re really good and I’ve
been trying to get them to come over for so long. They just put out
a CD called Paranoia and people should get it.
There’s a band starting soon
called The Burial… Boozy plays in that band too and it has members
from another band called Damage who were one of the better New Zealand
bands. They are super heavy and its just fast Euro stuff and they’re
seriously fucking good. It’s going to be mental!
All the emerging bands like Brick
VS Face, Cry Wolf and Wasteland are dope.
Your first record
“These Cities, Our Graves” has just been re-released in Australia
by Trial & Error. For those who missed the record the first time
round can you tell us a bit about it, why you chose to re-release it
The CD is kind of a demo. “These
Cities, Our Graves” was pretty much a recording of all the songs we’d
written at the time so it wasn’t like we wrote an album… we just
recorded all the songs we were playing at the time. When we started
we were so stoked to record a CD… shit, we were stoked just to play
outside of our hometown or even to play at the venue in our hometown.
When it came to recording a CD
we didn’t think about it too much so yeah, they were all our songs
from 2005 and 2006 and we’ve had it out for a while and we’re gearing
up to release another album in September. It’s going to be a big tour
with Parkway so we packaged the older CD and put two extra songs we
recorded on it. There are a lot of kids here in Australia that have
downloaded our album so I liked the idea of having it out so kids can
actually read the lyrics and know what we’re all about.
I’m sure you would have had
a few offers to put the record out in Australia, how did you end up
working with Trial & Error?
We had a few. Basically it was
kind of like… when we went with Eleven Fifty Seven Records we were
stoked because they were the label in New Zealand that put out all the
bands we loved, like DSM and Balance so it was like, no we’re down
with all those bands that we look up to.
With Trial & Error they released
some stuff from one of my all time favourite bands from New Zealand,
Sommerset, and that sealed it for me. Nigel was really keen and he had
a good rapport with our label in New Zealand and he’s really keen
to push it and get behind it and if it weren’t for him then I wouldn’t
be talking to you. We wanted the CD out everywhere and we wanted everyone
to know out it… we trusted Nigel and he’s doing a great job.
When can expect your next full
In September we’re releasing
the record back in New Zealand so I think we’ll be releasing it in
Australia in October. Basically, the only reason we’re delaying it
so we can put the CD out and then come to Australia right away and do
a massive tour to make it work.
We finished the guitars just before
we came over and when we get back we’ll do vocals and bass and then
we’ll send it off the US to Zack Oren for mastering, and this dude
Max who did The Ghost Inside record and I think he may be mixing The
Red Shore record as well. That will be dope and it’s going to be called
“We Are The Dead”.
Your tour with Parkway Drive
starts this week, are these the biggest shows you’ve played to date?
In Australia for sure! We did
Taste Of Chaos and Big Day Out at home and that was just mental. They
were the biggest shows that I’d ever imagined I’d play in my lifetime.
It was different, I mean, Taste Of Chaos wasn’t really anything…
especially in New Zealand. It’s just random dudes that I’ve never
Big Day Out was just this massive,
broad festival so I was siked to play it. This is different though.
I’m siked to play to a room full of kids who are frothing.
Resist have done a great job
in putting together a really diverse tour with Break Even and Have Heart
(USA) taking part as well. Do you enjoy playing as part of a varied
bill and exposing kids to different kinds of bands?
Seriously! When we were told we
were in a van somewhere in New Zealand and we got told about the Parkway
Drive tour. We didn’t even know it was with Have Heart and Break Even
and just before it got announced someone told me and I was like “no
way”! I hadn’t heard Break Even before but I checked them out and
I was siked and man, Have Heart is one of my favourite bands!
Apart from the Parkway tour
what other touring plans have you got for the year?
When we get back to New Zealand
we’ve got this animal rights festival going on and then throughout
September we’ll be touring New Zealand for the album and then hopefully
coming back to Australia in October or November. We’re actually hoping
to come back to Australia in August for some shows in Sydney and Melbourne.
We’ve got a lot of work to do
to finish the album and then once that’s done we want to play in Australia
as much as possible.
Once your new record is released
later this year are you going to be focusing on more touring outside
of New Zealand? Have you had any offers from Europe or the States?
At the moment we’re just trying
to make some contacts over there. Next year we’re hoping to go over
there but we’re just having heaps of fun going to Australia at the
moment man. It’s seriously awesome. I never expected to be over here,
releasing CD’s so I’m still just finding that hard to fathom.
At the moment we’re talking
to some people in Europe and the States and if that happens I’ll lose
my mind but fuck man, at the moment I’m in Castle Hill in Sydney and
I’m just stoked to be here, ha ha.
Just got a few quick questions
to finish up if that’s cool man?
Favourite place you’ve
Melbourne or Byron Bay for sure.
Favourite album at the moment?
That’s a hard one man. Either
The Ghost Inside record or the new Cancer Bats CD, Hail Destroyer.
Veronicas or Olsen Twins?
Ha ha, The Veronicas.
Most embarrassing experience?
I fell off stage this one time.
I was kind of running across stage and I managed to slip down the side
and fall off and graze my whole leg, ha ha. Then I landed in the pit
during our biggest breakdown and as I got up I got punched in the face
about five times by kids dancing.
Oh, there was this other show
with Blindspott. There were about fifteen hundred kids there and we
were so nervous so we came out and the band was ringing out and everything
went really quiet. So I grabbed the mic and said, “what’s up”
really loudly, or something cheesy like that, and as I grabbed the mic
I kicked the lead out so it was silent and I looked like the biggest
Pre-Bad or Post-Bad Michael Jackson?
Pre-Bad man. Kiddie Fiddler Michael
Jackson is a good one, ha ha.
That’s all we’ve got time
for man, is there anything else you’d like to add?
Check out our CD read the lyrics.
I don’t care if you download it, just read the lyrics.
For all the latest tour dates and info head to the bands Myspace page.