Unleashing The Extreme

The Unleashing The Extreme Tour boasts some of the best metal bands in Australia and it’s all happening right now!

We caught up with Psycroptic, The Amenta and Ruins…

Interview with:

Cameron – Psycroptic (bass)

Tim – The Amenta (synths & programming)

Alex – Ruins (guitars & vocals)
An all Australian metal package tour like Unleashing The Extreme has been a long time coming. Whose idea was it to put this together and choose the bands that made the final cut?

Cameron – I’m not 100% sure but I think it was the idea of Brad and Dysie at Sound Works.  They had been in contact with all three bands quite a lot recently and thought that it would be awesome to get all of us together to create an all Australian tour package.  It  just so happened that we were all able to do it at the same time for once.

Tim – From memory, and we were on tour at the time so it’s a very hazy memory, it was actually us that suggested the line-up. Maybe I remember that wrong but I think we spoke to Soundworks about the idea of the tour as we were touring at the time and didn’t really want to stop. The bands were easy to choose. We are all friends and established bands. It’s strange that we have never done a tour like this before. We have played with both bands a couple of times and obviously we have played on each other’s albums but the tour had never really been suggested before. Obviously all of us are busy so it’s hard to get all three in a position where we can all tour. Everything seems to have fallen into place this time around.

Alex – It has been a long time coming that these three bands particularly did a tour together. All three bands have been involved with one another since beginning, so it was just a matter of time really. Ruins have played with Psycroptic before, and Ruins have played with Amenta, Amenta has played with Psycroptic before, but I don’t think all three bands have played together before?  Not as far as I can remember. 

What is your latest release and how has the reception and sales been going?

Cameron – Our latest album is called Ob(servant) and was released on Nuclear Blast in October last year.  So far sales for Ob(servant) have been really positive and the crowd reactions at shows have been good.  It’s also been receiving really good reviews.

Tim – Our latest release is ‘n0n’. It’s been out since October last year and it’s been going really well. It’s too early to really know sales figures from around the world but I know we have been selling a lot at gigs both hear and overseas. As we expected, we got really mixed reviews. In some magazines we get 10 out of 10’s, in others we get 3 out of 10 and they say it isn’t music. I know the album is very different to what we have done before and it’s certainly very different to anything else out there. We deliberately made an album that would polarise people and I think we were very successful. Most people think it’s the best thing we have done. We are definitely happy with it and I think it is a much stronger realisation of THE AMENTA’s aesthetic.

Alex – Our most recent release was ‘Cauldron’ which came out just over a year ago now… but this tour is actually to promote our new release ‘Front the Final Foes’. This new album becomes available just as we begin this tour. Domestic release is officially June 12th I think it will be in stores.  But we will have it available at these shows, and be playing a few songs from it in the set… come and support us and buy a copy. 

Can you tell us the latest up to date news with your band?

Cameron – We recently returned from a stint of overseas tours which include a trip through Europe with The Black Dahllia Murder, Cephalic Carnage and Sylosis as well as a US tour with Carcass, Suffocation and Suicide Silence.  We are also currently working on releasing our first DVD which was recorded at the Hifi Bar in Melbourne at the end of last year.

Tim – We are busy touring as much as we can at the moment to promote the album. We have recently come back from our first trip to Europe and we are looking to get back over there again as soon as we can. PSYCROPTIC seem to be killing the US so we would like to get over there and cut their grass a little. We have a couple of gigs coming up after this tour but the main focus will be writing the next album. We are traditionally a very slow band when it comes to writing new music, or at least it seems so from an outsider’s perspective. We want to cut down our time in between albums. We are not sure you what direction the new material will take but some early experiments seem to point to a more organic, band orientated direction. I personally would like to explore more chaotic electronic sounds rather than the huge layers of programming we used for the last album. Who knows what will make the final cut?

Alex – I suppose that is what is happening currently… getting this new release available in time for the tour. We have also just only really finished sorting out deals for Europe and U.S.  This was for the release of ‘Cauldron’, so actually I have only just been able to move onto this new stuff really. I am glad everything is in place for this new release. There will be a vinyl edition of ‘Cauldron’ issued very soon too.  I have also begun pre-production for the next album since finishing ‘Front the Final Foes’. I would say currently I have seven new demos musically, and a few sets of lyrics. We will try and get into the studio again before the year is out.

What can fans expect from your set on this tour?

Cameron – Fans can expect a good mix of songs in the set from Ob(servant) as well as a few tracks off each of the other albums.  Basically a lot of fast drums and loud guitars.

Tim – We are performing some songs on this tour that we have never played live. A lot of the songs on “n0n’ are very hard to perform with a normal band but we have played around with sounds and arrangements and now we are able to introduce three more songs into the set. On top of that we will be playing old favourites from both albums. Some cities on this tour will be able to see THE AMENTA as a full multimedia experience. We are playing some shows with our good friend Nathan Jenkins on video projections. Some of you will remember him as our old bass player. It will be great to get back on the road with him and the visuals he has put together will blow people away.

Alex – As mentioned we will play a few from the new album ‘Front the Final Foes’, plus a few from the last one ‘Cauldron’ and a few from our debut ‘Spun Forth as Dark Nets’. Regarding stage show/theatrics haha! Who knows?  The Ruins live show is certainly a ritualized event and I think this is important for black metal. We enjoy using intros and outros, and sequencing the songs in interesting ways… I can really say no more because it depends on the setting and circumstances.  Regarding theatrics, makeup, costume, props…. I know it is not crucial… however I enjoy using it when I do. We do or we don’t depending…? We always cultivate what you could only call a ‘dark’ image… regardless of the level of theatrics that may or may not come with. We do what we need to do in the moment.

Im sure all bands on this tour have performed together and id imagine that you are tight knit and good friends. Would you expect any hi jinx or practical jokes to come out?

Who would you be most worried about in regards to that?

Cameron – We’ve been friends with the guys in Ruins and The Amenta for a long time now so we’re really looking forward to this tour with them.  Hopefully there will be a decent rider so we can get a bit loose and then let the real fun will begin.  I think I’ll be keeping my eye on The Amenta though.  They tend to get up to a bit of mischeif.

Tim – There are always practical jokes on tour. Traditionally we give Dave as many vegetarian meals as possible and book him the most inconvenient flights we can. I am going to keep my eye on Jason Peppiatt {Vocals, PSYCROPTIC] and also Erik [Miehs, guitars, THE AMENTA], Peppiatt once almost made me pass out with a smoke machine while I was playing so perhaps there is revenge on the cards.

Alex – I don’t know about all this? We all take what we do pretty seriously… but there is room for fun, and I would say there are definitely some comedians amongst us… but this is a bit hard to call… in all instances the humor will be pitch black haha! Who knows? 

Psycroptic, The Amenta & Ruins are all very well known metal bands within Australia. To date what would be the pinnacle of your careers so far & if there is one thing you could achieve, that you havent yet, what would it be?

Cameron – So far the pinnacle for us would have to be touring internationally with some of the biggest bands in the industry I would have to say.  It’s been a pretty amazing ride so far.  The next goal for us would probably be to do our own head lining tour of Europe or the States.  That would be awesome if it was possible one day.

Tim – I think the pinnacle for me so far would be playing in Katowice in Poland and having the crowd screaming our name after every song. To get the best crowd reaction we have ever had in some city I had previously never heard of on the other side of the world was pretty amazing. One guy was holding up an Australian flag as we played.  As for what we haven’t yet achieved I would love to get our music into soundtracks for decent movies. Whether it’s an existing song, a new song or just sound design I think our music would work very well in a certain context. It’s certainly an area we are looking to explore very soon.

Alex – This is a bit difficult to answer. I feel we have gone from strength to strength, regarding our written work, production and the live shows, Satyricon, Celtic frost, Immortal… the opportunities that we have had have been perfect. But onward and upward… I will be pleased with nothing short of total world domination haha! Honestly I have every ambition without having any ambition particularly. Ruins is my will, I just wait around and do my will. Obviously to do some touring internationally is on the agenda, I suppose if this were a particularly high profile thus fruitful endeavor would be helpful.  

The Haley brothers have, in the past, featured in all three bands on this bill. But will be performing with Pyscroptic and Ruins only on this tour.

Are these guys purely band whores or are they just simply that good?

Cameron – I would have to say band whores I reckon (….but they are pretty good too, smart arses).

Tim – Mainly band whores but I guess they can play. Dave and Joe have been very important parts of this band. And they still are. Dave has played on all our albums, we played our first ever gigs with Joe.

Alex – Definitely both!  I will try and keep this simple but it is a tangled web. In short, Ruins has never been seen to be a side project of Psycroptic.  Ruins is a band between Dave and I that is worlds apart from the one created by Joe and Dave; and nearly as old in its concept really. Of course once Dave and Joe got to work on Psycroptic their ability to progress quickly was helped by their being brothers living in the same house, being able to work together absolutely as much as possible in those early days. Clearly Psycroptic was always going to become an established band once they began to pursue that. Dave has been known to play drums for a few other bands but this is basically as a session musician. I mean he is less or not involved in the creative process in the other bands, he has recorded for Aborted and plays for Blood Duster. Dave has drummed on both albums from the Amenta. I also did guest vocals on the latest Amenta album ‘non’.  Ruins is my only priority though and we have had to work around Psycroptic to a degree but in the end we basically do as much as I feel we need to, or would do anyway, it is just the timing is seemingly dictated… I don’t know about that really, I feel like mostly things have worked out just right for us with timing on things anyway, and we are always progressing with something; there is certainly enough time for both. We are as close as allies can be really. Because all bands occupy quite different positions within the spectrum of what is termed ‘extreme metal’ we have always been seen to be ultimately linked but totally separate entities. To say the least we want every success for all bands in our respective work, and I think we are doing well with all missions so far. 

Merchandise seems to be a huge part of a bands success nowadays. Will you have a vast array of merchandise on offer & should punters be prepared for a possible shopping spree?

Cameron – Yeah we will have a vast array of merch for sale.  It’s pretty vital to bands these days, it’s where most of the money comes from and the cost of touring isn’t cheap either.  T-shirts and hoddies are harder to download.

Tim – Definitely. We never used to have a lot of designs. But it has become increasingly more important to have a variety of merchandise so that you can make any kind of money as a band. Obviously with everyone illegally downloading our music we aren’t getting nearly as much as we should from royalties and publishing so we have to find other ways to make the band viable. It’s the unfortunate situation where we can’t make music if we can’t afford it. Making albums and touring is extremely expensive. With rapidly declining CD sales and the rise in people stealing our music from blogs and torrent sites, merch is one of the only ways we can ensure that our band is able to continue. So if you want to support us, come and buy our merch. We will have a lot of new designs to choose from.

Alex – Absolutely, as mentioned the new Ruins album will be available, not to mention heaps of other stuff, shirts, hoods etc. we appreciate the support, without the support from the fans we would not be able to do tours like this. 

When touring, which member of your band is the most unhygeniec and stinkiest? Who do you think will ultimately be the stench king of this tour?

Cameron – We’re all pretty smelly in general and it doesn’t help sweating it out on stage every night.  I’d have to say that the Psycro van will probably be smelly pretty ripe by the end of the tour.  I’m not too sure how good the Amenta van will be either though.

Tim – Who knows? After the first couple of days your nose gives out and you can’t smell anything anyway. Everyone is guilty of being the filthy one at some point. Especially on the longer tours where showers are a rarely seen luxury. I’m not sure who will be the stench king. Hopefully not me. Hopefully Dave.

Alex – We are all reasonably disgusting animals, touring together just brings us all a little closer.  

All bands on Unleashing The Extreme have had some level of success. In your opinion what has been the key to your succes so far?

Cameron – I would have to say that the key to our success is hard work and a lot of touring.  There is always hours of emailing in organising and negotiating stuff every day that you forget about, on top of jaming and practising as well as trying to tour as much as possible but still trying to keep your boss happy at your day job.

Tim – A pig headedness. Our band has collapsed before every album. We have been offered tours that fell through. We have lost thousands of dollars on stolen equipment and shady deals with bands who should know better. Without our stubbornness we would never have recorded our first few songs. In order to get anywhere as a band you are going to have to wade through some shit. It’s probably about 95% hard times, 4% sleep and that amazing 1% where everything works and you get what you deserve.

Alex – I suppose we have had some pleasing achievements so far, I don’t know what to say about this really except I have just been doing my will. It has required patience and strength of will to make anything happen for Ruins. I think with patience and will I can do what I want. 

Why should metalheads come to the Unleashing The Extreme tour?

Cameron – Metalheads should come along to Unleashing The Extreme because it is a good night of extreme music where all of the bands are unique in their own way.  There is a band for everyone no matter style or genre you’re into.  Support Australin Metal.

Tim – Because this is the strongest local tour that Australia has had in many years. You will see three excellent bands at the top of their game. You will see THE AMENTA as only a few people have, with our full complement of extra multimedia. And it may be the last time.

Alex – Come and support these bands. Speaking for Ruins at least I can say that it is very difficult for us to get a full tour together like this… if you are interested in our band come and show your support. We will tour Australia this one time for 2009, that is it, we will endeavor to play a few other places we don’t hit with this tour before the year is out, but that is it… we don’t play live that much so show us some support, especially if you would like us to play more often. Definitely come and get a copy of ‘Front the Final Foes’.

You can check out all the dates and venues for the Unlelashing The Extreme Tour right

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