In a hardcore scene where bandwagons and trend hopping is rife, Marathon is a breath of fresh air. Transcending conventional styles and citing influences from a broad range of genres, this Brisbane quartet have fashioned a chaotically unique sound that translates to complete mayhem on stage. Their debut EP ‘Never Safe‘ is one of the most impressive releases currently on offer from Arrest Records, and having just completed a tour of the Australian East Coast, vocalist Luke Smith answered a couple of questions for us.
To get started, tell us your name, what you do in Marathon and who are you backing to come out on top in the election?
My name’s Luke. I provide the majority of the vocals and lyrics for Marathon. No matter who wins the election, we’re fucked.
You’re currently touring Australia, is this the first time you guys have been interstate as a band?
No. In March we played a Canberra show and two Melbourne shows over a weekend. We made some awesome friends on that trip who we were really psyched to see on this tour.
Arrest Records recently released your debut EP ‘Never Safe’, are you happy with the way it has come out?
Yeah dude, we are. Recording those songs we are really cathartic experience for me, and was such an outlet and I’m psyched on how they turned out. We all are. Some people also seem to like it, which is great.
What’s your opinion on Arrest Records and the rest of the bands on the label?
Greg Bower is great. Such a nice and positive dude and it’s really great that he is choosing to back young, sincere bands. I think Legions are fucking sick at that style of hardcore. Sydney has bands doing that stuff that are getting some good recognition now (Phantoms, Relentless) so if Legions can keep working hard it’ll be gnarly. I am also ultra excited about being on the same label as Fires Of Waco. Our guitarist, Ryan plays bass in that band and they are one of my favourite bands in Australia right now. Stevie, their guitarist is a big older brother/positive influence for me and a great friend so being able to share something as small as that with him is great for me.
Are you currently working on new material, or do you plan to sit with your current stuff for a while?
We’ve got three songs we’ve written since the EP. We’re still not 100% on our plan for these songs. We have plans to do a split 7-inch with a band from Canberra called Jerkstore, where we’ll both contribute one cover and one song. But none of the songs we have written will be the song that makes it to that seven inch, so maybe we might put out a four track 7 inch or something beforehand? We’re really psyched on these new songs and I’m ultra happy about the topics I’ve been able to touch on with their lyrics so hopefully we can have plans for them by the end of the year at least.
Have you guys played in bands before? How did you all get together to start Marathon?
Yeah man, heaps. We’ve all been kicking around Brisbane for a while now I guess and we’ve played in bands together before. The starting point for me replacing Marathon’s old vocalist kind of came from Ryan joining a band I was doing and that kind of fizzling out, so we just continued to create together in a different way.
Most overrated and most underrated band in Australia right now?
Oh man, I don’t want to talk shit on any other band in particular. I’m not here to do that. I will say that the whole depresso hardcore thing in Australia does nothing for me for the most part. There’s been some ok bands, but when every second kid who seems to come from a nice background and has shit easy as hell decides their life is all of a sudden a living hell and their town is so suffocating and restricting (Yo kid, Melbourne’s the second largest city in the country, get fucked) it just seems so fucked and boring. Also, the fucking riffs and song structures are just so plain in comparisn with bands like Modern Life Is War or The Carrier (Who are both amazing). I just don’t want to hear some kid singing about how his rich parents got divorced over shitty nu metal riffs, you know? Underrated? Between The Devil And The Deep from Sydney. Fucking incredible band.
It seems like every band in Australian hardcore right now are aiming to achieve a particular sound, whereas you guys have a more unique style. Why do you think this is?
I guess it just comes down to our influences, both musically and aesthetically. Music needs to be a challenge, and an outlet to us, so why try and play stale insincere shit that other people are already doing? I don’t intend to sound like an asshole or like I’m sucking my own dick, I just know that given why I love music and have the desire to create and share what I create with people I couldn’t take the easy way and play stuff because everyone else is into it at the time.
Is there any one thing in particular that inspires your music?
Oh man, such a huge question! (No sarcasm). I’ll answer for myself so I guess, everything. The way I was raised and some things I experienced at a younger age kind of meant I was forced to grow up quicker than most of the kids who were around me. I kind of missed out on a lot of stability and positive family shit and I guess that now I just realise the responsibility is on me to really make myself happy now and being content with who I am and how everything I’ve been through has shaped me is something I have to figure out on my own. I mean, like… There’s all this stuff I can get hung up on and depressed about but I was lucky enough to discover punk and hardcore so now I have an outlet. I’m in this situation where I can just let loose and lose my mind in the company of my friends and that is honestly the only thing that keeps me sane. Things still get the best me, I’m far from the happiest person in the world and I still have a lot of issues with who I am and the world/people around me and I’m taking that stuff on board all the time as an influence. There’s a lyrics from a band called Ruiner that really, really resonates with me and I think it kind of fits this question – “Just give me 20 minutes to sweat out the feeling, just give me 20 minutes to run myself dead. This is my outlet, this is my mid life crisis.” I apologise for the really long winded answer, I only just got home like an hour ago and I’m tired and crazy. Also, I don’t mean to sound all “Woe is me”, just trying to answer as honestly as possible
How do you feel about the scene in Queensland at the moment?
Queensland great. In regards to hardcore it’s awesome, and in regards to a whole lot of other genres it’s great as well. Queensland gets a bad rap with hardcore bands but I think right now with Thick Skin, Ghost Town, Shock Value and Fires Of Waco and stuff shit is awesome.
What is the most interesting/embarrassing/funny story you have from being in Marathon?
Oh man. I don’t think there’s anything too out of the ordinary. We fuck around and have our own in jokes just like everyone else and right now I can’t think of any crazy stories. One thing though, we recorded our EP with our friend Sam who sings for Ghost Town. Every since recording (January) him and I have been playing this game where we were just sending eachother stupid/rank photos on our phones. Recently he took it to the next level and it got REALLY out of hand and now I’m just intimidated/grossed out by how far he took it. He is a fucking sick person and needs to be kept away from people/small children/animals. Fuck you Sam Saljooghi.
This is becoming somewhat of a staple in my interviews – name your top 5 albums of all time.
Blink 182 – Dude Ranch (This album made me realise music would be in my life forever)
Hot Water Music – No Division
Brand New – The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Of Me
Modern Life Is War – Witness
Latterman – We Are Still Alive
None of those albums except maybe No Division and We Are Still Alive are similar at all. I like a lot of different shit and those five albums will stick with me forever as albums that just changed my outlook on things, or helped me through some real shit. Besides them I’d definitely have albums by Shai Hulud, The Get Up Kids, Converge, At The Drive In and The Lawrence Arms included.
Thanks a lot, anything else you want to mention?
Thanks so much for thinking of us for this interview dude! Check out our blog – www.marathonruins.wordpress.com