Melbourne’s Be’lakor are a local band worthy of respect. Having supported the likes of At the Gates and toured overseas as part of the respective Brutal Assault and Summer Breeze festivals, the group are gearing up for this weekend’s Sonic Forge Festival. Killyourstereo.com caught up with the band recently to discuss the year, plans for the future and Australian metal.
G’day mate, Kane from Killyourstereo, how’s it going?
Very well thanks Kane – cheers for the interview.
2012 is winding down now; I know it is hard to give a brief overview but how has the year been for Be’lakor?
It’s been a hugely busy year. The first half was dominated by recording and preparing for the album launch (finalising artwork, licensing deals etc). The second half has been a lot of post-release stuff – live shows, promotion and a European tour.
And on the album, ‘Of Breath and Bone’ dropped this year and has been out for a little while now. Now that it has had time to be received and get out there, how has the response been?
The response has been fantastic – we couldn’t be more pleased. We wanted to create a faster, heavier and more melodic album. Our listeners seem to appreciate that approach.
And what were some of the themes and inspirations behind the release?
Our lyrics nearly always tell a story and, on this album, those stories are of decay, dreams and mortal failure. We’re always interested in trying to understand reality and how it can often undermine or destroy the assumptions daily life is predicated upon.
You’re playing Sonic Forge this month. How important are festivals/shows like this for metal’s success locally?
They’re very important. Beyond bringing the scene together, they give punters something to look forward to each year and create a culture/tradition, which is important for any fringe scene. They also add a degree of larger-scale legitimacy to metal, which is often lacking in Australia.
As you said before, you travelled to Europe and played some pretty impressive festivals recently. What was the tour like?
It was really great. We got to meet a lot of interesting people and other bands, enjoy German and Czech culture, and play in front of awesome audiences. As this was our second trip to Europe, we made fewer logistical errors – which always helps.
Australia has a solid metal scene currently. A lot of bands are cultivating a strong European inspired sound. However, there seems to be a really unique Aussie flavour to the style too. What’s your opinion on the current local metal scene?
With respect to the music being produced, I think we’re having a bit of a renaissance at the moment. There are lots of great Aussie bands working hard to produce thoughtful, carefully executed music. With respect to audiences, I am not so convinced that things have changed much over the last decade. Aussie metal fans are still passionate and very supportive. It would be great if the scene could grow a bit more though.
I saw you guys open for At the Gates in Melbourne. Impressive performance, however things didn’t go entirely smoothly beforehand I noticed. You had a few problems during sound check. What goes through your head when time is passing quickly and you’ve got a bunch of metalheads watching you on stage trying to get equipment connected?
Mild anxiety and extreme frustration. It goes without saying that there are many, many things that can go wrong at any given show. In this case, a particular lead had died. It was extraordinarily bad luck that the lead we replaced it with had also died. Naturally, we assumed that the probability of both leads being dead was negligible and we set off on a wild goose chase. That’s why it took a while to fix.
What are the plans for 2013?
We intend to strip back our schedule of live shows and concentrate on writing and preparing to record our fourth album. We’re very much focussed on getting the album out soon.
What are the main differences you have noticed between metal fans over here and metal fans overseas?
Australians tend to be more reserved and quiet than Europeans – who are more openly emotional and excited. It’s really a minor cultural difference. Although, I must say that Brisbane fans give them a run for their money.
Just some quick and easy ones to finish off with,
Favourite album(s) of 2012?
Deathspell Omega – ‘Drought’
Okera – ‘A Beautiful Dystopia’
Most disappointing album of 2012?
Gojira – ‘L’Enfant Sauvag’e. Not to say it’s a particularly bad album, I just had very high expectations.
Best newcomer band?
One album you wished you had performed on?
To be honest, I don’t really have that feeling. One band is enough work.
One song you hope you never have to hear again in your lifetime?
I’ve probably heard enough Brostep to last me a lifetime.
And lastly, any final words for the Killyourstereo readers?
Thanks for supporting the local scene! Hope to see you at a show soon.
Thanks for your time, really appreciate it.
Likewise, thanks mate.
Sonic Forge Festival Facebook event – http://www.facebook.com/events/338461006232618/