Thy Art Is Murder are one of Australian metal’s contemporary heavyweights. Following on from last year’s crushing studio album ‘Hate’, the band have 2013 all ahead of them. Killyourstereo.com recently caught up with CJ Mcmahon before the band boarded a flight to Europe to discuss touring, signing with Nuclear Blast and Push Over festival.
G’day CJ. It’s the first time we’ve spoken to you guys I believe, so it’s long overdue to sit down with the band. The Nuclear Blast signing. That’s a big deal for a local metal band. Tell us about that.
Basically, they [Nuclear Blast] hit us up and we freaked out. Monte Connor used to be the A&R guy at Roadrunner, he signed Slipknot, Machine Head and Fear Factory. He now works at Nuclear Blast in the USA and heard about ‘Hate’ from a bunch of people so approached us to see what was up.
We are totally stoked with it. It’s the biggest metal label in the world. There are tonnes of our favourite bands on the roster like Meshuggah and Behemoth. It is a dream come true.
In addition to the signing, 2012 was still a big year for the band, with the release of ‘Hate’. What were the year’s highlights?
The Fear Factory and Reign Of Darkness tours were sick. Touring Europe for the first time with War From A Harlot’s Mouth was awesome [too]. Recording and releasing ‘Hate’ [were definite highlights]. [Also] Signing with Halfcut and Distort.
I watched some footage on YouTube of your Sydney Big Day Out performance. If I’m not mistaken it was around 45 degrees. How was that performance?
Hot (laughs). Actually it was 47 degrees, it was wild. It was a great experience. I used to go to it [Big Day Out] all the time, so to actually play was a dream come true. Seeing The Killers and the Red Hot Chili Peppers was cool too.
It’s no secret heavy music in Australia has never been popular, but even within the scene Thy Art are slightly different insofar as you channel a sound closer to death metal more than a hardcore hybrid. What’s your opinion as to why this type of music is so embraced today?
Parkway and Amity have obviously done a lot for the scene. I don’t know why it’s so popular though? Metal has always been there, these days it’s going in lots of different directions so attracting lots of different people to it which is cool.
Every musician has that moment when they hear an album or a song, or maybe just a performance that makes them take notice and changes everything. You know that profound moment where you are like, “I want to be in a band and play metal.” What moment was that for you?
Listening to Nirvana, Limp Bizkit and Deftones made me want to play in a band. Sublime just made me love life.
When you get back from overseas you have Push Over. A great line-up at a great venue. What’s the mood like approaching those shows?
We are about to start a month long Europe tour and will be playing in Russia one day, Melbourne the next so that’s pretty crazy. We have New Zealand and Tasmanian dates after Push Over so the schedule is looking good. I am fully psyched for it. Some amazing bands are playing who are also our good friends so it will rule. Also the venue [Sidney Myer Music Bowl] is really big. It’ll be sick.
What has been your biggest learning curve from being in the band so far?
One, learning to budget money on the road and two, trust no one.
If you could pick one style/element to remove for heavy music e.g. synth, excessive breakdowns, what would it be?
Yeah the keys are getting a bit old.
Just some easy ones to finish off,
Top three songs to blare in the tour van?
Dizee Rascal – Holiday
Prince – I Would Die For You
Deftones – Digital Bath
Worst CD purchase ever made?
Took me a moment to think of. Linkin Park – Hybrid Theory. All my mates told me they were awesome so I gave them a chance. I got to the end of the record and just said “Nup!” My mate was over so I was trying to show off and attempted to chuck it out the window but it hit the wall and cracked the gyprock. True story.
Kerry King calls asking you to collaborate with him. What do say next?
“How come you called me and not Marshy? Isn’t he your nephew?”
Any final words you want to pass onto readers?
Pick up Hate and get in the pit.
Thanks for the interview CJ, really appreciate it.