Perth progressive rock outfit Chaos Divine have been a respected staple in the local scene for a few years now. A couple of strong releases under their belt, the band is gearing up for some east coast shows this month. Killyourstereo.com chatted with guitarist Simon Mitchell to get the lowdown on it all.
Hi Simon, thanks for doing the interview today. How is the latter part of 2013 treating Chaos Divine?
G’day Kane. Well, it has been busy. We’re busting our nuts trying to get an album ready to record for release next year and it is proving to be very difficult. It’s a pretty taxing process and just when you think you’re close to the end you realise half your songs suck. It will definitely be worth it when we reach the finish line though.
How are preparations going for the upcoming tour? I imagine you must be keen to hit the road again.
Preparations have all gone pretty much to plan and we absolutely cannot wait to get back over there. We always have such a rad time on the east coast. We’re very excited.
You’re playing Creepshow down here in Melbourne. Can we expect any elaborate attire or costumes worn for this performance?
Well, it is called “Creepshow” after all and we are certainly going to look rather creepy…I guess just not really in the way that most people would expect.
Talk us through your relationship with Welkin Entertainment. Tim is certainly doing great things for local heavy and alternative bands.
Yeah for sure. Obviously being on the other side of the country we don’t really get to be a part of the scene that Tim is involved in but a couple of times a year we get to play some fucking good gigs on his turf thanks to him and the various scenes across the country. It’s really good that there are guys like him out there putting in the hard work to get things happening because we all know what happens when you try to get musos to organise themselves.
You just reached 6,000 fans on Facebook. What does it feel like knowing your music is reaching so many people?
It’s hard to describe without sounding like a bit of a dick really. We sometimes get messages from people located in distant parts of the world thanking us for our music, which really inspires us to keep at it. It’s a special feeling and I can’t wait until hopefully one day I’m a dorky old dad and I get to tell my kids how back in my day I really did know how to ‘rock and/or roll’.
What are the differences between Perth audiences as opposed to East Coast fans, if any?
To be honest I don’t really think there is much of a difference. People who genuinely enjoy our music are just as enthusiastic and receptive on both sides of the country. Here in Perth though, we do have a number of particularly crazy fans who support us like no other. Some of them have Chaos Divine tatts and just keep buying our stuff and coming to all of our gigs no matter where and when. They are the best fans any band could ask for and words can’t describe how much their support means to us. They know who they are.
Probably the hardest aspect for a local band is juggling band commitments with work and family commitments. Talk us through this balance in relation to being in Chaos Divine.
It can definitely be a bit tricky at times but it’s just one of those things. We’re lucky in that none of us have sold our souls and joined the army of fly in/fly out workers that make up about 98% of the population of our state. However, most of the guys do have other commitments, which sometimes restricts what we are able to do with this band. We look at some of the bands smashing the Australian tour circuit and we’re a bit baffled as to how they do it. Bands like King Parrot who seem to be on the road every other week. How do they do it? If they don’t have jobs, how can they afford it? If they do have jobs, how do they get the time off? Buggered if I know.
You previously released a very bold and effective cover of Toto’s ‘Africa’. Are there plans to release any other covers in the future? If so, what songs would be on the current shortlist?
I was going to say Rebecca Black’s ‘Friday’ but then today I saw the new middle school sensation – ‘Chinese Food’ by some little girl. Maybe that? Nah, I don’t think we’ll be doing any more covers any time soon, at least not to record. The Africa thing was way beyond what we expected. We initially just thought we’d do a shitty but fun version to play at a few gigs but then one of us (probably me) had the genius idea to record it just to put something out between albums and it sort of took off. It started as a bit of a jam and ended up becoming Steve Lukather’s favourite cover version of the song.
If you come to any of the gigs on this tour you’ll get to experience a pretty radical intro to the song, just sayin’…
You supported Between the Buried and Me and Animals As Leaders last year. Tell us what it was like sharing the stage with those guys. Both bands are insane talents.
Yep, it was wicked, but I think as most support acts would say after playing with either of those bands (particularly Animals As Leaders), it leaves you feeling pretty inferior as a musician. Their level just seems so far beyond anything achievable by mere mortals like ourselves that for a little while you don’t even want to look at your guitar. Luckily my PRS and I kissed and made up not long after (laughs).
The ARIA nominations were just unveiled. If you were to pick the five albums that should be in the 2013 best hard rock/heavy metal category what would they be?
That’s a tough one. To be honest I haven’t really checked out many Aussie hard rock/metal albums lately. So I know I’m not really answering the question the way it was intended but if you asked me who should win it I would definitely tell you the Vool lads would be my top choice. ‘Asymmetry’ is one hell of an album. It’s a bit of a tough nut to crack at first but once you do, it is definitely worth the effort. The work that goes into writing a Karnivool album is absolutely mind blowing. They might not have the shred like Tosin [Abasi] or Mangini but the craftsmanship and finesse that goes into writing any one of their albums is second to none.
Just some easy ones to finish off with:
Favourite album of 2013?
Hmmm, it’s a toss up between ‘Asymmetry’ by Karnivool and ‘Random Access Memories’ by Daft Punk. That album seriously makes you boogie.
What’s an album that you consider the biggest letdown of 2013?
To be honest I can’t really think of one. There are a few shit albums from a few shit bands that were about as shit as I expected. I’ll probably keep them to myself though.
Best gig of 2013?
Well last night I saw Dev. [Townsend]. I am a hopeless diehard Dev fan. That man could stand there and fart into the microphone all night and I would still consider it the best gig ever. He went a few steps better though and put on an amazing show. I love that man. Gig of the year for me.
Best new musical discovery?
I just recently got into a bit of Biffy Clyro from Scotland. Their latest album ‘Opposites’ is overflowing with deliciously catchy choruses. It’s relentless in that regard. There is also something about the Scottish accent, it’s just lovely.
…I’d also like to throw a shout out to Forstora from right here in Perth. Hopefully their debut album will be released sometime next year and it will be a fucking cracker. I know I’ll probably get shot by some death metal purist for saying this but they are probably the most intensely heavy band going around at the moment. Take old school hardcore punk, thrash and black metal and you get these guys. It’s just the most furious music so do yourselves a favour and keep an eye on them.
Will do. Keen to check those guys out now after that endorsement.
Essential items to take on tour?
Shoes…forgetting them will probably result in an emergency detour to Bondi Junction…
Favourite song to blare in the tour van?
It has got to be Rosanna by Toto. There’s nothing quite like a group of unkempt, stinky hairy bogans rolling down the street in a van bopping along to that ridiculously groovy shuffle. I’m sure it’s quite a sight.
Thanks for the interview Simon, appreciate your time. Will catch you guys at the Espy.
Cheers Kane. Come down and, in the words of the great Andrew W.K, party ‘til you puke!
Chaos Divine tour this October and December:
Thursday Oct 24 – The Beetle Bar, Brisbane
Friday Oct 25 – The Bald faced Stag, Sydney
Saturday Oct 26 – The Esplanade, Melbourne
Friday Dec 6 – The Amplifier, Perth