A relatively new name in the local scene, Deadweight look to capitalise on a healthy demand for their brand of dense hardcore. With a debut demo released earlier this year, the band is moving forward, with more shows planned for 2014. We sat down with drummer Adrian Horsman (In Trenches) to discuss the infancy of the group.
The debut demo came out earlier this year. Very solid – a lot of Converge, Oathbreaker influence going on. As an introduction, talk us through the direction of Deadweight.
We started writing over a year ago with ideas, which our guitarist Corey had formulated. As a group we got together at my studio in Hurstbridge to jam on the ideas and see how each of us work, as it’s the first time Corey, Dan and myself have collaborated, except for James and I being in our previous now defunct band Tradewinds.
Seeing how our influences would shape the sound of these ideas, which we initially had, was interesting and exciting. All of us take influence from Converge, Neurosis, All Pigs Must Die, Oathbreaker, Enabler, Russian Circles and an array of other bands. We had about four demo songs written, then sort of scrapped them all and with our new understanding of each others limits to push and test ourselves, we wrote the four songs which are on the debut four track demo we have up on bandcamp.
We’re always evolving in sound and all want to better ourselves individually and as a band too. But for this moment in time we feel we’ve found a sound we’re really stoked on.
Like a new business start-up, the early stages of being in a band can be challenging. How has Deadweight found trying to get a foot in the door within the local “scene” so far?
I think playing in previous bands from 2006 to the present has helped with contacts in the ‘scene’ around Melbourne and also interstate too, be it other musicians I’ve played gigs with or bookers that I’ve kept in touch with. It has helped a bit in terms of the small but strong exposure and gigs we have booked/organised so far.
It helps to have a bit of a kick start in that sense. Although it is difficult at times, it’s fun networking with other bands and building a good rapport with people from the scene. Joel from Solis helped us with our first gig, it’s a good release to play live after such a long time writing/refining the songs in un-air-conditioned jam rooms. We just really enjoy being part of live shows and chatting with like-minded people, being able to play our music to anyone who’s there feels good. So hopefully we can keep the forward momentum going strong.
Speaking of the first gig, you had the first show at the Reverence this month. How was it playing live for the first time and interacting on stage together?
It was great to finally let loose with the demo songs. A couple of the guys had some nerves that they shook off during the latter part of the set. It was the first time in a very long time for them playing in a live band dynamic. We all had a great time and the response from the crowd was really encouraging, we have found that we give off a lot of energy in our live show, which I think adds another element, compared to how the songs sound on the demo.
How do you anticipate balancing Deadweight with In Trenches when the latter start writing and recording again in the future?
When In Trenches start writing more and get to recording in the future, I’ll be ready and very keen. We have a few demos already in the works but it won’t take too much time away from Deadweight given that Ben and Kevin are very busy with I Killed the Prom Queen [and] the other guys from In Trenches are also keeping busy, Cohen playing in Old Love and Morgan in Caged Grave. It has given me the time to put my efforts solely into Deadweight. When Ben and Kevin return from touring with Prom Queen we will get together and write some new material, it will be something that I will accommodate into the fold amongst any Deadweight gigs that may already be booked or visa versa. These bands are just the two that are gig-ready, I’m always trying to stay busy writing drums and doing what I love. If both bands were ever booked on the same bill, I’d enjoy that.
Also, last time we spoke, I remember you talking about the Ben Weinman business class you attended. What were the main insights you gained from that?
The workshop with Ben was amazing. Corey came along too as he has a huge interest for the business and networking side of things as I do. Ben is a great, genuine guy who just says it like it is, hearing how he founded The Dillinger Escape Plan to the point of starting his own business ‘Party Smasher inc’ after the fallout with Relapse Records was great insight to how he got to where he is now. Ben highlighted that business is important whether you’re a solo artist or in a group. Unless you have some sort of general business ethic or knowledge of how it works within the industry, it will be very hard or near impossible for you to reach the goals you may set. You need to have something in your music/performance that will set you apart from the rest.
There is a sea of bands that are flooding each scene with the same noise, you will drown amongst them unless you are doing something different that people can take something from. Music is a huge form of expression and a creative release, if it sounds the same as every other band in that genre with no real passion or heart, listeners will struggle to find something that will make it special to them. He summed it up with just being honest and true to yourself and what you feel in your music, your integrity is something you should respect and hold strongly. Honesty in your music and performance is huge when it comes to how people perceive it. If you’re not convincing with the message you’re sending or how you project yourself when performing, people see right through the bullshit. He concluded with a disclaimer that nothing he said means you will now ‘make it’ in the industry! It was a great day.
You can almost cut out the middleman these days. Most musicians are well adept with recording tools and software. You can track an album then put it on bandcamp yourself. How much has utilising this approach helped Deadweight?
It has helped greatly, having done a two year audio engineering course back in 2005/6 I setup a small business called TRHS Studio in Hurstbridge. With basic outboard gear running Pro Tools to track drums, guitars, vocals etc. I’ve recorded nearly every band I’ve played in since 2004, except for In Trenches. We tracked pre production drums and scratch guitar in my studio for the Sol Obscura album, this helped save time when tracking drums at Three Phase Studio in Melbourne.
We’ve saved a lot of money having me do the recording, mixing, and mastering for all of Deadweight’s music up to now. Our vocalist James Macrae is a qualified graphic designer so he has done all our design and artwork so far. Dan, our bassist and Corey put together the studio video covering the tracking of the demo. It has enabled us to get our music and media out a lot faster as we rely on only ourselves and are always really motivated to get things done.
I see on Facebook you’re always happy to help plug friends bands. What’s the general support network like for local heavy bands currently?
We think it’s good to share content from our page that we enjoy too, if people like our music, there’s a big chance they will also dig the bands in the links we share/post. I feel that the support network is pretty strong at this point, there are a lot of good people out there willing to help and do what they can for a friend or for a band they just genuinely enjoy. It never hurts to have a community of bands sharing the same passion/interest for music through online mediums such as Tumblr, Instagram or Facebook. Sharing and posting what’s going on in our local or interstate scene is a great way to help out and spread the word. The more people know, the less they miss out on. We just want to have a positive run of content that anyone can see that is relative to what we enjoy and are passionate about. You gotta give what you get in return.
What’s on the horizon for the remainder of 2014?
We have our next show booked for Friday, June 20 at Playground Bar on Brunswick Street, Fitzroy with Trainwreck, Our Solace and Surrender. In August we are hoping to head to Adelaide with Solis for two shows over a weekend yet to be booked.
We hope to book further shows for the rest of the year while writing for our first full-length album, which we have plans to record at another studio so I can focus solely on the performance and not worry too much about the recording/production side of it. We have a planned release of mid 2015 if all the blocks fall into place.
We’re almost at the mid-way point of 2014. The year is going fast. As an easy closer, what have been some of your favourite albums so far?
I can’t think of many from 2014 that have already been released, I enjoyed the latest Aborted album – The Necrotic Manifesto. After helping their bassist J.B. Van Der Wal for his side project Herder I kept my ear to the ground for this release and it didn’t disappoint!
It was a strange turn of events that had me helping J.B out – a little off topic I know, but a good story anyway. A mate of mine I work with called Nico Guiljt used to sing for Herder, who are based in De Westereen, The Netherlands. After moving to Australia, he now fronts Melbourne band Watchtower. When Herder were recording their latest album titled ‘Gods’ (which also hits my list of enjoyable releases of 2014) they asked Nico to do some guest vocals, so he came to my studio and did his vocals over the tracks J.B sent through online. I sent them all back through to J.B which then made it onto the Herder album. It was a surreal and awesome experience working online internationally being a part of that album, no matter how small it was!
I’m anticipating the release of the latest Enabler album this moth. I really dig their music and they were a pleasure to play with on a couple of shows with In Trenches during their trip down here to Australia for their first time last year.
Thanks for taking the time today. Cheers Adrian.
You’re very welcome, thanks for all your help and support.