Tasmanian upstarts Save the Clock Tower are ready to make a name in the music scene. Having already toured Australia many times over supporting notable bands, the Launceston boys have harnessed and refined their metalcore aesthetic to form ‘Wasteland’. The band’s debut album has received praise from many critics and fans alike. We spoke with singer Luke Vaessen about the album, touring and the way of life on the great island of Tasmania.
How was your tour with Betraying the Martyrs?
That tour was fantastic. They played amazing sets, like really top notch shows. A lot of the guys have been listening to them for years but they’re not really the type of thing I listen to. Yet they really blew me away, it was great.
How did you find your sets on the tour and the fan’s reactions?
We went into that tour not expecting much of a response but we were really surprised at the involvement we got. Even if people weren’t singing or moshing, they were standing and watching us and nodding their heads; even just that they watched and acknowledged us was really important. It’s better than standing and talking or being on their phones.
Now moving onto ‘Wasteland’, how are you feeling?
[I’m] feeling really good actually. We worked really hard on it to put out a strong debut that people would really appreciate and like. It was a lot of hard work as the recording process took a long time to do and complete but what came out was something we were all really proud of.
Why did it take so long?
Well, we had a lot of editing issues. Pre-production had a lot of time and effort put into it. We had to redo guitars twice as we had editing problems with that. Vocal we did THREE times as we had more editing issues and our old guitarist left so I had to do his singing bits on the record. It was a bit of a struggle and we enlisted Will Putney to do the mixing. We sent it to him in November and he then had to come to Australia to do the new Amity [Affliction] record so we had to wait for him to finish that before he finalised it.
Do you think Putney captured the sound you were looking for?
Definitely. We picked because he makes bands sound big, powerful, punchy and aggressive and that is exactly what we were going for. Despite the interruption, he did a great job and made a sound that we were all stoked on.
You mentioned before you worked really hard on the record, do you think that was because you come from Tasmania, which is very isolated and almost looked down upon in the music scene?
Oh absolutely! Tasmania is very shut off from the rest of Australia and there’s a big stretch of water between us, which doesn’t help (laughs). But it makes us work really hard to prove ourselves. It’s a hard scene to break into with Melbourne and Sydney having so many bands. We wanted to prove ourselves and get ourselves out there for the world to see.
How have your friends and family taken all of this in? Have they been supportive and surprised when you’ve toured the country a few times over?
Yeah, we’re really lucky in that we’ve got a lot of supportive people backing us. They’ve no doubt been loving [towards us] but they were surprised when it really started to take off and we got recognition. They started to see it as more of something we can follow with our lives as oppose to just a hobby.
You said your old guitarist and singer left, did you write all the lyrics or was it a joint effort?
It was a joint effort between us.
So did you find it difficult to step into his shoes when you ended up singing his lyrics?
Well, he only wrote two sets of song lyrics.
That makes it easier (laughs)!
(Laughs) Sure does! But I mean he wrote two of the songs and they were both extremely personal lyrics to him and his life. I know what the song is about and I know what he’s been through so it was a little difficult to kind of sing from his perspective. I had to really out myself in his shoes and bring out the same emotion that he would have if he were singing.
Do you like to write your lyrics like that, personal? Or do you prefer more generalised topics?
I write super personal. It really adds a level of emotion to it. That being said, I still like to generalise the words a bit more so people can relate to the message and they can grasp the meaning better.
I’m interested to know why that is? With things like this whole emo-revival stuff and bands like La Dispute, there seems to be a trend where the words are almost so personal you can’t relate to them. Why do you feel it’s better to have it generalised?
Well I love songs I can relate to. The lyrics matter just as much as everything else and that’s what I like to have in our songs. I think it adds so much more depth to it if the kids can relate to what’s being said. If they can understand it and they can feel it because they’ve felt the same, I just think that it has more impact.
So why ‘Wasteland’? Why call it something with a fair few negative connotations?
Well it’s for a number of reasons. There are a lot of Wastelands inside a person when they, for example, reach the end of a relationship. Even when coming from a place like Tasmania, it makes us works so much harder to come from what is essentially a Wasteland in comparison to what is on the mainland in terms of music.
So what plans do you have for 2014?
We’re just going to tour. We are going to smash out a few tours with some stuff I can’t really divulge but we’re really pumped for what’s going to happen!