Hellions have enjoyed a pretty wild 2015. A new album, by the name of ‘Indian Summer’, dropped, a sheer butt-load of tours ensued, and a lot of good times were had. We had a quick chat with Hellions drummer Anthony Caruso about what has arguably been the band’s best year.
With the European tour you guys did last month, that was the first time Hellions made it over there, wasn’t it?
Yeah, and it was absolutely unbelievable dude. It exceeded all of our expectations. We had the best time with Northlane, Volumes, The Acacia Strain; we all got on really well. The shows were phenomenal, and it was cool to see people in random countries singing our songs. I can’t wait to go back.
Oh, so good to hear that dude.
And with some of those people, English isn’t their first language. Like we were in Norway and there was a bunch of people who were so stoked about us, like, we couldn’t have been any further from home.
That’s so awesome. With all of this touring, how do you personally cope with it?
I personally love it. It’s one of the best parts of being in a band and I feel incredibly lucky just playing a show in Sydney, so playing in another country is just so much fun. It’s such a broken routine while you’re away, so you can’t plan when you’re going to rest and sleep or go exploring, as each day is quite different. I’ve just learnt to go with the flow, that’s how I deal with it. I feel like the rest of the band is like that too, and we always look forward to going away to tour.
That’s a pretty zen-like attitude towards it man, which is cool. I’ve seen Hellions about four or five times live now and you guys all look like you’re having the time of your lives on stage. Do you think that having a happy on-stage demeanor translates well to both fans and new listeners?
I think what you see on-stage when you see Hellions is us to a T. No one’s putting on a front or anything like that. A lot of people comment that we’re the same on-stage as we are off stage. That’s really the point to us – to have fun and make the people watching us have a really good time. I also think we’ve definitely learnt a lot more in the past month and a half than we have in the last 12 months. It’s insane.
It’s funny, as you don’t tend to think about it when you’re playing. It’s like a blur, you start and then you finish playing and you’re like, “Wow, I hope that was good”.
Now, I’m a drummer myself, and I’ve always really liked your style of playing, so I’m curious as to what drummers or artists have influenced you?
I listen to such an eclectic mix of music, even when I was growing up. I don’t ever really recall being stuck into one genre or style of music. One of my earliest influences when I started to really pay attention to drums is one that 80% of drummers say, and that’s Travis Barker. Listening to Blink records and watching him on the live ones, that really inspires me as far as hitting harder. With the more intricate and technical stuff, it was more jazz drummers like Buddy Rich as I got a bit older. More recently, I’ve been into a lot of hip-hop drummers, like Tony Royster Jr, who plays for Jay-z, his style is absolutely incredible. There’s just so many dude.
Man, I love Buddy Rich’s stuff. A lot of those drummers are across very different styles and as you listen to these different styles, does that go for the whole band too?
We all do have different tastes, and it does reflect back into the music we write. What’s been on high rotation in the van lately hasn’t been that much heavy music, which is interesting to see how that will impact the next record. We are well underway with writing that too.
Sick. With the third album, are you guys hoping for a release next year?
Yeah, the goal, at this stage, is for sometime next year. If I was being honest with you, I’d say we are about 80% done now too.
Sweet! It’s interesting to see how far you guys have come this year, and I feel like this next album will push you guys even further.
That’s of course the goal, you want to get into more people’s ears. We felt like ‘Die Young’ was a demo, really, it was the first thing we put out. Maybe Indian Summer caught on a little bit more, as our sound isn’t really similar to a lot of other bands. It is very cool to have more and more people come out to shows and hit us up. I’m really excited to see where this next record takes us.
With the band’s sound, I find a lot of people online, especially Americans, don’t really get the sound of the band. All of your videos on the Rise Records YouTube page seem to show that. Plus, you guys really standout quite a bit, especially considering the bands you tour with and are associated with.
I guess we pride ourselves on that a little bit, on being a little bit of fresh air for some people. Not that we’re changing the game or that we’ll translate to everyone, as you said.
We’re so stoked that Rise distributed our record overseas. We were aware that that Rise crowd have a very loyal following and that it may not go down so well, but at the same it’s cool that we can help people transition into more styles of music.
Especially with those Latin moments on the record.
Yeah! It’s funny you say that, I was at the Northlane show in Sydney and I noticed that August Burns Red have some of that in their songs. It’s pretty cool.
It is. It allows for some good contrast for the album.
Absolutely. We were feeling very…spicy that day [laughs]. But I get what you’re saying; you want to take people on a bit of a journey. It’s cool that you noticed, man.
Oh, all good man. What band or bands are you most excited to see when you’re at Invasion Fest?
We’ve actually played with most, if not all, of the bands playing, so I’m excited to hang out with everyone. I’m psyched to see Hallower. We’ve recently become really good friends with the boys in Ocean Grove, I love their latest release. It’s just awesome.
It just seems like a massive show for the ‘Boiz’, for everyone.
[Laughs] absolutely man, I can’t wait.
Okay, so final question man. Each year the AFL Grand final has just terrible acts playing, so what three bands would you want to see play if you had your way?
Wow…that’s a hard one, maybe just us, cause it’d be fun. It’d be cool to see someone like Amity or Parkway who’d definitely pull it of. You’ve kind of stumped me…but just something different than the jaded has-been or the shitty pop artist who is boring as shit to watch.
I would have picked Sticky Fingers to open, then Thy Art Is Murder, then Katie Miller Heidke to close it off.
[Laughs] Ooh nice. It’d be cool to see someone like Tame Impala play I think. ‘
Yeah, then you can tell who are the Triple-J fans in the crowd. Well look Anthony, that’s all I have for you dude, thank you for your time.
Hey, no worries man, thanks for the chat.
Catch Hellions performing at Invasion Fest, which takes place in Melbourne this December. You can purchase tickets via Oztix.
Join the official Facebook event here.
‘Indian Summer’ is out now.