Right now, it’s a pretty exciting time for the boys in Pridelands. With the band supporting local scene conquerors Hellions recently, and with their killer single ‘Coalesce’ (and it’s solid film clip) released a couple weeks ago, we figured right now would be the perfect time to catch up with the Melbourne band. Thankfully, vocalist Mason Bunt & bassist/singer Joshua Cory were both happy to answer our questions.
A lot of your lyrics and music video imagery focuses on fighting rampant consumerism, on how we destroy the environment and each other, and emphasizing a sustainable world. As I live rurally in Victoria myself, I’m wondering if that comes from the members growing up outside of cities and if your family’s livelihood had anything to do with that?
Mason: We weren’t raised with a lot of things in our face, as opposed to a lot of kids who grow up in the city. Coming here with an outside perspective, you notice things in a different light for sure. In the same way that people who come here from other countries and cultures would. Personally, with my parents, especially my Mum, her attitudes and values definitely affected the way I thought and empathized with things on a more worldly scale. Mainly to just be mindful of everything happening around you as best you can.
Josh: I was fortunate enough to have some really clued on teachers in high school that instilled these thoughts in me kind of early on. There’s that and a lot of musical influence too. Middle school for me was all Rise Against, Bad Religion and Rage Against the Machine so when I found an interest in writing music and poetry, it was clear to me whatever I was going to write should be honest and for the sake of progress.
Likewise, I find that your music is quite bleak at times. But there’s an underlying theme of hope, or rather the idea that we can make a change. Is that ever hard for the band to write about or discuss, considering the sheer amount of shit going on in the world, both in Australia and abroad?
Mason: Absolutely. These things are always hard to talk about in a way because we don’t truly understand or grasp the emotions we write about, so it can feel helpless at times. The least I feel I can do is talk about it, you know. Try to make people aware. This generation is on the edge of a change, for better or worse.
Josh: I guess we always try to focus on dynamics when we write the music and the lyrics, so mood and perspective shifts kind of just come naturally. With the subject, it’s basically part-accusation, part-confession. It’s a message to the people, Australians in particular who have a position of power to create change but resist it. In saying that, it’s also an admission of guilt. Being a broke twenty-year-old has its limits, but I can’t help but feel like I’m not doing enough. I suppose I’ve just read about the product of neutrality throughout history; it’s like, a moral obligation to try and dedicate at least something to that.
Well said! With the music video for ‘Coalesce’, which had great cinematography to it, where were the “nature” shots filmed, and where were those urban shots done?
Josh: The nature shots were shot in the Dandenong Ranges and Mount Macedon and Jono and Kieran scouted a location on a hill in Officer. The band shots were [filmed] in a studio deep in the Melbourne CBD.
Yes, I love the Mount Macedon area, so gorgeous! In the clip’s first scene, in the building, it says ‘The City Is A Cross’ along one of the support beams. Now, I couldn’t quite tell if that was actually written there or it if was edited in later on. Either way, is there a meaning behind that, or am I simply looking for something that isn’t there…?
Josh: Ah, you’re actually the first person to notice it! I actually discussed this recently with the person where this message came from. Basically, a close friend of mine sent me a poem and one particular line really hit me hard. However, you only found half the message, the other is “we hang together”. Basically, it referred to me that shift in perspective coming from a different environment. We all struggle in our own way and we try to keep that in mind.
Oh, cool! Well with the band’s performance shots in the video, excluding the drums, is it weird to mime along to your own music? Or did you all actually play the song when filming? Because your amps were turned on from what I could see…
Mason: Well, Josh and I started rocking it out in my shed in our puberty years, so we’ve got our dance moves down. But I guess it is quite odd when you’re in front of a camera. Also, looking at a handsome man like Kern [Kieran, Crystal Arrow Films] makes it a bit easier to manage. My jaw gets quite sore pretending to scream, though.
Josh: Yeah Kez is the best. I definitely had trouble miming at first but he definitely helps you feel comfortable. Shooting with a guy you kick it with makes it really enjoyable.
Good to hear, I’m always curious about the filming side of things. With supporting Hellions at the Evelyn Hotel recently, what is it like to play under a band that everyone and their dog is hyping up lately? (And rightfully so!) Does it make you strive harder in your own music and performances, and is there ever a hint of jealousy somewhere in there?
Mason: No jealousy whatsoever! If anything, seeing like-minded individuals like Hellions reaching a point that was that night at The Evelyn gives us more drive and energy to do what we do. It’s really quite refreshing and I feel playing with bands like that definitely, helps bring an energy to our show.
Josh: The timing of this show was incredible. Hellions had Triple J feature album and the show went off like crumpets. You could see the guys on and off stage living a dream and it was definitely inspiring, to say the least. I just like that there’s no bullshit with those boys. Just straight up kindness at face value, which can be lacking in music sometimes.
Agreed! With the recent “Fresh Fruit” interview with Blunt Mag, and with your songs like ‘Devil’s Snare’, it got me thinking – what company or corporation would you dismantle and prevent from coming into existence. Multiple answers can be given here.
Newscorp. Also, Vemma. It’s a pyramid scheme energy drink company. Buy a Red Bull.
I can back that, even though Red Bull is shite. Finally, you’ve remained independent from major labels since the band’s inception. Is that going to be the case going forward with your next release? Have there been any offers from labels over the past couple years?
Nah, no label offers so far. We’re too greasy. The next release is bound to be independent, we’re just riding the wave and doing our thing for now and we like it.
Glad to hear it, guys, thank you so much for your time. Cheers!
Stream ‘Coalesce’ below and you can pick it up (as well as the bands other material) right here.