Honest Crooks | Lewy Glass

Look, the way they’re going right now, Honest Crooks have the very real potential to be the next big heavy band in Australia. That comes off of their hard-working tour ethic, heavy-as-fuck live shows, being lovely people and the success off of their solid 2017 EP, ‘Suffer’. Come April, the Tamworth outfit will be taking this recent EP across Australia with their good friends in Apate, Underminer and Cast Down, and it’s going to be a bloody good time by all accounts. Speaking with bassist Lewy Glass recently, we chat about the ‘Suffer’ EP, vocalist Jerry Chard’s lyrics, the band’s near-constant “tour-dog” mode, how they balance their everyday lives and HC, what they attribute their success too, and more. Have a geez below: 

Off the back of the awesome reception to ‘Suffer’, how are you and the band feeling about Honest Crooks lately? Because this must be the most exciting time for the band yet, right?

We couldn’t be happier with how things have been moving forward with the band as a whole. The response has been humbling for us, as getting the release out after all the hurdles we had was the most exciting thing we have achieved. Seeing it met with such a positive response has been unreal.

Oh, I bet. Likewise, Honest Crooks have seen some crazy love and responses over the past few months, from here in Australia to even some overseas attention. What do you and the band attribute this too – the particular sound you have, your hard work, word-of-mouth, just being good dudes outside the band that people can like and respect?

To be honest a little of all of the above. The styles of music we pull our influence from aren’t quite as big in Australia as overseas in Europe and even the States, so premiering through a platform like Slam Worldwide early on helped us reach an international audience.

Hard work is a big one for us too. I think it would be fair to say we are a little disadvantaged by being from a regional area such as Tamworth so to get ourselves out there into cities and interstate all came from grinding away, applying for shows, putting on our own shows and even travelling and attending shows we weren’t playing to check out new bands and network with people involved. We still book our own tours and push ourselves to do the best we can off our own back.

I’ve always loved word of mouth, striving to be the best live band we can be to help get people talking. I remember as a younger band when people would post a status after a show with like “Graves are fucking sick” or “Justice For The Damned are the best band in Australia“. I always wanted to be a band that someone could watch and go “Holy shit, more people need to know about this!”, and to see it happen lately from not only our friends, but people we’ve never met is really sick.

Being good people is something we all aspire to be in a band and just in general life, and I do think it makes a difference overall though. Networking is important and everyone loves dealing with a nice person over an asshole. Plus we have met some of our best mates doing this and having friends in every state across the country is cool as hell.

Well said, Lewy. With the Justice For The Damned tour last year, Invasion Fest, those Alpha Wolf shows, and now this headline April tour, is touring fatigue settling in for you and the band at all or not?

Fatigue, not as such. We would tour every week of the year if we could. Though we do need to be smart with our decisions and after a solid 6-8 months now rolling into our 3rd tour a small break from touring is on the cards. Keep people wanting more by not doing too much, but not being too quiet. Finding that balance is important in Australia where you have limited areas to hit.

Good point. And actually, on that Honest Crooks Invasion Fest appearance last December, that had to be one of the best sets of the day, and there was a massive crowd watching you guys play too. I remember you and I talking later that day and you saying how that size of a crowd shocked you and how that kind of response just blew you away. Are you still being surprised by the crowd turnouts and response you guys are receiving?

Thank you, Alex! Invasion Fest will go down as one of my favourite shows forever. That one will definitely be a hard one to top! The Suffer tour has me very excited and nervous to see what numbers we can pull at our current level and also it being the first time that we have done pre-sales for a tour. It’s awesome to see tickets selling countrywide.

On our other tours with JFTD and Alpha Wolf, the crowds were expected but the response was definitely unexpected especially on the JFTD run where we actually opened a couple of the shows and had a solid crowd in and moving straight away. With bigger numbers and the main support slot on AW, to see the growth and interaction was surreal.

Sick! So with all of this momentum, how is the management and balancing of your personal lives and jobs versus the work put into the band going so far?

This goes hand in hand with the mention of a small break above, though we wish to tour as much as possible, a band of our size needs to balance our work lives with touring to guarantee financial stability or else things would come to a halt pretty quickly. Personal lives haven’t really affected the unit as a whole but that all comes down to planning as far in advance as we can for both band related and personal commitments.

Seriously, glad to hear that – that’s where some bands can go wrong. One thing I think that really works for Honest Crooks is how your band mixes hardcore, slam, deathcore, metalcore, and everything in between and just writing really solid parts that people can mosh to. Is that how you and the band see it from the inside too or are there other factors at play that you think aid your sound?

When we first started the band, our goal was to make music purely to mosh to. We want to be the heaviest band in Australia (which may be difficult as long as Disentomb are active) so we take the heaviest parts from each of those genres you mentioned above, and then some, blend them all together and make a concoction of heaviness in the most tasteful way we can. On ‘Suffer’ we showcased more elements of technicality and melody compared to our older material but still kept all our punching elements of mosh and beatdown to keep the moshers happy and the energy levels high at our shows.

That’s a noble enough goal, and with how you’re progressing lately, you’ll probably reach that position of “heaviest band in Australia” soon enough. As for the tour in April, why in your eyes were Apate, Underminer and Cast Down respectively chosen for the supports? What do you enjoy about each of these three acts, other than them being mates and those three bands loosely fitting into the tour stylistically?

These three bands are all relevant right now. With Apate recently putting out their ‘Spit You Out’ EP which I am a big fan of, Underminer still rolling off the back of their recent single ‘Hate Grips’ with a new release on the way, and Cast Down balls deep in their new music, it was almost a pre-written package in my head. Being able to take your friends on tour is a really cool thing to me, I love meeting new people and making new mates on the road but taking out people you already know and get along with is hell exciting. We took Cast Down on our first tour not knowing them at all and now are great friends. Bringing them along for the second time, with a couple of new members and a matured sound, with an almost entirely new set, it’s like taking a different band again.

Apate have a huge live sound, and in my opinion, one of the best local bands to see live in the country and if it’s selfish of me or not, I just want to watch them play every night. Their songs are catchy as well as stupid heavy and their drummer Dave is a pleasure to watch on the tubs. Cast Down are again a fantastic live act and the hype the band have around the country is proof. For their size and the amount of material they have released, the response they receive is unreal to witness. They have a bunch of new material in their set and it’s exciting to see how it will be received on this run. Underminer are like no other band in Australia right now: channelling mosh straight from some of the best, their tracks are reminiscent of bands like Shinto Katana and Her Nightmare; with hard riffs and heavy breakdowns to match. Seeing the response to their first interstate show in Brisbane had me so hyped for the future of this band.

I’m stoked that I can take some of my best mates on the road and help get their name out to places they have never been before.

Honest Crooks live. PC: Brooke Harley.

Right on! Now, there are a fucking lot of religious themes and violent imagery to ‘Suffer’, which all goes hand in hand with the insanely heavy music of course. But how seriously do you, Jerry, and the band take that kind of lyrical stuff? Because surely a lot of it must come from Honest Crooks just being a heavy band of this calibre, no?

I actually put this question forward to Jerry, as he writes all of our lyrics, and his reply was as follows;

I can’t speak for the entire band but I wrote the lyrics of suffer to serve as a fictitious tale heavily grounded in the reality we are living right now, and a call for new thinking regarding the issues we fight today in modern society.

As humans, we grow by learning, from the actions and influence of those raising us and those who surround us. If raised with love and affection we grow to be affectionate caring people. Suffer asks the question; What would you do if you were in the shoes of a young person living in a war torn country, because the actions of a minute few who label themselves as martyrs for your entire country or belief system have led to war on your own soil?

All actions have consequences, we see it in the streets every day. Somewhere in the world a new act of terror is being taken out somewhere in the West, and it is because of our actions this is happening. We falsely invaded their homes, we committed unspeakable atrocities and horrific war crimes, all for our own selfish gain. Hidden behind a false ideals that led to the slaughtering of thousands, and when we finally realised we had invaded under false pretences we simply said “sorry” and moved on with our “free” lives.

So while no, I’m not going to behead martyrs and prophets for believing their outdated take on life, I do believe that by involving ourselves in every disagreement America finds themselves in we have become a part of the problem, that has in turn created the most recent spree of terror attacks on the west.

Fair enough, thanks for getting Jerry in too. Obviously, there’s way more touring to come in 2018 but soon enough, time for the next EP (or even a full-length album) will come and I’m wondering how you guys are approaching or at least thinking about that future material now?

We are always writing. On ‘Suffer’, Calum did 90% of the writing and we all added our own changes to his tracks as he would send them through. This time, I have been writing a lot, as has Jesse and living in the same town Jesse and I often get together and track demo’s of our songs to send through to the others. Calum has continued writing as well so we are currently sitting on a bunch of what I call skeleton tracks; virtually a bunch of riffs and beatdowns laid out in a song structure, ready to build on.

We plan on spending time together as a full band and creating each song as a whole, which will be the first time we have ever done anything like this and we are very excited to see what we can create OR see who punches who in the head first.

Well, hopefully, punches are at a minimal and that sick new music is at an all-time high. Lastly, when can we expect to see Logan Paul have a guest feature on an Honest Crooks track?

Yo, fuck that dude! He should take his own rope with him next time he goes exploring Aokigahara.

Check out the dates for Honest Crooks ‘Suffer Across Australia’ headline tour below. Find the tour’s event page here.

Sat March 24 – Amplifier Bar, Perth*

Fri April 6 – The Rev, Melbourne
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferMLB

Sat April 7 – Enigma Bar, Adelaide
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferADL

Wed April 11 – Hamilton Station, Newcastle
Tickets – Free Show

Thurs April 12 – ECP Studios, Berkely Vale
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferECP

Fri April 13 – The Basement, Canberra
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferCBR

Sun April 15 – Factory Floor, Sydney
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferSYDNEY

Mon April 16 – Rad Bar, Wollongong
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferRAD

Sat April 21 – The Brightside, Brisbane
Tickets – http://bit.ly/sufferBRIS

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