Northern Territory is probably the first place you’d look for things with the potential to kill you but probably the last you’d search for a music scene. Yet if you could avoid the countless deadly animals and tornado season, then you would find an exponentially growing music scene; and we’re not just talking about Dave who sings a Bob Dylan cover set on Tuesdays at the pub. This is original music and original bands, playing with intent and purpose in an otherwise isolated place.
I, The Burden are one of the artists to thank for instilling the music scene in Darwin’s youth culture. The metalcore quintet have proven themselves to not only be one of the strongest current local bands, they’ve also shown themselves to be dedicated and hard working.
The patient zero of this movement can be pinpointed to guitarist Ben Masters’ initiative to simply start running shows.
“I started putting on gigs last year in July and was expecting twenty kids to come out but the first one that happened like one hundred came out. That’s when I realised that there was a scene. Ever since then I’ve seen a lot more bands pop up,” Masters tells.
Yet the roots of the band start back just a bit further in Masters’ local scene timeline. It began with him and fellow friend yet as it began to evolve, the band faced some inconsistency with just who would be playing on the stage.
“Well it was me and the lead guitarist who I met through a VET course at the start and we had a lot of member changes like losing the main guitarist and all that. That was a bit difficult whenever we changed members around but we’ve sort of been a full band now for about a year with a solid lineup.”
Bass player Dan Prime is also available to talk with us and he states that forming this kind of group was unavoidable when surrounded by likeminded people.
“I’m only new to [I, The Burden], like I joined in the last twelve months and I guess when everyone’s friends it’s natural. If you like heavy music and you play heavy music then it’s gonna kind of happen,” says Prime.
“Being in a place like here, there’s a large amount of musicians, a good quantity but not a good quality,” Prime comments on the viability of actual musicians in the local scene up north. “There’s like two good drummers in this area so Ben plays in multiple bands.” he laughs.
Yet it isn’t really a lack of talent that is pushing it back, more a lack of another vital characteristic needed for musicians.
“[It’s] More a lack of inspiration,” Masters tells us honestly. “There weren’t a lot of bands giving it a go really. A few years ago there were bands doing stuff but they were only half kind of doing it? Now we’re starting to see a few more bands step up to it and some older bands come back with new line-ups; some fresh starts. Some of the stuff I’ve been hearing is great.”
Moreover, the ambition extends further. Masters recently brought up popular locals In Hearts Wake to Darwin for the annual TerrorFest to great success.
“Well I brought out In Hearts Wake earlier this year in July for TerrorFest, which is Darwin’s annual metal fest and its done well in recent years. I suggested they bring up In Hearts Wake as they tended to get heavier, more underground bands up. It ended up completely selling out which was fantastic. It proves there is a scene up here we just need to support it.” he asserts.
And support it they must, especially when most venues lack their own PA system as we are told. Yet the push for things such as that are slowly gaining traction with bands like The Amity Affliction showing the kids and residents that it’s time heavy music made it’s way back into the public spotlight.
“There’s a festival up here though, called BASSINTHEGRASS which is mostly government funded and they actually got Amity up here the last two years and they were shitting themselves, not knowing how a heavy band like Amity would go and it was so well received that they brought them back the this year and out them on later. You genuinely get like five and half thousand people at BASSINTEHGRASS and I would reckon there was at least a thousand people down watching them. I think the fanbase is there, we’re just lacking the resources.
I, The Burden have already had some fantastic opportunities, which included a trip to Perth for a two show mini-tour.
Dan speaks of the trip with nostalgia. “We had the opportunity to go to Perth a while back thanks to a great guy named called James Killian, he plays in a band called Finders and he’s probably one of the most talented people in the Australian music scene. Thanks to him we were able to go over to Perth and play two shows. We played at Amplifier and HQ and it was awesome!”
Read the full transcript here.
You can check out some of the band’s work below at Soundcloud: