Last month, Sydney’s Mood Swing and Perth’s The Others released a new split 7″ together. So we thought that it’d be rather fitting to run a split feature on the two bands that are now also touring together. Huh, go figure.
Both Australian outfits contributed two new songs for their respective sides of this split, which is out now through Shaman Records and Last Ride Records, and is a release that we called “a gnarly hardcore 4×4” in our recent review. Musically, if you’re unfamiliar with the two outfits, The Others play an edgier, slightly more melodic, punk-fuelled sound, whereas Mood Swing is the heavier, more metallic sounding cousin that sounds like they’re trying to break your speakers. I don’t know about you, but I’ll be damned if that isn’t a good fit for a collaboration!
So with the release of this solid new split still lingering in the air and the two bands playing a host of live dates around the country currently, I caught up with both Jared Crowe of The Others (Miles Away and Apollo Zen balso) and Tom Maddocks of Mood Swing (who also plays in Ill Natured, Distance, and runs Last Ride Records. Goddamn son, slow down). Check it out below.
With the new split release, I’m curious to know who approached whom first to get things in motion?
Crowe: It’s definitely something we’ve talked about doing ever since we first met a few years ago but the timing has never been right. Last year while I was in Sydney attending an Ill Natured show Maddo proposed that we “do the split that everyone is waiting to hear”. We finally made it happen.
I personally love the artwork for the new split. Do you think that all of you were “well” depicted on the cover?
Maddocks: “Yeah I think it turned out really well. Jared from The Others and I came up with the loose concept of it being cartoonish and having everyone on there with a few ideas, and then just passed those on to Thomas Sweetman who brought it to life and I think it exceeded our expectations. It took a bit of playing around to get the layout and colors exactly how we wanted it, but it looks great and we’re happy with it.”
Crowe: “I’d say some of us were depicted more elegantly than others… but for better or worse it’s still a very accurate representation of all of us.”
Tom – do you think that this new split is a step up for Mood Swing since your 2014 split with Frozen Over?
Maddocks: “Yeah absolutely. In hindsight, none of us are too happy with our side of that split. There were a few factors that played into that, but those tracks didn’t turn out as well as we would’ve liked. They’re decent songs and could be alright if we re-recorded them, but that recording didn’t turn out as well as it could have. I don’t think a re-recording will ever happen, though. Funnily enough, though we did get a lot of positive feedback about those songs and the record sold extremely well, so we’re happy with that aspect of it anyway. Frozen Over’s side of the split rocks, though.”
While this split is still pretty new, can we expect more material to come from Mood Swing and The Others later in 2016 or in the following year maybe?
Maddocks: “I would like to say that we will have another release of some description out by the end of the year, but our track record with that kind of thing hasn’t been too good. We’ve got plenty of new songs, but everyone is pretty busy with our other bands and our personal lives, so we’ll see what happens. The plan is still to do an LP at some stage, hopefully, sooner rather than later.”
Crowe: “With the rate that we work at I’d say it won’t be until 2017 until we have anything new out. We’re currently working on another full-length record but the writing process has slowed down since our other guitarist, Matthew, has moved overseas for a while. However, our original drummer Chris (aka DJ Fendi) has recently moved back to Perth so in a way that evens things out. You win some, you lose some.”
Hopefully, it’s sooner rather than later for both of you. Mood Swing and The Others have done a lot of tours together and you both seem like really good friends, do you think that’s a great example of hardcore music bridging the gap for people who live on opposite ends of the country together?
Maddocks: “We’ve got along with those guys super well from the beginning, and it’s awesome to know now that as soon as we head over to their side of the country, we’ve got so many friends over there and will have a great time.”
Crowe: “Yeah, totally. We’re all very blessed to have made such good friends around the country through being involved in hardcore. Hardcore is cool.”
Hardcore is indeed cool! Both bands, while slightly different in sound, still have a very live and “raw” sound (excuse the generic as fuck term) on your releases. I think that helps in maintaining that hardcore/DIY punk aesthetic and energy. Would you guys agree?
Maddocks: “Yeah, I think that’s the best sound to have as a hardcore band. If it’s too polished it loses a lot of its edge.”
Crowe: “Definitely. We always aim for a raw and lively sound when we’re in the studio. It wouldn’t be right if we were trying to sound like Sergeant Peppers or something. That being said, we don’t take the live sound to the extreme and try to sound like we’re playing underwater with copious amounts of reverb.”
With the mixing and mastering for both sides done by Elliot Gallart, did you think that that would have washed away the subtle differences you have between each other?
Maddocks: “I knew that wouldn’t be an issue because both sides of the split were still tracked by different people, and also because we and The Others had different ideas for how we wanted the tracks to sound like in the end. They wanted theirs to sound pretty, we wanted ours to sound like someone getting their head cut off with a drop saw.”
Crowe: “This is biased coming from me, but when I hear both bands on the split I can hear the subtle differences between the different studio sounds, the instruments used and the style that each band has. The Mood Swing tracks sound like they’re breaking the speakers but in a good way. I think we all just wanted the skill level of the sound engineering to be on par with both bands and so the easiest way to do that was to get Elliot to work his magic on the whole thing.”
With supporting Comeback Kid, Iron Mind, Miles Away and many other prominent international and national hardcore bands in the past, has that almost placed a form of validation on what you’re doing? That you both have achieved more than either band set out to?
Crowe: “I don’t think that it’s really something the band thought about early on. With Break Even it’s a bit different since they’re a local Perth band and we were friends with them before the band started so it was only matter of time before we’d be gigging together. In Perth, it’s never really out of the question for a hardworking new band to get picked up for an international support. The promoters that I know want to keep things fresh and interesting within the scene.”
Maddocks: “It’s always cool to support bands like that and we’re grateful for all the opportunities we’ve been given, but I think you’ll find that we’re usually more stoked to play with our peers, bands like The Others, Downside, Primitive Blast, Controlled, Born Free, Frozen Over, Manhunt etc., than we are to play with whatever yank band it is that’s come over. I don’t think any of us really set out to do anything with the band, so whatever comes our way is nice.”
So, what other bands and artists originally got you both into the hardcore/punk realm? It was bands like Comeback Kid and Hatebreed for me, personally.
Maddocks: “For me, it started with bands like Parkway Drive and I Killed The Prom Queen and then moved more towards bands that they were touring with and shared a label with, bands like Carpathian, Break Even, Miles Away, No Apologies, Her Nightmare, Jungle Fever. Another big turning point was when I started going to see the bands that were playing here locally and realizing that there was something happening here. The Dead Walk and Dropsaw were both well established and playing all the time, so I started to go and see them and other bands as often as I could and it just kept developing from there.
Crowe: “For me, it was Miles Away. They were the first hardcore band I ever listened to and saw live while being familiar with their songs. At that first show I went to, they covered Minor Threat, Bad Brains, and Gorilla Biscuits all back to back. So once I found out about those bands I got more and more into it.”
Now Jared, sorry, but here comes the typical and inevitable Perth question. But with big national and international tours often missing WA (and to be fair, NT as well) do you think its integral for yourselves and other Perth bands to maintain and grow the home turf, so to speak?
Crowe: “Yeah, absolutely. Really we have to thank bands like Miles Away, Break Even and Extortion for showing everyone what can be accomplished here in Perth let alone on a national or international level. To me, those are the main bands that have helped to establish and grow such a vibrant hardcore scene here in Perth. The Others are just lucky enough to be a part of it now.”
Right on. Now, this is a question that I ask a lot of bands and I get many varying answers on it. But what does ‘hardcore’ mean and represent to you both and your bands?
Maddocks: “One of the coolest things I feel is that we’ve pretty much got an instant network and connections with people in every city in the world. We could travel anywhere and be able to meet up with like-minded people and get along instantly. Whenever we go on tour we’ve always got people willing to let us stay at their houses, hang out and show us around. You won’t find that with many other music scenes.”
Crowe: “Hardcore is a subculture that allows people from all walks of life to be a part of. It’s a forward-thinking community that allows people to communicate ideas on a social, political or personal level. As a band, we don’t really have a specific agenda. It’s simply a positive outlet that allows us to stay sane, have fun and make friends.”
Finally, stemming from that last question, what mentalities within the Australian hardcore scene do you dislike and what do you wish to see changed?
Crowe: “Unfortunately the all-ages scene within Australia is not what it used to be. It sucks because I’m sure there are a lot of kids out there wanting to be a part of something that’s more fulfilling than internet/TV personalities, video games, and other modern day mainstream nonsense.”
Maddocks: “More bands, more people attending shows and having fun.”