Hails From Infinity step out of their shells & further hone their sound with ‘July 42nd’
Last year, a young band hailing from the south coast of New South Wales hit me up about reviewing their newest EP, ‘Paradigm‘. This band turned out to be the prog-metalcore newcomers, Hails From Infinity.
Now, while it wasn’t a bad EP overall – though, not a complete representation of what they could really achieve – I enjoyed it for the most part. (You can read my review of it right here if you so choose.) As you can gather, that particular release showed that Hails From Infinity do indeed have potential – the EP’s strongest track, ‘Hedonic Treadmill‘, is a great example of this – but they hadn’t tapped into that full potential and it was easy to see that things really needed improving on a few fronts.
New single ‘July 42nd‘ is this improvement.
This four-minute philosophical and ethical rager shows the local quartet tightening the screws of their sound with a far stronger mix and an improvement in the respective vocal outputs of singer/guitarist Mat Payne and screamer Matt Ozoliņš; showing they can indeed step up to the plate to hit with the big boys, both musically and thematically. Now, sure, while there may be a very long way to go for this four-piece, as there often is with most things, Hails From Infinity have severely upped their game in the form of ‘July 42nd‘.
The journey is set.
Of course, if you’ve never heard of this Aussie band prior to this premiere, then you’re in luck, for ‘July 42nd‘ and its trippy lyric video is a fine introduction.
Below, you can read my full interview with Hails From Infinity’s Matt Ozoliņš, about ‘July 42nd‘, its name, it’s meaning and the thoughts and thematic inspirations that helped give birth to the track.
First off, let’s begin with the song title. Why is it called ‘July 42nd’? As there obviously isn’t a 42nd of July in a normal calendar year.
The title isn’t really about how we measure time, but a secondary bonus of the song name is that it doesn’t make sense in this particular brand of reality where July only has 31 days. Originally it stemmed from a thought that occurred while I was at my day job. Pretty much, once a new customer comes in through the website they have a number attached to them. The 42nd customer in July would be July 42. Thinking about that one day just sparked a bunch of thoughts about the exponential creation and categorization of data by human beings. It was just an interesting thought loop to be on and it happened around the time I was writing the lyrics for this new song. Why I chose July and why I chose 42 is something that I personally understand on a deep level, but I want to leave that open for the listener to interpret.
Likewise, where did the name ‘Hails From Infinity’ originate from?
I was sitting in bed trying to think of band names back when Matt Brkic (drums) and I we were just starting to take the first baby steps towards starting a band, and I had decided that I would settle on a name that night. I got to the point where I knew it would have ‘Infinity’ in there someone and I was thinking about ‘to’, ‘from’ and ‘for’. Then I got distracted on Facebook and Jamie Hails from Polaris had posted a status or a photo or something, and it just clicked when I saw the surname. When I did a google search I figured out that literally zero people had ever put those three words together in that order on the internet for a band, so Hails From Infinity was the name from then.
Cool! Now, with this new single, the lyrics to ‘July 42nd’ seem to be a mixture of your own personal feelings (“I gave a microphone/To the voices in my head/Rather than shut them up/I’ll tell you what they said“ and “I’ll meditate in room 101/I didn’t ask for this body/I won’t care when it’s done“), as well as your critiques of the external world, society and human industry (“You’re a citizen of a dying nation/For those who know they are their own creation” and “The gears woke up, refused to turn/Stalled the engine, the driver burned” ). Am I right in saying all that? Are there perhaps more layered meanings to this song for you that I’ve missed?
Yeah, it’s definitely way less personal to me as individual than what you’re picking up on. It’s more about the situation that we are collectively in as a species. To me, the use of personal pronouns was to make it more possible for the person interpreting the song wake up to the things that I wish everyone would wake up to. Nobody asked for their body and nobody should be so attached to it that they hate the idea of the human experience being over. The voice in everyone’s heads which cuts through the bullshit is the voice that should be having more of a say over what everyone is doing. It’s not about me.
There’s also a lot of contempt and disgust for mankind’s current destructive habits and our current cultural norms in this song and the band’s music overall. What do you personally view is the root or the most toxic aspect of our modern world today?
In general, I think I have a pretty bleak world view. That doesn’t mean I am not grateful to be here; I definitely am! But the human race is being lead blind off of a cliff and I think the biggest part of that is the content we are consuming. People are consuming so much content, probably more individual messages in a day than was possible in a lifetime a thousand years ago. And we are totally programmed by the content we are consuming along with the agenda of that content. We don’t get a say in whether or not the content changes our operating system because once it’s been consumed by the brain, that data is on some level going to be used again by the brain in the process of making future decisions and as a pretext for consuming future content. It’s not so much like consuming food where you can just make yourself spew it back out if it doesn’t sit right. So if we have the masses in Australia watching shows like “The Block” we are obviously going to have the masses aspiring to own a modern house. And in the pursuit of that goal perhaps the masses will be willing to put themselves before others for financial gain, whether honestly or dishonestly. That’s just one very small example but I think if you scale that train of thought up high enough you’ll find that the same formula applies on the level where very wealthy people are making decisions that put themselves first in the pursuit of money, and the actual planet that we are living on is being put last. It’s clearly a not a well thought out plan. By consuming the buffet of brainless content that is on offer in the mainstream, people are unknowingly being blinded by lame ideologies that point us directly to the edge. Long answer, but I am glad I got that out [laughs].
Hey, a rant is fine with me! Did you find that working again with Mark Williamson – and also teaming up with Chris Blancato for your vocals – the sonic vision of Hails From Infinity has been better moulded now? What sounds and what thematic ideas do you think the band will tackle next?
It was originally all going to be Mark, just as the EP was but it didn’t work out with his schedule at the end of last year. I knew of Chris and I knew that Mark was mates with Chris so I just kind of reached out to him to talk about having him track the vocals and do the mix and master. Chris definitely pushed myself and Payne to get good takes in a really unique and brutally honest way. I think Chris probably had a better time than Mark with recording our vocals because we have both improved a lot as vocalists since recording the EP. Obviously, Chris is a master of his craft. We are heaps stoked with his mix, and the angle from which he approached working with us made it really good experience. We will definitely work with Mark and Chris again on future stuff!
Sounds good! On the song’s actual lyrics, the mention of ‘Room 101’ refers to the torture room in George Orwell’s 1984. What other works of Orwell, or even other books or authors, inspire you to write with Hails From Infinity’s music?
In my head, the Room 101 reference has two different angles. There’s the “I could meditate and be calm in Room 101 because I am not my body and I am not fussed by what happens to it” angle. There’s also the angle centred on Room 101 being a place where you are presented with your greatest fear. That’s the “I have been consuming bullshit and taking part in the sale of my own mind for so long now that my greatest fear is to be calm and look within because I won’t like what I see” angle. I know that wasn’t really your question, but I just wanted to get that out of my head.
As far as inspiration from literature goes, Ram Dass and his book Be Here Now was a big part of the inspiration for the lyrics on the EP. As far as inspiration for July 42nd goes, I think 1984 contributed to me having the words to say what I have been thinking about the world. Lately, though, I have been more influenced by good film, but that’s so far only lead to some notes in my phone. I like hunting for all the different layers of meaning in certain films.
Yeah, me too. It can be so interesting to dive into various pieces of art and seeing where their meanings or supposed meanings can take you. Now, when you say, “Your senses are bound by what you believe”, do you think first that in order to change beliefs, one’s environment must first be changed? I would say so and if you agree, what kind of steps do you think are needed to take to ensure future generations are brought up in the right kind of environment?
I actually had an awesome chat with one of my brothers about this line a couple of months back that helped me make sense of it for myself. We talked firstly about how what we believe is bound by our senses on a really basic level. What we know about the workings of our environment, we know via our bodies five senses. Turning it around to “Your senses are bound by what you believe” is meant to challenge the idea that the world is the way it is, and that’s that. I am certain that human consciousness is powerful enough to alter the parameters within which we exist. We can all do that on an individual level, we can all change the course of our lives to be aligned with a personal truth and less focused on consumption, and if that happened on in mass we would be living within very different parameters. So I probably only half agree with you because I think a change in beliefs can come from within as a spontaneous realisation that the current beliefs are not cutting the mustard anymore. In terms “The right kind of environment” for future generations, that’s a pretty subjective thing. In general though if humanity as a whole was looking seven layers deeper than the currently are when it comes to finding what is really important, we might spend more time being happy and less time keeping up with the Jones’. That’s just my subjective view, though. Really, whatever happens, happens.
Now, with the style of music that Hails From Infinity play, do you think that many will apply the often lazy and sometimes even misused “Northlane copycat” label to the band? Are you maybe hoping that such comparisons may draw people in?
Maybe. It’s not really up to us what conclusions people draw and it’s not really our business what other people are thinking. We obviously play in the same genre, and they are a good band. In terms of whether we want to draw people in by thinking we are like Northlane, that’s probably a weak question because people who like one heavy band are pretty likely to like other heavy bands. It’s kind of a flattering comparison I guess but we are just writing what comes out, ya know?
I fee ya. With my review of your EP last year, ‘Paradigm‘, I have two questions. A) Did you honestly feel that my review was fair and worthy of any merit and B) did you take any criticism on board when working on this newer material?
Your review was pretty damn honest, I thought. I was just talking to Payne just recently about how you thought Hedonic Treadmill was the best song on that release. We’ve probably moved away naturally from the elements of our songwriting that were not as unique or interesting, just out of a desire to improve for ourselves. Maybe you planted the seeds, Alex…
Well, shucks, I certainly hope so, mate! ‘July 42nd’ is available now for purchase via iTunes and streaming via Spotify. And if you’d rather hear before you buy – hey, fair enough – go and stream the band’s mighty new song above!
Hails From Infinity will be launching the single on Saturday, April 29th in Melbourne at Wrangler Studios along with For What It’s Worth, Colosleep, & Starting Fires. You can also catch the band at Mix N’ Mosh in Wollongong on April 2nd and on April 14th at The Basement in Canberra, supporting Liberties.