Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Thunderous Roar from Down Under: PSYCROPTIC

Interview for Hails & Horns Magazine
Kim Kelly

A Thunderous Roar from Down Under: Psycroptic

Psycroptic’s Jason Peppiatt on heavy metal: “I started out with bands like Motley Crue and Iron Maiden, and as I got older I kept finding newer and heavier music to listen to. I love the fact that it is such an aggressive and brutal form of music but most of the guys that are into it are really chilled out; that makes me think that it must be a good way for people to stay calm! I love the way that you are so free to express yourself because with metal, anything goes. I mean, if you’re pissed off and you write a song about hacking people up and fucking their corpses, well, you can and no one will give a shit. Whatever you’re into you can sing about!(not that I’m into that shit, haha!) There isn't really a great deal that I don't like about the metal music genre.”
Amen, brother, amen! As lead throat-shredder for Tasmanian tech-death horde Psycroptic, it’s pretty safe to assume roar that Jason knows what he’s talking about. I managed to track down the man himself and find out a few juicy details about their brand-new record, (Ob)Servant, what it’s like to play death metal in Australia, and what really makes Psycroptic tick.

So, can you give me some background on the band? I know you guys hail from Tasmania, which I’m sure has led to waaaay too many “Tasmanian devil” references from hokey writers by now!

A.... Well, Psycroptic has been around for almost 10 years. We have 4 albums out, and there has only been one line up change. Haha, we've been getting a lot of the Tassie devil stuff on this album, but it’s the first album that we've got it about!

What first drew you guys together? Is the current lineup one that you’d consider to be permanent?

A... The band started with the two brothers, Dave and Joe, jamming together. Joe and Cameron went to school together and were friends, and I’m not sure where they found Matthew. After they parted ways with him, they asked me to join due to the fact that I had been very close friends with all the members for a long time. I think the lineup we have now is very solid and hopefully will last the test of time, due to the fact that we are all very driven people and all want the same thing from the band and are willing to work our asses off to get it!

Several of you play in other bands (including Ruins and the insanely-brutal The Amenta). How do you balance all your bands while still managing to devote time to Psycroptic?

A... Me and Cam are both only in Psycroptic so its easy for us to manage, but as for Dave and Joe, Psycroptic is the main band for those guys. Their other bands work tours and schedules around us a lot, so it doesn't interfere a great deal. Those guys are always on the road and that’s what they love doing

You guys are known for being one of the most blazingly-technical young bands out there. Why did you decide to play this style of music – why technical death metal?

A.. I think technical death metal has always held a lot of appeal for all the members of the band, but I think that a bit of it was just the way it progressed between the first and second albums; the guys got better at their instruments they began to try to challenge themselves more and more.

How long have you guys been playing your instruments? Are any of you professionally-trained?

A.. Everyone of us has been playing their instruments for about 15 years or so now, and I’ve been singing on and off for about 10 years now. Joe did some training at the conservatorium of music hear in TAS for a while and Dave and Cam both had private tutoring for a lot of years. Now, Dave and Joe are both private music teachers themselves.

What can you tell me about your brand-new record, (Ob)servant? What can we expect to hear?

A... (Ob)servant is, in my opinion, a lot different from any of the older albums in that we have toned it down a lot. Each riff gets held onto for longer periods of time, there is more groove than ever before and the vocals have been shaved back a lot to let the music speak for itself more. After saying all of that though, it is still technical as fuck, it is still full of flat out blast beats and has lots of crazy vocal patterns.

What was the writing/recording process like? How does Psycroptic go about writing a new song?

A... Joe does most of the writing in Psycroptic. He basically puts the song together, then him and Dave will sit down and work through it until they have something they are happy with, then they give it to me and Cam to have our say and put our parts to it. So, it is a long processs, but it works.

What are some underlying themes or concepts that we’ll find on the album? What sort of lyrical topics do you discuss?

A... We have are real futuristic Sci-fi thing happening on this album with a bit of a dark twist on it. The lyrics just explore different and strange concepts, and it is kind of up to the listener to work out what it all means.

What do you feel sets you apart from other death metal bands?

A... I think the fact that people don’t really know where we fit in amongst the metal genres. I feel our style is very unique and there isn't really any other bands out there that you could say "hey, Psycroptic ripped these guys off" because we really try to keep everything in our own standalone style.

What do you think of the current state of death metal, and where does Psycroptic fit in?

A.... At the moment the scene out here in Australia is really thriving, which is really great to see. It looks like the rest of the world is also loving the metal these days, which is a great thing because now more bands are touring regularly so you always get a chance to see your favorite bands. The quality of the bands coming out these days is amazing - the bands are getting faster, heavier and tighter and younger! Psycroptic I think sits in between so many genres in the metal world, which for us is a really great thing because it means we get to tour with such a broad variety of bands and get exposed to a lot of different people from a lot of different scenes.

Now that you’ve had some time to off to recover, would you care to reflect upon your experiences as part of the Summer Slaughter tour this past summer??

A... SUMMER SLAUGHTER!!!!!! fuck where do you start? It was the best tour we've done for sure. Great bands, great times and KILLER SHOWS!!!!

What’s next for you guys after (Ob)servant drops? Tours, festivals, plans for world domination?
A... We start touring at the end of October and at this stage its pretty flat out until March, so its really great for us as a band. As for the world domination, it’s in the cards! See you all on the road somewhere in the next 12 months!

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