Sunday, December 6, 2015

Band Interview: SEDULOUS ROUSE

Interview with Roly Moore of SEDULOUS ROUSE

Sedulous Rouse was formed by ex-members of Blood Mason, Murder Hill and Cloth Tape. Did they know one another while you were involved in those bands?

Cloth Tape and Murder Hill had very similar line ups and both bands played with Blood Mason quite a bit so we all knew each other before forming Sedulous Rouse. Our drummer and bass player/vocalist were both in Blood Mason and our guitarist/vocalist was in Cloth Tape and Murder Hill.

Did these bands you were previously involved in release any material while they were active? If those bands are no longer around, is their material still available for people to check out?

Cloth Tape had two releases, one album called LIFELESS CULTURE and a demo which we handed out for free at shows. People can contact me if they want a copy of the album. Murder Hill released one CD titled FOREST OF THE ETERNAL SLAUGHTER and that can also be acquired by contacting me. Blood Mason released a couple of demos and an EP but sadly their debut album, which is a brilliant piece of heavy metal, was never released.

Do you get a lot of requests for the full lengths released by Cloth Tiger and Murder Hill? How much have those releases been spread around since they came out? Why was the debut full length recording of Blood Mason never released?

I don't get a lot of requests for either band. Releases were sent to various radio stations and international fans and we sold a lot of copies at shows, but neither band really followed up after those initial releases. I can't really say about the Blood Mason album because I wasn't a part of that band.

Did Cloth Tiger and Murder Hill get decent airplay and exposure to fans in other countries? At how many shows did you get to sell copies?

Cloth Tape certainly got some recognition in Europe through small distro networks and some Mexican company turned one of our riffs into a ringtone! Not sure how they found our music. Certainly wasn't official. Murder Hill never made any inroads internationally. We sold some CDs at all our shows. Probably 50 shows for CT and maybe 15 for MH.

Which European distros passed around Cloth Tape’s releases and how many copies were they
given to distribute? Was Murder Hill given any distribution in Europe?
The distro was a small German one. We only sent them 25 to start and that was all. MH had no distro in international territories.

Is Sedulous Rouse the first band you assumed the role of managing, or did you have managing experience previously?
I was the main organizer for my previous bands and I have taken on this role with Sedulous Rouse as well mainly because I enjoy it. However every decision we make is a group decision. We are older and wiser and know that all of us being in agreement is always going to work better.

What have your band managing duties entailed so far? In what ways did your experience managing your older bands been a help to you managing Sedulous Rouse?

Most of the managing duties have been around organizing shows and tours and liaising with venues and promoters. Running the Facebook page and answering emails and bringing any proposals we receive to the band for discussion. Promoting the band is a big part of it and I am always trying to think of new ways to give us more exposure and get our music to more and more people. We are a very democratic band so any ideas I have I always put to the band before taking any action so we are all always aware of what we are doing.

Do you network with independent labels and other bands to help promote Sedulous Rouse? How much has social media helped the band make a name for themselves?

We network as much as we can with labels, radio stations, fanzines and mostly other bands. Social media had been an invaluable resource for us. It has helped us spread our music world wide to places such as Lebanon and Mexico, Chile and the USA. Places we never would have dreamed of being heard in the days before social media.

When you first discovered social media sites like Facebook and the old Myspace, did you get the feeling it would expose you to wider audiences? How much has outlets like Bandcamp and Soundcloud helped you get exposure?

Social media has been brilliant for exposing us to wider audiences. We have networked with many bands and people who have become our friends. Soundcloud has been excellent for us. We have had people listen to SR in places like the USA, Japan, Chile, Mexico and Lebanon. And that is quite something when you think about it. In the old days that just wasn't possible.

How much did you learn about the underground scenes in those countries when you corresponded with fans on social media?

Well mostly we have learnt about bands and the shows they are playing in their respective countries. Lebanon is a country where they have a very enthusiastic scene but it is very small being in such a religious country.

Having a metal scene in a religious country is something that has been touched on quite a bit in AEA. The documentary Global Metal explores this subject to a good extent. Have fans from Lebanon discussed it one to one with you?

I have discussed the Lebanon scene with a promoter there. He told me that it is hard but there’s a dedicated and loyal scene. It is quite challenging to be doing a controversial movement in a country such as that but they have regular and well attended shows.

From the other interviews I’ve conducted with metal fans in Muslim countries and the interviews I watched o Global Metal, t must take tremendous courage to have a band in such places. I’d recommend Global Metal if you haven’t seen it.

I have seen Global Metal and it is one of my favourite music documentaries of all time. For me Global Metal shows quite clearly that metal is a language without borders and with no nationality. It speaks to all people no matter where they are or what their background. Information wise it shows us all that it can be done anywhere.

Did watching Global Metal make you want to visit any countries you haven’t yet been to?

I have a strong desire to visit the USA and see gigs there. Underground shows seem to be quite typical in most countries I have found.

Describe how Sedulous Rouse formed and began working on new material.

Personally I was not in a band for around five years after Murder Hill disbanded and after rediscovering my love for playing guitar my desire to form a band escalated very quickly. I ran into our drummer Dani at a metal festival and we spoke about our desire to get something going. About three months after that we started jamming with two other guitarists but soon discovered they were not as committed to doing it as we were so we carried on ourselves writing material and rehearsing. About two months after that our bass player Brendan came along to check us out and liked it so much he has been with us ever since and is now an irreplaceable part of what we are doing. Eight weeks after he joined we recorded our first release SEASONS OF TRIUMPH.

What were the reasons you took such a long hiatus after the disbanding of Murder Hill? At what metal fest did you catch up with your old drummer Dani? Are there a lot of metal festivals in your area?

After Murder Hill disbanded I was sick of the bickering between band members and just took the time apart to have a normal social life! Hehehe. Dani and I met up at the Soundwave festival here in Adelaide which is a big touring festival. We have quite a few local metal festivals such as NEW DEAD, METAL UNITED DOWN UNDER (which I am the local promoter for) and others.

How did you occupy your time during your hiatus from working in band situations?

When I wasn’t in bands I was pursuing my interests in playing sports with friends and just being a punter and going to shows. Still listened to a lot of music and went to a lot of shows.

What bands were you listening to during your hiatus? Did you discover any new artists in that time?

I listened to a lot of Orphaned Land from Israel and Opeth and Arch Enemy. Also bands like Dilinger Escape Plan and Mastodon, a lot of black metal like Emperor, Dimmu Borgir, Immortal etc.

Did you retain any inspiration from the bands you were listening to while you were on hiatus?

I think I get inspired by all bands I listen to one way or another. Either by a style or by a theme. Mostly though I am just inspired to make and release music.

How has your experience playing in bands been a benefit to your new outing?

I think this time around we are all more open to new ideas and trying different things. The experiences I had being in other bands really has made me appreciate that what is important, is enjoying the music we make together and challenging ourselves to become better at what we do. Sedulous Rouse to us means striving to be better as a group as we grow as a band and this is how we approach basically everything that we do. Hence we believe that our new material is a step up in every way compared to our first release. This is important because we want to be able to achieve things that were not possible for us before musically.

Do the metal festivals you cited get large turnouts when they’re held each year? Do they usually involve local bands or do bands from outside Australia come to perform there? Are they usually held outdoors? How does word get around?

Metal festivals like Soundwave get 30,000 plus people and the more local events pull up to 500. Much smaller scale and generally only with Aussie bands but there was Goatwhore on the New Dead this year so they are growing. Black Conjuration a true underground event has had Revenge from Canada and Coroner on their bills. So there is the ability for that. Most of these festivals are indoors except Soundwave. The atmosphere is great especially at the local events because there is a real sense of community with the metalheads. These days a lot of the word is spread through Facebook. But also flyers and word of mouth like the old days.

What was the most recent metal fest you attended, and how sizable was the turnout? Have you ever attended fests outside Australia or, if not, would you ever plan to?

The most recent metal fest I attended was Metal United Down Under of which I was also the promoter. The turnout was lower than we had hoped. Was an excellent night of Aussie metal though, and the second one we have done. I have been two Hellfests in France which were brilliant and MetalDays in Slovenia.

Who were some of the bands that played Hellfest and MetalDays, and what about those fests made you want to go back?

At Hellfest I saw Europe, Twisted Sister, Gojira, Down, Converge, At The Gates, Napalm Death, Immortal and Inquisition. At MetalDays I saw King Diamond, Iced Earth, Meshuggah, Dying Fetus and Enslaved. Both festivals had amazing atmospheres and I met great people who became my friends. Also they were run for the fans.

Between fests organized my major indie labels and publications, and fests organized by and for the fans, which do you prefer attending?

I will always prefer a more independent festival than the corporate ones just because it is often more about the music. End of the day I want to see the bands I like playing live.

How would you generally describe the metal scene in Australia? Liam Guy formerly of Malakyte told me a lot about the scenes there and I wanted to get your input.

The metal scene in Australia is very healthy and there is a lot of excellent bands going around. It is not always the easiest scene because there is a lot of bands playing a lot of shows and it is sometimes hard to find available dates in small markets. But it is a very friendly and welcoming scene and we have all made lifelong friends through it. It has had a very positive impact on my life and I love being a part of it, putting on shows and seeing new bands.

Does underground music in Australia receive sufficient coverage outside the country, or would you like to see more coverage?

Underground music gets good coverage in Australia but like anywhere you have to know where to look. More coverage should always be welcome.

Who are some of the friends you have made for the long haul? How do you account for the scene having been around so long?

I am still friends with all the people I have been in bands with. That goes back to 1997 and the first incarnations of Cloth Tape. These are some of my best friends in the world. The scene is healthy and vibrant because people make an effort. There are always people who drive the scene. Promoters and bands who make things happen.

How many local clubs and independent record outlets exist near you? Do the record stores have extensive collections of band merchandise, CDs, cassette demos, etc?

There are a few local record stores and they have a great range of music fanzines and flyers etc. Also lots of local clubs as I live close to the city.

Which clubs and record outlets do you frequent in particular? Any rare releases you managed to find there?

We tend to go to Enigma for a lot of the metal in Adelaide but also Fowlers live. Record store wise I like Backwater Records and they have a lot of local hard to find releases. Bought the SEWERCIDE five track EP there.

Who are Sewercide and where are they from? How much material do they have out and how well known are their releases? How would you describe their style to people?

Sewercide are a thrash band from Melbourne Australia. They have a couple of releases out and have just toured America I believe. I would call their style fast dirty thrash.

How different is your local scene today as it was in the late 90s, for both good and bad?

I think the amount of bands is a lot bigger and I think the quality is better than back then. However I think the 90's was a very exciting time with a lot of people pushing the boundaries musically but still writing good songs. Today I think technical wizardry overshadows good songwriting, and that sux because technical wizardry is even better in a well written piece of music, in my opinion.

I know what you mean about technical wizardry, since I’ve heard bands that are not as technical write better songs than musicians who are more proficient. Are there any examples you can think of?

Personally I think Rings Of Saturn are technical in front of song writing. Whereas I think Animals As Leaders have the mix right.

Where are Rings Of Saturn and Animals As Leaders from? Do you own any of their material in your collection? How do their releases stack up to the rest of your collection?

Rings Of Saturn, I don't know where they are from. Animals As Leaders are from the USA. I have the latest Animals as Leaders cd and it is a brilliant piece of music. It is as good as any cd I own I think.

How do you and the other members of Sedulous Rouse usually go about composing material? How do you figure out what will come across as well live as in the studio?

A lot of the time I will bring a basic song structure to the band, we will work out if it works and what to do more of and what riffs to do less of. We have a rule, you can try anything and if it sounds good we keep it, if it doesn't we get rid of it. We have a very open dialogue about the music and basically anything goes if we all like it.

How much input does everyone in the band normally have into composing your songs? Is it consistent or does it vary?

We all have an equal say in the songs and all ideas are discussed as a group. As I write the basic structures though a lot of the main emphasis of each song does come from me. Some songs will be more of a group effort than others but I think that is just normal.

Describe the recording of Sedulous Rouse’s debut album. Did you record it independently or rent a professional studio?

The first Sedulous Rouse album was basically, the first eight songs we wrote as a band. Dani and I worked on them mostly with Brendan coming in at the end to record the bass parts. He learnt all the songs in eight weeks and then we recorded. We spent three days in a professional studio: Against The Grain in Adelaide and recorded with producer Andy Kite. It was done quite quickly but the songs had also come together pretty quickly so it was a very painless process.

What was it like to work on the first songs composed by the band with Andy? What equipment did you have to work with?

Working with Andy Kite was so easy. I have known him through the scene for a long time and he is an excellent person. He loves heavy metal and has produced a ton of Adelaide metal bands. He made the process very easy and hence we are working with him on the new album as well. We used ProTools for the recording with an interface a brand I can’t remember. That first release I played through an Engl head playing a Jackson V and also a Schecter C1 Custom FR guitars. We used a direct line to record the bass guitar and the drums are mostly Pearl and Yamaha.

Where did you first meet Andy Kite? Who else has he produced in the studio before and after he began working with you?

I met Andy back in about 2000 when he was starting out singing in a band called Of the Human Condition. He has produced Se Bon Ki Ra, Hidden Intent, Voros, Blood Mason, Beyond Mortal Dreams, Johnny Touch, Blood Mason, IN the Burial, Arcadia, Awaken Cicada, Devonera and countless others.

What have zine and webzine reviewers had to say about Andy’s production jobs for those bands? While Andy was producing your debut recording, did you learn any pointers from him on recording a full length?

I honestly have not read reviews of his work. But I do own a lot of his work on other bands released and I am always impressed with the quality. Andy basically lets us control the order in which we do things. He is very good with suggestions on how to make the process smoother though. And I think he gets the best out of us.

Do you and the band plan to work with Andy in the near future?

Andy is mixing our new album. We are happy with the work that he has done for us so far. Andy is mixing our new album. We are very happy with the work that he has done for us so far.

Name the songs you recorded for Seasons Of Triumph and describe what they were written about.

Death Shall Rise is about living a purposeful life for yourself. Enemies is about dealing with people who make your life hard by being better at it than them. Perpetrator calls out the people who are fake and use lies against you and calling them out on those lies. Silent Men is about how the role of men in society has changed and how a lot of men refuse to speak about their problems because of a perception that they can't because of men's crimes of the past. Funk Till Ya Jazz is just a bit of fun for us and something we like to do to mix it up. Without Sympathy is about stopping yourself from being sympathetic to those who refuse to help themselves no matter how much opportunity they have been given. Prickles Pickles is about our drummer’s cat, who can't make a sound but is the band’s unofficial mascot. From Her To Modernity is the sister song to Silent Men. It is about the changing role of women in society and how I think that the message has been distorted over time to be about power and not equality.

How much effort has the band put into promoting Seasons Of Triumph since its release?

We have all put a lot of effort into promoting the release from when we first played a show in April 2013. We have winded that down though, as now we are focusing our efforts onto the new album.

Were the lyrics to the tracks on Seasons Of Triumph written by you? What inspired you to take on the subject matter?

I wrote all the lyrics on Seasons Of Triumph. A lot of my inspiration is daily life and trying to understand a society that I think is very upside down in its thinking. There is some personal stuff of course but mostly it is about finding the strength every day to be stronger within.

What do you mean by saying society is upside down in its view? Did you get inspiration for any of your lyrics from any specific events in the news?

Society is upside down because healthy food is more expensive than junk food and people care more about celebrities than their own friends. Things like that. Not sure I could put any of the lyrics down to a specific event in the news but definitely the issues of the day have an effect.

How did you come to the decision to make your lyrics more reality based as opposed to the imagery many bands use?

To be honest it was not really a conscious decision. They lyrical ideas come to me I flesh them out and that is how it works. Reality is way more complicated than fiction.

How long on average does it take you to write lyrics? Do you consider how to express your thoughts on paper or does it flow naturally?

Usually the first draft of a set of lyrics takes about thirty minutes max. I like to get the flow going and just let it happen. For me it flows quite naturally and in that I am lucky. If it doesn't flow I tend to stop.

After writing lyrics, how do you go about working them into the songs composed by you and the band?
I don't write with a song in mind at all so after the lyrics are written I try and think of any riffs or music we have and think if it would fit with the lyrical content. Usually I have written music that goes with lyrics almost sub consciously it seems. We always work on how the lyrics should be phrased and used within the songs. So Brendan doing vocals helps a lot with this as well.

If there was a specific issue in the news that you had to write lyrics about, what would it be and why?

I think if it had to be a specific topic it would revolve around the hypocrisy in the media and from our politicians. That is something that really gets on my nerves. I hate seeing people blatantly lie just to makes themselves seems more popular.

How much more spin have you seen on television and heard from the media since you started writing lyrics?

I think the spin gets greater every week. More and more politicians are just blatant puppets for major corporations and only have their interests in mind when making decisions that affect the majority of the population.

What does the band have in mind for the next full length? How soon do you expect to begin work on it?

The next full length will have ten tracks and be just over fifty minutes long and will be a huge step up from what we have done before. Will feature dual vocals in almost every song with vocals. And there are two instrumentals. It is a much clearer picture of us as a band; where we are coming from and who we are. We have already recorded the album but we have not yet mixed and we are still working on the artwork. So it will not be released for a few months yet, but it will be the best thing we have done as a band and will make a real statement.

Sedulous Rouse

-Dave Wolff

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