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The same day that I attended to the SOULFLY show, together with KING PARROT, INCITE and LODY KONG, they gave us the opportunity to interview the second ones. A thrash/grind band that has gained the attention of people like Max Cavalera o Phil Anselmo. They had the chance to tour all over North America and, in this case, Europe, in order to increase their number of fans, something that they must have achieved with it’s brutal live act.
Matt, the band’s vocalist, was waiting for me at the backstage. I had no idea about the crazy performance he and his band would be showing us one hour later. Matt is a very friendly, kind and nice guy. As he himself agreed at some point of the interview, that’s the kind of contrast the band is based on: The aggressiveness (on stage) and the humour. It possibly won’t be the interview of the year, but for the one who is writting this, it was a satisfactory and funny meeting. We talked about the band’s trayectory and the Australian scene, among many other things.
Subterráneo Heavy: So, first question, how’s the tour been so far, have you already had a really memorable show yet?
Matt: Yeah, many. I think it’s been great. All shows have been really well-attended, lots of people coming out to see SOULFLY and supporting the new album, and I guess it’s great for us too, because we haven’t done any touring in Europe since we put out our new album as well. So it’s great for us getting to play in front of new audience, new places, all through Europe, it’s fantastic, it’s a great opportunity for us.
Subterráneo Heavy: What can you tell me about the origins of the band, you’re not very well known outside Australia, so how was this band formed?
Matt: We’re all friends from Australia and we know each other for playing in another bands. We’ve been doing this for five years, so we’ve done a lot of touring in Australia. We’ve put two albums, we’ve toured a lot in North America aswell, we’ve done seven tours in North America and Canada, so it’s been going well over there. It’s good to come now to Europe, do some more stuff over here and spread the word a little bit more.
Subterráneo Heavy: The name of the band, I heard that is some kind of joke in Australia, but this is a name of an animal… Where does the name of the band come from?
Matt: Parrot, in Australian’s slang is an annoying asshole, so this is the most annoying asshole, the best annoying assholes.
Subterráneo Heavy: Here is something like «gilipollas».
Subterráneo Heavy: Gilipollas, is an equivalent. The typical stupid annoying person it’s called here gilipollas.
Matt: There you go, that’s what it is. It’s what KING PARROT means (laughs).
Subterráneo Heavy: Has your provenance been a problem for you in terms of touring? European and American bands usually don’t tour too much over there because it’s very expensive. But, on the other hand, you have lot of great bands there, BE’LAKOR, IMPETUOUS RITUAL, PORTAL, GRAVE UPHEAVAL… Do you think that, the fact that you’ve been a little bit isolated from the rest of the world, has forced you to improve more than others?
Matt: I think it’s hard for Australian bands to get away and get out of the country and to tour into Europe and North America, so yeah, it makes you extra determined or committed to get out of the country, I guess. For us it’s been about touring just as much as we can, we love play live. Getting the opportunity to do it so much in North America, it’s been great in these few years we’ve been around. Hopefully we can start coming to Europe more often, because we really feel that it’s going well so far in this tour, definitively, and making a good connection with the people.
It’s like starting again, you come to a new place and you have to start again and winning over the crowd and all sort of things. In Australia now we have a good audience there, but here it’s like you begin again, you have to try…
Subterráneo Heavy: You have to make yourself a name.
Matt: Yeah! that’s it, there are so many bands out there, you have to try to do something a little bit different. Hopefully we do that.
Subterráneo Heavy: How did this tour come up? You did some guest vocals on SOULFLY’s last record, for the song «Live Life Hard!», and I know Max is a guy who is always looking for new bands and usually likes to bring guests from bands he discovers, like NAILS, for example, in the same album, so it was like «Hey man! I like your music, we had fun recording… would you like to tour with us?»
Matt: Yeah, exactly. Max it’s being very generous to us, giving me the opportunity, giving the band the opportunity… It’s excelent, you know? To be on such a big european tour, six weeks, it’s great for us. We’re very grateful, Max and the whole SOULFLY tribe are very good people. It’s great to be on the road with very helpful people, it’s like a big family. Great experience.
Subterráneo Heavy: So, he discovers new talents and brings them on the road.
Matt: Yeah, I believe it’s a good thing to do, it’s flow on effect. You’re always gonna do that, we try to do that when we play in Australia, we find new young bands coming out and we take them on tour in Australia, and it’s excelent that a band like SOULFLY will see us as a group coming out through the ranges internationally, and wanna takes us on tour. We’re very grateful.
Subterráneo Heavy: This one is a little bit common but, in which genre would you label your music? I mean, you sound like thrash metal, hardcore, death metal, grindcore… all that stuff. You remind me to MISERY INDEX, MAGRUDERGRIND, CATTLE DECAPITATION… You sound like a lot of bands at the same time, how do you label yourself, how do you define your music?
Matt: Well, we try not to define us much, we try to stay away from them [the labels] a little bit. Obviously there are elements of grindcore, thrash and punk rock, I think there’s the three main ingredients, but sometimes the structures of the songs are a little bit more rock ‘n’ roll, but yeah, I think having those elements, bringing all those elements in, helps to make music a little bit more unique, hopefully. Obviously there’s all those bands you’ve mentioned, and all those groups we like. We’ve toured with CATTLE DECAPITATION before in North America last year, which is great. We take influences from such a wide pool of bands. I can’t say that one band is more important than the other. AC/DC is a big influence on our band, too.
Anything from AC/DC to NAPALM DEATH. All the cool stuff we like.
Subterráneo Heavy: Curretly you’re signed with Housecore Records…
Matt: In North America!
Subterráneo Heavy: Yes, Phil Anselmo’s label, I think he’s even the producer of Dead Set. How did that come up? Like Max he came up to you and said «Hey, I like your music and I’d like to sign with you»?
Matt: Yeah, he showed interest and produced our album. We did a tour with DOWN in North America in December 2014 and then we stayed until January 2015 and recorded the album down in Louisiana, and that’s how it came about! Obviously he’s a fan of extreme music, so he saw something he liked in KING PARROT. It was a great opportunity for us to have someone with so much experience in the field, and we thought that it would be a good oportunity for us to be out, to record in a place which is isolated, where no one can bother us. We were away from everyone we know and we just concentrate on making the music. Yeah, I’m really happy with the way it turned it out, it was a great experience for us.
Subterráneo Heavy: Was it good to work with him?
Matt: Yes, it was good, he’s a good person, he’s been very generous to us, also.
Subterráneo Heavy: This is a mandatory question but, what do you think about the joke of Phil Anselmo about «white power»…
Matt: I think it was a very stupid thing to say, it was very hurtful to some people and, obviously, as a band, we do not support that at all, it’s a very stupid thing. It’s a shame when you see a friend make such a bad terrible mistake. All I can say is that he was very drunk aswell, and, you know, drinking has been a problem on his life aswell. Just hope he can get the help he needs.
Subterráneo Heavy: He had problems with drugs in the past…
Subterráneo Heavy: In the end we all say shit, we all make mistakes, we’re humans.
Subterráneo Heavy: In my point of view that was a joke out of context, it has gain so much importance. It has generate too much hate for a stupid thing.
Subterráneo Heavy: Returning to what we were talking about: labels and all that, you are with Housecore in America, but in Europe you are with Agonia Records, and in Australia with EVP/Rocket. It’s a little bit messy, how they deal with you, I mean, Agonia Records release your albums in Europe and takes care of everything?
Matt: Yes, we previously signed with another label and we didn’t feel like we were getting the attention we deserved and needed from Candlelight Records when we put out our first album, and we decided that we will go with one label in North America, one label in Europe and another one in Australia and they all concentrate on their own thing. For us it been working out great.
Subterráneo Heavy: Do you actually believe that it is better having different people working on their fields that working on just one label?
Matt: It depends on the band, but for us, in this stage of our career, we felt it was good to have a label in each territory. I think it has worked out much more on smaller labels, you know, they can give us the time that we need to push it properly and make an impact.
Subterráneo Heavy: You don’t have the pressure that every two years you have to release a new album whatever you have.
Matt: No, you know, we try to stay busy and we’ll probably put a new record next year.
Subterráneo Heavy: About your music, there’s a huge step between Bite your head off, it’s shorter, it’s more grindcore oriented, very simple, very straight-forward, very fast… While Dead set has a slower pace, songs like the same «Dead set», it’s not a doom metal song but it’s a song that wouldn’t fit on your first album. Without underestimate your debut, what do you think you have improved in Dead set?
Matt: We have a new drummer, so I think it has changed the dynamic of the band totally, so we talk to our drummer to coming into the band for Dead set. I think he brought his own style and the way he would play the riffs it’s totally different to the way our first drummer did. Having a new drummer tends to change the sound of the band. Obviously some of the riffs and the vocals are in a similar vein, but the drums has changed the landscape of the music.
Tod is a great drummer, he has played with THE BERZERKER before, and he is well known in the Australian scene, and he’s been the perfect fit for our band, he loves to tour, he loves to do a lot of things, so when he came to our group it was good just to let him to do what he wanted to do, and, as a result I think he made the band better, and in the next record I believe he would improve once again.
Subterráneo Heavy: So, you have to adapt to him and he has to adapt to the band.
Matt: Yeah! exactly, I think it’s starting to work even better now, and I think we all going to see it on the next record, we’ve started to write some new songs already and there are the favorite songs we’ve ever written as a band together.
Subterráneo Heavy: So, do you have new material? I know you aren’t gonna play it now but, have anything finished yet?
Matt: I think we’ve got like five songs finished and maybe three or four more, so when we finish writing the album it should be ready to record sometime, perhaps this year and maybe put out next year.
Subterráneo Heavy: In terms of composition, Is there a democracy where everyone brings out their ideas or there’s a head, a leader that brings most of the ideas and the rest a little? I mean, a attorney who compose more.
Matt: Our guitarrist, Mr. White, writes a lot of the music and lot of the lyrics, but everyone contributes to the songwriting process, everyone has some importance in that.
Subterráneo Heavy: You are not a band like MEGADETH where there’s a leader who compose everything and says to the rest: «you have to play that in that way».
Matt: Yeah, it’s not like MEGADETH (laughs)
Subterráneo Heavy: At the end of Dead set we hear two people talking and I don’t get it, is some kind of internal joke or something?
Matt: Yeah, that’s what we do
Subterráneo Heavy: Who is the one talking?
Matt: That’s our guitarrist Squiz just talking, being a dickhead, that’s me and him talking.
Subterráneo Heavy: You thought it would be funny to put that on the record.
Matt: Yeah, we just leave it in, a little joke for us
Subterráneo Heavy: On the other record you had another joke at the end.
Matt: It’s an ongoing thing for us, so, you know, it makes it fun, we don’t wanna be taken too seriously, because touring a lot, spending so much time together, I think that being so serious all the time… becomes tense. We’re just a band that wants to take it easy, have a laugh, enjoy each other’s time and being grateful that we can fucking tour and do all this cool shit. For us it’s been always humor involved. It’s intense and aggressive but then always fun as well. It’s kind of weird combination, but for us it works.
Subterráneo Heavy: Like what we were talking before, your name.
Subterráneo Heavy: And what about projects, have you any other band, just for fun, or with a professional approach…? Metal archives said that you’ve been in a lot of bands before, but currently you have any kind of project?
Matt: I play some rock music with a friend of mine in Australia, but we haven’t done any shows or anything, we just write some music at the moment, but we’ve all played in a lot of other bands previously. Tod, our drummer, plays in a lot of groups… I think, we’ve been touring so much in the last two or three years that we haven’t really so much time to play on any other bands, it’s mostly just being concentrated on KING PARROT.
Subterráneo Heavy: So, it’s better to focus all your energy on KING PARROT.
Matt: Yeah, pretty much! We’re not going home and play music with some other people, this takes most of our time
Subterráneo Heavy: Okey, after this European tour, which plans have you, more dates around the world, some time off, recording the new album?
Matt: We’re gonna go home to Australia, to finish writing, we have some shows, a couple of small festival-type shows, and in the end I think we’re gonna go back to North America and Canada for, maybe five weeks of touring and I would love to come back to Europe , this year, on some point. I’m not sure when that would be, but I’d love to return over here and tour, and towards the end of the year maybe we do one more Australian show, and I think we try to record the new album and get ready to put that next year.
Subterráneo Heavy: Whatever be, you’re gonna be busy with the band.
Matt: Always, yeah, since we started we always we’ve been driven to keep putting stuff out, keep touring, keep the band moving forward.
Subterráneo Heavy: Just before we finish, previously I named some Australian bands that I personally like and enjoy but, can you recommend us some groups that you currently enjoy from Australia? Whatever is metal, rock…
Matt: There’s some great bands in Australia and I think KING PARROT is being influenced by a lot of the bands that came through this scene in the ’90. Then everyone got so much international recognition. Some of those bands: DAMAGED, BLOODLUST, ABRAMELIN, ALCHEMIST, SADISTIK EXEKUTION, you may know, BEANFLIPPER, is another good band… A lot of bands that came through the metal scene, the Australian scene. At that time it was hard to get out, to be international and touring, cost so much money… So we really wanted to be influenced by that sound, and now that it’s a little bit easy to tour, we want to take that Australian sound and approach to extreme metal and try to do it internationally. That’s always be sort of one of our goals, one of the main things we wanted to do with this band, to make sure that we come across and sound Australian, because that’s what we are. No point trying to be something you’re not.
Subterráneo Heavy: There’s life beyond AC/DC and MIDNIGHT OIL.
Matt: Yeah, just like Mike Garrett from MIDNIGHT OIL, I’m a great fucking dancer (laughs) .
So much great music from Australia, we just feel we’re lucky to be out of tour and do what we do and fly the flag for Australian music. Being in Spain is incredible because it’s one of my favorite places to come, I think it’s my fourth or fifth time in Spain, I’ve played here with some other bands that I used to play and it’s always a great experience. The show that we played last night in Vitoria-Gasteiz was incredible, so it’s always fun in Spain and I think the people here really appreciated.
Subterráneo Heavy: Well, man, that’s all!
Matt: Yeah man, awesome!