On Saturday September 23rd, I met up with the guys from local metalcore band Above The Fallen at the Asian Beer Café, Melbourne Central. Being my very first band interview, I honestly didn’t know what to expect. Many things were holding me back from doing one in the past. I didn’t want to end up coming across like Molly Meldrum in his heyday aka a stuttering mess (And now we come to the most important part of the…sorry…could I just have one glass of water, please? Interview with Prince Charles, 1977).
I’ve always been a shy, reserved and softly soften kind of guy but I wanted to prove to myself that I could do this, We all had a good laugh to break the ice with lead guitarist Joshua Flint munching away on a subway roll and drummer Nigel Gass rocking up in a pair of thongs. Clearly he didn’t know about the smart dress code at the Asian Beer Café. Oops! So he ended up dropping into one of the stores at Melbourne Central and picked up a pair of vans…as you do. Eventually, we grabbed a table down the back and some of us ordered classic parmas (and at $15, how could you refuse?) and beers before we got the interview underway.
//Can you give us a brief history of the band and your releases?//
Mitch: Nigel and I started the band back in February last year, bouncing ideas off one another. It took us a long time to find the right members. We ended up having 6 different band members who all started with J but we’re happy with our current lineup. (Mitch – Vocalist, Josh – Guitarist, Jamie – Bassist, Nigel – Drummer). The only release so far is our debut single “Heart” released on September 1st, 2017.
//What’s the first band who made you love music?//
Mitch: Escape The Fate
Nigel: Linkin Park
Josh: Parkway Drive
Jamie: Simple Plan
//Who inspires you to make music now?//
Mitch: Wage War and Dream On, Dreamer.
Josh: Northlane and Thy Art Is Murder.
//What are some of the most important things you have learned while being together?//
Nigel: Don’t diss Richmond. And don’t wear thongs to band interviews (laughs)!
Mitch: Definitely how much of an outlet music can be. It’s great to be in a band that’s working towards a common goal.
//How do you view your band now as opposed to when you first started?//
All: That we’re all on the same page. I think that it’s important to find band members who have the same drive, commitment and ideas. We have also all grown as better musicians.
//Can you explain what goes on during the writing process?//
Mitch: We wrote most of the songs in the studio except for the single "Heart". We usually write a drum pattern or backbeat and then riffs over the top. It took us all a while figuring out the right style of music we wanted to play.
//Can you explain the recording process you go through?//
Mitch and Nigel: We generally start recording the drums first, then riffs, then breakdowns and lastly the vocals. We spent about 3-4 weeks in total recording the EP. We chose Cal from Avalanche Studios as our producer (Callan William Orr from Dream on, Dreamer).
//What does your debeut single “Heart” mean to you?//
Mitch and Nigel: We’re been building up to it for months but wanted to find the right time to release it. We feel like it’s the best song to represent us as a band. It’s also a very personal song for Mitch as it deals with issues of mental illness and overcoming a negative mindset.
//How is the EP coming along? When will it be released?//
Mitch and Nigel: It’s nearly finished. We just have to record some guest vocals and then get the EP mixed and mastered. The next single to be released will be our most popular and marketable song. If all goes well, the EP will be released by the end of October!
//What does the local music scene mean to you?//
All: It’s about people getting together and supporting each other. Making strong connections with other bands at shows. And being able to spread the word and promote local bands.
//If you could change one thing about the scene, what would it be?//
Mitch: The energy in the mosh pit really needs to pick up especially at heavier shows. We find that some people really don’t want to participate and it makes things really awkward.
//What song on the EP means the most to you?//
Mitch: Memories. It’s a song about one of my mates who died last year.
Nigel: I’ll say Memories too.
Jamie: Make It Stop.
//Why do you all play music?//
All: It’s a huge release of emotions, stress and negative energy.
Mitch: It also helped me deal with getting over my ex-girlfriend.
Would you encourage people to start a band?
Jamie: Absolutely! It’s very stressful but it’s a good kind of stress. There’s also a lot of stuff that goes into the band behind the scenes but it’s worth it.
What advice do you have for new bands?
Nigel: Find the right band members. Don’t rush into it. Take your time. And be really committed to what you’re doing.
//How important is it to network with other bands?//
Mitch: Massively important! We recently connected with local bands such as Hollow Heart and Distracted By Pink as they’re both very similar to us and are very accepting people. You really have to sell yourself as a band in order to succeed.
//You guys recently had some line-up changes before the release “Heart”. What impact has this had on you all as a band?//
Nigel: Initially it was a big kick in the guts and very frustrating but it was also a relief and a big weight off our shoulders. I think that we’ve taken a massive step forward as a band.
//One last question…why should people check your band out?//
Mitch: Don’t! (laughs)
Nigel and Mitch: People might be able to relate to the lyrics as they’re very personal and honest. We don’t like to beat around the bush. It was also really important to raise awareness about domestic violence as it’s something that’s not spoken about very much.
Thank you guys so much for your time. I’ve really enjoyed interviewing you all. If you’d like to check Above The Fallen out, you can do so via the links below! ("Heart" was also featured in THE FAT MIX #3)