This is an interview I'd been planning to do, pretty well ever since I started doing zines. Four Dead, they're probably the kind of band, that when you think of what a hardcore band should be all about, that's it.
Ok, let's begin with a top 5 Canberra albums
I'll honestly go out on a limb and say I'll struggle to think of five Canberra albums that I really like. But let's say, we were talking about Pod People before, they're in the list. I loved Henry's Anger when I was a kid, Smeg- their demo tape was the best. Hard Luck of course, very much enjoy their releases. Mightyfew- Cinema, that was a good one. From the top of my head, that's a good representation of Canberra music.
Let's talk about your own band, what's going on with Four Dead these days?
We played 18 months ago, we played with Monarch. It wasn't certain, but that was going to be our last show with that particular lineup. It goes further back than that though. We did a Mindsnare show a while back, at the Jamison. Tom and Adam had a bit of a discussion. Tom was thinking about moving on from Canberra, moving on from everything. He mentioned it then. I think everything we've experienced up til now can be attributed to that moment. Tom left the band, we became a four piece. Band decisions became 50/50. Things went on for a little while. Shane and I have been the pulse of the band, we wanted to do a couple of things, Chris and Adam wanted to do something else. We had set a path for the new album Anchors way back in the day.
What happened was, people get older, Adam had a child, we weren't sure of his financial position in the band, we had some hard discussions, he went one way, and Chris went with him. All of a sudden, Four Dead was just Shane and Jon, so we had that creative vision, we just didn't know who else to get in. What's happened is we've had a few people come and play with us. We're in a situation where it's been a revolving door of band members up to this point.
Who's in the band right now?
We've got John Von Blast on drums. He plays in Fattura Del Morte, ex Stockholm Syndrom and Deadstare. Morgan, from Dead Kings and also of Bar 32 fame. We lost some gained some, got another member up to speed, losing members, then getting new members up to speed. It's been a bit of a quagmire really.
Speaking of Deadstare, are you still bitter about breaking your arm at the Hornsby PCYC Deadstare reunion show numerous years ago?
I'm not bitter at all. What happened was I broke my arm, went into shock. If you look at my arm today, it's still not fixed. Almost like a disability. It's no ones fault, it's something I got, let's say “rocking out”. However, my legal recourse was hindered by the Hornsby PCYC. You have a timeframe to lodge these claims. I didn't get any legal advice at the time, but I got a call down the track: “hey, sorry you haven't been able to work for six months, you're sleeping on the couch and you can't afford to pay your bills, but if you want any money, you'll have to sue us”. That's the way that all turned out.
So your most recent release, it came out four years ago- Blood and Piss. What do you think about it now?
I like the writing and that kind of thing on the album, over time any artist is going to go back and pick at little things in a work, no matter what it is. I'm very critical of some parts. Writing wise it's very chaotic. I think we captured some of what we were aiming for. One thing I don't like on the record is the drum sound.
The new record is called Anchors, that's a bit Parkway Drive isn't it?
That's interesting. Before Parkway released the things they've done, I had that idea in mind. I wanted an oceanic theme to the work. It goes back to my childhood, then in the last few years, spending a lot of time down around Batemans Bay. In terms of my movements in life, having my family come from that area, having things in my life anchored in certain situations, whether that be positive or negative.
What are your feelings towards the ocean? Are you a surfer or anything.
No, nothing like that. In relation to the album it's more about the end of my family line, the Christophers existing in a certain area, Batemans Bay being the place this time. That's where the family on my fathers side is from. Batemans Bay these days is becoming more like an outer suburb of Canberra. To put it simply, my grandfather leant the Catalina Golf Club money to buy the land. I walk in their today, no one knows who I am. You'd expect that these days. When I was a kid, going down there every summer, people would know who you were. It's not a country town anymore.
What's on for 4 Dead this year?
Just getting back into it really. We'll have some shows end of May, early June. We've recorded. That'll come out eventually. We don't work on timeframes and dates. We work on doing things right, and when we can afford to. There's an album, there's a 7 inch, there's some shows to be had.
What's your thoughts on the current state of the Canberra music scene?
I really wish I could make an informed decision, I've barely been to anything recently. From what I hear though it sounds like there's some really good young bands, but there not quite hitting the mark yet, that will come over time though through playing more shows. There needs to be more venues.
Anything more to add?
I have to say the state of music in this country is almost disgraceful. There's a couple of people, a couple of bands, individuals, labels doing some great things, however most things seem cookie-cut, sugar coated. Listen to the Hard Ons, play in your underpants with no shoes.