New Zealand outfit Beastwars command an untouchable reputation as one of the best metal acts in the southern hemisphere and they’re about to remind their Australian fans why with their latest Oz tour.
The band are gearing up to release their new album, The Death of All Things on 22nd April, and they’re celebrating with a string of dates that will comprise the band’s only Australian shows for 2016.
In 2011, the release of Beastwars’ critically acclaimed self-titled debut announced to the world that antipodean metal was not to be messed with and they followed up on that promise with 2013’s powerful Blood Becomes Fire.
On the live stage, the band are a force to be reckoned with and have previously taken to Aussie stages to rock alongside the likes of Red Fang, The Sword, Windhand, Truckfighters, and Unida.
Though this could potentially be the last time we see the guys on Aussie soil, as they explain “right now we’re halfway through what could be our last ever tour. When the band started we thought that making 3 albums that we were proud of would be the most success we could ask for. And with the release of our third record The Death of All Things and the imminent departure of our drummer Nato to London, this last run of shows has got us thinking of how lucky we’ve been in the 7 or so years of being an active band.”
To celebrate the ear-drum busting legends, and the impending tour we caught up with the guys to chat about the biggest highlights from their impressive career.Listen to/ buy The Death of All Things here: www.beastwars.bandcamp.com.
Incredible Support Slots
It started with the oddest matching of all, supporting noise rock band Health about a year after we formed. Their fans didn’t get us at all with some deaf reviewer mentioning “Nickleback vocals”. But the offers got better and better with slots supporting bands we’d grown up with like Helmet, Fu Manchu, Melvins and more recent inspirations like Mastodon, High on Fire, Windhand and Red Fang.
Unfortunately we can’t do every support tour though as Greg Anderson from SunnO))) got in touch (yes, fan mail!) and requested us to support them on their recent Australian tour. Unfortunately the budget didn’t quite stretch far enough for that to happen but it was a buzz to be asked.
Everyone always assumes that if you play some shows with a band you get to hang out and become best buddies with them but it’s generally pretty hard to break through the groundhog day monotony of the bigger touring bands life. They pretty much just want to play and sleep and you’re just another support bands in an endless sea of support bands changing night after night. Some bands make there own fun with this, like the Fu Manchu bass player burping at us every time we said hello to him. That was pretty weird.“Some bands make there own fun with this, like the Fu Manchu bass player burping at us every time we said hello to him. That was pretty weird”
A big night for band was the Kyuss Lives support in Wellington to a sold out 700 crowd the week our first album was released. I think we were all excited that we were going to meet them but so often as it is with these supports we didn’t get to meet the band, actually we were kicked out of the backstage area by the promoter almost immediately after we played. But it was a great show and they were a great band.
3 years later we found ourselves supporting Unida (one of John Garcia of Kyuss’ other bands) on their NZ/Aus tour and Matt (vocals) was really keen to say hello to but once again it wasn’t to be. So on the 2nd night of the tour Matt decided he would stumble into his dressing room and found John sitting drinking in the dark by himself. This guy is a huge legend and slightly intimidating and the words that popped out of Matt’s mouth were “you’re Mexican, I’m Irish, let’s drink”. Which he happily did and he turned out to be a fantastic guy. The tour ended 3 shows later with a hug and Matt and John great friends for those few days.
Playing Some of the Best Indie Festivals In the World
Camp A Low Hum in New Zealand and Cherry Rock in Melbourne are two festivals that stand out in our career. Both introduced the band to bigger audiences and led to some of the craziest nights. A Low Hum was like a paradise for acid heads, a mixed genre festival supposedly full of “hipsters” (I hate that word) but what we found were young people absolutely passionate about all types of music, including some middle aged metallers like us.
There was nothing like it. The final year we played their was a huge storm which flooded the entire festival site. Luckily we played on the first night just before the rain came down. The polar opposite but equally awesome is Cherry Rock in Melbourne which James Young invited us to play for 2 years in a row. Having him as one of our champions in Melbourne really has meant so much to us.
Cherry Rock has to be one of the best festivals we’ve been to in the world. The first year we played The Meat Puppets headlined with a fantastic set. Clayton (guitar) and his good friend Matthew (who is an amazing luthier- one of Melbourne’s best) hung out with Curt Kirkwood until dawn drinking, smoking and chatting. He had some amazing stories and Clayton was so enthralled that he almost missed his flight back to NZ.
Youtube: Beastwars at Camp A Low Hum
There was a competition in New Zealand called “Make My Horror Movie” where if you had a great idea you could get $250,000 to make your film. We started talking to the director of NZ heavy metal splatter horror film Deathgasm as soon as we heard his idea and said we’d be involved in any way that he needed. We ended up supplying T-shirts for the cast and music for the soundtrack.
When we went to the premiere we were stunned. If he had of told us what scene our music was being used in, on paper we probably would have said “no” because we tend to take things quite seriously and this was just nuts. I’m pleased we didn’t get a chance to veto because we were used in one of the most iconic scenes from the film and the worldwide release has gained us a tonne of new fans.
STANDING ON THE SHOULDERS OF GIANTS
As James (bass) arrived at the very last NZ Big Day Out he looked out at the spot where his 17-year-old self watched Pink Floyd play many years earlier. Dreams can come true. He was brought back to reality pretty fast by some grumpy assistant production manager shouting that the gates were opening and if we didn’t “shut the f*** up” he’d personally throw us out of the grounds and cancel our set. Ouch. Playing all the classic venues we’ve played at has been a buzz, but Western Springs was standing on the shoulders of giants like Bowie, Zeppelin, Deep Purple and so many others.
Photo: Old mates Beastwars & Red Fang together
HITTING THE TOP OF THE CHARTS (OR NEAR ENOUGH)
When our 2nd album Blood Becomes Fire was released in 2013 we were up against some tough competition. There was a huge buzz with our fans about our new record but we were releasing around Mother’s Day and Michael Buble cunningly had some handsome crooner CD to release the same day as us. Alistair, the marketing boss at our New Zealand distributor Universal Music had the genius idea of a “don’t let your mum choose who’s number 1” campaign. We took everyone by surprise and landed at number 2 on the top 40 charts over here. It looked like we had a good shot at the number 1 spot for this new album too until the untimely passing of Prince RIP.
Listen to/ buy The Death of All Things here: www.beastwars.bandcamp.com
Album Tour Dates
Adelaide – Thurs 28 – Producers Bar
w Mammoth and Loathing Hollow
Melbourne – Fri 29 – Ding Dong
w Horsehunter and Orb
Brisbane – Sat 30 – Crowbar
w Lizzard Wizzard and Grieg
Tickets at www.oztix.com.au