Thy Art Is Murder: Getting to Know One of Australia’s Biggest Metal Bands
Along with Parkway Drive and the Amity Affliction, Sydney's Thy Art Is Murder is one of Australia's most popular heavy acts. Don't believe us? The group's sophomore album, Hate, came in at #35 on the Top 40 Aria chart, making it the highest debut of any Aussie death metal band in history. It's no small feat considering Thy Art Is Murder specialize in technical arrangements, over-the-top death metal vocals and pit-inducing breakdowns.
Knowing a great thing when they see it, Nuclear Blast recently inked Thy Art Is Murder to a record deal and will be issuing Hate for the first time in the U.S. on April 2. Our friends at Lambgoat are streaming the entire album here.
Noisecreep spoke with guitarist Andy Marsh to get some more background on the band and how the Nuclear Blast deal went down.
For an extreme metal band, it has to feel great to sign with Nuclear Blast. How long did the deal take to materialize and were you nervous at any point that it wouldn't end up happening?
It all came together quite neatly shortly after Hate came out. Nervousness wasn't really an issue after we heard the news that we may be of interest to Nuclear Blast. For an offer to pop up from them was something pretty out of the blue and unexpected for us, so even the consideration was flattering enough. The nervousness begins now that we have responsibility of representing one of the worlds greatest metal labels
Before you even had the deal, you came to the U.S. to record Hate with Will Putney at The Machine Shop. What about his production style drew you to him, and do you plan on always traveling outside of Australia to record from now on?
My attention was initially drawn to will after my friends in the Amity Affliction recorded their second album with Machine there. They gave me the heads up on Machine's scary metal right hand man Will and put me on to his band Fit for An Autopsy which he had produced. Being a musician/engineer/producer myself and a fan of his bands releases, his productions, and engineering chops, lead me to ultimately decide to make the record with him. While the worlds best engineers and producers are still based overseas, we'll keep traveling to them to make our records.
Watch 'Reign of Darkness' Video
Will certainly did a killer job, especially with the guitar tones and vocal stuff.
Will is a very complete metal recordist and was awesome to work with on crafting the sound of our record. He had a distinct mix vision in mind from the beginning and used his engineering chops to great effect to bring the sound in his head into ours and ultimately into the music.
Vocal wise, Will stressed very hard in the beginning to get started on the lyric writing and pattering to maximize the impact in CJ's [Chris 'CJ' McMahon, singer] delivery. Early on in the pre-production process, when I produced the song 'Infinite Forms,' I wanted to be very hard on CJ to really bring out the mid-range character and pronunciation in his voice, and I'm glad that's something Will carried on with. I think it brings an extra level of impact to the CD that I felt was lacking on The Adversary album.
Guitar wise Putney really threw down all the tricks and techniques to craft a very distinct and unique guitar tone to suit the production. I won't give away any of his secrets but I will say the final guitar tone was an Ibanez J Custom with DiMarzio pickups into a 5150, Diezel vh4 and Bogner Uberschall. All at the same time!
Hate is being released here in the States in April, but it's already been doing really well in Australia. You even have the distinction of having the highest debut of any Australian death metal band ever. Besides the music, what do you attribute your success to?
I think with the band we have always relied on hard touring and tightness on stage. I think it really helps grow a loyal fanbase and has been the basis of most great metal bands I can think of. I'm lucky to be friends with some bands in Australia that have charted really well like the Amity Affliction, Parkway Drive and Northlane, and all those guys tour their asses off. It keeps you honest and working hard knowing your friends are out there doing the hard yards too.
Social media wise we don't do much out of the normal realm of Facebook, Twitter and MySpace, etc. It has certainly helped us gain a lot of fans internationally and given them access to our music.
Watch "Shadow of Eternal Sin' Video
Are people in Oz as obsessed with genre tags as much as we seem to be here?
I'm not too sure to be honest as I'm not too concerned with such things. It's the same question with the same answer in every interview. The Internet only partially reflects the reality of it all. Kids that say they won't, still come to shows. Kids that say they will, don't. At shows or when we're out we don't ever cop anything about it. People compliment us on being an awesome metal band with an awesome metal record.
What does the rest of 2013 look like for Thy Art Is Murder?
On top of that probably doing a bunch of conceptualizing for the next record and maybe jamming on a few riffs and lyric ideas.
Thinking back, can you remember the first time you heard death metal vocals, or extreme metal in general?
Nope. What was extreme in the beginning for me isn't extreme now. I'm always looking for heavier and more experimental bands.
Thy Art Is Murder's Hate will hit stores in the States on April 2nd and can be pre-ordered at this link!