All fun, no bullshit
If you want some irrepressible, in your face raw metal grindcore sounds you need to look no further. King Parrot is an Australian band that has been raising to success and gathering a large number of faithful fans through non-stop touring, writing music and generally just by bringing back that rawness and truthfulness much needed in the metal scene. In the past four years since the release of their debut EP “The Stench Of Hardcore Pub Trash” they have toured with Down, Orange Goblin, Cattle Decapitation and are now on tour with Soulfly. King Parrot’s shows are memorable and they can stun the audience into submission very easily. You won’t leave a King Parrot show without either loving or hating these guys, either way, you will remember them. Their latest album “Dead Set” was released in 2015 under Phil Anselmo’s Housecore Records, a perfect meeting of creative minds. We met up with singer and outstanding dude Matt Young on their tour with Soulfly to discuss all that is King Parrot. If you are still unfamiliar with this band do yourself a favour and catch their next show, they’ll blow your mind!
HMA: Your latest album ‘Dead Set’ came out in 2015 and again the response was amazing. What is the concept behind it and when did you find the time to write it since you’ve been touring non-stop for the past four years?
Matt Young: We were in the States, we had two tours lined up and we had a little bit of time in between, so we took a month off and we wrote the album ‘In a Bind’ in Vermont at our friend’s place. They just donated the bar for us, we had some time and we just went in there and made the most of it. We had all our gear there and just set all our stuff up in this bar and it was amazing. This place had an amazing view, it was in the middle of this forest and it was a really good place because we like to just be isolated a little bit when we’re writing and just be able to concentrate on what we’re doing. It was a great experience. We got most of it done there. I think we had maybe two or three songs beforehand that we’d written in Australia. Most of it was written in the woods in Vermont, it was cool, and it was a great experience.
HMA: Are you satisfied with the response?
MY: I think so. We did well with it. In Australia, it did really well we got into the mainstream charts and everything like that, which was really weird because it’s kind of weird for a Grindcore band to be in the charts. We got nominated for an award and everything, like an equivalent of a Grammy or something. We went to the awards thing. It was really funny, you know? It was like, “What the fuck are we doing here?” It was fun. It got received well there. Obviously, on the world scale, there’s a lot more work for us to do. We’re doing a lot more tours, we’ve done North America a lot and it’s been received really well there. I think we’re still kind of underground band to a lot of people and a lot of places. That’s cool, but we just have to keep touring and doing our thing and spreading the word, getting out doing a tour with Soulfly is ideal. We’ve also played with Down and we just toured with Cattle Decapitation in North America and Canada and that was great, there was a bunch of sold-out shows on that one. It’s been a really good experience for us; the tours have just been able to keep coming. We try and put on a good show when we play live, lots of energy and stupidity. It’s kind of a mash of aggression, intensity, and humour. It’s just sort of impulsive and we just let whatever happens, happen. We don’t sit there and plan anything out. It’s just all very whatever happens, happens, on the night. Sometimes it can be dangerous.
HMA: Yes your live shows are pretty memorable in the way you involve the audience. Did you ever encountered problems when your sense of humour wasn’t received and they didn’t understand you’re in in-your-face approach and jokes?
MY: It happens, yeah, that’s happened, all sorts of things have happened. People smashed glass on my face and even tried to fight me a few times, stupid things like that. The thing is that we like to get into people’s faces; we want you to pay attention, either like it or hate it. We don’t want to be one of those bands where you sit on the fence and go, “Oh, they’re okay.” We either want you to really like it or really hate it. We like people to walk away remembering us, I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but we don’t give a fuck.
HMA: I can’t wait to see that tonight.
MY: I think it’s going to be a lot of fun tonight.
HMA: ‘Dead Set’ came out under Housecore Records. How did this collaboration start and how it is working with Phil Anselmo?
MY: We met in Soundwave in Australia. We’ve been in touch since then, played with Down in New Orleans and became friends. He just expressed an interest in being involved in producing our records. That was really cool, it was really good. We’ve all grown up loving Pantera obviously, as kids and getting to work with someone like that is an amazing opportunity.
HMA: Is there a difference making an album under a label run by one of the biggest names and fellow musician as opposed to other larger record labels?
MY: It is. We decided that we wanted to work with smaller labels that were more focused and where we would be more of a priority, I guess. We did that for Australia and for North America. For Europe, we did Candlelight Records as well, who have been awesome for us. I think sometimes with bigger labels and what not, you just get swept under the carpet a little bit if you’re not a priority and let’s face it; we weren’t a priority for our previous labels. We decided we wanted to work with the labels where we would be a priority. All the labels have all been really great for us and been able to push us with this sort of attention, I guess, that we would hope for from a label. I think it was a good move for us to move to Housecore Records at this stage of our career.
HMA: As mentioned before you have been touring relentlessly for the past 4 years. What are your favourite and less favourite aspects of being on the road?
MY: A lot of the time we’ve been touring, we toured in a fucking van. The worst aspect was really the driving, the constant driving and I being the sober I get to do most of that especially at the end of the night when all you really want to do is just lie down and go to sleep, and it’s like, “You’ve got to drive for five hours!” . Everyone else is like, “Oh, I can’t drive, I’m drunk!” So that kind of makes it tough. You get super tired and everyone gets a little bit short with each other and little bit annoyed and what not. That is certainly a challenging part of it. The tour that we’re on now with Soulfly is our first one where we have a small bus where we can sleep, we have a driver and it’s fucking awesome. This is only the second show, it’s great and it’s nice to be able to relax. We also have a little small crew with us, our sound guy, merch guy, drum tech. It’s good. It’s nice to be able to have those things because you can’t always have it. It all costs so much money to just even do this shit. We’re very lucky and grateful that we have this opportunity to do this big European tour with Soulfly and do it a little bit more comfortably. Hopefully it allows us to put on a better fucking show, that’s the idea, I guess. To be able to sleep, have somewhere comfortable to sleep rather than someone’s floor. It’s good. It feels like a step up for us from what we’ve had previously. We’re under no illusions of where we sit in the fucking pecking though. It’s one of those things where we’re really lucky and grateful that we get the opportunity to do this. That was always the idea with our band too, we didn’t want to sit around and be a band that just “Ugh, yeah, no, yeah.” We want to say yes more than we say no. We want to take the opportunities. We want to take risks as well. We started doing that early on in Australia; people saw our Outburst album and the videos and everything. We toured relentlessly and people saw that and were like, “Oh, these guys will do it. Give them an opportunity.” That just sort of followed on for North America and now Europe, hopefully, too.
HMA: Which you consider being the biggest moment as a band so far, your biggest achievement?
MY: There’s quite a few. We played a big festival in Jakarta called Hammer Sonic Festival, there was like twenty-thousand people there or something like that. That was crazy because people in Indonesia, they’re just so passionate and crazy over there. It’s insane. We played with Down at the Fillmore, we did a tour with them, but we did one show at the Fillmore in San Francisco and that’s just such a legendary venue. It was like, “What the fuck are we doing here?!” It was crazy. Another great moment for us was when we put” Dead Set” out and we played at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne, which is our home city and it was sold out and it was a big venue. We’ve played there before, but it was nice for our own show for it to be sold out, you know, big venue, lots of people in our hometown supporting us, that was pretty cool. I was a bit nervous before that one. I was vomiting in toilet beforehand. We had a great show but I couldn’t believe it was happening, it was hard to get my head around that we had sold out at a big venue in our own city. It was really cool.
HMA: Do you actually live in Australia or have you relocated in the States?
MY: We all live in Australia, we still live in Melbourne. Although in the last two years or so we probably spent more time in America than we have in Australia.
HMA: You did vocals in the latest Soulfly album “Archangel” how did this collaboration with Max Cavalera happened?
MY: We were in Australia at Soundwave Festival and he was playing with Kill or Be Killed. I went to meet him and he said, “I want you to do a song on the new album.” I’m like, “What the fuck?” We were touring with a band called Weedeater from America and we were playing in Phoenix where Max lives and he came to the show. He pulled me aside and took me down to his car. He’s like, “I’ve got the song for you. I’ve got the lyrics and everything.” He brought them out for me and he sang it for me in the car. I was just like, “Is this really happening?” Max is awesome and he’s been super cool to us and very supportive. He sang me the song twice and he’s like, “Do you remember it?” I’m like, “No. I’ll try.” I wrote some of the lyrics for it as well. Two days later we were in Los Angeles and we went to the studio with Matt Hyde, who was the producer of the album. We just turned up to his house and I think the guitarist from Deaftones was there doing some stuff with him. It was like, “I’m doing vocals on the Soulfly record, get the fuck out of the way.” I just went into the little booth and did my bit. It was good. It turned out really good and I was happy. When I heard it, it was weird to hear my voice on it. It was cool, it was a good opportunity.
HMA: Your music videos are really funny, who writes them and how do you go about the creative process?
MY: We have video producer and his name is Dan Farmer, he’s very involved in what we do with the videos. We are all involved and we all have inputs, everyone in the band, we have a meeting or what not and make all the ideas. Everyone brings to the table their ideas and suggestions and then we throw it around. Sometimes the original idea might be totally different to the finished product, but it’s just the way it goes. Our video producer, Dan Farmer, is a very great film producer and he really understands our sense of humour and the way we want it to come across. He does a good job with that. He’s responsible for a lot of the fun bits too, just the way he edits. He also feeds us the lines and makes us do stupid shit and it’s really a group effort. It’s good to have another creative thing to do other than the music. We all get involved in it and it’s a lot of fun.
HMA: What about the album’s artwork, how involved is the band with that?
MY: We have many different people that submit art for us; we have quite a few people in Australia and some in America. There are lots of great artists that do stuff for us and we choose carefully which ones we want. One of my best friends is an artist and he’s been doing a lot of stuff for the band, he also did the cover for ‘Dead Set’ and the European tour poster that we have on sale now and a new shirt design that we did. We have lots of different people, not person in particular or anything, just anyone that we see that we like. The style that suits the band and can add to what we’re trying to do, then that’s cool.
HMA: What is next for King Parrot?
MY: We’re going to keep touring. We’re going to go back home for a little bit, for a couple of months. We’re going to do some Australian shows and we’ve got a few cool things lined up. Then we’ll do some more touring in North America. Also, we’ve been writing new material already. We had a bit of a break over the last couple of months back in Australia over summer because we hadn’t really stopped for two or three years. We were just busy touring all the time so we decided that we wanted to have a little bit of break. When the weather is good in Australia, it’s pretty cool just to hang around and not so much. We took about two weeks where we went out to Queensland, which is a nice, warm part of Australia, nice beaches and everything. We just hired a little studio there and we started writing some new stuff. We’re about halfway through writing a new album. When we get home, we’re going to spend some more time writing and get it finished, then work out what we’re going to do from here. We are trying to make this work the best we can. If we’re not playing, there’s no money. You got to go and do some work. We’re doing our best to try and make it something that we do full time. It’s hugely challenging especially being from Australia. It’s a fucking long way to go anywhere. It’s an eight or nine-hour flight just to go to Indonesia. It’s like four hours to New Zealand, but there’s fucking nothing in New Zealand except a few sheep. It’s very challenging for an Australian band to try and make living playing music. Especially when you play fucking Grindcore. We have the best fucking fun and we have a great time. We’ve made so many great friends and people who have been willing to help us out. It makes it worthwhile and it’s really encouraging for us to be given those opportunities to come and do something like this with Soulfly, a band that’s legendary. Some of the opportunities we’ve had in North America with great bands, as well. It’s really cool. We’re just going to keep trying and keep pushing it and see what happens. We love doing the band. We’re all in it for the right reasons. I think that comes across when we play and everyone has a really good time doing it. We have a fucking ball as we’ve all been good friends in the band before we started the band, we all know each other. One thing that’s always remained with King Parrot is that we’re going to fucking do it? We’re going to try and do this and not be afraid of it. A lot of bands in Australia do get like a little bit, “It’s too much! It’s too much!” We’re just like, “Fuck it. This is what we want to do. We’re going to do it.” Just keep fucking trying, you know.
HMA: One last question, why the name King Parrot?
MY: In Australian slang, a parrot is an annoying asshole. An annoying person, you know? “You’re a fucking parrot.” We are the most annoying. “Fuck you!” Once we start to explain it a little bit, it makes more sense. But you know, whatever who cares. I’ve heard “that’s a fucking shit name for a band.” I’m like, “Yeah, whatever.” It makes sense to us. And for sure better than being called something like fucking Anal Lobotomy or something.
Interview by Manuela Mattera. Photos by Andrea Saini – Copyright 2016 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.