Thursday, January 5, 2012

[interview] NIGHT HAG (blackened hardcore from Adelaide, Australia)

South Australia's hardcore workhorse NIGHT HAG are set to tour SE Asia in January 2012. The first trip overseas for the band will see them bring their brand of blackened hardcore to Singapore, Malaysia, and Indonesia, in support of their debut album Gilded Age. Gilded Age is the band's most consistent work to date, venturing from anxiety-inducing black metal to threatening doom, the only constant being the hardcore energy.

2011 has been a huge year for the band. Relentless Australian touring and multiple releases have seen NIGHT HAG develop into one of the most exciting heavy bands around, with a live show not to be missed.

We're going to cut the shit now. Check out the interview (originally posted on The Ricecooker) and hold your breath! We're anticipating this tour as much as some of you are.

I must admit, I’ve never heard of NIGHT HAG before, so help me out here and do tell a little something about the band. It would be great if you could add in on how the band came about, previous bands and what other things the band members are doing, jobs/hobbies etc.

Joe: There are five people in NIGHT HAG. Dave and I play guitar, Nathan is our drummer, Mark plays bass and Dale sings. We’ve been playing shows for about two years now. When we first jammed we wanted to make a dark but melodic punk band.

When the band started I had known Nathan for a while. We’re both the same age and we both played a lot of shows together while we were growing up. I knew Dave and Dale also from playing with bands in Adelaide, it’s not a big place really. It’s quite a small-knit music scene compared to bigger cities. I even met Mark by chance in a university lecture- in only minutes we found out we possessed many mutual friends and were even employees of the same bookstore. Not a big city. It was at this lecture that Mark schemed the first jam with this line-up. A few weeks later we got together.

We all play in a lot of other bands, and we collectively wanted to make something we weren’t used to doing. Dave and Mark used to play in a band called THE RIVALRY, Mark plays bass for another sludge band called SEX WIZARD, Dave also plays with bands SPACE BONG, GOD GOD DAMMIT DAMMIT, DEATH CULT JOCK (and close to a dozen more). Dale used to have a band called LASER DEATH RAY, he sang. He also played trumpet for GOD GOD DAMMIT DAMMIT for a while. Nathan used to play in hardcore band THE WEIGHT – they’re still going strong, excellent Adelaide band. I play guitar for another band HYDROMEDUSA and sing for a band called PRISONBITCH.

Through all of us there is lot of bands. I think we all wanted to do NIGHT HAG as a side band for a little while before we started getting organised. We realised we could do a lot as a band if we all kept the momentum up and kept constantly writing. With that, our sound has evolved since our beginnings. I think we come across as more of a metal band now, I think Dale hates this but that keeps me amused. We’ve all kept a big part of our normal lives open for whatever this band will throw at us.

I work two jobs, I sell books and soap. I used to take my clothes off for an art school. It paid alright.. Dale is a researcher/computer, he also works for the university. Bright fellow, he’s the real organizational brains behind us. Mark is a student (homeless person), Nathan is a businessman but still poor like the rest of us. Dave bangs furniture together, I think. You can also catch him playing high-paid gypsy jazz gigs.
There’s a distinct mix of harsh black-metal sounding guitars, drumming and a maelstrom of power-violence in your songs; do tell where are all these influences coming from; what are the lyrics about?
Joe: We all do different things in writing the songs. It can be a bit retarded. For instance we’ve done things very quickly in the past. I learnt the song Cynic from Gilded Age the day of the recording. As a credit to the hasty succession of the recordings it’s everyone’s style mashed up together that makes NIGHT HAG sound like it does. Dave and I write most of the riffs. We listen to a lot of metal and punk but just as much as anything else. We didn’t really take any direct list of bands we wanted to sound like when forming the band. Any creative vibe for the band is best cooked up with us verbally discussing how we want an overall release come across as. Such planning is most fluent in the album. Dale’s vocals run almost independent to the songwriting phase however. He’ll normally practice with pre-prepared lyrics- work he’s done at home. His lyrics are a bleak look at the present and the future. I’d let Dale give you a better run through on his writing though.
Can you list out how many releases have Night Hag put out and where to get them?

Joe: So far we’ve released a Demo ourselves in 2010. Then we did a lengthy EP New Tourists at the start of 2011, before releasing our debut album Gilded Age in July 2011. Demo is sold out. The other two can be sold through Capitalgames Records. You’ll also easily find all three releases for free download on the Internet, we 100% encourage this free listening*.
And how is the Adelaide or South Australian punk/HC scene nowadays; compared to what’s happening in other big cities in Australia?

Joe: Adelaide is slowly becoming an interesting place for bands again. It seems the few venues that are keeping their doors open to live music are being well received. I’ve been running a DIY warehouse venue called Animal House for over a year with a few friends. It’s also our home. We’ve tried to facilitate a space that’s helping bands rehearse (including NIGHT HAG) as well as serving as a DIY venue. For a sometimes sleepy city I’m enjoying myself here.
I’ve been to Adelaide a couple of times and went to a few shows, but where would a DIY hardcore punk band play over there nowadays? How often are there shows there and how does it work, in terms of getting the venues and such.

Joe: I’d recommend Animal House to anyone. Getting venues has gotten trickier in the last half a year even. A lot of new bands, a lot of gigs, a lot of sub-genres are getting their own following and it can all cause a few months wait in trying to book anywhere. More bands is still a good thing.
I have seen Adelaide change quite a lot these days; from quite a warm, sleepy, art-friendly little town with a lot of excellent bands, to a rather indifferent, consumerist place with lots of the old, homely hang-outs turned posh streets. What’s your take on that?

Joe: Adelaide is a bizarre place to live at times. It’s probably the most boring place to live if you can’t entertain yourself or you don’t smoke pot. There’s a lot of pot. A few arts festivals too – they’re ironically held at the same time as V8 car races. There are also a lot of old people. I think our average age is 60… Friendly people at times, cheap place to live, a little over-fed and conservative in places but equally poor and isolated in other areas. A lot of suburbs, a lot of boring people.
Are there old punks there still active? I don’t mean the usual fashion-punk horde but the ones who worked hard in the scene since the days of yore.

Joe: There are always old cunts. A lot move to Melbourne and a lot become social workers but there’s still a few. A crew of them run a pub together in Adelaide called The Squatters Arms. Great food.
Give us a list of local bands which we should check-out.

Joe: There are too many, ROBOTOSAURUS, THE WEIGHT, VAGINORS, NO ACTION. The rest of Australia also has some awesome bands going on at the moment – SUFFER, EXTORTION, WARTHREAT, DROWNING HORSE, ENCIRCLING SEA, LOOKING GLASS, KROMOSOM
What compels the band to do this upcoming tour; what have you heard about touring SEA and what are your expectations, if there are any?

Joe: We want to play to another part of the world. SE Asia is an awesome place, and the people are cool. We’re all familiar to various parts and are feeling it’s the next step in this year’s heavy touring. We’re riding the release of Gilded Age and look forward to playing some heavy and energetic shows. I hope this trip will bring a lot of experiences I’ll keep forever. We’ve all seen it as a great honor to play this tour.
Anything you wanna say to the locals here awaiting the storm that’s coming?

Joe: I look forward to meeting a lot of new people, making friends and seeing new places. Don’t be a stranger, say hello and please show us around. 

*Yes, that's right -- it's FREE listening, you poor punx! Download the New Tourists EP here, and the much-raved about Gilded Age full-length here.

For more info, please check out Night Hag on these platforms:

Tour brought to you by 7x0x7.

1 comment:

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