Congratulations with your seventh, new studio album ‘As The Kingdom Drowns’. Three tracks have already premiered on the internet, how have the reactions been so far and what do you expect this new release will do for Psycroptic?
Thank you! The reactions thus far have been excellent; great feedback from fans and media alike. A lot of people have said its their favourite material we’ve released, which is very cool. We are very excited to get out and play the songs live.
How long did it take you to write and record these nine new tracks? Was it an easy process this time around?
We are continually writing between each album, but I guess you could say it took around 6 months of solid writing to get everything completed. We actually wrote and recorded in the studio at the same time, which allows the process to be quite ‘fluid’ and natural. We can try ideas out and refine them as we go, rather than getting attached to riffs in the jam room just because we have learnt how to play them.
Did you have an idea of where you wanted this record to go before you started writing the album and did it turn out the way you wanted it? Or did it turn out differently?
We didn’t really have too much of a plan other than ‘let’s try to write the coolest songs we can, with a mixture of speeds and feels’…which was a good starting point. Then it kind of unfolded from there - with work beginning on riff writing and song structures. So we don’t really know how things will turn out until the process begins. We quite often make changes in direction throughout the process and well to insure we are happy with how the whole process is unfolding.
’As The Kingdom Drowns’ is your seventh studio album in fifteen years’ time. Where do you still draw inspiration from to come up with new music that is still entertaining without repeating yourselves?
Just searching for that perfect song & album really. It’s pretty much an impossible task, so it keeps us going as it’s a fun process. We’re having a good time still with the band so it keeps us moving forward. We allow other influences and recording methods to help shape the final output, so the more we learn, the more developments in out sound will occur.
On three of the tracks on ‘As The Kingdom Drowns’ you are using clean female backing vocals, which is new to the sound of Psycroptic. Can you tell us how this came about?
Joe’s wife is musician as well - she is a singer and plays piano. I’m not sure whether it was Joe or Jason who suggested we try it out; but we tried it, and it worked pretty well. Added a completely new element and sound to the album, and it has opened up a lot of new doors for us musically…we’ve got quite a few new ideas for the future now, and I can see it adding a lot of new elements to our music in future.
The last two albums ‘The Inherited Repression’ and the self-titled ‘Psycroptic’ were mixed by yourself and mastered by Alan Douches. This time around, the mixing and mastering was done by Will Putney? What made you decide to change the mixing and mastering approach and how did you choose for Putney to finish the sound off the record?
I think we were in a phase where we needed to get out of our comfort zone, otherwise we would be repeating ourselves. We were too comfortable in the process and needed to try something new. Will is a friend of Todd Stern (our bass player), and suggested we try him out. Will dug what we do and brought a new dynamic to the album. It was a pretty cool process, even though the recording phase still took place at Joe’s studio.
The artwork for the new record was made by Mariusz Lewandowsky. Can you explain what the artwork is about and why you choose for this piece of artwork?
The artwork is Mariusz’s interpretation of the lyrical themes Jason has written about. Rather than give Mariusz an exact brief of a ‘scene’ - we gave him free reign to paint what he feels. When working with artists of such talent, giving them the freedom to go where the artwork takes them seems to work the best for us. We’ve been very fortunate to be able to work with a lot of amazing artists in the past.
You recorded a video clip for the song ‘Directive’, why this song and what can you tell about the production of the video?
The film clip was recorded in Tasmania, and produced by our good friend Wilson Bambrick. It was filmed all within about an hour radius of our home city of Hobart, while we were on tour earlier in the year. It’s quite a catchy song, and we felt it will probably be in the set list for a while, so we decided to do a clip for it. I think we will try to do a few more clips for the album, so we’ll see what else we can come up with.
There was also a time when Psycroptic were on the roster of the Dutch label Neurotic Records. What are your best memories from these days? You sort of had your home base in Europe in The Netherlands and you also played a lot of shows here…
We’ve had a lot of good times in The Netherlands - we have lots of good friends there. We know Tilburg quite well, as that’s where the label was based. It was always a great time hanging out with Ruud from Neurotic Records, and spending time in The Little Devil pub.
I noticed your long-time bassist Cameron Grant, who has been in Psycroptic since the beginning, is not in the line-up anymore. Why did you guys part ways?
Cam Grant will always be family to us, but the truth is there came a point where he could no longer tour with the band due to personal commitments (work & a family of his own). So we toyed with the idea of having perpetual fill-ins for the road while he kept his position as Psycroptic’s bassist, and eventually everyone decided that it was most sensible to open a new chapter and initiate a permanent replacement. In comes Todd Stern.
’As The Kingdom Drowns’ is the first record with your new bassist Todd Stern, who is from New Jersey, USA. Why did you choose him to be your new bass player and how does it work out with him living so far away from Tasmania?
We started working together in 2015, when Todd Stern was essentially the most eligible fill in for a US tour that Cam Grant couldn’t do. We met via Brett Bamberger of Revocation, a mutual friend of ours who happens to be a fucking legend. Long story short, we all realized very quickly that this was a good fit and that we could get a lot of work done if we were to join forces. Turns out, having a US bass player isn’t all that big of an inconvenience in this day and age. So although flying a bass player to Australia to tour the mother land sounds a bit silly, it also saves the band some grief when we tour the States. It has been working out great and seems it will continue too!
I watched a video of Bus Invaders on YouTube where Jason showed your tour bus for the ‘Bloodletting North American Tour’ and it wasn’t such a comfortable travel home. The places where you have to sleep are small. How do you survive such touring, because you have been on tour quite a lot in the States? Is it always as much fun and worth it all?
We are made of steel! Haha we sleep where we sleep because we can see the bigger picture and we all believe that a small amount of temporary discomfort is a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things. We get to experience an awful lot as a result!
Also, I noticed you were playing in Iceland for the first time. How was it to be probably the first band ever from the distant island of Tasmania to play on the remote island of Iceland? Do you have many fans over there?
Iceland was awesome! We didn’t really know what to expect over there but the show was amazing and the fans were really great over there. We ended up staying over there for a week and doing some sightseeing.
Psycroptic have been around since 1999, which means next year you’ll be celebrating your 20th anniversary as a band. Do you have anything special planned for the occasion?
At this stage we’ve been so focused on the new album and haven’t really thought about doing anything for it but I’m sure when the time comes we will probably get something in the works.
After all these years you’ve probably seen quite a lot in the music scene. Are there still any goals that you would like to achieve with Psycroptic?
There’s so much more we want to achieve with Psycroptic and I don’t think that will stop for as long as the band is active. We always want to keep moving forward and achieving new things as a band and that’s the great thing about it.
So the new record will come out on November 9… what else can we expect from you guys in the near future?
Lots of touring!
Anything else you would like to add to the interview?
We are going to be on the road a lot over the next year so keep an eye on our social media for tour dates as they are all starting to roll out now and thanks to all our fans for their