INTERVIEW: AUSSIE ALT METALLERS “TO AN END” ON NEW ALBUM “REDEFINE”.
HEAVY RIFFS AND MELODIC CATCHINESS.
SICK AND SOUND has the pleasure to present to its readers an interview our editor-in-chief Alessandra had with TO AN END alternative metal outfit hailing from Melbourne, Australia after the release of their new album REDEFINE, out last November 23rd, 2018.
Spanning over influences reminiscent of Killswitch Engage, Metallica, Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Trivium and Stone Sour, the band of Allister Gammie, Matthew Turner, Shane Evans and Yiorgs Sgourakis has brought together a dynamic collection of tracks. From arena rock pieces and mosh inducing songs to melodic catchiness; from slabs of chuggy metal riffs, blast beats and breakdowns to catchy choruses and final acoustic beauty. There is a track to engage all sorts of moods and to feed any kind of energy.
SICK AND SOUND takes you on journey into TO AN END’s world. Our editor-in-chief Alessandra had the chance to have a chat with Matt and Al to scoop into their sonorities, inspirations and explore in depth their last record REDEFINE.
- Hello TO AN END, let’s start by talking about your background, genres and bands that have influenced your journey as individual musicians and as a band.
(Matt) Our individual music tastes range from Journey, Pantera, Glassjaw, Faith No More, Tool, Slayer, Meshuggah to 80’s rock to death/black metal! As a band, we feel we’ve been influenced by heavy music with melody so there are elements of Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Sevendust and Disturbed. Personally, I’ve always gravitated towards song writers and great riffs so my heros are Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, Alice In Chains, Tool. Way too many to mention though!
- In what measure do you feel TO AN END belong to one or more soundscapes such as alternative metal, hard rock, metalcore or how limiting it is to be pigeonholed in the Australian music scenario?
We are a mix of heavy riffs and big melodies that is somewhere between metal and hard rock, so ‘alternative metal’ might cover the genre tag. There are a number of different elements so it’s hard to fit perfectly in a category. However, we are fine to not fit perfectly which means we could play with a rock band one night, and a metal band the next, and we feel both audiences would be open to our overall style. I don’t think it is a limiting factor and people seem to be a bit more open about genres/labels these days. That is perfectly represented with diverse bands/styles in Aus heavy music festivals (past and present) where the audience has a ton of different bands to check out.
- REDEFINE is your debut record. What makes your album unique and sets it apart from your contemporaries? A few features in this record TO AN END are very proud of.
We are very proud with how the overall collection of songs work together, even though we touch on rock, metal plus some quieter moments. I feel that it is a compelling listen with something on there for everyone. Overall, I think it’s important to keep a full length album interesting and to not be confined by invisible genre boundaries that stop a musician from doing whatever feels right at the time. If one song is fast and heavy, that doesn’t mean the next can’t be a mid-paced catchy song, or an acoustic tune. It keeps things interesting!
- Lyrical themes. What main topics have been discussed in the songs and are they related to personal experience or have been approached from a general point of view?
(Al) The instrumentation and feel of the song really dictates to me where I need to go lyrically and I feel we covered a lot of different ground on the album. There are songs like ‘Fracture’ and ‘Wasteland’ – the world is becoming more and more confusing, turbulent and extreme – I wanted to remind people that they have a voice and need not conform. There’s the horror film-inspired ‘Out Of My Hands’ which touches on violent imagery, although is tongue-in-cheek also. Of course there’s plenty of pent up aggression to express throughout, and the personal moments like ‘From Grace Until Demise’ and ‘Collide’ are where I can get deeper and more somber rather than just yelling in key!
- Let’s talk about track WASTELAND chosen as a lead single and video release. Any details you wish to share about this powerhouse song.
After road testing the songs in the rehearsal room and live, we always felt that Wasteland was a good way of coming out swinging! It was written for a live stage with big grooves and memorable melodies. We love playing it and we always get a positive reaction, so we decided that it was an ideal first single.
Watch To An End – Wasteland:
- Your record also includes a cover for Faith No More’s DIGGING THE GRAVE. Why going for this particular cover for REDEFINE?
We love Faith No More and I’ve personally always wanted to try to cover one of their songs. Surprisingly, there aren’t a whole lot of attempts (at least that I could find) of one of my favourites being Digging. It was a fairly last minute decision in the studio to put it together, but I’m glad we did and hopefully anyone who enjoys the cover will check out the rest of the album!
- Song COLLIDE is the diamond in the rough of this record and a moment of true beauty. I would love to know more about the meanings behind the track, and the mindset behind its songwriting.
(Matt) When the album was being written and going through the demo phase, I really wanted to get an acoustic/piano song to close out the whole thing. It certainly came together well and Al gave an amazing vocal performance.
(Al) ‘Collide’ is fairly literal and direct lyrically. I thought it was important not to hide behind any ambiguity or metaphors for this one to drive home the message as it’s a very personal song. I wanted to say what I mean and mean what I say. It’s about someone I was involved with for a very brief period many years ago. The whole experience hit me really hard and the song lays out the lasting effects and the scars. I tried to build it to a climax where it’s like some sort of futile catharsis. A purging.
- I would like you to share your experience with Chris Amott (ex-Arch Enemy) and Chris Clancy (Mutiny Within, Wearing Scars) as guest appearances in REDEFINE for singles We Are Infinite and Hear No Evil.
Chris Amott and Chris Clancy are both musicians who I am a fan of in their respective bands. Given that Redefine really started out as a studio project before the band line up was finalised, I thought it was a cool idea to have some amazing musicians contribute. They both do session work so it was really a matter of sending over the demo tracks, providing ideas and an overall direction, then just letting them do their thing. They both were so professional and efficient and did an outstanding job. It is great to be able to take a step back now the album is out and hear these killer contributions on songs that started as a single guitar riff while sitting around at home!
- What were the most challenging aspects working on this record especially from an independent point of view?
It was really a pure passion project from the start and it started just as studio album. There are a few challenges with anything related to music that range from creative, to timing, to money etc but that is what every band is up against. So, it really came down to either doing it and working it out, or just not bothering at all. Thankfully, I had a great group of people around to make the album happen and it wouldn’t have happened without them. Once the album was done, Al and I could finalise the band lineup and take the band on the road. Now, we have a killer live show and an album to play so any challenges getting here are far outweighed with all the fun we are having! We can’t wait to have a big 2019!
- What are the most important aspects to focus on to achieve goals as a band and enjoy a great time together writing music?
I think it’s trying to have as much fun as you can. Rehearsals, demos or live shows are always going to be a mix of different challenges, so it’s essential to push through any issues and enjoy the amazing parts of being in a band. We all have busy lives and music is very important to us individually, so we make sure we enjoy the times when we are getting together and playing music. There is plenty of hard work involved, but nothing much compares to being in full flight live in front of people having as much fun as we are!
- What’s at the horizon for TO AN END in 2019?
We are excited to have our debut album out now and we are looking to play as far and wide as possible in support of it. The main goal this year is just to get our music out to the world and play everywhere, so we really appreciate anyone who takes the time to check out our music!
Thank you for your time TO AN END. We wish nothing but the best with your new record. We’ll keep on supporting you into Europe and US and hope to catch you up on stage any time soon.
Thanks also for the support and having us on your site.
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