After their awesome set supporting Annihilator at Glasgow’s 02 ABC2, I managed to grab a wee chat with up-and-coming Aussie thrashers Harlott. We spoke about their experiences on the tour, their new album Proliferation, their signing with Metal Blade records, the metal scene in their home town of Melbourne, Australia and more.
Moshville Times: So, Harlott have been on tour in the UK and Europe supporting Annihilator. This is the third date here in Glasgow – how’s the tour been going for you?
Tim Joyce (Drums): Gruelling…
Ryan Butler (Guitar): Awesome!
Tom Richards (Bass/Backing Vocals): It’s a lot of hard work, which we expected…
Andrew Hudson (Guitar/Lead Vocals): Just talking to people with funny accents…we think we’ve made it quite far…..
TR: It’s been great. The crowds have been really responsive, especially in Dublin and here in Glasgow tonight.
AH: Glasgow’s the best!
MT: That’s what they all say!
TR: *laughs * You guys are so vocal and get right into it – it’s been a blast so far, and there’s loads of dates ahead but it’s off to a really good start. Gruelling as Tim said, but worth it.
MT: Glad to hear it. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but is this the first time in the UK and Europe for Harlott?
AH: It’s our first time out of Australia! We’ve gone from playing clubs in Australia to signing with Metal Blade to going on a big tour of Europe – it’s a big step.
MT: Great. So are you looking forward to the rest of the tour? Hopefully pick up plenty of new fans?
TR: Oh shit yeah!
AH: At least three per show! * laughs *
MT: Well I’m sure you’ve gained a fair few new fans tonight – I’m definitely one of three…
AH: Cut that out! Stop it! * laughs * Flattery will get you nowhere!
MT: Well it’s true! * laughs *
Right ok, moving on…recently Harlott released their second album Proliferation – could you tell us a wee bit about the album and how it’s been received by the fans, especially now you’re on tour outside of Australia?
AH: Well, the album is a bit more of a progression from the first one (Origin). We wanted to make things a bit heavier and a bit angrier and a little bit more technical. We had a bit more control when it came to the actual recording of the album too, so it came together much more the way we wanted it to.
TR: It’s done really well, receiving nine out of ten reviews all over the place.
AH: With Metal Blade backing it, we’ve got into all the right sources and it’s good to have reputable heavy metal review sites and magazines giving eights and nines out of ten. It’s a bit weird when you realise the standards were so low…. * laughs * …but we’re not gonna turn the reviews down!
TR: It’s going down really well! People seem to enjoy it and that makes it all worthwhile at the end of the day.
AH: If people enjoy the shit that we do, the fuckin’ bonza!
MT: So things are really looking up for Harlott then?
MT: So you’ve spoke a wee bit about Metal Blade records…I believe that it was recently in the summer of this year that Harlott got picked up by Metal Blade – could you tell us about how the both of you got involved with each other?
AH: They e-mailed us! I gave our old manager the masters of Proliferation because we needed label representation since we were about to go on tour in Europe with Annihilator and he said “to be honest mate, I’m not interested…but I know someone who might be…”. A week later I got an e-mail from Metal Blade saying “Here’s a contract!” and I didn’t read it, I just signed it * laughs *
MT: * laughs * Well hopefully you won’t get fucked over in the future!
AH: Well I haven’t got any money for them to take…
TJ: They can take our organs! * laughs *
MT: I think that with Metal Blade, Harlott is definitely in good hands – you’re in good company.
AH: They’ve been so good to us. They obviously think they can milk us – they’ve been too friendly! * laughs *
MT: So let’s talk a wee bit more about Proliferation – I was having a wee dig around on the internet and I found you guys had made a video for the song “Systematic Reduction”…
AH: * laughs *
MT: …And it’s just a wee bit funny…
AH: It’s fuckin’ hilarious!
MT: Aye it is! Could you tell us a wee bit about how you made your D.I.Y video?
TR: We put that together a few weeks before we were officially signed to Metal Blade. It was kind of our last hurrah of being twats before taking things more seriously. It’s always been this tradition in Australian metal to make jokes and we had a short song which we thought we could make a funny video for. I brought out all my childhood toys, a couple of bottles of tomato sauce and some cardboard boxes…
TJ: There was a vacuum cleaner as well!
TR: We had a budget of $55.55…
AH: That’s how much it costs to buy everyone fried chicken!
TR: Yeah, but that was our legitimate budget…Andy had the idea for what we were working with, then we all chipped in our ideas for the filming process and in the end it all worked out quite well. In the end we weren’t sure if it would be useable, but now everyone loves it!
MT: Glad to hear it. So you guys are quite vocal about the fact you’re from Melbourne, Australia. To some it wouldn’t be considered a world capital of heavy metal…
AH: Fuck no!
MT: Could you tell us a bit about the scene there?
TJ: There’s loads of bands in Melbourne but it’s a very underground tight-knit community. However not too many bands have made it overseas. Desecrator toured with Hirax earlier this year…
AH: We’re mates with King Parrot who have toured the US a lot.
TJ: We’re not mates with Ne Obliviscaris but Australia has them.
AH: Elm Street!
TJ: Oh yeah Elm Street! But yeah, the scene in Melbourne is like, super dedicated and super passionate, but of the 4 million people who live in the city, it’s good if you can get 200 people to a show. Melbourne is the second biggest city in Australia after Syndney and the metal scene in Syndney is shit…There’s Perth and Brisbane but they’re lacking too…really Melbourne is the place for metal in Australia.
TR: As we’ve said, it’s really strong and passionate but it’s just that the scene is too small.
AH: The main reason we talk about the fact we’re from Melbourne, Australia is we don’t know how our accents come across, and we really don’t want people to think we’re American! * laughs * When we get to Germany they might not know the difference!
MT: Well if you were a US band, you’d probably think I was English…
AH: Well fuck me! They (Annihilator and Archer) told us our accent is the same as yours! We’re sitting on the bus and they can’t tell the difference between our accent and yours!
MT: Come on! You guys are a lot easier to understand than Scottish people are!
AH: Yes, yes we are! * laughs * (in an attempt at a Scottish accent) Just a wee bit! I met a Welsh person the other day and I said “speak Welsh to me!” and when he did, I just smiled and nodded. I can die happy now!
MT: So with Harlott being from Melbourne, can we see you guys along with bands like Elm Street being like ambassadors of the Aussie metal scene to Europe?
TR: It’s an interesting point you make actually since our old label we were on who released our first album Origin have recently signed some other Melbourne bands and some bands from Adelaide, so maybe people might start seeing that Australia is like some kind of untapped resource for metal. This is massive for Harlott as an Australian band to be doing what we’re doing right now and there’ll be a lot of buzz about it when we go home. It’ll be interesting if Harlott become like a figurehead for Australian metal – we’ll just have to see…
MT: It’d be awesome to see that – have a thriving metal scene all over the world. Hopefully you’ve picked up plenty of new fans so far, and you’ll pick up plenty more over your remaining tour dates. So for all of the people who, if they’re too tight to buy your stuff at the shows, can they get Harlott stuff online via Facebook, your website etc?
TJ: You can check us out on the Metal Blade website as well as iTunes. You can find our albums in record shops too – Metal Blade are distributing all over.
MT: So finally after this tour, is there any chance we could see Harlott return to the UK and Scotland?
TR: We’d love to do it but it depends if we get the opportunity. If Metal Blade will fly us over again, we’ll be here in two seconds.
TJ: If the next month and half go well for us, this could be a very interesting couple of years ahead. I want to go to North America, but in just three shows I’ve had the time of my life.
AH: I want to live in Melbourne for 10 months of the year then come to Europe for two months and laugh at your silly currencies and funny accents!
TR: That’s the plan!
AH: And if it works out, you can definitely expect to see us back here again.
TR: We’d certainly love it, you guys have been great!
MT: Awesome. We’d love to see that. Hopefully next time you come to Glasgow you won’t be playing in a venue which shuts early to play some shitty indie night club on a Friday night, and we’ll come and see you again! Thanks guys!
Harlott: Cheers dude!