King Parrot Hit The US.
The Grand Victory, Brooklyn witnessed the might of King Parrot on the start of their US tour. We caught up with frontman Matt Young before the show to talk about their current American escapades, the new material, recording plans and their 3 month stay in the land of the free.
You've got a clean way of living, have you always strived to be healthy?
No, not at all. The last few years, since the band started going good probably haha. Yeah I used to party and do all that stuff. I just did things to excess a bit and it really stopped me from being able to do what I want to do musically and how I want to do it. I'd always played in bands and stuff but was never actually able to sustain doing it in the way I wanted.
Are you currently managing the band?
I had been up until a couple of months ago but now we have a New York-based manager at Extreme Management Group. It's been really good and it's opened a lot of doors for us.
They've got a roster of bands and a few people that work with them. It's been really good for us and a little bit of a weight off my shoulders. We work very closely together.
When a management group takes you on, they can obviously see that you're putting in the hard work yourself. It's sort of a testament to what we've been doing ourselves that someone can identify that we are making an effort.
Usually we get bored up at about 2 - 2.5 minutes and be like, Nah, let's just end it here. With this one, we said let's just let it breathe and do it's thing and it ended up being 5 minutes and 12 seconds or something - Matt Young on the new material
Brisbane based drummer Todd Hansen has recently joined the band, how did that come about?
We were playing with Todd's other band Rome in Brisbane a couple months ago. Our previous drummer, Matt Skitz, left on the 2nd to last Australian tour that we did. Todd's band Rome was supporting us and we knew Skitz was going to be leaving at the end of the tour. We talked to a few people. Ary, our guitarist, and I were standing there watching Rome on the side of the stage and we said "Why don't we just ask Todd to do it?" I mean Todd lives in Brisbane and we all live in Melbourne...
How is that working out logistically between the band's base in Melbourne and Brisbane?
We've been flying him down to rehearse and stuff like that. He came down for a few weeks and we rehearsed and got everything sorted. And then we did a 10 show tour of the east coast in Australia. Then figured we were coming to the US for 3 months so it didn't matter... we'll work it out when we get home haha!
Has it changed the way you work as a group?
I think its made us much more productive actually. Because when he's coming down from Brisbane, we're there and we've got to work. When everyone lives in Melbourne, we get there late and whatever. Since he's been flying down the productivity has been really good and we've been writing lots of new material as well.
How different is the material you are writing now compared to what you were writing with Matt Skitz?
Skitz was actually the 3rd drummer we'd had in 18 months and Todd is now the 4th. So we actually didn't really write that much stuff with him. We did try some songs then and with Todd we've used the same songs but developed them a bit more, changed the structures a little bit.
The whole first album was written with our original drummer Matt Rizzo, who used to play in Blood Duster and a few other bands. Todd has a similar sort of vibe to Rizzo. Todd sort of kicks back a little bit on the groove. He can still do all the really fast stuff, don't get me wrong, but he has that groove we like to fall back into as well, which really suits the way we write. I think we are going to do some really cool stuff with the new material.
Do you see a difference in the material that your writing now in comparison to Bite Your Head Off?
I think so, it's a little bit more mature, the songwriting and the structures.
Are there any longer songs?!
So far.... we've only been working on about 3 or 4 and they are starting to be a little bit longer. We actually wrote one that goes for over 5 minutes haha! It is what it is, but it was kind of weird for us.
Usually we get bored up at about 2 - 2.5 minutes and be like, Nah, let's just end it here. With this one, we said let's just let it breathe and do it's thing and it ended up being 5 minutes and 12 seconds or something.
Do any of the new tracks have titles?
Well we've got 1 new song that we've added to the set and it's called Hell Comes Your Way. It's sort of the first one we've been working on and we thought we'd throw it in there for something different.
I can't wait to hear the 5:12 song...
It's pretty epic actually, it's probably the most out there song that we've ever written, it's still totally King Parrot but a bit different.
You haven't thrown a guitar solo in there or anything...
We'll actually the new song that we're playing tonight has a guitar solo in it. Just for a couple of bars haha!
Are you heading into the studio sometime soon after America?
We are staying at a friend's place up in the countryside in a barn [in the US]. We are going to rehearse as much as we can and get the new album finished. We are trying to organize how we are going to record at the moment and who we can use and how we can do it. We'll take it from there. We're still tossing up whether we are going to do it in Australia or do it over here. There's a little bit of water to go under the bridge yet but it's getting pretty close.
What do you want to achieve as a band - is that something you've thought about at all?
We'd like to try and sustain touring, y'know. That's our goal. I think when we started the band we didn't have any idea of what we were doing, let's just do a new band and see how it goes. We did the EP and that turned out OK. Then we did the album, and then we signed with Candlelight and saw that maybe there was an opportunity for us to do something more. Then when the video came out for Shit on the Liver it really pushed us. Coupled with the intense touring that we did and working on the live show and putting in heaps of effort and energy. It gave us a bit of a sniff as to what we could try to achieve with it.
What are the main lessons you've learned from touring?
I think a lot of bands think that things are just going to get done for them, people will just do stuff. Like: Oh, we are gonna go play a show in Brisbane, people will promote it for us and the venue will promote us. You know what? The venue, they probably won't promote it for you. I think you learn from trial and error that you've got to do most things yourself in the beginning.. until you can afford to get someone to do poster runs for you or get those street teams happening.
The main lesson I've learned is to go all out and do everything yourself. Make sure that you do it as best as you possibly can. Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed. It's one thing to book a show but then you've got to promote it, follow that up, and make sure that people know about it. You've got a product to push, y'know? It's so many things that have got to come together and be right for it to work.
Interview and photo by Kenada Quinlan