Machine Music's Albums of the Decade: An Interview with Sacriphyx
This is the 50th installment of the Albums of the Decade series of interviews. For the rest of the series go HERE.]
Album: The Western Front
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Favorite Song: "Without a Trace"
The Bare Bones: The Western Front, is the first and, to date, only full length from Australian death/black band Sacriphyx.
The Beating Heart: This series really does go every which way when it gets to albums that mattered and were released – loosely – between 2010 and 2019 – there are the crowd favorites, the modern cult classics, and, at times, just albums I really liked that never really caught on. Not, at least, to the degree that I believe they should have. Sacriphyx's varied, groove-laden, dark interrogation of the horrors of the First World War probably falls on that last category. I loved the album the very second it came out, because of its mood, its loose, almost Autopsy-like delivery, and, naturally, because of the subject matter, which, at the time, had yet to arrive at the levels of its current semi-saturation. But above everything, it's an album that perfectly exemplifies what I love about music. From its folky interludes to a massive wall of thunderous, heavy-metal-worshipping death metal, it is the work of musicians working through their influences in order to create music that matters, both to them and to their audiences. Which is a long-winded way to say it kicks fucking ass.
So, with all that said, it is my absolute pleasure to introduce this brand-new interview with Sacriphyx guitarist, bassist, and vocalist Anthony Till about the making of that landmark album and about the possibility – maybe, maybe – of seeing new Sacriphyx music in the near future.
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I’ll begin with the question I always ask, which is: Do you remember a moment you had with a song, an album, album artwork, or a performance, that really changed how you felt about music? That awakened something different in you, I guess you could say. This given the caveat, naturally, that this is something that happens quite a bit in a musician’s life, so I guess I mean an earlier moment.
I reckon in the 80s. My dad liked a bit of rock. And it was late at night on the weekend, and we had a show called Rage that showed video clips all night. And the clip for Judas Priest’s “Turbo Lover” came on. Do you know how it has that shitty robot on a bike? [laughs] I remember as a kid – because dad really cranked it – thinking: “Oh wow, this is fantastic! I love this stuff!” Cool guitars, cool drum beats, a robot on a motorbike.
For a young fella, that ticked all the boxes [laughs].
How old were you?
Probably seven or eight. I was born in ‘79, and with my dad being into rock we had a couple of records – Deep Purple, Rainbow, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath. So I was kind of blessed, I guess, growing up, listening to that stuff. And even hearing it on the radio. I must admit, tied with the moment I just described to you, I remember when Guns N’ Roses’ “Paradise City” came on the radio, and just, as a kid, bouncing up and down in the back seat like a maniac. Because I’ve never heard such cool beats before, with rock guitars and stuff.
So, if we take the robot element out for a moment, do you think the attraction in both cases was…. Because you mentioned you beat in both. So what was it about them? The beat? The groove?
That’s a really good question. There’s something about a good rock beat. It gets the heart going. And especially when you’ve got guitars doing anything together, with this nice rhythm going. So, yeah, definitely a good rock beat with some guitars behind it. Just recently, listening to the new Hällas album, they really encapsulate that thing. It’s always great to have a good riff, but if you can get behind it with the right beat, it gets you to tap your foot, I guess [laughs].
You’re touching on one the themes of this way-too-large project, because of my own inclination, which is the drums. How important “laying a beat", I guess, is.
Yes. Yeah, totally.
A lot of metal is about technicality and speed, being faster than the other guy, almost an Olympics aspect to it. And it’s very rare to catch that. I think that might be why Phil Rudd is such a huge presence in the mind of many drummers. Because he’s not flashy, all he does is keep a beat, but he does it so well that I think a lot of people gravitate towards that. Even without realizing it. They might think they’re going for the riffs or the scary atmosphere, but they’re going for the beat.
For the groove. There’s a groove to it, absolutely. I mean, listen, I play the drums and the guitar and bass, and I keep saying to folks playing drums that if you like heavy metal you should be able to play along to Twisted Sister’s Stay Hungry, just to a classic rock album. There’s something missing, to be quite frank, in my opinion, with a lot of modern music, as you said, with the emphasis on speed. You can make that groove, you can make that groove really quick without necessarily playing 64th notes, or whatnot.
Yeah, but I think it’s really difficult.
I just listened to an album this morning that’s a great example of this. Igor Cavalera is a very good example of doing it fast without losing the groove. But I just think it’s very difficult. Maybe that’s why you don’t get it that much. Being talented is a difficult thing.
It is. But it’s like Celtic Frost. If they didn’t have Reed St. Mark they would not have been the band they were. He made those riffs [laughs].
Yeah, that’s true. A lot of swing.
Yes. A lot of groove.
So, given that that’s your entry point, that even as a very young child you were attracted to the groove or the beat, do you think – this is a bit of a self explanatory question – that as a musician and as a grown person that you kept that? That the music you write and enjoy, does that still operate?
Yes. I like melody, and I like a good beat. I suppose that, as a young person, that’s what made me excited about music, but it wasn't until my early teens when I got my hands on a guitar…. I have to say it was the classical stuff that got me into it. I used to play a lot of recorder as a youth, and I was actually part of an orchestra [laughs], we’d play Baroque pieces. I’ve always loved that melody. So it’s always a marriage of the two. But, yeah, if I listen to music these days, if it hasn’t got a melody or a beat then it must be modern-pop music, and I’m not interested [Laughs].
[Laughs] But even with something like Sacriphyx, do you see where that manifested itself? As a listener, I can say it’s a very easy “yes.” I guess I’m more interested to see if that was something that was on your mind when you were writing those songs? Do you still, now, take a time out and ask: “Wait, where’s the groove here? Where’s the melody?” Is that still on your mind?
Yes, very much so. I’m a big believer in moods, and I like to try and move them around, if you will. So, if it’s not a melody piece then I’m thinking about the rhythm to make it interesting or heavy or suspenseful. But, you’re right. You’ve got me reflecting on something new here, but I really have lens on the two. I really try to have one or the other, and, if I’m lucky, both. If you’ve got lyrics then you also have to keep some space in the songs for them. To have room. You can’t have everything going at once. It’s kind of like a painting, you have to make space for everything so that it sits well. You want it to be enjoyable, you want people to listen and enjoy it, and try to build it the right way so that it follows the natural journey of that song
This might be an irrelevant comment, but…. I don’t know if you’re a competitive person, but I do know that when you’re in a band, and there are other people in the band, and you’re in a scene with other bands, and maybe some other band gets more attention. This competition between artists, sometimes unconsciously. Not necessarily in terms of popularity, but in terms of accomplishments. But, in my experience, breathing room and mood, I agree, are very important, but it’s very easy to kill that instinct. Very easy to disregard your own intuition about pacing and patience, and space, and just rush into things because, say, you want to make a big impact. So I would imagine that at times it might take a great deal of self restraint to insist on space or “room to breathe.”
Yeah [laughs], it does.
Is that your experience as well? That you need to hold yourself back?
Yeah, definitely. When I write riffs I sometimes don’t even count them, just playing by the feel of it. Whereas when I’m on drums I can count everything and everything’s counted out [laughs], it’s quite peculiar. But, definitely. Each time is a bit different. Sometimes it’s a grind, other times things just come to you.
I wanted to go back a bit to when you guys got together. One of the things I’m interested in is whether or not the albums I love come from well-defined scenes. Obviously Australia is very spread out, so did you feel like you were part of a distinct scene in your city or in neighboring cities? Or just operating on your own, or less aware of what was going on around you?
I had known Neil through friends for a few years. We played gigs together. I hung out with his brother, Beau, previously as well. I’m in Adelaide now, but at that time this was when I was living in Canberra and Neil was living in the Blue Mountains. We just got to talking, and I really wanted to do something. I loved Rotting Christ, I loved those first three albums, they just had this magnificence. The ultimate rhythm and melody, and moods. And so we got talking about wanting to do something, and I suppose we were part of that scene, because he was in Grenade and Innsmouth, and I had played in Stargazer previously and Misery's Omen, and so we had certainly spent plenty time together in years prior, but now we had lived three hours from one another, it really made sense to do something. Because Neil writes really fantastic…. I don’t like to call what he writes lyrics, because I feel like it’s more like poetry. He has had lyrics he’s written for Sacriphyx published over here in Australia, as poetry. Whenever he writes his lyrics it’s well researched, they’re quite accurate. It’s not fictional second-guessing. He tells a really good story. Although it is scary when you get a page of printed text [laughs], you’ve got to make it the lyrics and make them work with the songs. But on the album we got really lucky that the song structures that we decided on worked with the lyrics on top. It was a bit haphazard, but it came together brilliantly. Especially the mood of the songs with those lyrics.
So I guess you could say that’s what drew you to each other.
But would you say you were operating within an existing network of bands?
Yeah. We all knew each other through them, and we’d all seen each other. I used to be in a band called Ghastly and we had done a couple of gigs together. It was definitely through that network that our friendship could get to that point where we thought about doing something and then getting it done.
Do you feel like Sacriphyx made sense in that context? That you were encouraged, that you had an audience? That you were part of all that?
Well, no. To be frank, I haven’t played with any of my bands live before. I’m not big on that. The friends I’ve got are just legitimate friends. I don’t know if that makes sense or not, but I just want to make music with my mate. And, to be honest, if I’m happy with the songs afterwards, then that’s cool [laughs]. We weren’t expecting to do much with it, we weren’t expecting Yosuke [Konishi of Nuclear War Now! Productions] to be interested. We just wanted to do what we liked to do and just have fun with my mate, write some music about some important stuff. Shed some light on some historical events and some pretty incredible things.
So, yeah, I guess we were just lucky. I’ve got friends in the scene, I like playing music, but I don’t care for that aspect of it, if you will. I’ve toured in the past, and I realized afterwards: it sucks. Sleeping on the floor for five weeks [laughs] is no fun.
So the focus for you is more personal, reflexive, artistic activity and not really a career or anything like that?
Yeah. I mean, look, if I had to do music to make money I wouldn’t be very wealthy [laughs].
And I never liked the idea of compromising my music. Because sometimes I can write a lot, and sometimes there’s nothing and I’ve got to wait [laughs]. So, I would hate to have to release something substandard because I’ve got bills to pay. Never really made much sense to me. It’s had its consequences, and obviously I’m working on that now, because I have not released as much as I would have liked to. But, I’m working on that now. So I’m excited to get that working forward and work on some more stuff.
This might relate to what we said before about patience and spacing things out. Maybe there’s a time to write music, and maybe there’s a time to record it, and maybe those don’t necessarily overlap or fit a very strict pattern of, say, a new album every couple of years. That things happen when they do.
Yeah, that’s a good point. I agree.
Which would then lead random Israelis to wonder whether Sacriphyx is still active, but that’s completely besides the point. But my question about the Australian thing also has to do with the sense of remoteness. Let’s take Switzerland. I like a lot of Swiss bands, and we just mentioned Celtic Frost. So at one point I noticed that, as opposed to maybe other more homogenous scenes, Swiss bands were all very unique and strange. At some point I got to interview Bölzer and ask them about that, and they said something to the effect that despite the fact that Switzerland was in the middle of Europe it was quite an isolated place – because of the mountains, the culture, and so on. And what happens is that Swiss bands tend to develop their own style on their own, and then when you come out into the world they seem very unique also because of that isolation.
And one of the things that may be comparable here is that a lot of Australian extreme metal feels different. I think Sacriphyx is a good example, but there are of course others. And so I was wondering what, at all, is the role of isolation in that? As an Australian musician, does any of that make sense to you?
Yeah, it does. I think you see that when bands pop up in proximity to each other, a certain closeness. I guess they rub off on one another and sometimes they get great outcomes. Like you know, early Swedish death metal scene. It's like the Pareto principle. You know only a small percentage will be successful, and the rest will sort of, you know, fight for the reins and. I think with Australia it's different. To be a metalhead here, you had to be pretty dedicated to it. You were isolated. I remember coming to Adelaide, In ‘99. At the time my girlfriend was a goth and she would get yelled at by people driving by [laughs], for being a goth. So you kind of were a little bit antisocial, I suppose you might say. And not that I really felt that way myself. I just liked music and it was cool to be able to have such an excellent format and a massive array of sounds to work with.
I do agree though, because we've discussed this before, other friends of mine, about how Australia is quite interesting and each city has its own kind of vibe. In Melbourn you’ve got the Gospel of the Horns kind of vibe and Deströyer 666 crowd. Then in Canberra you have Psychrist and Armored Angel. Sydney had NAZXUL, Portal out of Brisbane where Damon and Denny make all sorts of music [laughs]. Like there were always these couple of really creative people that rubbed off on others and then they all sort of rub off on one another to make interesting music. But I do agree with you, though. Australian music was very very different, a bit angry if you think of Martire or Sadistik Exekution. The isolation serves well, well. But the problem with that is of course that none of those bands are very long lived, because it's very difficult for those trying to pursue music as some sort of career in Australia, that's just not feasible.
I guess those are the two sides of the coin, right? The isolation aspect of it, which then brings on the dedication aspect of it, which then brings out the art and its peculiarities. But then on the other side, the fact that you are dedicated is because nothing’s there and there’s no real opportunity to do it in a viable way, and so it dies off.
Like a desert flower, if you’re looking for a metaphor.
Yeah, that’s a pretty good one.
Alright, so let's get to The Western Front. Obviously you guys, or at least Neil, were invested in it being a World War One-based project and that kind of established itself even before you got to The Western Front. So given the fact, and the few splits you did and a demo and some odd bits and ends, what made you feel like it was time to record a whole album? And what was that process like?
Yeah, good point. Well we did the demo and I kept working on tracks, and we just kind of hit a real vibe, which I guess is pretty common if you're doing a band early on and you've got a bit of enthusiasm behind it and a bit of time to put into it. I had just moved to Adelaide, so that fucked things up a bit in terms of an easy three-hour drive to Neil’s to have a jam versus 14 hours. So I thought “Well, maybe we should put an album together.” And we've had enough small releases that we thought “OK.” And Yosuke. I can’t be more grateful for what he's done for us in terms of supporting us. I think we're his worst billing band.
But he's our best friend and we love that fellow. So. yeah, just in Adelaide just started putting it together and Neil would send me lyrics and when they were written, and sometimes I'd write the music to lyrics or sometimes I'd have some riffs I put together, and just sort of send them to each other and kind of work that out. I reckon I would have gone up to Sydney to see him for a few days where we had a couple rehearsals to work out what the structure should look like. Yeah, then we brought him here into a studio called Mix Masters in South Australia and hired a nice drum set, because obviously he couldn't bring his over from Sydney, and started recording it.
But, yeah, I think it came at the right time. Lots of songs were being written. We were in a bit of a groove with it, to be quite frank and. I guess moving here, I wanted to make sure we did something a bit more substantial than just an EP or a split.
So, the distance and the changing circumstances were kind of like a catalyst to making something more substantial because you didn't know when you would have the time to do anything else?
Yeah. Well, that and it just felt right for the album. The material was there and it fitted what he had lyrically, because we try to fit the music to the mood of the lyrics. I love what he writes and and and the material it's written about is rather inspirational, thinking about what those poor bastards went through, and so do it with the most respect we can. But, yeah. Probably a combination of the two things, I'd say.
I should say, and this is a kind of weird side note. But the university I teach in, I teach English literature, and so the university I teach in is in Be’er Sheva.
Wow! [laughs] That’s cool.
Yeah, so. There you go. Just came to me thinking about the poor bastards you were talking about. I think up until a few years ago – maybe still? – they used to do reenactments of the battle with Australian cavalry. I'm not sure if it was actual veterans, because they must have been very, very old, but, yeah. They’d bring some horses, knock up some dust in the desert and go back home. Yeah, so that's a little added emphasis there.
No, that's excellent.
And by the way, my research is basically on war literature. I write a lot about The First World War and Second World War. So, that’s all besides the point.
One of the things I love about The Western Front…. You know, it’s a very odd album. In that it is the one full length from an Australian band that didn't really know, not an album that made a huge amount of noise when it came out, and really not even after that, but it's a very memorable album. I mean, obviously we're talking about it because it is. But one thing that really strikes me about it is that I can't really put my finger on what kind of album it is – is it a death metal album? Is it heavy metal? Is it black metal? But I think it's part of the magic. But the other thing is that it feels really loose and groovy. It feels like it was recorded…. In a weird way it makes me think of one of those early Autopsy albums. I love Autopsy.
Me too [laughs]
And maybe also your vocal style kind of reminds me of Chris Reifert’s vocal style, which is in itself very weird. Are you growling? Are you singing? What’s going on there? It's a very idiosyncratic, weird vocal delivery. And also the drums and how important they are for both Sacriphyx and Autopsy, obviously. But really the main point of this rant is how loose it feels. Obviously you said before that you that's something that matters. To you, right? Groove and space and laying down a beat. But I wonder to what extent the circumstances surrounding the recording – the fact that you guys were living very far apart and that you didn't have that much time to like “waste” on rehearsal and recording, actually contributed to how the album sounded. Very loose. Do you think that played into that at all?
So, Neil is a very groove-oriented drummer. His work with Grenade and whatnot, when he would do a blast beat it still has a bit of groove to it. I love a good palm-muted riff, love it [laughs].
And so with Neil on the drums, you know. I mean, we're not trying to be heavy or extreme, we're just trying to write something that we like. And I think where we'll end is at something that's more groove-oriented than trying to make it sound heavy. Even with the blast beats, I love the beats Neil plays because he still makes a blast beat rhythmical. It's got a bit of a pulse to do it. It's not just a monotonous thing where every bit is the same. It helps that he's a dynamic drummer. And I'm a sloppy guitarist [laughs], and that's probably why our groove seems to work. It sits well. We want speed, but we want the right speed for the right outcome or vibe of the riff. We want to write music that we enjoy, but also music that you can have fun with and bang your head.
I’ve done technical bands, and that's awkward, right? I don't know what to do because there's too many notes and awkward time signatures. This one’s, I guess, just paying credence to stuff that we love, and doing our interpretation of it. Like, in the 90s when you even heard a band like Deicide, the first couple albums. They’re heavy and extreme, but there's still the rhythm to it. I once had a conversation with the drummer from Disembowelment. I was telling him how much I loved their first album. And he was saying so at the time: “Do I go to drum lessons and ask for something to teach me to play like Pete Sandoval?” They just had to do it. They had learned from drummers in Priest and Maiden, Rose Tattoo, bands like that, or AC/DC, how to groove to the beat. And all those earlier bands had that groove still, whereas the modern ones have sort of forgotten that. So we've always been inclined to, you know, make it work. It should get you wanting to punch a hole in a wall or something.
[Laughs] I like that you call yourself a sloppy guitarist because it might sound like you're putting yourself down, but you’re not, right? It's a style. It's not like you're saying “I wish I was young Yngwee Malmsteen, right? You're not saying “I wish I was much more technical and precise.” You're saying “That’s what I like,” right? That's who I am.
Yeah. Work with what you’ve got [laughs]
Yeah, for sure. It's funny because I interviewed Chris Reifert a couple of times.
Yeah. I love him. Yeah, I think he's one of the most important people to what I like in music, ever. Because he just doesn't give a shit. I mean, as good as he is, which is very good, he manages to be as good as he is while not giving a fuck. Which I think is very, very important. And one of the things he mentioned when I interviewed him most recently about Mental Funeral was the fact that they basically just met like in their rehearsal room and just talked and hung out and drank beers. And had a great time just being with each other. And then at some point they were like: “Aren't we supposed to record music?” And then they did. But the whole atmosphere of the recording session was “I'm hanging out with my friends, and I might be somewhat inebriated while I'm recording,” because the whole point was that they were having fun. And I think as a listener, at least to me, it's very evident when people are having fun. They're not just trying to make you feel something, they feel it.
And I actually think that a lot of that is very relevant to The Western Front, which leads me to a different question. All this talk about fun and groove, to which we could also add some of your leads on that album, which are also quite heavy metal-sounding and flashy and kind of fun. But those are not the terms I would automatically conjure up when thinking about the historical Western Front. So, there's this interesting tension between how somber and respectful the subject matter is, and the mood – you're trying to recapture the front. But the music is really groovy. It's not desolate music. It's fun. So, I was wondering if that ever came up, or whether that was something that you ever thought about. That this is very serious subject matter and poetry, and the lyrics are very serious, but that there’s this tension between all that warfare and desolation and the fucking groove that keeps driving everything. Have you ever thought of that?
I think what we wanted from the drums was strength. Neil's beats are quite strong and generally pretty driving. You make a good point, which I've not thought of from that perspective. I’ll have a riff when we get together and when Neil plays it, all of a sudden it just comes to life. It's heard what it needs. Sometimes it's what I thought it would be. Other times it's something unexpected. I guess we've always figured we're going to do music to the best of our ability, good, honest death metal. Not trying to be too fancy. If we’re doing a somber bit then we make sure we hone in on that and I guess explore the mood that we're trying to convey.
So, in a way, exploring the mood you're trying to convey given who you are, right?
As a musician. That's cool. Alright, so I had one question before last, which was about melody. I mention it obviously because you said you like melody and you were in the orchestra-type setting. But there are few moments on the album where It's not just that the melody kind of happens with the groove, they're very distinct, or set apart, melodic moments. The opening is kind of like that, “The Western Front.” It's a beautiful, strummy instrumental that really sets the mood for the album. But it doesn't really sound like anything else on the album, in a way. And the other is “Damn Passchendaele Ridge.” Which is acoustic and almost like an interlude. So I guess you've already answered it, in a way, in that you like melody and that you think it's important. But do you think those moments were the product of a conscious choice? Say, to not make the album too monotonous or too one-note and that you needed moments of breath even within the album as a whole. Is that why they're there?
Good question. I always liked albums that have a bit of variety to them and have a bit of depth.I think 40 minutes of the same song is difficult. And Neil and I are very big fans of folk music. There's an unexplored aspect of that that I'm actually…. I've got one or two demos of revisited Sacriphyx songs done acoustically. Just because in that era there was quite a bit of Australian folk music. We've got a song marked to cover, an old folk song about an Australian icon of history. So I think that was just us saying “We like death metal, but there's other stuff that we like too” and it fits the theme that we wanted and. I don't know mate, you know, I grew up playing guitar, I I loved shrapnel records, stuff so I was all into the Jason Beckers and Marty Friedman's and Paul Gilbert, Yngwie Malmsten and just loved
Van Halen. Cool little instrumentals and whatnot. Not every song has to have vocals, and in some ways by not having vocals it makes the songs feel a bit more special. So I think that was really for us. Like, “What fits?” We had that song, and, to be frank with you, when I looked at the lyrics I just saw him playing my acoustic and thought “Yeah, fuck it, let's do this.” I'm not not trying to be tough, I want to represent what's written honestly and make something that makes us…. You know, we live in a culture where postmodernism appreciates ugly things, and I know it's weird or not death metal, but I don't mind making beautiful things either. And in particular, if it fits a tribute to people that did things that possibly I couldn't do.
So, we've always had that in mind, and in the next one there'll be some more instrumentals as well. And experimenting. I mean, I think we did that with the splits, had bits and pieces of that kind of thing. And, you know, trying to just do tasteful music with little leads here and there, not always flashy. Sometimes they are. Uli Roth has to be probably my favorite guitarist ever. His way of expressing moods, it’s quite powerful. So I guess that’s my iteration of a similar jam.
I think it's also part of…. I interviewed Renato from Disembowelment for my 90s series as well, and I asked him about the weird post punk parts, and ambient parts they had, using clean guitar and all that. Obviously it's part of what makes that album so amazing, but it's very interesting how people reach those decisions. And he said, basically, “I don't only like metal.” And that’s kind of what you said, right?
That there's like there are many ways of expressing things and sometimes monotony gets in the way. And I think that’s really interesting because metal as a scene, as a community, as an industry – depending on how you want to look at – it can be a very “lifer or die” place. You're either all in or you're some kind of poser.
I never, you know, went for that myself. And obviously I'm older now, so that never helps. But I think it's very interesting that there are a lot of pivotal moments, a lot of music that I love, and obviously this is about me as a listener too, that there are people who make choices that, in that very dichotomous economy of opinions, are very unorthodox choices. That somehow then gets sucked into the system of the poser-versus-lifer debate and is suddenly the sign of true metal. But really, in 1991, when you're putting in a clean guitar in your death metal, that's a risky thing. That’s not playing it safe. Or in 2013, putting in a folk passage in your death metal album, that's not you saying “I'm just going to do the things that the metal community tells me is right.” It's you saying: “You know, I want to make the music that is interesting to me.”
But I think that more often than not, that is the interesting music. It's a little oblivious of what people want it to be.
I want to hear what the artist wants to create, not what they think people want to hear.
A hundred percept. But I mean I, I try to be empathetic about it. I realize there's a lot of pressure in trying to meet demands, and all that stuff. But I also realize that the music I like is never going to be made that way.
Yeah, I agree.
One last question. Obviously, you might be working on new Sacriphyx stuff with Neil, I hope you are. But, when you look back at The Western Front, is there anything that you are especially proud of, or happy with how it turned out? It could be the whole album, one song, one passage, one decision, the album art, whatever. But is there anything that you look back at that you say: “I'm happy I did that.”
I’m very content with how that turned. From our mate doing the painting – I think that might have been the second or third painting for that cover. We got the tone right for the lyrics. And working with Neil’s lyrics, the music just flowed out sometimes. You read it and it just punches in. I'm on the instrument and the thing just pours out. Turning them into lyrics, that experience is quite enlightening too. It's even a bit emotional, to be frank. I've done quite a bit of music, not as much as I should, but I think to date that album for me is…. I'm not sure you know how we recorded it, but Neil came down and we rehearsed for a day or so and then went to the studio and recorded. And if you believe it or not, this engineer at the studio was telling us about his aspirations wanting to go to California to record big bands, and he couldn't pull my guitar sound. And if I don't have the right sound, that's gonna be a challenge. We mainly got the drums, and I came home in my home studio and finished up the rest of the album. Ironically, I got my guitar sound in five minutes at home, so not short what the fuck he was doing [laughs].
It was a very personal conquest of these years of music where we've had these riffs and played. Moving. We've had some sort of personal things that happen in our lives to get that done and see it as a full package and have our mate Yosuke right behind us and very supportive of us. Overall, I'm very grateful that it all came together. I joke about being the lowest selling band. I don't give a shit, because, to be quite frank the people that do like the band, they're all really great people. I've made some really great friends from people that like it. That's just a bonus for me. The idea of having my record, my music on a record, sent far away and to be able to do this. It rewards your hard work. Be'cause, you know, music isn't cheap, you've gotta have equipment, you’ve got to make time to play it, piss your neighbors off and whatnot. I'm happy.
And I suppose that the way that album came together for us, with the second album, obviously we want to do better. We want to say more, and show more range, and whatever else. So that puts a bit of pressure on us as well, perhaps. I do have the next album musically ready. We just have to put the lyrics and find time in our busy schedules to get together. So it would seem that we're probably at 18 months to two years off doing that. But that's why I'm going to do some other things in the meantime. So I guess you could say it's on a hiatus, but it's never that far away. I'm always practicing those songs and I keep adding on riffs.