By Ricky Aarons
Formed a decade ago, technical-death metal band Fallujah have raised their profile worldwide, particularly through the emergence of their latest album ‘Dreamless’ released after signing with Nuclear Blast. The American musicians are embarking on their very first Australian and New Zealand tour in March, supporting the almighty Killswitch Engage, thanks to Select Touring.
Fallujah are busy winding up a lengthy tour of the U.S. with peers in bands like Carnifex and Rings of Saturn, “and only three more shows until we leave for the Australian and New Zealand tour” vocalist Alex Hofmann states excitedly. “We’re about to play a show in Brooklyn tonight, so we’ve just been eating some ramen, drinking some beer and then had a trip to the Brooklyn Bridge which has been great.”
With the Sydney Harbour Bridge next on Hofmann’s sights, the band are all ready to check out some of our cities. “It’s great, I mean we’ve wanted to go to Australia for a long time, and luckily we’ve got some days off in Auckland, Sydney and in Melbourne so we should have a really good time.”
Besides the shows, the front-man is generally excited to do the usual touristy things down under. “Mainly the exploring is what I’m excited for, seeing old friends, and I’d like to hold a koala bear” he says laughing, cognisant of the cliché. The tour won’t be Hofmann’s first time in Australia. “I’ve been there once before with family and it was a really good time, but it’ll be different now that I’m of age and have a bit more of an establishment here with people, so it should be cool.”
The band are obviously getting excited to play with metal titans Killswitch Engage. “We have played the same festival before but never on the same day, so we’ve never really played shows properly with them, so it’ll be our first time meeting those guys.” He goes onto say that they’re “a pretty important band for some of us growing up” – a dream
less come true.
Joining Killswitch Engage on tour, certainly means a slight range of sub-genre for audiences, but a great opportunity for Fallujah to grow their fanbase. “We’ll see if people are turned on by the show and inspired by the music, but there’s always the gamble every time you go out to support a band” but the vocalist believes it’s worked out pretty well for them in the past.
Hofmann is quite pleased that his band sound quite different to Killswitch. “They have some bands that sound exactly the same as the headliner, but when they do that, it doesn’t really provide any new dynamics to the show.”
The San Francisco-bred band are stoked to be playing a decent set at the shows, compared to the average half hour or so. “The weird thing is, we’ve been given quite a bit of time to play, so we’re actually going to be playing all the songs that we know (he chuckles).” Hofmann believes the band are likely to play for approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, but is slightly worried they won’t know enough songs to fill up the time.
“We’ll play for over an hour for sure” – the growling menace says convincingly. But despite the lengthy support-slot, the band are still very excited for their more intimate headline show in Melbourne on 6 March.
“That show will be a bit of a different environment, a smaller club, bit more intimate, which for me is more my comfort zone. Regardless, I’m really excited for all of it. I think it’s really cool to have the diversity of bigger club shows and then a smaller club show as well, and see how the kids react to some of our material.”
‘Dreamless’ was a bit of a game-change for Fallujah, as it was a breakthrough record onto the international market, particularly in Australia, “I think the most obvious reason for that is the fact that it came out on a real label, so naturally you just have more momentum behind it.” Hofmann emphasises the importance of having global support for a new record. “There’s more manpower, and people specialised for various regions to get it pushed out there, so it has definitely has shown to be fruitful.”
Fallujah have generally been known as a band who stand out a little bit from a generic death metal sound that is flooding the scene, and Hofmann believes the band put a lot of effort into doing so. “I definitely think we are more focussed on intensity through atmosphere and melody as opposed to sheer heaviness” – as the dynamic variety demonstrates across their back catalogue. “I just think the songs are a bit more tailored to emotive qualities and sections of the record, which I think is not the main focus of a lot of bands these days.”
With reference to some of the heavier bands on the scene at the moment – “a lot of bands are focussing on crushing, albums that don’t really have a lot of [variation] and I think Fallujah is a dynamic band, I just think our the vision a little bit is different than what other bands are doing right now.”
Buy tickets for the upcoming Killswitch Engage/Fallujah tour here.