Anthony Caruso – Hellions ‘Tales of Haunts, Hygiene and Huge Success’

Riding the critically acclaimed high of their third album Opera Oblivia,  Local favourites Hellions have announced a new headline album tour. We got the chance to sit down with drummer Anthony Caruso to talk about personal hygiene and haunted houses… and just a little bit about the new album.

Hellions are currently at the forefront of a local scene that is rapidly growing. What was it like making the jump from local favourites to an international success?

“Very exciting and I guess we didn’t really notice it happening until we were doing it. It was very overwhelming to be put in that position. It was very exciting. We did not expect to ever kind of get there, it’s always been something we were working towards.”

How would you say the fans vary between back home and across the ocean.

“They have different accents [laughs] We are definitely in the midst of doing our ground work overseas especially, so its almost like starting again. You build yourself up to a level at home and we were lucky enough to travel overseas and play music to other countries which is great, but it’s a very humbling experience and kind of brings you down to earth a little bit, knowing that we still have a long way to go and we still have a lot of people to win over, but we’re getting there and it’s an exciting and welcoming challenge.”

Do you prefer that experience of  having to win over a crowd or playing to a bunch of fans?

“A little bit of both, it’s a great feeling going into a show knowing that people are there to see you and they know who you are as a band and know your songs, but also there’s a certain amount of motivation that comes with going into a show knowing that most of the crowd have no idea who the fuck you are and probably don’t even care. I think it makes you play a little bit better and almost makes you somewhat a better musician because you have to push that little bit harder to get their attention.”

The new video “Thresher” makes touring with Hellions sound pretty fun. What’s your favourite and least favourite part of tour?

“Favourite part is definitely playing shows and just hanging out with friends. Its pretty cool getting to travel with your best mates and you make new mates and it’s all very exciting. Least favourite part would have to be the sometimes lack of good showers. I can not even begin to explain how some European venue showers are. But maybe I’m a little bit of a princess when it comes to that kind of thing.”

I’ll throw out the opportunity to call out the person with the worst hygiene

“That’s hard because I’m definitely going to get called out for this later. Probably Matt [Gravolin], because he seems to only shower when he has too. He’s not a smelly person, he just washes the least out of the rest of us.”

That’s probably the nicest way you could have put it. Sorry if it gets you in trouble

“I’ve said worse things to his face while trying to be nice so we’ll be fine” [laughs]

Your last Australian tour sold out really quickly. That must be an incredible feeling right?

“Yeah we feel super privileged to have people that want to come to our shows and that give a shit about us and enjoy our music and that get excited enough to buy tickets in advance. The vibe at those kinds of shows is very exciting for us and we’re only just starting to get into that phase so it’s all still very fresh and crazy.”

The new album has gained significant critical acclaim. What was the creation process like?

“We put a lot of effort into pre-production this time round. Matt is the main writer of the band and he just works so hard. He comes to us with these ideas and this time around we got to take those ideas to different people; one of them being Jon from NORTHLANE (and) Sam from Ocean Grove. We just kind of went with the intention of laying down demos for everything because we’re really bad with that and have no idea how any of that shit works and then it just turned into a huge collaboration which was super new for us.”

“It really came together in the studio though; we got to record at a new studio which was a whole new experience and brought a completely different vibe which made you see the songs in a completely different way to what you do when you’re at home listening to demos. Also working with Shane the producer made it very exciting. We’ve been working with him since we were kids. So overall it was a very positive experience.”

How has that process developed over the three albums?

“I wouldn’t say recording the previous albums wasn’t positive. It’s all a part of the growth as a band. But Die Young felt more like a demo to us, we were kind of in this weird transition phase of being one band and turning into another and there were only three of us at the time, so it was all very exciting but for a very different reason. Indian Summer was still great fun, but I feel like we were still finding our legs with that record as well. This one I think more so because we’ve gone in knowing and feeling comfortable about what we were doing, (it) made it such a great experience.”

What is the weirdest place you gain inspiration from? 

“There is actually a haunted house near the studio we record at and every time we go to record we make a point to visit the house. This time around we went in there and there was just this really strange, creepy vibe which we kind of channelled and it even helped us make the decision to make ‘He Without Sin‘ a little bit darker than what it was.”

Speaking of influences, what band or artist would you say made you want to start playing?

“Probably Blink-182. Which is very classic and probably an answer that everyone gives but I absolutely idolise Travis Barker to the point where my Dad named our dog Travis. So it had an insane influence on my whole family, although I think I kind of forced it on them.”

Well on the flip-side of that, do you have any favourite local acts at the moment, a band for people to look out for?

“There is so much great talent, I don’t know where to start! Introvert are a great band who are doing our headline tour coming up and I’m a huge fan of them. There’s a band called Rumours, that I’m going to shamelessly plug because they are my brother’s band and I think they’re very good. There is so many, I’m a little bit out of the loop honestly.”

Do you have any advice for bands like Introvert or Rumours that are just breaking on to the scene? Any Do’s or Don’t?

“Give up you are never going to make it [laughs] No of course not, just be unique I guess. I’m not really good at this kind of thing. That sounded like it should be on a bumper sticker though.”

Words by Bree Vane. You can find her on Facebook & Instagram

hellions tour

HELLIONS – Opera Oblivia Australian Tour
With guests Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Saturday 22nd April – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney (18+) – SOLD OUT
with Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Friday 5th May – Fowlers Live, Adelaide (AA)
with Endless Heights, Sleep Talk & Introvert*

Saturday 6th May – Amplifier Bar, Perth (18+)
with FOAM, Alex The Kid & Introvert**

Thursday 11th May – Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane (18+)
with Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Friday 12th May – Minimum Wage Club, Gold Coast (18+)
with Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Friday 19th May – The Basement, Canberra (18+)
with Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Saturday 20th May – Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
with Endless Heights, The Brave & Introvert

Saturday 27th May – Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney (18+)
Playing Indian Summer & Opera Oblivia in Full

with Endless Heights

*Sleep Talk replacing The Brave

**FOAM & Alex The Kid replacing Endless Heights & The Brave

Tickets Here