It’s been a long yet rewarding year for Sydney deathcore band Thy Art Is Murder out on the road.
Fueled by the momentum of last year’s fourth album Dear Desolation, the quartet embarked on a sold-out national run in February, before heading over to North American for over 30 co-headline shows with influential American group Dying Fetus.
While at the tail end of their longest European tour to date, guitarist Andy Marsh sat down for a chat. He discussed touring regional Australia next month, how different European cultures express passion for the band’s music, and being inspired after touring the Balkans for the first time.
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This latest European tour’s been a massive one! How would you reflect on the overall experience?
“I couldn’t tell you anything about it, because it’s impossible to remember this many shows (laughs). It’s been six weeks, so super long. We wanted to play as many festivals as we could… It’s taken us to so many places and experiences, it’s been really good.”
What’s also great is that you got to return to places you’ve played many times like Graspop Metal Meeting, and also explore new cities. What were some you’d never been to?
“I think we might be one of the first Australian metal bands to go to the Balkans. We’ve been in Romania, Serbia, Bosnia… I grew up in the ’90s, and I just remember all the turmoil in the Balkans. Here I am in the same lifetime, and to meet the people, see their city and where they grew up living, where they’re living now… Bullet holes and bomb explosions in the sides of the buildings… It’s fucking crazy. How they’ve somehow, through all of that, managed to maintain a love for music, or anything, and be so welcoming to idiots like us… That’s why you tour, for humbling memories like those, and we’ve just had a whole week full of them. Literally hundreds of thousands of people lost their lives twenty years ago, and they’re just getting on with it, you know? It’s really inspiring.”
Have you found while touring that there are countries in Europe with a much stronger appreciation for heavy metal than others? Or is it relatively even across the places you’ve been to?
“It’s relatively even. They’re all generally pretty great, but how they do it’s rather different. The French have their fists in the air but don’t really say anything. The Germans are absolutely insane, drink so much beer it’s mental and just yell. The Belgians are like them. The Brits get super drunk but really lazy, losing their energy. So they’re yelling really incoherently and sort of waving their hands in the air. Then you’ve got the Italians, who are super passionate, and they’re just yelling crazy Italian obscenities at the top of their lungs. You really have no idea what’s going on. It’s fucking crazy to meet so many people who are so different, and see how their culture affects how they even enjoy music.”
Crossing over to a different part of the world, I know Dying Fetus are a collective favourite for the band, and it’s awesome you got to co-headline with them in North America. What inspires you about those guys?
“They’re a career band, and that’s the only thing I ever really aspired to. No artificially trying to make my band bigger. They’re just hardworking guys that write great music year after year and keep going out on the road. They’re like 50, and playing music way more extreme and technical than us… These guys love what they do, and that’s why they keep doing it.
“Our relationship with them actually improved a great deal. We had a fight in Los Angeles about five years ago over a trolley, and didn’t talk to them for two weeks (laughs). We did this American tour, and someone lost their trolley… They got really upset at us. Then we told them to go fuck themselves, and they found out that they were the ones that lost their own trolley, and they started apologising. Then the tour was over. So it was a bit of a laughing point from day one of this tour, and we just got off to a really good start.”
Now it’s awesome that regional Australia’s getting some love next month. Have you gotten out to those areas as much as you would’ve liked?
“No, not really. We’re playing Wagga Wagga for the first time ever I think. We played Albury and Woolongong a couple of years ago… With a lot of these towns, it’s going to be the second time we’ve played them. It’s just really good to touch base with the metal community and see what’s out there, meet new people. We also have a responsibility. We’re an Australian band, we should play more Australian cities. Not just the east coast. I’m really going to enjoy the opportunity to rack up some miles, hopefully not hit any kangaroos, and get a couple of vanilla slices down at the local bakery.”
It’s great to see Alpha Wolf supporting you guys again this year. How have those guys grown in the time that you’ve known them?
“They’ve come up really unexpectedly for me. I’ve known Sabian (Lynch, guitar) for years, and the band kind of just took off, so we put them on a tour. They’re a super professional young band, and they had a couple of hardships which aren’t really any fault of theirs. We wanted to show them our support for their careers, so we put them on the tour.
“I’ve seen and been involved in how it destroys people’s lives when a false allegation is made. In the case of Decapitated, we’re talking about four guys being in jail for four months, missing their kids and wives… Total financial ruin. Their lives are absolutely messed up because of one person’s actions. So it’s really important in the community that we support each other when people haven’t done the wrong thing. Obviously when they have, it’s a very different story.”
Back when we spoke mid-last year, CJ McMahon was still finding his footing performing live. Have things been a lot more solid since then?
“Yeah it’s been great. I definitely think the touring over the last year brought him back to where he was before having a year off. He’s back in the swing of things, and personality-wise better than ever. He’s definitely a more positive person. Now he’s a pleasure to tour with, and it’s not like we’re carrying this guy along that doesn’t want to be there.”
Now it would be awesome to see you guys do a split again like you did with The Acacia Strain and Fit For An Autopsy. Is that on the cards?
“We’ve already got the title for it. Obviously Fit For An Autopsy are going to do it because we’re best friends, but we’re just trying to look for the third band. We really want Whitechapel to do it, but they’re always busy. We’ve given them a little more time, and we don’t have to all make it together. We’d like to have it done by the end of next year as a Christmas thing, so that’s in the pipeline.”
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Regional fans, don’t miss out on the opportunity to catch Thy Art Is Murder in your town – tickets and dates below.
Interview by Genevieve Gao
Thy Art Is Murder – The Death Dealers Australian Tour 2018
Thursday 9th August – Maroochydore – Sol Bar
Friday 10th August – Gold Coast – Miami Tavern
Saturday 11th August – Brisbane – Crowbar
Thursday 16th August – Ballarat – Karova Lounge
Friday 17th August – Geelong – Barwon Club
Saturday 18th August – Frankston – Pelly Bar
Thursday 23rd August – Woolongong – Uni Bar
Friday 24th August – Miranda – Miranda Hotel
Saturday 25th August – Tattersalls Hotel – Penrith
Thursday 30th August – Home Tavern – Wagga Wagga
Friday 31st August – Albury – Beer Deluxe
Saturday 1st September – Mulgrave – Village Green