The closest thing most of us will get to witnessing an actual Coup De Main (a sudden surprise attack, especially one made by an army during war) will be via social media nowadays… but picture this, you’re traveling London in 2011 when those infamous riots broke out. Following the intensity you just experienced, how do you recover? Therapy. Ignoring it (bad idea) or you can do what Melbourne’s As A Rival have done and re-tell the experience through your music in the form of a belter of a new track, called ‘Coup De Main‘ which we’re Premiering for you today.
The hard rock four-piece have had a big year already and it’s about to get even bigger with the release of their new album Griefers next Friday, November 2nd so we grabbed frontman Pete Cerni for a quick chat about the new single and how he came to writing about his experiences…
Legends, thanks for letting us share this track upon the world. Before we get into it, who makes up As A Rival?
We’ve got Pete Cerni vocals and guitar, Nathan Wheatley on drums, guitarist Johnny Beech and Paul Trevorrow on bass
‘Coup De Main’ has great riffs (akin to that of QOTSA) and Pete’s vocals sound weirdly familiar to that of a young Phil Jamieson (Grinspoon). Who/What influenced the sound behind this track?
It’s funny you mention QOTSA. In its infancy, I was definitely channeling some Homme vibes. The song is actually the oldest on the album and went through a lot of development and different versions. You talk about riffs – at one stage it had double the amount and I was just cramming it all in. It was hectic. Basically, what you would expect if you opened up my brain. It was at a stage when the band was defining our sound. This song was the start of that process, and you can hear us starting to settle in.
Well its certainly paid off for you lads! Also working with Tom Larkin (Shihad) who produced the album, how’d you find his mentoring and guidance?
Growing up with the massive sound that was The General Electric and then hearing the records coming out of Homesurgery Recordings, it was definitely the place we wanted to take this record. Tom was equal parts focused and equal parts laid back. He set us a challenge to write 50 songs in 2 months. He would encourage us to work on the fly, something we were very uncomfortable with at the start in fear of judgement from someone I respected.
In the end it was so natural and we were sad when it ended because it totally changed how we approached writing in general.
Sounds like hard work, but with that said beneficial for where you are now. I always ask bands who work with established musicians/producers what’s the best thing they learned in studio as it may help others starting out.. so you for guys, what was it?
Believe in yourself. Test what you think is finished. Keep iterating. Find the feeling and go with it. Don’t overthink the process and the simple solution just might also be the best solution. If it seems too easy, so fucking what? If it works, it works.
Fuck yeah, sounds like a great bloke to team up with. Back to the music, the story behind the lyrics of ‘Coup De Main’ come from when Pete was caught up in the 2011 riots in London, how did you manage that? Wrong place wrong time kind of deal?
I had just started travelling for 6 months and had a stopover in London for a week. The 3rd day the shootings happened and the riots followed. The riots were happening outside of the heart of London so it could’ve been far more intense, but for the next few nights the sirens were blaring and I was just waiting for something to happen right around the corner.
Oh shit, that’s nuts. But, the end result is a song that sided with the rioter’s point of view. Why did you head down that direction and were you worried about backlash?
I saw the news reports putting the rioters in a bad light, and of course some people would have been taking advantage of the situation, but everyone was getting put into the same basket. I wasn’t worried about backlash. It was the side of the story that wasn’t being told.
Oh yeah, you can’t trust the news at the best of times so I understand your intentions. Will the album (Griefers) feature a bunch of similar stories via the songs to reflect the name or is that a one-off story?
It was definitely a one off for the album. The main theme for ‘Griefers’ is autobiographical as always, and it tells the story of the fallout from the end of the last tour cycle. Members leaving. Friends taking sides. It was a very self-reflective period for the band, and for me personally. I was questioning if I wanted to keep going on.
The themes are defiance, determination and a big ol fuck you – so I guess in a way Coup De Main fits the profile, just from a different perspective.
Well I for one am glad you kept going, especially with the tracks we’ve heard so far from the album. Talking shows though, you’re touring the southern end of Australia to celebrate the new album too, what can we expect setlist wise?
We’re excited to play the new album in full plus an oldie here or there. We’ve even started writing again so there is a chance you might hear a new one as well.
A band that never stops working is a great band in my eyes. Anything else to add for your potential new fans/followers?
We are so pumped to get the new album out. It’s our best work to date and we can’t wait for you to hear it and play it live.
You’ve got my vote too, all the best and thanks for the chat.
Interview by Browny @brownypaul
As A Rival – Griefers Tour
Saturday November 3rd – Hobart
The Brisbane Hotel
Saturday November 10th – Adelaide
Friday November 16th – Sydney
Saturday December 15th – Melbourne