Mid 2019, and a new LORD album, Fallen Idols is finally available (our review here). With this new album, the band have taken their songwriting, their sound and their stake on the metal community, to a new level. The band have honestly never failed to impress, but I can sincerely say that this album is on a new level.
I have known Lord Tim – lead vocalist, guitarist, songwriter, producer, engineer and band leader, for over seventeen years, and I can sincerely say that he is an amazing operator. I have seen him in his capacity in LORD, as a producer/engineer for other acts, and as a mentor. He, along with the band, deserve further international success, and the opportunity to showcase exactly what they have to offer. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with him this week and discuss the new album and the band, past, present and future.
How did the material come together for Fallen Idols?
“Whenever we do an album, we tend to sit down and have a bit of a chat about what kind of direction we want to go in. Should it be heavier? Should it involve “x” elements from previous releases, and that kind of thing. And then, invariably, anything we talk about gets entirely thrown out the window and forgotten, and we just write what we write, and it comes together pretty organically. This time there was a real sense to want to capture the vibe of those songs that made us want to do this stuff in the first place. What was it that gave us “that” feeling? So we sat down and just listened to our favourite bands and thought about what we loved about them, and what it reminded us of when we were growing up with that music as the soundtrack to our lives. It all still came together organically, but I think just having the mindset of doing something that *we* wanted to listen to guided the overall theme of the writing this time.”
LORD now have quite a stable line-up, has this had an impact on the writing process?
“Honestly, not really. We tend to not be the kind of band that gets into a rehearsal room and grinds through song ideas together. That’s not to say that things that we come up with while we’re jamming don’t make it into a final song down the track or we don’t collaborate or anything like that, but generally we’ll at least all have our own frameworks of the songs we’re writing all sorted out before we even bring it to the other guys, and have a fair idea of how we’d like it to go, rather than any reliance on any other member being involved. I think, probably more than anything there’s a bit more trust in me, as the guy steering the ship, that I can get everything sounding like one cohesive product rather than the wide array of styles that we’re all into sounding like a disconnected mess. We all love everything from pop to extreme metal, so funnelling that all down and arranging it into something that sounds like LORD is basically my job, and after 14 years, I think there’s a bit more trust there that no one will have their ideas pissed on for the sake of trying to make it fit in now.”
Looking back on the release, now that it is all packaged and ready to go, how do you see the album?
“It’s still a little too early for me to be entirely subjective about it, I think. I’m the recording engineer, editor, producer, I do the artwork layouts, video clips, and of course the actual performance parts, which can sometimes include literally hundreds of vocal tracks to make up our choirs and all of that kind of thing. By the end of it all, I’m exhausted and pretty sick of listening to it all. I think the songs are good and the playing is a real kick up this time, even from previous albums, and so far the reviews have been really positive, so I’m pretty happy with it all, but I think I’ll need a bit of time to appreciate where this sits with the rest of the back catalogue. Ask me again in a year or two!”
Is Fallen Idols going to be distributed overseas with any labels?
“One thing that always was a big sticking point for us was dealing with third-party labels. There’s been many times where we haven’t received what we’ve been promised, or the label has gone bust in the middle of the process, or frankly the money has been terrible. In 2019, the role of a label is so far diminished as to what it was even 15 years ago, and the artist can do so much more now themselves, the incentive to actually sign to other labels is pretty small. We run everything through our own Dominus Records label now. It’s more work, and costs *way* more money initially because we have to basically front all of the cash ourselves, but the control and returns we get from this is worth all of the extra headaches. The one exception to this is Japan, where you really do still need a local label there to get the most out of the territory – it really is a whole different world! We’re once again working with Rubicon Records, who took care of our last couple of releases.”
On the back of the album are you planning on any overseas touring through 2019 and into 2020?
“There’s nothing planned at the moment, but I know there’s talk of Japan and New Zealand already – we’re always keen to get back to those places whenever we can, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that happens in 2020. We just finished the Australian tour, so we’re taking stock now and looking at budgeting and we’ll see what plans come together over the next 6 months.”
How do you see the Dungeon back catalogue fitting in with LORD? I know in the past you have seen LORD as a continuation of Dungeon, do you still see it that way, considering a lot of punters who are into LORD may have never seen Dungeon?
“Yeah, it’s absolutely the same band. I’ll often say it’s like sequels – it’s all Star Wars but Dungeon was “A New Hope” and LORD is “The Empire Strikes Back.” It’s an evolution of the story with a different episode name, but still the same core characters and themes. Doing “The Dungeon Era” box set in 2014 really solidified that idea that it’s all one and the same band, and we really think of what we do now as part of a 30 year long legacy rather than some new band that started 14 years ago. You’re right about some of the new punters – they might know us only from the LORD era material, and that’s absolutely fine. We get a lot of people going back through the back catalogue and discovering this whole history they never knew existed and really appreciating it.”
I know in a LORD set you do interweave Dungeon material with LORD songs, how do you make a decision on what songs to play?
“Apart from doing any specialised sets, for instance, in 2014 we purposely did Dungeon-only songs to tie in with “The Dungeon Era” box set, it’s a bit of a juggling act about doing “the classics” that people expect to hear from us but still playing current music to keep things fresh. You can really run the risk of becoming a nostalgia act and riding on past glories unless you’re willing to introduce current material into the mix. And really, if you think about it, all of the material was new at one stage – it wasn’t always “the classics” as such. But ultimately it’s what we enjoy playing, be it a song we like, or even if we’re not overly fond of it, we get off on the vibe of a song that we know the crowd will really enjoy. It’s a hell of a back catalogue now, so we’re not starved for choice!”
Take me back to your appearance at Prog Power in 2016, how did this come about and what was the experience like?
“ProgPower USA was fantastic, no question! We’d been talking to the organisers for a while, and after hearing our 2015 “What Tomorrow Brings” EP they were so impressed they offered us a spot. The most difficult part of the entire process was getting the working visas – it was absolutely insane. Thankfully we had Marc from Play America on our side looking after all of the paperwork, or I’d feel confident it just would not have happened. The reaction was really overwhelmingly positive, which was great because we recorded the set for a live album and a full streaming concert video we have up for Pay-Per-View on our Vimeo page. I can’t say enough about everyone involved – it was really very much like a family and we were treated like kings.”
What is the next move for LORD, beyond Fallen Idols, do you work to a management plan say over a five or ten year period, or is it just release by release, tour by tour?
“I think we’ve kind of gotten to the point where we’re happy to work out our own pace. There’s a line in the song “United (Welcome Back)” that says “speak only once you have something to say” and we kind of live by that. We’re not really feeling the need to constantly tour or pump music out just for the sake of it. We’re happier to strategically choose our battles and enjoy the process rather than doing it because “that’s just what you do.” That all said, we’re keen to get back out to some places we haven’t been in a while, and we have a few really cool things on the boil behind the scenes, so while our plans are intentionally loose, there’s definitely more things in the works for the near future!”
It was an absolute pleasure to Speak with Tim, as it always is. He is quickly becoming Australia’s heavy metal Yoda, without the ageing thing, and it is always insightful to spend time with him. I sincerely hope that this release for the band gives them the attention and success they deserve. If you have not checked out this album, please do your metal self a favour, as it stands alongside, and in many respects above, anything else in the international market in 2019.
Interview by Mark Snedden
Fallen Idols is Out Now! Grab your copy here