With the year 2020 being the year it is (so far), when it comes to music we couldn’t be more further from this. Music has reigned supreme for all of us during iso, infact it’s hindsight 20/20 here and Newcastle alternative/punk outfit Linear are the next band to drop in with their brand new single ‘Portraits of Ghosts’.
Branded as the band’s heaviest song to date, ‘Portraits of Ghost’ is a pent up song of angered emotions felt about the state of the world we live in in 2020. Binding together melodic vocals, gritty screams and hard-hitting instrumentals, Linear are making huge strides here and we are absolutely living for this vibe, especially during these times.
We reckon Linear are onto something, so we caught up with the upcoming Newcastle act to get to know more about them, their new anthem of the year and what else they’ve got up their sleeves…
What’s up Linear! How are you guys doing during these challenging times?
We are very well thank you! It’s very difficult being a band when we can’t play shows but we’re trying ways to occupy our time, as most musicians are wanting to do.
Tell us a little bit about your story as a band so far.
Linear as a collective came together in early 2019. Blake and Jalen were gigging regularly in a pop punk outfit around Newcastle when Cody came into the scene as a temporary (and soon permanent) bassist. Moog came into the picture after a lineup change was forced onto the group and seeing as Cody was more suited to vocals it only made sense for Moog to fill the position of bass player. We started recording our debut EP about 8 weeks later and to our surprise, the reaction we had gotten was much better than we had imagined it was going to be. This is our dream and we intend to keep it going for as long as it can.
Your new single ‘Portraits of Ghosts’ is a massive step from your earlier material. I’m feeling a lot of different energy from an array of musical styles like metalcore to post-hardcore, somewhere between Northlane and Sleeping With Sirens. What’s your meaning behind the song?
Thank you for the comparison, Cody is definitely stoked on it! Lyrically, the song taps into the concept of the false prophecy that so many people, whether it be a politician, an influencer, or even those closest to you, have created for themselves. The sense of false idols following an invisible law and dictating those laws towards those around them.
When the lyrics for this song started to come together during a demo session, half of Australia had burnt to the ground and the actions of those who were meant to be in charge were disappointing to say the least. With this song being so heavy we felt that the lyrics needed to carry the same weight, so anger seemed to be the most apt emotion; it comes quite natural to all of us.
We’ve had ‘Portraits’ recorded since late February and in the time since, a massive focus has been thrust upon ideas of racism, political warfare, sexism and entitlement; we couldn’t have imagined this tune to be any more suitable to the year 2020. It was our intention to let people know that if they aren’t pissed off at the world right now, then they absolutely should be.
It’s a definitive step up from your debut EP last year, Surrender which was in a kinda more pop punk direction. What made you wanna pursue the more post-hardcore route?
Well, we all love tonnes of different musical styles and get inspiration from everywhere, honestly we don’t want to put up walls and be boxed in to any one sound. This may be the heaviest track we’ve done so far but that’s not to say every other one will be. We want to be able to use art in as many ways as we can, which can be quite difficult for audiences to understand. When it comes to writing we want to be a group that is able to jump from genre to genre and that just becomes Linear, it could even be its own genre within itself. We want to be able to add string quartets and have soft ballads as much as we want to write the heavier tunes.
We love ‘Surrender’ for that reason, it has its softer moments in ‘Tragedy’ but then it’s got songs like ‘Eulogy’ and ‘Listen’ which utilise heavy Drop C# riffs and harsher vocals. There isn’t much we would change about that EP at all.
While the future of live shows are sadly a little cloudy, it’s become a bit more challenging for bands to maintain engagement with fans. How are you hoping to keep momentum with fans through your music?
During the recording session for ‘Surrender’ last year, we created a series called ‘Linear TV’ to keep everyone up to date with our studio antics and see the creative process in a very raw format. We realised how fun it was to show a behind the scenes look at what Linear does. We were hoping to show a lot more of the touring side of things this year, but instead our audience has had writing sessions and practices bestowed upon them.
Apart from that, we’re continuing to put our time into creating more music. Since the start of the (COVID) pandemic we’ve managed to create about eight or so new demos between us, with more on the way. As soon as we can hit the studio to finish these songs, you’ll know where to find us.
What was the best live show you attended pre-COVID and why?
Over the last few months, we have been lucky to see a lot of the bands that shaped each of our music tastes. Blake got to see one of his all time favourite bands from high school in Unwritten Law. Moog was blown away by legendary punk group The Damned and their support act Wurst Nurse. Jalen has fond memories of seeing Kublai Khan tearing down the place a few months back, and Cody travelled all the way to Melbourne on a whim to see Northlane play their ‘Alien’ release show.
The beauty of going out to see live music when you’re a performing artist is that it allows you to almost do research on what you should do and what you absolutely shouldn’t. It really sucks that we aren’t able to have those experiences at the moment, but we’re holding out for the day that we can get back on stage, rip it up, leave and do it the next night. We won’t be taking that for granted again, that’s for sure.
What’s on the cards for you guys for the rest of 2020?
For a little while we weren’t able to get together as a band, but it wouldn’t stop us. We have been going back and forth on so many ideas that we can’t wait to show the world, as soon as the time is right. We want everyone to stay as safe as they possibly can in these uncertain times, but just know that when some semblance of normality comes back, to be prepared for what we’ve got in store. It’s only bigger and better from here.
Anything else you’d like to tell us?
First and foremost we want to thank anyone who is still reading this. It’s things like this that keep us going and the support we get never goes unrecognised or under appreciated. And if you loved ‘Portraits’, then this is just the start of what we plan to do before 2020 is over!
Thanks so much for the love guys. It’s definitely reciprocated on our end, and I for one can’t wait to see what you do next!
Interview by Tamara May (@citylightstam)