Upcoming Gold Coast band Emotion Killer are unleashing their debut EP, Tragic Life in a Modern World this week (our review here) and it’s a showcase of personal experiences of emotional suffering and depression sustained throughout the years. Which fittingly suits the band name. Frontman Shannon Loch is here to fight back all of his inner demons sustained throughout his younger years in the form of 7 chaotic tracks of modern metal, influenced by a plethora of metal like Devin Townsend, Architects and Trivium.
With the full EP just two days away, the band have given us a glimpse inside new track ‘Dark Inside’ and it’s a heated blend of melodic metal riffs. Amidst the music, Loch’s vocals are tied together in unison, and it kinda gives you a bit of a Trivium aura. It’s worlds away from the band’s previously released track ‘Postmodern Millennial’, which sees Emotion Killer experimenting with a more rock-infused groove, an indie-like pop mosh anthem.
We sat down with Shannon to get to know more about the experiences he poured his blood, sweat and tears into Tragic Life, how he recruited Alpha Wolf drummer Mitchell Fogarty for the EP and we discuss the positives out of COVID-19 (there is still good out there)!
Hey guys! First up, sum up the story of Emotion Killer in a few sentences.
Emotion Killer started out after I was kicking around as a teenager in a few up-and-coming heavy acts, getting nice support slots and good shows, but never really had the outlet to express something more personal and raw with the vibe of those bands.
I went back to the drawing board and refined some old demos I kept close to my heart, these became the basis of the Tragic Life in a Modern World EP. Pissed off, heavy, melodic, extreme, holding nothing back. Brought some old friends in and now we have a proper band!
You’re dropping a brand new track called ‘Dark Inside’ ahead of your EP launch in Brisbane this Friday! Tell us a little more behind the song?
This song started out in a year 10 music room, back when I was getting the crap kicked out of me every other day by the other kids. Bullying, social ostracization, getting punched, kicked, spat at, property damaged. I had no one to stick up for me in that environment.
Being a skinny long-haired metalhead opened you up to all sort of teasing and abuse back then. Music was my only reprieve from the daily hell that was school. This song is a giant middle finger to the school system.
Bullying sucks and definitely needs to be eradicated from the world! Your debut EP is Tragic Life in a Modern World. Can you tell us a little more about its context? What message are you wanting to project to listeners through your music?
Themes of trauma, heartbreak, alienation, and abuse tie in the songs together.
With all these songs I just wanted to put pen to paper, be my most vulnerable and let out all my ugly emotions and insecurities. Put my heart on my sleeve and not give a fuck about what anyone else thinks. I spent my time in other bands holding back and writing vague lyrics about things I did not care about cos I was too scared to put myself out there.
Growing up in this world where everyone is connected via social media, I feel there’s this pressure to conform and hide your true feelings and opinions. It creates a unique state of anxiety and loneliness where you’re just putting up this bullshit façade every day, and eventually it just cracks and everyone thinks you’re crazy.
This is not music written for the cool kids, this is music written for all of the ugly rejects and kids that may not have fit in back in school.
A track that stood out for me though, was ‘Postmodern Millennial’. It’s got a certain groove about it. Can you tell us what inspired that song?
I was working at Splendour in the Grass one year backstage. I went out on a break, and the crowd was full of girls in body paint, influencers taking selfies for the ‘gram, people pinging off their faces. I felt alienated in my sweaty stage blacks and grease covered face sitting on the side of the amphitheatre.
But the band playing main stage at that time was pumping sick funky grooves, and I got inspired. I know I do not really fit in with the influencer crowd, and I don’t really give a fuck, it’s fake, it’s BS. A lot of people get caught up in swiping tinder for validation and chasing likes on insta and facey.
I went home and the day after I wrote pretty much the whole song in half an hour, lyrics came the day after. Some of the songs on this EP took over 3 years to write and I wrote most of this song in two days. Sometimes, all it takes is a hook and the rest writes itself.
Some of the best songs are written when you least expect it! Nice job on that one! I can also definitely hear many influences in your music from Devin Townsend and Architects as well as some more current hardcore punk elements. Who were you listening to while working on the creation of ‘Tragic Life’?
I was blasting lots of Emmure’s Look at Yourself when I was producing this! I really went overboard with the electronic production and sampling on many of these tracks. I was frothing Architects; Sam Carter’s aggressive melodic vocals gave me some inspiration.
When I was writing these songs, some of my favourite bands were Trivium, Divine Heresy, Make Them Suffer and Sworn In.
Tell us how Alpha Wolf drummer Mitchell Fogarty came into the picture? What elements did he add onto the music?
Before Emotion Killer was a full band, I was searching for a session drummer. Several people recommended Mitch and I was already familiar with his work in I Shall Devour and Alpha Wolf. He is an absolute machine, blistering blast beats and super-human feet, but he also has a very nice sense of groove and dynamics which is rare in metal drumming.
You don’t really appreciate it until you’re in the room gigs, and he is slamming through track after track, adding his own flair and accents. The EP was only planned to be 6 tracks, but we had an extra 4 hours to spare so I pulled out the demo for Bully Me and he started shredding the drums at 200BPM on the spot after only hearing the song once! Very professional yet humble guy.
COVID-19 has certainly been an interesting experience for everyone. But not all of it’s been negative. What’s the one positive you’ll take from 2020?
We had to cancel our national tour and tensions in the band reached a boiling point.
Then I was moving to a new house and slashed two tendons, nerves and muscle in my hand which landed me in an operating theatre! I could not drive, play guitar, or work, so I was forced to live my life from a new perspective. Thinking I’d be unable to play guitar before our EP launch, I invited an old mate Declan Connolly to take over my guitar duties while I focused on vocals, but the 5 piece line-up clicked so well we invited him to stay on full time!
With the extra freedom, I can jump around and hit those extra high notes with ease, and when I pick up the guitar, the 3 part guitar harmonies sound absolutely amazing in our rehearsal studio. It has been a lot of fun. I feel we are at our absolute strongest that we ever have been.
That is an amazingly positive thing to hear about this year! So what can your Brisbane fans expect at your upcoming EP launch this Friday night?
With our expanded five-piece line-up, I have a lot more freedom to run around, jump up and down and hang from the ceiling when I’m not playing guitar! We’ve been trying out some new backing tracks and sampling hardware which will give a crisp edge to our live sound.
While many are scoffing at the seated gigs, I am incredibly grateful we have gigs back after many months of depressing lockdown. The bands and venues need you the most now, so come out to a show! Show the government that the arts industry is essential, buy a ticket and get your butt on a seat! Hopefully we will return to moshing in the new year, but for now make lots of noise and throw your horns in the air.
And we’ll be right there with ya! Obviously there’s a lot of uncertainty in the air right now in regards to the future. But what’s your plan for the next 6 months and into 2021?
As soon as these restrictions lift, we would love to rebook our shows in Sydney, Melbourne, and many places in between. We cannot wait to see our friends across the country and play this music with some fantastic bands we had lined up.
We’ve spent this year writing for the follow up release to Tragic Life in a Modern World, so expect a new single in the new year… Something a little edgier, something a little filthier. Lower tunings and filthy drops. We are planning for world domination, so if you enjoyed what you’re hearing, feel free to hit us up and let us know where you’re from! We want to do our best to play everywhere as soon as this bloody coronavirus takes a chill pill.
Every day we’re daydreaming about packing a van and heading down the coast to play some heavy shit to some fresh faces with sick bands. That’s the only thing getting me through 2020!
Onwards and upwards, as they say. Keep at it man, and we’ll hopefully see you out on the road once the country is completely open again. Stay safe!
Brissy readers, Emotion Killer are celebrating their release with a COVIDsafe gig at The Brightside this Friday night. Get ya tickets here!