With the resurrection of our beloved music scene slowly but surely underway, the legends at Destroy All Lines have put together a festival lineup comprising of some of our country’s best bands in the heavy genres. One of those acts is none other than deathcore outfit Thy Art Is Murder so we grabbed guitarist Andy Marsh for a chat about what the group have been up to over the past year and what to expect when we witness them return to the stage to play at Full Tilt Festival…
Hello Andy, Thanks for taking the time to chat today. How are you and what part of the world are you in currently?
My pleasure! I am fantastic thank you. I’m currently hanging out at my place in Brisbane.
Would I be right in saying that after having your Human Target Australian tour unfortunately cancelled, it must be very exciting and nerve-racking to be jumping on stage at Full Tilt?
(Laughs) Big Time! It’s like a lot of frustration, anticipation and uncertainty combined. I’m finding it hard to not get ahead of myself because I don’t want to look forward to something only to be disappointed by another cancellation.
How has the band dealt with all the uncertainty, loss of income and perhaps the absence of purpose?
Well, I know that CJ [McMahon – vocals] is itching to play some shows. He messages me every couple of weeks reminding me that he is eager to get back on stage. For him as well as a lot of our crew, having that outlet where they feel productive is what they chose to do in life, having had that taken away has been rough for everyone. The loss of income has been an interesting challenge but one that we have navigated quite successfully. How I mitigate everyone’s anticipation or confusion is that I work in secrecy by not telling everyone what I am working on. I probably booked and rebooked over twenty tours last year. Generally, I like to keep everyone fairly up to date but in this case, I figured there would be no point? Everyone knew that until they heard from me, everything is off.
In light of the loss of income challenges you had faced, I noticed the band released t-shirts in an attempt to raise money for your crew who were out of work. Did this fundraiser work and are your crew ready to work at Full Tilt?
Unfortunately, pretty much all of our crew live outside of Australia so they won’t be able to make it. Immigration is tough at the moment. Once the border opens, we’ll all be together again. When we travel there is always fifteen of us all up, five band members and ten crew members and it is like having a giant family marriage, then all of a sudden one day we never saw each other again. It has been very strange for everyone.
How are you planning on handling those border restrictions when certain band members live overseas?
Yeah Jesse still resides overseas and we have learnt that immigration is a super long process at the moment, his application to come here has been going on for months now and we still don’t have a clear answer. Basically, we have found that if you don’t have a lot of money, they make it very tough for you. Turns out you have to go through two different processes as well, one process goes through immigration and the other through border control. That’s the Australian government though, super inefficient. We just have to take it as it comes.
Last year you gave us your song, ‘Killing Season’. You must be excited to play that song on stage for the first time?
We don’t know if we are even going to play it (laughs). I am going to have to take a look at the setlist when it is done and see what we can do. We haven’t played a gig in over a year and that song is incredibly fast. I only just started playing the guitar again this week for the first time in about eight or nine months. All the other guys are in the same boat. We aren’t sure how long it’ll take to make our fingers do their jobs again.
Is ‘Killing Season’ a teaser for something coming or a stand-alone single?
We did that song for a project but because of COVID, we pushed that project back. We thought we would just put that song out and then release another song down the line for that project. With that being said, we do have some music cooking in the background for hopefully later this year, so we will have to see what happens.
Since you have had such a big break from playing the guitar, what direction has your creative output been focused on?
A lot of drinking alcohol (laughs). I’m very into food, nice wines, cocktails, etc. When all the bars and restaurants closed down I went out and bought bulk amounts of groceries and fine wines and decided to spend a bit of time in the kitchen. It was nice to treat my partner in that way. I spent the best part of last year cooking I would say.
Well, hopefully, you can make it back over to America to work with Will Putney again for these upcoming tracks.
He said to me the other day “So, what’s the deal, can you leave yet?” I told him that I can but the rest of the band can’t. He replied with “Well then, I’ll just have to come to Australia to live then.” I had to inform him that he can’t come here either.
Well, he would definitely be busy here with all the Australian bands that you have been sending his way like Justice For The Damned for example.
Yeah well, this is his busiest year to date I’m pretty sure. Everyone is just making records because they can’t tour.
What is it about Full Tilt are you most excited about? And what bands will you be watching?
We’re just excited to play shows again! This all Australian festival that they have pieced together is simply great. I don’t want to get ahead of myself and say that it is going to be madness and chaotic but we simply don’t know. It will just be nice to go through the motions again. I’m also excited to be a part of a community that is gathering together to support bands that are similar to us.
In terms of the line-up and who I am excited to see, definitely Alpha Wolf. I haven’t seen them play their new album yet. I also really want to see Northlane, I saw them on their Alien tour in the states a couple of times but being able to see them on a larger stage at home will be a bit more exciting and that album is my favourite release of theirs so I’m excited to see it in action again.
Seeing as ‘Killing Season’ might not be played, do you think we might get to hear some songs from Hate and Holy War at the event?
I don’t even know, we might be doing Hatebreed covers at this stage. (Laughs) An hour of Hatebreed would be nice.
Depending on when everyone can get together with all the restrictions in place, we might only get three days of rehearsals. So, it’ll be a matter of what can we perform. We don’t want to come back and perform songs poorly, we want to play the best that we can. That’s all dependant on the songs, we have really technical, aggressive, fast music. If we have certain songs that we are playing well then I’m sure they will make it into the setlist.
With shows slowly returning across the country (and world) what are you most looking forward to and what should we keep our eyes and ears on the lookout for from Thy Art camp?
I suppose the thing I’m most looking forward to is the feeling of progress. For the past two years we’ve been caught in a holding pattern, away from friends and family, the road and our fans. We don’t like to sit still for too long, and while the enforced break certainly has had some benefits for us, we look forward to slowly putting the TAIM touring machine back to work and will start grinding on a new record soon!
Either way it’s going to be an epic return to form for the band. Cannot wait to see what you guys bring!
Interview by Adam Rice
Thy Art is Murder are playing Full Tilt Festival
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Full Tilt Festival
Adelaide – Saturday, December 4, 2021
Brisbane – Saturday, January 8, 2022
Sydney – Saturday, February 26th, 2022
Melbourne – Saturday, March 26, 2022