If you’ve been a long time Wall of Sound reader, you’d know our love affair with Sydney’s Bare Bones dates way back to their 2017 debut album Bad Habits, which set the boys up for success and made them a household name in Australian heavy music.
Following on from this, they popped up on tours supporting the likes of Stone Sour and Rise Against, played Big Sound and backed it all up with their sophomore album Rival Minds back in 2019. Then covid hit and the band took control of their own destiny by becoming completely DIY in studio – dropping recent single ‘Ivory Dusk‘ which they self-produced and recorded alongside this latest slapper.
‘House of Static‘ sees the band honing in on that signature guitar-driven hardcore/punk sound with frontman Tom Kennedy ebb and flowing between his melodic sections and screams with the rest of the outfit providing a security blanket of metal goodness that treads on familar territory while showcasing how fine-tuned the Bones have become in the decade they’ve been making music together.
It’s a bloody good time and exceptional return to form for the now four-piece, so we grabbed Tom (TK), drummer/producer Chris Blancato (CB) and guitarist/songwriter James Dean (JD) to take us behind the scenes of the making-of, the trials and tribulations they’ve encountered over the past 10 years and what the future holds…
Yeah The Bones! You’re back again and you’ve headed back to your riff-driven roots on ‘House of Static’ – Give us a rundown of what this track is all about?
JD – HOS is an interesting one, generally within the band Tom will write most lyrics and I’ll pen one or two songs an album. With HOS Tom gave me the partially finished lyrics and the demo of the melody and asked for some input. I read the lyrics with no context and interpreted them in my own way and added.
I now know that the REAL context of the track is based off this whacky idea/vision/dream Tom had of a world where we were all (humanity) in the Squid Games, and that our only hope were phoney American karate masters (think Rex Kwon Do from Napoleon Dynamite).
So yeah, it’s pretty out there. Also I’m pretty sure he snuck a nod to the big dog, Fred Durst, can you pick it?
Not yet but now you have me intrigued to go back again for another spin! You’ve taken control of the band by self-recording and producing in house – what made you decide the DIY life was best for you?
CB – We didn’t really have a choice to be honest. Like every other band trying to stay productive throughout the last couple of years of road blocks, we had to get ourselves into gear and come up with a process to work remotely and record our parts at home. Setting up camp in a studio with an external producer for days/weeks on end just wasn’t a reality, so the control just naturally fell back on us by default.
It’s turned out quite well though, we are all stoked on how these songs have been coming out, and will likely be something we do in future, to help us get more music out quicker.
You’ve been doing the hard yards since before we found you in 2017 – you’ve signed to Resist Records and dropped two albums in the process… Given your experience and knowledge now – what do you think are the most common mistakes bands make when they’re just starting out that you can shine a light on?
TK – We’ve now been a band for a decade, we started back in 2012, we’ve learned a shit load, and it’s been a pretty crazy journey for us, but we’ve always been true to who we are as both people, and, musicians. We’ve seen so many bands come and go, and a super common mistake is not being authentic, bands switch up on a dime based on what they think will make them “successful”.
Forget what everyone else is doing, forget what trends are in, write music for yourself, and that you’d want to hear, don’t take yourself too seriously, and have fun doing it. We started this band with the goal of recording one song, and took it from there.
You’ve been on both sides of the fence when it comes to working with teams and doing things on your own. What have you learned about the process over the years and how is it driving this new era of Bare Bones?
JD – Since the band formed in 2012 we’ve always had the ethos of writing and releasing music we want to listen to, so doing things DIY has always appealed to us as we have direct control, and we are extremely lucky to have a range of skills in the band that allow us to handle most aspects.
We’ve been really lucky with Resist, they have a hands off approach and are happy for us to run our own race, and step in for the finer detail aspects of putting out a release. As a band we control and organise every creative aspect from the music, to the merch to the album covers and everything in between.
In terms of booking agents, it’s always been better to be with someone than not! In this day and age I think a great booking agent is the best person you can have in your corner.
Tom, the last time we spoke, you alluded that an EP was coming in 2022 – what’s the status of that?
TK – House Of Static is the second single off that EP, we’ve been taking a different approach to it, in that we are recording each song individually in full, as opposed to recording the whole project at once. Expect to see more details come to light in the not too distant future. We are looking forward to being more active, and releasing as much music as we can.
You’ve teamed up with Beats Cartel for touring and we’re going to see you boys popping up a bit more often this year – how has the Bare Bones live experience changed since the last time we saw you?
TK – The most obvious change is we are down a member, our bass player James (Clarke) decided to move on, and he’s killing it with photography and other creative work. We’re at the point now where it doesn’t really feel natural to add someone new in the fray, so we have decided to perform as a 4 piece going forward and to run bass on tracks. It’s allowed us to experiment with interludes between songs, and to recreate some of the layers within the songs live, that were previously reserved for the studio only versions. It gives the set an added layer of atmosphere, and a new energy.
Looking ahead – what’s the next big goal on the band’s horizon and how are you getting there?
TK – We’ve always been a band that just rides the wave, and goes with the flow, especially with the way things have been the last few years, making any grandiose plans, is asking for trouble. I think we want to just really make sure that we leave no stone unturned creatively, whether that be music, music videos, our live show.
And that attention to detail doesn’t go unnoticed either so keep it up! Any final thoughts?
TK – We can’t thank everyone enough, it seems insane that we are still doing this band a decade later, and that wouldn’t be possible without the awesome people we’ve met through this crazy ride. Looking forward to whatever’s down the road.
Likewise you mad dogs! See you soon…
Interview by Paul ‘Browny’ Brown Insta: @brownypaul
‘House of Static‘ is out tomorrow. Stream here
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