Unless you have been living under a rock, you would know that so much has happened within Gravemind camp recently. A change in vocalist, loss of a guitarist, their bonkers new single ‘Deathtouch‘ and a mixed-emotional performance at UNIFY Forever just barely scrapes the tip of the iceberg of how this band have come back HARD post-pandemic.
To catch you up on what’s going down, we grabbed guitarist Damon Bredin to fill us in on exactly what is going on with Gravemind, their future plans and how they found Bailey Schembri and his delicious gutturals…
Thanks for taking the time to chat today Damon. You guys recently recruited new vocalist Bailey Schembri. How did you find him? And what was it about him that made you think he’s perfect for Gravemind?
He’s been in some bands before that we’ve liked. He auditioned originally, [and] we were like, ah, you know, is he is very good at vocals, but he was sort of like lacking a little bit of creativity. We were talking about this with our fill in vocalist at the time, Nat Smith (LUNE). He then went back to Bailey and said look, I like what you’ve got, but just maybe try again and explore a little bit more of your creative side. So it’s not just deathcore sounds and he came back to us and like the dude can sing! The dude’s got insane range. That just did it for us. We’re like, damn this guy. It’s like he’s pretty crazy in all aspects.
How does he plan to live up to the legacy that Dylan Gillies-Parsons left? Dylan seemed to create his own identity within the Gravemind name… Does Bailey have a plan to make this new era of the band his own? How does he plan on bringing those old Gravemind diehard supporters from the early days (who might be considered Dylan superfans) across to be part of the band’s new chapter?
I don’t know if the old Gravemind fans will ever be convinced because we’re constantly moving forward. They all love our old deathcore style, the old heavy shit. I think what Bailey’s going to do will speak for itself. He’s got insane power. His performance at UNIFY for his first show in two or three years came so naturally to him. I think lyrically, he’s a lot different to Dylan, who was very well versed and is just like a living, breathing thesaurus. Bailey’s more into using themes and like aliens and stuff like that, so it’ll be different, but I think he’ll get to grips with it pretty soon.
So how quickly has Bailey been able to find his feet within the band, and have a sense of camaraderie that an established band usually has? Has it been a bit of a process for him to find that or was it more of an instant connection with the boys?
From the get go he’s been pretty casual and calm. He’s not like a silly guy, he’s just straightforward [and] really efficient when he records. He’s been in bands before and he knows how it goes. Overall, it is a process that will take some time because we’ve been a band for six or seven years now so I think it’s weird not having Dylan there, but, each day we spend with Bailey we’re like, this is our dude and we love him already. So yeah, won’t take long at all.
So with the new era of Gravemind – I know pre-COVID you guys had some massive overseas tours planned. How do you see foresee the near future of Gravemind playing out? Is it continuing where COVID stopped it or is it taken a whole new direction?
We’re going to try and continue the momentum as much as we can. We took some pretty big hits. COVID killed everything and then Dylan left, it just obviously slowed us down quite significantly. But we still have the same booking agents and the same interest from the people that want to see us do well. We also still have the same album. Once we’re all ready to go with it, we’ll just continue on where you left off.
I want to talk about your UNIFY Forever set. I had the pleasure of witnessing that performance and it was unfortunate that you boys had your set cut short due to technical difficulties. To have been the only band on that entire lineup to have had that happen must have been very unsettling. How did you guys feel walking off that stage?
Look, it’s happened to us before. It happened at our most recent Melbourne headliner. Even though this was a different issue, It’s the typical Gravemind thing to happen. We’re all pretty disheartened that the first 10 or so minutes of the set went as awfully as it did. I think after a 15 minute period where we all just cooled down, no one blamed anybody.
We were just a little bit sad that it happened, but the second half of that set was crazy. The crowd was going off and Bailey did such a good job. It was still a pretty cool experience.
Yeah, sweet! Now onto your new song ‘Deathtouch‘. Take us through the thought process behind that one?
We’ve already told everybody a while ago that we’ve got a new album, with other singles that are already planned, but obviously, that was all filmed with an old lineup. And this was a song that was a bit contentious between all of us. We thought it’s a really good balance of a track that’s heavy but it also has room to breathe with cleans and a different sound. So we thought if we’re getting a new vocalist, we want to just sort of branch out, do something different and just see how it goes from there. So that was the first song that we did after Conduit. We wrote it around two and a half years ago.
Oh sweet so an album is on the way sooner than expected. Would you say this song makes up the signature sound for what you’re honing in on?
No, every song on the album sounds a little bit different to every other song. So this [Deathtouch] is definitely the most 2019 iteration of Gravemind that there is on the album. Other than that song, we’ve got heavier tracks. We’ve definitely got softer tracks. This was definitely just like the most sort of digital sounding, a lot like Lifelike, is what we compared it to.
You already mentioned that Gravemind has new music on the way but what else can we expect from you guys 2022?
I think we’ve just about announced everything. We have another one or two tours planned but other than that, we’re really looking forward to trying to get ourselves out there and to continue on where we left off, because it’s already been a long time.
It’s been three years since we released an album so we’re looking to get that out as quick as we can [and] hopefully go to Europe with no interruptions and just get to have a good time.
Sounds like a hectic year ahead which is awesome! Any last thoughts of fans?
Don’t be disheartened by Bailey’s cleans, or anything he is doing. I noticed there’s now a few people that are coming up and they’re just a bit confused by what he’s doing and where we’re going. We’re still very heavy. We’re still going to be doing the same old Gravemind stuff, the songwriting hasn’t changed. Bailey has a crazy knack of being able to sound like every vocalist I’ve ever heard before. So I think people will be pleasantly surprised with what they hear in the future.
Thanks for the chat, Damon. I’m looking forward to watching you lot smash your goals over the course of 2022 and beyond!
Interview by Adam Rice
Stream ‘Deathtouch‘ here