Australia’s most successful deathcore act, Thy Art Is Murder, has been slogging away for years to become the genre leaders that they are today, with each album that they release having a profound effect on the group’s popularity.
As we edge closer to the release of the Sydney-based band’s fifth album titled Godlike, we had the chance to sit with the quintet’s guitarist and band manager, Andy Marsh to chat about the group moving forward as an independent act, without any backing from record labels or external management, the relationship between the deathcore superstars and long time producer Will Putney, and of course the new album, amongst other things.
Godlike is due to be the group’s first fully independent release since forming in 2010, meaning that this is the first time in the band’s history that they have full control over the writing and recording process, without any external input. On whether this impacted the way the group approached the creation of the new album, Marsh explains:
“It didn’t change anything, except for the amount of time we took to write and record the album. We did everything to our own schedule as opposed to being rushed labels and working to their schedules, which was really nice.”
Thy Art Is Murder have worked exclusively in the studio with famous metal producer Will Putney on every album release since 2012. The relationship first began when Putney produced their sophomore album, Hate, which, through the course of time has grown to become one of the genre’s strongest releases. Throughout those ten years, the relationship between Putney and the band has only intensified. When asked how that relationship strengthened through the creation of album number five, the guitarist replied:
“The relationship has been ongoing for over ten years now and our bond only continues to grow with every record that we make. Obviously, Will and I own Graphic Nature together, that’s our thing. He and I are best mates and we talk every day, which feels very natural.”
Marsh goes on the describe Putney’s approach to creating new music in the studio alongside Thy Art Is Murder.
“He and I are constantly having chats about how I feel what creative direction the band should go in the future and what his input is. Then perhaps we would set some goals together, or work on what we would like to include or avoid next time. This can happen immediately following the recording of an album, in regard to planning the next album. In pre-production however, he is generally pretty hands-off until he needs to get us working because Sean (Delander, Rhythm guitarist), Jesse (Beahler, Drums) and I love to go to the pub. We would literally sneak out of the studio and just go to the pub and I would get bombarded with calls from Will saying ‘What the fuck are you guys doing?!’ The last time that happened he called to let us know that we only have seven songs completed and he needed twenty songs finished by the end of the week.”
“Generally though, we are free to mess around a little bit and do that sort of thing because he is a pretty busy guy. Usually he would just let us do our thing while he is in the next room working on the music from another band, all while keeping an eye on us. He takes mental notes of what we are doing and later shares his input. Then when it gets to the point where that process is complete, he will become very hands-on tell us where he thinks we can do better. After years of working with Will, it has all become very natural.”
The direction of the new album sounds fitting to be played in arenas or in festival headline slots, rather than club shows and other smaller venues. With the natural progression of sounds from different metal bands proving to be a controversial topic throughout the worldwide metal community, Thy Art Is Murder‘s guitar shredding manager explained whether that shift in sound was intentional, or whether it was a natural progression.
“That move was absolutely deliberate. When going in to write this record I encouraged everybody to keep one question in the back of their mind, with the question being ‘Can you envision these songs being played on the main stage at a large format festival?’ If the song in question was a slow, super brutal, half-time heavy breakdown that goes on for ages, I can’t imagine that track being played in that setting.
Whilst the track might be really good, I wanted everyone to continue asking themselves that question with every piece of music that we wrote. If the answer was no, it most likely should be culled. While other riffs that we had written may not be to as much of our liking, we would usually have to revisit it and we might think ‘Hang on, this right here is big boy stuff, perhaps we should rethink about this.’ That question really helped guide us throughout the entire process.”
Marsh further continues to reveal whether this new style of sound from the group would push the five-piece to present differently on stage in front of a fanbase that is very mosh-hungry.
“In terms of presentation, I think we would definitely present differently, which is something that we have always wanted to do as we have some great ideas but it really comes down to dollars and cents. How can we afford to present the band in a live setting? It’s getting to the point now where some of these headline shows we are playing is costing us tens of thousands of dollars. We are trying to make money and it wasn’t that long ago when we were making around two thousand dollars per show and now we are at the point where we want to spend fifty thousand dollars putting on a show.
We are spending more time thinking about cost-effective ways to bring our on-stage ideas to life. We really want to immerse the crowd as much as possible, whether that be through bringing an element of the music video to life, or bringing more immersive audio experiences from the record to the stage.”
Earlier this year the group released a split EP titled The Aggression Sessions as a follow up to 2016’s The Depression Sessions, alongside friends in Fit For An Autopsy and Malevolence. Fit For An Autopsy featured on both split EPs, whereas this time around Malevolence featured in the ‘sessions series’, in place of The Acacia Strain, who featured on the first release. When discussing why he chose Malevolence to be a part of the project, the Australian-American guitarist went on to say:
“We have always thought that they are a really fun band. I told them that I was quite disappointed in their cover song choice because it kind of ruined the pitch of the project with the idea behind The Aggression Sessions being that each band returns to their more aggressive roots from their early years as a band, which would bleed through in the tracks sound. Then they did a pop-goes-punk style cover which really took away from the original idea. However, we are all fans of the band and have been doing shows with them across the European Union for over ten years. They are really cool guys. We wanted to do an Australian tour with them for a while, which we ended up doing last year. We thought that they are a band that could really bring something to the table.”
With an abundance of new tunes coming from the deathcore kings this year, it might have been safe to assume that they wrote all of these tracks at the same time, however, Marsh clarifies this:
“I wrote ‘Until There Is No Longer’ at the same time I wrote Human Target (2019). I also wrote ‘Killing Season’ at the end of 2019 and I thought that tune was very similar to the music that we were writing early in our career as a band with the panning guitars and increased BPM, It’s very fast which makes it quite difficult to perform. We originally put that song together for The Aggression Sessions but then COVID happened so I decided to release the song in 2020.”
“Then I had a B-side track that we had worked on previously during the Human Target sessions, which was titled ‘Metallica’ for whatever reason. I actually had a few B-sides from that time but this one was the most aggressive-sounding one. I wrote the lyrics for that track at the start of last year and then put it together in order to have something for the project. The same thing happened with Fit For An Autopsy where ‘Fear Tomorrow’ was originally for The Aggression Sessions project but they released that during COVID. They had the luxury of recording a new song for The Aggression Sessions whereas we were quite busy and not in America so I just had to pick a song that I had already recorded.”
And when discussing the idea of a potential third instalment of the ‘sessions series’ to come, Andy says:
“Absolutely! Will and I had already thought of that years ago, we just can’t decide on a title. Just remember that The Aggression Sessions was originally supposed to come out over three years ago, it was delayed quite a bit due to the pandemic but we definitely have another one in our sights.”
Australians were lucky enough to kick off their year with arguably the biggest and best deathcore tour lineup this country has ever seen, with our hometown heroes, Thy Art Is Murder headlining the spectacle for a ten-year anniversary of their album Hate. Then, as a mid-year treat the band toured regional Australia with some of the best upcoming Australian acts within this genre. When probed as to whether we will have the pleasure of witnessing this class act live in action once again within the next six to nine months, Marsh had this to say:
“I would definitely hope so. It is a punish trying to put quality lineups together and dealing with the contracting. It has been a challenging year while learning to put out a record around the world as well as going on tour, while setting up more tours at the same time. I’m on top of all of that now but it is up to all of the other parties involved. Hopefully we can get that all wrapped up within the next couple of weeks.”
Stay tuned for more from the world of Thy Art Is Murder.
Interview by Adam Rice
Godlike is released on September 22nd via Human Warfare.
Thy Art Is Murder – Godlike tracklisting:
1. Destroyer of Dreams
2. Blood Throne
3. Join Me In Armageddon
5. Everything Unwanted
6. Lesson In Pain