Albany might not be the first place that comes to mind when talking about our thriving rock scene.
AFTER: DUNE RATS: Dance classes and get off the beaten track COMMENTS: DUNE RATS: True rare whale // THE SWITCHES : In nature // WAX: At least I’m free // I WIN: true power // PARKWAY WALK: even darker // GET OFF THE TRAILS: Euthanasia // LIZ DEXIC: Grant
But Liz Dexic flies the city flag, proving how much talent we have hidden in every corner of our country. The group caught our attention with their recent single, Granta nostalgia-soaked number that will send you back to the 90s. Naturally, we wanted to know more, so we caught up with drummer Simon Blackburn to chat.
Hysteria: How did the band form?
Simon: We are in Albany, Western Australia. It’s five hours south of Perth, and it’s a remote coastal town. Me and other peers had various projects going on, like rap-rock and that kind of stuff. Members left and moved to Perth, which is the norm in Albany. Me and Cameron (Spence, guitarist) decided to start a new project focused on our love of alternative rock and metal from the late 90s and early 2000s.
We originally had a different singer, Sarah Stevenson. We did a few singles together, and when she left and Clay Moir came into the fold, we took the opportunity to relaunch the band under the same name. This allowed us to evolve our sound.
What is the story behind the band’s name?
Sarah would speak proudly of her struggles with dyslexia. We decided to use that and play on words. Not in a way that would offend anyone, but in a way that would turn a negative into a positive. If you think about it broadly, it’s about overcoming challenges and turning a struggle into something you can own. It is empowering.
On our first single, I wrote all the words, but with this one, we thought we’d been with Clay long enough, and it was his turn. He found the lyrical theme and tackled it himself.
It’s a great way to look at things. We would like to dig into the new single. What inspired Grant?
This is our second single with Clay. On our first single, I wrote all the words, but with this one, we thought we’d been with Clay long enough, and it was his turn. He found the lyrical theme and tackled it himself. He described it as the mental battle in your head when dealing with controlling people. Or it could be someone in a position of power, like a boss or a family member. It could even be as high as government control.
Grant looks at how you can experience mental anguish that you may not see on the outside, but have to live with on a daily basis.
How did you find the change of singers?
Sarah’s voice was more ethereal and on a higher register. Clay is low to midrange with a rock and grunge feel. It blends well with our sound and our influences. In many ways, with this lineup, we feel like our sound is what it was always meant to be.
Who did you work with to put it together?
James Newhouse of Lamb Chop in Bunbury, WA. He did stuff with John Butler, The Waifs and all those acts that aren’t necessarily our genre, but it was recommended to us, and we had a fantastic time. We were really happy with the quality of the production and its focus on fine-tuning the instrumentation, something we haven’t experienced elsewhere. He spent a lot of time getting the sounds right instead of fixing things in pre-production. So he did all the production and mixing, then it was mastered by Leon Zervos of Studios 301 in Sydney. He worked with Muse, Avril Lavigne and a large number of acts. We have this feather in our hat to say that the guy who mastered our track did all of this.
Humble boasting, we’d get away with it.
If you could tour with any band, which one would it be?
Cam looks like system of a Down. These are his favorites. They are a great inspiration to me too. I would also say Korn Where Tool. Clay would just be happy to shoot (laughs). This is the highest level.
Locally, it would be cool to open for a band like Butterfly Effect. Or a group that is adjacent to the genre.
What can you tell us about your next EP?
We will work with James again. We are looking to record/release in March and April. It will be a four track EP, and we are currently working on its first two songs. Once it’s together and we kick it off, we’ll do regional tours.
We will be in writing mode by the end of the year. We will also be building our live set to accommodate our big change in singers. In many ways it started from scratch because Clay’s style doesn’t match our old style. So we’ll be writing, reworking old songs and going out and touring.
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