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Interview: Beastwars Talk About Their New Album 'IV' – Part Two

Interview: Beastwars Talk About Their New Album 'IV' – Part Two

Ace Hunt / Photo credit: David James / Wednesday 3rd July, 2019 9:43AM

Ace Hunt of Cortina / Reptilian Future Cops met up with Beastwars members Matt Hyde and Nathan 'Nato' Hickey in Wellington to talk of things and of their new album IV, their upcoming release tour and more. Check out the first half of their in-depth conversation over here delving into the band's reunion following Hyde's diagnosis with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and scroll down to read the concluding instalment.

Beastwars IV - Album Release Tour

Friday 5th July - Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Saturday 6th July - The Cook, Dunedin

Tickets available HERE via UTR

Ace Hunt: To most you guys could be considered to be predominately a metal type band, but when I see you I think of much more than that. I also think of punk, hardcore, metal from say the 70s, 80s and 90s. I know that James Woods cited Sonic Youth and the Butthole Surfers as influences of his in another interview. I also think of Nick Cave, and even some earlier NZ hard core stuff like SPUD and early Head like a Hole.

Matt Hyde: There are lots of crossovers, definitely Sonic Youth, I'd been going through a lot of music that I hadn't listened to in a while, there are so many influences, and they have come out in this new album which seems to work.

Nato: Definitely Sonic Youth is a band that we all love, and Black Sabbath obviously, and a whole lot of other stuff.

What about Clayton [Anderson]?

Matt: Yeah lately he's been listening to Disintegration by The Cure, he's really into the Flying Nun stuff as well like The Clean, This Kind Of Punishment and the Dead C. The other night James and Clayton were getting pretty in depth with this alternative 80s Port Chalmers Xpressway tape, apparently there are only 5 copies of it in existence, eh Nato?

Nato: I'm not sure, I had switched off by that point. [everyone laughs]

I guess we are from that time period in our musical formative years when hard core alternative music was popular in certain scenes, which actually has a strong history in New Zealand overall. 

Matt: Yeah we are from that time and it seems so normal to be a band like that.

I remember when I first saw you guys at San Fran, I think it was on a free Wednesday night or something back around in 2010. One of the first things that struck me was that you were not a bunch of 18 years olds trying to prove something, you were older and completely genuine with a huge amount of depth. Here were four Generation X'ers completely at ease in their own roles or specialised skill sets combining for one majestic singular monster called Beastwars. I was literally taken on a journey along with the rest of the crowd, it was as if we were taken into a realm, an almost forgotten place but yet familiar as well. And Beastwars are like – I know we have taken you to this place and here is where we all find ourselves, and it's dark, and it's tormenting as hell, but don't worry we see it too and we are in this together, we will never leave your side and we can take you out! After this otherworldly journey we feel baptised by Beastwars and our previous existence will be forever changed. Not unsimilar to Dante being escorted through all the dimensions of the netherworld by Virgil.

Matt: Yes I really like to go somewhere when we perform, that's where the magic is, there's good and bad in everything and there is beauty and power, and there's always elements you can feel in the room that you can feel when the magic is about to happen. We are lucky enough to have that happen to us live. At first I was scared of the magic, but as time has gone by I realised that it wasn't just me it was all of us, and once I realised it was all of us and I was OK. It wasn't some crazy thing that I had conjured up from some place, it was actually all of us, and then I had to learn to live with it. When we were on our last tour in Australia at one point I was going through a period of just drinking cups of tea and reading books. It was a real turning point for me as the live magic kept happening and I was like, wow! I don't need all the bells and whistles that you thought rock n roll had to have. Its always constantly changing, but what you just said is how I feel about it. Like we are all here together, we'll get there.

So Nato do you feel that magic as well?

Nato: Yeah I definitely feel a lot of energy off Matthew when we do our live shows, as I'm so far back because I'm playing behind the drums I don't see how the crowd is responding to it, but what I do see is a lot of positive energy in the room.

Matt: I see a lot of joy, people seem happy, they feel that this is a place that they can come and feel comfortable to just let it go, like that whole primal scream thing. We have been really lucky to have this happening. Sometimes the energy can go beyond the band and the audience like one time in Lyttelton at the Wunderbar, where there was a storm outside with a full moon and fast moving clouds and thunder! What was going on outside started to relate to what was happening inside. Around that time we were gigging in the South Island, driving and playing in a lot of small towns, we felt really connected to New Zealand. It was a special time.

So normally things go pretty smoothly with your live performances?

Matt: Yeah until James blows an amp, he just keeps blowing up amps.

Nato: People used to write and say they love his bass tone and we used to say that there is a secret to that, he blows up amps! [everyone laughs]

How do you guys write your stuff? Does it come when you are together or does someone come up with a riff or vocals first? Or everything? Or much more random?

Matt: Normally I react to the music that the others in the band give me.

Nato: When I write stuff I know what Matt can do so there's always something in your head, the only funny thing is that sometimes what I think is the chorus ends up being the verse etc...

Matt: I just go with what I feel is right, I keep couple of diaries that I have lyrical ideas in and also just what comes into my head on the day.

Nato you are the drummer but you are writing a fair bit towards the songs and melodies, how does this work?

Nato: I've been playing the guitar since I was seven and I spend all of my disposable income goes on effects pedals, guitars and amps.

Matt: He doesn't stop! [everyone laughs]

Nato: I started playing drums as I always wanted to be a drummer, so I started a band so I could be the drummer. I started to teach myself when we all started jamming.

The two Beastwars members went on to say that they jammed as mates for 2 - 3 years, learning their sound, getting more structure and basically mastering their instruments. Playing live was something that was even hard to imagine back then until a friend wanted them to play at a party so they had to finalise a set of songs to perform them. It was around this time that they made their first recording. The party went off and Beastwars as we now know them were born.

Then after a number of years they break up, but only to reform shortly after to produce one of their best albums to date, along with the all-inspiring music video for 'Storms of Mars'. They have rebuilt the Beastwars soul, and put themselves back on the musical map, all roads lead to a new and better Rome!

Matt: It was like how do we make it better? And I think also because Nathan is an editor by trade, he knows how to make things better. I think the whole band can work on that level, we all trust each other, we all ask each other’s opinion because we all want the best for each other. Sometimes it's tough to get to because like any relationship, people argue but deep down, everyone wants the best for each other.

And the future of Beastwars where to after the tour?

Nato: Well, we are writing new songs.

That is awesome!

Matt: And Nato's in a new band, End Boss.

Nato: Yeah keep an eye out for End Boss!

After the interview I realised that this band has been through a lot, from hanging out with mates, forming a band through to their following success in Australasia. Then there was the break up with one member moving overseas, then came the vocalists diagnosis of cancer, his subsequent battle and eventual victory over this catastrophic period. But during this time he and his mates came back together and the band was reformed leading to a new album and they are now all set to go on tour. I couldn't help but feel totally inspired by these guys, with complete admiration for their honesty and integrity with this interview. This is a story is of epic proportions, a story of life and a brush with death, it's about loyalty, true friendship and raw talent. And now they are back and on fire! They are ready to deliver even more wilder, deeper, and heart wrenching show than ever before, don't miss them in a town or city near you! – Ace Hunt

'IV' is out now via Destroy Records and can be pre-ordered now - limited edition vinyl, cassette and t-shirt bundles are available at


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Fri 5th Jul
Cassels Blue Smoke, Christchurch
Sat 6th Jul
The Cook, Dunedin

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