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Scul Hazards

Scul Hazards

Tuesday 8th February, 2011 9:03AM

Australian by Melbourne by London noise rockers Scul Hazards are hitting New Zealand tomorrow night to play a gig at Happy in Wellington before quite possibly heading down to play an oh-so-secretive festival at the weekend. We caught up with Steven Smith about what makes the band tick.

Tell me about how you guys got started:

SCUL HAZZARDs started in around 2005 when myself and the former singer who were playing in other bands decided to make a raucous and noisy punk band. It was the first time I had played in a band that had an aesthetic and name in mind before we even had our first jam. The first shows were pretty crazy with our singer climbing up on things and stuff breaking, and the venues we were playing at tended not to appreciate it very much and we were denied payment several times because of the craziness. We were lucky in the beginning though and were getting decent shows and interest from Valve records in Brisbane very early on.

How did your sound and aesthetic come about?

Our sound has progressed quite naturally over time, mainly due to band members coming and going - we had our singer leave to play bass in Die! Die! Die! and our original drummer leaving around the same time. Gradually over time playing in the newer lineup we've grown in how we work together and become a much more precise and and focused in our delivery and arrangements, and we've become more aware of our strengths as a band and what works for us and what doesn't. It feels weird calling our current lineup "the newer lineup" seeing as we have existed in this format for far longer than our original one.

Tell me about the international nature of your band:

We formed in Brisbane but in around 2007 we moved over to London. It feels kind of odd as we were a band in London almost as long as we were a band in Brisbane (in the current format anyway), so in a way we feel like we're a London band almost as much as an Brisbane one. We seem to have band timing though, as things were justing starting to go well for us in Brisbane, then we took off to London, and just as stuff there was becoming quite promising we had to return to Australia. From London we had some excellent opportunities to tour, and we managed to play shows in most of western Europe, and then a little eastern Europe as well. Europe is a blast to tour, they treat you amazing and are very hospitable, and extremely enthusiastic to boot. The thing thing I miss most about living in London is actually leaving it to tour the continent where it was feasible to tour for a month and play nearly every night. We were fortunate enough to also have a label from Paris called Rejuvenation put us out there to coincide with first tour of France. That opened a lot of doors as far as DIY touring goes, particularly in France where everyone seemed to know the guy who runs our label and would teach us French curses to say to him on their behalf.

You've done a ton of international touring with a myriad of great bands. Tell me a bit about these experiences and how it has influenced your sound:

Playing with some of those bands has been awesome. Some a great guys and we've gotten along well, others not so much. I think it's definitely influenced our volume. We've certainly gotten a lot louder (and deafer) over the years.

Where are you guys based and what's it like in terms of being a supportive creative community?

Currently we're in Melbourne. It seems a bit cliquey here, but same as most places I am sure. If history is anything to go by we'll spend a couple of years here and then move on just as things are starting to pick up for us. I think we have it a bit better off here than a lot of bands moving to a new city as we have friends and know a few bands already. There's also the problem that seems to follow us everywhere - we're too heavy for the indie scene, but too indie for the heavy scene. That said, we're consciously trying not to play all that often, focussing more on writing, and taking on shows that sound exciting.

You are writing and recording at the moment yeah? Tell me a little bit about the new material?

The new material is quite varied. I think it still sounds like us but a lot of the songs are a lot more direct and unique to themselves. For the most part they seem to be a litte more measured and considered but at the same time I don't think they've lost any intensity when compared to the older material.

What are you exploring in terms sonically and thematically with the new material?

Sonically we're still approaching things in the same way as we have for years - raw abrasive tones coupled with considered playing, often playing around each other instead of over the top of, you know, like complimenting what each other is playing instead of playing he exact same thing. Our arrangements also seem to be becoming a little less verse-chorus and a bit more of whatever feels right. I find I'm also starting to slip a lot more guitar solos in there, which is a good thing as it means that I sing less and need to write less lyrics as a result.

When can we expect the new material out?

Hopefully we'll have a new album between middle and the third quarter of this year. We plan to take things a little slower than in the past this time around. We've tended to rush things in the past but this time I don't think we feel as rushed for some reason. Maybe it's because we've got a bit of stuff out, or maybe because we haven't always been happy with every element of the past recording - the last two were done in only a couple of days each and we want to get things just right. We've been demoing a bit and experimenting with different microphones and placement so when we're ready to record we'll know exactly what we need to do to achieve the results we want. We probably should get around to it soon though - most of our set these days is comprised of unreleased music.

Finish this sentence. The state of the music industry is:

More like a hobby than an industry, really.


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