Aussie tech-death legends Psycroptic have just released their brand new album As the Kingdom Drowns and it is an absolute banger. We took some time on the phone with frontman Jason Peppiatt to discuss the new record, as well as his thoughts on Australian heavy bands on the world stage. If you haven't heard it yet, we highly recommend you put the record on now while you read the interview!
MANIACS: The new record is dark, riffy, and in some parts a little symphonic. How did you guys end up going in this direction?
Jason: It was, I suppose, a natural progression. The songs were done roughly in pre-production with Joe drum-programming and stuff like that and by the time everyone added their elements and Joe put the production touches on the end of it it's just the way it went. We wanted to go for a darker and heavier sounding album than usual. We're all really happy with how its come out.
MANIACS: Compared to the older records, As the Kingdom Drowns sounds deeper or fuller. Did you do anything different in the studio to do that?
Jason: We actually got Will Putney to mix this one, so he's worked his magic on it a fair bit. We did go for a heavier guitar sound than usual. I suppose because this album is not as techy as what we've done in the past it opened us up to being able to use bigger tones and bigger drum sounds because it wasn't going so fast all the time. I'm no expert at production, but I think that's got a lot to do with it.
MANIACS: Do you have a favourite track on the record?
Jason: I really like the way the title track came out. I'd probably say We Were The Keepers was another favourite of mine. I suppose they're the ones with the bigger sounding, more epic choruses.
MANIACS: What can you tell us about the cover art? It looks awesome!
Jason: Dave organised the artwork. The art was actually done before the album was finished. Dave gave a bit of an outline to the artist and that's what he came back with and we were stoked with it. I hadn't even written any lyrics before the cover came in, so Dave sent the cover to me and said "alright when you start writing draw some inspiration off this" so I interpreted it as I could. It's a masterpiece of a cover so we're so happy with how it came up.
MANIACS: Psycroptic has been going for nearly 20 years now. Where do you guys look for fresh ideas?
Jason: We just do what we do. Joe's the mastermind behind it all. He gets the backbone going. I think more than anything we're a band that all want to go in the same direction. We all feed off each other and it moulds itself into what it's going to be. With this one we said we want to go heavier, a bit darker, and everyone went to town on it.
MANIACS: Australia punches above its weight when it comes to heavy music. Do you have any ideas why Australia does so well?
Jason: I think Australian bands, when they get going with the touring, get really hungry for it. Us Australians - we're ambitious fuckers. When the bands start seeing some success they push it a far as they can.
Bands like King Parrot have been hitting the road non-stop. Same with bands like Thy Art Is Murder and Ne Obliviscaris. The Aussie bands that are getting out there have got great work ethic. Once upon a time a lot of Australian bands weren't getting out on the world circuit and touring and I think now flights being cheaper, communications are easier, so I think more than anything it's just the Australian bands are keen to get out there and work.
MANIACS: Do you find yourself listening to your own music a lot?
Jason: When I first get the mix back for an album I do review it a lot. I listen over and over it and get pretty stoked on it. We're getting ready for the next tour and we've never played any of these songs live, so I am going over a few particular songs that we're playing live trying to get them in my head.
MANIACS: Which tracks are you most keen to perform live?
Jason: I'm really hoping we do the title track and probably Directive is another one I'm looking forward to giving a run live. It's got a good tempo which I think is going to work really good with the mosh pit and I think it will go down really well live. To this date, Euphorinasia has always been my favourite track to play live just because its got that mosh pit tempo and I think Directive is going to be the one on the new album that has that same vibe for live.