Tag Archives: Karnivool

Kim Benzie of Dead Letter Circus

Share

‘What’s The Scene?’ interviewed Kim Benzie, vocalist of the sensational Australian alt-rock band ‘Dead Letter Circus’ who are all set to headline the massive battle of bands at the BITS Pilani KK Birla Goa campus along with Inner Sanctum on the 3rd of November.

WTS: Karnivool, Parkway Drive and now Dead Letter Circus – Australian bands are performing in India quite regularly now. It’s the first time for you guys. Have you heard anything about India from these bands?

Kim: Our friends from Karnivool came back really blown away by the whole experience, from the people to the place. You guys have very intricate music and art, which we have admired from afar for a long time. India has been on all of our personal must-see travel lists anyway, so to have the chance to perform our music and see your country is truly a blessing. We are really looking forward to feeling that connection between the artist and the crowd. It will be amazing to connect in the universal language of sound and emotion.

WTS: In 2008, Scott left the band and you guys were in need of a drummer. How did you come across Luke?

Kim: Melodyssey had actually given us some of our first shows and Luke was a friend. We literally had a week before heading out on tour as support for a massive band here called Cog when Scott pulled the pin.  Steve from Karnivool filled in for a week, and then Luke jumped on board, also only to fill in, but after a week he fell in love with the music and the rest is history.

WTS: Luke toured with Dead Letter Circus and Melodyssey together. What was the experience like?

Kim: Melodyssey and Dead Letter geographically grew up in a very similar area so as a result we are all good friends. That tour still stands as one of the funnest times of being in the band. Luke just made sure his fitness was at a peak so he could nail both sets.

WTS: How has the sound evolved after Luke came in and ever since you guys started playing together?

Kim: Luke really completed the unit on an energetic level, and in a way we felt he was always supposed to be a part of it. He is the backbone of the band and it feels like we began with him and have been slowly evolving since.

WTS: After a self-titled EP in 2007, and a debut album in 2010, you guys have started working on a new album this year. You have hinted that the new album will have some electronic elements. Now, that’s quite intriguing because ‘The Space on the Wall’ does give a little peek to the band’s electronic side.Tell us a bit about the new album and how you went about the whole process this time?

Kim: What we really felt we got from the success of ‘This is the Warning’ was a confirmation from the people listening, that we can be creative in a broad style. Our debut EP was very frenetic and one dimensional whereas we really branched out stylistically on TITW. We are all fans of atmospheric electronic music like Massive Attack and NIN, so some of these influences became a part of the DLC sound. My comment was more in relation to starting some concepts as electronic and developing them back towards the organic band sound. Previously we had only experimented with adding complimentary layers of synthetic sounds to the already formed rock sound.

WTS: Is there any title for the album yet?

Kim: No not yet but we will be playing a brand new song from the upcoming album called ‘The Catalyst Fire‘ at the festival.

WTS: Tell us about your No Fracking Way Tour, what made you take up that cause?

Kim: We are firm believers of the fact that corporation-controlled governments like ours in Australia, who are controlling the media, will only report what they want people to hear, that decisions are being made for all of us, with a view to profit and not sustainability. The issue of Coal Seam Gas mining in Australia is a major concern here. We have a beautiful country to protect, and mining companies are tearing it apart at alarming rates. We have every intention of using our voice to point people in the direction of the issues we believe in, that won’t be front page news here when they should be.

WTS: Quick trivia. Who’s the clown in the band?

Kim: Stew.

WTS: Who’s the serious one?

Kim: Me.

WTS: And who can be the most annoying?

Kim:  Me!

WTS: What do you guys do apart from making music?

Kim: For the last few years DLC has been a full time occupation with no time for anything other than writing and touring. It’s an amazing life and we feel very blessed.

WTS: Hope you guys have an amazing concert. What are you looking forward to the most at this show?

Kim: Playing at a university concert! We have done a lot of university shows in Australia. There is always a great vibe in these centers for learning and progress.  It could simply be that the people that assemble there are open-minded and ready for new things, or simply that study is hard work and when they party and let go, they go crazy.

Comment

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

Share

A few months ago, IIT Bombay threw the biggest surprise at the nation by revealing their headlining act for LiveWire – Karnivool. The band was already quite famous, and music lovers were hooked on to this alternative/progressive powerhouse almost immediately. A lot of bands across the country had been competing to make it to the finals so they could open for Karnivool and also get the opportunity to represent India at the Great Battle of Bands in Romania.

To start off, none of the bands could give it their best, but they weren’t really to blame. With only ten minutes on the clock, they probably did the best they could under the circumstances. Another thing that affected the performances was the overall sound – the drums were too loud and the bass could barely be heard, at times not at all. Those who have attended LiveWire pro-nite will know that standing in line means that there’s a good chance you’d either miss the competition, or would enter midway or towards the end, which is exactly what happened this year.

When The Hoodwink Circle from Mumbai took to the stage, there was barely a crowd since everyone was making their way through the extensive lines. Their music was very good, save for the aforementioned problems of time and sound. In my opinion, they were the best act and should have played last.

The next band, Turnkey of Kolkatafailed to impress, especially after The Hoodwink Circle had set the bar quite high. With their rap-metal genre, they put on a good show nonetheless. The crowd had moderately increased by then.

The third band Verses, a melodic heavy metal band from Bangalore – put the competition back on the table. The crowd grew considerably, though a lot of people were still stuck in the excruciatingly long lines. Verses played a powerful set to bring it to a close finish.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

All the three bands kept the crowd interaction to moderate. The results were quick to be announced as the crowd clearly wanted to get on with the show and see Karnivool on stage. Verses from Bangalore emerged the winner and were chosen as the band that would go to Romania to represent India at the Great Battle of Bands.

Junkyard Groove is a band with many feathers in their hat. They have in the past, opened for leading international acts such as Iron Maiden, Prodigy and Incubus and Karnivool has now become the latest addition to the list. The sound issue that had earlier plagued performances of all the competing bands had been fixed. Junkyard Groove remained consistent and spot on with their tones and rhythmic patterns. Being exceptionally good at crowd interaction, they had the crowd all pumped up and cheering enthusiastically.

After Junkyard Groove’s performance, the wait lasted a few minutes before Karnivool decided to come on stage; the energy and excitement was infectious as the crowd repeatedly chanted the name of the band.

I have been following this band since 2007. Around that time, not many people in India had heard of them. They had released just one EP and an album. While in New Zealand, I unfortunately missed two of their concerts. However, whenever I heard that Karnivool was going to play, there was immense hype about the show. Four years later, they set foot in India. Since 2007 they have come out with another album Sound Awake that, as opposed to Themata, is much more progressive and technical and also one of the most intelligent set of compositions I have heard.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

So on 18th December 2011 when the band finally took to the stage, all the hype that surrounded them didn’t seem out of place. Having been tagged as one of the best live acts in the world, Karnivool did not fail to deliver.

The open air theater was now packed. As the band began to set up, people started to take guesses as to what the opening track would be. The crowd roared as the band opened their set with the track ‘Goliath’. The sound took some time to get settled, with the levels going up and down, but it wasn’t too noticeable.

The next track was ‘Simple Boy’, which is usually the track the band opens with. The sound had considerably improved but wasn’t quite at its best yet. Mark Hosking began the track on the xylophone over a distorted ambiance effect while Steve Judd joined in on drums along with Jon Stockman on bass with distortion. It is difficult to say which portion was the highlight because each member proved to be uniquely excellent. In this track I’d highlight the bass runs on the intro as well as the drum pattern.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The next track was ‘Umbra’, which starts off with a smooth bass line and an odd-time drum pattern. By this time, the sound has settled down and was nearly perfect. But the crowd had already lost themselves in the music and it made little difference to them.

They then played the first track from their 2005 album Themata called ‘C.O.T.E’ that begins with an effect on the guitar making a “ripple” sound. As Ian Kenny began the song, everyone started to sing along. The track that followed next was ‘Themata’ one of the most energetic tracks of the album. Andrew Goddard’s guitar work was more than prominent. His stage act along with the others was in sync with the ambiance and the music that they play, making it all seem very easy.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The track from Sound Awake ‘Set Fire to the Hive’, kicked in with a high paced guitar drum and bass. One of the things in this track that proves that Mark Hosking and Andrew Goddard are amazing guitarists is the variety of sounds that they produce, which is only possible when you know your equipment and the sound you can attain from it extremely well.

‘All I Know’ highlighted a sliding bass line and a guitar delay. Ian Kenny’s vocals were the biggest highlight as the delivery involved singing a major portion of the track in falsetto and being able to generate powerful vocals at the same time.

Tracks from Themata including ‘Fear of The Sky’ that was played earlier in the set and my personal favorite ‘Roquefort’ had most of the crowd singing along with the band.

During the penultimate track, ‘New Day’, vocalist Ian Kenny did not expect the paper bombs to go off. Although he was startled, his voice did not falter and he sustained the note to perfection. That definitely deserved some admiration from anyone who noticed it.

Karnivool live at Mood Indigo, Mumbai

The closing track ‘Change’ was sung as a farewell to the audience. The band thanked everyone for the support and said “It was a humbling experience to play in India”, after which the band turned their backs to the crowd to pose for a picture to capture the crowd in the background.

The only low point was that the backing vocals were not very clear. Although during the bits when they were audible, the notes and harmonies were spot on.

As the band turned to leave, several fans requested them to play the tracks ‘Shutterspeed’ and ‘Sewn and Silent’ but in vain. Everyone around quoted the gig to be “an experience of a lifetime”. I now regret missing the two Karnivool gigs in New Zealand!

Comment

Karnivool at Mood Indigo, IIT Bombay

Share
Comment