|Greg Shaw - Truth Corroded - Uber Rock Interview Exclusive|
|Written by Matt Phelps|
|Saturday, 03 October 2015 03:30|
Australian thrashers Truth Corroded are just about wrapping up two years of touring supporting their ferocious 2013 album, 'The Saviour's Slain'. We grabbed a chance to have a few words with founding member and bassist Greg Shaw in Plymouth before the first of just four UK dates the band were playing as support to death metal monsters Nile.
It's been awesome, really good. The tour started up in Poland at Massive Fest in Warsaw. We shared the stage with Marduk and of course Nile and Suffocation. Vader. That was great. A really huge turnout and a good way to kick everything off. The shows in Germany were all frigging awesome. Berlin in particular was great. Then a day ago we played Meh Suff Festival, that was great, that was with Abbath and Finntroll. Nile and Suffocation again. That was awesome, that was probably the highlight so far. It was in a forest. Coming from Australia you never see a festival like that (laughs). It was a great thing to be a part of, definitely.
And here you are tonight, in England. Are you looking forward to the UK leg?
Yeah definitely, man. Last time we toured Europe we came through with Krisiun and Malevolent Creation in 2012 and the UK was a big highlight. London particularly was awesome. Growing up with metal and everything you always see the Underworld as one of those venues that you'd like to play one day and we finally got the opportunity to do it. It was good. UK crowds are great. Plus I guess the language barrier is no longer there in the UK. They know we're a pack of dickheads from Australia (laughs). It just makes life easier.
And near the end of the tour you've got Death Feast in Germany. Another big open air one...
Yeah. I mean, coming from Australia you've got like your Big Day Out which no longer exists. You've got Soundwave which is an outdoor festival so in terms of being in a metal band and playing in open air that's the only thing that's really available. So coming over here and having the opportunity to play a couple of open air festivals is fantastic. So yeah, looking forward to it. German crowds are always good for us. It should be great.
And this is pretty much the end of the tour cycle for your last album, 'The Saviour's Slain'?
Yeah. We go back to Australia and we play a few shows until the end of the year. We support At The Gates at the end of October and then after that we wind down and get onto writing the new album. Well, the album is essentially nearly written. The riffs and the structures are all there. We've just got to fine tune it. We're already looking at who we're gonna use for mixing and mastering and everything. We may go with Mark Lewis again but it's probably a little too far out to say. But it's quite likely that'll be the angle.
Taking a moment to talk about your lyrical themes. You focus on political, religious and social issues in your music. How and when do you get your inspiration for a new song?
Um... I guess it's a bit of a moment thing. There'll be a particular thing that really sort of digs itself deep and you feel like you need to communicate about it. Particularly in Australia at the moment. Australia's not something that I've ever been overly political about, there's always been bigger issues in other parts of the world that takes that attention. But we're at a point now, particularly in the past two years, where with our current government there's a definite need to confront it down whatever avenue, music. To raise some issues. The government in Australia at the moment is one of the most right-wing governments we've had in a long time. You really don't feel like it represents where the people are. Its approach towards refugees is appalling. Its approach towards people who are socially disenfranchised is appalling. A lot of laws are being passed right now that are really representing a very very narrow minority interest. Pretty much share holding interest. The wider the gap grows, the more turmoil will come along with that. I guess you've just got to attack it at any opportunity and I think I'm a bit of a product of my age. Growing up in the nineties and seeing some of the things that started to unfold. The break up of Yugoslavia, what happened in Rwanda. Those were, I guess, the early parts of my political awareness. Since then a lot of other issues have sort of been communicated through our lyrics. Music is such a positive way to vent in terms of the issues you want to tackle and confront. Angry music is essential for helping you get through all that.
Switching track slightly, my son Tyler mentioned the Australian comic Steve Hughes earlier. That there was a part of his act where he joked that he left Australia because it doesn't have a big metal scene. Is that something you'd agree with?
(Laughs) Our fill-in guitarist Corey could quote Steve Hughes like that. Every video he's ever put out. But yeah, definitely. I mean it's changing, you're starting to see a lot of Australian acts breaking out now which has been a long time coming. We haven't really got a homegrown scene that is overly supportive enough. I mean we haven't even got that many cities to tour in. But your turnouts for shows and everything at a grass roots level is not enough to sustain yourself at all. You've really got to look past the country itself and try and make some inroads in Europe, the U.S. and Asia. The bands that have done quite well over the past few years are your more core orientated bands like Parkway Drive and I Killed The Prom Queen. Or of late Northlane and Amity Affliction. Those bands have bigger crowds in Australia than say bands like Psycroptic or the acts that are, to me, what really represents Australian metal. But you are starting to see a change. King Parrot, who I dare say you might have heard of, they're one Australian band that is really starting to develop not only a good national following but are also getting overseas quite a fair bit now. So there is a bit of a change there but in terms of numbers it's still not broken that glass ceiling, if you know what I mean. I hope for more but... (laughs)
So for a smaller band like yourself, how do you feel about the ever discussed issue of the internet, piracy and the fact music is being treated as a free commodity?
That's a tough one. Without it there's so many hurdles in getting your music heard. We're coming from an older generation, going back to almost the tape trading era. So it's good but I think it becomes over saturated as well. It's harder to break through the static of what's going on and to actually try and get your voice heard. But running a record label (Truth Inc Records) I find it frustrating but you need to adapt, you've got no choice really. There has to be a greater emphasis on merchandising and using the internet as a possible means to get your music out there. To survive as a band now it's all about touring, merchandising, it's all about being on the road. If you can't do that you've got a pretty limited opportunity to really make any income out of it whatsoever. I notice in Europe and I notice when we tour Asia that CD sales are still really strong but in Australia CD sales have just fallen through the floor. Just nothing.
We also have quite a resurgence in vinyl over here...
Yeah, same in Australia. There's definitely a bigger demand for it. A lot of bands I've signed recently for my own label now ask about vinyl and we've never had bands ask that before. It's great. I come from the vinyl era but unfortunately I sold all my vinyl when I was younger (laughs). There's definitely a big spark of interest in Australia for vinyl. But with digital when you get your returns on it there's nothing there, there really isn't. Streaming's definitely taken that to another level as well.
Could you tell us a bit about your early days and the formation of the band?
It was about '97, although we started out before that as a Sepultura cover band. But we were a four piece until about 2002, so about five years. Then we split as a four piece and were pretty much just considering starting a whole new band. But instead we thought how about we bump up to a five piece and sort of go back to our roots. The sound we had previously when we were a four piece was very different to what we sound like now. So we came back out around about 2003 and that is the band you see today. We've had a lot of line-up changes in that time, just myself and Jason (North) the only two original members. I see it as like two lives of the same band in that regard.
Either way you've been at it for nearly twenty years, Did you ever dare dream you would still be doing this when you started out?
No man, no fucking way (laughs). Back in say '91, '92 if you told me I'd be on tour in Europe now with Suffocation I'd be like nah, no way. Or to tour with Malevolent Creation. They were doing the Retribution and Ten Commandments live tour. For us to do that tour was huge because those albums made a real big difference for us back then. We were at that stage when we were just starting to pick up instruments and wanting to start a band. So yeah, the bands we've shared stages with and have got to know as friends as well, it's just been remarkable. It's been a great experience. We're old enough not to have any lofty ambitions, it's just about enjoyment of the music and about the experience itself. We're just lucky that we have opportunities like this. We've seen so much of the world through doing this band. We've played extraordinary places like Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam or the middle of China in some shitty dingy little club through an eighty watt practice amp. I've loved it. Loved every moment of it!
After all that then what would you say is the best piece of advice you'd say you could give a young band looking to start out in your genre of music today?
I think just do what you feel is right. If you're forming a band because you like a particular band that has inspired you to do it then follow through on that. Don't go with the ebb and flow of what's trending or anything like that. A lot of younger bands I've noticed, particularly from about 2005ish onwards, you see a lot of bands just come and go, regurgitating the same ideas, changing the way they look and what they do. That's just not legitimate. You have to play from the heart. Do what you believe in and stick at it. Persevere. Don't for a moment think we're not gonna get there because you've got to persevere. And if a band from a shitty little city in south Australia can actually make it out there and still be doing it twenty years later then so can you. You've just got to stick at it and be respectful to people around you, that's always important. That's probably the best advice I could give. Just stick and it and be true.
[Band photo by Jay Collier]