1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
We've just released our latest album "Digital Lies" and video clips for several song from the album, and we're back out on the road again letting everyone know about it.
2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new album and how it differs from previous releases?
Really, not a massive amount has changed over the years, even from when we were known as Dungeon. We have a fairly wide reaching set of influences and while we may have tried to confine them a little bit to power/thrash in the Dungeon days, we made a conscious decision to not restrict ourselves to anything when LORD began. This album is pretty much an extension of that line of thinking, where we've added in more electronic elements to the mix to try and add to the overall theme of the album. It's not really a new style or a brand new direction or progression - that's not really what we're about; it's more us exploring our influences and making music we enjoy rather than trying to push any kind of musical envelope - but it's a nice new flavour we haven't really brought into the mix so far. What's great about this band is that for all we know the next album may be thrash heavy, or heavily orchestrated, or even more commercial sounding... we really never know until we're writing it.
3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
We generally try to avoid a lot of the clichés like songs about elves, dragons, heavy metal, motorbikes, chicks, sex, anything mighty/brother/honour/sword/steel/etc. because it's all kind of overdone. We mostly go for interesting reflections on life or different moral points of view more than anything else. This is sometimes based on real life events that have happened to us, but sometimes, such in the case of the song "The Last Encore" from the new album, it's a fictional story about a Victorian era stage actor that was tragically killed and his spirit wanders endlessly looking for that last spotlight to take his final bow, and that lets us explore the emotional aspect of the story and the characters, rather than it just being just another meaningless song. Of course, there's always some exceptions and we do enjoy just writing fun escapist songs like 'Battle of Venarium" which was based on a Conan adventure, and "Digital Lies" which is a fantastic view of a dark dystopian future. Basically if we enjoy it and it means something to us - even if it's just a big dumb rock song that really doesn't have anything deep to say at all - then we'll go with it.
4. I know that the band members are veterans of the scene from different bands, what are some of the things you have been able to put out musically with this band that you where unable to do in the past bands?
Well the main band that LORD is born from is Dungeon (and in many ways, we still consider LORD to be Dungeon with a new name) which was more restricted to the power/thrash/trad side of things, but I honestly would say that if we'd kept the name, we would have eventually evolved into what we're doing now with LORD. I know personally I get really claustrophobic when I'm confined to a limited style of music, so LORD has been great in that we have a lot of freedom to do what we want. A few members have side projects, in fact, but that's more so for specific projects with specific goals rather than any of us feeling restricted with what we're doing with LORD.
5. What are some of the best shows that the band has played so far and how would you describe your stage performance?
Wow, there's been a lot of really memorable moments even just during the time we've been LORD let alone stretching back to the Dungeon days. The entire Queensryche tour was fantastic, as were the shows with Iced Earth last year, our headline show at The Metro Theatre in Sydney was a really good one, and touring Japan with Doro and Jaded Heart was great. I'm sure I'm forgetting heaps of great moments; there's usually something really cool that happens every time we head out on the road. If we stretch that back as far as the Dungeon days, the tour we did through Europe with Megadeth and the first festival we did in Japan are really unforgettable. Stage show wise, we set out to have a good time first and foremost. Sure, there's lots of technical playing, lots of solos, multi-part vocal harmonies and all of that stuff, but we try to make the show as visually interesting as we can and fairly light-hearted. Music is supposed to be fun, and there's nothing more boring than seeing a band standing there concentrating in their own worlds to put on a perfect performance; I'd rather listen to their album. Give me a band that actually entertains me any day! So we have that idea firmly in mind when we hit the stage.
6. Do you have any touring plans for the new release?
Indeed we do! We actually started early last year before the album came out so we could get a bit of hype happening for it. That took us all around Australia, New Zealand and to Europe. The 2013 album launch tour kicks off in late March which will once again take us all over Australia, New Zealand and other dates around the world are being locked in now.
7. The last few albums came out on Dominus Records, can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
This is a label we put together because we wanted more control over our products. When you sign to a label, you give away a lot of rights and an awful lot of your income, and with the music industry being in the transitional mess that it's in now, you can never be sure that you'll even have a label six months after you sign your product away to them, let alone see any money from it. We were fairly heavily screwed over by several labels over the years, which is one of the reasons we've been so reluctant to deal with many other companies, especially in Europe. But we've taken matters into our own hands now and it's working out well. We're literally making ten times the amount of money that what we would be doing if we'd signed a traditional record deal. It's a much bigger risk and a hell of a lot more work on our part, and since we're all self-financed it can be a struggle to find the initial capital to pay for our releases and promotion, but at least we have the freedom to do exactly what and how we want.
8. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to the newer music by fans of power metal?
Generally overwhelmingly positive, although the small number of people who were expecting this to be another power/speed metal album exclusively have been a little confused by songs that have thrash/black vocals in them, or synth heavy prog songs, or fun rock songs throughout the album. The whole thing about LORD is diversity, and we just don't do albums of a single style. But aside from that, the people who have approached the album with an open mind have seemed to taken to it really well. It's great to see!
9. The musical style seems to be rooted in the early power metal direction with some newer elements, do you feel that power metal has evolved alot in the last 15 years?
Honestly, not really. There's different flavours that have come and gone over the last fifteen years but at its core this is still Keeper of the Seven Keys reinterpreted when it comes to pure power metal. I think the definition of what "power metal" is has changed considerably, though. I've heard people saying that Iron Maiden and Dio are power metal now. That doesn't make any sense to me at all - that was all traditional metal, or just "heavy metal" when I thought of those bands, and most of the bands of that type from that era. I honestly wouldn't really consider us a power metal band, and I think that's a think that initially confuses people when they hear our music for the first time. Sure, we have definite power metal influences - and are proud of them - but hearing songs like "2D Person in a 3D World" which is a hard rock song or "The Chalkboard Prophet" which is progressive thrash, just as two examples from the new album, neither song has very little resemblance to how you'd describe power metal, so it's interesting when people try to explain it as a "power metal band that is dabbling in thrash" or whatever. No, in fact LORD is a band that plays a bunch of different styles, that just happens to include power metal in the list.
10. The band is from Australia which is more known for the extreme bands, is there a scene out there for more traditional sounding metal?
Yeah, absolutely! Of course everyone knows bands like Destroyer666, Mortal Sin and Hobbs Angel Of Death as being some of the pioneers of Australian metal being taken to the world, and we have some great current extreme bands like Psycroptic or Thy Art Is Murder really doing big things, but for every one of those bands, there's a melodic metal band doing things to a world class standard as well. Bands like Vanishing Point, Voyager, even Dungeon... we've all done some fairly extensive touring around the world, and that's really just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the bands down here. This scene is small but I can honestly say that after seeing what the world has on offer, what we have in the Australian scene could easily match it from a talent point of view.
11. What direction do you see your music heading into on future releases?
Truthful answer: who knows? As I said earlier, we're really not trying to reinvent any genre or ourselves, and by the same token we're not trying to be an AC/CD or a Motorhead where we put out the same album each time. I think we'll always have the same core sound that we've had since Dungeon started releasing albums and, since we are taking such an open-minded approach to everything now, I can see any number of our personal influences making their way into our music. On Digital Lies it definitely had a more technology oriented sound to fit in with the theme of it. Like I mentioned before, for all we know the next album could be really extreme metal heavy. I'm pretty excited to see where it takes us!
12. What are some bands or musical styles that have influenced your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
I do all of the production and recording of our albums, and when I'm not doing that I'm recording other bands or directing video clips. I hear so much music of our own or bands I record, it's actually nice to take a break away from it all and listen to nothing, so I really don't try and seek anything new out unless it's something I specifically find myself wanting to make an effort to hear. In addition to that, if I'm in writing mode, I make a conscious effort to not listen to anything new. It's one thing to accidentally plagiarise a song and then listen back and go "ah man, I just ripped of Judas Priest" and then fixing it, but if you've just listened to something you're unfamiliar with, it would be a terrible thing to listen back to your album after it's been released and realise that you've accidentally stolen someone's riff. So no, not really anything much these days. When I do take the rare break to listen to music, it's either classic metal that I'm really familiar with, film scores, or 80s pop/rock bands just for the change of pace.
13. Outside of music what are some of your interests?
Me, I'm a bit of a tech nerd. You'll always find me surrounded by computers or smartphones or electronics and I'm always tinkering or programming or whatever. The big problem with me is that I'll dabble with something, get fairly proficient in it and then my brain automatically starts working out ways that I can use this to help LORD or Dominus Records, so my hobbies are all fairly short-lived before they just end up as part of my regular work! Sigh. HAHA! But it's been good, all of that learning has saved us a lot money getting in web designers, video clip production companies, recording studios/engineers/producers, graphic designers... My two last hobbies now are photography and cooking and already we've started getting me to do a lot of the promo shots for the band, so that's dangerously close to being stolen as an actual work thing rather than a hobby. I'm determined to keep cooking to myself - the band can get its own damn catering!
14. Any final words or thoughts before we wrap up this interview?
Thanks for taking the time to chat and helping us spread the word about the band and the new album. We've really kept a self-imposed low profile outside of Australia because we've been a bit gun-shy about labels and the mess the industry is in at the moment, but now I think it's time we put our hand up to say "if you've missed Dungeon - don't fret, we're still around with a new name" and "if you haven't heard of LORD by now, you soon will". See you on the road!
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