The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

HARD ROCK AND METAL INTERVIEWS 2014 - Luke Vaessen - Save The Clocktower - July 10th 2014




Hailing from Launceston, Tasmania Save The Clocktower released their debut album ‘WASTELAND’ Via Faction / Sony and is already creating a massive stir on the scene. Pulling the best from the punk, hardcore, metalcore and rock genres Save The Clocktower are set to break into the top echelon of their contemporaries. We caught up with vocalist Luke Vaessen to discuss their debut album and how the band first got started.

Luke: How are you going?


Andrew: Hey how's it going? How's things in Tasmania?


Luke: Yeah cold!


Andrew: Yeah? How cold?


Luke: I think we are probably about 2 degress at the moment. It will probably be a minus tonight I reckon, there's going to be frost on the car.


Andrew: We're getting pretty cold over here as well, we are getting to about 3 or 4 lately so we're not too far behind you. Where about's in Tasmania are you guys?


Luke: Launceston. Up north.


Andrew: How's the metal scene over there?


Luke: It goes through fluctuation pretty much. At the moment it's been good, there's a few up and coming bands that are starting to make a bit of of a name for themselves which is really good and we try to help them out as much as we can by getting them on shows and that type of thing. It seems to be doing quite well at the moment which is good.


Andrew: The only band that I know of from Tasmania is Psycroptic which I'm sure you are probably aware of and they are a great band so obviously Tasmania has some kind of secret going on down there.


Luke. Yeah Psycroptic are pretty quite massive over in Europe and here in Australia of course but we've also got a punk band called Luca Brasi and they're doing really good. I think they're touring a few shows and it's sold out at the moment so they're doing good for themselves as well.


Andrew: That's good to hear! So tell me a bit about the history of the band and how you guys first got started.


Luke: About 4 years ago I think, Joel (Hallam) the guitar player just moved back from Melbourne and wanted to start a band so he actually got in contact with our old drummer from one of our older bands back in college which is Owen and they pretty much started Save The Clocktower. I think through mutual friends, Alex (Mcnulty) he played bass and joined the band and they hired another guy whose our solo guitarist now, he was on vocals at the time. I'm not the original vocalist in the band, that was Tim but I did a reunion show for one of our old bands which was with Joel Hallam and after the show they were like we really want you to come and see this new band and see if you like it. So I had a bit of a listen, a bit of singing on what they were doing at the time and that's pretty much how it started.

Andrew: And the name Save The Clocktower, it's a bit of an interesting name. What's the meaning behind that?


Luke: It's a reference to the Back To The Future trilogy.


Andrew: Oh yeah that's right! Obviously you guys must be big fans of Back To The Future then.


LUke: We are all big fans. I can't take credit for coming up with the name, that was Joel's doing and I'm pretty sure he came up with that before I joined the band and I loved it as soon as I heard the name.


Andrew: Obviously when you are starting a band the name is very important and certaintly that name sticks out. But that's great that it's from Back To The Future.


Luke: Also I'm pretty sure the name is not only from Back To The Future or there must be a game or something but I can't remember exactly what it's called but those things have to do with saving the clocktower in this videogame or something but it's from Back To The Future.


Andrew: So now you got your first album coming out "Wasteland", I've heard it and it's sounding really good. Sonically it sounds not just professional but actually really good. I know you guys put out a couple of EP's before so how different was it putting this album together?


Luke: Probably more so in the fact that we actually all contributed to the songs this time around. The first EP, Joel and our former guitarist would pretty much write different songs and they would give it to the band and they would work on them a little bit and then would probably start it from there. But this time around they would just bring ideas to the rest of us and we would look at those songs and pretty much break them down into nothing and build them back up until they were really like we wanted them to be if that makes sense. And that's pretty much how we approached it, we really wanted to try and do it as a whole band rather than just becoming 1 or 2 people writing the majority in the band.


Andrew: So was there anything you learned from the previous stuff that you brought into the new recording?


Luke: Yeah we still sound like Save The Clocktower, there's elements from the 2 EP's but I think Wasteland as a whole album is more cohesive and the songs are a lot better structured and I think structure is really important especially with the type of music we play. Because if you don't have enough repetition where people will come up to you and don't have any of it stuck in their head, then it's not gonna stick. And that's what we really tried to do this time.


Andrew: Do you write all the lyrics or do you have help with that?


Luke: I write the majority of the lyrics only because Tim who is not with us anymore, he helped me write lyrics as well. He actually wrote 3 tracks on the record, lyrics for 3 songs but the rest is all mine.

Andrew: What inspires you, what kind of stuff do you write about?


Luke: Just life in general pretty much. This record for all of us is quite personal, all the guys know what I've been through and they know what the songs are about.


Andrew: So a lot of personal stuff then.


Luke: Yeah there is, I mean especially for this record I try not to have it too personal so people can connect to the lyrics. Like this song is about this, I haven't experienced it so I can't connect to it. I try to write it more so it's a little bit more generalised so even though it is still about something that happened to me or in the band, I generalise the lyrics so people can relate to them easier.


Andrew: Yeah obviously if fans can relate to something then I guess it widens the audience a bit more I guess.


Luke: Exactly right


Andrew: As far as your vocals, who are your biggest influences?


Luke: I really like Chino (Moreno) from Deftones. He's probably one of my top 5 I reckon. I've been listening to Deftones for years and years. I've never seen him live unfortunately and the other guy that I not so much look up to but I admire what he can do is Matty Mullins from Mephis May Fire. There's not that many bands that has someone that screams and singing, you usually have one person that screams and one person singing but he does it both. He writes amazing melodies and he has some rhythm in his screaming as well and yeah I think he is really good.


Andrew: So is singing something that you always wanted to do your whole life?


Luke: Yes and no. I mean clean singing or singing in general?


Andrew: Singing in general basically.


Luke: I guess you could say that. I've been playing in bands since I was in grade 5 in primary school so music has always been there but yeah I'm enjoying my time doing it at the moment definitely.


Andrew: Did you ever consider picking up an instrument or was it vocals only?


Luke: Well I can play guitar, for about 7 or 8 years I had lessons but I'm not really a big fan of bands that have frontmen that has an instrument.


Andrew: Any particular reason for that?


Luke: I just like to see how a frontman interacts with an audience. I mean at times it seems like it's used as a bit of a barrier and I like to see how a frontman can control an audience and just interact with an audience without having a instrument.


Andrew: Obviously if you have an instrument you are restricted in some ways to interact with the audience and also with stage presence, I think some of the greatest frontmen in the world have been just vocals only.


Luke: Yeah exactly. I've learned so much from watching...we just came off the road from touring with Betraying The Martyrs...and I learned so much from watching Aaron (Matts) the frontman of that band, and just watching him and how he actually interacts with the audience and how he can control the audience. It amazes me that people can do that to an audience.


Andrew: Speaking of Betraying The Martyrs how was that tour for you guys?


Luke: Really good! I heard of them but never really listened to them. Joel had listened to them a fair bit and he really likes them but it was a really good experience for us I think as a band to be able to tour with a band that knows how to put on a proper live show and know how what they are going to be doing every single night. It was a bit of an eye opening experience for us.


Andrew: So I guess you could say there would be some inspiration from that for your next tour.


Luke: Definitely. I watched Aaron every single night and I watched what he did. I'm not saying I'm going to copy what he did but it's given me ideas for how I can improve my performance.

Andrew: As far as touring, obviously you got the new album coming out, I guess you will be touring to promote it?


Luke: Yeah definitely. We got a few lined up and we will go to pretty much every major city. I think we are going down to Perth for the first time too which is really cool, we've always wanted to go over there. I think there's probably 2 or 3 tours that are actually kind of sorted out at the moment, the rest are for maybe february next year as well so it will be pretty hectic but that's what we need to do.


Andrew: It will be good to see you guys come to Perth because as far as your style of music goes, there's certaintly a big audience for it so I think you guys will go over really well over here.


Luke: Yeah thank you very much, I hope so!


Andrew: Just a couple more questions before we end this. We try to ask these questions with everyone we interview so would like to see what kind of answers you have. If you could be a fly on the wall for the recording of any classic album in history what would it be?


Luke: Appetite For Destruction:


Andrew: From Guns N' Roses! Why that album?


Luke: My dad kinda put me on all that kind of classic rock type stuff like Kiss, Alice Cooper, Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue and that CD is a pretty massive factor I guess in me wanting to start a band and that type of thing and I have a cousin who is about 5 years older than me so he would be giving me all thse VHS (tapes) of Guns N' Roses and Pantera and stuff like that and I would be sitting in awe. So that would be one I would like to to sit in and watch them record it.


Andrew: For me that was one of the first albums I got into as a kid so I totally relate. And also with Axl Rose, I know with all the problems he has but as far as being a frontman and a singer, I think he's one of the greatest frontmen ever. Would you agree with that?


Luke: Definitely. He has his moments on stage but his vocal range is just insane so yeah he's one of the top frontmen for sure.


Andrew: And for you, what is the meaning of life?


Luke: Oh god! Just try and be as happy and as positive as you can be with the people around you.


Andrew: Sounds good! Thanks for having a chat with us, the new album sounds good and I hope the fans dig it and we look forward to seeing you come over to Perth. So thanks again!


Luke: Thank you very much Andrew!



Luke spoke to Andrew Schizodeluxe July 2014





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