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The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world
Glenn Dyson Claim The Throne - Interview
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GLENN "DYSIE" DYSON

CLAIM THE THRONE




There are not a lot of folk metal bands in Perth and certaintly none more successful or as well known as Claim The Throne who are currently celebrating 10 years together and are about to head out on tour to Japan as well as do an Australian east coast run in September. We speak to the guitarist, better known to most as "Dysie" and who is also the owner of Soundworks Touring and Prime Cuts Music in Australia, about the band's upcoming tour, 10 years as a band and what's in store for the future.

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Andrew: We'll kick things off with the 10 year anniversary of Claim The Throne. Looking back on that whole time, did you ever think that you would still be around doing this band after 10 years?

Dysie: That's a good question! I don't think most bands, especially in Australia, last for more than 5. I've been with the band for 7 so it seems to have gone very quickly. It's all about having fun and having songs about drinking ales and the whole folk thing and Perth didn't have a band like that and then it took off pretty well. The band at the time got a good following and I was one of them and then the opportunity came for me to play on bass. After about 3 years our bass player Jim went off and away for work so I played bass for a couple of years filling in and the other original guitarist was moving overseas so they asked me to join and here we are after all that, 10 years later and still plodding along...well I wouldn't say plodding along, we're motoring along and things have been going up and up so if the next 10 years can even match the last 10 years, I think we'll be very happy. But looking likely it's going to go even further for us so fingers crossed!

Andrew: So what do you consider to be maybe the biggest highlight during those 10 years for the band?

Dysie: That's hard, I guess when we played on the 70,000 tons of metal cruise earlier this year in Florida, that was a pretty amazing experience. We were doing a U.S. tour anyway just off our own back and we had emailed the guy and said, 'Look, we're going to be at the festival, we've already bought tickets so if you want an Australian band, it won't cost you anything!' So we just left it at that and 4 days out, we got the phone call while we were on the road and we had to stop the van and celebrate and go, 'Yes, alright we're on there!' So that was a highlight, being on a boat in the middle of nowhere with all these amazing bands like Cannibal Corpse, Napalm Death, Behemoth, Arch Enemy, Blind Guardian and even Anvil. It was a really good experience to play a big festival like that, a well organised well oiled machine and just the atmosphere of it, the whole thing was amazing so would love to do it again. But that was definitely a highlight, having all of us never been on a cruise before I think except for Jim, and to get the opportunity to play off our own back and doing a tour in the U.S., kinda hoping that it may of happened and it did in the end so that was a highlight. Also supporting Alestorm in the U.K. a couple of years ago with 16 shows, most of them were sold out so every night was 500 or 600 people at least. So that was our first taste of touring overseas in a bus, just going from town to town and seeing how that all works, so that was definitely a highlight too. As well as all the releases that we've had now, 3 full length CD's, a book and an E.P. which is all sold out of pressings. We've had to re-press them so I think just the way we've continued to push along and become better each year, we keep getting more opportunity every year so hopefully there will be a few more highlights to come. But definitely the 70,000 Tons Cruise was an incredible experience, a major international festival. We would love to do something like Wacken or Summer Breeze of course but to be the first Australian band to play on it as well was a really great honour and we are very proud of that fact as there's lot of Aussie bands out there doing a lot of good things like Be'lakor and King Parrot and Eyefear and even bands like Thy Art Is Murder and Parkway [Drive] and bands like that who have a very big following. So for us to get the first guernsey was a pretty cool thing so definitely never forget that.

Andrew: Yeah it seems like a lot of Aussie bands are getting out there getting their fame out there. There's a lot of bands going around and it's nice to see you guys are included in that part as well.

Dysie: Oh definitely, were stoked to be part of it! All done through hard work of course and obviously the music is being liked by people so that's a good start. And as long as people keep coming to our shows and we keep getting these offers, then of course we are going to capitalise on it so keep the ball rolling and hopefully conquer some new territories and some new grounds.

Andrew: Now you got a tour in Asia later this year as well, how do you think that is going to go?

Dysie: We got a tour coming up in Japan next week, that's the next one so that should be great. We toured there last year, almost a year ago in October last year [which] went very well. We were offered another tour in April but unfortunately couldn't do it because it clashed with another tour so had to stay here but then we got offered another opportunity and we can't keep knocking these back. We had a great time last time, great bands and great friends and it's with Ethereal Sin again who were there last time plus Dark Lunacy from Italy and Mercenary from Denmark so it's a pretty fitting bill. We thought, 'Hey, why not?', we can all do it this time so let's get out there and have some fun and sell a few more shirts and CD's and get our name a bit more over there. We did quite well the first time and it's the reason we're being invited back a couple more times, we've had some fairly decent orders in the past close to 12 months from fans and record stores buying our stock so that's a good sign. So if we can capitalise on that and hopefully move on to other territories like maybe China or Thailand or Vietnam or other places in the Asian vicinity because so far we seem to have done pretty well in that region, so strike while the iron's hot and we'll keep going back because we keep getting offers!




Andrew: I guess folk metal in general is a pretty niche kind of genre but in Asia in particular, I didn't think there was much of a market. Are they really into that kind of stuff?

Dysie: Definitely the Japanese are! The Japanese are very respectful people and I think they pretty much like anything as long as it's good and they appreciate that we come out and play to them. But they definitely seem to be big on melodic stuff, guitar stuff so a lot of guitar heroes like Children Of Bodom and Arch Enemy with the likes of Alexi Laiho and Michael Amott, they just love shredding guitars and melodies and stuff like that. We definitely have that aspect in there so that's probably a big reason why people seem to be liking us so hopefully with the new stuff that we're writing, they will like us even more!

Andrew: OK so you are obviously in the middle of writing another album then?

Dysie: Yes we are! It's been nearly 2 years since the last one came out, we want to keep on a regular cycle. I think too many bands in Australia waste too much time getting album's out, I know people have jobs and that kind of thing but so do we and you just got to make the time. At the moment we're 4 songs into the new album and plenty of ideas floating around so [we're] recording by the end of the year, releasing in the first half of next year and hopefully get some interest and off we go again trying to hit some familiar territories and also try to get across to some new ones. We would love to go to China, love to go to Europe and the States again if we could, anywhere really! Australia of course, we will definitely do an Australian tour.

Andrew: You have a bunch of shows coming up over east in Victoria and New South Wales as well.

Dysie: Yes as part of our 10 year anniversary which we are doing, we also got invited to play on Hell On The Bay, the boat gig in Melbourne. And obviously being a long way to come and costing us a lot of money, why not throw in a couple more shows as part of the 10 year anniversary. We already booked a Perth show for the 10 year anniversary which we just had a couple of weekends ago which was enormous and went down really well so we got these shows in Melbourne and then these Japanese offers came up and it was all in the same time frame so we thought, stuff it, we'll just call it the 10 year anniversary tour, why not? Even more reason to celebrate and we love celebrating whether we got nothing to celebrate or not! So we'll just chug a few more beers than usual maybe and put out our usual dazzling displays!

Andrew: Haha! Well that's the thing with folk metal is that it's a very jovial kind of music and everyone gets into it. I mean is that one of the reasons you got into this kind of music in the first place was because it's an upbeat kind of thing and a fun, partying kind of mood?

Dysie: Yeah I guess, I mean I've always liked melodic death metal. Bands like At The Gates and even early Swedish death metal like Entombed and all that stuff, as heavy as it all was, there's still a lot of melody in there. I've always liked the melody and the folk stuff just took it to a different level of fun, the really old style of back in the day in medieval times when they used to have the different instruments and really upbeat melodies and drinking type of tunes. So I think that kind of translated well into metal and you just put some distorted guitars and screaming vocals over the top. I think it took a while for people to latch onto it, bands like Finntroll helped create that whole genre of party metal but yeah, at the time we all grasped onto it and we really enjoyed it and Perth doesn't really have that kind of band so let's do it. When the band first started there used to be lot's of chainmail and all that kind of stuff, we've lost a lot of those elements. But as for the music, we still have a bit of that in there but we're also trying to explore other boundaries and become a little heavier, a little faster, a little moodier but still have that fun element in there. That's part of the reason why a lot of people like us in the first place was because of that aspect to our stuff, but we also want to grow musically and attract more fans and maybe try and impress people with our playing instead of our beer consumption haha!




Andrew: Haha! Well when you guys first started, there probably wasn't even a lot of people that had even heard of folk metal. Was it difficult to get started?

Dysie: I don't think so, I mean back when the band first started I wasn't in the band but I attended all the shows because we were fairly good friends at the time. The other guys are a bit younger than me because I'm a bit of a dinosaur and they used to come to all the shows and then they started a band and they would always check my bands out so I would check their bands out. It was just fun, they used to wear the medieval kind of clothes and chainmail. It was just different for Perth at the time so instantly they got a bit of interest because there was noone else doing that, with swords on stage and funneling beers and a good looking girl on keyboards and just being utter pigs on stage and making stupid jokes and referencing stupid things. Just maintaining a fun aspect to go with the fun vibe of the tunes and people latched onto it straight away and the band got a fairly good following in Perth pretty quickly. It became the party band where you go there and have a few funnels on stage and they would bring cakes and biscuits and legs of turkey and just different dumb, fun stuff. When you went to a Claim The Throne show it wasn't just going to be 4 or 5 dudes and a chick up there belting out songs and talking about whatever, it's just a bunch of guys telling a story from the medieval times and celebrating with legs of turkey and pints of mead and funnels of beer and cracking jokes in between. I just love the humour aspect of it and really enjoy it so for me going to a Claim The Throne gig was more like going to a party than a gig. To this day it's still the case in many ways.

Andrew: Yeah I've seen you guys numerous times over the years and one of the things I pick up on is the fact that you guys pretty much banter with each other and with the fans so it's cool to see that kind of thing instead of just a bunch of guys standing on stage belting out a set of songs.

Dysie: Oh yeah we definitely love to get the crowd involved whether it's just pointing out people. Especially in Perth with our lyrics and singing certain lines, we'll change a line into someones name. Someone who is a bit of a fan who is always at our shows and we'll change the line to his name and make some joke out of it. Some people pick up on it, some won't. I'll pick up on it and laugh on stage and go, 'Haha awesome!' So we mess around with our stuff on stage and to get people involved I think is great, encouraging them to sing along and clap their hands or have a bit of a jig or get on stage and have a stage dive. Get on stage and dance, get on stage and have a beer, we don't really care. The more people, the merrier so if people leave from that going, 'Oh it was great! It was funny, it was messy, it was a bit drunk, a bit loose. But hey, we had a great time'. That's what we aim to do and if people have a good time and keep coming back and keep having a good time, then that's what we want to do and hopefully they will remember the music too haha!

Andrew: Yeah definitely, it's all about having fun and listening to good music! Have fun on the tour in Japan, I think it will amazing for you guys and thanks for your time today, good luck with everything!

Dysie: Yeah no problem, thanks for your time, really appreciate it. Yeah should be fun and by about April to June next year we should have the new album out and be ready to tour the country and get overseas again. So that's the plan man!

Andrew: Cool and congratulation on the 10 year anniversary and hopefully another 10 more years for you!

Dysie: Awesome so do we, thanks very much!


Claim The Throne 10 year anniversary tour:

August 21 - Osaka, Japan
August 22 - Nagoya, Japan
August 23 - Tokyo, Japan
September - Bald Faced Stag: Sydney, NSW
September - Hell On The Bay: Melbourne, VIC
September - Barwon Club: Geelong, VIC

More info on the band and tour details can be found at ClaimTheThrone.com
Also check out Soundworks Touring & Prime Cuts Music


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Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on August 13th 2015