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
Sam Rilatt Daemon Pyre - Interview
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Hailing from Sydney, Daemon Pyre are a death metal band who are steadily gaining attention from the metal community with a string of succesful shows and their debut self titled album which was released earlier this year. The band are about to embark on a tour across the east coast states of Australia including a short run with Melbourne grindcore band King Parrot so we caught up with frontman Sam Rilatt to discuss the shows and what the band have planned for the rest of the year.



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Andrew: Thanks for taking the time today, I know you are a bit busy at the moment. I guess we gotta talk about your upcoming tour, you got a bunch of shows coming up but more importantly is the bunch of shows you are doing with King Parrot so you must be pretty excited about that.

Sam: Yeah absolutely man! A few months ago I got a message from Youngy just saying if we would be interested in doing a couple of shows together and we've been looking to try and line up some shows with those guys for a while. So when they offered to do 3 shows across part of the New South Wales leg on the Regional Rampage tour, we were like, 'yep absolutely!' Big fans of the band and the guys and so yeah, we are really looking forward to that.

Andrew: Have you seen those guys live before?

Sam: I have actually yeah. A good couple of years ago in my old band we played Bastardfest here in Sydney with King Parrot on the lineup and that was the first time that I ever got the chance to see them live. I've seen them a couple of times since then and it's always an experience!

Andrew: Yeah it is! We were lucky enough to catch them at their headlining show a couple of months ago in Perth and I've seen them before but boy, they really do put on a show! I guess you can feel inspired by that when you go open for them?

Sam: It's an interesting question because we often talk about how we present ourselves live and I'm often asked that question about what do you bring to your live show that might make you different. Is it planned theatricality or is it do you just go for it? I think it depends on the band and with us, we built Daemon Pyre around an ethos of critical thinking and justice and integrity and honour and exploring all these really deep things. And so one of the things as a lyricist and as a person that I've always striven for is to give people the opportunity to enjoy things in their own way. Whereas, say the guys from King Parrot, Youngy in particular has this amazing ability to say 'I'm going to make people get involved' and that works for them, it works really well for them. King Parrot fans, myself included, when you go to their shows, you go expecting that it's not a safe place, that you're going to experience something where you are going to be forced to participate. Whereas with our show, like I said I've always tried to give a show around giving people the option or opportunity to enjoy it however they see it and experience it and hear it and if that means that they are going to just chill out and enjoy it for what it is, then that's great. And if they want to tear shit off the roof then that's fine too. Obviously I tend to get a bit involved, more often than not I end up down on the floor pacing backwards and forwards and I try to get people as emotionally invested and in most cases downright angry when we're performing! And I hope that translates live, more often than not people are banging their heads and putting their horns up and that's great and as a performer you want there to be some kind of shared interaction. But yeah I always try to invite people in a certain way where they sort of feel like they get to experess themselves how they want.

Andrew: With that being said then, who do you consider to be the person that influenced you the most on vocals or was there a particular person that maybe you modelled yourself after?

Sam: That's a hard one man, I got a pretty broad palette of influence. I like everything from pop and classical, hip hop and electronic right through to the most heavy black and death metal. But as a vocalist myself I would probably have to say that the biggest hero in terms of stylistically but [which] I don't necessarily sound like but somebody that I've always drawn a lot of inspiration from is Tomas (Lindberg) from At The Gates, he's just a big hero for me. And I would probably say Mr (Joe) Duplantier from Gojira. Again I don't necessarily sound like him but he is somebody that I have a huge amount of respect for. And obviously some of the more brutal guys like Mr Fisher (George, Cannibal Corpse) and I would definitely also say, also a singer that I don't necessarily sound like but do give me a bit of an influence in terms of the new guys like Josh Middleton from Sylosis is another guy I look up to. He has a far more song scream approach to the way he does things but I listen to him and I think wow that's a really interesting and broad palette. The guys from Carcass as well, big influence particularly on our overall sound and not just me but musically, Carcass and Morbid Angel had a big impact on the first album that we released. But if I had to pick one man, I would have to say the vocalist for me that has always blown my socks off has got to be Tomas from At The Gates.

Andrew: OK cool! Yeah I guess even though you're band is maybe catagorized as a death metal band, there is quite a bit of melody in there so it doesn't surprise me that you name At The Gates and Carcass where melody is quite a big thing in their music as well.

Sam: Yeah that's the thing, we didn't want to just replicate all the old bands that we've grown up on and listened to. There's quite a huge amount of variety and history to all the band members, our age group span from the youngest who is 28 right through to the oldest of us being 37 and I'm sort of halfway in the middle. And so we all have really broad tastes and that's had a direct impact on the music that we try to craft because we basically try to write old school, early 90's Euro inspired death metal. At times it get's pretty dark and pretty heavy and almost that Floridian death metal sound that flourishes a little bit in the songs but the underpinning thing that's always been important to us is have an element of melody in there rather than just straight up Nile or Cannibal Corpse style where it's pretty unrelenting. Which is stuff that I really love and there are moments of that in some of the songs like the single "Misanthropic Parallels" that we released off the album, there are moments where we get pretty nuts with it. But we also like there to be a huge amount of dynamic range as well, we don't want the song to just be...or the album more be 12 or 13 songs of just balls to the wall. We want there to be some variety across the album as well.

Andrew: Yeah and not just from a fans perspective but for you guys as well because obviously writing the same thing over and over again would probably get tedious after a while I suppose.

Sam: Yeah that's a good point and it's an interesting thing to try and achieve. As a band you kinda set a blue print for who you are with that first single or first album and from that point there's obviously an expectation that's been set and you're always going to have fans that latched onto it right from the very beginning and they want that repeated every album. And then there are going to be those fans that come along later who maybe want to see some kind of evolution. It's interesting, you watch bands and some of them have evolved to be something completely different from what they started as whether it be a band like Metallica or even a band like Thrax for example that started as this punk/metal fusion and are now this indie band and didn't change their name, didn't really change any members and moved so drastically away. But how do you get the perfect recipe? You take a band like The Black Dahlia Murder for example and in my opion they are a great example of a band that have managed to stay true to the sound that really grabbed people right from the offset but then there's been some of these little movements, little evolutions from album to album and have managed to stay true to their fanbase. So it's a tricky thing to do but we all agreed that with Daemon Pyre we wanted it to be something that was heavy, always first and foremost. We wanted it to be caustic and aggressive and something that really challenged people but we're all big fans of melody as well so album to album, it's going to be interesting to see where we go with it. We're actually writing the second album at the moment and whilst we made the blue print for this first album, the blue print was pretty varied and so we feel like a certain element of freedom is there to experiment again even more so on this next album but as long as the underlining framework is brutality haha!

Andrew: Yeah that's the only thing to say with this kind of music. You mentioned your first album, the self titled which was released earlier this year. What kind of reception have you been getting from people and the media and things like that?

Sam: Really good which we're really blown away by. A couple of members of the band, we were in a band together previously under the name As Silence Breaks and we weren't sure when we shut that down and walked away from that and started Daemon Pyre what the reception was going to be like or people would associate with previous bands. Andy our lead guitarist has been in a whole bunch of bands, everything from Days End to Infernal Method, he's done touring with Mortal Sin and stuff. So everybody has been in different kinds of bands and different influences and when you start something fresh you always worry if it's going to be viewed on it's own or is it going to be viewed under the body of work we've all been involved with previously. But I must say thanks as well to the wider Australian metal community and the media and stuff, everyone has listened to the album on it's own and judged it primarily for what it was rather than anything else which has been great because pretty much every review that our publicist has sent through to us has been a positive one. Blunt Magazine for example gave us 4 out of 5 for the album which we were really blown away by because it's a more traditional sounding album and Blunt often follow the more modern style of music so we were really shocked by that. The overall reception that we have received from the broader community and the metal fanbase has been great, we got more and more people turning up to shows. For us there is a peer review process if I can use that heavily corporate term where you kinda go to that initial phase of setting up a new band and a really great way to gauge if you do it well, is if all the bands that you look up to or you're watching with keen interest from around the country, start to want to do shows. So we've always used that as a really great gauge because pretty often we have a perspective or opinion and so will fans and for us the 2 things we focus on is fans and the other bands that are out there doing the same thing as us, trying to write the best music they can. Because if you give the bands we respect and we like and they're like 'Hey come do shows with us' then we sort of say to ourselves 'OK cool maybe we're on the right track with what we're doing'. But all in all I gotta say thanks to everyone out there because everyone from Lochlan at Triple J, Haugie on his web radio station and Brian Giffen and all the other people, they really helped us be put in front of lots of different people on a regular basis like Michelle at 4ZZZ and a whole bunch of other places, obviously yourselves as well. One of the things that's sometimes easy to gloss over is how important the back end of the music industry is behind you, I think it's quite easy to forget sometimes that there is a lot of cool people out there that help you drive the awareness of what you are doing. So we try to remember that at all times and as I said, use those things as a true gauge of how well we're doing or not, depending on how the case may be.

Andrew: Yeah I think you are totally right on that. Yeah you can get good reviews from the media and the fans and all that kind of stuff but if people are actually asking about the band...I mean for me when I came across your band a while ago, your name just started popping up all the time and I was thinking who was this band from Sydney? I hadn't really heard of them and after a while the name just stuck around and I just checked it out and it was like, wow this is really good! So I think it's the marketing thing as well but also the fact that you're touring a lot and doing a lot of shows and that kind of thing helps a lot more so than the reviews side of things.

Sam: Yeah I would be inclined to agree with you. I've spent most of my working life in the corporate world and many members of the band have got professions outside of what we do but I've also spent a couple of years working inside the music industry and the one thing that I've noticed is that you can build hype with a bit of effort and a bit of money and a bit of consistency but the hype can sort of die off if the product doesn't have any legs to it. For us that's the real test, you can build a bit of hype but if you can sustain the hype over an extended period of time because the quality of what you're presenting is there and it connects with people, then that's the true gauge of whether you kind of got something. And so again, we are super thankful that we're starting to get some sort of consistent interaction from the broader music community commenting and talking to us on social media and coming to see shows. Getting your name out there is one part of the challenge, absolutely but keeping it out there is even harder because you got to have something that makes people want to like, do what you did and say I keep seeing this name pop up and what is it and is it any good! So thanks for checking us out, we appreciate it. Somebody like yourself who has heard the name and took the initiative to check it out because that's ultimately what you want. You want people that are genuinely interested in music and passionate about heavy music to go and see that and research it and hopefully enjoy it.

Andrew: Yeah totally and especially in the music market as it is now trying to weed out all the music that you're trying to get into so it's pretty cool. We are in Perth and I guess one of the questions I want to ask before we leave you is at any stage while you are on tour will you be able to make it over here at all?

Sam: Man I would love to! I am super ashamed that in the 12-13 years I've been playing in a band that I have literally never hit the west coast which is really disappointing because I have been wanting to get to W.A. for a long time and we've never gotten there in any of the bands that I've been in. But we have talked about it and we definitely want to get over, obviously for us we got to try and weigh up things like expenses and all the logistics and all that sort of stuff. But yeah we would love to come visit the west coast and hopefully we can get together with a decent tour package of bands or encourage some of our west coast friends to come along and check out the shows and make it viable for us to get over there. Because really unfortunately as I'm sure you are well aware, gigging over that side sometimes it really just boils down to dollars and cents and whether we can afford to get over there and that sort of thing. But yeah definitely something that we're looking at, our touring schedule is currently locked down from now right through until September-ish and then we got a couple of shows out in October. The plan is that in November we're probably going to lock down a bit and continue working on the new album, our second album. There's maybe a tour that we're potentially going to jump on that's not yet confirmed but then December it's break time because Andy our guitarist plays in another band and has got some gigs there as well just for a couple of weeks so we're going to take that time to have some family time and all that kind of stuff. But yeah man, in the new year we have definitely said we want to pay particular attention to the west coast and hopefully get a package there and hopefully there are some Perth fans keen to see us.

Andrew: Yeah I'm sure there is, we definitely have a big death metal scene over here. But I know what you mean, it is very expensive to travel over here not just for local bands but even for overseas bands as well.

Sam: Yeah which sucks by the way because we're in the same country, it's crazy that it costs more...I mean I don't know if there are any powers to be that are listening but sort that shit out haha!

Andrew: Well we got a fairly long contact list so I'm sure we can go around and get your name out there!

Sam: It sucks that you can go to other countries for less money than you can go to your own.

Andrew: Yeah like you guys just went to Indonesia which probably would of been half the cost or something than going to Perth.

Sam: Yep that's true man! Indo wasn't that expensive just to go and do a headlining tour over there for a couple of weeks. It probably would of ended up roughly the same kind of expense just to go and do maybe half a dozen shows across the west coast. But that doesn't mean it's any less important or any less close to our hearts to get over to the west coast, I really want to get over there man. So yeah spin our shit and hopefully the Perth crowd get into it and [we] get over there asap.

Andrew: Yeah hopefully! Anyway thanks for your time today, it's been an absolute pleasure and good luck with the new album that you are working on and we will hopefully see you next year!

Sam: Thanks a lot man, I really appreciate your time. Thank you.

Daemon Pyre Australian tour dates

Friday, July 24: Norville Hotel, Toowoomba, QLD
w/ Hadal Maw, Tria Mera, King Hit The Queen (AA / 18+)

Saturday, July 25: The Dead of Winter Festival, The Jubilee Hotel, Brisbane, QLD
w/ Tumbleweed, LORD, Dreadnaught, Totally Unicorn, A Breach of Silence, Darkc3ll, Hadal Maw, Our Last Enemy, Chronolyth

Friday, Aug 7: The Newtown Social Club, Newtown, NSW
w/ Orpheus Omega, Hadal Maw, The Seer, Immorium (18+)

Saturday, Aug 8: The Basement, Belconnen, ACT
w/ Orpheus Omega, Hadal Maw, Immorium, Imperilment (18+)

Friday, Aug 28: The Regional Rampage Tour, Studio 6, Sutherland, NSW
w/ King Parrot, Bastardizer, In Hydes Shadow (18+)

Saturday, Aug 29: The Regional Rampage Tour, Woy Woy Leagues Club, NSW
w/ King Parrot, Choke, The Dark Gift (18+)

Sunday, Aug 30: The Regional Rampage Tour, The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney, NSW
w/ King Parrot, Gutter Tactic, Pizza Gut (AA)

Friday, Sept 4: The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney, NSW
w/ Claim The Throne, Rise of Avernus, Hybrid Nightmare, Voros, Viscera (18+)

Saturday, Sept 5: Enigma Bar, Adelaide, SA
w/ Voros, Beyond Mortal Dreams, ALKIRA, Funeral Moon, Tombsealer (18+)

Friday, Sept 11: The Basement, Belconnen, ACT
w/ Whoretopsy, Tortured, Inhuman Remnants, The Hazard Circular (18+)

Daemon Pyre's self titled album can be found HERE

Interview by Andrew "Schizodeluxe" Massie on July 17th 2015