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Shannon Marston Nucleust - Interview
The Rockpit interviews

SHANNON MARSTON

NUCLEUST


Mayday Parade

Perth's cerebral metallers Nucleust will release their new EP "Resistivity" on August 26th and embark on their first interstate tour in support of it with shows in Perth, Melbourne and Sydney this September. Earlier this year, Nucleust supported Swedish titans, Soilwork with Aversions Crown before focusing their attention on recording Resistivity. Steve caught up with the vocalist Shannon Marston to discuss the new songs, touring and much more.

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Steve: I guess the most exciting part for you guys is you got the new EP coming.

Shannon: Yeah we're pretty stoked it's coming out too.

Steve: Can you give the first time listener a bit of a background and how that came about?

Shannon: With "Fear The Fearless" which is the single we have already released with the video, our drummer was sort of gong through a bit of a hard time dealing with a bit of anxiety and just fear of the future. And I think it was his way of dealing with it, to express as obviously being a musician, through the music. I didn't want it to be a really negative song which at first was "All I know Is Fear" and we took that and went, 'Ok anxiety isn't something you deal with permanently, it's like an on and off sort of thing'. Everyone gets anxious about something some of the time, so we made it like that revolving door so it starts off negative and then it goes to positive like, 'I'm not going to be a victim of this'. And then being something that comes and goes, in the end it goes back to being negative again. So it's just about conquering fears and anxieties and just life. And then "Of King And Tree" we were looking to do more of a fictional story really, Max (Palizban, guitars) had that idea in his head where he pictured the idea for a video first and we wrote the story to go with that. We wanted it to have a big sound like with Kings and castles and I think we achieved that with the Tanbur which although that is middle eastern, it still gives that old medieval vibe.

Steve: That's what I picked up from it when listening to it, was the Tanbur and that real middle eastern feel about it and if I'm not mistaken, there's not a lot of bands besides maybe something like Nile doing something like that so it's kind of refreshing.

Shannon: Yeah and I think System Of A Down tend to have that middle eastern sort of feel but I don't think they bring in any of the traditional instruments into it or anything so it's definitely a fresh approach.

Steve: The only other band that springs to mind is Soulfly.

Shannon: Yeah I actually had that same feeling with that instrument, that it was like Back To The Primitive.

Steve: Great minds think alike [laughs].

Shannon: Yeah for sure!

Steve: On the back of the new mini EP, are you guys looking to get more into the live scene? Obviously that's the main goal at the moment, would that be a fairly accurate assumption?

Shannon: Yeah definitely. I think it's the way it goes, you do a bit of writing and you don't play many shows. Like this year we laid off the shows a little bit to get more of the writing and recording done and once you've got your recording, you sort of have to tour to promote it and take it to people because with it being a flooded market and there's so many good bands. So much good music around especially in the Australian scene at the moment, if you don't take the music to them, they may not come across it because there's music everywhere these days.

Steve: Yeah and readily accessible as well which makes your job a little bit more difficult to try and push your product above other people out there.

Shannon: Yeah it's a bit of the old pros and cons. The internet makes it easier for us to put our music out there for people but at the same time, it makes it easier for every other band to put their music out there and then you get the heavy competition. But I mean we've never been a band that buys into the whole competition thing, we're supportive of any other bands and just love hearing good music. And any band from Australia that makes it big, that's good for our scene and that's good for our country.

Steve: Yeah absolutely, couldn't agree more.

Shannon: I know a lot of bands get all competitive and they don't like this band and they don't like that band but we're just not buying into that.


READ OUR REVIEW OF RESISTIVITY



Steve: I think you guys are really starting to carve yourselves into a niche because you can't really be pigeonholed and that's what makes it exciting from a punters and listeners point of view.

Shannon: Yeah and that's what we wanted to do. The best I ever heard it put was Elvis Presley's producer from years ago where when he brought out "That's Alright Mama", before he wrote that song he was playing music like everyone else and his producer sat him down and said, 'Look Elvis, if you're not doing anything new, you're really not doing anything at all'. And that's the same basic idea that we've come into this band thinking if we don't do something new and exciting and different and unique, what's really the point? We just didn't want to be another generic copy of any other band.

Steve: No and like you were saying before, there's plenty of competition so I guess try and be a couple of steps ahead of the competition as they say.

Shannon: Yeah exactly. And also we have varying tastes and we like to do different things, we don't want to be pigeonholed into one genre where we have to make music like that every time. We want to be able to give people a different sound or a different approach to a song and have them go, 'Yeah that's still Nucleust, that's what they do'. Not necessarily like, 'This is not you guys, we're not used to it'. Like if Metallica were to bring out a new album and it sounded completely different to Metallica, noone would be happy with it.

Steve: Ha very true!

Shannon: We are trying to avoid doing that in that sense so that when we do bring out something new, if we've moved on from a sound and we have a new direction, people will accept that easier because that's what we do.

Steve: So I guess that leads me into my next question, on the Australian scene and the international scene, who is pushing the boundaries for you? Is there anyone in particular that springs to mind where you are just really excited by what they are creating?

Shannon: As I said before, we have a varied range of bands that we're into. Dream Theater would be one of the big ones that we're influenced by just based on [John] Petrucci's playing, the technical side to it. I feel their music is always pushing the boundaries of technicality which is definitely something we're into. There's Meshuggah who are definitely a big influence on us, I don't know if they are pushing many boundaries but as far as heavy goes, you don't get much heavier. I'm a big Suicide Silence fan pre-Eddie Hermida - Mitch Lucker's styles.

Steve: You and me both.

Shannon: A lot of people are saying Eddie's technically perfect and Mitch was getting worse with every show and stuff like that but I mean, he was what he was! And then our drummer Shay, he's more influenced by bands like Animals As Leaders, Karnivool who is another band from the Perth local scene who is doing really well for themselves and again, very unique sound with their own style about them. Definitely opened up some doors for a lot of newer bands in Perth to take on not necessarily that exact style but a very similar approach. So I would say they were pushing boundaries, maybe not anymore but at one point they were.

Steve: So when it comes to the writing process, is it a fairly solitary excercise for you guys or do you come together and throw ideas in the ring and throw it around? What's the general rule of thumb with you guys in terms of creation?

Shannon: So far we haven't had any structured way of doing it. Sometimes Max will write a whole song pretty much by himself instrumental wise and then we might sit down and work on the vocal melodies and lyrics together. Sometimes I'll write lyrics as a poem and we'll just work on the melodies, Shay our drummer has been known to write some lyrics. He writes a few riffs, he also plays the guitar and he's a really good guitarist as well so he's composed some stuff. Sometimes we just go in the jam room and jam something out and starts to come together, it's sort of a combination of all the different methods really. Again it's just the whole trying to stay on top of the game and be unique and do our own thing in a way, we try not to give ourselves too much of a structure in that sense. Band wise we are very focused and know what we're doing and where we're headed but as far as giving ourselves a set way of doing things, it doesn't really work for us.




Steve: I've got two more questions for you and this one is always tricky and I love to throw it in because it's so varied. If there were 3 albums that you could take to a desert island for the rest of your days, what would they be and why?

Shannon: That's a tricky one. If you're meaning the band in general, we've all got very different tastes. I'm pretty sure our drummer would be Animals As Leaders for sure, what else I couldn't tell you as he has a very big range of music. With the guitarist you have Dream Theater, Meshuggah that would probably be the top 2 of his pick. The bass player (Josh Fox) I would have to say Mudvayne, Primus...I don't know if he would take the albums on a desert island but I know hes very heavily influenced on his bass playing by those 2 bands. And for me I would honestly have to take a selection and it wouldn't all be metal because of different moods, sometimes you're in the mood for something softer. I don't know about albums but there's a band called Oh Brother and they are sort of like a folky, atmospheric softer band, I like to listen to that when I'm in that chill mood so I would definitely take some of theirs. Definitely Meshuggah, can't go past Meshuggah. Suicide Silence again, Mitch Lucker. Probably their album "Black Crown". And just because they're Australian and done awesome things for the music industry and heavy music in general, probably Parkway Drive and I listen to a lot of Parkway anyway.

Steve: Inspirational or just personally?

Shannon: Just personally, I just like what they do. Like I say, what they have done for the heavy music in Australia, it's phenomenal.

Steve: And they are reaping the big rewards now.

Shannon: Yeah and I hear a lot of people say metal is going mainstream, it's almost the in-fashion which I believe a lot of that would be to do with Parkway. Parkway, Northlane, In Hearts Wake, these UNIFY bands.

Steve: Amity Affliction and things like that.

Shannon: Yeah Amity Affliction. I'm not so much a big fan of them, not that keen on The Ocean.

Steve: I guess ultimately who would you guys really like to work with in the future? If you could have a wishlist of either musicians or producers, is there anyone that you would love to get together with and put something together.

Shannon: Yeah Meshuggah again, would love to play a show with Meshuggah which would be a dream come true for me. I would say Max would love to sit down and pick Petrucci's brain which that is just a given, Tosin Abasi (Animals As Leaders) would be good to hang out with. Producer wise, Keith Merrow, Ola Englund. I also love Arch Enemy too so hanging out with them would be really cool, even not playing a show but just hanging out with them.

Steve: From a fans perspective.

Shannon: Yeah for sure. Most of my answers are from a fans perspective!

Steve: That's an awesome way to look at it because ultimately that's where you start, is from a fans perspective and if you can keep that, I think it keeps it interesting as well.

Shannon: Yeah and meeting your heroes. I think I'm always going to be a little bit of that fanboy when it comes to the ones that I really love like if Mitch Lucker was still alive.

Steve: I'm in the same boat as you, just quietly I have a VIP to Suicide Silence so I'm looking forward to that! Will definitely be an experience.

Shannon: Yeah and nothing against Eddie Hermida's vocals or anything, it's just that's the Suicide Silence I knew. That's when I found them and that's what I love and Eddie Hermida is probably a technically better vocalist but to me it's not always about technicality, sometimes it's about feeling.

Steve: Yeah and Mitch brought that in spades. If you were to watch his live performances, it was basically put your neck on the line and then cut your head off [laughs].

Shannon: Yeah and another good example of that from an Australian band would have to be King Parrot, Matty Young is just...!

Steve: Yeah off the chain!

Shannon: Yeah I've seen videos of him in the moshpit telling people to do the wall of death and he's going to sing in the middle of it, that's just awesome!

Steve: The guy has zero boundaries which is amazing to see both live and in their videos.

Shannon: Yeah it definitely works for metal, that's for sure.

Steve: Alright Shannon it's been awesome to talk to you this evening, really appreciate your time. Good luck with everything and to yourself and to the rest of the band and definitely hope to catch you on the live scene really shortly.

Shannon: Yeah too easy mate!


Watch the new lyric video for "Fear The Fearless



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NUCLEUST AUSTRALIAN TOUR 2016:

Friday September 2nd - Amplifier Bar, Perth
Saturday September 3rd - Eliot St. Bar, Bunbury
Friday September 9th - Reverence Hotel, Melbourne
Saturday September 10th - Valve Bar, Sydney


Tickets and tour details can be found at Nucleust.com.


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Interview by Steve Monaghan on August 18th 2016