Sunday 8 July 2012


Today's Guests on Sludgelord Investigations is Lachlan and Mick from Australia's Premier Stoner/Sludge/Drone/Fuzz/Doom Noise Makers – Adrift for Days

Long time readers know that these guys are one of my fave bands around at the moment. And they have released my fave album of 2012 – Come Midnight.

They first burst onto the scene in 2010 with their amazing debut album – The Lunar Maria which gained them a whole lot of fans with its mixture of sounds that stood out from the crowd. Well the guys have kindly agreed to do an interview with me.

Q1 – For People not in the know – Can you tell them how the band came about, When you formed etc...

Lachlan: We formed in 2008 after Steve (drums) and I got bored of playing grindcore and dumped some LSD in the countryside. So began our reverence to psychedelia, doom and drone.

Mick: As for the rest of us, Ron and Sam (the original bass player) replied to an ad on a musicians classifieds section and joined the band.

Sam and I played in the same band years ago and one night we bumped into each other at a gig my previous band was playing at and he told me these guys were looking for a vocalist. The style sounded like it was exactly what I was looking at doing. He sent me a two track demo and I recorded the vocals for the songs “Bury All That’s Chosen” and “The Leech” then sent them over to the guys.

The guys liked the tracks and I joined the band. Sam ended up leaving so we were on the hunt for a bass player. Lucky for us we found Matt who joined the band and since then it's been the same strong line-up for both albums.

Lachlan: Yeah I figure we got real lucky three times there. We didn’t want a screamer vocalist, so Mick’s really experimental style was perfect. As soon as Ron played his first fuzzed-out psychedelic guitar lead, we knew we wanted him too. Then Matt joined – that guy is just so tight with his playing, and has such an awesome, warm, fat bass sound. He’s such a professional. His playing just pulled the whole thing together and made us sound like we actually know what we’re doing.

We got really, really lucky

Q2 – How would yourselves describe your sound. I have a hard time categorzing it myself. As you play a whole mixture of sounds.

Lachlan: In his review of ‘The Lunar Maria’, Aaron Yurkiewicz at described our style as "smoked-out, psychedelic drone fuzz." I think that's a pretty apt description. When I'm forced to explain to random people what type of music we play, I usually say we play “psychedelic droning blues.” They then look at me blankly and I say “You know, like, downtempo, slow, trippy music that is essentially blues-based.” Then they pretend to understand.

Q3 – Which bands influence you on your music

Mick: Pink Floyd, Earth, Hendrix, Om, Neurosis, Acid Bath, Enigma, Sabbath to name a few.

Lachlan: Personally I’d say Earth, Neurosis, Space Bong, Yob, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Jimi Hendrix, Neil Young’s Dead Man OST, Portishead, and The Mars Volta.

I know some of the other guys would include Tool, The Doors, Dax Riggs, Agents of Oblivion, Boris, Howlin Wolf, Rosetta, Isis, Sleep, Mogwai and Black Sabbath.

Q4 – Your new album “Come Midnight” is a very multi-layered album. Was it a harder album to write for than The Lunar Maria.

Mick: I wouldn't say harder, it did take longer only because this time we didn't want to rush ourselves. If anything, on this album we kind of knew what everyone was thinking which made for an easier experience.

On my part I spent more time on vocals and backing vocals then "The Lunar Maria" recording all these chants and not using samples this time around. Lyrically I was in a dark place at the time so there is a lot of different emotions going through this album.

It's a very diverse album and it has so many different styles compared to the first one, and everyone in the band stepped it up on this one.

Lachlan: “Come Midnight…” is the result of having everyone really contributing to the writing process – and not rushing. We’ve been playing together in a little room for three years now. We’re more comfortable playing with each other and kicking around ideas. Steve’s (drums) ideas and playing especially blew me away this time around. 

Q5 – The Lunar Maria received a whole load of praise when it came out in 2010. Were you surprised by the reaction.

Lachlan: Of course. You're not really allowed to expect anything in terms of critical reception. I'm just glad people enjoyed the album - and I'm even gladder that some people really couldn't stand it.

Mick: One thing about Adrift For Days is we are very original in our sound and you can't really pinpoint who we sound like. Sure we have our influences but we don’t go out of our way to try and sound like anyone which is where a lot of bands come unstuck.

This can also turn into a negative because a lot of people are afraid to leave the commercial circle and give us a chance. We were a little suprised as we didn't think people would understand what we were trying to accomplish, yet somehow through the power of droneishka people saw the potential in us haha. 

Q6 – What has been the overall reception like for your music at home and abroad.

Mick: It's been great.

Lachlan: Splendid

Q7 – Is Adrift For Days a Full Time Project or do you have normal jobs to do as well to support the band.

Mick: I wish, haha. We all have our full time jobs. Any labels wanna hit us up? We play for the love of music that's what it comes down to.

Lachlan: It's definitely not a full time project. It's just totally unrealistic to live off of playing music in Australia - especially if you're in a psychedelic drone band. It's not really the biggest market.

We all work full time. We write, rehearse and tour in our spare time after work. We fund our own recordings and releases. Most of us play in other musical projects too - I play in Serious Beak and Battle Pope, Ron (guitar) plays in Dumbsaint and Battle Pope, and Matt (bass) plays in Jon Kenner and the Outrageous Cocaine Margins, Face Command and a few other projects. This definitely isn’t a profit-making enterprise.

Q8 – Are you families supportive of your band and music.

Lachlan: Sure, I guess, though I don’t exactly catch them droning out regularly. My old man wrote to me the other day "(Come Midnight) comes across as a unique acquired taste. You guys don’t want to be loved by all - understood and loved by a few - leave the former to Beiber. I'd be satisfied."

My Nan is always confused as to why we go from the nice, soft, acoustic bits into the really heavy fuzzy bits. She thinks we should just cut those heavy bits out and make a pretty, calm album. Maybe one day that will happen. 

Mick is on the far left and Lachlan on the far right of this band pic. 

Q9 – What is the song-writing process like in the band. Is it a whole band collective or individuals that write the music. 

Mick: Lachlan and Ron are the main riffmasters and Matt and Steve always add their twist to it as well. I write the lyrics and dabble with effects etc.

We bring ideas to the room and all add to the mix. Gravity Well for example started with a melody I was playing on a native American drone flute at rehearsals and Ron straight away started playing cool psychedelic guitar over the top of it. Things like that.

We also trade ideas over emails. Lachlan and I always trade ideas. Steve also experiments with really cool tribal beats which give us a lot of inspiration for song ideas. So I would say yes it's a whole band collective.

Lachlan: It varies quite a bit depending on who is bringing the main ideas to the table. I like to write with an idea of where a song is going to progress – I’m not huge on just winging a whole song through improve. I’m just not that good at it.

Ron on the other hand loves bringing one or two ideas to the table and just jamming on them until we work out organically where the song is going to head. It makes for some very different tracks, which is cool.

Overall it is definitely a whole-band collective. We're not overly prescriptive; we jam on ideas and let people write their own parts. Everyone has a say in how a song is going to end up. 

Q10 – Do you gig a lot in your local area of Australia or do you have to travel a lot.

Mick: We gig when we can.

Lachlan: We try not to over-play. When we were starting out we'd just take any gig that was offered to us. Nowadays we're a lot smarter; we go through cycles of writing and cycles of playing live. 

We try and get to most major cities at least once a year - and play a bit more in our hometown. Getting a few more interstate shows into our schedule each year wouldn't go astray. 

Q11 – I have noticed there isn't much record label involvement in the Aussie Sludge/Stoner Metal scene. As a lot of bands I have featured on the blog have all been free downloads. Some of the bands have been brilliant and in my opinion should be signed like AVER, The Matador, Dreamtime and Hydromedusa. Is this the case.

Lachlan: You're right. Here in Australia, there isn't heavy record label involvement in the stoner, doom, sludge and drone scene. There are a few great labels around - specifically I'm thinking of Monolith in Brisbane who focus on hardcore, Tenzenmen in Sydney for obscure stuff, Capitalgames in Adelaide who've released some cool shit - but no one has really strayed too far into our territory yet. I'd love to see that change. I'd love to see some of those bands you've mentioned put out some wax.

The only one that comes to mind is 666 Records in Sydney, who have released some solid stuff from Mother Mars and Summonus.

Mick: There are so many awesome bands in Australia it’s ridiculous. Hopefully Australian bands will one day get the recognition they deserve. 

Q12 – I know that Lachlan is heavily involved with Art As Catharsis. How did that came about. As they have released some brilliant stuff like Serious Beak etc...

Lachlan: Art As Catharsis is my baby. Historically I usually end up doing a lot of the booking and promotion for the bands I'm associated with (Adrift for Days, Serious Beak and Battle Pope), so I figured it made sense to centralise it all. It also lets me promote and release other music I'm really passionate about - like Hydromedusa, Anklepants and LOG. I've got some cool stuff coming up from Space Bong and Killsong later on in the year.

We’ve only been running for just under a year, but I’m really happy with how things are going.

 Q13 – Do Critics Reviews bother you at all or do you just take notice of the fans.

Mick: We do what makes us happy and if we gain fans from that it’s a bonus.

Lachlan: I appreciate it when someone takes time out of their day to talk about the music I'm a part of. I don’t really mind if they love it or hate it, as long as they’re honest.

One of my favourite reviews of "The Lunar Maria" was from a guy who really disliked listening to our album. He kept going on about how suffocating, draining and relentlessly depressing it all was. I used to quote from that review all the time when promoting the album. He hit what we do on the head; he just really couldn't stand it.

Sometimes reviews can even give you a new perspective on your own music. It's amazing the different ideas we've evoked so far on 'Come Midnight...' It's an interesting experience.

Ultimately though – like Mick said – it’s all secondary. We play music that we are personally interested in rather than writing something we think other people might like.

 Q14 – What are the most and least rewarding aspects of participating with the band.

Mick: The most: playing what you love to play. The least: not being able to do it full time.

Lachlan: I don’t know man, I don’t want the hassle of having to try and make a living off of this shit. I have a job – this is like my religion; it’s a little sacred part of my life that is mostly free from financial concerns. I’d love to tour more and head overseas, but I don’t want to have to rely on it for a living.

I love playing live - especially with friends and likeminded bands. I love jamming and writing and recording. The downsides are having to pay for the recording and printing (it's fucking expensive!), pulling up short financially after touring, and waiting around for hours at a time at airports or venues. For me the positives far outweigh the negatives.

Q15 – Do you have any future plans to tour outside of Australia.

Mick: We would love to if the opportunity arose.

Lachlan: Yeah, no doubt. In the last week I've decided I want to play Roadburn in 2014. Europe, Japan, South East Asia or the USA all sound great - we just need the contacts and the support to make it happen (and ensure we aren't all financially crippled in the process).

Q16 - You got any interesting stories from your tours?

Mick: Depends. Is this R-rated?

Q17 – What is your view of bands and blogs giving away music for free. Lot of bands and people have different perspectives.

Mick: Why not? Unless you are Metallica, haha. That must be getting old now.

Lachlan: I see it as a toss-up between more people discovering your music, and the illusion that you will get more money if you try and force people to buy your music.

My belief is that you can't stop pirating. If you're a small band you should be using pirating to your advantage to spread your music around - it's a great way to get new people to hear your music. I've found a lot of people are willing to give back to the bands they love anyway. If they don't – well, I argue that they were never going to pay in the first place! At least you’re one listener up at the end of it all.

I think torrents and pirated blogs are how a lot of people discover underground music nowdays. The old promotional channels of radio and TV are dead or dying. You've got to adapt. It seems like a short-run of vinyl for the collectors is the way to do things rather than trying to flog people for $25 for an MP3 download. 

Q18 – Finally what are the future plans for the band. Probably promoting your amazing new album – Come Midnight. Anything else we should be prepared for.

Lachlan: The biggest news is that our vocalist Mick's wife Sarah is having a baby boy in September - so after we play Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney we're probably going to take a break from touring for the rest of 2012. We'll use the time to write some new tunes, which is great because I’ve got a few new songs I’ve been itching to jam out.

We want to hit Brisbane and Canberra in early 2013 - we're sorry we're going to miss you this time around. Lastly, I’d love to try and get a vinyl or overseas release sorted, but that seems more a matter of luck. We’ll see how we go.

Big Thanks To Mick and Lachlan for taking the time to answer my questions. Top Guys from a truly brilliant and highly original band. If you haven't checked them out. Check them out now.

Check This Great Band Below