Adriaaan Interview

Jonno and Gareth from Adriaaan ( yes it is a Rocky reference :D) and I talked about the band’s career and their debut album There Will Be No Rest. Before we move on to the interview though, let me quickly mention that I strongly recommend you guys check it out. It’s a very fun album by a really tight band who offer very catchy songs. I’ll start you off with Tiger’s Blood.

Senem: Can you give a little biographical and historical info; who is involved in the band, and how did you guys meet up?

Jonno: We started a few years ago when I put an ad out in a local Sydney music network magazine searching for a guitarist to start playing in a band with. That led me to Gavin Cunninham and Chris Wilson. We all met up at Stage Door studios in Alexandria for a jam. The vibe was good, we had good energy together and most of all we got along really well. 

We started working on a few song ideas after Gareth joined us as the bass player and Adam Porth as the vocalist. Seeing the good vibes in the jams, without too much hesitation, we committed to recording an album with Simon Cohen and then things happened.

During the process of recording the vocals Adam badly damaged his vocal cords and had to quit the band, as well as singing, with his doctor’s recommendation. Gavin and Chris obtained job roles overseas and we ended up having an album ready to be released but no line-up to play.

Luckily Oz and Dhitka filled in the void for the guitars real quick. They both had a similar vibe to what Chris and Gavin brought to the band and Oz brought some great backing vocals abilities because he had fronted bands in Turkey before joining us and Dhitka was a phenomenal lead guitarist and blew us away during his audition. Finding Josh was another trophy after we saw how well we bonded with Oz and Dhitka. We knew as soon as he came in, he was our guy, he brought a great range of vocals from growls, mids, screams and cleans. An absolute great vocalist. 

We all have played in various bands around Sydney and overseas before Adriaaan. Some of us played in prog bands, metalcore, hardcore, and 80’s rock bands.

Senem: Tell me about your genre

Jonno: We are a hardcore/metalcore/mosh band. When we started the band, we did not really say we wanted to be in a certain genre, we just played what was natural to us. We don’t want to make music that is contrived and try sounding like a certain type, we just let the music come out naturally. The way it came out was basically a version of hardcore mixed with metalcore and small elements of prog and stuff to make people mosh. We love this genre of music because we feel it’s authentic, it’s not played to be popular and to make lots of money. It’s played because people just simply love the music for what it is. 

Gareth: At the end of the day, our genre of music is all about having fun, unleashing energy in a positive way. We just love hard-out songs where the verses make you want to nod your head, choruses make you want to scream along, and breakdowns make you want to jump up and down on your couch.

Senem: How did the initial musical and thematic elements evolve?

Gareth: Every member of the band had (and still has!) slightly different tastes when it came to metal. Some are more hardcore, prog, old school metal, tech etc… When the band formed, and whenever we have had a new member, there was always an adjusting period where we needed to find a middle ground, find those musical ideas we all love, and find our particular sound. There is not a lot of thought involved! Just a lot of trial and error and having fun. Everyone brings in ideas/riffs, we jam on them. Often they feel ‘a bit meh’, we ditch them. Some riffs we jam on and straight away we are all like ‘that was fucking awesome’ and we build on it. Overtime we start to learn the ideas/riffs/themes that work for us and develop our own sound. 

Jonno: With all of us there throughout the song writing process it really gave Adriaaan a different flavour and raw energy to the songs.

Senem: Are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspect of it do you think you guys nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve upon?

Jonno: We’re super stoked with the end product, Simon Cohen is a Grammy nominated producer and with his great experience, he managed to get the best performances from the band and had an amazing input during the recording process. Simon embraced the sound we had in mind and helped us get to another level as musicians. For the mastering, we had several people attempting to master the songs but no one really came close to getting the sound we wanted, until we found Christian from Schwarz Musikproduktion. He really did a fantastic job with the mastering and further enhanced the drum sound, we really can’t speak more highly of the guy.

Gareth: Looking back at the recording, and looking forward to future recordings we would like to increase the dynamic range of the vocals. Songs we are writing now with Josh and Oz have a lot more vocal dynamics, interplay between the 2 voices and introducing some more melodies. And we are still searching for the perfect killer guitar sound and tone.

Senem: How has the overall reception been?

Jonno: We released the album very recently (like 2 days ago), but had released three singles from it during 2019. The reaction for the singles has been great both online and during our gigs. I really hope the rest of the album will continue with the positivity.

Senem: Is the band going to get more involved in performing live at some point? What’s next? Album? Touring? Any international tours?

Jonno: Yes, we are looking to book more live shows until the end of the year and we’re doing our album launch in Feb. 

Given we’ve been waiting to release of the album for so long, we already started  the progress of writing songs for the next one and recorded demos for a few.

Senem: What do you see for your future? How is it looking?

Jonno: I think the future is looking bright for Adriaaan. We are in a really good position with this album, got some really good promotional material we have released on YouTube and we’re looking forward to sharing more of it. The band line up is as strong as it has ever been, and the live performances have been really well received. We can’t wait to get the new material and next album out because it is some of the best stuff we have written. We are growing as musicians and songwriters and this is evident in the new material. 

Gareth: All in all, we are having more fun writing and playing live than we ever have.

Senem: Could you tell us about the lyrics / themes /concepts you focus on or plan to focus on? How did the ideas come about, and how do they influence the writing process?

Jonno: To be honest we don’t really think of lyric ideas of themes until the music is finished. The song writing process for us is to complete all the music first and this does take the most amount of time for us as we are all wanting to try different things with the musical side of things. Once it comes to writing the lyrics, we just write about what we feel the music is giving us. The lyrical themes and concepts for Adriaaan can be quite vast and have included anti religion, breaking up, Charlie Sheen, going to a metal show and being in a mosh pit, death and human rights. There is a wide range of matters we write about and we don’t want to pigeonhole into writing the same themes and concepts all the time. 

Senem: Which is more exciting? being on the road or studio?

Jonno: We love playing live. That is what we all live for. 

Senem: Who is composing the songs? Writing the lyrics?

Jonno: Normally for us, someone brings in a guitar riff or two then we build the song gradually in the studio with input from all band members. This sometimes takes a lot of time but in the end, product is always interesting. Lyric ideas could be written by anyone from the band and moulded during pre-production with all members to ensure everyone is happy with the phrasing and lyric content. 

Senem: So what bands do you guys draw your inspiration from? 

Jonno: From various acts and genres from metalcore, hardcore, tech metal, prog, grunge, classic metal, classic rock, Aussie rock and even 70’s rock bands. Because we listen to such a diverse range of music, we draw inspiration from many different areas. 

Senem: What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music for its own sake?

Jonno: We make music for ourselves, we don’t have an audience in mind we are creating our music for. The questions we ask ourselves, would we like to listen to this song? Does it get us off? Do we feel the energy from the music? And if so we will keep the song idea if not then it will go in the dust bin. 

Senem: When you look back your music career, what do you consider to be your greatest accomplishment?

Jonno: For us as a band, two things, the first one is completing the first album, I think the songs speak for themselves and we are really proud of the way it has turned out. Secondly, it’s the relationships built with people from within the band, we feel that going on this journey together making the albums spending a great deal of our spare time creating music and becoming good friends not just band mates is something we all treasure. 

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