My interview with Cog drummer Lucius Borich started off innocently enough. We spoke about changing rooms, the physical act, not the long running Channel 9 renovation show. Little did I know where we were headed.
“Last place we were rehearsing we rehearsed there for eight years so it’s good to change the vibe. It’s a big ordeal to set up our equipment. We’re at a new studio rehearsing, called studio 19 in Mascot, it’s different.”
I wasn’t aware that bands still rehearsed. I mean, where do they find the time between the groupies, the hard drugs and the bitter in-fighting?
It has been twelve months since Cog released Sharing Space, an album so different from their previous, The New Normal, that Lucius feared they’d lose some fans. I would later discover this was the least of his fears. His fear was unfounded however, as album sales show.
“I think it has had some wins, the fans that like Cog’s music gave us the thumbs up which is good because it was different from The New Normal. We’ve ended up selling a bit more records than The New Normal as well, it’s creeping to gold status.”
I’m impressed by the words ‘gold’ and ‘status’, they sound promising, but I’m struck by my middle class guilt. Cog are about creating music that makes sense, not cents.
Refocusing, I ask Lucius why the band strove for a new sound.
“It was a natural progression to source out new instruments, different sounds, different structures in songs. You don’t want to make the same album again. You want the new sound to be a reference point for where the band is at.”
And where is the band at you ask? Well geographically, Mascot, in southern Sydney, but on a greater scale they’re on the precipice of greatness, commercial radio has come-a-knockin, and surprisingly, Cog’s ok with that.
Smiling, Lucius says “There is always pressure from the label, they need something they can play on the radio as an advertisement for the album. What was lucky with us is that we like songs that are catchy and hooky, and can be played on commercial radio, as long as they’re in line with what Cog’s about.”
What is Cog about? Hard work. Not the physically demanding, back-breaking, sweating in the sun kind of hard work, but mental toughness.
The band returned to the wonderfully named Weed, California, to record with Sylvia Massy, who crafted The New Normal. Last time Cog had worked one on one with Massy, but this time a team of technicians and engineers looked after them with Sylvia appearing sporadically, like a rumour.
“The first time was great, but halfway through the project it started to fall on its arse a bit, the relationship between Sylvia and ourselves. Her facility is a sausage factory, she has five bands recording at once.”
It’s clear that perhaps Sylvia is off the Christmas Card list, which means the band saves on postage. Cog’s response to their situation was like one of their songs, powerful, intelligent and inspired.
“We didn’t mope, we grabbed the reigns and kicked on. There was so much pressure coming from every angle in our lives and as a band we had to stay focused. We were lucky that we were reflecting off all the negative energy, staying true to the focus of what needed to be done.”
The focus of their album, besides guitar-driven rock, is exposure of corruption. Somewhere in our idle chitchat, the conversation takes an interesting turn and Lucius and I are discussing conspiracy.
“When you see so much control happening, through Government, and how that affects the human family, you want people to know as soon as possible. That’s why the album isn’t as abstract lyrically.”
I try to offer my thoughts but Lucius is on a roll. I am the humble rambling hiker and he is my Sherpa, guiding me up the mountain of enlightenment, or something equally spiritual and intellectually masturbatory. “We’ve taken our time to look at the agendas and then put it into this album. We’re concerned with the way they’re trying to set society up and we want people to know about it.”
I’m not sure who ‘they’ are but I imagine Gene Hackman is involved. I’m on board with Lucius, and I imagine us fighting the good fight, travelling in a van and having nicknames.
“The Global Financial Crisis is a classic example, they’re using the problem as a way of control. Scaring us into believing they’re our only chance, then creating a one world banking currency, ruled by a selective few. Everyone loses their individual power.”
This grim portrait of the nature of society isn’t what I expected at 11:45 on a Tuesday morning. I ask him if at least the prospect of the Between Oceans tour excites him.
“Yeah, we’re ready to celebrate. People have been reacting well to the new material, on this tour we’ll be playing new songs we haven’t played, also got Oceanside, a band from the UK coming out. Soon we’ll take some time out, have a break, then get together and start focusing on a third record which is exciting.”
The Between Oceans tour starts soon, so get ready to party like it is the end of the world, cos it just might be.