Having toured globally off the back of their debut album The Horrifying Truth; playing Big Day Out here in Oz; as well as a host of international shows and festivals, from Tiger Translates parties in Vietnam to Viper Room in L.A; the band even being named the Quiksilver Ambassadors for Europe, leading to countless festivals and events including Brixton’s Skate and BMX Jam and the Quiksilver Pro Tour in Biarritz, France; I Am Giant are a band living up to their hardly humble name.
Originally from New Zealand but calling the UK home for now, the band, made up of New Zealanders Shelton Woolright, Paul Matthews and Aja Timu – the Kiwi’s being joined by Brit, Ed Martin to round out the numbers, have fast earned themselves a reputation as an incendiary live act. With the recent release of The Horrifying Truth, the band have teamed up with local outfit Dead Letter Circus (whose singer Kim Benzie contributed vocals to album track Electric Throne) for a national tour. We caught up with drummer Shelton Woolright while the band were on tour to check in on their progress and get a read on the situation.
Music Feeds: So how is the tour going; whereabouts are you guys?
Shelton Woolright: We played in Mildura last night, and we’re driving from Mildura to Canberra now. It’s an epic 9hr drive. It’s an absolutely beautiful day though, so we’re just cranking the tunes with our shirts off.
Background voice: Having a singalong!
SW: Yeah, just having a singalong, (laughs,) and watching the Australian landscape roll by.
MF: What are you singing along to?
SW: We were just singing along to Rosanna by Toto; before that we had Tom Petty; before that System Of A Down; some old favourites like Al Green; Pink Floyd; we listened to all of Pulse; and now we’re just taking turns DJing on the iPod, which has thrown out a few interesting tunes.
MF: Yeah man, nice selection, especially Toto. When it comes to singsongs you got to rock some of the 80 Cheese.
SW: Oh yeah man, you gotta do it, like Toto, it just puts a smile on your dial.
MF: How’s the tour going outside of the obviously booming singalong sector?
SW: Yeah, it’s going really well. The best part of it is that everyone on the tour is just great from the bands down to the crew. This is our first proper tour of Australia, so it’s just been great to be able to do it with such a great bunch of guys.
MF: Yeah, you’re touring with Dead Letter Circus, and Kim (Benzie) sung on your album; can you tell us a bit about what it’s like touring with mates as well as how you came to work together in the first place?
SW: It’s quite crazy, we didn’t actually know Kim, we were just recording our album with Forrester Savell at his studio in Melbourne and Dead Letter Circus were touring at the time and Kim just happened to come into the studio to say hi to Forrester while we were working on a track. So we ended up playing some table tennis together and we were mixing the track, Electric Throne, and there’s quite a big gap in the chorus and post-chorus of the song and we just asked him if he wanted to jump on the track. He was really digging it, so he changed his flight and spent the next few days sleeping on our couch and working on the track, and the relationship sort of naturally developed from there. We stayed in touch; the Dead Letter Circus guys came out to the UK and played some shows with us, which led them to invite us to come out and play with them on their Australian tour.
MF: It’s really good to see bands helping each other out like that.
SW: Yeah, definitely. Also a lot of the records we grew up with had features and not too many people seem to be doing it these days, and we really think it’s cool. Whether it be Maynard (James Keenan of Tool) on Deftones or Maynard on Rage Against The Machine, all these great albums had that and so it was a cool element to add to the record. It’s been great for us as well; heaps of Dead Letter Circus’ Aussie fans have been getting into I Am Giant, and I Am Giant fans are getting into Dead Letter Circus, everyone wins. On top of all that, it just sounds fantastic; Kim’s voice really completes the song and we’re so happy with it. Listening to some of the earlier demos, it’s hard to think that we were just going to leave these parts out.
MF: It’s great how an accident of fate like that can often lead to some of the most defining moments on an album.
SW: Yeah, it all just happened over a game of table tennis.
MF: Ah table tennis, the great bringer together.
SW: Yeah, totally. I have to give it to Kim though, he’s an amazing table tennis player, beat all of us in the band.
MF: So what’s the plan after this?
SW: We’re going to zip over to New Zealand to play a couple of shows for the Rugby World Cup because it’s a really cool time to play, and then we’re heading straight back up to the UK, with maybe a few shows in Asia on the way back to support the album release there. We’re just starting to get to know some bands down here, so hopefully we can come back down soon and play with them.
MF: Yeah, I like this approach of touring via making friends rather than just jumping on package tours.
SW: You know what the cool thing about it is, we get to play with bands we want to listen to and that we know and want to hang out with rather than being on a tour someone else organised with a bunch of bands you don’t know and they’ve got their heads up their asses and don’t even want to talk to you. We’re just having a blast on this tour, having so much fun just having a couple of beers overnight and having a bit of a giggle, we’re all jumping in and out of vans and we’ve got three days off in Jindabyne soon, so if there’s any snow we’re all going to go snowboarding.
The Horrifying Truth is out now on Sony.
Currently wrapping up a support tour with Trial Kennedy, you can still catch the guys in:
Thursday 22nd September
supporting Trial Kennedy
Friday 23rd September
East Brunswick Club
supporting Trial Kennedy