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Prog Blog: Karnivool Interview

Written by Mike Solo on 29th June, 2012

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Perth’s KARNIVOOL have gone from strength to strength since forming out of high school in 1997. They are now firmly established as Australia’s biggest progressive rock act (and indeed, one of the country’s most successful bands of any ilk).

With 2 gold albums (2005’s Themata and 2009’s Sound Awake) and a successful touring history that features a string of sold-out shows across the world, the band have managed to achieve both critical and commericial success whilst playing a form of music commonly seen as niche and less accessible.

It’s all the more impressive then that the band have achieved all this and released only 2 albums in the last 10 years.  Whilst the band are known for a long and drawn-out writing process, the success of other projects (Ian Kenny’s Birds of Tokyo and Jon Stockman’s FloatingMe) and long international tours have no doubt slowed progress even further.

Now, on the eve of the band’s first Australian tour in over a year, Karnivool are promising new tunes, and a few surprises, on yet another sold-out series of theatre shows.

Lead singer Ian Kenny answered a few questions ahead of their July shows:

Prog Blog: Firstly, what everyone is asking – it’s been 3 years since Sound Awake – when can we expect the follow-up?

Ian Kenny: We are looking to have the next record recorded by early next year and out shortly after that.

PB: The tour is branded ‘Melodias Frescas’ with the promise of fresh tunes. How have they been coming along and will there be any surprises in the live show?

IK: We are playing a handful of new songs.  In parts the new songs can be a little aggressive. This may be a surprise to some.

PB: You’ve also been working on a live DVD lately; what can we expect to see on this?

IK: It’s a kinda warts ‘n’ all look at and into who Karnivool are and how we got to where we are.

PB: This is your most comprehensive tour in over a year. Are Karnivool tours going to stay a rare thing in this country, or will we see more frequent appearances in future?

IK: Once we have the next record out, the band will be touring a lot more than it has in the last couple of years.

PB: You’ve toured quite extensively overseas, though recent trips have been short and sweet. Will American, Asian and European fans see longer tours in future?

IK: Yeah, no doubt. We have a great fan base in Europe and America. Somehow we have the same in India, so we want to get back there for sure.

PB: 2011 saw the band’s first foray into India – for the Mood Indigo Festival; what was it like?

IK: Mood Indigo was incredible.  It was a full-scale festival at one of Mumbai’s largest IT Universities. When we came on we played to nine thousand mad Indian folk. It was surreal.

PB: The Vool is perceived by many as being quite a successful act. But are you all able to sustain the band as your main source of income? Or is it a matter of balancing work, life and music even at this level?

IK: It’s always been a matter of balancing music, life and work.

PB: Karnivool is often compared to other acts such as Cog, Dead Letter Circus and The Butterfly Effect when talking about Australia’s biggest ‘prog rock’ exponents. Do you see similarities between these bands?

IK: Yeah for sure. I think all bands above play a type of progressive rock and so do we.

PB: Clint and TBE recently parted ways, and in several interviews had some kind words to say about the early days sharing stages with Karnivool and Cog. Are there any stories or memories of those formative years you can share?

IK: I don’t think Karnivool has ever played with TBE, but I remember seeing them at Metro City in Perth when they were touring on an EP years ago and they ripped my head off. They were super impressive.

Karnivool toured and played with COG a bunch. In 2005 we did a huge national tour with COG and it was one of the best tours Karnivool has been a part of. COG killed it night after night.

PB: With several Vool side projects going on, how do you maintain a schedule (or enthusiasm) within the band, or is everyone still on the same timeline?

IK: Our timelines are kept as best they can be and scheduling is important…though in Karnivool’s world time doesn’t seem to hold much worth.

PB: In a country better known for producing pub rock, and lately with the proliferation of indie pop and hip hop, what do you attribute Karnivool’s success and longevity to?

IK: Well, what Karnivool does is kind of a niche thing, but we are lucky enough to strike a chord with people outside this niche too. We have some of the most loyal and passionate fans you’ve ever seen, and I think a lot of our success is because of this.

PB: In its early days, Karnivool went through a number of lineup changes. The current band has been stable for some time now; is this the definitive lineup?

IK: I think the current lineup is the best the band has ever been, so no changes in sight.

PB: What are the band’s ambitions for the future? Are there any boxes left unchecked?

IK: We want to continue making the music we love and pushing boundaries within this. More touring. More learning.

PB: A lot of fans have asked why no Canberra or Hobart on this tour. Any reasons?

IK: Logistics really. Canberra, sort your venues out! Hobart, sorry but you’re just too far this time.

PB: You’re taking a couple of young Australian bands out on this tour: Redcoats and sleepmakeswaves. Tell us a bit about them and why they’re along for the ride.

IK: I saw Redcoats at the Espy in Melbourne a few months ago and they were killer. I really dug the rock/psychedelia/something going on.

Sleepmakeswaves are quite an interesting group. I like their approach to music and I like what I hear in the playing…the fact that they have no singer is a plus. Who needs ‘em right??

PB: As a touring musician, how do you adapt to life on the road? Any tips you can pass on for aspiring career bands?

IK: Take everything in moderation, including moderation. Eat, sleep, love and play your balls off anywhere anytime.

PB: What new (or old) music is going to be spinning in the Vool tour van?

IK: The tour has just started and it started with a flight, so we haven’t spent any decent time in the tour van yet. Things popping up though around camp Vool listening are Intronaut, Boris, Converge and Sigur Ros.

PB: What’s next for Karnivool after this tour?

IK: More writing.

PB: Thanks and good luck with the shows!

IK: Cheers!

Catch Karnivool on the Melodias Frescas tour with special guests Redcoats and sleepmakeswaves in July:

Tuesday 3 July 2012 – HQ, ADELAIDE, SA
Tickets from OzTix.com.au, OzTix outlets and the venue (08) 7221 1245

Thursday 5 July 2012 – Hi-Fi, MELBOURNE, VIC – SOLD OUT

Friday 6 July 2012 – Hi-Fi, MELBOURNE, VIC – SOLD OUT

Saturday 7 July 2012 – Hi-Fi, MELBOURNE, VIC – SOLD OUT

Sunday 8 July 2012 – Bended Elbow, GEELONG, VIC – SOLD OUT

Wednesday 11 July 2012 – The Entrance Leagues Club, CENTRAL COAST, NSW
Tickets from OzTix.com.au

Thursday 12 July 2012 – Hi Fi, SYDNEY, NSW - SOLD OUT

Friday 13 July 2012 – Hi Fi, SYDNEY, NSW – 2nd & final show added!
Tickets from TheHiFi.com.au, Moshtix outlets and the venue 1300THEHIFI

Saturday 14 July 2012 – Panthers, NEWCASTLE, NSW
Tickets from MoshTix.com.au and the venue (02) 4926 6200

Thursday 19 July 2012 – The Northern, BYRON BAY, NSW
Tickets from TheNorthern.com.au, OzTix.com.au  and the venue (02) 6685 6454

Friday 20 July 2012 – The Tivoli, BRISBANE, QLD – SOLD OUT

Saturday 21 July 2012 – Coolangatta Hotel, GOLD COAST, QLD
Tickets from OzTix.com.au and the venue (07) 5589 6888

Sunday 22 July 2012 – The Hi Fi, BRISBANE, QLD – 2nd & final show added!
Tickets from http://www.moshtix.com.au/event.aspx?id=57496&skin=hifi

Friday 27 July 2012 – Rosemount Hotel, PERTH, WA - SOLD OUT

Saturday 28 July 2012 – Rosemount Hotel, PERTH, WA – SOLD OUT

Sunday 29 July 2012 – Rosemount Hotel, PERTH, WA – SOLD OUT

Listen to Karnivool

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