Heirs – Exploring Rhythmic Approaches

If early industrial and goth music is your kind of thing, then you might already be familiar with Heirs from Melbourne. The loud 5 piece have two albums out through German label Denovali Records, including records on coloured vinyl(!). This October, they’ll be embarking on a national tour with French group Alcest. Music Feeds chats to the man behind the drums and electronics in the group, Damian Coward.

Music Feeds: How did you all come to play in Heirs?

Damian Coward: We have all known each other for the better part of a decade. I wrote some songs in 2007 and put them up on Myspace and took a sabbatical from music. About 6 months later, Denovali Records in Germany contacted us about releasing the songs, so I immediately contacted Brent and Ian, and Heirs as a live outfit was born. It all happened very quickly.

MF: How would you describe your sound to someone who has never heard you before?

DC: It is always hard to talk about yourself in the third person, so I usually just tell people that we sound like early 80’s gothic music, but slower, heavier and minus vocals … which probably misses the mark completely.

MF: Tell us about the new album you’ve recorded?

DC: Fowl was recorded last year, so it now feels fairly old to us. It was recorded in July 2010 at Head Gap Studios with Neil Thomason. We have always been the kind of band that has the songs almost completely prepared before we begin rehearsing, so there is a lot of pre-planning involved before we enter the studio. The main difference was that we worked a lot more with electronic textures, which opened us up to exploring/incorporating different rhythmic approaches, resulting in a more
 ‘industrial’ sound. We were absorbing a lot of early industrial music… the kind that grew out of post-punk and noise, as opposed to the modern industrial that has more to do with metal and cheap 90’s Goth. To most people’s ears we are not an industrial band, but that was definitely where our mindset was at the time.

MF: The cover art for Fowl is interesting, who came up with the concept and created it?

DC: Our guitarist, Brent, came up with the concept for the artwork, which is based on how we as humans process negative, or morally questionable influences. It is a comment on the Christian notion of morality and its place in an increasingly faithless population – seeing beauty in something that by orthodox standards is considered ‘dirty’, or corrupt. Brent made the costumes, constructed the set and directed the shoot, which made for a cover that aligned perfectly with the atmosphere and themes we were trying to communicate with the album.

MF: The new material is going to be released on digital, compact disc and vinyl formats. What made you guys decide to go to the extent of releasing on
 coloured vinyl?

DC: We are lucky to have a label like Denovali supporting us. They really get the idea of the ‘complete package’ and are generally willing to accommodate our packaging and pressing requests, as long as they believe it’s worth the extra cost or effort. We actually sell more vinyl in Europe than we do CDs
 or MP3s, so that also influences the way they press their records.

MF: Who are some of the best bands that you’ve played shows with these past few years?

DC: We played several shows on our first European tour with a band called
Morne, who were great guys and a really awesome band. They have an excellent new record out on Profound Lore called Asylum. We also really enjoyed playing with black-metal legends, Primordial, in Portugal last year.

Locally, The Night Terrors are one of our favourites, as are New War and Rev. Kriss Hades.

MF: What can audiences expect to see from a live show? Are you quite loud, or is it more the case that the audience dare not speak in whispers while you play?

DC: We are stupidly loud. We rely on volume to induce a semi-hypnotic state and use the low-end warmth to keep this cycle going. We also place a strong emphasis on our visual presence.

What is next for Heirs?

DC: Recording for a new 7″ tomorrow which will be released in early September, followed by a national tour with Alcest in late October. We expect to have 
a new album out sometime in early 2012.

Heirs Tour Dates with Alcest (France)

Thurs Oct 20th – The Globe Theatre, Brisbane

Fri Oct 21st – The Bald Faced Stag, Sydney

Sat Oct 22nd – The Toff In Town, Melbourne Buy Tickets

Fri Oct 28th – Enigma Bar, Adelaide Buy Tickets

Sat Oct 29th –  The Bakery, Perth

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