Interviews : LORD (Andy Dowling) – 17/10/2009
LORD was born from the ashes of DUNGEON, one of Australia’s longest running and most well known metal bands until their dissolution in 2005. The band has gone on to tour with QUEENSRYCHE, NIGHTWISH, SAXON, NEVERMORE, GAMMA RAY and more.
Metal Obsession recently had the chance to speak with LORD bassist, Andy Dowling about LORD‘s latest album ‘Set in Stone’ and what plans are set for the bands future.
Metal Obsession: How have LORD been keeping after the first batch of Australian tour dates to support LORD’s latest album ‘Set in Stone’?
Andy Dowling: We’ve certainly had a busy year so far! We’re now almost half way through the 2nd leg of our Set in Stone tour, and we’ve been beyond happy with the feedback and response that we’ve got so far from everyone. We’re having a ball.
MO: Set in Stone has been hailed by many as LORD’s most diverse and best sounding album to date. What are your personal thoughts of the album and are you satisfied with the final product?
AD: Of course my thoughts are biased, but I honestly think it’s a big step up from our last album Ascendence. We’ve definitely set a high bench mark for ourselves for future releases, but we all love the challenge and will certainly help us to continue to write strong material.
MO: What are the sales figures of Set in Stone, are you happy with the current figures at the moment?
AD: We’re very happy with how the album is selling at the moment. The initial response has been absolutely mind blowing (for an Australian metal band!). Our biggest focus now is to keep the momentum going, as well as keep the new album in everyone’s mind to continue spreading the word.
As far as specific figures go, I couldn’t tell you but the album has been out for about 6 weeks and we’re onto our second pressing now. No complaints at all!
MO: Set in Stone not only showcases LORD’s amazing musicianship but also features members of Dio, Angra, Dragonland and Harem Scarem who worked on the illustrious wankfest, ‘Be My Guest’. Could you explain how the song came about and was there much creative criticism from each of the artists involved or was it a straight forward recording process?
AD: For the most part, it was quite easy getting it together. We had a long list of people who we really wanted, and thankfully most of them stepped up and lent their chops for the song/album (some had to politely decline due to time issues).
Its really a unique song, because for us to do an 8 minute instrumental could potentially be suicide, but we managed to really give the song a special touch and unique flavour which was complimented by some amazing musicians!
MO: Could you give us a run down of all the artist’s involved?
There’s quite a few spanning across the album. We have Craig Goldy (Dio), Pete Lesperance (Harem Scarem), Glen Drover (ex-Megadeth/King Diamond), Felipe Andreoli (Angra), Olof Mörck (Dragonland), Yoshiyasu Maruyama (Argument Soul), Chris Brooks, Stu Marshall (ex-Dungeon, Pain Divison), Richie Hausberger (ex-Enter Twilight), Chris Porcianko (Vanishing Point), Juz (ex-Dungeon), Tania Moran and Mark Furze (ex Home and Away/TV actor turned musician).
All of the guests have been connected with LORD or Dungeon over the years in one way or another. We’re proud as hell to be able to have all of these people appear on Set in Stone.
MO: The album also includes a cover of ‘On a Night Like This’ which was originally performed by Australian pop princess, Kylie Minogue. LORD are no stranger to cheesy covers as the bands previous incarnation, Dungeon did quite a few. How did the idea for this cover originally come about?
AD: Tim heard the original in the car on the way home from our Nightwish support in early 2008 and thought it would be a bit of a laugh to cover (no intentions at the time to release it in anyway). It wasn’t until we all started hearing the demos that we released we were onto something quite cool. In a nutshell, it’s a complete piss take and we’re just having fun, but we all think its one hell of song now that we’ve put our stamp on it!
I’ll never get over the shock horror on people’s faces when we play the song live, and then everyone singing along to the chorus. It’s classic!
MO: Unlike most cover’s performed by heavy metal artists the track ‘On a Night Like This’ sounds like it genuinely fits into the scheme of the album. Were you at all surprised at how well the song sounded when it was finished?
AD: Yeah, we were really psyched with the final cut. I personally think we’ve managed to turn a questionable (haha!) pop song into one hell of an 80s influenced rock/metal track!
The great thing about it is that it’s opened the doors to a larger audience who have never given australian metal music the time of day. A lot of these people have moved on, checked out our other music and have become dedicated fans. So while we might cop some flak for playing a Kylie Minogue song, it’s certainly been beneficial for us and has helped broaden our fan base.
MO: LORD are currently on a short break and will continue touring in late November in Japan. It seems Japan have taken a shining to LORD much the same as Dungeon back in the day. What are you looking forward to the most about this upcoming Japanese tour?
AD: We actually aren’t on a break at all. Before Japan we’ve still got two Perth shows, a western Sydney date, Goulburn and Canberra before we make it over to the land of the rising sun. No rest for the wicked, but it’s way to go!
For Japan, I’m personally just looking forward to playing in front of new crowds and reconnecting with old Dungeon fans. We’ve always been lucky over there, and I can’t wait to get over and really show them what we’re made of!
MO: This upcoming tour of Japan will also mark a first for newcomer Damian Costas who replaced drummer Tim Yatras earlier this year. How has it been working with Damian Costas?
AD: Damo is great. He’s brought a breath of fresh air and enthusiasm into the band which we’ve been hungry for, for quite some time. The best part about it is that he gels so well with the rest of us, and we all get along great. By far the most important thing!
MO: How did LORD first come across Damian and what set him apart from all the drummers who applied, or did LORD approach him first?
AD: Damo certainly got a headstart. When TY put his back out in late April, we gave Damo a call and asked if he could fill in for one date for us while TY recovered. Damo was our first choice because he was already a huge Dungeon/LORD fan and knew the majority of the tracks which made life easier for us.
When it came time to look for someone permanently, we had a list of people who we had our eye on, but it all came back to Damo and we knew he was perfect for the role. I don’t think he even thought twice when we asked him!
MO: Have there been any extra dates added for when LORD return on the road in Australia this December?
AD: After our Japanese dates, we will be doing four more shows and then have a break over Christmas/New Years. We’ll be playing two shows (All ages and 18+) in Hobart on December 5th, and then two big end of year shows at The Gaelic Club in Sydney, December 11th and The Espy in Melbourne, December 12th. Those last two shows will be pretty big, and should have some great things in store for those who come!
MO: With all this touring LORD are currently doing its no surprise the band have been nominated for ‘Best Live Band’ thanks to the Australian Metal Awards. Do you think LORD have a good chance winning this award with Psycroptic and Five Star Prison Cell closing in on the nomination?
AD: Our competition is certainly fierce! Psycroptic especially have been the number one road dogs in the country for quite some time, so it will be hard to come out on top. I am quietly confident that we still have a great chance of taking out the award though. We’ve made a dedicated effort this year to really push it hard touring wise in 2009. Collectively we’ve lost jobs, careers, band members, money, and many other things, but the band has turned into a real force to be reckoned with – so there’s no regrets!
MO: Are LORD still on the look out for a major label or is the band currently happy working under their own terms with Dominus Records?
AD: At the moment we’re very happy with how we’re going at the moment. Of course we will always be open minded to taking that next step if the opportunity arises, but for now we’re more than happy keeping everything in house and retaining control of how everything is run.
Nowadays the music industry is completely different to what it was 10 years ago, and a lot of bands have taken a step back and started to take more control over their music and management. While there’s a lot more work involved and sacrifices to be made, the rewards can certainly be worth it.
MO: What’s next for LORD, I hear there might be plans for a concept album or maybe a cover album?
AD: Those a merely rumors as we haven’t confirmed anything. I can say though , that we have decided what we are going to do for the next release but we won’t be making that public for a long time. In a nutshell, we’re going to be very cautious with the follow up to Set in Stone. We’ve set a high benchmark with this album and we don’t want to take a step backwards in any way. It’s certainly not a time to get cocky!
MO: It seems LORD have been around long enough to know the ins and outs of the local scene. From your personal perspective how do you think the local scene is going at the moment in Australia. Do you believe its doing as well as everyone says it is?
AD: It really depends on where you are. As a whole, the Australian metal scene is doing well, but there are areas/places which need a lot of work. While Sydney is the largest city in the country, the metal scene is the one of the worst. It’s not because there isn’t a lot of metal fans, but more so because it’s a case of quantity over quality, and people are getting sick of it. I could write a lengthy essay or the things that are working, and the things that are clearly not working in this country but I’ll spare everyone!
From my own eyes, Brisbane is by far the strongest city in the country for metal shows and scene in general. They have some great people up there pushing very hard to be noticed (thinking outside the square) and its paying off big time. There are other places on the rise like Adelaide and Perth (where we’ll be playing for the first time in a few days) who seem to have the hunger to really push themselves in front of and above some of our other major capital cities.
MO: What are some of your personal favorite Australian metal acts that you have toured with or listen to in your spare time?
AD: Voyager, Psycroptic, Taberah (from Tasmania), Vampora (from Melbourne), Metallurgy, and of course Darker Half. The list goes on though!
MO: Any new releases either local or international that have caught your attention?
AD: As far as local, I’m really enjoying the new Portal and Phalanx releases (both from Brisbane). I’m always blown away by the talent seeping from that state. I’m yet to hear the new Voyager album, but heard one song recently and it sounded killer.
MO: Is there anything you’d like to say before we finish up?
AD: Just a massive thanks to everyone who has gone out and picked up our new album already. It means heaps and it’s making a lot of people in higher places turn their head and notice that we’re a force to be reckoned with (and Australian metal in general!).
Word of mouth is the best method of helping bands out, so keep spreading the word and getting behind Australian live music!
MO: It’s been a pleasure, Andy. Metal Obsession wishes LORD the best of luck in Japan and can’t wait to see you guys back on stage in Australia.
AD: Cheers to Metal Obsession for getting behind great Australian music. You guys are doing fantastic things, keep it up!
Origin: Sydney, Australia
Interviewer: Anwar Rizk
Interviewee: Andy Dowling (Bass, backing vocals)
Make sure to check out LORD on tour these holidays.
For more touring information go to www.lord.net.au