Roaring out of Smithfield, Western Sydney Avalanche are a 4 piece hard rock band playing heart-racing, gut busting, roof crashing, fast paced Rock ‘N’ Roll courtesy of the devil himself. The Australian outfit recently sat down and shared with us their origins, new album, inspirations and plenty more….
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to how it all started?
Veronica ‘V’ Taleski: My name’s Veronica I play lead guitar.
Ryan Roma: I’m the drummer.
Arthur Divis: Rhythm guitar.
Steven Campbell: And I’m Steven, lead vocalist and bass player. I know that Ryan and Veronica have been jamming together for a few years, she went to school with his sister and that’s how they met, they had another rhythm guitarist and bass player at the time and eventually reached out to me as they needed a singer. Soon enough, the rhythm guitarist gave up, the bass player stopped showing up so I thought I’d take up bass too, and after a whole string of rhythm guitarists we eventually found Arthur. But yeah I think what brought us all together was a love of heavy rock music, particularly stuff from the 60s, 70s and 80s, were all young but we’re all into that kind of music and we were lucky enough to find others to share that interest with.
Have you been involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?
Veronica: For me and Ryan, this is our first band, pretty much from our first time playing together we both knew we wanted to start a band and take it as far as it could possibly go. For us our biggest influences has always been bands like AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, Motörhead and the like, bands that are just bare bones rock n roll, with a bit of blues a bit of early rock n roll but heavy and loud and BIG, yet simple and not overly complicated. That’s always been the kind of music we want to play, while we may have other influences and play different styles sometimes, we know always just need to bring it back to that paradigm.
Steven Campbell: I’ve been in and out of bands since I was about 13-14 starting with an acoustic duo me and my best friend started, I’ve been in all sorts of bands, heavy metal all the way to psychedelic funk. But rock and roll has always been my favourite music, I feel like all my past experience in bands though gave me a much needed leg up on how bands and gigs are actually run which has helped us in a lot of a situations, and it goes to show if you want to play music especially in a band, you just can’t take no for an answer.
Arthur Divis: I haven’t ever played in another band. It’s interesting though because I remember when I was learning I sort of moved away from open chords to bar chords and would also mess around with pedals and distortion and the like so got extremely use to playing like that. But in this band, following what V does, she has a very particular way of playing, inspired a lot by AC/DC to get the most massive sound possible without a lot of effects, so no pedals, very little distortion, and going back to open chords and hitting the strings as hard as possible, it was all a bit awkward at first but feels good now haha.
What inspired the band name?
Steven Campbell: My dad, Adrian Campbell was actually in a band called Avalanche in the 70s and the 80s, they used to belong to the same management company as AC/DC; they have even played with them before and some other major bands at that time, we thought it was an awesome sounding name and wanted to keep the rock and roll family tradition going so after going through a lot of other names, we decided to name our band Avalanche.
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band and also in what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
Veronica: Yeah as mentioned me and Ryan came into this wanting to be a bare-bones hard rock band. We didn’t wanna write ballads or slow songs or political songs or songs with a whole wall of effects and distortion on ‘em, we wanted to be a guitar band and we wanted to write music that you could have a good time too. If it’s heavy, loud or fast then it’s good enough for us. I think it was Slash or somebody who said that a good rock song has either gotta make you want to fight of fuck. So that’s what we try to do.
And those same things still drive the band when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
Veronica: Yeah pretty much. Of course with bringing new members in, they’re gonna bring their own influences and ideas in as well, but in our cases, all that’s done is add to the sound rather than take away from it, we’re still a hard rock band and that’s not gonna change anytime soon. And we’re still hell bent on taking this band to the ends of the earth, even more so now than before I’d say.
Since your early days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
Ryan: We’re definitely more tighter and more aggressive I’d say. A lot more used to playing with each other and anticipating each other. Our songs have become more dynamic and more unique as we’ve begun to find our voice and bring in each other’s influences. But it’s still all good old fashioned rock n roll.
Have changes and growth in sound etc. Been more of an organic movement or more the band deliberately wanting to try new things?
Steven: Well its funny Veronica and Ryan tend to be very firmly rooted in the hard rock, rock and roll sound and I’ve spent so much time playing in different genres that sometimes it comes together in a way that we may not usually have thought of because of that. We tend to be a lot more towards the organic rock sound but very occasionally there are a few weird things I manage to get into the final mix haha
Presumably across the band there is a wide range of inspirations; are there any in particular which have impacted not only on the band’s music but your personal approach and ideas to creating and playing music?
Steven: I think one of the biggest inspirations I like to add into my own musical approach, is the way Bon Scott would write his lyrics. How he would subvert the listener’s attention in certain ways and make you think that he was talking about something completely different. I like that sort of mystery in my writing, sort of keep everyone guessing.
Veronica: AC/DC is probably the biggest inspiration for me, and learning their songs has impacted my playing quite a bit, there’s a reason I now have 2 Gibson SG’s and counting. They have taught me that you don’t have to keep building a riff up to make it great, it’s better to strip it down to its bare bones; like back in black, highway to hell, long way to the top, they are very simple but very catchy and complex riffs and those songs will never go away. They also taught me that it’s often what you don’t play that makes a song, the space between the notes that makes it rock…And not to play filler material or play a note for the sake of it. And I try to take those lessons into this band as well.
Ryan: Playing different genres across the rock/metal spectrum has helped me quite a bit I think, I like my thrash and death metal as much as my hard rock, but other than that, I think a drummer shouldn’t be afraid of playing 4/4. Look at Sent From Hell, he can play 4/4 better than anybody on the planet and I hope one day to be as good as him as well.
Is there a particular process to the band’s songwriting?
Steven: It’s very collaborative. Usually one of us will come up with a riff or a title or some kind of idea and bring it in to rehearsal and then we’ll work on it with the rest of the band. Sometimes it’s very spontaneous and we can work out a whole song together on the spot at rehearsal, other times, me or Veronica will go home and work on it by ourselves and structure it in our own time and then bring it back to the band to complete, and were constantly trying to get it as close to perfect as possible. We just think if you go through the trouble of writing a song, why not try to make it the best song it can be?
Where do you, more often than not, draw the inspirations to the lyrical side of your songs?
Steven: Just From life experience really, a lot of the times I tend to hide what I’m really talking about with a variety of different stylistic features. But there’s always a general theme for a song that I write to, and a lot of them come from life experiences. A lot of them are about sex also.
Give us some background to your latest release.
We just released our debut Double EP, Sent From Hell, it’s a wild and raw rock n’ rock record about sin, sex and good times. It’s a mix of 4 studio recordings, including our 2 single releases, and 4 live recordings taken from one of our gigs in December. It’s fast and heavy and it’s LOUD!
Could you give some insight to the themes behind it and its songs?
Steven: Well we didn’t actually realise it was all under a general theme until we finally put them all together. But it stems from a bit of a stereotypical sense of being a rock band; we just reimagine it in our own way. The whole Hell theme for a lot of rock bands I think comes from a general sense that you aren’t accepted, either by society or musically in some way or another, but we sort of just went with that and realised a lot of our songs were about that too.
Are you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty much in their final state or prefer to develop them as you record?
Veronica: I don’t think any band who aren’t already millionaires can really afford to work out songs in the studio, it’s expensive too record, we spent about 9 months working on material and perfecting all our songs and choosing the best of those to record for our EP so we wouldn’t be wasting any time and can focus on making the song sound as good as possible rather than writing the song from scratch. Of course you do develop it a bit while you record and may add or take away things you didn’t think off before, but if you’ve already worked it out and rehearsed the shit out of it before you even think about recording it, it does make everything a lot easier and faster.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably the favourite aspect of the band?
Steven: So the live show is something we’ve spent a lot of time working on and still are improving every time we play, but I feel it’s just a thing you have to jump into, because the best way to learn it is by doing it, making those crucial mistakes and realising what it takes to have that amazing live show. It’s something a band has to find just as much as they have to find their own sound, and believe it or not, I find it perhaps the most fun part.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date? Do you see it as something destined to become a negative from a positive or vice versa as the band grows and hopefully gets increasing success?
Steven: I mean it’s just one of those things isn’t it, I feel every industry will go through changes and end up evolving. But with new challenges comes new experiences and I feel like everyone is pretty accepting of the new digital aspect of the music industry. Sure it’s hard to get noticed in a market that kind of revolves itself around self-saturation but it’s also the easiest time in history to be heard. There’s always gonna be ups and downs in an industry I guess it’s just up to the person themself if they want to put in the effort to learn that industry.
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
If you’re in Sydney, be sure to catch us at one of our shows over the next few months for Sent From Hell. We also recently spent some time recording at the Grove Studios for our next project so keep your eyes and ear peeled we have plenty more to come!
Pete RingMaster 27/07/2019
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