With a persistent taste for Australian metal in any guise we recently had the pleasure to check out Melbourne outfit To An End, talking with guitarist Matt Turner and vocalist Al Gammie about the band’s origins, their current album, opportunities and much more…
Hello and thanks for taking time out to talk with us.
Can you first introduce the band and give us some background to the beginnings of the band?
(Matt)To An End comprises Al on vocals, myself on guitar, Yiorgs on bass and Shane on drums. The band initially began as a project where myself (Matt) and Al wrote all of the songs and completed a full album studio recording. Then, it was easier to find band members once the album was completed and we could show people exactly what we were all about.
Were you involved in other bands before? If so has that had any impact on what you are doing now?
Each member has been in various bands over the years but we really feel like this is the band we have been waiting for. We can’t wait to get our songs out as far and wide as possible! This band has elements familiar to each member, but is quite different if compared to our previous bands side by side.
What inspired the band name?
The name was one of many for consideration at the time. It was quite difficult to find something that firstly, wasn’t already taken and secondly, sounded good and was decent as a logo. We think ‘To An End’ ticks the boxes!
Was there any specific idea behind the forming of the band in regard to what you wanted it and your sound to offer?
As the band started out as a project it was really a matter of just starting the recording process and seeing where it would all end up. There was room for genre jumping and just having fun with it. Once the album was done, we were absolutely certain we needed to be an active band playing frequently…and here we are!
Do the same things still drive the band from when it was fresh-faced or have they evolved over time?
Given we all have a history of playing in other bands and we aren’t too ‘fresh-faced’ anymore ha-ha, the band is definitely serving our passions and we are driven to make sure it’s fun for us and our fans. Anyone who comes to see us live will see all of that translate on stage!
Since those first days, how would you say your sound has evolved?
We just released our debut album in November 2018 so we are still promoting that. In the background we are writing and doing demos for another album which we are excited about. There will be evolution and only time will tell to see where it all ends up.
It is an organic exploration within the band sound wise or you setting out to try new ideas etc.?
We are flexible musicians, so I think we’ll always have a mix of melody/heavy and soft/loud over the course of an album. There will definitely be some more evolution and experimentation for the next album.
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?
Our individual music tastes range from Journey, Pantera, Glassjaw, Faith No More, Tool, Slayer, Meshuggah to 80’s rock to death/black metal. As a band, we feel we’ve been influenced by heavy music with melody so there are elements of Metallica, Killswitch Engage, Stone Sour, Sevendust and Disturbed. Personally, I’ve always gravitated towards song writers and great riffs so my heroes are Metallica, Pantera, Lamb of God, Alice In Chains, Tool. Way too many to mention though!
Do you have a particular process to your songwriting?
The songs will usually start as a completed demo and then we let the song evolve naturally in the rehearsal room with all of the individual personalities and play styles shining through.
Please give us some background to your first album?
We think we have a great collection of songs on the debut album Redefine and there is certainly something there for everyone whether you are into rock and/or metal. We have some heavy songs like our single Wasteland, plus Hear No Evil which features a killer guitar solo from Christopher Amott (formerly of Arch Enemy) to more rocking songs like Fracture and Left Untold. There is also a piano/acoustic song as well that closes out the album.
…And an insight to its themes?
(Al) The instrumentation and feel of the song really dictates to me where I need to go lyrically and I feel we covered a lot of different ground on the album. There are songs like Fracture and Wasteland – the world is becoming more and more confusing, turbulent and extreme – I wanted to remind people that they have a voice and need not conform. There’s the horror film-inspired Out Of My Hands which touches on violent imagery, although is tongue-in-cheek also. Of course there’s plenty of pent up aggression to express throughout, and the personal moments like From Grace Until Demise and Collide are where I can get deeper and more sombre rather than just yelling in key!
You talked about demos in the songwriting process, so you a band which goes into the studio with songs pretty with their character set or prefer to let it develop as you record?
(Matt) We’ll go into the studio fully prepared and ready to go. I think being well rehearsed is key, given studio time is costly. Plus the more efficient you are in the studio, the more chance you have trying a few ideas on the fly.
Tell us about the live side to the band, presumably a favourite aspect of the band?
With our live show, we aim to be tight and on point musically but not at the expense being too clinical in our playing and not enjoying ourselves. We hope that the crowd enjoys our music as much as we love playing it. That back and forth energy is contagious.
It is not easy for any new band to make an impact regionally let alone nationally and further afield. How have you found it your neck of the woods? Are there the opportunities to make a mark if the drive is there for new bands?
Whilst the heavy music scene in Australia would be considered to be small in relation to the US and Europe, there are super dedicated fans who are enthusiastic about the scene and music in general. I think it is hard for a new band to make a mark no matter what, but we are fortunate to be located in Melbourne where there is a thriving live music scene and plenty of opportunities to play in front of new people. We also love playing regionally and interstate where there are always people willing to come out and support local music. Every band was local at one point, so we are more than happy to get out as much as possible and we are fortunate to team up with other amazing bands to put on local shows.
How has the internet and social media impacted on the band to date also? Do you see it as something negative or positive overall?
The internet and social media has allowed a low barrier to entry to get music out to people however, the challenge is navigating through such a crowded space. It is difficult to break through it all however I think the positives outweigh the negatives. As a new band we are able to share our videos, live clips, our album, photos, interviews, reviews etc. at the click of a button which allows us to connect with fans really easily. I would say determining a bands worth through how many Likes they have and dismissing a band just based on a particular number next to a thumbs up icon is unfair….but it is a reality. We think that the connection to the fans is the most important thing and we’ll just concentrate on being the best band we can be within our control. Hopefully when people hear our music we’ll get inundated with all those Likes ha-ha!
Once again a big thanks for sharing time with us; anything you would like to add or reveal for the readers?
We just want to say thanks for the support and opportunity for chatting with us and hope your readers will check us out on all digital platforms (Spotify, iTunes, Google etc.) just search To An End Redefine. Also, you can check out the video to our debut single here: https://youtu.be/KodUFu2shKw
Questions Pete RingMaster 04/05/2019
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