A select group of Australia’s finest actors, sportspeople, political and economic leaders call themselves Tasmanians. Almost like a secret society, that humble blue collar, hard work ethic approach unites them all. In many ways Tasmanians are highly resourceful; one could associate that with creativity, and therefore equate it to a breeding ground for quality musicians. There are a few examples of country and pop singers forging successful careers in Tasmania, but only Psycroptic have been able to break that barrier of isolation that so many metal/rock bands have found so difficult to overcome. Hobart’s Axe Giant have a sound labelled ‘Island Doom’ that’s so large they can crush that barrier with one small step.
The Sonic Sensory recently sat down with Tristan (Bass) and Sam (Guitar) to discuss the underrated Tasmanian scene, their debut EP, a new album and plans for the future.
“The isolation is definitely a bit of a catch 22 at times, yeah there are those challenges, but bands are willing to help each other out a lot more, and if a Tassie band achieves a level of success, then it tends to spur each other on” says Tristan. Seemingly, The Tasmaninan music scene has a culture of continuous improvement, and one that supports each other; effectively sharing resources, networks and halving the amount of challenges to overcome.
“The local scene in Tasmania is quite diverse; being a rather small scene, you could be on a bill with Death Metal, Classic 80’s type Rock/Metal, through to Hardcore and Metalcore, and if your lucky Indie Pop” adds Tristan. Making the move from Western Australia three years ago, Tristan highlights the appeal of a small and unsaturated local scene – “You have a situation where you have one genre band producing real quality as opposed to twenty mediocre bands”. An unsaturated market offers up real opportunity for hard working and talented musicians.
Axe Giant are a band in their infancy, but in two years they have achieved a lot. An active live band, they released a few early Facebook demo’s and a 40 minute EP. Skull Divorce was released in December 2015, and the four piece, completed by Zac (drums) and Joel (guitar, vocals) have slowly, but surely built a strong local presence, often sharing the stage with strong local, interstate and Trans-Tasman bands – and holding their own.
But while a band may be able to hold their own on a freezing cold Friday evening at a beer and smoke drenched local pub in Hobart; the music has to be quality, if you don’t have that base then you will be trodden on, even in the friendliness of underground families. What’s immediately paramount on Skull Divorce, is Axe Giant’s ability to orchestrate memorable sections of ear drum rumbling potency with hypnotic qualities. Settled in doom and nestled in a sludgy stoner ambience, Skull Divorce is raw but captivating and refreshingly authentic.
Take the distorted bass textures of Melvins and lower them tenfold, roll it around in a hazy, smoke filled dungeon with Sleep and Kyuss and then introduce them to Neurosis; but not before looking above and seeing a very dark drone cloud. When you come across a band that are willing to open their debut EP with a 14-minute improvised track recorded in one take, then you know they are in it for the right reasons. “The first track was fully improvised, we walked into a friend’s house, somewhat under the influence, we hit record and that one was done”.
“We are currently finishing up the writing and will shortly head into the studio for our debut full length, with a late 2016/early 2017 release”. With no concept or title in mind yet, Axe Giant have however made subtle changes to their sound. “Its definitely slower, less upbeat” adds Sam, who actually has a classical background. So with that in mind we can expect a diverse album that will pulverise us gradually.
Axe Giant are also a band with realistic short term goals; “after the album is released we will look at securing an interstate tour, and make a bit of an impact”. Before then, Tasmanians and keen travelling promoters can see Axe Giant play the Brisbane Hotel, Hobart on July 23rd with PURE, True Detective (VIC) and Starmarker.
“Bands on these bills really play for the moment, there is no pretension and no-one is playing thinking that there might be a label scout or promoter in the crowd, so you get these really great nights” declares Sam.
Keep an eye and ear out for Axe Giant late 2016, early 2017 and purchase Skull Divorce HERE.