NIGHT HAG – The Interview
As mentioned on our Facebook page a few days ago, “…another bunch of highly-combustible, pissed-off Australian kids is coming our way…”, Adelaide’s ragers NIGHT HAG are indeed trekking through Malaysia (mainly KL, Batu Pahat & Sabah), Singapore, Indonesia very soon. It’s gonna be quite a hurried blitz through 12 different towns in the region in about 14 days; and judging by the band’s recordings I’ve been listening to, no one should miss their appearance in your area!
I’m sure the band are not gonna be happy being labelled in some rigid way, but I’m gonna go ahead anyway and try to describe what they are like musically. For the past six or seven years, the term “blackened-hardcore” has been slowly but surely creeping into the excited vocabulary of many voracious ear-punishers in the scene; I first heard of it via bands such as the States’ own ravagers TEEN CTHULHU and then Canada’s anarchos ISKRA; and of late I’ve been removing earwax with the likes of BLACK BREATH and the amazing YOUNG & IN THE WAY.
All of these bands are populated by those who are as enamoured with the hellish, cold brutality of Norwegian black metal as they are influenced by the harder, bleaker spectrum of hardcore-punk; so there’s a marriage of sorts between crust and BM, power-violence and BM, grindcore and BM, and even D-Beat and BM! At this point in time, it’s still fresh and very encouraging for those who want to see a bit musical progression in the hardcore-punk scene. That said, not many are that successful in blending the many disparate influences into a cohesive free-flowing unique blend.
BLACK BREATH for one is very good at this seamless cocktail of flammable metal-punk, and they even went further than black metal nuances to include ENTOMBED’s muscular death metal bombast; going thick sounding guitars instead of the harsh and trebly. The same with the very talented YOUNG & IN THE WAY, who injected heavy, leaden atmospherics, with a bit of the experimentations done by latterday CORRUPTED – do check their upcoming album V. Eternal Depression which is coming out in a few weeks from Antithetic Records.
So what about NIGHT HAG? Well, listen to this:
That’s Coolidge, Kansas, a song off NIGHT HAG’s debut album Gilded Age, which was released quite recently. As you can hear it, there’s that black metal’s signature wracked harshness harvested and regurgitated with a myriad of influences from the hardcore punk maelstrom; and NIGHT HAG did it really, really well too! This is quite a progression from the band’s debut release, New Tourist EP, where the BM component consigned to the blasting drums – this time, on the album, the guitars followed suit.
Here’s another one:
Don’t know about you, but I’m SOLD! I’ll be hunting that album, EP and demo down. This terrible barrage of noise is for keeps!
Here’s a simple email interview done with guitarist Joe Steele on November 3rd.
note: I usually hate email interviews and it doesn’t allow for that normal flow of conversation, but it’s better than nothing. So you people will probably see more of this very soon…
The Ricecooker Shop: I must admit, I’ve never heard of NIGHT HAG before, so help me out here and do tell a little something about the band. It would be great if you could add in on how the band came about, previous bands and what other things the band members are doing, jobs/hobbies etc.
We’re called NIGHT HAG, my name is Joe. There are five people in this band. Dave and I play guitar, Nathan is our drummer, Mark plays bass and Dale sings. We’ve been playing shows for about two years now. When we first jammed we wanted to make a dark but melodic punk band.
When the band started I had known Nathan for a while. We‚Äôre both the same age and we both played a lot of shows together while we were growing up. I knew Dave and Dale also from playing with bands in Adelaide, it’s not a big place really. It‚Äôs quite a small-knit music scene compared to bigger cities. I even met Mark by chance in a university lecture- in only minutes we found out we possessed many mutual friends and were even employees of the same bookstore. Not a big city. It was at this lecture that Mark schemed the first jam with this line-up. A few weeks later we got together.
We all play in a lot of other bands, and we collectively wanted to make something we weren‚Äôt used to doing. Dave and Mark used to play in a band called THE RIVALRY, Mark plays bass for another sludge band called SEX WIZARD, Dave also plays with bands SPACE BONG, GOD GOD DAMMIT DAMMIT, DEATH CULT JOCK (and close to a dozen more). Dale used to have a band called LASER DEATH RAY, he sang. He also played trumpet for GOD GOD DAMMIT DAMMIT for a while. Nathan used to play in hardcore band THE WEIGHT – they’re still going strong, excellent Adelaide band. I play guitar for another band HYDROMEDUSA and sing for a band called PRISONBITCH.
Through all of us there is lot of bands. I think we all wanted to do NIGHT HAG as a side band for a little while before we started getting organised. We realised we could do a lot as a band if we all kept the momentum up and kept constantly writing. With that, our sound has evolved since our beginnings. I think we come across as more of a metal band now, I think Dale hates this but that keeps me amused. We’ve all kept a big part of our normal lives open for whatever this band will throw at us.
I work two jobs, I sell books and soap. I used to take my clothes off for an art school. It payed alright.. Dale is a researcher/computer, he also works for the university. Bright fellow, he‚Äôs the real organizational brains behind us. Mark is a student (homeless person), Nathan is a businessman but still poor like the rest of us. Dave bangs furniture together, I think. You can also catch him playing high-paid gypsy jazz gigs.
The Ricecooker Shop: There’s a distinct mix of harsh black-metal sounding guitars, drumming and a maelstrom of power-violence in your songs; do tell where are all these influences coming from; what are the lyrics about?
We all do different things in writing the songs. It can be a bit retarded. For instance we‚Äôve done things very quickly in the past. I learnt the song Cynic from Gilded Age the day of the recording. As a credit to the hasty succession of the recordings it’s everyone‚Äôs style mashed up together that makes NIGHT HAG sound like it does. Dave and I write most of the riffs. We listen to a lot of metal and punk but just as much as anything else. We didn’t really take any direct list of bands we wanted to sound like when forming the band. Any creative vibe for the band is best cooked up with us verbally discussing how we want an overall release come across as. Such planning is most fluent in the album Gilded Age. Dale’s vocals run almost independent to the songwriting phase however. He’ll normally practice with pre-prepared lyrics- work he’s done at home. His lyrics are a bleak look at the present and the future. I’d let Dale give you a better run through on his writing though.
The Ricecooker Shop: Can you list out how many releases have Night Hag put out and where to get them
So far we’ve released a Demo ourselves in 2010. Then we did a lengthy EP New Tourists at the start of 2011, before releasing our debut album Gilded Age in July 2011. Demo is sold out. The other two can be sold through Capital Games Records. You’ll easily find all three releases for free download on the internet, we 100% encourage this free listening.
The Ricecooker Shop: And how is the Adelaide or South Australian punk/HC scene nowadays; compared to what’s happening in other big cities in Australia.
Adelaide is slowly becoming an interesting place for bands again. It seems the few venues that are keeping their doors open to live music are being well received. I’ve been running a DIY warehouse venue called Animal House for over a year with a few friends. It’s also our home. We’ve tried to facilitate a space that’s helping bands rehearse (including NIGHT HAG) as well as serving as a DIY venue. For a sometimes sleepy city I’m enjoying myself here.
I’ve been to Adelaide a couple of times and went to a few shows, but where would a DIY hardcore punk band play over there nowadays? How often are there shows there and how does it work, in terms of getting the venues and such.
I’d recommend Animal House to anyone. Getting venues has gotten trickier in the last half a year even. A lot of new bands, a lot of gigs, a lot of sub-genres are getting their own following and it can all cause a few months wait in trying to book anywhere. More bands is still a good thing.
The Ricecooker Shop: I have seen Adelaide changed quite a lot these days; from quite a warm, sleepy, art-friendly little town with a lot of excellent bands, to a rather indifferent, consumerist place with lots of the old, homely hang-outs turned posh streets. What’s your take on it.
Adelaide is a bizarre place to live at times. It’s probably the most boring place to live if you can’t entertain yourself or you don’t smoke pot. There’s a lot of pot. A few arts festivals too- they’re ironically held at the same time as V8 car races. There are also a lot of old people. I think our average age is 60… Friendly people at times, cheap place to live, a little over-fed and conservative in places but equally poor and isolated in other areas. A lot of suburbs, a lot of boring people.
The Ricecooker Shop: Are there old punks there still active; I don’t mean the usual fashion-punk horde but the ones who worked hard in the scene since the days of yore.
There are always old cunts. A lot move to Melbourne and a lot become social workers but there‚Äôs still a few. A crew of them run a pub together in Adelaide called The Squatters Arms. Great food.
The Ricecooker Shop: Give us a list of local bands which we should check-out.
There are too many, ROBOTOSAURUS, THE WEIGHT, VAGINORS, NO ACTION. The rest of Australia also has some awesome bands going on at the moment – SUFFER, EXTORTION, DROWNING HORSE, ENCIRCLING SEA, LOOKING GLASS, WARTHREAT, DROWNING HORSE, ENCIRCLING SEA, LOOKING GLASS, KROMOSOM…
The Ricecooker Shop: What compels the band to do this upcoming tour; what have you heard about touring SEA and what are your expectations, if there are any.
We want to play to another part of the world. SE Asia is an awesome place, and the people are cool. We’re all familiar to various parts and are feeling it’s the next step in this year’s heavy touring. We’re riding the release of Gilded Age and look forward to playing some heavy and energetic shows. I hope this trip will bring a lot of experiences I’ll keep forever. We‚Äôve all seen it as a great honor to play this tour.
The Ricecooker Shop: Anything you wanna say to the locals here awaiting the storm that’s coming?
I look forward to meeting a lot of new people, making friends and seeing new places. Don’t be a stranger, say hello and please show us around.