Heirs are easily one of the best bands to come from Melbourne in recent times. A friend gave me their first album, “Alchera” to listen to early last year- after one listen I was totally hooked, and had it near-on-repeat for months. Distain for humanity is rife within Heirs’ music, and yet the harsh, unforgiving and masterful use of their instruments is positively uplifting. Hypnotic, complex and visceral, your body cannot help responding to the dark, heavy undulations of the music.
Then “Fowl” was released this year. If you haven’t listened yet, you fucking should. As a second album, you cannot fault it. Seemingly more refined, Fowl represents all that is basic and rotten about humans, the back and forth exchange of filth between individual and environment, media and consumer, lover and hater. It’s fucking good.
Heirs are currently on a national tour, and I seriously recommend you make your way to the Bakery this Saturday. Their bone-splitting live show is exactly what you need after this endless, sweaty summer you’ve had.
I had a little email chat with Damian Coward, drummer/electronic sound maker of the band about Fowl. He is a swell guy. Please read on.
Tahlia Palmer: How did the writing process of Fowl differ from that of Alchera? What prompted the shift of song-writing duties from you to Brent Stegeman?
Damian Coward: Alchera was written almost entirely by my-self, and the band rehearsed the material and the songs took a much different melodic level, but the basic structure was still the same as when I had recorded them as demo songs. Fowl was melodically sound, and what we worked on when we rehearsed were the structures, but on a whole, most of it was pretty set even before we started rehearsing them. Bent’s shift into main songwriter for this album was purely because he had a lot of material ready, and had a very strong vision as to all aspects of the release.
TP: Were you playing many live shows while it was being written, and if so, did the tracks from both albums work together live?
DC:We played a lot of shows after each album’s release, and our sets comprise mostly of our new material. although both albums definitely have a connection, and they work together well.
TP: You recorded at head gap- I hear that place has an incredible sounding drum room. Was this a large part of why you choose this particular studio?
DC: We have recorded both albums there, and we are really happy with the rooms, the mics etc and Neil is very easy for us to work with. The first album turned out so well, we didn’t feel the need to look anywhere else. Which ended up being a good idea, as we seemed to have obtained a much smoother recording this time round.
TP: Did you record with analogue or digitally?
DC: We recorded the instruments onto tape, and then transferred it to a digital format for mixing. It seems to be the best of both worlds for us… you get the warm sounds of recording to tape plus the advantages/advances of digital.
TP: And as for the production, is there a particular album that you guys referenced with Fowl? Any favourite elements of the final product?
DC: No album springs to mind that is sonically close to Fowl… we were listening to a lot of HTRK and Neubauten at the time, but I think what we have achieved with this recording takes very small elements of everything we are influenced by and resembles nothing else I have heard, which I think is a great achievement. I think that each instrument has such a great tone, and I really can’t fault the production. If we achieve this kind of recording level for our next release, I would be very happy.
While Damian’s words give no hint to the heaviness and the loudness and the radness that spew forth from his and his band-mates’ collective brains, he is spot on in that it really does resemble nothing else out there, certainly nothing else I’ve ever heard. I don’t believe that have played in Perth before, and they won’t again for a while. Heirs are badass, so unless you’re prepared to come visit me in Melbourne, you should drop everything and get a ticket to this show, right fucking now you hear me?? HEIRS. THE BAKERY. SATURDAY. DO IT.