INTERVIEW: KARNIVOOL

Photography by Kane Hibberd
Since the release of their 2005 debut album, Themata, and 2009’s ground breaking follow-up, Sound Awake, Karnivool have established themselves as one of the most vital forces in prog-rock. After the success of their latest album Asymmetry, and a world-tour since it’s release, the band are returning to Australia for Groovin’ The Moo and a handful of sideshows. Mere days before the tour kicks off, we sat down with guitarist Drew Goddard to chat about touring, Asymmetry and doing your own thing.By Meghan Player

Hey Drew! How are you?

Doing well, thank you. 

It’s been a busy time for yourselves since Asymmetry was released – you’ve been touring pretty much across the world – how are you keeping the momentum going?
Yeah, it has been busy since the release. Two European tours and two Aussie tours since the album release last year. We’ve been back in Perth for a few months now – apart from Kenny [vocalist Ian Kenny], who has been over in the USA with Birds Of Tokyo for the most part. But, like you said, we’re keeping the momentum moving here by getting started on record number four, before heading off on tour shortly around Australia and then Europe for about 5 weeks. 

Of course, we have to talk a little about Asymmetry – it reached #1 in the ARIA charts and scored yourselves an ARIA win last year – is it still surreal to think how much of an impact the album had? And how much it is continuing to have?
It’s surreal to think we have come this far. You have to pinch yourself occasionally. We’re very lucky to be in the position we are. But we always try to keep our focus on the now and what’s ahead. There’s time for retrospection when we’re old and grey, our livers have stopped working and I find it hard to hold down a barre chord.  

You’ve also been lucky enough to see first hand, how far your music has reached around the world – did you ever think that would be possible when you first started the band?
It wasn’t really something that we thought about when we first started. I remember having dreams of playing shows on the East Coast of Australia before that became a reality. We started pulling good numbers in Perth and getting some good support slots.
A couple of years after Themata came out opportunities started to arise for tours of the USA. That became a reality and we toured around in a busted up Dodge for 9 weeks playing all over the States. That was a very surreal experience when the realisation came that the music we were messing around with as a hobby – many years ago at the back of my parents house – had led us to travel to foreign lands.
I think that occurred to me while I was eating one of those weird eggs with the bright yellow yolk from a Denny’s diner. Living the dream!
India was another big pinch yourself moment! Never would have guessed that would have happened. It’s now probably home to one of our biggest followings.

With the album being such a success, is there any pressure when it comes to writing the follow-up?
Yes always – but always an internal pressure.In saying that, are you working on a new album at the moment?

Yes we are. I can’t say that much about it yet – it’s still very early days. I can say that I think we’re making a conscious effort to make more from less. Oh yeah and I am reminding myself of the power of the riff. 

It’s only been a couple of months since your last tour in Australia – which included a bunch of sold-out shows – but, are you looking forward to “returning” to our shores again?
Yes, we love touring Australia – obviously. It’s home. There’s still many far-flung places all across this great land that we haven’t been to yet. Plus returning to the capitals and seeing new and familiar faces will never get old.How does the Australian crowd compare to say Europe or the US?

I think Karnivool fans are actually kinda similar where ever we go. They are passionate music lovers, and usually very friendly. It’s always a cross between the folk that love to rock out and then the more introverted “thinkers” that stand and take it in. I think a lot Europe is like the latter. You can feel the intense focus of everyone in the room. Everyone is very present in the moment. Big generalisation but yeah, Europeans love their prog! 

It’s great to see that Sydney locals Born Lion will be joining you for the Groovin The Moo “sideshows” – are you looking forward to hitting the road with them?
Yes! I really dig the band from what I’ve heard of their recordings. There’s a great energy going on. I can’t wait to see that in the live arena. They seems like sterling lads too. 

Will you add any new – perhaps unheard – songs to the set list for the tour?
Not new, but we’re pulling out some songs we haven’t done in quite some time. A couple of the more obscure numbers. 

Congratulations are also in order for your Metal Hammer ‘Golden God‘ award nomination! It must be pretty humbling to, not only be nominated, but be up there with some pretty prestigious live acts as well?
Yeah that definitely took us by surprise. Amazing to be nominated for best live act alongside Dillinger Escape Plan and The Prodigy (to name a couple!) 

For a band that has had quite an extensive and interesting career, is there one thing that you would like to be remembered for?
Doing things on our own terms.Finally, is there one a piece of advice you would offer young musicians/bands that are perhaps just starting out?

Umm.. Do things on your own terms! Don’t cater to any particular market, trend or formula. Make your own rules. Be ready to work and make sacrifices. Go to as many live shows as you can and stay inspired, create a community. And play as many gigs as you can in the early days. Live and breathe it.===============================================================================
Many thanks to Drew for taking the time to chat to us. You can keep up-to-date with all Karnivool tour dates and news at: http://karnivool.com/latest

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