Exclusive interview for hellfest.fr: THY ART IS MURDER [Andy Marsh (guitar)]
“Everything we do is crazy, it’s up, it’s down, it’s whatever…” – Andy Marsh – Saturday 18 june 2016
How the hell are you?
I’m doing great. I got to Europe yesterday and I’m fantastic.
You’ve had crazy couple of months…
Everything we do is crazy, it’s up, it’s down, it’s whatever…
Can we talk about the finance controversy?
We can dabble…
So your old singer said you were making 16-20 grand a year over five years… what did that mean?
I’m not sure. I think other people confused what he as saying or he wasn’t sufficiently clear. He definitely got paid more than that in a month, not necessarily a year. It’s bad form to speak about finances to the public. There’s no need for people to broadcast what they do with their lives. Whether or not he allowed people to just run with it to make it seem worse than it was… I don’t know about that either.
For sure – I was just curious for the record…
Maybe he’s averaging out net loss versus personal gain or something? We’re a metal band and there’s definitely a period of time where we made zero money. Who plays metal for money? We were just playing show to keep playing shows. Then we passed the point where it was like “Oh we are a small business now and don’t need jobs!”
When was that point for you guys?
The last twenty four to thirty six months. That was really encouraging. We toured more than almost any other metal band from our country so it was great to make something of a living off of it.
You’ve got to be maybe the only professional Australian metal band?
Well there’s Parkway Drive and Amity Affliction…
But you face a unique set of challenges, how do you deal with those?
We take it as it comes. Visas cos a lot as does flying everywhere and the economy in Australia is pretty bad. It’s a whole set of challenges that no other band in our genre has encountered before.
What does management think?
I run our management company!
Do you manage other bands?
Yes. Disentombed, they are a slam band from Australia and a couple other small bands.
How do you balance all of that?
I have an iPhone which makes doing it easy. Being organized personally helps a lot.
How did you fall into that?
I’m a punk guy. I like doing things my way. With the birth of Thy Art we had a unique set of challenges. At this point we have achieved everything I wanted the band to achieve. I set goals and make them happen, that’s managing.
What makes you want to manage a band?
Liking the band as people ad musically. If you’re not fully stoked you’re screwed. You have to like the songwriting! If the dudes are your best friends but the songs are terrible it’s pointless. You need great songs, music you really enjoy and people you really enjoy.
What makes a song great?
I don’t know, it’s just a good song! I like linear songs, I like noodly proggy songs!
What’s it been like working with Lochlan?
It’s been pretty cool. I’ve known him for over a decade. We needed a guy to step up and fill in and he’s our friend and we get along. I can neither confirm nor deny if he’s going to stay in the band. It’s just a situation we are feeling out. Getting a singer in a band is so much more than getting a voice. I’s getting the right voice, the right stage personality. It’s finding a family member really.
You had another singer you did a handful of shows with… what happened there?
There was one sound in his voice that really bothered me. It was like a constriction in his throat that I felt was really distracting and I want the lyrics to be intelligible and I found that very distracting. No one else really picked up on it until I talked to our producer. His range wasn’t quite right, we need a singer in a slightly higher register. He just wasn’t gelling with the sound. That’s the balancing act. I love the guy, he’s American but I have an American sensibility since I live in America but the other guys are much more Australian, I mean they live there. So that made it harder personally. It’s an interesting set of challenges.
To head towards the end – what do you love so much about music?
It’s a job, but a passion first. It’s a job where it doesn’t matter how good you are. I find that interesting. In almost another occupation the better you are at your job the more money you get paid almost without exception. You can be the sickest guitar player on the planet and it doesn’t mean anything and I find that very intriguing. I guess that’s what draws everyone to music. It’s something they love and they could find themselves at the center of it instantly. It’s an interesting culture that drew me from a young age.
Interview: Matt Bacon.