By ANDREW MCKAYSMITH
MELBOURNE’s Branch Arterial label themselves a progressive rock act and it’s a description I’d certainly agree with. Having not been exposed to the band’s music, I felt the most appropriate comparison to artists in my own music collection include the enigmatic US band, Cynic, and the less psychedelically inclined moments from The Mars Volta, particularly vocalist Nigel whose tone and vocal manner is a dead ringer for Cedric Bixler-Zavala.
The triumphant new song “Circus” from the forthcoming album Beyond The Border is now available. The band endured all manner of obstacles prior to its release so in many ways the single is a phlegmatic response to hardships endured.
Hot Metal has never done an interview with an entire band where the mythical entity speaks as one before – and we never will again because it seems too much like a press release. So for the first and last time…
Hot Metal: First up, congratulations on the new single, “Circus”!
Branch Arterial: “Thank you, it’s been a long time coming and we are very happy with the result.”
HM: How do you think fans are going to react to the new album, Beyond The Border?
BA: “Hopefully surprised, as we feel the music has evolved from any previous release. It’s heavier and more melodic which is exactly what we wanted to achieve.”
HM: Is there a theme to Beyond The Border?
BA: “The album is an organic representation of us as a band musically. Lyrically, we would say it’s quite dark, touching on an array of life’s issues. It’s an honest release based on real life.”
HM: Who are your influences and inspirations?
BA: “We like and have drawn inspiration from a broad range of artists; Pantera, Sevendust, The Mars Volta, Periphery, and Dream Theater.” (continued below)
HM: What has been the band’s biggest challenge?
BA: “Definitely to keep moving forward as a group and staying alive, literally. Kade and Nigel have faced extreme situations, which almost cost them their lives. Kade surviving a horrific motorcycle accident in South America and Nigel fighting a rare form of blood cancer. Coming back from that to complete the album was a challenge we did not understand would be possible three years ago.”
HM: If it all ended tomorrow, have you achieved everything you wanted with the band?
BA: “In terms of writing good music, hanging out with mates, and playing awesome shows yes, but beyond that we’d like to tour and keep pushing forward musically.”
HM: Story to share from the studio/ rehearsal?
BA: “Something hilarious happens every single rehearsal. We can spend more time laughing at each other than practicing which at times is nonproductive but it’s the nature of us as a group.”
HM: Story to share from a tour?
BA: “They say what happens on tour stays on tour..”
HM: What’s your take on the music industry in 2017?
BA: “With the amount of quality bands and artists around these days it’s harder to be creative and have a product that stands out from the rest. Engaging content and concept is critical along with good music.”
HM: What would you change (in the music industry in 2017?)
BA: “Although music streaming has helped to combat piracy and is a bonus for the listener and the artist’s exposure, it hardly helps with the bands return. If it was possible I’d like to see a bigger return from streaming platforms to minimise the amount bands are paying to be heard. “
HM: What’s working well (in the music industry in 2017?)
BA: “Obviously, the Internet and social media is helping many artists gain exposure as it gives them the opportunity to build a fan base online before slugging it out for years gigging to no one.”
HM: Where do you see yourself and the band in 10 years’ time?
BA: “Recording, touring, and making a return income from the band.”
HM: Is there a grand plan?
BA: “To all stay alive would be excellent… To keep writing and producing more music and to tour this material abroad whilst enjoying the whole process.”
The album Beyond the Border is out on Friday April 28th.