Tasmania’s Psycroptic play a blistering style of technical death metal, and have just released their fifth album, ‘The Inherited Repression’ through Nuclear Blast Records. M3 grilled drummer Dave Haley on forgotten art forms, touring, and why money troubles are the least of a young band’s worries…
M3 – First of all, could you tell us a bit about yourself, and what it is that you do?
Psycroptic – Well, I’m Dave the drummer for Tasmanian metal band Psycroptic. We’ve been together as a band since 1999.
What inspired you to form Psycroptic? What are your own musical backgrounds?
I was 19 when I started Psycroptic with my younger brother Joe. We were both into metal music so we decided to form a death metal band. We’d both been playing for music for about 6 years before we started the band. Joe knew Cameron from school so he asked him to join the band. We knew the original vocalist Matthew just from going to shows and playing in other bands, so we asked him to sing. That was in 1999.
What would be your preferred medium to listen to music (eg. Vinyl, CD, tape, MP3 etc.), and why?
Well, these days its MP3 just for sheer convenience. Vinyl of course sounds the best to me and has the best packaging, but I can’t go jogging listening to LPs. Sure the quality isn’t as good with MP3 but its the delivery that I like.
Do you feel the idea of an album, as a piece of art that people will listen to from start to finish, has been undermined or forgotten about in the digital age?
Definitely, without a doubt. But, I dont think its something we should be surprised about – every artform has a life cycle. Look at all the lost artforms over centuries. Small pockets of people around the world keep these lost artforms alive (such as wood cuts for example), and in a lot of cases do it *better* than in its heyday. Writing an album is an artform like any other, so while we’ll see less and less albums being written, I think we’ll see *better* albums as a result.
Much has been made of the supposed death of the record store in recent years. Do you believe the digital age has killed the record store, and if so, do you think that this is a necessary part of progression, or a tragic loss?
I wouldn’t say it’s necessary, I would say thats just evolution. The CD was the leading technology at one time, it’s not anymore and that’s a fact. Yeah, it’s kind of sad in a way that the record store subculture has died in some areas…but that just gives opportunities in others. There will always be room for music subculture based stores as people like music…the products on offer just need to be a little more tailored I guess.
Many people have claimed that there is no longer any money in record sales, and that touring is the most efficient way to earn an income as a band. How much truth do you think there is in this sentiment?
I think it’s a pretty true statement in some areas. I only know what it’s like for us as a band… we’ve never relied on the money from record sales as it has never been that much, and what we do make we put back into the band. We all have day jobs outside the band. A lot of the time touring only just breaks even for us… so money hasn’t really been a concern for why we do the band. If it was, I think we would look, sound and do things very differently.
Do you think traditional copyright laws are still enforceable in the digital age, or do you think we will have to rethink the concept of copyright itself?
I do think the copyright idea needs to be looked at again…but I dont have any firm ideas on how it should change. It’s a very good question as it has me stumped!
What is your take on the recent SOPA/ACTA controversy?
I think the whole legislation is very bad idea, and it’s not what it pretends to be. I’m not going to get into a political discussion as I dont want to preach… but people should really think about the motivation behind such laws. It’s not about protecting young bands that’s for sure.
What would you say are the main challenges facing an up-and-coming musician/band in today’s cultural climate?
I think more than anything it’s finding an original creative voice that is the problem. A lot of pressure is put on bands to look and sound a certain way. I dont think the ‘money’ argument is the problem. Bands have always written their best work when money wasnt even a consideration or a reality.
Finally, what does the future hold for Psycroptic?
We just want to keep playing music we like playing, touring and seeing new places and having fun. We’ll keep going as long as we’re having fun doing it. When we don’t, we’ll stop.