New Year, New Horizons

December 31, 2013 by  

Well, here we are yet again: the end of another year draws close. And wow, what a journey it’s been!

Like many people are doing today, I’m thinking back to everything that’s happened over the last twelve months and I’m finding it hard to both remember everything that’s happened and put it all into words. If there’s one thing that could be said about 2013 its that it certainly wasn’t boring. And that would be the understatement of the year right there!

So 2012 was a bit nuts, as you can see in LAST YEAR’S BLOG from this time.

Digital LiesWe did indeed finally release “Digital Lies” after a hellish year for me recording it simultaneously while we were also touring. For something I was actively resenting doing through most of the process, clearly that didn’t come across in the music. Aside from Dungeon’s first demo album “Demolition” (released in 1996 in Japan when the world and sales figures were very different to what they are today for every band), this has been our best selling, best received album ever. When you consider how long we’ve been doing this, especially adding on the Dungeon era, it’s absolutely astounding that this could happen so far into our careers, when you would usually expect an artist to be running out of creative steam. For me especially, after releasing “Set In Stone” with so many of our friends and musical heroes involved, even the idea of matching that seemed like a hell of a task, so to get the feedback it has just makes me incredibly proud.

At this point I’ll give  a shout out to every blog, ‘zine, radio show, music paper, TV show, etc. that has taken the time to listen to the album and give their thoughts. Of course there is always going to be people that dislike it, but even for those people we would like to say thanks to everyone who gave their constructive thoughts, even if we do disagree with you. Thanks a lot guys, it’s very much appreciated! (Of course, for everyone who didn’t listen properly and gave a “lololll deese guys suk” review, feel free to go fuck yourselves. 😉 )

We hit the road once again, continuing on with the Digital LIVE tour. Most of the tour this year was with our fill-in drummer Simon Batley, drummer from Troldhaugen (one of my favourite Australian bands that I had the good fortune to record their first album here at SLS Studios). Cheers to Simon for the killer effort! The drums in this band aren’t exactly a walk in the park, and when you factor in playing to a click track so we can trigger our backing keyboards and orchestras, etc. and needing to learn a whole set to a world class standard and then take it out on the road on an international tour at short notice… well, that’s pretty damn impressive! Juggling LORD with Troldhaugen and his guest spot in Germ makes it even more-so.

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Onya, mate!

And where was Damo? Sleeping, we suspect! 😛  No, as I mentioned last year, he got engaged, got a killer new day job and is saving to make a future for his family, which must ALWAYS be the priority for all of us at the end of the day. The sad fact about being an independent metal band from Australia is that while it may look like you’re doing great and selling lots of albums and merch and jetting off to all kinds of exotic places, the reality is we all personally see no money from it – it all goes back into the band itself so we can continue to do what we do. The sacrifices that everyone has to make with their own time and personal life are very demanding and, as has happened over the last year, sometimes a choice must be made. We’re very fortunate to know many great players who are able to fill in for anyone who can’t be there so the show can continue to roll on. But while Damo wasn’t around for a lot of the shows, rest assured we were still thinking of ways to hang crap on him when we saw him next! 😛

(Just as an aside, yes, we DO give Damo a pretty hard time but it’s most definitely from a friendly place rather than a malicious one. Damo is quite simply one of the tightest drummers of this style in the country, full stop. It’s no easy task finding someone that can fill those shoes when he’s unavailable.)

So the tour rolled on. This  time we made it to South East Asia and played Malaysia and Singapore for the first time, which was a fantastic experience! Lots of great memories and fun was had. That took us back once again to our second home of Japan where the fans have shown us their love and dedication. Domo Arigato!

Aside from LORD it’s been a crazy year for me too.

With LORD, as you guys know, I look after most of the artwork, design, video clips, audio recording/production and work with Andy doing Dominus Records, our record label. Andy looks after the touring and marketing side of things with Dominus Entertainment (who are now just starting to tour other acts besides LORD, such as Albatross from India). Aside from LORD, the big thing I’ve been involved in this year has been Blackened Angel. We finally got our first full length album released and a video clip, and we’ll be getting into the promotion of it in the next couple of months. It’s already great to see the positive reactions to the project, especially since it was more for ourselves than anything else.

I’ve also been working with Arnie Olbrich from the local rehearsal studio here on his second album, doing the mix, guest instruments and vocals, and working with a lot of other talented local musicians. That was a pretty big task but the results are pretty awesome. I expect Arnie to hit the PR trail of that fairly hard in 2014.

Both SLS Studios and Dusk Music Video Production have been incredibly busy for me. It’s especially great to see Germ do such huge things with their last album we recorded here, but all of the artists that I’ve worked with over the last twelve months have gone on to get some fantastic wraps for their work. It makes me very proud to have been a part of it all. I won’t go through everyone I’ve worked with this year, but suffice to say thanks for trusting me to deliver your album / video clip / pizza / baby / mail / dry cleaning – I hope I’ve helped you on your journey in some way. Also, thanks for your money, you helped keep my phone connected. 😉

So what’s next for 2014?

As I type this, Andy is working hard behind the scenes locking in dates for the next year. Already we have some pretty big plans underway for international touring and, of course, Australian dates. The dates themselves may be a little sparse compared to previous years due to a lot of personal commitments (mostly from me this time) but they’re pretty impressive nonetheless.

Our association with ESP Guitars continues with some really awesome stuff coming up in the next few months. I can speak for all of us when I say I find myself blown away that not only do I get to play such incredible instruments, it’s with the support of the company itself (cheers to Makoto Suzuki from ESP, Shane from Bmusic and Ando from CMI for your continued belief in us. It means a hell of a lot!)

We have a bunch of cool new merch about to drop, and we have a fairly big recording project that will come to fruition this year that should please a lot of people and tie up a lot of annoying loose ends for us from a label perspective. I won’t elaborate on this any more than just saying it’ll put a spotlight and credit back on the people who deserve it, and give a fresh perspective and attention to something very important to us and if it all works out, everyone will benefit. Cryptic, much? 😉 You’ll just have to wait and see!

Right then! I have a couple of Gentleman Jack’s to have with a nice meal waiting for me upstairs, along with my favourite girls (both the three furry cat-like ones, and the two gorgeous human ones of various sizes).

The last thing I want to say is thank you to each and every one of you. Not only for your support of the band and the nice things you’ve said about “Digital Lies” or other projects I’ve been involved in, but for your friendship and your belief in me and the projects I’m associated with. I’m not the most social guy and I’m usually pretty rubbish at staying in contact with people, especially when I’m a bit swamped, but just know you mean the world to me. Thanks.

I hope everyone has a safe New Years and 2014 is absolutely brilliant for you all. Cheers, everyone! 😀

– LT, NYE 2013