Interview: With Alex Hill Of Âme Noire

 

 

Ame Noire
Photo by Karl Steller  – Âme Noire are: From left to right; Toby Thomas – Bass. Grant Mcguinness – Guitar. Alex Hill – Vocals. Aaron Hernyak- Drums. Alex Bell – Guitar. 

Melbourne’s Melancholic Death Metal Kings, Âme Noire are set to hit the Gold Coast and Brisbane to help kick off Hollow Worlds ‘Beneath The Frozen Sky’ Five Year Anniversary Tour this Friday and Saturday night. These guys are pure, raw, brutal and extremely talented musicians with a passion and dedication to their music. This year has been a big one for them with their EP ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’ being released, a heap of awesome gigs and support slots with the likes of Whoretopsy and Enslaved. Shannon had a chat to frontman Alex Hill about the upcoming Hollow World Tour and heaps more.

So let’s start at the beginning, how did Âme Noire first get together?

So half the band was in one band and the other half was in another band, both of those bands fell apart. We kind of just took the members that were really keen to make music and went yeah fuck it, these are the guys who really want to do it so let’s put it together and go from there. We already had a bunch of songs sort of ready to go. So we took the songs we had from our previous bands and put it all together with me as the vocalist instead of being on guitar. I have played guitar in every band I have ever been in, bar this one. So we already had all this material ready and we just went fuck it, let’s turn this into something better, so that is how we got started!

Âme Noire’s guitarist Grant also plays in Zeolite, I got to meet him when they played in Brisbane last…

The Black Dahila Murder and Aborted gig hey! They are two of my favourite bands and I was there for the Melbourne show. Grant slogs it out hey; he does half with us and half with Zeolite. Both bands have been very busy, I don’t know how he does it! *laughs*

At least he is not a drummer though, if he was a drummer he’d be in like 5 bands right!?

Yeah 100%, it is the story of every metal drummer in Australia. We are very fortunate that our drummer only plays in our band. He was sort of getting out of playing in bands when we asked him to join and we kind of put it to him in a way that you know, we are not going to be really intense about it. He is at university studying to be a science teacher at the moment. So we told him we would work around his schedule. In all honesty I think he is falling more and more in love with being in a band. So it worked out very well for all of us.

Âme Noire recently played some shows with the legends that are Whoretopsy, how was that?

Yeah that was excellent. The one down side was that we drove from Melbourne on the Thursday night, through the night and got to Sydney at like 8 in the morning or something stupid like that. Then we all slept for the whole day and then we went and played the show which was nuts! It was a really good show, good turnout. Then we drove straight back to Melbourne that night. I don’t know why we did it, we didn’t need to. We could have just drove in the morning *laughs* The Melbourne show was one of the best shows we have played in Melbourne, it was fantastic. Whoretopsy have a really big backing here and we had so many people that knew who we were and knew the words to our songs. We sold a lot of merch that night.

Next up you guys are touring with Hollow World for their ‘Beneath The Frozen Sky’ Five Year Anniversary which kicks off this Friday on The Gold Coast! You must be super pumped for that?

Yeah we started organizing this tour like 4 months ago or something, maybe even further back than that. I have been looking forward to this for a while. I’ve been going through a bit of a darker period over the last few months. So this has been my light at the end of the tunnel. I have been very very excited for this one. Performing is very much cathartic and an emotional outlet for me. I get to hang out with my best mates for the whole month and go play some shows and meet new people and hopefully push our music to new places, it is definitely a tour we are all looking forward to.

Then from the Gold Coast you head to Brisbane’s Home of the heavy, Crowbar…

Yeah Crowbar! Crowbar is amazing dude. I love that place. It is the most welcoming place for a metal musician to go. It has earned its name. It’s so good to see it coming to Sydney now too. We just played at The Bald Faced Stag and it was great but I am really keen to see what Crowbar brings to that.

After Brisbane, you hit Wollongong, then Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice in Sydney…

Oh my god I love that place man. Crowbar is sick because it is definitely set up to be a heavy music venue and that is what I love about it. But Frankie’s is like this tidy haven. I can’t even describe what it is. They have like the pizza bar out the front. If you are in a band you get free pizza and free beers, then in the back it is a massive bar with a stage at the end, I don’t even know what the capacity would be there, it is big. Then they have arcade games at the back and then if you walk through their storage area and you walk down the stairs and around the corner, you end up in a whisky bar, it is crazy!

Then Cherry Bar in Melbourne…

Cherry Bar is a different atmosphere again. I haven’t played there before; I haven’t even been to a show there yet. I went there when I was about 19 and it was at the end of a very big weekend so I don’t remember much. There have been some iconic shows there, so I am keen to play there. Home town crowd, they really back us and Hollow World so it should be a really good turnout.

You released your debut EP ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’ this year, the launch show was in July, how did that go?

Well it is so hard to explain what that show actually meant to me, it was on my birthday, I turned 25. We played to a packed out room of people who were, I wouldn’t say there purely to support us, but there were a lot of people who were close to us and there for us in that crowd and we actually were filming that night for a future thing we are going to do. That was, at this point, the best show we have ever played, the crowd was packed, everyone was going nuts, the crowd was louder than me for a lot of parts with singing the lyrics and stuff, you could hear it over the instruments. 15 year old me was sitting there going this is literally a dream right now. That show was another level man! *laughs*

You have a very unique way of contorting your body and face when you are performing on stage which is really awesome to watch and adds to the magic that is Âme Noire. Is that something that comes naturally with the way the music makes you feel?

Yeah it definitely is. I get on stage and I know what I am doing but it is almost like I am tapping into another part of myself. It is not like an anger thing, but I can feel a lot of rage going. It is definitely a performance thing. It is me putting on that persona. I do know what I am doing but at the same time I am just out of control. I have pulled it back a little bit recently at some shows just to keep my vocal range in check because I have been known to overdo it. I gave myself a black eye at a show because I hit myself too many times *laughs* It is sort of like taking on a character. With the EP, it has a concept and I am sort of playing one of the characters. I let the music course though me and I let just let go. I have grown up since I was 11, listening to metal. It has been my whole life, I never wanted anything more than to do music, So I have got the opportunity to do it after all those years of being in my bedroom dreaming of doing this shit! So I really just make sure I have a good game plan going into a show to the point where it is instinctual, I kind of just turn off and let my subconscious take control I guess.

Who are some of your biggest influences as a vocalist?

In terms of the style I do now, looking at that musical realm, definitely, my favourite vocalist would be Trevor from Black Dahlia Murder, Lyrics wise, he is like the greatest lyricist in metal and his high screams, I base my high screams somewhat off of his. Travis Ryan from Cattle Decapitation he is my favourite vocalist in terms of tone. Nergal from Behemoth just as a person, he very much takes on that stage persona thing as well. But if we are going to back to whom sort of really influenced me at a young age it would be Alex Varkatzas from Atreyu. I am a massive Atreyu fan boy, which is very far removed from what I listen to and perform now but even at this point in time I have been binging on Atreyu for the last month. Then Slipknot was a very big influence. Deftones. I love Deftones, Chino Moreno is one of my favourite vocalists ever. But one that is a bit more left of field that unless you know me, you wouldn’t expect is Mac Miller, the hip hop artist who passed away. He has been one of my favourite musicians since 2011. I don’t think a lot of people realize how good of a musician that guy was. With his earlier stuff, he recorded the drums, the bass, the brass section; he can sing really well, he can rap better than most rappers out there. All of his albums are in my most influential albums of all time.

Who are some of your favourite local bands that you’d like to give a plug too?

Xenobiotic straight up; 100 percent. If anyone is sleeping on them you are doing it wrong; they are going to be the next big band in Australia. I am not even just talking shit, it is not biased, they are amazing musicians and they are putting out music that no one is doing at the moment. They are from Perth. Zeolite are our boys, I got to give them a plug, they are our homies. Gravemind, they are on track to being one of the biggest heavy bands in the world, if anyone disagrees they are just flat out wrong *laughs*. Hollow World and Whoretopsy are like our best mates. Oh and Wraith from Sydney, they are killing it. They came out around the same time as us and they are doing really well. Our friend Karl who was the drummer from Boris The Blade and is in Gravemind, he filled in for us on our first tour because our drummer had just broken both his forearms playing basketball. He also tracked my vocals for me on our EP and we will continue to work together, so he is sort of a outside member of the band. Then there is our friend Jackson who we take with us everywhere, he is our videographer. He shot all our live videos and stuff, he is another big part of the metal community. One of our main photographers, Elgin, everyone knows him, he a massive part of the community. Everyone is an important part of the metal community, it doesn’t matter what part you play, you can be a promoter or a band or a photographer or a videographer, everyone just supports each other and everyone gets along and it is just so great.

So what comes next for Âme Noire?

At the moment we are writing for our next release. I have had the concept down for a while. I have only just started putting pen to paper for lyrics; but we have got about half the songs done. We would like to release another EP hopefully in the first half of next year and then we will plan a couple more tours and then it really depends what is offered to us as well. Then after that we might take a bit of a break to focus on writing an album.

Follow Âme Noire on Facebook HERE.

For the Gold Coast gig at Mo’s Desert Clubhouse event page click HERE. 

For the Brisbane gig at Crowbar event page click HERE. 

Get your tickets via Wild Thing Presents HERE. 

Listen to and Purchase ‘The Tree That Bears Rotten Fruit’ HERE. 

Tour Dates:

November 2nd – Mo’s Desert Clubhouse – Gold Coast

November 3rd – Crowbar – Brisbane

November 10th – Illawarra Music Foundry – Wollongong

November 11th – Frankie’s Pizza By The Slice – Sydney

November 16th – Cherry Bar – Melbourne

December 7th – Elliot’s Bar – Ringwood

 

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