Interview/Words by Tracey Moyle – The Music Maven
Australian music fans have warmly embraced the genre of progressive rock/metal over the years with many local bands standing out in a big way forming a strong following both on home soil and internationally. The genre itself holds an incredibly broad range musically thanks to the creativity of those who are drawn to it; bands such as Twelve Foot Ninja, Caligua’s Horse, Ne Obliviscaris and Karnivool, just a few of the pacesetters lighting the way for emerging artists to follow.
Bendigo newcomers Ironstone have captured their own eclectic progressive rock sound breaking onto the scene with their 2019 single Polarity and again late last year with their video release and first single Bound, featuring new lead vocalist Dan Charlton.
Set to drop their debut EP ‘Prophecy’ on May 29, with the promise of hard hitting riffs layered with complexity and atmospheric resonance, our Music Maven Tracey Moyle took some time out to ask the bands lead guitarist, Edward Warren, the essential questions’ we needed to give us an insight into this exciting new band.
Fan’s can support the release of Ironstone’s Debut EP via crowd funding venture Pozible HERE
Congratulations on the upcoming release of ‘Prophecy’. With such a strong progressive rock/metal scene in Australia there is no shortage of new fans eager to be won over. Can you give any of these future fans, those who aren’t yet familiar with IRONSTONE, some insight into the inspiration behind the band and perhaps your own influences?
Thanks so much! It all begins with the music WE listen to. The bands WE love. Across 5 members that’s quite a mad concoction of influences, but we mutually love heavy percussive guitars, complex rhythms and really great melody. We also love synths and tech and harmonies and strings. We love to make it brutal and hard, then colour it in with pretty bits. We’re definitely influenced by some very big bands like Periphery, Architects, Wage War and Tesseract. But maybe our biggest influence has been Twelve Foot Ninja, our local heroes. Hearing TFN for the first time sort of changed everything!
You had a line up change last year, a new lead singer, which can definitely change the consciousness of the music, particularly going from a female to male lead. How do you feel the band has grown since Dan Charlton joined last year?
Finding Dan was a massive relief to be honest. It felt like an almost impossible task to find the right person. Someone who fits in well, loves the same music, with great vocal ability, fantastic attitude and enough swag to be a ‘front man’. He brought energy and enthusiasm to the group at a time when we really needed it, and instantly felt like one of us. His vocal style definitely enabled us to write the music we’d long been wanting to play and his contribution to the song writing added new flavour and fresh perspective. He’s really easy to work with too. The most reasonable, easy-going guy ever!
I absolutely love Bound, it’s a great song with so much depth. Danhas a great tone to his voice. Can you give us a bit of insight into the personality of this song and what we can look forward to from the other tracks on the EP?
Thanks so much. Bound will always be really special because it was our first release with Dan. The song was already written when he joined, but it was amazing how he put his stamp on it and brought it to life. The song is about having the strength to pull away from an overbearing person. It was written about a personal experience but I think the message could apply to many scenarios and is hopefully relatable to others. As for the other 5 tracks, there is plenty of diversity on this EP. That wasn’t deliberate… we just wrote what we wanted to write, drawing inspiration from the music we love. Downpour is very melodic and the chorus has an almost anthemic feel. Killed A Man is rap inspired and a nod toward black humour. Better Unseen’ is almost thrash metal in places, and Origin and Hollow are more proggy and epic.
Is the song writing process something that the whole band contributes to or do you have someone who is particularly mastered at this creative task?
I write most of the music. It will usually start with guitar, but could also be synth, electronica or even orchestral elements. I’ll flesh out riffs and structure until I have something solid enough to present to the rest of the band. Our drummer Jack (Whyte) is highly skilled at programming and automation, so he will then work with me to experiment with ideas and refine the drum parts. After that Dan and I get together to work on the melody and lyrics. Once the song is structured enough to play through we all openly discuss everyone’s parts and make final adjustments.
Releasing a debut EP would be exciting and nerve wracking at the same time. I saw you have a crowd funding campaign through Pozible. This has proven an incredibly helpful exercise for bands in the past. In today’s climate where music can be a financial strain it’s a great way to get the fans involved. How have you found the response?
Going to be very honest here… it’s not going so well. I think people really want to help, but this is an extremely difficult time and people are genuinely worried about their financial security. We think there are some advantages for an ‘emerging’ band like us to release during this unique time, but raising funds is probably not one of them! We’ll organise a store on our web site, and hopefully make some sales on there after the release. As for the release itself, we’re just really excited to finally get these songs out there. It’s been the longest time coming!
Fan’s can support the release of Ironstone’s Debut EP via crowd funding venture PozibleHERE
This year is going to be one spoken about for a very long time, how have the band been spending their time during the 2020 lockdown period, creatively or with more of a reflective outlook to what the future holds for IRONSTONE?
Four of us are doing year 12 this year, and attempting to do so from home. An unenviable situation to be in I must say! Dan is still working full time too, so we’re not idle, that’s for sure! We’re just lucky that we had the EP already finished and got the new video for Downpour shot JUST before lockdown began. There was some discussion about postponing the releases, but we were given some advice about this being a uniquely ‘quiet’ time to release. It was pointed out that after this is over there will be an avalanche of new releases. We’re not in a good position to compete with that! I have been doing some song writing lately, but us band members haven’t seen each other in over a month. It really does suck!
Your video for Bound is great. It’s simplistic but projects the song perfectly. I love that it’s filmed in black and white. It sets the atmosphere, really matching the mood of the song. Did you go into it with exactly that in mind?
Thanks! The video was shot and edited by our manager, and we were all filmed one at a time in a very small studio space with one white wall. It was decided early on to create heavy shadows that moved in an independent and unpredictable way, representing how hard it can be to judge another person’s intentions or motives. Mostly filmed with a single light, WE stayed still while the light moved around us! We happened to be hosting a German exchange student at the time, and it was awesome to include her dancing with rope, an obvious representation of being restricted. It all ended up looking very ‘artsy’ so the decision to make the video B&W was an easy one.
When the restrictions start to lift on our current isolation I imagine things will only gradually get back to normal. I’ve heard it will be a while before international acts start touring again. As much as this devastates me it also gives me a great feeling of opportunity for Aussie bands to step into the available spaces. Do you feel this will be the case?
We really don’t know what to expect to be honest. We desperately hope all the venues can hold on and make it through this. We hope when this is over the fans are more enthusiastic than ever, ready to get out there and soak up live music again. It’s a really interesting theory though… and yes, that would be great.
Do you have any particular bands you’d love to tour with in the future?
I think the band we’d be most thrilled to tour with is Twelve Foot Ninja. We absolutely LOVE those guys and adore their music. Keeping it Aussie we’d also love to play with Northlane one day. That would be sick. If we’re dreaming BIG here, the ultimate support would be Periphery.
Who would you personally love to see live once all restrictions are lifted?
Seriously though, we’d love to see any of our awesome local metal bands and good mates. We miss the scene SO much, and it’s scary hearing talk of venues going under and things never being the same again. We want OUR scene back more than anything. Oh… and Periphery… and Twelve Foot Ninja… obviously.
IRONSTONE is comprised of Dan Charlton – lead vocals, Edward Warren – lead guitar, Oliver Hosking – bass guitar, Aidan Kalms – rhythm guitar and Jackson Whyte – drums.
The new single and music video Downpour will be out from Friday 15th May.
‘Prophecy’ will be available on all streaming platforms from 29 May.
Support Ironstone and pre-order your copy of ‘Prophecy’ via Pozible HERE
With thanks to Black-Roos Entertainment