Despite Melbourne being in lockdown in 2020 we saw awesome band Cicadastone emerge with three killer singles Box Of Anger, Dying In Sunshine and Out Of Sight off their second album Cold Chamber which was released last week through Golden Robot Records. Cold Chamber is an album that continues to push the grunge rock boundaries and picks up where the 90’s movement left off. An authentic, dark and melodically driven soundscape, powerful in its execution, the songs are complex in design and detail, yet flow with simplicity and ease. The album is a musical landscape of twists and turns, and a journey you don’t see much in modern albums, with its own unique sound while staying truly authentic to the genre – a difficult task in a time when it’s all been done before. Guitarist and lead vocalist Mat Robins spoke to Hi Fi Way about their new album.
Awesome album, it must be very exciting all things considered that it is finally coming out?
So much has gone in to over the last couple of years, like any band you have a goal, some bands push to get a single out or an EP but for us it has been about the album. As you know it is a lot of work but I am ecstatic as I have got my hands on the final physical copy. I’m blown away by how it has turned out to be honest.
Was that unboxing moment really exciting?
Yeah, it is funny we videoed the CD’s when they came in and we’re going to do that with the vinyl as well. The CD was real, we looked at it, took it out, filmed it and took it out. It was like wow!
The double vinyl looks like an awesome package as well with the extra tracks on it as well?
It looks incredible, the art work we shot ourselves and that picture we made it. It was a real thing and we sat in a pool, put the girl in the pool and took photos. The end result was extremely satisfying but I’m actually blown away, I can’t believe it has turned out the way it looks.
For the obvious reasons how stressful has the last twelve months been and did you ever think you would get to this point?
It is so true, it got pushed back, pushed back and pushed back like any album really. It did reach this put where we are thinking are we ever going to put this thing out. The longer something goes the harder it is to keep focused on the initial goal. Once the label set the release date it all started to make sense again.
Was the album recorded pre-lockdown?
Yeah, some of the songs were w.ritten as far back as 2014. Like any album process you write as you go and eventually you stop writing for that record but you continue to write. It is the same for the demos I’ve got for the next record, some of them are really old and some were written a couple of months ago. I definitely had those songs lying around for a while and I’m sick to death of them! It will be great to just get them out and move on.
The album definitely has that American rock sound and can you see yourselves getting over there at some point?
It is fair to say that the bands that have influenced me are bands from the nineties who are American. I grew up on their melodies and riffs so it is only natural if I write a song that’s where I will go. It would very much fit in that American landscape. If we can get over there great, tough times but I wouldn’t rule it out, maybe next year or the year after.
How would you describe the album to the uninitiated?
It is very personal and dark, it does have some highs and lows. As an album it is more of a journey than a set of songs but if you want to break it down genre wise it is very much nineties rock record made by guys to listen to that stuff. It is very authentic nineties and I don’t there’s many bands around Australia who are even doing that any more, we’re doing it and we enjoy it.
Are you feeling more optimistic now about the path ahead particularly touring?
Hopefully international borders start opening up and things start to relax so we can go back to normal. I would to get overseas with this record. Europe and America would be great. It is really hard here as many bands would say, there isn’t a lot of support here and to get the support here you have to go somewhere else. If that’s what we got to do that’s what we got to do.
Are there plans to tour this around Australia?
It’s been totally about the borders closing when booking shows. We are going up to Sydney to do an album launch in a few weeks. Other than that it is really difficult booking a time and I gave up because borders were opening and closing. Everything was getting cancelled, it was really difficult to book anything. We have a Melbourne and Sydney show and there’s another in April. After that we might just regroup and look at trying to book a proper album tour at the end of the year.
Was the process of making the album straight forward?
It was straight forward in the sense that we made it in a traditional sense, we multi-tracked in a studio and over laid instruments. I don’t think it went as smoothly as the previous album, we originally recorded with a different drummer. Although we were committed to him recording the album by the time we finished all the drums and I edited all the drums I felt it was lacking a certain feel. In the end he wasn’t the right guy, he gracefully stepped aside and we’re still good mates. We ended up getting Jarrod Medwin in to the band to fill those shoes which meant starting again which sucked. There was a good month of work down the toilet, which isn’t a big deal but a big mental block to get over for me. You go so far down the journey you don’t want to have to take such a big back step but we had to. That’s the way it went.
What did Jarrod bring to the mix that you weren’t able to find previously?
I think it is the way he approaches his instrument, I think he had a better feel, he sat in the groove a bit better, more natural for what we did and how he attacked his drums. It just felt right, I couldn’t put it in to words. All I know was when I sat and listened to the original takes I wasn’t getting the feeling I should be getting if that makes sense.
With the unboxing and listening to the finished version did you start thinking about what other changes you might have made?
No, I’ve been doing this long enough to get past that shit in my life. I can very much detach and listen to it as a fan. I have made those recordings before where I had that stuff. I’m very fortunate that Cicadastone with both records I have done I have been happy with the end result. I’ve listened to the final mixes in the car in my Dropbox and it sounds great but when I finally put that CD in the car, which is odd as technically it isn’t as good a quality as a 24 bit file being a 16 bit file but some reason playing it off a CD in the car it seems to be a lot more real. That only happened a few weeks ago and I was definitely blown away, like wow this sounds amazing. I was listening to it detached as a fan rather than as a person who made it.
Will there be some sort of online show to officially launch the album?
I don’t know, we haven’t really talked about that, we could certainly do that! I wouldn’t rule it out and we certainly aren’t allowed to go anywhere apart from those two shows. I would love to do that.
What’s next for Cicadastone? Another record?
Maybe! It will depend on how busy we are this year and we are also re-releasing the first record through the label which is great. It will be repackaged because it never really got the focus it deserved, so we are going to remaster it and repackage it then Golden Robot Records will put it out as well. That will happen next and in that time we will start recording the third record. In the next two years I would like to think that there will be three records that have come out from us through the label.
Interview By Rob Lyon