Alkira (Australia)

Metal-Roos: How would you describe Alkira’s sound?
I don’t know… it has changed a little bit recently. We are definitely influenced by old school thrash metal bands and the good re-thrash bands. I guess darkish thrash – we call it not quite thrash – we don’t try to copy anyone. Me personally, I like the stoner rock kinda thing as well; collectively we like more progressive bands like Mastodon, also the sludgy type of thing with Neuro. The album we have coming out… the first four songs are straight up brutal and heavy, fast as, and the fifth track turns it on its head, not ballady or slow at all, just a different take on it.

Metal-Roos: Has the band been a solid group for a while then?
It really started with myself and the guitarist, we just started jamming after school. We then had different people come through in the very early stages of the band. We really only started taking it seriously about 2011 which was when the current line up formed. Late 2011, Sean joined the band… before that Greg who is now the lead guitarist but he played bass and sang. We had a lead guitarist at the time but he moved on, so we have been solid like this for two and a bit years.

Metal-Roos: Coming from a small town like Strathalybn did that help shape the band?
Yeah, Kyle and I went to school with each other. We lived in Victor Harbour but went to school in Goolwa on the South Coast. Then I moved to Strathalybn in 2008 and we were jammimg in Strath. One of the guys we were jamming with at that time, was from Ashbourne, a little town up the road and through him we met Greg and our old lead guitarist. Greg and Sean had their little thing and Kyle and I had our thing and came together in Strathalybn, jammed there for a year and a half to two years, before we all moved to Adelaide. It was a good time, back in Strath… at that time there were 3 really good heavy metal bands, so it was cool.

Metal-Roos: How is the album going so far?
We actually finished recording last night. We sent off the tracks for mixing… first day of mixing is today, so we should have a rough mix back in the next couple of days. We should have the final tracks back in a few weeks. It’s all very exciting if everything arrives ok in Sydney.

Metal-Roos: So would you have it ready for release before your next gig in September?
No we’re going to release it in mid October giving us a little time in getting the tracks. We have some interest of labels, so we still have to figure that out. We are going to record a video clip and want that out before the album is released. So there are a few promotional thing we want to put in place, try to get some album hype before we drop it.

Metal-Roos: Alkira has supported some big international bands like Fear Factory and most recently Tankard. What was that experience like?
It was awesome! We have heard a lot of horror stories about Sydney so we hadn’t gone there yet, but when this opportunity came up and we were asked to support Tankard… well, the chance to play next to Tankard and to play in Sydney for the first time. We played at the HiFi which is like a 2000 capacity venue, but there were only about 250 people there. So it looked a bit small but everyone enjoyed it; we got lots of good feedback and free booze. We got to watch Tankard from the side of the stage. They were great and the whole experience was awesome. We had a headlining gig the next night in a small place but it was packed out and no one really left by the time we got on stage. It was pretty late and we had been drinking since 10 am so… we had an awesome time. We are heading back to a Sydney soon for the Steel Assassins tour so hopefully those who saw us will come back again.

Metal-Roos: What is your stage set up like for your drum kit?
I have a pearl masters custom drum kit and I’m running it as a 6 piece at the moment but it’s actually an 8 piece drum kit. Kyle and Greg, the guitarists, both have Marshalls, we love Marshall, that’s our sound. On the album we mixed a few amps but the main tone is the Marshall crunch tone. Sean’s got an Ampeg bass head with an EQ pedal that gives him that twangy thrash bass tone. All three do vocals across the front to give us that group vocal sound. When we’re on the road we just use whatever we can get. We never take drum kits with us, it’s too expensive. You know how to run most amps and to get the sound you want, it’s just experience.

Metal-Roos: While being on the road, do you have any hobbies for the time you’re not playing?
Well, the band is my hobby at this stage unfortunately because I’m doing my PhD. So pretty much any down time I get from studying I spent doing band stuff. We all love football and beer, so we get pissed and watch the footy. All of us are best mates. I live with Kyle and Greg is just up the road so we’re all hanging out most of the times.

Metal-Roos: Do you have any favourite songs you like playing on stage?
Well, collectively Power Trip is our favourite – we have written it for years. It’s on our first demo EP and it was our very first demo, too. It just never leaves the set, it’s fast and fun. The song has a super fast verse and chorus and a huge break down, just builds up the drums and guitars parts. It is relatively straight forward for the drums. We wrote some killer songs on the album so we can’t wait to play live. I guess the set will change a bit over time when the album drops… but all the song we have played recently are all fun to play.

Metal-Roos: Would Alkira like to play Soundwave?
Oh, fuck yeah! Our name got passed around when they were doing the local talent thing last year which Truth Corroded and Se Bon Kira ended up getting. On his Facebook page, he mentions us, Headbore and a few other bands being in contention for it. Hopefully this year… you never know what happens… being over two days now, hopefully be more opportunities for more local bands – well, I hope that anyway. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

Metal-Roos: How do you see the metal scene in Adelaide?
The scene is great. It could always be bigger but the people here are great, everyone is friends. There’s no egos, no competitiveness. I mean there a few people in the black metal scene – I won’t mention any names – they don’t seem to be there for the good of the scene. We don’t hang out too much, we go to the gigs. We don’t really see that scene as cohesive as the thrash and guess more modern metal. The turn out for the last New Dead festival has been the best turn out of all of the so far. It just grows and grows. When we first appeared, it was pretty poor but it got really big for a little while and then died down again. Now with some cool bands like AModernDeath, Headbore and Voros interest is rising again. With the rise of bands like King Parrot and Thy Art is Murder the kids seem to get more interested in local scene again.

Metal-Roos: If you had your own fantasy gig with any bands to play with who would you choose?
Any bands from anywhere?

Metal-Roos: Yep
I would love to play with High on Fire, Crowbar and Black Breath. More Australian based… Malakyte, they’re a great thrash band and they’re going to play on our album launch. They have that awesome old school thrash sound and all really cool guys. I would love to go on tour with them some day. Voros another Adelaide band and Frankenbok… I think they are the best band in Australia… Australian metal band period! Their music and they are cool guys, they love drinking beer and have helped us out heaps, I would love to tour with them, too.

Interview Date: 2014-08-18

Interviewer: Adrian ‘Dren’ Barham