Triple Kill – Embrace the Genre ClashMonday, 24th December 2018
How can you not be intrigued by specific descriptions that this Melbourne, Australian metal act Triple Kill put forth from their social media sites? ‘Lusting for the compliments of senpai’ strikes immediately from their Facebook profile, and its that multi-genre blend that infuses power, thrash, and groove elements to create a propulsive, addictive sound through their songwriting. In three short years, the band has released a single, an EP and now their first full-length Age of Rebellion – ready to take on the world.
One minute you could be thinking of Metallica and Heathen – the next Nevermore and Machine Head – all the while adding in that Trivium or Flotsam & Jetsam twist to prove that the quintet is not one dimensional. Seeking to learn more about this charming group, we sent off some questions to guitarist Anthony Commane and bassist Ethan White. Their sense of humor and love of the genre comes through, as we tackle their history, their unique live performances, special albums and concerts through the years – as well as a little discussion about the development of Australian metal achieving more in roads internationally.
Dead Rhetoric: What you can tell us about your earliest memories surrounding music growing up? At what point did you discover heavy metal, and then want to pick up an instrument and start performing in bands?
Anthony Commane: Music has always been a real passion. Ever since my parents saw me shred up a xylophone in the first grade, I’ve never gone back. They supported me all the way through my various paths, until finally I found a guitar. Metal came later. Metal started for me by accidentally finding my mother’s Kiss – Double Platinum album in her CD collection, which she won many years ago on a radio show. That was the spark that lit the so-called flame.
Ethan White: I started cello when I was in grade four and when I got into grade nine, I found a love for bass and bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica and Slipknot. Watching Cliff Burton, Steve Harris and Paul Gray, I wanted to be just like them.
Dead Rhetoric: Triple Kill began in late 2015/early 2016 – what can you tell us about the early days of the band, and did you know straight away the type of heavy/power metal that you wanted to play or was it a feeling out process with rehearsing and jamming to discover what direction you wanted to take the band in?
Anthony: Triple Kill started with Rodney and myself, trying to recover from the ashes of our old band. Straight away we wanted to write power metal tunes, and came up with the likes of “Infinity Gate” & “Legion”. Eventually when Connor, Ethan and Mackie made their way in we realized that thrash, groove and death metal are all really powerful influences to us, so we put down the proverbial power metal torch…by throwing it onto a log fire consisting of thrash, death and groove influences.
Ethan: I was the last to join the band, it was five guys who all came from different sub-genres, but we all loved the same kind of bands. We would meet up once a week to practice in Anthony’s Mom’s garage and it was such a good time. I still don’t think we know what direction we’re going in and it’s working in our favor really. We get to experiment more and come up with crazy riffs and leads.
Dead Rhetoric: You released a single “Blades” in the fall of 2016 – did you know straight away this would be the perfect song to launch Triple Kill, and how was the response as far as the local/international scene to this track?
Anthony: “Blades” was the first song that Triple Kill wrote with all of the members together in the band.. Little did we know that the funny video path would be the direction Triple Kill would be taking in the future. But people’s responses to that were amazing. I think we watched a community in Melbourne collectively face palm when they realized we had written a song about the kids show ‘Beyblades’. This was designed to show people what to expect though, and I think the local scene welcomed us in very well.
Dead Rhetoric: Last year your debut EP The First Kill was released. What can you tell us about the songwriting and recording sessions for this release? Were there any specific surprises, obstacles, or memories that come up, and how do you feel about the final product?
Anthony: The EP was where everything began. It was us getting our songwriting ideas down and out of the way… and you really hear them mature over the EP. It goes from “Infinity Gate” and “Legion” which we came up with when we still didn’t have the whole team together… then all the way to “Swarm” & “Wall of Flesh” which are now staples to our setlist, and two tunes we’re absolutely stoked on. But this EP was more a symbolic flag in the ground for us. It forced us to get content out, get into the studio and do something. It might not be everybody’s cup of tea.. but for us it was what got us to the starting line for the next album.
Ethan: Songwriting was a lot of ‘Hey I came up with this riff’ and then we would expand on them and turn them into what we created. Obstacles: trying to use the bathroom after Mackie. The final product, for an EP, is incredible. Taking the chance and getting it mastered was the best decision.
Dead Rhetoric: Age of Rebellion is the follow up full-length. Where do you see the main differences in the development of the band on a performance/songwriting scale that differentiates this effort from your previous work?
Anthony: The songwriting for Age of Rebellion used the same approach as “Swarm”, “Blades” and “Wall of Flesh”. We each set ourselves to explore particular tracks and explored ideas until we had a guideline to bring to the band. Then together we smoothed out all the kinks, traded suggestions and then went back to adding to the songs. The real surprise was actually how we wrote “The Alchemist” the main single from the album. Mackie and I just stood in Connor’s living room trading riff after riff and in as little as two hours we had written the whole song. I don’t even remember sitting the whole time. Mackie and I just really vibe well together, and if we can keep this up for album two, it’s going to be an absolute banger.
I also pulled a real dick move on the band, and drunkenly locked in times for the studio with Chris Themelco, while the two of us sauced it up on a boat gig. Which kind of gave a real tight nine-month schedule to write the whole album. Sorry boys in Triple Kill. This is my formal apology.
Ethan: We have all increased in skill dramatically, the writing process was 50% the same as the EP coming in with riffs, but with the album we had more time to go home and come up with full tracks, that we would then try to perfect as much as possible.
Dead Rhetoric: What can you tell us about the cover art – it’s very engaging and contains many subtle hints as to what the listener can expect when pressing play? Was this a collaborative effort between artist and band, or did you give them free reign to develop something?
Ethan: We would all give a heap of ideas, find reference photos and then try and come up with something that has everything meshed into one. Then the artist came back to us with something incredible.
Anthony: What Ethan said, but also we just wanted to acknowledge that we’re inspired by both thrash and power metal to come up with a clash of battling genres, by comparing those genres to an artwork of Fantasy and Sci Fi. Because shit, if you’re allowed to use lasers (sci fi) and swords (fantasy) to create light sabers… we can use thrash metal and power metal to create Triple Kill.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Triple Kill when it comes to a live performance? What have been some of the more memorable/ standout performances in the band’s career so far?
Anthony: Ethan and I both agree on this one. The best thing about Triple Kill live, is you’re never gonna know what you’ll get. At Forge (Hi FI bar Melbourne) we played a 40-minute long collage of all of our videos behind us as we played our set. At the 32-minute mark, Rodney walked on screen and started dancing over trippy video effects. That became a part of our stage banter that led into a cover of “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley. Then at our album launch, Guy Clark who’s the wizard from “The Alchemist” video, come onstage dressed as a wizard and stole shoes from the audience. This other time we played a gimmick- our vocalist wore a shirt that said, ‘Rodney I am the band Goolagong’ and his stage persona was to be an up-tight front man… but then half way through the set he revealed a second shirt saying ‘Rodney we are the band Goolagong’, and had a giant group hug mid-set.
I don’t know… Go see us live… we freaking love playing live.
Dead Rhetoric: It seems like the Australian metal scene is quite potent and making a large impact on the international scene. What are your thoughts on the scene and the diversity within as you have multiple bands playing various sub-genres of metal on both the melodic/power/progressive as well as thrash and extreme metal sides?
Anthony: Well that’s really great to hear that it’s potent. I can see that there’s a lot of international impact for bigger bands like King Parrot and Parkway Drive. But internally we all hold ourselves up. Metal is not really well supported here (I guess in many parts of the world too), but instead of complaining about it… you have all of these Australian bands who are picking themselves up, under the weight of their own ability and drive to succeed, while also trying to stand out amongst hordes of other bands doing the same. That’s what makes the metal here really damn good. As for diversity, yeah we do have diversity in reigns… and reviewers might not like when bands swap genres halfway through an album, or songs for that matter (looking at you Twelve Foot Ninja), but to us it’s liberating. Genre can be used as a songwriting technique. I feel like we can think to ourselves ‘We’re not just a thrash metal band’, and that’s what is interesting to us as writers as well as performers.
Dead Rhetoric: What are the greatest concerns for Triple Kill to be able to move up to the next level in terms of a presence and acceptance within the metal landscape? Do you believe that your social media use has accelerated things on a global level, or is it harder than ever to establish yourselves because of the thousands of other bands with the same tools at their fingertips?
Anthony: There’s a few answers to this question here, so I’ll break it up.
Greatest concerns: Well we started off really strong in terms of experience… but now we’re reaching new levels that we’ve never been at before. So we’re taking steps blindfolded. Putting our trust into people to help us out and do the jobs that we could handle before, but now are overwhelmed by the depths of. For example, we really are trying our hardest to get an international support slot here in Australia, and know that we’ll absolutely demolish whatever show we get. But it’s nerve racking thinking about all the travel and flights and band politics that we may have to experience on our way.
Social Media: I actually work in this whole social media advertising/data field, and see examples every single day with how companies just change their entire perspectives with simple insight/data driven engagements. Not the tools themselves. You gotta be smart if you want to use the tools effectively. You need to stop thinking about reaching the most amount of people, and think about how to engage with the most relevant people. Triple Kill has done as well as it has from a social media push point because we know how to engage with our audience because they are one of three things.
1. People who genuinely listen to music about shoe stealing wizards.
2. Metal heads who enjoy being acknowledged for their interest in their music.
3. Dirty f-cking NERDS who like shit like Digimon. Fuck yeah.
Our challenge now is to keep putting our names in front of new people, and that gets expensive using social advertising when you’re an independent band. But we won’t stop pushing internationally with social. The ability to do it right here in front of us… see you in your Facebook ads… give us gigs in your countries.
Dead Rhetoric: How does the band balance out music with work/career/education endeavors – as I would imagine that you aren’t making a living yet with Triple Kill solely off the band activities? And do you have proper support from friends, families, and significant others to your musical output?
Ethan: Work, gym, practice and spend time with family/partners. It’s a huge amount to balance but when you’ve got those around you supporting what you’re doing, it helps to keep pushing, knowing it will all be worth it.
Anthony: No, we’re not able to live off Triple Kill, and probably won’t for a while. But we’ve all reached a point in our lives where we know that if we don’t fund Triple Kill forwards, then we’re not able to say that we tried hard enough. The biggest support of all is actually mentally. Just somebody coming to you and saying ‘Hey, I liked your song’, really reminds us of how worth it- it all is. People need to start telling people they like stuff more!
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of your favorite activities or hobbies/ interests that you like to pursue away from music to recharge your batteries when you have the free time to do so?
Ethan: I’m a cook, gamer and I am looking at outlets to become a comedian. Making people smile has always been my life.
Anthony: I’m a LARPer, Rodney is a gamer, Connor is a gamer and a massive film-making fanatic… and I’m pretty sure Mackie is in the gym right damn now as you’re reading this. Slowly becoming like-a weird but sexy love child hybrid between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dimebag.
Dead Rhetoric: What are your top three metal albums of all-time, as well as your favorite concert memories that you’ve had over the years purely as an audience member in the crowd?
Ethan: For metal Albums my favorite three (not in any order) is Vol. 3: The Subliminal Verses (Slipknot), Piece of Mind (Iron Maiden) and Ride the Lightning (Metallica).
Anthony: Top three metal albums: Apex – Unleash The Archers, Iron Maiden – Iron Maiden, Holy Diver – Dio.
My favorite concert memory is and forever will be the time Rodney (our singer) was crowd surfing to like.. I don’t know probably Rob Zombie or Anthrax.. and on his way, somebody managed to pull his shorts down so his ass fell out. Then unfortunately some crowd members could no longer hold him, dropping slightly enough for a complete stranger to just go ass to mouth with Rodney. I will never forget that man’s scream.
Dead Rhetoric: What does the future hold for Triple Kill over the next twelve months? Has work already begun on the follow-up, and will there be any more promotional videos or touring opportunities in the pipeline?
Anthony: Yes promo videos. We’re working on one right now. Yes to touring, we’re trying to lock in some interstate shows… and are craving the attention to go overseas to the states one day. Yes, we’ve began working on the follow-up already.
Ethan: It wouldn’t be us, if we didn’t try for something bigger than the last year.
Anthony: We’re not stopping now.