If Matt Young ever decides to throw in the towel as frontman of the hardest-working thrash-metal band on the scene, he may stumble into the role of the country’s most unlikely anti-smoking advocate. “When we first started the band, I was smoking a lot of cigarettes! I soon realised once we started touring and singing like I do night after night that it was not an option.”
Known for his exceedingly powerful set of lungs and distinctive vocal style, Matt confessed he was surprised when, as a result of kicking the habit, his voice went up an octave. “I didn’t expect it, so I had to accommodate for that and now that I’m comfortable with it, I’m working on getting my lower pitch back.”
As if the man wasn’t busy enough, as well as holding down a day job he also manages the band. “I don’t do relax,” Matt said with a smile.
King Parrot unleashed their ferocity on local audiences back in 2010 and has maintained a chokehold on their loyal followers ever since. Metal enthusiasts everywhere sank their teeth into their 2012 debut album Bite Your Head Off, earning them worldwide recognition. “After releasing only one album we couldn’t have been happier. Our debut record opened a lot of doors.”
Bite Your Head Off was named the ‘Best Heavy Metal Album of 2013’ by The Age and in the same year King Parrot was crowned by Cherry Bar/Jägermeister as ‘Act of the Year’. To top things off, their video clip for the single ‘Shit on the Liver’ earned them a place in the finals at the Australian Music Awards. I have no idea why their video for the track ‘Dead End’ (in which King Parrot and friends hijacked the one-and-only The Rev Hotel to pay homage to the classic 1980 film The Shining) was overlooked. Check it out here: facebook.com/kingparrotband
“We’re all fans of film and it’s fun to have another creative outlet to express ourselves. We enjoy making the clips so that it’s not JUST about the music or standing there in front of a microphone while a film crew makes a video for you. The crew we worked with on the last few videos are just awesome. It’s so much fun working with those guys and developing our ideas.”
There’s no denying King Parrot has the knack for getting noticed, and as a late inclusion to the bill of Soundwave 2014, the five-piece relished the opportunity to play to thousands of metalheads across the country. After impressing all the right people, the mighty bird was soon in full flight over international waters.
“We did SXSW this year and believe me, there’s nothing more hectic than that. We played forty-five shows in all. It was a real eye-opener for us, just in terms of playing so many shows consecutively – it was a good experience and we loved it.”
2014 hasn’t been all smooth sailing for King Parrot, with the departure of drummer Matt ‘Skitz’ Sanders: “After months of touring in the US and Asia our drummer decided to pull the pin. He realised that the touring thing wasn’t for him,” Matt explained. “So we called up Todd Hansen – he’s been in lots of different bands [notably The Berzerker and Rome].
“One of Todd’s other bands were our supports last time we were in Brisbane. We’re mates, so we asked him and he was really keen to tour – and that’s what we do!” Matt laughed. “He’s incredible; we nailed the entire set during our first rehearsal together. We’ve booked ten shows up the east coast just to get him used to it and then we’ll head out and do thirty shows across the US.”
King Parrot is currently on a tour of the east coast – they’re set to run riot at The Barwon Club this Saturday the 26th of July, before hitting the stage at the Karova Lounge on Sunday night. “We’re stoked! We’ve always had such good followings in Geelong and Ballarat. I love that people still come out and support this style of music.”
Taking their cues from the thrash metal shows you might have found yourself at in the ’80s and ’90s, Matt said they plan on holing up in a friend’s basement to work on new ideas while over in the States.
“We have been asked to support [US death metal band] Origin on their ‘All Things Dead’ cross-country tour in August and September. After that we’re planning to take a month off over there to just sit around and write. I’m really excited to see what we come up with. It’s actually cheaper to live over there at the moment and we’ve got some great friends who have offered to help us out. We plan to make a lot of noise in someone’s garage for a while!” Matt grinned.
“We’ve actually got a great manager in the US now and they’re really keen to push us on the touring circuit. In fact, we have another tour booked for later in the year – but I can’t divulge too much information just yet!
“Continuing to tour is so important to us. Believe me, getting your band to a point where you can sustainably tour all the time is a shitload of hard work, especially when you’re playing this style of music. We plan to keep working real hard and just generally try to be good dudes. That’s how to keep a band together.”
When&Where: The Barwon Club, Geelong – July 26 & The Karova, Ballarat – July 27
Written by Natalie Rogers