For those that love their music heavy and loud, Metal Down Under is a shot of 100 per cent proof metal. Featuring over 40 exclusive interviews with some of the most interesting characters in the game, Metal Down Under takes us on the metal journey that has been happening in this country since the late 1970s. Here, we speak with writer and director Nick Calpakdjian.
Hi Nick, thanks for taking the time to chat with us. How are you and what are you up to at the moment?
No problem. I’m doing well. Very happy to see Metal Down Under released after such a long time. I’m in Jakarta working on a number of film projects for a local production company here and enjoying the sunny weather! I’m guessing it’s freezing in Forte’s neck of the woods.
Firstly, what made you decide to create Metal Down Under?
I wanted to marry my love of music and film together and if possible make it as loud as possible. So a film about heavy metal seemed the obvious choice.
The history of Australian metal music hasn’t been told before. Why do you think that is?
I think it’s a huge, daunting job. And to be honest, I didn’t think it was going to be so big. I totally underestimated how long and strong the scene has been going and how many people’s lives have been affected by Australian heavy metal.
Have you uncovered anything interesting while filming/researching the documentary?
Part of what makes Metal Down Under a good film (in my unbiased opinion) is that it is full of interesting, passionate people that love playing, recording, listening to and dedicating their life to heavy metal. I am glad to have met all the people involved.
However, I have to single out Leigh ‘Lemmy’ Wilson. I think if Lemmy hadn’t bought himself a video camera back in the early ’80s there would be a huge hole in the early part of Australia’s metal history. His dedication to getting out and documenting our early metal bands like the Bengal Tigers, Nothing Sacred, Tyrus, Ion Drive and Renegade is of huge importance.
What was a highlight for you during the filming process?
If I have to single one out I would say it was interviewing Dave Harrison from Allegiance. Given they were my first Australian metal band CD I ever acquired, I was really keen to meet them. It was a bugger Tony Campo was living in London and had to be interviewed by a friend of mine over there. But being able to spend the afternoon with Dave and hear his story and be inspired by what he and the band were trying to achieve was fantastic.
I imagine you’ve gotten pretty close to a number of metal bands. What was it like working with them and seeing what they get up to?
It’s always great when you make a film over an extended period of time to be able to form ties with the people involved. It was great to be invited into their personal space – be it their home, studio, work place or in a bar. I really enjoyed being in the studio with the guys from Ne Obliviscaris, on what I believe was the final day of tracking vocals for their new album.
Being involved in the creative arts, it’s always cool to see other people creating and how they go about it. I also really enjoyed the vegetarian BBQ that Matt Young cooked out the back of the Tote during his interview, too.
Why do you think it’s important that this release is created and shown to the Australian public?
I think Australians don’t celebrate their heritage enough and there is a strong history in our music scene in Australia, particularly in heavy and hard-rocking music. Some of our biggest exports have been heavy bands, so why not celebrate and put a spotlight on it?
What are you hoping people will learn or come away with from watching your documentary?
I hope people realise that we make really good music Down Under and that we are not just making up the numbers on the international scene, we are in fact leading it in many genres. We’ve got bands that can match it with any from around the world, and I hope people watch this film and go out and see a band they had never heard of, buy their CD and really enjoy local homegrown Aussie metal.
Thanks again for taking the time to chat with us. Is there anything you’d like to add before we finish up?
Nope. Thanks for letting me have a ramble, and look out for the DVD in stores nationwide and online on the metaldownunder.com website.
Release: Metal Down Under is out now