Since forming back in 2006, Australia’s own Thy Art is Murder has paved the way for fellow home-grown Deathcore acts to follow!
Their 2008 EP Infinite Death released via Skull and Bones reached #10 on the AIR Charts, which opened numerous doors for Thy Art is Murder! After releasing debut album The Adversary in 2010, Thy Art is Murder teamed up with Nuclear Blast for their second album Hate in 2012, in a partnership that has continued through their next two albums as well. Not only did Hate reach #1 on the AIR Charts, it also reached #2 on the USA iTunes Metal charts and #4 on the Canadian iTunes Metal charts during release week; all of that pales in comparison to the fact it also reached #35 on the ARIA Charts, making Thy Art is Murder the first extreme band to break into the Top 40!
The current line-up consisting of founding members Lee Stanton (drums) and Sean Delander (guitar, formerly bass), as well as Chris ‘CJ’ McMahon (vocals), Kevin Butler (bass) and Andy Marsh (guitar) have just released their fourth studio album Dear Desolation on August 18th via Nuclear Blast! OVERDRIVE sat down with Marsh after Thy Art is Murder had just finished their Death Sentence Australian Tour with Alpha Wolf, Cursed Earth and Deadlights, which happened to be a couple of days before the release of Dear Desolation.
The first topic of discussion was how the band was feeling after finishing the previously mentioned Death Sentence Australian Tour, in which they performed ten shows for home-grown fans! Marsh informed OVERDRIVE how, “The band are feeling good! I’m about to have a beer and relax before flying out again in the morning to begin the chaos all over again, so it hasn’t really been a long break. We’ve got 70 shows left for the rest of the year and we’re pretty much doing them back to back.”
Touching further on the recent Australian tour, this interviewer wanted to know how excited the band were to not only get out on stage and play for local fans, but how excited they were to tease us with songs off Dear Desolation, as it hadn’t been made available for the public yet! Marsh stated how, “We were really stoked; we only played the one song, the latest single ‘Slaves Beyond Death’ because the album isn’t out yet. Obviously it’s going to be out for the other tours we’ve got coming up, so hopefully we’ll be back in Australia in the near future to play more of the new album! We did play two songs that we had never played live before on this tour; not only was it a treat for the fans but it also made for a really fun tour. For those who didn’t make it to the tour and want to know what they missed, those two songs were ‘No Absolution’ and ‘Violent Reckoning!’”
When asked about what was his favourite song on the album to write/record, Marsh stated how, “I couldn’t tell you, as it was all very chaotic and it happened very quickly in terms of pooling the songs together. When it comes to recording, we kinda go piece by piece and do a bit of this song or that song; some parts of some songs we couldn’t record until the end as we had to actually get better at guitar! It was a very fun experience and I think it was our best experience as a band.” When asked if there could be possible elaboration on what parts had to be saved until the end, Marsh continued how, “Sean would probably know that better as he does all the riffs on the album, but some of them were real tricky! When it comes to the solos that I had to do at the end, obviously you have to sit down and write them first; then you’re trying to write something above your ability level so you have to practise and record it well!”
During the gap in the recording of Holy War and Dear Desolation, McMahon unfortunately had to leave the band for personal reasons; thankfully he re-joined the band after taking some time off to recharge his batteries! Marsh was asked about what it was like getting to record with McMahon yet again:
“It was basically the same, as we never recorded with anyone else (laughs). He was full of energy and very renewed, as he had made some life changes during the 18 months that he had off. He was fired up and ready to give a great performance and I think that he did! He was very enthusiastic but also very nervous, which was funny. For anyone who knows CJ knows he’s a very boisterous guy and not very nervous at all; so before we walked out on stage at UNIFY he was shitting himself and that’s why it was funny.”
This interviewer was curious as to whether Marsh and the rest of Thy Art is Murder took some lessons that they learnt during the recording of Holy War or the collaboration that they did with both The Acacia Strain and Fit for an Autopsy into the studio during Dear Desolation:
“Not consciously; when we did ‘They Will Know Another’ we finally realised the potential of lyrics combining with the music to really make a really great song, so we tried to capitalise on making an impact with our lyrics over certain parts of the song. When it comes to constructing a song, the guitar always gets done first as Sean will bring in the song and we’ll work on the song, by making changes if we need to; whether that be combining it with parts of another song or scrapping it all together if we need to! Once we agree on that, then the drums get mapped out and programmed to it; Lee will then sit down and listen to it, before changing it and making it his own. Then the lyrics get designed to the music, so no lyrics ever get written before the song is completed; every word and every line goes exactly where it is meant to go!”
During the recording of Dear Desolation, Thy Art is Murder once again worked with Will Putney; this process required both Delander and Marsh flying over to New Jersey! Marsh touched on what it was like to work with Putney this time around, as well as the thought process that went into selecting the final number of songs out of the 25 or so that they took with them to choose from:
“It was good; it’s our comfort zone! I live out of New Jersey a lot of the time when we’re not on tour because I live in America; I basically live in the studio a lot of the time. It’s been comfortable for us as we’ve been going there the last five years and we’ve spent a lot of time there during that time. We enjoy working with Will, plus everyone on the team there is some of our best friends; it’s just like making an album with your extended family. Touching on the song selection process, the biggest priority was whittling it down to making a good album, so we culled it down and culled it down; obviously time is a big factor so you take the best songs you have. We ended up with 13 but we had to drop one because we didn’t have enough time; we recorded 12 songs but only ten make the full length. The other two songs already have vocals recorded for them, but we’re just not releasing them at this point.” When asked if there was any idea of when those two songs might look at being released for fans, Marsh stated that, “We’re basically on tour for the unforeseeable future, so there’s no time to think about putting out another record or release at this stage.”
Marsh elaborated a little bit on what is was like having McMahon getting up to sing lyrics that he had personally written, stating that, “It’s really good; he’s like the voice that we hear when we have the music, so it’s great to have him performing it. I’ve mentioned this previously in interviews that it’s like writing a movie and having a specific actor in mind to play the role. It’s the same with us, we write the lyrics or the music and we imagine CJ’s voice over it. He’s the actor that we want; it’s always great to fully realise the vision that you have in mind!”
Touching further on how the lyrics get worked on and whether McMahon gave Marsh any feedback during the writing process, Marsh explained how, “They all get patterned out while they’re written; I’ll speak the lyrics over the music then CJ listens to it and learns it before recording over it. In terms of feedback, he may want to repeat certain sections because the way he delivers it will be more impactful so he will bring something back. That then gets settled between him and Will; I’m not going to micro-manage! Sometimes CJ will change certain words as it may be hard for him to pronounce whilst breathing or it might not flow smoothly, so we’ll have to change it if that makes sense? It might be like, ‘We need to use another word because I can’t make it sound as good,’ but otherwise the lyrics are 95% finalised when CJ gets up to record.”
DEAR DESOLATION IS AVAILABLE NOW VIA NUCLEAR BLAST! CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE.