When you interview a Rockstar, the last thing you expect them to talk about is their favourite tea, but that’s exactly what I chatted about with Mark ‘Hoss’ Hosking of Perth’s premier progressive rock 5 piece Karnivool. Karnivool are heading out on a headline tour starting on May 16th at The Prince Of Wales in Bunbury, and I chatted with Hoss about the upcoming tour, the current music scene in Australia, and a whole lot more.
“It’s hard being Earthbound humanoids” is how our conversation starts due to a mix up with time zones, says Hoss with a laugh. Our conversation starts with how Karnivool are different from a lot of what Australia has to offer music-wise at the moment. “I’ll take it for sure, mate! I guess we get lumped into the progressive category. I know there a lot of great Australian bands in that category, but I would certainly put my hand up and say we’re not like that. We are a very different band.” The music scene in Australia is constantly evolving, and as Karnivool have been around for a long time I asked Hoss how they originally formed. “We started as a high school band with Drew (Goddard, guitar) and (Ian) Kenny (vocals), and I joined about 2 years before ‘Themata’ came out and we became more of a serious unit.” ‘Themata’ Karnivool’s first album, cane out thirteen years ago “Or something ridiculous now” says Hoss, “It’s a very interesting time for music, and for music as a business and artistic pleasure I guess. It’s a very different industry from what we started in and changing rapidly. Which is very exciting for progressive bands like us because it’s exactly what we want it to do.”
I now turned the conversation to the bands upcoming tour, which kicks off next week, and asked Hoss what it was about now that the band decided they wanted to head out on tour. “It’s a balance mate, management usually comes to us with a more concise plan about the balance of people coming to shows who haven’t seen you for a long time, and getting it all right and we sort of go ‘yeah that sounds like fun!” “We obviously don’t wanna tour too much but we’re not really in any fear of doing that. It’s just great for us to get out and play, we love playing live and what that can be for us.” I then asked about Unify, and if it was any different from what they’d done in the past. “With Unify I think we were the only band on that line-up that were very different. We weren’t like the other bands!” Laughing, Hoss continued “I think Unify was trying to expand their market and we felt a connection to what those bands and what we do as well. It was kinda nice you know, coming in as the odd dog in a lineup of those calibre of bands and what those bands do.” Continuing, Hoss also went to say “We’ve done a lot of regional festivals. We’ve done a festival in the middle of Hungary that are like a truck stage in the middle of a field. There’s strange festivals all over the world so this didn’t feel too strange, but it was just a great chance to play in front of a crowd that isn’t ours.”
Karnivool’s last album ‘Asymmetry’ came out in 2013, and I asked Hoss if a tour also meant new music. “Oh definitely, yeah. We’ve been in the studio for the last couple of months writing and recording. It’s starting to get exciting for us and we’ve got a kind of package there. We don’t do anything quickly sadly, but what we do do, we take our time for a reason.” He also went on to say “yes, there is new music, yes, we’ll be playing it on the tour!” So you guys can start to get excited about that, I know I am! I then asked about the song-writing process. “It’s always different, every song changes. There’s always an element of collaboration, sometimes there jams that turn into songs, sometimes there recordings of the whole band and we choose parts that we like to put into the song.” With another laugh, Hoss also says “It’s a horrible, horrible process how these songs come together because you have a lot more losses than you do wins. We do it to ourselves, but it can be a very rigorous process.” Keeping on the topic of the tour, I asked how the setlist gets put together, and how structured it is. “It’s always about the whole experience for us, and we want to make it an experience for people. We need to have a plan, rather than calling it on the fly. For us it’s a dissective process of building a setlist from the ground up. A very exhaustive procedure but once it’s done. It’s done and you can get down and have fun with it.”
I then asked Hoss if he could tell me what a Karnivool live show is, for people that may not have seen the band before. “Experience is the best word for it. It’s an experience and we try to make it so. We want people to walk away with some kind of experience and we do pride ourselves on our live performance and ability to play.” I then asked if there was one thing that he could tell the fans about their shows, what would it be. “We are a selfish band and we write for ourselves but the flipside is we know people who care about the music and harassing on email and wanting us to tour are passionate. I’m nothing but apologetic of how long it sometimes takes us to tour and put music out. We put our hearts and souls into it.”
Finally, I asked Hoss what the one thing he couldn’t leave for tour without was. “At the moment, I’m getting old now but it’s probably my tea flask! I’m loving it, I wouldn’t go anywhere without it!” Hardly a rock’n’roll answer Hoss jokes, but I think it’s awesome. The Praxis tour starts next week in Bunbury and shows are selling out fast so make sure you get your tickets to avoid disappointment!
Get your tickets to see Karnivool on the PRAXIS Australian Tour HERE!