Thraxas! – Band Interview

Australian Thrash/Groove metal quartet Thraxas! was assembled back in 2011, and in defiance of some line-up changes, they sustained a consistent live activity and also released their 2018 demo material, “Slave Wages”.

Fast forward to present day, Thraxas! have undergone a radical restoration, with a fresh  mindset and cohesive line-up, they are taking no prisoners: Thraxas! entered and won the Metal Devastations Band Of The Week competition, obliterating the other bands with over 20,000 votes which led to Thraxas! being named Metal Devastations Band of the Month for September!

On August the 30th they have also released their massive lovecraftian single, “Cthulhu Rising”, which might just be a metaphor for Thraxas! themselves and their dominant resurgence!

“Cthulhu Rising” was recorded at Housefox Studios by Ryan Miller (Black Rheno) and mastered in France by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studio.

With a memorable riff, intense mid-tempo groove and sharp tempo changes, “Cthulhu Rising”, is literally a menacing and powerful theme, with an old-school vibe.

An aggressive trifecta is brought to life by ubiquitous, invasive bass growls, feral sounding guitars and double bass drumming. The structure of the instrumental parts is dense with a tight execution of the riffs and solo, which lies in the authoritative muting and picking.

Just as haunting is the unfading vocal line culminating with a Slayer inspired scream, perfectly performed and inserted.

The tamers behind their instruments are, Chris ‘Bull’ Woods on Lead Guitar/Rhythm Guitar/Vocals, Izak Easterbrook on Drums, Aleks Rad on Lead Guitar and Dan Andrews on Bass Guitar.

As always, a huge *Thank You* to the band for their time, openness and availability!

MAtW – Thraxas! Welcome to Metal Around the World and thank you for making time for this interview! What are you guys currently up to?

Bull – Right now we’re just chilling in the studio, beers in hand and looking back on the last couple of weeks that have been absolutely hectic!

Aleks – Yeah we’ve definitely had a wild couple of weeks with the lead up and release of our single Cthulhu Rising! The attention it’s been getting from here in Australia and from around the world as well has been overwhelming in the best way possible.

MAtW – You guys stirred the possum with getting named the Band Of The Week on the Metal Devastation Radio polls, and having just released your debut single, the intense “Cthulhu Rising”, on August the 30th.

Izak – Stirred the possum? …. Crikey I think we awoke Cthulhu himself!

Dan – Yeah totally! So we entered a competition on Metal Devastation Radio to poll it out against other bands from around the world to see who would get Band of the Week, and we crushed it for the win with over 20,000 votes!

Aleks– Not only did we get enough votes to win band of the Week, but we have now been honoured with being Metal Devastations Band of the Month for September! This has coincided with the August 30​th​ release of “Cthulhu Rising” really well, and the song is now being played on rotation at Metal Devastation throughout September.

MAtW – What are some technical details behind the production and promotion of the “Cthulhu Rising” single?

Bull – We recorded Cthulhu Rising at Housefox Studios here in Sydney Australia with Engineer Ryan Miller who did an excellent job, then sent it to France to be mastered by Brett Caldas-Lima at Tower Studio. Brett has recorded, mixed and mastered for bands such as Megadeth, Killswitch Engage, Sacred Reich, Chimaira, Haken, Devin Townsend Project and many other amazing bands, so it was a real no brainer who we wanted to send “Cthulhu Rising” to for that process.

MAtW – For the fans that are new to Thraxas! let’s meet everyone in the band!

Bull – I’m Bull, vocals and guitar

Aleks – I’m Aleks, guitar

Dan– I’m Dan I play bass

Izak – I’m Izak on the drums

MAtW – Your band name was inspired by a book. What are some non-musical sources for writing music / lyrics?

Bull – Lyrically and non-musically we draw a lot of inspiration from world events and some of the frailties of the world and the human stain we’ve put upon it, namely wars, bad attitudes, disagreements, malpractices, injustices. We also draw some inspiration from books and video games and their characters and scenes and environments. We don’t always write directly in relation to those fictional and non-fictional sources of inspiration, instead we use them to characterise or link to other environments, personalities and stereotypes.

Dan – There’s also some historical inspiration in our lyrical development with influences coming from times past when people saw the world a lot differently and lived very differently too.

MAtW – You officially got banded in 2011 and had some line-up changes as well. Do you feel these challenges made you tougher, more resilient? Are you all comfortable with the current line up and how things are evolving?

Izak – Thraxas! started in 2011 and as a longer standing member of the band can say that yeah there’s been a few line-up changes over the years. This has influenced our sound and we have progressed with each new line-up in different directions. Musically we are at a point now where we can take on challenges and write things that we never could have in the past with past members.

Aleks – The current line-up is what we envisage will be the final line-up for Thraxas! for a long time now to come. Our cohesion as a band is super tight and we are writing music together that surpasses all that has come before it. Multiple genre influences are at play in our song writing now, from thrash and groove to death and prog, which makes our current song writing very dynamic and interesting.

MAtW – What was your first contact with music and the instruments that you wield?

Bull – I started playing guitar around the age of 11 and have been a vocalist also since that time.

Izak – I started playing the drums around the age of 10.

Aleks – I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 8 years old.

Dan – I played the guitar when I was younger from the age of around 12 for many years and then stopped for many years, maybe dissatisfied, maybe just too busy, not sure. When I did come back to it in recent years I picked up the bass instead and it just felt so much better. I have been playing bass now for about 5 years.

MAtW – And what was the spark that made you start a band? What is your current drive to keep doing it?

Bull – For me music is a calling, it always has been, and music is so much better when jamming with other people. I started Thraxas! for the pure reason of playing some great thrash metal with my friends. The coming together of musicians when playing songs is like a drug, it’s highly addictive!

Aleks – Our drive is the burning desire to write and play heavy music with each other, again and again and again and again …. it doesn’t stop!

MAtW – Do you have a certain rehearsal or practice regimen? How do you balance life and music?

Dan – As the oldest member of the band for me work, family and Thraxas! all sit on the same level of priority. I give as much attention and time to the band as I do to my own family and to my job. I think it takes that level of commitment to be successful, there’s no other way.

Izak – Same here, being in a band is all about commitment. It has to be at the highest level of each of our priorities to work.

Bull – We practice usually on a weekly basis, so that we all have time to work and be with our loved ones, and so being in the band does not have too big an impact on our personal lives, but we all are willing to get together more than that whenever necessary.

Aleks – We often share music digitally between each other if we can’t manage to get together, sending files to each other to update song parts and share new riffs and ideas is the easiest way.

MAtW – And how is music being written in Thraxas!

Bull – We are all creative musicians and we all have ideas. We share those ideas and then little by little songs form. We all like to write lyrics too, and I write a lot of lyrics in my spare time, so we can usually easily produce lyrical content on the back of those formed musical ideas.

MAtW – You play live around Australia. How would you describe the fans at live shows, for bands that would like to tour around Australia?

Bull – Metal in Australia rules and we absolutely love international acts! So come to Australia and bring your metal and we will LOVE you!

Izak – ….. and Thraxas! will play support for you when you are here!

Aleks – We love to play live and we are building a good following around Australia. Our fans that come to see us play love to just have some fun and bang their heads and stomp around and get a bit rowdy, and we love them for it!

MAtW – Do you think there would be a bigger pressure to play in front of a local audience or foreign fans?

Dan – There is always a certain amount of pressure to play in front of any audience. When playing our regular home venues though we do know exactly what to expect, we know who is going to be there and what the PA will sound like and the size of the stage etcetera, so it’s always easy. But whenever we go somewhere new, whether it’s a new venue in our home-town or all the way across the other side of the country, there’s always some extra added pressure. Having not yet played internationally I imagine that it would feel about the same as playing in a new venue in our own country. But we never let the pressure get to us and we always put on a great show!

MAtW – You are slowly but surely working on an album or EP – any spoilers?

Aleks – Spoiler Alert!

Bull – Our next release will be an EP, a deluxe EP with at least 7 songs, and they will all be new songs that you will only get to hear before its release if you come to one of our live shows.

MAtW – What is your most favorite and least favorite part in being a musician?

Izak – Favourite part is being able to play great metal with my friends. My least favourite part is playing 16​ th​ kicks at 200 bpm!

Bull – My favourite thing is shredding and wailing hard on the whammy bar. My least favourite is on-stage technical failures.

Dan – My favourite part is coming up with new bass lines and fitting them into our songs. My least favourite thing I that my fingers are a little short and it’s hard to stretch them across the fretboard!

Aleks – My favourite thing is getting on stage and hammering out a brutal venue-destroying set! And I don’t really have a least favourite thing, being a musician is the best thing ever, although technical difficulties or breaking a string is probably my biggest fear in a live environment.

MAtW – Do you think that genre tags are adequate for a band or a limitation?

Bull – They can be both. It’s great to be able to be recognised as a thrash band in our case, but that then limits you to playing thrash and if you don’t play thrash then people can get pretty critical.

Aleks – We try to avoid genre tags. Whenever the subject comes up we leave it pretty open ended. Those genre tags can severely limit us in what we write and create, so for us we use those tags as influences only and go create the music that we want to create. When people ask who we sound like, we tell them we sound like Thraxas! we don’t want people to think we have one particular sound or already sound like another established band.

MAtW – What do you want your fans to take away from your music?

Izak – A headache!

Bull – Yeah we want our fans to have a great time and have as much fun listening to our music as we’ve had writing, recording and playing it. When our fans listen to our music or see us live we want them to experience something that makes them forget about genre tags, and forget about influences and how much we might sound like Metallica or Slayer or Megadeth. We want them to be satisfied musically, to have fulfilled their needs with some great metal and left them with a sore neck from headbanging and a smile on their face.

MAtW – What have been your greatest challenges to date, and your favorite moments musically?

Aleks – Our greatest challenge has been, and still is, gaining a committed following in a metal market here in Australia that is saturated with metal bands trying to rise above and where the metal following is not as big as it may be in say Europe, or other parts of the world. Here in Australia there are only a small number of venues that want metal bands to play, and getting a gig is something that needs to be done months and months in advance. There are not many metal festivals here either, so playing routinely every weekend in Australia is not so easy to do.

Bull – Our favourite musical moments are playing gigs where everyone is going off wildly and enjoying themselves. That is hard to beat. The bigger the audience, the better!

MAtW – Are you the kind of band that shuns away from music, particularly while creating your own, or do you expose yourself and listen all the more?

Dan – We are constantly listening to music. All the time. It never stops. We go out and see bands locally and love to see international bands that come to Australia. We support our friends and we support large acts. We almost cancelled a gig so we could go see Metallica! We take influence from the music that we listen to, so the more music we listen to the more influence we can draw from.

MAtW- How do you define success? Is it the freedom to make the music that you want or just selling the records?

Aleks – Success for Thraxas! is the simple process of creating music and then playing that music for others and getting feedback, good or bad. It’s not at all about the money. Of course money does help us to continue to make more music and take that music further, we do not consciously think about money when we are writing our songs and playing our gigs, at all. We started this band 8 years ago, and still today we will happily play a gig for free if we can get our music out there and get people banging their heads and having some fun.

MAtW – Time for the last questions, THE RANDOM QUESTION. Name at least 1 “fact” about Australia that is 100% true and one that is 100% nonsense?

Izak – Fact … Aussies drink 1.7 billion litres of beer every year! and Fact … The Australian platypus, that weird half duck, half otter, half fish type animal, does square shaped poos!

MAtW – Thank you once again for talking to MatW and if there is anything that you would like to add up or address your fans, please do!

We would also like to thank everyone that has helped Thraxas! to grow and who have encouraged us to keep going.

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