On Friday the 5th of November I had the privilege to run along to Toowoomba and get a taste of The Ruthlessness up on The Range. Sneaky show reel @ end of article. At the tippy-top of the mountain, with Jacaranda's in full-bloom, I find myself staring at the iconic Toowoomba Train Station, a famous ghost hunting spot and across the road from our destination:
Crane your neck around and you'll find yourself cowering beneath The Irish Hotel, Toowoomba's best spot for a pot of the froth. The Taste of The Old Country isn't the only thing we're here for, though. We're here for throwdowns and breakdowns and neckbeards and skinheads and long hair and flying spinning kicks and pig squeals. We're here for the Hardcore gig on tonight:
I'll give it to the bands, they really put on a show. Shouts out to Brisbane's Shokan, the first act of the evening. When you meet the singer in the smoker's area, you wouldn't assume he could reach down to the pits of his seething soul and rip out some crispy deathcore gutturals, by golly fucking gosh he can deliver. These Rowdy Ronnie Pipers were then followed up by Brisbane/ Gold Coast's Diesect, who brought the toot-toot-chugga-chugga Big Red Drops. Deep Leech then ushered us in for some of The Good Shit, and they were the band who got me wanting to buy a ticket in the first place, having seen them play at Tom Cat's in The Valley a few weeks prior. The headline act was Isolation, who balanced deadly break downs and schralpy solo alike.
It is Deep Leech whom I want to focus on for this article though, because they do a lot for the scene and have been in it for ages! The members have roots in Pittsworth, Wyreema, Roma, Toowoomba, Brisbane & all around the Darling Downs, and they've been shredding in multiple bands & projects since the dawn of time dawned itself.
I remember the first time I met the singer Beau was years and years ago, before we were even friends. There was this shitty (aka SICK) DIY venue in a tiny backstreet alley called The Fuzzbox. I went there for the legendary She Cries Wolf gig a few years back, and I remember he was on the door and drew a big ol' straight-edge 'X' on my hand at the door to show I'd paid entry. I was dressed as a unicorn. . . Which turns out to be not such a great look when everyone is looking to punch each other in the head. The reason people wear black at heavy gigs, is so they don't stand out.
Since then, the members of Deep Leech have really branched out into the local scene, with ties in band management, merch & some of the members have studied Sound and Music Production at JMC. To put it bluntly, if you want to book a gig or get shirts made for your band, HIT UP BEAU FRIZZELL. He's the guy with the inside mail for the man on the street.
The guys helped put together this gig at The Irish, and do so much behind-the-scenes. You wouldn't know it as a regular patron, but they helped rig the sound equipment, they helped organise the venue, they stayed on later than anyone else to pack it all up. They're legends. They were even there the next day STILL packing up & helping out.
We've got Beau Frizzell pulling shapes and destroying the mic (quite literally one was obliterated mid-set, wires frayed and everything. Accidentally. His lungs are too powerful.), Che Smith choke slamming the guitar, Jarrod Hall doing a 619 through the Bass String ropes, and Tama James, The Man With Two First Names, going ballistic on the stick skins. They move from blast beats to microphone destruction to melodic guitar to drum roll-ins, doomy intros, back-up vocal shrieks and yells louder than a West End domestic, the best power stance in history and more power shooting through the mic than a Dragon Ball Z mouth blast. . .
It was really cool to get the opportunity to interview them and hang out, and it turns out a lot of their influence for music comes from an eclectic range of sources, including samples from comedy excerpts and movie references. They even have some really fancy YouTube videos on their channel, and I just had to know how they bring it all together. So without further ado, let's jump into the interview. Freezing in a Toowoomba carpark, post-gig and moshed-out, Local Legends Deep Leech, take it away:
What are your thoughts on the Toowoomba & Brisbane Hardcore scenes? Is it dead? Is it just hiding? Where has it gone?
Che: “In my opinion, Toowoomba’s dead, there’s not that many bands. There’s not a thriving scene. But there’s definitely opportunity to bring something up. There’s an interest there, definitely.”
Jarrod: “There’s potential for a scene. There used to be a scene!””
Beau: “Just over the years, we’ve needed more bands and more people willing to take a risk and come up here. And, you know, not worry about numbers and just play a local show.”
Do you find a difference between crowds, between maybe Ipswich, Toowoomba or Brisbane?
Tama: “Ah, Brisbane people seem to be just more keen to just head out and if you’re in the valley, you know, people will just turn up. It’s a product of the environment.”
Jarrod: “If you’re in The Valley, you’ll just get stragglers. Toowoomba is like ‘You gotta GO to the show, if you’re gonna GO to the show.’ Valley’s like ‘Ohhhhh I’m just out in tha Valleeeeey.’”
Che: “It’s definitely more of an effort to go to a show in Toowoomba and get heaps of people.”
Alright, favourite venues in the world to play, anywhere? Toowoomba, Brisbane, whatever.
Tama: (straight up) “Crowbar.”
Che: “Crowbar, Brisbane. Rest in Peace.”
All: (Nod) “Yeah! Oh yeah, definitely. Yeah literally. Crowbar.”
Beau: “I just love Wrangler Studios in Melbourne.”
Jarrod: “Oh dude! Not with Deep Leech, but I played Rev’s in Melbourne once. That was crazy! In the cage!? (All laugh) They had like an MMA cage, at Rev’s. Bro, that was sick."
Alrighty, any up-coming releases, so I can hype them up? Or videos or anything, in the future?
Tama: “I think just anything new. Like, we’ve had a hiatus. And, we’ve come back and we’ve learnt a lot of shit! Even though we’ve been doin’ this for fucking years, I think that anything coming out from us is gonna be a lot better, a lot more exciting; Faster, heavier.”
Beau: “Our newest single will be out before the end of the year. Spider Mike.”
Beau: “Spider Mike.”
Beau: “All the Spun fans! For all the Spun fans out there. GO AND WATCH THE MOVIE, SPUN!”
Tama: “There is a hidden lore, in that.”
Beau: “If you work it out, you get a free tee.”
Tama: “You just gave it to ‘em, man!”
So, what is your favourite of your songs?
Beau: “I like ‘Cookie,’ just ‘cuz Tama brings it in.”
Che: “Yeah, I think ‘Cookie’s probably my favourite song in the set.”
Jarrod: “Yeah, to be honest. Yeah, I think ‘Cookie.’ ‘Cookie’s my favourite to play.”
Tama: “’Cookie,’ yeah. ‘Cookie’ and ‘Nikki’ were both songs that I intro’d. I probably had a bit more of a play on those songs. So I feel like it’s something personal to me.”
So, your videos are amazing. Who films them?
Beau: “Ah, that would be Akiva Ljungström, at Gaslight Studios, in Toowoomba. And, he is a magician. I fully encourage people going to him.”
Check out their YouTube channel!! The videos are incredible. There's been trouble with one video which keeps getting taken down by the dastardly diabolic YouTube bot, but I've seen the original and it contained nothing too eyebrow raising. Nothing you wouldn't see in a Kanye video or ASAP Rocky, and really goes to show the sorts of struggles which young bands face in getting their stuff out there. If you're a local band or artist, looking to get some videos done, head over to Gaslight Studios in Toowoomba! They only do quality stuff.
Okay, this is more for you (Beau), I know that you have a clothing label. How’s that going? How did it start? Tell me about that.
Beau: “Yeah, so it initially just started through bands, funnily enough. And my job through all the bands that I’ve played in, has mainly been like management and merch. So, I printed a lot of merch for all my younger bands and, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve just sort of got more into the label side of things. So, I decided to start my own label with my good friend, Mitch. And we’re slowly incorporating bands into that, so we can distribute for bands, and make it all under ‘one world’ sort of local label. And pretty much just create a sort of creative economy in the town. Like, have artists going through our label so we can actually help some young people build the scene.”
If you'd like to get some shirts or merch done up, or support a local clothing brand, hit up Beau on his Lust & Loathe Streetwear label. The man behind the threads.
So do you do like, merch and stuff for bands, as well as your own stuff?
Beau: “Yep, yep! So, at the moment, we’re currently just a clothing label, but we’ve recently just started expanding out into screen-printing and so we’ll be doing a lot more printing for young local bands for non-ridiculous prices. So people can afford. Help out the small people”
I know many metal & hardcore fans love their guitar-talk & tech, so this one's for you:
So, this one’s for the G-tarist’s in the band. What kind of guitar pedals and effects do you use?
Che: “At the moment, I’m just running a Full-bore Metal by MXR into my Crank, which is like a Marshall-style amp. And that’s the whole set-up.”
Do you use anything, Jarrod?
Jarrod: “Yeah, I run a Big Muff into a Boost, and that goes into my Orange Tiny Terror. Yeah a Muff, into an Orange Amp.
Tama: “Beastiest bass tones!”
Beau: “We initially just want a big nice Wall of Sound.”
All: “Yeeeeeah (Laugh)”
What’s the lowest tuning you’ve ever used in a song?
(All look at each other and laugh)
All: “Drop G.”
(Laugh their dicks off)
Jarrod: “We started in Drop G… (deadpan) We don’t play in Drop G anymore.”
Jarrod: “We were like ‘This is unrealistic…’”
(Me) Like you can’t hear anything. Just farts under the sea?
Jarrod: “Literally. Like spaghetti strings. (Flops tongue) Blobba-wobba-dobba-wobba-dob-dob-lobba”
Deadliest injury you’ve ever seen at a gig?
Che: “Aw, I saw my mate Emerson get like fully punched in jaw, and… It was out of place, for… quite a while.”
Tama: “Oh no! The guitar! Remember? He got knocked out!”
Che: (Eyes light up) “OH! I also knocked him out, with my bass. When I was playing with him, at Kontraband Studios..”
Tama: “And he continued the set!”
Che: “Yeah, he fully blacked out… Knocked out. He had… Blood all over his face, bad concussion. Really bad concussion.”
Tama: “Should’ve been in hospital. Really bad concussion.”
Che: “Really bad concussion. And he… Finished the set. Like a fuckin’ champ.”
Tama: “Definitely a hospital call. One-hundred percent! Like regrettably. He was not the same - I am not even kidding – he was not the same for like a year!
Beau: “The doctor said it was the best concussion he’s seen in 25 years.”
(We’re laughing hysterically at this stage)
Alright, this one is like a fun question… Do you think all metal bands’ names should be spikey, and unreadable?
Che: (deadpan) “Yes.”
All: (Laughing) “YES!”
Tama: “Like fucking tree branches.”
Jarrod: “Ours isn’t spikey and unreadable…”
Beau: “No ours is bendy and unreadable.”
Tama: “As much as I’d like to say yes, I think there needs to be some bubbly cute n cuddly names in there, to look more…. You know, it’s juxtaposition.”
Che: “Bring some balance into the mix, mate.”
Alright, how long have you been writing these songs? Because I know you guys had a hiatus. What’s kind of the story, like a little tiny bio?
Beau: “Ah, so, originally when we started out, we had different members. It consisted of… Our original vocalist, Emersen, Shady and then Tama came into the band a bit later. That kind of fell through, just due to… you know, not gelling as members. And then, we took a bit of a hiatus and on hiatus, we wrote all the tracks that you would’ve heard tonight…
Tama: “Quite quickly.”
All: “Very quickly.”
Beau: “Very rushed. Hence why we’re looking forward to going back into the studio and actually writing as a group.”
Che: “Very keen on new songs.”
Beau: “But yeah, there’s not much lore there. We started off with a different band, and…”
Tama: (Finishing the sentence) “Che and Jarrod sat in one room, in Brisbane. Sent us riffs, and Beau and I sat there and I kind of pretended to be a producer. Or an engineer, I guess. I sat there and mixed some shit with Beau, and we made all the songs and Beau wrote all the lyrics. Well, most the lyrics..”
Beau: “80 percent.”
Tama: “I gave him a hand. But yeah, other than that… It was all a very cohesive effort, I guess.”
Che: “First lockdown. We were in a room.”