INTERVIEW: Adam Lomas (MASS SKY RAID)
Gold Coast alt-rockers Mass Sky Raid have been kicking around since 2011, crafting their massive wall-of-sound style and sneaking in some pretty epic supports on the live scene. But after pouring their blood, sweat and tears into their songwriting and recording, this year will see them release their hotly anticipated debut full-length album - and while the album is still top secret, vocalist Adam Lomas took the time to shed a bit of insight into this remarkably creative and innovative band.
TIANA: So Adam, I'm super stoked to be chatting to you today, I'm a Gold Coast girl myself and you're the first Goldy band I've chatted to!
ADAM: We're stoked too!
TIANA: And I think a big question I have from growing up there and being away for a few years - back in those days there weren't really any venues kicking around that were fostering the heavier bands, most people were up in Brisbane. But what's the Goldy vibe these days?
ADAM: Yeah, I agree with that, I think there are limited venues. And it just means you've gotta travel interstate and travel up to Brisbane. But in saying that too, there's still some really good venues, I mean Cooly (Coolangatta Hotel) is one, and also Shark Bar which we're playing at really soon. There's venues popping up, and the scene's still alive. Times are changing and you've just gotta adapt as a band and if you've gotta go interstate to play more shows...there's only so many times you can play in the one place, so as a band I think it's important to travel - when you can, obviously not every band can. But just doing the hard yards in that sense, it's what you've gotta do.
TIANA: Now this year you guys have released two new singles, 'Sacrifice' and more recently 'Closer', which had a cool little dancey vibe in it, a bit of a toe-tapper!
ADAM: Yep, funny you say that, we saw that in the song, it's a bit more upbeat. We're just going for a bit more diversity, keeping it interesting with every new song. And that also keeps us interested.
TIANA: And both those tracks are from your upcoming debut full-length which is super exciting - but can you reveal anything else about it? Any secrets you can reveal, or is it all top secret?
ADAM: (laughs) Well what I'll say is it's more of what you've already heard, we're really excited and proud as a band. We'd already done the EP ('Courage Under Fire', 2013), but just doing a full album it's a massive achievement as a band. And we're just stoked that we held in there and got it done, and with the product that we're coming out with we're just stoked. I think there will be something for everyone on it and that's what I'm personally excited about. Can't wait!
TIANA: You're debut EP 'Courage Under Fire' dropped in 2013 and it seemed to be universally well received. And I've found it really interesting, I feel normally when a band has their first release and then release their first full-length album there's always a lot of talk about the evolution/how much you've changed. But personally, after listening to all of your songs to date, I feel like Massive Sky Raid have never had that 'awkward teenage phase', for lack of a better phrase in your recordings. You seem to have been in control of your sound from day one.
ADAM: Yeah, we're pretty particular when it comes to the recording process and ever since we started we wanted each song to speak for itself. But in saying that, I personally think our sound has progressed itself, but we have always wanted to record at the highest quality and justify the end idea as best we can as a band. We thought, there's no point doing anything half way, we just wanted to go all out from the start and get the band's product to the best sound that we could. And 'Courage Under Fire' was an achievement in itself for us, and the sound for me, and hopefully what others will see, is the diversity of the songs to come and that we've progressed.
TIANA: And is it correct you recorded the new album at the same place that the EP was recorded at?
ADAM: Yeah at Loose Stone Studios on the Gold Coast with Matt Bartlem, he's been amazing for us as a producer. On this new album he's done everything from producing to mixing - just the whole thing. It's been really valuable having him on the team, and just really helping us out when we need it, helping us bring the ideas to life.
TIANA: Sadly I'm yet to see you guys live, but I have heard onstage the band is quite a force to be reckoned with. And it's not always easy to capture that energy in a recording, so it's always a great feat to be able to live up to your live expectation.
ADAM: I think for any band, including us, you're always trying to get better live and the same with recording and writing, you're just always trying to improve. And I think for us as a band, we always aim to be more open to our audience, and if you have that mindset you're just always going to improve. And I think hopefully we just keep improving in that sense and keep pushing our limits and abilities and seeing where that takes us.
TIANA: Speaking of live stuff, you've already toured with some huge names already: Twelve Foot Ninja, Dead Letter Circus...and you scored the Brissie support with the legendary I Am Giant when they were here. Is it true that they handpicked you via social media for that support?
ADAM: It is! We just put some feelers out, and we put our song up and we were fortunate enough to get it! All of those bands you mentioned are amazing, and we were so stoked to just get to play with them. They're bands who inspire you as a musician to work hard, and super happy that I Am Giant saw us and liked the song and we played with them up at Brightside.
TIANA: And when you released the track 'Oceans' back in 2014, Kim from Dead Letter Circus actually went on record raving about it, which is nothing to sneeze at! But did you always have long-term plans when you were first starting out, or was it just like minds coming together?
ADAM: A bit of everything in a sense, definitely like minds coming together. We all love writing as a band, and all of us individually love writing. And we just love coming together as a band and being able to draw on a lot of creative energy, each member bringing their own influences to the overall sound. We've got quite a deep creative pool to draw from, and that genuine love to create music hasn't died in any of us. It makes progression easy in a sense.
TIANA: Absolutely. And you've played your fair share of live shows now, and the obvious question is always what your favourite has been. But I'm also intrigued to know what your favourite venue has been to play so far, the venues always seem to add their own little personality to the shows, are there particular standouts?
ADAM: Definitely the Triffid up in Brisbane, just the venue alone is amazing. But there are a lot of amazing venues, the Cooly Hotel is awesome upstairs there, really has an amazing system and sound quality and as a band you look at those things. Going through a great PA makes that difference, it justifies your sound and the room justifies your sound. I think with our sound that's important to have, in some regard, the right room - it is quite a wall of sound and you wanna have the right equipment to make that work. And picking the right venues is always important.
TIANA: And now for the more obvious question -what's been the standout live show that you've played so far?
ADAM: Definitely all those bands you mentioned (Twelve Foot Ninja, Dead Letter Circus, I Am Giant), playing with bands like that it's always amazing and seeing the audience's reaction. They've all built such a following themselves, and that just inspires us to keep pushing and doing what you love. And we're just super excited to get this new album out, it's gonna be great and we're planning to really hit the live scene hard. We've been in the studio for a few years really working on the new songs, and it'll be great to get out there with it and connect with our audience.
TIANA: And speaking of the new songs, your most recent single 'Closer' - am I correct that it was also the first actual music video that you released officially?
ADAM: Yeah it is, we've done some lyric videos in the past, but we were so happy to get 'Closer' out there. It is hard to really justify doing a video and the ideas and we wanted something that was a bit raw, for the first one to be a bit more of a performance clip but still have a bit of artistic flavour. I think we captured that, which I'm really stoked about. And we're planning to do a lot more, I can't say too much, but we've got another one coming up soon!
CLOSER - OFFICIAL MUSIC VIDEO
TIANA: Well you guys made it look like you've been doing it your whole life!
ADAM: Thank you very much, I appreciate that.
TIANA: Now I know you've already toured with some big names, but are there any bands that are on your wish list to play with? Or will you just take it as it comes?
ADAM: Yeah, i think take it as it comes. I know we've all got different ones, there's so many that we'd love to that it's hard to pick one, both in and outside our genre! And even the guys we've played with already, we'd love to play with them again. If they said let's go on tour again, we'd love to.
TIANA: And lastly - it may be a stupid question to ask since all eyes are probably focused on your upcoming release - but on the down low, are you guys already secretly planning a follow up?
ADAM: Definitely. Yeah, we just all love writing, and I don't think we could live without doing that. And I think we're really only just tip-toeing on where we can get with our sound, we just want to keep expanding and experimenting, just having fun with it and see where we come out. We're definitely super excited about this album, and will just continue to write.
TIANA: Well, hopefully it won't be too much longer before you're on the road and spreading the Mass Sky Raid love, and can't wait to see what happens next!
ADAM: Thank you very much, we can't wait to tour all around Australia, and really appreciate chatting with you.
Huge things ahead for the Mass Sky Raid boys, keep an eye out for the upcoming album, and if you're lucky enough to be in Brisbane or the Gold Coast you can check them out live before the album drops. More info below:
BY TIANA SPETER