INTERVIEW: Aidan Lee (LYCANTHROPE)
It's no coincidence that a band called Lycanthrope would be proficient in adapting and shifting - starting life in 2011, the group have since evolved into a six-piece behemoth boasting three guitars, heaving breakdowns and a renewed energetic explosion of bad-ass metal.
Hailing from Newcastle, this dynamic group are now shifting their sights on the new year, and more specifically on their debut full-length album 'Chapters' set to release in February 2018. Coming off their heavily well-received second EP 'Revival' in 2015, 'Chapters' quite fittingly marks a new chapter for the group with a more focused sound spitting out of the speakers, as evidenced by their recently released single 'Like A Ghost'.
But while this tantalising new album may still be a few months off, guitarist and founding member Aidan Lee took a few moments to chat songwriting, moustaches and evolving into a killer six-piece...
TIANA: Hey Aidan, how's it going? Thanks for your time today. So Lyncanthrope....as a band you guys are closing 2017 out quite solidly, you've just released a new music video for your single 'Like A Ghost', and you've announced your debut album 'Chapters' which is due out next year...and I believe 'Chapters' was recorded earlier this year up in Newcastle over a few months. What was that process like this time round, the band already has a few EPs already under your belt, was it a slightly different experience this time round?
AIDAN: Yeah, so the last EP that we released, 'Revival', we only had two guitarists at that time, and our third guitarist joined pretty well when the songs were written so it was kind of like he was chucked on to write a third guitar bit. Whereas this time round we had all three guitarists there and the bass and we're all trying to work together...we wrote the album from scratch, so everyone had their own parts. It was definitely a lot different compared to the last ones, but it was a lot better.
TIANA: I know you guys have had quite a bit of a mix up over the years with the lineup, you being one of the original members that went from five to two then to six....was there a conscious decision to go out there and rustle up a third guitarist?
AIDAN: (laughs) Yeah, no I think it was our bass player was going away? Yeah, he went away to New Zealand for a holiday so we got one of our friends to fill in on guitar so that we had our complete lineup so we could do a couple of shows...and when our bass player came back we were like "....this guy's pretty cool. We like him!". So, we kind of just kept him on as a guitarist and...yeah! It's just like a brotherhood thing, just all mates.
TIANA: It definitely lends you guys a very unique style, and I mean that in a very positive way. You don't always come across hearing three defined and unique parts. And obviously, 'Like A Ghost' is a bit of a taste from the new album ahead, but is there anything else unexpected ahead for 'Chapters'? Anything you can reveal about what's to come? Or are you keeping it under your hats for now...
AIDAN: Ohh, I think we're keeping it a little bit under our hats, but we'll have something else for everyone before the release of the album.
TIANA: That's a very diplomatic answer. And the music video for 'Like A Ghost' has just recently dropped, it has quite a nice little moody kind of vibe. What was the process like with this one compared to, say, one of your earlier clips like 'Wasteland' which was a completely different setting. Was it a more enjoyable experience being in a slightly more controlled environment this time round?
AIDAN: Yeah, this time round it was exactly how we wanted it, we wanted it with no sort of storyline or anything like that, we just wanted us playing in a room and the guy who filmed us done his magic and makes it look like there's little strobes and it's quite eerie. It turned out heaps rad!
TIANA SPETER: So you guys are having your first album debut in 2018, but you're obviously no strangers to the industry. Your supports have been quite huge along the way, to name a small few like I Killed The Prom Queen and Northlane...have you had a particular standout gig along the way for yourself personally along the way so far?
AIDAN LEE: Oooo, I guess the festival-y sort of ones that we've done, we haven't done anything too massive but we've done a couple of Dirt Fest sort of things, they were heaps good cos they had a lot of mate bands. But the big touring bands as well, probably one of the better gigs was called Noisefest and that's when we played with Aversions Crown and Prom Queen to name a few. That was a heaps good gig as well.
TIANA: And have you guys got a wishlist of who you would absolutely love to your with or are you going to just take it as it comes?
AIDAN: Yeah, take it as it comes for now really, we're open for everything!
TIANA: Being a Newcastle band, how do you find the scene there at the moment? There seems to be a lot of epic slightly heavier bands around there at the moment, does it feel like a supportive town in terms of the music scene?
AIDAN: Yeah, it's definitely becoming good. There's been a problem with the all age venues up in Newcastle, so there's a few guys that have been pushing it really hard to get an all age venue which is sort of coming around now, so that's really good and it shows there's a lot of people out there trying to support the scene in Newcastle which is great.
TIANA: And do you feel like your fan-base is able to extend beyond Newcastle? Have you got grand plans to venture interstate a bit more in the near future?
AIDAN: Yeah, we've got a couple of mate bands from different states as well which is great, so when they tour here we help them out and when we tour there they help us out. We've had a pretty good response from other states and other places that we've played, so that's been good.
TIANA: Now you've recently been rocking quite an epic mo in the recent Lycanthrope press photos...and I have heard rumours that the mo is no more, is that correct?!
AIDAN: (laughs) Yeah, it went! It's gone! It started just as laziness of not wanting to shave, and it just became a thing and I rocked it for three years! And then I was at my barber and he was cutting my hair and I was like "do you just wanna shave it?" and he was like "really?!". But it's coming back, it's slowly coming back (laughs).
TIANA: So you're established as one of three pretty epic guitarists for Lycanthrope, but are there any other instruments you played in the past? Or was it always just guitar when you were growing up?
AIDAN: Yeah, it's always sort of been guitar. I've done some kind of singing and stuff like that, but instrument-wise it's definitely always been guitar.
TIANA: And did you grow up listening to heavier styles of music like what you're playing now?
AIDAN: Yeah, I'm like the weird one in the band, I listen to kind of everything. When I was younger, my dad was heaps into the real old blues and Jimi Hendrix and that kind of stuff. So I grew up listening to that, and stuff like Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, all the old-school sort of bands. And then from there, learning music myself when I was around 12, at that sort of age I was listening to stuff like Slipknot and Mudvayne...getting into that sort of side of it that progressed to the heavy.
TIANA: And is there anything you listen to these day that your fans might be surprised about?
AIDAN: (laughs). Easily! My two biggest people that I listen to at the moment would be Lana Del Rey and Luke Bryan, who is a country singer from America (laughs). I love it!
TIANA: That is an epic combination, I love it!
AIDAN: (laughs) Heaps. Heaps unexpected! So, when we go on tour and it's my choice of music - everyone hates it.
TIANA: Wait, does that mean we won't be seeing Lycanthrope bust out a Lana Del Rey cover anytime soon?!
AIDAN: (laughs) No, definitely not!
TIANA: And speaking of the other guys, now that there are six people in the band, is the songwriting process quite an organic one now that you guys are a bit more established, or do you all bunker away alone then bring ideas back to the group?
AIDAN: How we wrote 'Chapters' was that someone would come to band practice with...we'd call it a skeleton of a song, they'd have an idea of a song and from that the other two guitarists, or whoever wrote the song and the rest would work in their own bits. So, they'd play the skeleton and then I might add octaves for this bit, or add a lead and the other guitarists would do vice versa or do the third to do the other guitar. From there, then the drummer would play along with us, so it was kind of like...we'd have an idea and then it'd be a jam to write the songs.
TIANA: So, aside from 'Chapters' coming out in 2018, is there anything else massive on the horizon for Lycanthrope?
AIDAN: (laughs) I'm not sure yet!
TIANA: Well it seems that the world is your oyster! Keep up the epic work and I can't wait to hear more of 'Chapter's in 2018! Thanks so much for your time Aidan.
AIDAN: No worries, thanks heaps!
Pre-orders for Lycanthrope's 'Chapters' album are live on iTunes now.
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BY TIANA SPETER