INTERVIEW: Dan Greig, Chad Ellis & Hamish Unahi (FAITH IN LIES)
Brace yourselves and get those mosh muscles limber as today a brand new heavy metal powerhouse emerges, with the Aussie conglomerate Faith In Lies officially unveiling their pandemic endeavours. Coming to life amid the COVID-19 extremities, Faith In Lies brings together a stellar team of local legends including musos from Lycanthrope, From Crisis To Collapse and Take My Soul.
From like-minded mates to a seething vortex of metal goodness, Faith In Lies remotely banded together to concoct their debut single as a group, with the raging stylings of I Can't Close My Eyes aptly setting the scene for what's to come from this tight as hell quintet, while also deftly showcasing what the group are capable of even when they couldn't step foot in a room all together.
Offering a rager that celebrates not taking things for granted surrounded by sharp and raucous arrangements, I Can't Close My Eyes may not even be an entire day old yet, but we grabbed vocalist Dan Greig and axe kings Chad Ellis and Hamish Unahi to talk get to know more about Australia's newest metal troop. Interview below!
I CAN'T CLOSE MY EYES (FAITH IN LIES)
TIANA SPETER: Hello and thank you for taking the time to have a chat with me today! While it’s undoubtedly been trying times for many, especially in the music industry, it’s also been amazing to see people rally and get some good coming out of it. And one of the good things emerging from all the madness is your brand new supergroup Faith in Lies! Bringing together a sweltering array of epic local talent amid isolation, what sparked this project to life? Had you guys always secretly wanted to team up?
DAN GREIG: Having previously teamed up with Hamish and Chris’s other band Take My Soul on their track Paralyse and loving the track, Hamish asked me to come try some demo vocals on a few songs he had in the works where I was more than happy to lend a tonsil haha.
CHAD ELLIS: Hey T, thanks for having us along and can I please stop you at “supergroup” though?! Haha. Faith In Lies has certainly been cooking for some time and has been a project that Hamish has wanted to lift off for quite a while now. Ham was nice enough to let From Crisis To Collapse crash at his house in Newcastle mid-way through a tour last year, and that’s when he showed us some demo’s way back then. He kinda sold it to us then as something that he had been writing and pulling together for years and was starting to lean on mates like Strez from TMS and Dan from Lycanthrope to bring it to fruition. Ever since then he has sent me more demo’s and mixes, and during the COVID isolation period we were able to talk more about it and he asked if I’d be keen to jump in on the action. Here I am and here we are!
TIANA: And the first tune busting out of the Faith in Lies gate is going to be I Can’t Close My Eyes and I must say – it’s a delightful mix of ballistic energy and tight as heck production, and definitely one that is begging to be eventually witnessed live. How does a Faith in Lies tune come to life, do you guys all collaborate on the writing side of things? And how did the remote isolation hinder or help the writing process?
DAN: Previously, Hamish would come up with the riffs, work out alternate structures with the wizard Strez at studio 1618 and I would provide demos of vocals and phrases for them to lay over the top. I do really enjoy working in the studio with these fellas, and Hamish and Chad have been working relentlessly on content and promotions during isolation so when all this shit ends well be ready to play these tracks live.
CHAD: Hamish is a riff machine and has a very old-school way of coming up with song ideas which I really dig. He basically writes and demos a tonne of riffs, then maps out the demos that link with each other and work as a rough arrangement. He usually gets his Russell Crowe on and uses a white board to do this like in the movie A Beautiful Mind. Then he and Strez from Studio 1618 in Newy get together and finalise the arrangement and produce the track. The song is re-recorded and finishes up being what the beautiful people will hear come release day! Most of this debut EP has been basically in demo form for well over a year and the first few songs were re-recorded and getting finalised before iso kicked in. So Strez has had plenty of time to mix them and we’ve all been involved with the feedback of those mixes. And we’re all still writing and sending bits and pieces and ideas around with each other to evolve some of the older songs or perhaps as new song ideas. So it’s all going on and iso hasn’t stopped us. If anything, it gave us the time and energy to launch the project and we’re all pumped about bringing it to a live stage when the time is right!
TIANA: And while the track is undoubtedly some blasting heavy goodness, there’s a killer blend of thrash, metalcore and beyond going on here. Is I Can’t Close My Eyes a solid indication of what’s to come from this Faith in Lies project? Or do we have more genre surprises awaiting us with future material?
DAN: We all have massive diverse metal influences and I Can’t Close My Eyes is but a small slice of what Faith In Lies has to offer.
CHAD: We want to riff out and bust out some energetic music with those inspirational flavours that we enjoy. I Can’t Close My Eyes is a good example of the FiL DNA and what level of song writing we’re aiming for, but it won’t be a one trick pony (winks).
HAMISH UNAHI: I think I Can’t Close My Eyes is pretty much a blueprint for the EP but as we write and grow things can progress. As long as it’s hard, fast and heavy, then it's all good with me.
TIANA: You’re all no strangers to writing and performing as musos…and while live music is a bit of a far-off fantasy for now, inevitably Faith in Lies will be able to bust out some brutality onstage and melt some faces in a live setting. What sort of shenanigans might be in store for us for a Faith in Lies live show? I know it might be a tricky query considering you’ve all barely even had time to be in the same room to even jam as a group!!
DAN: Each member brings their own unique stage presence with a heaps of energy, so whatever stage we get on better be double bolted!!!
CHAD: Getting together has been impossible the last few months and everything has been getting done remotely, but the band is mainly based around the Newcastle area and I live on the North Coast, so getting together as a band will be planned with military precision for recording and tour prep. When we eventually hit the stage I feel as though there will be lots of movement, heavy sounds, loads of energy, Hi 5’s, Dan will most probably turn into a min-Hulk, and can’t forget the odd pat on the bottom like an NRL post try celebration.
HAMISH: Well the things I can guarantee, Chad's mad man antics will be on show, Stoja’s windmill head banging, Hix’s solid as snare attack, Dan's commanding presence…. And I just riff!
TIANA: And on the topic of live music – looking back over your own personal musical adventures prior to Faith in Lies…what’s one live show or tour memory that has stuck out after all this time, whether it’s been memorably good, bad or hilarious?
DAN: I have many many memories but the biggest was definitely touring with Devildriver in Japan last year, and after the last show in Tokyo, Dez and his wife Anastasia came up to me and said you guys are coming around Australia with us! After that all the Lycan boys gave me a team hug in the street. I honestly felt on top of the world.
CHAD: I’ve had a few massive gig moments. Sharing the stage and meeting the guys from my all-time favourite band Suicidal Tendencies is right up there, but one memory (although the tequila shots on the night tried it’s best to steal the memory from me) was when we played with Death Angel and Sepultura at Eatons Hill in Brisbane back in 2018, and we we’re sharing the green room with Death Angel. While Death Angel were on stage, the party was kicking off in the greenroom and Gussy Carter was into Mark Osegueda’s clothes rack and parading around in his assortment of leather garments haha - it still kills me to think of it!
TIANA: You guys are an amazing amalgamation of local bands including Lycanthrope, Take My Soul and From Crisis To Collapse. But let’s get our desert island on for this next question, if you all had to be stranded on a desert island with one other band, living or dead, along for company – who are you choosing and why?
DAN: The Veronicas because (insert your own answer here).
CHAD: Tool, has to be Tool because tapping into those minds while stranded on an island would be the equivalent to hanging out with modern day musical Ghandi’s.
TIANA: You’re all part of a band sitting squarely in the heavy music world…but what music did you devour when you were a kid growing up, were you always drawn to the heavier genres? Or was there a particular gateway artist that led you to where you are now?
DAN: Always liked the heavier tunes growing up ,heaps of Nu Metal, Hard Rock then progressed into metalcore anything with some sick clean vocals still gets my motor revving, and I prefer tunes to have a slash of evil through.
CHAD: I’m an 80’s kids and was raised on a healthy diet of varied harder sounding genres like traditional hard rock, metal, thrash and grunge. Big influences were bands like Alice Cooper, Metallica, ST, Alice In Chains, Faith No More, Sepultura, Anthrax, bands to that flavour. Then in my later teens and 20’s punk rock, Nu Metal and Metalcore consumed my life. Bands like Pennywise, NOFX, Bad Religion, Guttermouth, Nonpoint, Machine Head, Dry Kill Logic, 36 Crazyfists, Slipknot, Taproot, Channel Zero, early Korn… oh man, list goes on! But now there are so many inspirational artists like Lamb Of God and Parkway Drive that I dig and I feel it all funnels in and culminates into guitar driven song writing.
HAMISH: I was lucky to have parents with good tastes in music. I grew up on the Stones, Frank Zappa, Jimi Hendrix, but I found myself drawn to the blues and heavy stuff like Muddy Waters, John Lee-Hooker and Black Sabbath. However SLAYER will always be my favourite band.
TIANA: And finally, in honour of your brand new single I Can’t Close My Eyes being described as being ultimately proud in your accomplishments…what are you most proud of as a musician, what drives you to stand tall and keep creating?
DAN: I love creating music whether it be heavy or not, I hope in the next 20 years I’m still creating songs and involved in some way shape or form. I’m proud that I get to work with and meet so many awesome musos.
CHAD: Any creative person knows, whether you paint, draw, write, act, dance, music, whatever… that you can’t stop it. If you try to pretend that you don’t need to create anymore, than you’re cheating yourself and you always come back to it. Guarantee that most creatives can’t even go on holidays for a single week without at least thinking of a little riff to write or attempt to paint a flower that they saw whilst on holidays the moment that they get home. So for me it’s all about making music that I’m a fan of and would listen too, and putting on a live performances that I’d be stoked to see as an audience member. Period.
HAMISH: The thing I'm most proud of, and this might sound weird, but are my own right hand riffages. Might not mean much to most but my guitarist brethren out there will certainly know what I’m on about haha!
FAITH IN LIES HAVE OFFICIALLY FLUNG OUT THEIR DEBUT SINGLE I CAN'T CLOSE MY EYES TODAY VIA BLACK MOUNTAIN MUSIC, WITH THE PROMISE OF MORE TUNES TO MELT YOUR FACE ON THEIR WAY. TO KEEP IN THE LOOP FOR ALL THINGS FAITH IN LIES, HEAD HERE.
BY TIANA SPETER