INTERVIEW: Tom Kiely (PATIENT SIXTY-SEVEN)
From an idea sparked in a garage to slaying stages with their unique brand of blistering melodic metalcore, Perth's Patient Sixty-Seven have never been ones to wait for the world to listen up - and with their unique blend of metal, electronic and even orchestral influences, it's little wonder why their intriguing heavy tunes are rustling up loads of attention.
Devoid of pretension or bluster, Patient Sixty-Seven are of the revered breed in the heavy realm: they can rip your eardrums to shreds but always with a defined sense of genuine passion and expertise. Ultimately, this is a group who have willingly evolved and matured, a fact particularly evident on their sophomore EP 'Four Walls' which unveiled last month. Heavy? Yep. Crushing? Of course, but also with an earnest sensibility (plus a few surprising little electronic moments that will keep you wanting more).
Now that the dust has settled from the EP release, there's a whole lot more in store for this thunderous trio - but before Patient Sixty-Seven move on to the next adventure, The Soundcheck quickly snagged some time with frontman Tom Kiely to chat bucket lists, the thriving heavy scene in Perth and how this lot keep pumping out meaningful heavy tunes. Interview below.
'THE VOID' AUDIO MUSIC VID (PATIENT SIXTY-SEVEN)
TIANA SPETER: Thank you so much for your time! It seems to be a pretty exciting time right now for Patient Sixty-Seven, you’ve recently had your live launch for your brand new EP Four Walls – is it a huge relief to finally have the EP out in the world and get onstage to melt some faces with it?
TOM KIELY: You’re more than welcome! Thank you so much for having us be apart of The Soundcheck. And yes - for sure, it’s an exciting time in our camp. It always is when putting out new music, it kind of caps off all the hard work that’s been put in. It’s a relief, we pushed through a long period of uncertainty to get the music recorded and the launch has been the perfect opportunity to enjoy it.
TIANA: And you were joined at the launch by some pretty awesome local bands, including Entropy and We Run With Wolves to name a few – there seems to be a never-ending array of heavy talent kicking around in Perth, do you guys feel inspired by the heavy scene over that side of the country? And aside from the legends who are joining you at the launch, who are some of your favourite local heavy Perth bands?
TOM: Oh man, those guys absolutely killed it. We were incredibly excited to be joined by all four bands on the lineup. Illyria dropped an acoustic set (they are normally an insanely tight black metal act) and Among Them are making huge waves on Dreambound - so it was a wonderful night. There’s 0 question, our city is just loaded with talent when it comes to heavy music. It’s inspiring, it’s thriving and it feels like the wave is coming back for people to really get behind heavy music again in Perth. The bands are there. In terms of my favourite heavier bands in Perth - gotta shout out the guys in Once Almost Never, Displacement and Lost Honours. They’re all killing it at the moment with music out in the last 6 months or so!
TIANA: I’ve read that you guys technically classify yourselves as a metalcore band – but you also seem to bring a few unexpected twists with it, some orchestral and electronic moments – is this an intentional edge you guys havealways endeavoured to throw into the sound?
TOM: I can answer this with confidence - yes. Haha! I’ve always wanted to continue to bring an influence with programming into our music. And I don’t just mean a little bit of synth or a small interlude here and there. We wanted to use it all tastefully of course - but we want to use those extra sounds as an added dynamic to our music. It’s an extra layer and for me personally it’s something I love about the music I listen to so I wanted to bring that to what we were doing.
TIANA: And in terms of influences, what type of music did you all grow up listening to? Was it always on the heavier side? Do you feel some of these influences have dramatically carried over into the Patient Sixty-Seven songwriting sessions?
TOM: I know there definitely is a metal influence from an early age in our band, for me personally it wasn’t really heavy music until later in high school. Definitely though, all the music we listen to plays a part in how we want to sound.
TIANA: Four Walls follows up from your debut release Imbalance – how different (or not different!) were things the second time round? Was it a more streamlined process in terms of writing and recording?
TOM: It was very different. Like - could not have been more different, haha. Imbalance was a collection of songs that me and our guitarist wrote in the earliest days of the band. We were so new and unassuming to what it was like being in a band that we didn’t question what the release needed to be. At the time, and even today, I have admiration for the work we put in and the product we put out - but it definitely feels like a demo because ultimately that’s what those first songs were. Everything was self produced in the laptop in my bedroom, and I really look at that as a learning experience for our band - because we took the lessons we learnt in making that EP, and brought it with us to use on Four Walls! Four Walls was more streamlined in that we were able to map it up and it was a little less chaotic - but the process itself was far more intense and demanding. Everything we wanted to do was on a higher level, so it required more time, effort and money. We worked with a producer so that itself created an entirely different experience!
TIANA: Can you talk us through the songwriting process for a typical Patient Sixty-Seven song? Is it a huge collaborative process or do you all bring your own ideas and strengths to the table?
TOM: It is collaborative for sure, we bounce ideas and what not off each other to get the outline for a song. Or alternatively, someone will bring ideas forward and we will work off that! Songs can each be different - so we all try and be flexible so we can adapt to what the situation requires. We’ll bring ideas into a recording session and build off that too, I think having it vary is a good thing as it helps make us better songwriters.
TIANA: You guys have also previously spoken about striving to make “music with meaning” – what are some of the themes and ideas you’re exploring with Four Walls? Is it a cathartic personal experience with this sort of songwriting?
TOM: We definitely strive to make music that speaks to us, and others. For me - the ideas on Four Walls were based around what I was experiencing at the time. Self-doubt, failure and a sense of confinement. It is definitely a personal experience - I didn’t want anything to be put on. I just wanted to be upfront and honest and try to inject that into the songs.
TIANA: Obviously for a band with such a huge sound, you’d put on a killer live set – what’s been one of your standout live shows so far?
TOM: Our launch recently was a really really fun show and definitely up there as a highlight for us! I also loved playing with Buried in Verona’s farewell Perth show in 2016. That was so much fun.
TIANA: And speaking of performing – you guys have already played alongside some huge names including Iconoclast and Belle Haven to name just a few. Do you have any dream bands you’d love to tour with? Who’s your bucket list band to play with?
TOM: Oh man, a bucket list band for me…I think the guys would kill me if I didn’t say Parkway Drive but I’d honestly love to share the stage with Bring Me The Horizon or Asking Alexandria. You can’t deny just how massive those guys are and the music they’ve put out speaks to that.
TIANA: Looking at the Aussie music industry overall, do you feel like there’s enough support and opportunity for emerging bands to get out there and get their music heard?
TOM: Yes there is - but there’s just a lot that has to sort of work, from the music to the support to the people you know. Of course there’s opportunity and there’s bands doing an amazing job in Australia - it just takes a lot of dedication and putting yourself out there in the right spaces.
TIANA: And finally – you’ve already started off 2018 in a huge way with this new release – but what’s next for Patient Sixty-Seven?
TOM: I can say we’re heading back in the studio come April, which I’m really excited for. Stayed tuned for that..
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BY TIANA SPETER