Owais : It’s Christmas time so whats going on in the Karnivool’s camp?
Mark : Really good, really good we got back from a big European tour which was from November-December 2013, a very big run its our biggest shows in Europe till date obviously still on the back of the “Asymmetry” release so that was quite large , we are back here in Australia now just preparing for another January run with a band called “Dead Letter Circus” and a couple of big Aussie bands, we have been waiting for a long time to tour with “Dead Letter Circus” but it never really popped up then and the chance has never really been becoming then so its nice to finally happen now and we are excited to play in some Australian cities at the start of 2014
Owais : When I listen to ‘Asymmetry’ I hear a journey of epic soundscapes and atmospheric rock. All your albums have been different so far and so is the case with Asymmetry. But there must be something where you guys felt that you have taken this album to another level.
Mark : Yeah! For a band like us we have got to do something different on every release whether it was a personal journey or a personal discovery or just challenging ourselves personally and ‘Asymmetry’ for us was a real chance to do that, sort of a different way to what ‘Sound Awake’ was and I think ‘Sound Awake’ was a real coming together of the band, a real proper album and we are all playing together and we are all sort of (you know) learning from each other and not to say that we stopped learning from each other quite the opposite for ‘Asymmetry’ but it was a real chance for us to say, “Right, lets try and do something different now, lets push into directions which we haven’t had the chance to push in before” and we knew from the early days when we were in the studio writing the album that it was going to be a pretty challenging album for ourselves and to a degree for the people listening, it was always going to be that album that challenged the listener and by the nature of the current kind of music that we write, we wanted it to be a journey like a lotus leaf wetting the listener with something that he has not heard before and slowly over time appreciates the music so for us, it was just a continuation on the path of what this band is and what this band does and a chance to take that to a new level with what we are trying to do.
Owais : That’s really great because while listening to the album I could definitely notice that guys have branched out with different sounds and different techniques. Is there anything you wanna tell us about what you have done that was different?
Mark : Sure, from the ground up we said we were going to take paths and if the path starts to feel uncomfortable or feels like the one we have been on before then we talk about it and we say that this isn’t going where we want to it to go or that this isn’t happening and when it came to an album like ‘Asymmetry’ some of that was instrumentation and some of that was song structures and some of that was motive content, lyrical content and (you know) just making sure that it wasn’t anything that we would have released before and that it was fresh and exciting for us more (laugh) I mean, we have always been bit more of a selfish band when it comes to song writing, we really need to please ourselves before we please other people and that was a big step in the process.
Owais : Asymmetry has been four years in the making. What bands and artists were you listening to and getting inspiration from to bring this record about, either consciously or not?
Mark : Yeah, that’s the thing isn’t it! I mean some of it is conscious definitely, like ‘Meshuggah’ always has been a big influence on us and bands like ‘Converge’ and ‘(John) Dillinger’ to a less degree and obviously there is a big draw back to the old bands that we all used to love, the bands that drew THIS band together in the first place like ‘Nirvana’ and ‘Soundgarden’ and ‘Stone Temple Pilots’ and ‘TOOL’ obviously to a certain degree maybe not later but the earlier parts of the ‘TOOL’ career, but then one of the things what I really enjoy about this band and what draws me to this band and makes me appreciate what this band is doing is the fact that we are such diverse people and diverse music lovers like Kenny our singer, he has got a good pop sensibility and he knows melody and he loves pop melody and Drew the other guitarist, loves the really heavy side of music and I jump around all the time with American Blues and Jon too is a big mixture of classical and jazz and Steve is into hip-hop (laugh) so there’s pretty much everything, that’s what we love! When we are on our tour bus there’s usually four or five iPods and depending on which one you put on you’ll get a completely different playlist of music styles but at the same time we are very open minded with music and we all listen to every style of music and I think that’s really important for at least bands like ourselves in the style of music that we are playing.
Owais : Right, that’s true because in a country better known for producing pub rock, and lately with the proliferation of indie pop and hip-hop, what do you attribute ‘Karnivool’s success and longevity to?
Mark : That’s a very good question and we kind of ask that all the time, it started of as a following for the type of music we are doing and I think there is a certain sense of honesty to the music we write, its never going to be sugar-coated, its never going to be dumbed down for radio or anything like that, its always going to be 100% and its always going to be a ‘Karnivool’ song (you know) YOU are always going to get that from ‘Karnivool’ and I think audiences appreciate that and our fan base is steadily growing, its amazing the response we have got overseas from countries like India, not huge album sales but the ground swells with internet and college shows, get-together and talks like this and that’s amazing for us because it means that we are getting to people who really appreciate what we are doing and we found that as we go along the amount of music appreciators, not so much as people who go to concerts and come to our shows and talk afterwards for us THAT is one of the best things about touring internationally, its having these conversations with people about music, philosophy or whatever it is we are talking about and its almost that progressive rock community in a way that’s self-supportive because of the nature that its intellectual and its thought provoking and its musically entertaining at the same time, I think we have just cashed in on a group of people who are like minded and prepared to follow us through and hear what we have to offer.