12 February 2016 | 5:01 pm | Staff Writer
Originally Appeared In

Killyourstereo.com chats with Tommy from Sydney's premier fastcore band Disparo as they gear up for a series of international shows.

Local fastcore heavyweights Disparo are no strangers to the stage. Over the past couple of years the band has cemented their name, in the underground scene, as one of the fastest, tightest and most tenacious bands around. Coming off the back of an album release, and a recent tour with In Defence, Disparo are gearing up to take the world by storm once again with the announcement of their second world tour. The tour will see the lads visiting venues around the United States, Europe, UK, Asia, and of course their beloved home of Australia.

Hey Tommy, Johnny here from KYS, how have you been?

Yeah, not too bad man, how about you?

Good man, [just] had work today.

Same here.

What do you do, if you don’t mind me asking?

I’m a chef at an Italian restaurant.

Let’s jump into it. You guys are making waves in the local fastcore scene, how long have you been performing and playing music together, and how did the band form?

The band started like four years ago. I’d been living overseas in the UK and Europe for a while, and I came back to Australia and just wanted to do something over the top. There’s not really many bands that play fastcore in Australia, so basically I found some old friends I knew through music and yeah, we’ve just been going for it.

So, this just started out as a hobby [then]; has it taken off bigger than what you expected?

I always wanted things to [take off] with Disparo because I’d been playing in bands since I was fifteen, [and] I’m thirty now. I always wanted to go overseas. That’s always been a thing for me and I made that really clear with the members of the band, and we just sort of [went from] there. If you get the opportunity, why not do it?

Have you been playing in fastcore bands your whole life, or has it just been mixed up?

A bit of everything. This is the only fastcore band I’ve ever played in, but [it has] always been alternative music. Sort of like hardcore, metal, [and] in high school it was pop-punk bands I was in.

This is a bit of a departure from that.

Yeah, there’s just something about playing thirty second songs, it's too much fun. I don’t want to play any other kind of music.

You previously released your debut full-length, 'Co-Exist', how do you think the reaction to that was from peers and fans?

Everyone had nothing but nice things to say about it, which, for me, was really cool because I actually write all the music in Disparo as well. We were on such a tight schedule because of all the touring we did and we actually learnt the whole album in about four band practices. and then we recorded it in four and a half hours. Considering the time we put in and everything, our drummer actually had to leave early because he had to go to work on the day we recorded it, so considering all the time we put into it - the response has been amazing.

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What other releases do you have coming up? I know there’s one with ACxDC in the works.

Yeah, that’s coming out next month. We also have a 12-track EP coming called 'Just Getting It Done'. We [also] have a split with Midwife (Melbourne) and a split with Totakok (Malaysia) coming out.

How do you get all the connections for these splits? I imagine there is a lot of networking involved.

I kind of pride myself on being a good networker. That comes with touring overseas, you get in contact with people you might not of had the chance to and it has really all just come from that. We make friends with other bands and other people. Also, with playing really short songs it isn’t hard to pump out enough songs for a release.

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Moving on from your releases, you’re heading out on a huge string of shows soon. When did you think it was time to start playing shows out of NSW, or even out of Australia? You mentioned earlier that you were always keen on doing something internationally, so when did you think it was time to sort it out?

In the early days we had a lot of problems with members. I’m actually the only original member in the band, and it got to the point where we had a lot of fill ins. We had a fill-in drummer, and we didn’t have a bass player. We were on our way to Melbourne and we had been to New Zealand by this part and it was the only overseas thing we’d done, but yeah, we were headed to Melbourne and the bass player had quit two days before, so we played as a three-piece with a drummer from Melbourne who was hanging out with us and [our] guitarist Rhett and I sat down at the bar and we said, “Well what do you wanna do? Do you wanna keep going?” and he said, “Well let's try and get it going, let's find some guys, at least a solid drummer, and if we do, let's go overseas!”. I asked him where he wanted to go and he said America, and I said Europe so we just decided why don’t we just go to both [places]. So, a month later we got Kieran, who is our drummer now; he is a bit younger than us so he was really, really keen, and it's good to have a fresh set of eyes to join the band. We still don’t have a permanent bass player, at this point we have four and they're scattered all over the world.

Damn, so who will be filling in on bass for the tour, or will it be split amongst them?

Yeah, so we have Brad who does a lot for us - he records all the songs for us and stuff like that because he’s based in Sydney, and he’s doing all the Australian and American legs of the tour. He’s really excited for it and he’s an easy guy to tour with, which is awesome. Then we have a friend from the UK who’s going to do the UK shows with us, a really good friend of mine from Italy is gonna do the Europe shows with us, and then, for the Japan shows, a buddy of mine from Adelaide is gonna fly up and do those with us.

That’s really cool that you don’t have to put all your eggs in one basket for the fill-ins.

It’s really cool too that we have this band that we can have a lot of our friends play in, which is just really cool. It's awesome, to be honest.

This is, if I'm not mistaken, your second world tour almost within a year. I take it the first one was relatively successful? I’m friends with Kieran on Facebook and I remember seeing heaps of pictures from your last tour, but it didn’t really give me a grasp on whether or not people were coming to the gigs or the degree of its success. How did you think the shows went down?

I guess when we were over there nobody knew who we were. I booked a lot of the shows just through friends I had made from travelling and networking. We have the novelty factor in that we’re a band from Australia, I guess everyone thought they were going to see something weird or unusual. So, some of the shows were really up and down. One day there would be three-hundred people at a show, the next there would be maybe six people. Some of the best shows were the ones that only had like ten or twenty people at them, everybody bought some merch and we made a lot of really good contacts out of them.

I can imagine its easier to network when there is less people in the crowd.

And more-so, the face to face [aspect]… you get a judge of character from it.

Moving on, I’m sure it was an expensive feat organising all this, what were some ways you guys saved on costs, and how did you do it especially since you guys all have jobs?

We don’t really drink or party on tour, that helped a lot. We ate very little. But, we do sort of rely on money from shows and merch to keep us afloat so we don’t have to dig in to our own savings, but when we’re not touring we all work ridiculous hours so we can all pay for all this.

When you play a show in Sydney or Newcastle realistically, and unfortunately, you’re not getting paid a significant amount. Were you getting paid much from these overseas shows? Is it the same deal over there or are they paying you for the novelty of being an overseas band?

As far as getting paid for shows, Europe is the best because the way they sort out shows over there is you both agree on a cover charge, something like maybe a hundred euros and you show up and you get paid, you get fed and you get a place to stay. Europe is really good for that. The idea is you could play a show there everyday so you didn’t have to cover costs for petrol and such. America, sometimes we didn’t make a cent, sometimes we made a lot of money, but the UK we lost money when we went there the first time. It’s a risky take really, we don’t do this for money, we do this because we want to play to as many people as we can, but its always nice to help cover costs and that.

You mentioned before that these shows were booked through friends you had made overseas? How, for the first tour, did you make these connections?

I’ve travelled a lot over the past eight or nine years, and you always make friends through music. I also run a small DIY label called Good Times Records and [I've met people] just through releases I’ve done for a few friends' bands. Everyone is sort of in our DIY network, it’s quite small, but still all over the world and everyone’s really keen to help out. Some of the shows are booked by strangers, and you get there and meet them for the first time and they end up being really lovely people and it's really nice that the kindness of strangers can really surprise me. It really gives me hope for humanity.

So, what are the supports for the upcoming shows looking like? 

We’re playing some of the shows with some really big bands. Weekend Nachos for a show in Pittsburgh, some friends from LA like Bruce Campbell; in the UK we’re playing with Shackles from Byron Bay because they’re on tour at the same time. We’re teaming up with some old friends we met while on tour in Indonesia, they’re called Sick Times from Germany, Musket Hawk from Baltimore are also playing a bunch of shows with us, and Terrible Joke are doing the whole Japan tour with us.

What do you hope to improve on since the last international tour?

We made a few mistakes like not realising the distances between places we were going, so making sure to look all that up before we go, and the fact that last time we toured, it was the end of winter and it was snowing everywhere. We’re not really used to the cold being Australians, so having to play every night wearing jeans and hoodies was quite uncomfortable. Just being able to play in a t-shirt and shorts is going to be a the biggest improvement ever since the last time we were there. And just playing faster and tighter than last time.

Do you drive everywhere on tours in, like in a big van? Flying isn’t really an option is it?

We hire cars or sometimes we hire drivers and vans, and stuff like that. In Europe we try and get like a van that has bunk beds in it so we can sleep in it as well. Usually that’s how we get around but in the States we usually drive ourselves around.

I’m sure the road-trip is pretty cool!

Yeah, it’s really fun. It’s difficult as well driving with the side of the road but we get used to it.

What advice do you have for other aspiring locals bands who might play in a genre that isn’t as easy to break out in?

Just get out and play live. I personally think that’s the best way to reach an audience because when you see a band live, that’s what it is, it’s not like listening to it on a CD or on Bandcamp or seeing pictures of them live. Just get out there, like who cares if there’s only five people there, play to it, just be humble about it all and don’t get the shits when people don’t turn up or they don’t like your music.

Lastly, who are some of your favourite bands in the scene right now or anyone you want to send a shout out?

In Melbourne, Powergun are hands down one of the best hardcore bands in Australia. In Adelaide, Power Chuck are really friends of ours. Uncle Geezer from Tasmania. Musket Hawk from Baltimore, I forgot to mention earlier we’re doing a split with them. Grudge from Melbourne, and Midwives. I try and get out as much as I can because you never know what you’re gonna find.

Well it’s been pretty cool chatting with you Tommy. I hope the tour goes well and I’ll keep my eyes out for you guys going forward.

Thanks heaps, really appreciate it.

You can catch Disparo! on their 'Fastcore Forever Sleep Never' Tour around Australia from the 10th - 15th of May. 'Co-Exist' is available for streaming or purchase via Bandcamp