The Throne Awaits

2 May 2012 | 7:41 pm | Lochlan Watt

Melbourne-based Heirs exist in the ether between instrumental music’s darker genres. Drummer Damian Coward informs Lochlan Watt of their position in the greater scheme of things.

Heirs dropped the post-metal vibes of their debut album Alchera in 2009, followed up the next year with the significantly broadened and critically-acclaimed Fowl, and subsequently toured large portions of the globe. In late-2011 the group released the mesmerizing Hunter 10”, which has seen their music reach a pinnacle of ambiguity. By now, elements of shoegaze, industrial, gothic, noise, post-rock and more have settled into a mix that can't be pinpointed.

“It's hard to really say, purely because there's two different ways of looking at it,” says Coward of his band's ability to avoid being pinned down into a specific scene. “It's fantastic if you're what I would classify as an 'open genre' band - purely because you get to play with a lot of different bands, you get exposed to different scenes. But also the downside of that is that you don't receive as much communal support as you would if you were a solid genre. I think that'd be the only real drawback from being open – you can float between different genres, and play with different bands, but you don't have the support of a specific scene all at once. The positive to it is, we'd really like to think that we're doing something that can't be classified. There's never going to be a band in this world that can't be classified into a genre – I mean, you can probably classify us into 15 different ones if you wanted to – but the idea was always to take the musical ideas or ideals from the genres that we enjoy and form them into a cohesive whole that we can move forward with.

“So far we've spent 2012 writing,” he explains of their recent live absence. “We've only done one show – that was with Coerce. We're not really looking at playing Australia that much this year. We're just going to do this tour, a few showcase shows in August, and probably head off to Europe for 42 shows. Then we'll get back, record, and release in the new year. As much as it seems like we're pretty relaxed these days, it's actually pretty hectic in its own way.”

Coward reveals that the band has 12 songs written for album number three – but they plan to write as many jams as 18, and whittle it down to what works best. “The idea is that we actually want to output something that is sonically sound. If we've got an amount of days that we're able to afford and put aside for recording, we'll make it a little more realistic and look at just doing an album. But if we could throw a couple of songs in just to keep for split releases or any promotional stuff, then we'll smash some more out.”

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Speaking of their tour with French black metallers Alcest in October last year, he admits that “the worst parts of tour are the best stories. There was a couple of issues on tour, where a trailer fell off a bridge which was quite exciting. Then a trailer exploded in the middle of one of Sydney's main roads, which was also extremely exciting.

“Having said that, it was easily the best tour for Heirs in Australia, purely for the fact that I think we connected with the right audience for us. I think the metal scene is a little bit more interested in seeing something as sonically heavy as what we're doing. I wouldn't say it was a metal crowd 100%, but there was a lot of black metal fans, a lot of shoegaze fans, a lot of doom and stoner dudes. In essence, I couldn't have really thought of a better band for us to be playing with.”