Separated from his South Australian band mates with a new job in Sydney, Nathan Steer has just finished working like a boss. But if the ever-friendly drummer is bummed out at the move north, he's failing to show it.
Not that there's much to be down about – Night Hag are very much on the up-and-up in the heavy scene both domestically and abroad. Confidence Man,the band's first vinyl release, is a four-track cut that acts as their debut on Brisbane's Monolith records. Behind the scenes of the label is one Lochlan Watt, “Chief metal overlord” and the new host of triple j's The Racket. After originally meeting the guys on the live circuit, Steer is quick to sing praise of Watt and the Monolith team, admitting that their established friendships have formed a great foundation to build on in the future.
“It's totally a plus for us to have someone who is really keen on the band and someone who is active in the scene,” Steer informs. “But for us, the main thing is that he's a good friend who's looked out for us. Obviously, it's a huge bonus that he's got Monolith going and they're awesome and now he's on triple j, but the main thing for us is that he's been a really nice guy from the start. With this kind of music, if you're a jerk and you fuck people over then you're never really going to get very far.”
With two EPs and a full-length behind them, this crunching vinyl release is the fourth body of work the band have put out in a little over two years. Night Hag's continual output is reflected in the band's zeal to get the job done, even up against tough time constraints.
“We recorded to a really tight deadline [this time around],” he acknowledges, “we left on a Wednesday night to South East Asia, and on the Monday we'd just wrapped up the recording process. I think working like that is good for us because it really kicks our arse in terms of what we're doing. It makes sure we don't buggerise around and waste time.” Steer carries on, talking about the sonic kick of Confidence Man comparatively to their back catalogue. “The first EP we did, New Tourists (2011), all the songs were a bit longer than Confidence Man,while the Gilded Age album was a bit shorter and more intense like this new release. That suited the vibe of a lot of the shows we played on the South East Asia tour. A lot of the songs on Confidence Man, which again are those shorter songs, really work well in that environment, real up-tempo and energetic.”
Not just a few scattered shows, the boys took to the region with vigour, bouncing between 13 dates in Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia. Steer admits that although the quintet are concentrating on the domestic scene for now, the journey is one that the band would like to embark on again in the future.
“It became a blur by the end of that tour but it was just amazing – I think everyone in the band is quite unanimous in that feeling,” he says, the joy in his voice obvious. “The reaction was unreal – every town we went to had a good, enthusiastic crowd, and they were so happy to see a band come from overseas. But they have a really strong scene as well – it's so incredibly strong. We played a weeknight and like 200-plus people rocked up and we were just like, 'Fuckin' hell!' It was a very humbling, surreal sort of experience.”