"We don't really have much to do with the music industry and that's fine with us."
"We don't really have much to do with the music industry and that's fine with us," offers John Scott when asked about the state of play in the modern Australian music scene. "From day one this band has tried hard to avoid bullshit and drama and as long as we keep playing we're going to do just that."
Scott's statements don't contain even a hint of hyperbole. Since their inception in the '80s, The Mark Of Cain have indeed done their own thing in a quiet and workmanlike manner. Trends have come and gone but the band have remained true to a fearsome sonic template of crushing mid-tempo riffs and pummelling Joy Division-styled bass lines mixed with the chaotic vision of Big Black and street ethos of Black Flag.
"It's not something we thought about much when we were younger but as you do get older it seems that every second person you know has a story to tell."
"Our music is stripped down and I think best experienced live," says Scott, after being asked what defines The Mark Of Cain's sonic attitude. "It's always been hard for us to capture what we do on vinyl. We write a lot of our material very organically, just the three of us jamming and I think it just sounds huge when we play live. That's what we've been about since day one — we live to play live and you just can't capture that spirit and attitude in a studio.
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"I guess our sound is also defined by our attitude to some extent," continues Scott. "Me and Kim [Scott, bass] can't stand bullshit and added frills: we like to get straight to the point. We'll take a riff, grind it out and use it as much as we can then throw it away and move onto the next one. It's just how we go about things."
Given that The Mark Of Cain thrive in the live setting an obvious question arises: why aren't the band on the road far more than they currently are? "Why don't we tour more?" chuckles Scott. "That's easy — if we did I think we'd see a vast decrease in the crowds coming to see us. I just don't think there's the audience there to come and see us monthly or whatever, so we tend to space things out. There's also the fact that we all have lives and responsibilities so we can't spend all our time playing gigs; that's just the way it is."
For the band's upcoming jaunt they plan to mix The Mark Of Cain standards with tracks they haven't aired in a while (including the brutal riffage of The Hammer). Importantly, the boys are also doing a two-night stand in their hometown of Adelaide, with all proceeds from those shows going to the Cancer Council SA. According to Scott, the rationale behind this gesture was a simple one: fuck cancer.
"The suggestion to do that came from Kim. We've seen a lot of people we know be touched by cancer and some have unfortunately fallen by the wayside. It's not something we thought about much when we were younger but as you do get older it seems that every second person you know has a story to tell. Our hearts go out to everyone who has suffered, or is suffering, this terrible disease, and this was a simple way for us to show that we care."