Exploding onto the local live scene back in 2012, Massive were immediately singled out and shipped over to Los Angles to showcase for some highfalutin record industry folk before eventually being signed to the legendary Earache label where they now reside. We caught up with front-man Brad Marr to get a little insight into just how Massive formed and made it to where they are now!
OD – First of all lets get the background on the band and how you all came together, as I’m aware that you had all been in various bands in the local Melbourne / Newcastle scene?
BRAD – It’s a bit of a long and complicated story. I’ll do my best. Brad and myself were in a couple of crappy bands together in high school. The last of those, that actually got out of school and gigged properly, was Misty Fizz. That band broke up when we were maybe 21 or something. Brad went on to start his next band, Fastrack. He couldn’t find a guitarist so I filled in on guitar for the first few gigs with them, then I went off and joined The Deep End as the drummer. Both bands toured and recorded . They were our first real serious bands. After 3 or 4 years of doing that we were talking and realised that we both wanted more. We wanted to tour internationally and those bands were not really prepared to do that. So we decided to join forces once again and we started writing what would become Full Throttle in the summer of 2011/12.
Aidan has been playing music all his life. At one point he was actually bass player and lead singer of his own metal band. That all fell apart when one of the other members got hard into drugs and could no longer play. Aidan stayed in the scene and was always at gigs. We got to know him as the dude with the great taste in music, 70’s shirts and beer. I didn’t even know he could play bass until a mutual friend told me, so I asked him if he wanted to come audition for Massive and he killed it. Less than a week later he was onstage with us supporting Lita Ford.
Brendan Forward moved to Melbourne to peruse a career in music after playing in a bunch of bands in Newcastle. I believe he was fired from his last band up there for banging the drummers Aunty. But we won’t get into that. Luckily he was planning to quit anyway. So he moved to Melbourne and we met him in our managers bar. A solo blues busker by day, we wanted him in our band and after one jam we knew he was the perfect fit!
OD – Has the background of each of the band members always been from a hard rock influence?
BRAD – We have a pretty wide range of influences as individuals. Aidan loves a whole bunch of stuff that the rest of us have never heard of. Lots of heavier stuff, psychedelic, old folk. Brendan is a blues connoisseur. He loves all the early stuff, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, BB King and all those guys.
OD – I understand that your debut album Full Throttle was originally released independently before you attracted the attention of an independent label, which ultimately led to the signing to Earache Records. How did the jump from the Australian label to Earache come about?
BRAD – Yeah we launched it on our own and soon after that Joel Whitford and Rick Butterworth of Third Verse management signed us to their label. Then they helped us shop the album around to some labels who were interested and we eventually chose to go with Earache when they offered us the best deal.
OD – When you were finally signed to Earache, did you feel that it was a positive motivational statement for other bands within the local Melbourne scene?
BRAD – I think a lot of people were as surprised as they were happy for us. We were a relatively new band when we signed to Earache. Only maybe 2 years old. So people were really excited for us because they know how hard we’d worked and that we’d built up a solid fan base pretty quickly. But for a UK label to pick us up, people were like “fuck yeah! The world is noticing Australia and Melbourne music!”
OD – Melbourne seems to be a real hot-spot for quality music in the Australian live music / scene. Would you say there is a tight-knit community amongst all the bands there, or is it every band for themselves?
BRAD – There’s definitely that feeling of camaraderie among a lot of the bands in Melbourne. That’s not to say it’s not a little competitive. But I think that just makes every band want to better themselves. If you go to see your mates band and they pull twice as big a crowd as you, you think “alright we’ve gotta pack out our next show!” It’s a healthy scene I reckon. We all party together and support each other. It’s like a big, dysfunctional, alcoholic family.
OD – Your sophomore release Destination Somewhere was recorded back in LightHill Studios with Ricki (Rae). Did you ever consider to record the album anywhere else and what was the deciding factor to go back to LightHill?
BRAD – There was really never any doubt about going back to Ricki for the second album. He knows how we work. He knows what we’re all about and is the perfect blend of letting us do what the hell we want, but also telling us if something is completely shit. He does ‘produce’ for us, but mostly just lets us do our thing and only speaks up if he thinks he needs to. He is such a relaxed guy and we don’t feel any pressure when we’re in there so it’s s really enjoyable experience every time we’re in there.
OD – I understand that you are a band that tour relentlessly and I’m sure that the majority (if not all) of Destination Somewhere was recorded on the road. Was this a difficult or stressful process, or did it just come naturally?
BRAD – This album was written all over the world. From hostels in Nuremberg to the back of the tour van driving across outback Australia. It wasn’t a stressful process because we never felt like we had a time limit or deadline to meet as far as getting songs written. When it came time to record it was just like ‘okay we have this many songs, let’s go lay them down’
OD – It would appear that the the overall theme of the Destination Somewhere has a strong connection to personal experiences within the band, such as touring etc. With regards to lyrical inspiration, do you write purely from personal experience, or are there any songs on the album that have been influenced based on the actions of others?
BRAD – A lot of the lyrics are personal experiences. But inspiration comes from everywhere. ‘Sinking Ship’ was written about a disastrous trip to Tasmania by boat whereas ‘Blood Money Blues’ is a fictional story that I made up. I just mumbled the words ‘money in your pocket, blood on your hands’ and the title was written from that. The story followed from the title. I guess there’s no set way to write lyrics, whatever feels right and sounds good.
OD – ‘One for the Road’ has been the first single / video to come from the new album, will we be seeing another video in the near future and if so for which track?
BRAD – Destination Somewhere, will be the second single which will be released in the next few weeks I believe.
OD – It’s refreshing to see a more hard rock influenced band emerge from Australia, as it seems that the majority of bands that have recently broken through the international market have represented a more aggressive sound such as King Parrot, Harlott and Parkway Drive, to name just a few. How well represented is the ‘classic’ hard rock sound in Australia’s current music scene?
BRAD – There are few bands doing really with the more classic sound. Bands like Dead City Ruins, King of the North, Dirt River Radio all have a more classic sound. There’s a wide array of great bands going around at the moment.
OD – Do you feel that there is good support from Australian music press / media in supporting hard rock / metal bands, or is it very much a commercially driven range of music?
BRAD – Not enough. Commercial radio really need to lift their game and start getting some more local content on the air. Without that we’ll always be fighting an uphill battle.
OD – Following your previous tour in Europe with The Treatment and Blackberry Smoke back in 2014, did you find the overall experience rewarding and possibly a little alien to Australian crowds, or was it business as usual?
BRAD – We had a great time over there last time. The crowds loved what we did and really got into the live show. There were some people who already knew us and we definitely made a lot of new fans as well. We met heaps of really great people who we still talk to.
OD – Will we be seeing Massive return to Europe anytime soon?
BRAD – Yes. Later this year we plan on being back there.
OD – Finally, if there is any band that could join on stage at any one point in history, who would it be?
BRAD – It’s got to be Led Zeppelin. Everything about that band is just epic on all levels!
MASSIVE Destination Somewhere is out now via Earache Records. Get your copy on this link.
© OVERDRIVE 2016