Hailing from Australia, Thy Art is Murder is a deathcore band that has managed to garner significant fan bases in Germany, the UK and here in the States. Hate, the band's sophomore effort from 2012, is considered by many a hallmark deathcore release and the album actually charted in Australia.
Speaking via email from a tour stop in Mission, Texas and in anticipation of performing at Quiktrip Park as part of the South by So What Festival on Friday, Guitarist Andy Marsh talked with DC9 about what distinguishes deathcore from other varieties of metal and how all Americans are not idiots.
What is deathcore? What distinguishes it from other varieties of metal? Are all these subgenres kind of silly?
Death metal mixed with elements from metal core which is metal mixed with hardcore. It's all a bit silly really. Deathcore is different from death metal due to the incorporation of breakdowns and beat downs and an element of trendiness. It's silly, but if it helps kids find out who we are then that's cool, too.
Australia is a large country. What cities have the best metal scenes?
The scene in Australia is a little weird at the moment in that we have a few really good bands popping up all across the country. I can't really name one city in particular.
Is there a stereotype about Australia that really bugs you? What are stereotypes Australians have about America and Americans?
Not really, I'm a dual citizen of both countries so I've become acclimated to all the idiosyncrasies just through growing up in both nations. The two that I've found to be so off point is that all Americans are idiots and all Australians are happy go lucky people.
You were the first extreme metal band to make it so high on the ARIA charts with your sophomore album, Hate. What is it about your sound that makes it appeal to a larger fan base?
I like to think it was a combination of things really. Timing is always critical, but we emphasized the mood and lyrical content on Hate in a way that I don't think many bands have been doing of late. The music is heavy, but is it conveying an emotion to the listener or just an aural assault? I believe we accomplished all of these things.
Who is your favorite band from Australia? What band from Australia embarrasses you?
I've been friends with the guys in The Amity Affliction for years and to see them come up and go from strength to strength has been awesome. At various points in time they've probably done some things to embarrass me, but in terms of bands I'm ashamed to admit are Australian, I don't have a diplomatic answer to that.
How hard is it replacing a lead singer and then a lead guitarist? Did the band consider starting over?
I can't really comment on the former as it was a little before I joined the band. Replacing a guitarist is pretty easy. I play most all of the leads anyways.
You have toured with Cattle Decapitation. Is that the worst name for a band? What is it about metal bands and really over-the-top names?
I don't know and I don't really like my own band's name. Cattle Decapitation is fucking sick though. Metal bands need to shock and awe their audiences and if having a crude name like Anal Cunt helps them do it, then that's cool.
Hate came out in 2012. Are you working on a new album? What different directions might the band be moving in? How has the band evolved since first forming?
We've been doing some broad strokes conceptualizing for the next one and [bassist] Sean [Delander] has started piecing riffs and songs together and I've been stockpiling riffs and lyrical fragments in my bank of ideas. I don't think we are looking to go in too different a direction, but we want to intensify our sound that we developed with Hate and add some darker and even more depressing elements into the fold. The band has come a long way and aside from incorporating new members, the four of us now have been playing together for nearly 5 years and that experience and synergy from playing on the road for so long has helped us create better music together.
What do you like best about touring America? What do you like least? Have you been to Texas before?
Food, American food is the best and the worst. We eat at the waffle house at least 3 to 4 times a week on the late night drives. Least? At the moment it's the routing on this tour we are currently on; so much backtracking which doesn't make much sense. I've been to Texas before and I'm in Texas right now, the barbeque is what's up. On the last tour here, Sean went back to a hotel that was no where near where we were staying and his phone was about to die when he got back there. He wrote my cell number on the hotel room wall with a bar of soap. I thought that was pretty hilarious.
What was the first concert you attended? What was the best?
I have no idea but it was later in life. I only started playing music and going to gigs after high school. The best show was probably Refused in Terminal 5 NY in 2012. That was insane, a band I thought I would never get a chance to see.
If you could recommend one band from Australia, who would it be?
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I'd say hold your horses and wait for the new Aversions Crown record that I'm producing, of course.
If you could only listen to one album over and over, which album would it be?
Absolution by Muse.