Melbourne based Canyon are about to release their debut single ‘Insane’. Alex, Dave and Dalton sat down and had a chat to me so that we can get to know them better.
Dave: As a band we have been around a few years, but we have only just recorded our first lot of songs. I think it’s been roughly four years.
Alex: Yeah we’ve just been jamming together for ourselves. Last year we decided to do a gig and we also met Nik Pallet (Home Brewed Studios) around the same time. Nic came to the first gig and we started doing the recording with him. It just started to roll a little bit more from there.
Dalton: We always anticipated playing live but at the start it was more about getting together and playing good music. We had good chemistry straight from the start when we were jamming. You don’t throw that away; you just keep going at it. It’s all been pretty natural which is nice. It’s exciting.
I’m loving seeing all the new bands popping up over Covid, and the quality of the songs coming out.
Alex: It’s probably because it’s more necessary over this time as well.
I think bands just don’t give a fuck about sitting in a specific genre anymore either.
Dalton: Yeah that’s so good
Alex: We’ve always struggled with that. When people ask us what kind of band is it. It’s a stoner rock/ proggy/ punky/ rock / grunge kind of band!! We don’t know where we fit. I was thinking it will be cool once our music is out because someone else will be able to tell us what genre.
Do you have more songs on the way after this first release?
I had three guys smirk back at me…
Dalton: We do. Many, many to come.
Alex: Yeah. We have four singles that we will release over time as part of the EP. Basically the five songs that we have recorded with Nic. Outside of that we’ve got couple more that are ready to record and then more that are still at the work in progress stage. We also have quite a number of snippets of ideas. Dave writes a lot as well. He will send us an idea that he has had, which is usually close to a demo when we get it. It has drums and bass and guitar. Dalton will send stuff that he has written on the computer and I might have a recorded acoustic section straight off my phone. Especially now when we are not jamming. Before Covid we would meet up and rehearse for about 6 hours and sometimes we would come away with a song.
Are they all in the same sort of vein as Insane?
Dave: They are all over the place.
Dalton: I’d say the most common theme would be heavy groove, that’s it!
Alex: That’s quite a simple representation. We got a little bit more involved on some of the other songs. A bit more proggy, quite a lot of riffing but like Dalton said we try to keep it that heavy groove.
Dalton: Another thing we like to do is if it feels like a solo is coming up it’s definitely not a solo!
What is Insane about?
Alex: I’m not going to go first.
Dalton: We’ll you have to, you wrote it!!!
Alex: It’s about being dissatisfied with everything in our lives. The mundane thing that we just have to go along with every day. Everyone just going along with it because they don’t think they have a choice. How you feel when you are pushed into that box every day.
Dalton: Which everyone is experiencing at the moment.
Alex: Especially now, it’s accidentally a little bit relevant.
Dalton: To me Insane is being driven to the brink by everything around you. Constantly reminding yourself of reasons not to go Insane.
Dave: It’s just really insane how we wrote the songs months and months ago and just how relevant they have become over time is ridiculous.
Who influences your writing and sound?
Dalton: Baroness but there are so many.
Alex: We listen to so much different music. We are always sending each other music we discover in our group chat. Classic bands, the other boys are into Opeth and we all like Karnivool, Cog, The Ocean and Tool. There’s lots of local bands and weird stuff as well. I’m quite into 90’s pop. It sound really cliché to say we listen to everything, but we do.
I’m the same, I listen to everything from classical music to black metal!
Alex: It’s so easy to do that with Spotify these days. You find a track and you can send it to your mates straight away.
Dalton: I don’t know if I’m the only one here but I’m a massive fan of rap and hip hop.
You guys have managed to play a gig then?
Alex: We’ve played two.
Dalton: The timing was a bit unfortunate. We went in to record everything, so we played some gigs. We had big plans and then Covid came. At least it gives us some time to learn how to get our stuff out to the world. It’s nice to have that kind of breathing room as a positive.
Alex: Through Covid, because we can’t gig or play together, we have been focusing on how to release these five songs we have. So we are just working on them one at a time and getting them out there. We are doing it all ourselves, so we are always trying to suss out with each other now what, or how do we do this. Finding all the things that we need like a band page, Bandcamp or your socials.
I was talking to someone the other day about what it takes for the consumer to get the final product. There is so much involved that I don’t think a lot of people are aware of.
Alex: It’s been interesting to experience firsthand. We got the masters earlier on this year and we were like sweet it’s done. Then it was “Now what? How do we do this?” It’s easy in some ways because you can contact and connect with people quickly and easily, but also you are kind of expected to do everything yourself these days. It’s not as simple as printing a CD and giving it to someone at a gig. These days everyone listens to music differently, so you are trying to cover all the bases all the time.
Covid just makes it that much harder because you can’t go out and gig.
Alex: Yeah I mean the promotion side of it now is all online. Especially here in Melbourne, we are stuck here right now with restrictions. All three of us have small set ups to record as much as we can. When we did the actual recording of these songs we wanted to go into the studio. We went to Nic’s studio and recorded as close as possible to how we would play and sound live. That was our intention, we wanted to keep it old school. Nic was great. He said to us how did we feel about recording tape. We were like wow we’re going to record to tape. He explained that we would use pro tools like a tape machine and just take live takes of say Dave playing the song the whole way through on the drums. As easy as it would have been to do it at home on the computer we didn’t want to do that, you get a certain sound that wasn’t what we were after.
That’s what got us going in the first place. The three of us got together just for the sake of playing because we hadn’t been playing much music in bands or anything. It was a good release to get in a room and we just turned everything up seriously loud. I didn’t realise we were that loud until we started playing those couple of gigs and all the other bands were like fuck you guys are loud!
Who did you play with?
Alex: Our first gig we played with our friends Astro Elevator. They were doing a residency at The Old Bar and the other band was called Murfy.
Dalton: If you like different music check them out they are fantastic.
Alex: They have like a weird cool alt/Primusy kind of vibe. Astro Elevator is a psych/rock band. The second gig, Dalton was in another band at the time Shapes Like Rapids. We were going to play with them, but the drummer broke his wrist. The bands we ended up playing with that night were Seven Margaritas and Gun Laws.
I saw Seven Margaritas play at Bombay Rock last year.
Alex: It was nice when we could play gigs. We were like right we’ll go and get the recording sorted and play some gigs in the new year. By March it was like nope…
The releasing of a stream of singles seems to be working well for bands.
Dalton: It’s a saturated scene at the moment. With so many bands around releasing stuff. You get lost in the sea very easily.
It makes it that bit harder for newer bands like you guys
Alex: Our first song ‘Insane’ will go live on the 1st October
And no one knows what it’s going to look like after all this. We might need to be a lot more locally and nationally focused. Touring and going overseas is going to be that much harder. We don’t even know what a gig is going to look like. Unfortunately, some of the places that we had been looking at to play may not make it through.
So where are you going as a band from here?
Dalton: No further than 5km from our house!
Alex: We have four more singles after ‘Insane’ that we will steadily release. They will make our debut EP. We have enough songs ready to go for another EP that we are thinking about recording. We are just not sure whether we want to do another EP though or maybe put out an album. It’s hard to tell what the best thing to do. Some people are all for albums, while others say just do EP’s, so we are trying to work out what is going to work for us.
We are pretty geeky as far as our interest in music goes. That’s really what the whole thing is about, an outlet to release that energy that sometimes you can’t access or get rid of in other areas of life where too much other stuff is in the way.
I totally get that. I can’t hold a tune or play an instrument, but music is a massive part of my life. I basically eat, sleep and breathe it.
Alex: It’s interesting how necessary it is to so many people. It doesn’t matter whether you can play or not. If you play it just changes your view of it. It’s so important, it’s such a cool language in itself and everyone understands it differently.
It’s probably the only universal language that we have. Even if you don’t understand the language you are still going to get something from the music.
Alex: I just thought of Rammstein as soon as you said that. I love Rammstein but I don’t know German!
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat to us. We are just taking our first step with it and It’s been really cool seeing the response we are getting already, and it’s not even out for another few days.
Dalton: It’s also excruciatingly painful to know that we have a bunch more material that is in an evolved form. This is still very early before we found our feet of how we sound. That is our sound, but it has definitely evolved a lot. Me personally, I am dying to get to the point where we can release the next lot of songs because that is when it will make a clear statement of how different our sound is.
Canyon’s debut single ‘Insane’ drops on the 1st October. If you like your metal with some groove you’re going to love these guys! Go follow their socials and hit the presave button.