Today we are going across the ditch to the latest band I want Australia to adopt! Auckland’s Full Bloom released an Ep ‘Black Lung’ on the cusp of the ‘Rona and waylaid all the guys plans. They released another single ‘Malware’ last week and oh boy is it good. I caught up with vocalist Louis to see how the year has unfolded for the band and the meaning behind ‘Malware’.
First off my god Malware is insane!
Thanks. It’s cool to finally have it out because I feel like we have had it sitting for awhile. It was a good collab to do in lockdown and its crazy that it’s finally out. It’s weird when you finally release something.
I’ve had some great feedback about it, I’ve been telling everyone to go and spin it!
It’s always interesting watching the comments and people’s opinions come through. I try not to look at the comments too much, there’s always that nervous period the first couple of days. How is everyone going to react to it? It’s been really good so far.
I had someone compare your vocals to Marcus Bridges I got a real Northlane vibe from the beginning of the song
Northlane is a big inspo of mine, along with other progressive bands like TesseracT. I wrote the first couple of lines and thought that is very classic progressive and somebody would have already written those lyrics. The reason I left it in there and I really liked it was because it is kind of switched around. I think it’s the reversal of what people would actually write about those things. It’s the same words but the concept is switched around which is why I like it. I feel like its darker and heavier. It’s hard because you don’t know how people are going to react.
I wasn’t expecting that breakdown, but then from the intro I wasn’t expecting what I got!!
It’s hard because you don’t know how people will perceive it. I don’t know how much to leave to interpretation.
How did Full Bloom come about?
We obviously all have full time jobs, then Covid lockdown and the music industry isn’t really a thing at the moment. We have all been in bands over the years. We released an EP earlier in the year, one week into lockdown, so it just died instantly. So we thought that we should write something before the end of the year, do a music video for it when we can. Between lockdowns we jumped on and got it done in a day. Basically the whole song was a collaboration between everyone whereas the EP was very much just Matt and I. Malware is the first real band song and everyone has had their different part to play. It started with some stuff that Matt wrote, and we worked with Gabor Toth from the band Harmed. Then I wrote all of the lyrics.
So how did the idea come about around social media?
I felt like the topic isn’t a new one, a lot of bands are critiquing it right now. I wanted to write about it in terms of how it changes you. How it changes your identity, how you think of yourself, how you think about what is real and what isn’t, so a lot of the lyrics play off of that. You know at the start it’s like ‘From a nightmare into a dream, plug me into reality’ and then at the end of the song it’s unplug me. I think it’s that constant balance of how much of my identity is real and based off of what my digital self is and how much of me is it is based on who I am in reality. It’s so weird because when I was writing the lyrics I would think about it and when I see people online your judgment of them is so based on how you interact with them online. We obviously do the same thing to ourselves every day, your identity is what your Instagram profile is. I look at that and think that is who I am. But that is how people see me, it’s not who I really am.
It’s how you are perceived by others, without being able to hear emotion and tone and watch body language which you get face to face.
Writing heavy music and stuff people often say that my personality is so different to the music you write. I portray this different person when doing that.
I was the same. After listening to Banks Arcade I wasn’t expecting Malware to sound like it did. That whole I had already perceived you as going to sound like that. In saying that I think I somehow missed your EP dropping at the beginning of the year.
It’s funny because with the whole Full Bloom thing, when we originally started out Banks Arcade, I floated the name Full Bloom, so we actually went by that for a while before becoming Banks Arcade. Then Josh and that moved to Australia and then I ended up starting Full Bloom. Matt, who I do a lot of the writing with, and I used to be in a band before Banks Arcade back in the day. Everything just happened naturally, and we wrote the EP together after I left Banks Arcade. I feel like we have gotten two solid bands out of it which is kind of cool.
Have you actually played a show yet?
So we practised for a whole year and we had the show with Banks Arcade booked and then Covid happened and trying to sort it through lockdown it just became impossible to play that show. We tried to organise our own headliner for just before the end of the year, just so we could play something. Due to everything getting pushed back there are no venues free as everyone scrambles to book shows. So we just thought we would write a song and get something out there before the end of the year so that when we come into January we can start hitting shows hard. I’m so happy with the song because it feels like a good end to 2020 for us.
Who influences you guys? Obviously Northlane.
I love heavy music. We have all grown up playing and listening to heavy music. In other bands we have opened for Australian heavy bands. Matt and I, in our previous band, opened for In Heart’s Wake back in 2014. We have been in the heavy music scene awhile just playing local shows. We will always be those local hardcore boys I guess. We grew up on a lot of the Australian bands like Parkway Drive but at the same time I know all of the guys have music that they are super in to outside of heavy music. Obviously the guys are influenced by heavy bands like Alpha Wolf. We worked with Ben from Third Eye Visual, who has worked with those guys, to make the music video because we felt like it fitted that concept. He was amazing. It’s crazy because I know as much as this is a super heavy song a lot of the lyrical content around this song was inspired by a lot of music outside of the heavy genre. Albums like OK Computer by Radiohead, which is about technology, the more recent 1975 albums which are more technology based. When I am writing lyrics those are the bands I look to because that is the kind of thing I want to talk about but obviously those core influences are still there.
Let’s talk about Black Lung seeing as like a lot of music it got swallowed by Covid.
It’s funny talking about Black Lung because Architects just released Black Lungs, so I keep talking about it with everyone. They are like bro you need so many more clicks!!
Ha yeah get some traction off of them!! We were there before they were…
Fingers crossed. Architects taking inspo from Full Bloom that band from NZ!!
So after Banks went to Australia, I got back in touch with Matt. He’s a long time friend and we have always written music together. We write really well together, and we have such a similar taste. It started out a bit grungey because I was listening to a lot of Basement and Citizen at the time. But we write heavy stuff so we just thought no we will keep writing what we know. It’s crazy looking back at that time because although the EP came out this year it was written a long time before that. I was in such a different situation when we wrote it. Now I have a job, we have a full band and it’s a different scenario. Back then it was just me and Matt sitting in my room in my shitty flat, I didn’t have a job at the time, I didn’t have Banks because they had all gone to Australia and I was very much isolated. Matt was like dude we just have to write something and so when I get a moment to re-process that time I have a real gratefulness towards Matt and my friends and family. I was so isolated, and I ended up just being like I need to say this, and I don’t care if anyone hears this I just want to write something because there is nothing else for me to do. Sitting in that little room and Matt coming around working on that EP is a really special time for me. I think it is a foundation of how I see myself.
So we sat down and wrote the EP. Each song has its own topic but the whole thing is very much around my thoughts and feelings at that time. Sometimes I do relate to it and sometimes I don’t. It’s actually funny because in the first Banks Ep in the song Ambition there is a line which I wrote as a letter to my future self if I ever listened back to it. I remember at that time questioning my identity and what I wanted to do.
Black Lung is very much a product of isolation and just being by myself, having that one mate and trying to write stuff and make a band. Eventually I met Richard and Matt got Scott on board and it did turn into a band. I am so grateful and thankful that it did because it’s a really cool EP. We had Keegan mix it who is a mate of ours, he’s just one of the local boys. So it’s a special thing to me. Each song is awesome, they are super hard, like they are crazy hard songs. Harder that Malware. Malware is just a fast banger, but those songs are toughies. They are really special.
And each song is around different thoughts that you were having while in that situation?
I try not to overcomplicate things and a lot of them are just relationship songs. Like how do I feel about my relationship with myself, the way I see myself and how I interact with others. I think a lot of it is a critique of myself and looking in the mirror and being who am I? How do I affect people, how do I interact with people because a lot of situations up until that point had turned out badly and I had ended up in this place where it was just me and Matt writing songs. That’s why I think I am so grateful for that time. It was just an introspection off of that and how can I be a good person. How can I look at myself honestly and be okay this is who I am, this is what has happened, this is my thoughts on them but now I am going to so something new. I’m going to become my own person. Put my own stamp on life I guess.
I’d worked on other peoples projects. I had two jobs that I worked hard at and then got dropped. I was like why? I felt like I wasn’t good enough and I wanted to prove to everyone around me that I could do this. I am my own person, and I could make something. I am just so grateful to Matt and Scott and all the guys. We came together and made this thing that we can call our own. It’s very much a product of all the boys coming together and making something out of kind of not much.
I think you guys are going to do ok! I’ve listened to Malware quite a few times since it came out.
Honestly I always say to the guys anytime anyone says that I listen to your music I’m so thankful. I don’t expect people to listen to it, but I am so glad when they do. I love jamming it. I think with the chorus I tend to gravitate to writing catchy stuff. On the EP it was more a melodic minor more hooky stuff where with this because it was kind of digital I wanted it to have this chanty monotone to the singing that wasn’t as melodic. I wondered if people would perceive it as being very monotone, repeating the same thing but I guess I’ll just wait and see.
Full Bloom are definitely a band to keep on you radar in 2021