Dave and Duff from Perth band Kastiell were only too happy to share the story of how a message on Instagram led to having Dan Marsala (Story of The Year) not only guestie on their latest single but also how he ended up mixing and mastering it.
Dave: We have been on a hiatus for about five years. We started with a bang, then a couple of things happened that created speed bumps for us which led to us having the break. In the last couple of years we have started getting our act together again and writing more music and trying to get back out there playing gigs. Being fortunate in WA to still be playing gigs was a huge inspiration to us to get back out there. It was a big inspiration to get our act together and make use of the blessings we have compared to the rest of the world and the country.
And with that you have a new single ‘Brave New World’ with guest vocals by Dan Marsala! How did that happen?
Dave: We had already finished the track as such, the music was done, and Dylan’s vocals were down already. We just had a bit of time up our sleeve. When we were pulling all of this together it was around lockdown, post lockdown we were still a bit scattered as well not knowing what we could and couldn’t do, so we thought we would just sit on it for a bit. Beau is a massive Story of The Year fan, we all are, but Beau is definitely the fam by isn’t he Duff? You gotta say that he is the one that fanboys hardest. He had the pipeline dream that maybe we could reach out to a couple of bands. I think to start with he was thinking Aussie bands, then he just messaged Dan on Instagram basically and sent the song to him. He didn’t think anything would come of it, but Dan actually replied the next day and said, ‘I like the song, I really dig it and I would be happy to put some guest vocals down’. So that’s how it started really. Then as far as the mixing and mastering goes that sort of came about because the guy who previously was looking after that for us fell ill and couldn’t continue doing it. We were looking for someone to put the finishing touches on the song when we started engaging with Dan. Dan put his hand up and said he could do it for us. We were like okay. Two birds with one stone and how cool is that to say that Dan from SOTY has mixed and mastered our track and featured on it.
I know another band that did the same thing recently and now they are working with the artist on an upcoming track.
Dave: It just goes to show that we think some of these musicians, that are big stars in our eyes. might not even read their messages but they clearly do. And Dan has been such a humble guy the whole time. He has been a real pleasure to deal with. Very accommodating and they have been helping us out by sharing some of our content on social media.
That’s excellent. That is a whole new audience for you guys.
Duff: it’s unreal.
Like you said most of the bands are pretty approachable and worst case scenario they say no.
Dave: Exactly. I guess it was sort of up Dan’s alley I guess in terms of his vocal style. Especially the part that we had in mind for him to feature on. We did give him free reign and said put on whatever you want basically but he picked the section that we had in mind. He nailed it, he absolutely smoked it. Just trademark Dan Marsala vocals.
I’ve never really given them a good listen so I’m unfamiliar with the band, but I will be going to check them out. I always see everyone talking about them.
Duff: They have a lot of good tracks. The album Page Avenue hit the top 100 of the Billboard charts during mid 2000’s and that’s when they skyrocketed.
‘Brave New World’ is obviously a covid related story?
Duff: It’s about dwelling on and being effected by the media. Not knowing what to believe. It’s about not dwelling on it and to just keep moving on . Taking the positives out of the situation instead of the negatives.
Dave: That was definitely Dylan’s main draw that he used when he was writing the lyrics. We had the music finished before Dylan wrote any lyrics to it, so from a music perspective there was no theme other than to hit hard and fast! With Dylan’s vocals it was smack bang in the lockdown time. I think all of us really related to the vocals that he came up with as well because there was so much misinformation and fear mongering in the media. The big media outlets always like to put that fear in regardless of whether its international or national news. Unfortunately Dylan couldn’t make it today, it would be better if he could explain it.
You also have an EP in the works.
Dave: Yeah that’s on the horizon, there are no set dates yet for it. We have maybe three or four extra songs that are in the works at the moment but are not finished yet. A couple of them are not far off being finished.
Duff: We are playing it by ear because the situation is still very unpredictable, its still hard to plan stuff in advance.
Dave: We definitely have more material it’s just a matter of putting the icing on it. You can expect a lot of variety on the finished product. We want to delve into a couple of different areas, like maybe a proper acoustic song or a ballad. Our last EP had a mellow, piano instrumental track.
I saw that Thrice were one of your influences, such a good band. Who else inspires you guys?
Dave: Yeah Thrice is a big one for us. Obviously Story of the Year for Beau as well. A Day To Remember.
Duff: Mainly for me it’s Rise Against. Anti-Flag, Greenday and older punk like Rancid and Casualties.
Dave: We all have a pretty different mix. I’m probably more like you Suze, I love my deathcore and stuff like that. I like heavy music. I do like my melodic stuff as well especially as I have gotten older. Adelaide has a pretty good heavy scene; it always has done. Prom Queen are from there aren’t they?
Yeah they are. We have some great bands here.
Dave: When Prom Queen came out it was when I was just starting to play drums in bands. They were a huge inspiration for me and then obviously Parkway Drive when they started, they were massive for me too. I grew up on Pantera, Sepultura and Metallica, they were my three big bands. We have a good mix in the band that’s for sure.
Its always good to have a lot of different influences, it creates more of your own sound.
Duff: It is. Some of our songs have that fast beat and then turn mellow, which makes people be like what!? But it sounds so good.
Dave: It keeps things interesting as well because you’re not sticking to the same old formula. You can start making new formulas. That’s what we want to try and do with this new EP because we have those different influences to bring in.
Duff: It is hard to please everybody, some people like it and some don’t. Just make music.
Any chance of you guys touring on this side of the world?
Dave: We would love to Suze.
Duff: When the stars all align we will be doing it.
Dave: Obviously we want to get this EP finished off and get that cranking. Tour a bit in WA first, but the end goal is definitely getting to do an East Coast tour.
Who do you play with in Perth normally?
Dave: We have a gig here on the 23rd at Lucy’s Love Shack with Patient Sixty Seven, Icarus Lives and The Faux. But we never pigeon hole ourselves into one type of gig. We will play with anyone.
I really hope that we start to see more mixed bills.
Dave: They are the best. You get a more diverse crowd in and you get people falling in love with kinds of music that they didn’t think they could. Especially when you get out to see live music, you get to appreciate the musicianship as well. Probably more so because you can see it with your own eyes and hear it in the flesh. I have definitely fan-boyed over heaps of Perth local bands just from that fact. Getting glued to a drummer I have played with and then following his or the bands socials. I love that feeling and meeting new people as well.
I love that feeling of meeting new people as well and it was really great to meet you guys and have a chat. Hopefully in the not to distant future you will be able to do that East Coast run.