Justin Ellis – Guitar

Tom Bardwell – Bass

Matt Davenport – Drums

Nicholas Moriarty – Vocals

After a 6 year hiatus Ballarat’s Nicolas Cage Fighter are back with a new vocalist Nick Moriarty and a new EP ‘Cast You Down’ which is out in February 2021. They have just released the third single off the EP ‘Dead Ends’. I caught up with Nick to find out how he got the gig, what we can expect from the EP and the important question ‘Are we getting a gig from them soon?’

You guys have actually been around for a while I discovered?

Yeah. The guys played for a while with the old vocalist and then had a hiatus. They put out the 3350 EP in 2013 and that had 5 or 6 songs on it.

It’s only been since last year you guys have been together then?

Officially around August/September last year yes. The Karova Lounge in Ballarat closed it’s doors and announced a handful of final gigs to try and get a whole bunch of bands that had been pretty relevant in the Ballarat scene back together. Justin asked me if I wanted to fill in on vocals for it. I immediately jumped on it because I have known Justin for a little while and had always enjoyed their music. Three or four jams in the guys said they really wanted to keep doing it and asked me if I was onboard and I said yes straight away. There was no way I was going to give up on that opportunity.

You guys released a couple of songs in January, The Hell In Me and Fistful of Snakes.  Were they new songs you guys wrote or songs that hadn’t been released?

They were new songs. During the first couple of early jams after we all agreed to keep pursuing this Justin had been writing riffs and putting stuff together. Watching Justin and Davo work together is really cool because Justin will write a riff and Davo will say he thinks he has a rough idea of what Justin wants and they will have a song ready just like that! It’s really cool, you can definitely tell that they have had the time and experience working together, they mesh incredibly well. Which is convenient for me and Tom because we can just add our nice little touches here and there haha.

They were our first teaser kind of songs. Initially we were planning to jump straight into either an EP or an album, but we figured it would be better to put out those little tracks to have something out there to tide us over and see what the reception was like. Then we could continue to work in the direction that we want to go in.

You guys have been busy because you then went on to release three more. Black Jackal, Devil’s Head and your latest single Dead Ends. I think Devil’s Head was when I first heard of you.

That’s definitely one of our favourites. The more we listen to the songs the more we enjoy the EP as a whole. So yeah those are the first three that we have released off the EP. We have another single coming out with a music video now that restrictions are easing up again which will be cool. It’s really exciting. Then we have the full EP set to release of the 5th February next year. We wanted to get it out before the holiday period, but we figured with how busy everyone will be and restrictions easing we felt that it might get pushed to the wayside a little bit or not get the full reception that it could. Instead we have just staggered out the release of the tracks. So one more release prior to the EP release to tide us over.

You might actually be able to play it to a proper pit by then too!

Yes we might very well be able to which god I really hope we can. We are all somewhat social and we are pretty good mates with members from other bands around Ballarat and Melbourne, so we are hoping to play some gigs with them. Fingers crossed we get the opportunity to play it as soon as possible.

The EP ‘Cast You Out’ touches on mental health?

In a sense each song stands out in its own merit as a little tale of what it can be like living with mental health issues of any kind when it comes to things like depression, anxiety, anger issues and isolation. But then also have the EP tell a story as a whole from start to finish.  Just going from start to finish to summarise them all you have Black Jackal where you are feeling the physical manifestation of those problems, the next song is where you stand up and say enough is enough, Devils Head where those issues literally and figuratively raise their head again and you have to fight them over and over. Dead End is where you recognize that you are in a recurring cycle and you need to break that yourself and then the last song where you are taking that final step and break free out of it for good. If you cycle back to the start then it can all tick over again.

It ties in well really that we are releasing it at the start of next year with Covid and lockdown and everything else its been very well documented around how many more people are having to deal with these mental health issues and emotional turmoil. A lack of well-being.

Hopefully it’s a new year with no covid in Australia. It will be the tale of the last 12 months really.

Yeah exactly right. In a sense it kind of finishes on a high note

I saw the Kye Blomeley did the recording for you.

Yeah he did, we have all known Kye for a really long time. He plays a huge part in the Ballarat deathcore and metalcore scene. Seeing how much he has improved both as a musician and a recording engineer is unreal. We were actually hanging out with him at Invasion Fest and he said he wanted to work with us and when given the opportunity to we immediately jumped on it. It was a pleasure working with him. He had some really good insights into some of the changes we could make to our writing and what we could do to add a little extra layer of polish. He was just a breeze to work with.

So all the bands that Nicolas Cage Fighter have played with where back in 2013?

The guys had actually built up quite a bit more traction that I truthfully realised. I knew that they had done a few east coast tours, but they played with some pretty big bands. Attila, In Hearts Wake.

Iwrestledabearonce as well.

Yeah like pretty big bands. There was talk of them potentially even travelling overseas and going to South-East Asia. Unfortunately that fizzled out.

They obviously had so much potential.

They certainly did and I’d like to think we still do.

I think you do. My Spotify playlist has been growing so much with all the Australian releases.

Truthfully I have been out of the loop for a little bit but 2-3 weeks back a good mate of mine Caleb, who actually plays bass in Anticline, showed me some new stuff

So where did the name come from because I was assuming it was your name!!!

Hahaha no not from me. I think from memory, I’ll be honest I have actually only heard the real reason once,  I think it was just a little bit of a piss-take and the fact that some of the guys really enjoyed the movies that he was in or they ironically enjoyed it. I’m not exactly certain to be honest where it really stems from. It’s definitely a talking point and every time I read any kind of write up or anything it’s always yeah the music is a 3 or 4/5 but the name is a 6 or 7/5!!!

The name is definitely a 7/5 but then again the boys work rate is about the same. Managing to put out 5 singles this year when only reforming just over 12 months ago isn’t a bad effort at all. Nicolas Cage Fighter are another band to put on your watch list if the first 5 releases are anything to go by.

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