Lord - Andrew Dowling
Interviewed by Simon Lukic
Transcription by Mike ‘Fucking Hostile’ Holmes< ?xml:namespace prefix = o />
LORD is the next stage in the evolution of one of Australia’s premier Metal exports, Dungeon. After 16 years and 6 full length albums founding member Lord Tim made the unexpected decision to lay Dungeon to rest and resurrect his vision (as well as continue his musical legacy) under the band name LORD. Here I interview bassist Andrew Dowling and we begin by discussing the creation of the new album – the very impressive ASCENDENCE.
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LORD’s new album Ascendence is finally available. What can you tell me about it, especially what the band wanted to achieve in a musical sense?
Our main goal with the album was to show everyone that LORD wasn’t a watered down version of Dungeon. At the same time we were quite aware that we didn’t want to merely release a ‘Dungeon’ album under a different name. Having both things in mind, I think we have created something unique that will still give any metal band a run for its money. Having myself and TY (Tim Yatras – Drums) in the writing mix along with Lord Tim (Vocals and Guitars) made things a lot easier when constructing the album. The three of us brought in a lot of different ideas from various genre’s including classical, hard rock and AOR. These elements didn’t completely take over the direction we were looking for, but instead gave the songs a fresh approach and outlook.
Do you feel it takes off from where THE FINAL CHAPTER ended?
Most definitely. Of course both albums are quite different but THE FINAL CHAPTER definitely set a bench mark on where we wanted to go with ASCENDENCE. We’ve noticed that the majority of people, who were fans of THE FINAL CHAPTER, thoroughly enjoy the new album which is great. There are elements which are similar in both releases.
It’s a very diverse effort as you said. What tracks define the album for you?
We’re quite proud of the diversity of ASCENDENCE. We’ve managed to cover everything we’re big fans of musically. From the epic Blind Guardian style in ‘Legacy’, to the thrashy style of ‘Limb From Limb’ to the big AOR choruses in ‘My Own Way’. We certainly have a bit of everything in there. ‘Reborn’ and ‘Legacy’ are probably the closest to what musically defines who we are, but it’s hard to nail down something that sums up LORD entirely.
A lot has been said about the change of band name from Dungeon to LORD. Is it a new band or fresh start for an established act?
I think it’s a bit of both. It’s a new band with a great advantage. Having the Dungeon history has helped us retain most of that fan base while opening ourselves up to a lot of new fans who have never even heard of Dungeon before. We’ve been able to use the Dungeon legacy to push us to the front of Australian Metal which is a great thing. Because of this, LORD is already breaking a lot of boundaries that Dungeon never had the chance to do and with all that we have in the pipeline, I can see us growing into a bigger band then what Dungeon was.
Having the Dungeon’s history behind you will obviously help but you’re also without the name value. Has it been tiresome letting people know that it’s the same type of band but with a new look?
To begin with it was difficult as we didn’t have a current release out, especially around the time that the final Dungeon album was released. It’s tiring trying to tell people ‘hey, check out this album! The band doesn’t exist anymore, it’s now called LORD’, which left a lot of people confused but it needed to be done. Things are certainly a lot easier now with ASCENDENCE being out and we’ve always made the effort to put the background info behind LORD/Dungeon on our websites and liner notes. We know that it will get to the point where LORD will out shadow Dungeon entirely and we won’t have to keep explaining ourselves. Things are certainly a lot easier now then they were though.
You joined the band in 2005. Can you tell me how that worked out for you?
Well I have known the Dungeon lads for a few years. When they toured Europe and < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />
So you made the move from
Yeah, in January ’06 I packed up and relocated to
That’s a lot of dedication.
Definitely, but its something that I have wanted to do for a long time. If I was to commit to the band and give my 110 percent then it was essential that I move and be close to the other guys. I’m very happy with my decision and I’ve settled in quite well and the band has become my second family. I love it.
Was being a guitarist that switched to bass an easier way to get a gig?
In a nutshell it was. In 2004 I made the decision to pick up bass and give it a shot in a band environment. I had come to realise that there were no bands looking for guitarists as there is such an abundance of them. No one seemed to be interested in playing bass and many bands were desperately searching for one. It was a smart move by me as I quickly fell into the live circuit, filling in for a local hard rock band Mobstar and then joining Brisbane band Sedition before moving onto LORD.
Do you miss playing the guitar when on stage?
Not really. I’ve come to really enjoy playing bass and I’ve slowly started to develop my own style which I think had a lot to do with my previous guitar playing. I’m hoping to continue to grow as a bass player and eventually have my own unique way of playing. That will be something to strive for in the future. I’ve now taken bass up professionally and left the guitar playing to a hobby at this point in time.
So, what’s being in the band been like for you so far?
It’s been amazing. We’ve toured the country numerous times and have played with some incredible bands. In such a short space of time we’ve managed to push the profile of the band with great results, and getting very close to over taking Dungeon’s popularity when they were at their peak. It’s an exciting time, and I’m so proud to be a part of it all.
LORD has already had the opportunity to support Queensryche, Nevermore, Gamma Ray, Leaves Eyes, Atrocity and Skinless. What where they like for the band?
Queensryche was perfect timing for us as a band. We had only just hit the live scene a few months prior and had a lot to prove. Having that opportunity to play big shows with Queensryche put us back in the game and showed everyone that we meant business. We received a lot of positive feedback from that tour and our profile/image started to increase. It definitely gave us a great leverage in the Australian metal scene. Nevermore and Gamma Ray were great shows to play as we’re all big fans of both bands and they were all very down to earth and laid back. For me, it was a thrill to open up for Nevermore as I’m a bit of a Loomis/Broderick fan boy haha. Those guys are monster players and every time I see them live, I have to pick my jaw up off the floor. Meeting Kai Hansen as well was a very cool moment and I was taken back by how patient and friendly they all were with everyone.
As a live band, Dungeon always played in front of varied audiences and I assume that will continue with LORD? How important is that to you?
This is something that we all believe in 110%. The Australian rock/metal scene is not very large and if we were to only play with similar bands then we would constantly get the same people showing up to the shows. We try to make an apparent effort to play with varied styles and genres. In the past we’ve had support acts ranging from black metal to modern hard rock. Any opportunity we can make to extend our fan base without changing our direction/sound/values will be grasped with both hands. And of course we’re always on the look out for a ‘different’ international band to support. Dungeon supported Mayhem when they came out a few years back (which went down extremely well), so I’m sure we’ll do something equally as unusual in the future. It keeps us on our toes.
Would it be safe to say that the band has it eyes set on Europe after the experience Dungeon had there?
Being a part of the Dungeon 2005 Euro/Japan tour just proved how big rock and metal is outside of Australia. There are so many possibilities and avenues out there that it’s easy to be overwhelmed and think ‘well, what first?’ We would definitely love to hit Europe again in the near future and it will happen. The biggest thing holding us back as a band at the moment is the finances to get us over there. Coming from Australia, it’s extremely expensive and it’s rare to come back from an overseas tour and break even. At the moment we’re in talks with a few labels in Europe/US and hopefully that will be our foot in the door to Europe and the rest of the world. When we come over, we’re going to do it properly so there’s a lot to factor in.
Will that be your priority?
Not our number one, but its one of the places at the top of the list to go. Japan is probably our first international venture that we will be taking as we have already secured a deal with Soundholic there. We’ve been told that the new album has been selling very well with great reviews in some of the big metal publications so we’re very keen to get over there and tour behind it as soon as possible.
So the support from Japan is still there?
Yeah for sure. Japan is such a great market for metal and our label Soundholic have been very enthusiastic and driven to promoting LORD there. Dungeon has such a great history there and we’re hoping to continue and build from that. At the moment it’s our strongest territory. It’s such a surreal experience being there and experiencing such generosity, dedication and passion that Japanese metal fans give. We can’t wait to get back over there and show them what the new band is all about.
What’s next on the agenda for the band?
We’ve just begun another Australian tour backing the new album ASCENDENCE, which we are still adding dates to. We’ll be continuing that until the end of the year. Our main focus is to get the new album out there and give as many people the chance to check it out. We’re really pushing for domestic releases in the US and Europe, so the sooner we can get that happening, the sooner we can get the ball moving internationally and really make our mark.
Any final words to finish things up?
A big thanks to everyone who has supported LORD over the last two years, from the old Dungeon veterans to the countless number of new fans that discover the band each day. It’s a great feeling to have the opportunity to get out there and show that Australian metal CAN compete with the big dogs. Check out the album – You’ll be surprised and you’ll definitely be hearing more from us soon!
Official Site: www.lord.net.au
Live video - “Footsteps In The Sand”