Alchemist – Vocalist/guitarist Adam Agius
Written by Simon Lukic
Transcribed by Mike ‘Fucking Hostile’ Holmes
Long regarded as one Of Australia’s most respect bands, Alchemist return to the scene with their new opus TRIPSIS. Combining a mix of Thrash and Progressive Metal with strong Psychedelic influences TRIPSIS continues to challenge and defy categorization. Vocalist/guitarist Adam Agius answered my questions.
Alchemist is gearing up for a lot of activity but we’ll begin with the new album TRIPSIS. How would you describe the new songs?
Well the album as a whole is denser. It’s not as eclectic and it’s not what you expect from an Alchemist release. It’s a faster and heavier approach when compared to AUSTRAL ALIEN. It is a more simplified approach but we haven’t strayed that far from it. It’s just a more aggressive.
Why the more aggressive approach?
We always want to do something different and this time we just wanted to do something faster. We were originally a thrash band and have thrown a lot of those shackles away, especially on AUSTRAL ALIEN. I guess we just wanted to get away from that and try some new sounds. We’ve just brought a little of that old sound back now. We decided to explore the guitar a bit more.
What about the vocals?
There are a few parts on the new album that has melodic backing vocals but there no melodic lead vocals on this album. It’s pretty much harsh all the way, and shrieking. We’ve brought the old screams back.
AUSTRAL ALIEN was concise and had more of a rock vibe to it. Are there any similarities between that album and TRIPSIS?
Yeah, it’s definitely stripped back in time as far as the tracks are concerned just like AUSTRAL ALIEN was. So in that respect they are very similar. There are a couple of cool sections where some fat rock beats kick in after some blistering speed, which is like putting the brakes on…it’s punchier.
So, do you see that as one of the band strengths? Having the freedom to explore so many styles with each album?
Well if you talk about music, yeah. But if you talk about career, no that’s not a strength at all. Not in this day and age, especially in metal. We’re not huge here and we’re not huge in the States because they have a real hard time marketing us. There’s always a price to pay.
So why haven’t you altered certain aspects of your sound to conform and be marketed? Or are you guys just too stubborn?
Because it’s impossible. When we’re together and play, we write whatever comes out of our heads. I think if we tried it would just be so ridiculously obvious, ‘So Alchemist, you’re a Black Metal band now’? That wouldn’t really work for us.
Despite what you’ve just said Alchemist has been soldiering on for some twenty years. That’s a very long time considering that most bands would have given up a long time ago.
Yeah, it’s not easy and it really gets tense on the band sometimes, especially financially. It was really hard to put this record together and we learnt a lot. It’s not so scary now, but it’s not bloody easy… We get a big thrill out of playing a good show and having a lot of people there.
So is there a concerted effort to really push the band now?
I really want to go for it. I’m old enough and financially stable enough to be able to take a few risks and really push the band. You can push the band as much as you can get bookings for shows. We would be over in Europe for two months straight if we could get the shows. Everyday you’re not playing a show is so bloody expensive, and such a waste of time. But we always have a great time and it’s such a shock when you’re coming back to your day job.
What keeps you motivated then?
The fact that I don’t have anything else to do with my life other than hang out with my beautiful girlfriend and my dog. There’s really not much else that I’m interested in and it’s hard for me to think about not doing it. Sometimes I get a bit down thinking about how hard it is…
Having a real interest in music is a pretty nice thing to have when you think about how others lead their lives.
Yeah, that’s hard for me to see that sometimes and that really needs to be pointed out for me. I’m lucky and you don’t realize how valuable it is sometimes. It’s sort of a blessing as far as I’m concerned.