Artist On Artist: King Parrot Vs High Tension

Midway through a run of Australian dates, Matt Young from King Parrot and tour mates High Tension manage to lay down an in-depth artist on artist interview.

High Tension, as interviewed by King Parrot

Matt Young: Who is High Tension’s biggest influences both musically and lyrically?
Damian: Since we all come from such different musical backgrounds, a list of musical influences would be long, boring and irrelevant. We all struggle to talk before coffee, we all enjoy the Virgin lounge, and we all like burritos. OH – and Gold 104.3FM.

Matt Young: You made a video for the song ?Collingwood?. What does the suburb of Collingwood mean to you guys and how much can you get a gram of weed for down there these days?
Karina: At the time, the song was a celebration of the suburb most of us live in, and in a sense semi-autobiographical, haha. Things are changing pretty quickly around here though. It’s sad to come to the realisation that I won’t be able to afford to buy a house with a backyard in Collingwood and have dogs, so gonna have to leave that dream soon. I guess at this rate, our third album’s single will be ?Airport West?. I’ve got a paved up back area so weeds aren’t really a problem!

Matt Young: Karina, Did anyone steal anything out of your backpack when you were recently spotted crowd surfing at the Napalm Death show?
Karina: Hahahha King Parrot’s friends are everywhere! What a highlight of 2015 Napalm Death and Carcass and Extortion was; halfway through Napalm’s set a massive, friendly gentleman was offering boosts to members of the crowd; I was stoked! Such a thoughtful, considerate person! It gave me the opportunity to do a sick stage dive and no one stole any Cheezels from my bag. After the show it felt like I just scored a few tries at a footy game or something, lots of strangers giving me a pat on the back haha.

Matt Young: Karina, being from Indonesia, What are your thoughts on the recent Bali 9 executions?
Karina: Last year, when Joko Widodo (Jokowi) was announced as the new president, I wrote an article based on the opinion that he had saved Indonesia from going backwards into authoritarian rule; it was also a plus that he was an actual metal fan (dude, he loves Napalm Death) and really broke the mould of past politicians in Indonesia. What happened on April 29? it is hard to articulate how deeply sad, embarrassing and incredibly frustrating it was to believe that this same man I had a genuine respect for denied clemency for the offences, despite the fact that both men were rehabilitated.

I won’t go into detail as to why Indonesia impose such strict laws on drug trafficking, I have some dark stories from growing up in Jakarta? but the real issue is that mercy should have been given to these men and there is the underlying question as to why the death penalty still exists; it is truly a sad situation.

So of course I am incredibly disappointed that Jokowi stood by his decision with going ahead with the executions (let’s not forget that there were another sink people executed), merely to prove a point on his war on drugs. I can’t really comment on it further without getting a big lump in my throat?

Matt Young: Matt, You also play in The Nation Blue, what is happening with that now and is High Tension your main focus musically?
Matt Weston: Yeah, High Tension is my main focus. TNB ain’t dead yet though, we recorded a new album in January, something like 18 tracks, just have to do vocals now but probably won’t get around to finishing all that till early next year.

Matt Young: If you guys were invited to do the soundtrack for any film, what would it be?
Matt Weston: If we were to soundtrack any film, the one film at least Karina, Damo and I have agreed on is Funny Games by Michael Haneke. We’d do the original version, though his remake is just as good.

To me its the perfect film. The most harrowing tension I’ve ever experienced yet completely understated and considered. Even having a Naked City/John Zorn track open the film is a genius move. To be able to try and replicate that tension and brooding feel would be fuckin sick as dicks! But we’d probably ruin it.

Matt Young: Other than the upcoming Australian tour with K-Paz, what other touring plans do you have? I know for a fact there is a lot of Americans hoping to see you over there in the future.
Karina: We have kept this year pretty relatively open? we would love to go to Indonesia. I can’t wait to go back to America.

Matt Young: What is on the High Tension stereo at the minute? Give us a couple of your favourite records at the minute?

Liturgy – The Ark Work. Liturgy are doing something that I have never heard before, I don’t even know if I truly like it yet, but that’s the best thing about it. Quexaquotl* and Vitriol are both incredible tracks. I also enjoy supporting things that come across as pretentious, and that the BM community despise for not being KVLT enough.

Armour Group – Purge. I saw Armour Group play a couple of weeks ago and despite them only having this one track actually recorded, I am totally into them. Two balaclava clad, brutal pulsating noise merchants, played amidst absolute darkness, strobe lighting and smoke machines.

Napalm Death – Apex Predator. For such an established band, spanning across decades of work etc?. Napalm continue to release exciting shit, it’s inspiring to say the least.

Whitney Houston – Whitney Houston (1985); Whitney can nail emotion like no other; I feel genuine euphoria when I hear her hit those notes and hear her clever little hooks. RIP.

Manowar – Kings of Metal
Cheap Trick – Dream Police

The Blood Brothers – Young Machetes
Deep Valley – Sistrionix

Matt Young: What is the worst gig High Tension has ever played? And the best?
Damian: I honestly cannot recall a bad show. Having said that, I think every show has it’s good and bad points, and I always think there is something I personally could improve upon. But watching our recorded shows always looks better than how I feel about it, so I guess I should bloody relax and enjoy it a bit more but don’t tell me what to do you’re not my dad.

Matt Young: What is the songwriting process for High Tension? How do you guys come up with the golden hits?
Damian: Less thought, more shred! Honestly – most of our songs start as a random riff or beat or idea and then come together in a ridiculously fast fashion. Anything we plan out usually ends up being scrapped. My two favourite songs, ‘Iceman’ and ‘Bully’, were written in literally five minutes. Iceman was written in the studio – Ash played some random riff, I played a beat to it, and we recorded it on the spot. We wrote most of ‘Death Beat’ in the first three weeks of being a band, and ‘Bully’ was done in about the same timeframe.

Matt Young: Are you guys superstitious?
Damian: Why, what do you know? Who said that? Where? What was that?

King Parrot, as interviewed by High Tension

Karina: Do you reckon Lauriston/Kyneton is the new music capital of regional Victoria? Matt Weston is moving there and will be neighbours with you as of July.
Matt Young: Maybe the Macedon ranges will be the new hub for Aussie music, who knows? there is a lot of bands popping up out here, guess what? Stonefield are from here too. I do know that it is ridiculously expensive to live in Melbourne nowadays, and lets face it, it kinda sucks living on top of people. I’d prefer to live out in the country and have a bit of fresh air and I’m sure Matt Weston will attest to that.

Karina: I’d also like to hear your strategy / secrets to staying clean and vegetarian when you’re stuck in a van on tour in America with free drinks at every show (snd being in a band with Slattz – I imagine him to be a ‘fun influence’).
Matt Young: Staying clean on the road is actually easy. I’m reminded almost nightly by a large assortment of people why I don’t drink/party on the illegals anymore. i just figure, why spend half the time of being on tour feeling like shit… It doesn’t make sense to me. I’d prefer to make sure things are running smoothly and as stress free for everyone as possible. The only time shit things happen really is when people are trashed. It’s not a coincidence. Vego is pretty difficult, I end up just eating a bunch of shit stuff all the time. Sometimes if I’m lucky I will find Wholefoods in the US and that is good… I like to ask for some decent food on our rider, but I am usually greeted with a cheese pizza. You can only try I guess…

Slatts actually spends more than 3/4 of his life asleep on tour so we don’t actually spend that much time together. The time we do spend together Slatts is either farting, smoking cigars or making jokes. i tend to watch him from the other side of the room. He genuinely looks like he is having a good time though.

Karina: What did you like best about working with Phil Anselmo?
Matt Young: The thing I liked most about working with Phil is that he is just a cool dude and fucking hilarious. We didn’t really feel any pressure from him, and it was an honour to work with one of the biggest names in heavy metal. he honestly loves music more than most people and there is always something to learn from him.

Karina: Please tell me a little bit about how/why you ended up as the vocalist for King Parrot?
Matt Young: Was playing bass and singing in a punk rock band called ‘Tigernauts’ probably about 5-6 years ago, and Ari the KP guitarist asked me to have a go at doing more extreme vocals in a new project. We started jamming and having some fun and just built it up from there. Even when recording the first record I was still finding my feet, and exploring what i could do with my voice, I’m really enjoying it now though, especially after recording this new album. I love trying to open up new possibilities with what I can do vocally.

Karina: Annoying and hard question: name your top three bands/artists you can rely on to bring your spirits back up again if you have a case of the sads.
Matt Young: The Kinks. I love listening to their Greatest Hits because they have so many good songs, but there is an album called ‘The Village Green Preservation Society’ that I believe was really ahead of its time and just a classic that has some awesome songs. The Kinks rule.

Mondo Generator – Dead Planet. This is a pissed off punk record with great production and killer tunes. Its Nick Oliveri’s best work to date post QOTSA in my opinion and I never get sick of this album. I even got a tattoo of it on my arm. He really nailed it on the head, and his scream is one of the best I’ve ever heard, I always try my best to bring the intensity that Nick has! Haha!

AC/DC – Powerage. My favourite record of AC/DC and always has the ability to snap me out of any mood or headspace I am in. Every song is killer and Bon’s attitude on this album is unmatchable. So much swagger and coolness in his voice, it’s incredible. I really wish Bon would come back and run our country and sing in AC/DC again. He died before I was born, but damn I miss him

Karina: You guys have been so kind to us from the start (since when we first supported King Parrot at the Northcote in 2013); With no pun intended, I accidentally said ‘thank you to King Parrot for taking us under your wing’ during our set at Warrnambool- no one laughed. But anyway I really meant that statement, so thank you! What I’m getting at… exposing ourselves to ‘the metal scene’ was pretty intimidating for a non-metal band, I remember you and I had a brief conversation back then about King Parrot not really being a typical ‘metal’ band, and your other non-metal influences such as punk and elements of extreme metal like grind meant that KP also don’t really fit in; somehow that made me feel way better. The turn out and enthusiasm for this tour has also made me feel better and hopeful for the future of heavy music in Australia…. What do you think band / heavy music fans should continue to do / start doing to contribute to the growth of this enthusiasm?
Matt Young: I think it’s important for people to embrace the bands in Australia that are doing something unique and original. It seems like with bands like both of ours they are, and there was a strong wealth of bands coming through the 90’s that also had a strong Australian sound and presence in their music. They are still some of my favourite bands (i.e. Damaged, Blood Duster, Alchemist, Sad Ex etc). It worries me sometimes that young metal dudes in the scene here are basically copying popular sounds from the US and Europe without being very original. When you tour those places you see how many bands are doing that shit over there, and if you are doing it in Australia then the odds of you breaking out are really stacked up against you. I think it’s important to be yourself and bring the goods the way YOU know how, rather than mimicking overseas bands. And buy all the records of the great Aussie bands of course!

Damian: You guys have worked your asses off to get to where you are, and it appears that you are now quite self-sufficient… has this created it’s own set of issues or has it just alleviated old ones? Would you say that as a band, you are now “in the clear” financially, or are there still a lot of old debts?
Matt Young: That’s a tough one. The music industry is pretty fickle, so to me its all about trying to manage things correctly and keeping all parties happy as best as you can. It’s pretty much impossible, but you have to try. You never know what is going to happen, but I guess my philosophy is about trying to build a sustainable business rather than an overnight sensation. It’s never going to be that way with this type of music anyway. Its hard to stay on top as international touring is super expensive, but we are doing our best you know and none of us are starving or without a roof over our heads, so that is good I guess.


King Parrot are currently touring Australia with High Tension and Collosvs. Remaining dates below. King Parrot’s album Dead Set is out now through EVP. High Tension’s album Bully is out July 10 through Double Cross.

Friday, 29 May – Coolangatta Hotel, Gold Coast, QLD 18+
Saturday, 30 May – Crowbar, Brisbane, QLD U18
Saturday, 30 May – Crowbar, Brisbane, QLD 18+
Friday, 5 June – Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA 18+
Saturday, 6 June – Amplifier, Perth, WA 18+
Sunday, 7 June – HQ, Perth, WA AA