Sydney/Wollongong heavy metallers LORD released their second proper album Set in Stone(Dominus/Riot!) last year and have been touring consistently since. They recently took time out to shoot a hilarious video for their cover of Kylie Minogue’s ‘On A Night Like This’, which has already been receiving thousands of views on YouTube. Spiritech spoke to frontman Lord Tim about the reception afforded Set in Stone, the making of the video, his recent injury, their upcoming Japanese tour alongside Doro and more.
Spiritech: Set in Stone was released late last year and seems to have been rather successful. Has the band been pleasantly surprised with such a positive reaction from both fans and critics?
Lord Tim: I’m not sure if we’re completely surprised by it because we always believed that we’d made a pretty good album that we were all really proud of, and I don’t think there’s too many heavy metal albums that have come out of this country with the amount of special guests, sheer amount of layering and diversity that we have on Set in Stone. That all said though, we are absolutely honoured and blown away by how well people have taken to it and incredibly grateful that the fans and critics like it as much as we do. At the end of the day, even if no one else in the world liked it, we still would have walked away from the entire process feeling pretty proud of what we’d accomplished. So for other people to enjoy it is the icing on the cake for us.
Spiritech: Indeed. Now, the band included its cover of Kylie Minogue’s ‘On A Night Like This’ on Set in Stone. Can you tell us about the decision-making process in selecting this particular track? as a bonus track on
Lord Tim: That came about from me sitting in a fast food restaurant on the way back from our 2008 Nightwish support and hearing the original song come over the P.A. My brain started ticking over. Dungeon had done a cover of a Blondie song back in the day and I thought this might be LORD’s chance to do a bizarre cover, just for shits ‘n’ giggles. I suggested it to the guys and expected them to tell me I was insane, but instead they said, “Let’s demo it up and see how it goes!” We did it, it turned out well, so we included it on our 2008 Hear No Evil EP and put it up online. Well, it got something like 25,000 plays in just a couple of weeks and it made us think that it might actually have some kind of merit as a marketing tool, aside from it just being a ridiculous but fun cover song. So we decided to include it on Set in Stone as a bonus track to see how far we could actually push it. A reviewer said once that it was either the smartest or the dumbest thing we ever did. I’d tend to agree with that! (laughs)
Spiritech: (Laughs) You recently posted the video for the song on YouTube and it’s been receiving a huge amount of views. Is the band stunned by just how much the video has taken off?
Lord Tim: I think after the amount of plays we got just from the audio file of the song, we were kind of expecting a few plays for the video, but the sheer amount of plays shocked us. In about a week, we’ve had just under 15,000 plays, so we were averaging about 2000 hits a day! It really went viral all over the ‘Net really quickly, and I think a lot of people who didn’t quite get the joke behind the song finally saw the video and went, “Ahhh, I see – they’re totally taking the piss!” and shared it around to their friends. It’s still getting heaps of plays even now, and it hasn’t even hit a lot of news sites yet, so it’s been great. What’s also been really good is that we noticed the other videos on our YouTube channel have dramatically increased in hits too, so it’s getting our music out there to people who otherwise would have written us off as being another “crap heavy metal band.”
Spiritech: Can you tell us about the making of the video, including how you managed to enlist the “talents” of Will aka Kylie?
Lord Tim: Will is a champion! He’s been a friend of Andy’s (Dowling, bass) for a few years now and isn’t scared to go out and make a fool of himself in the pursuit of having a great time. So when we suggested the clip to him, he said “sure, why not?” Right from the first scene we filmed, he was fantastic. He played the part so “seriously”, and that really sold the performance as the ultimate piss-take. We spent a great deal of the shoot laughing our arses off at just how well he impersonated Kylie. It was so wrong, yet so awesome all at once (laughs). We were really happy how the director Rhys Day handled the shoot too – very well-organized and between his ideas and ours, I think we managed to capture the essence of the original Kylie clips we were ripping off on a pretty tiny budget.
Spiritech: I think you certainly did achieve that. Can fans expect some “behind the scenes” footage from the video shoot to be posted online at some stage, or even made available as a bonus DVD on a future release?
Lord Tim: Yeah, we got heaps of footage on our camera phones behind the scenes that we’ll be cutting into some kind of “making of” clip eventually, as well as heaps of footage that we sadly couldn’t put into the clip. It’s amazing how much great stuff you have to cut when your clip is only three-and-a-half minutes long. I hear that Rhys is doing his own cut of the clip, so maybe we’ll all get to see some of the other footage that I didn’t use in my edit.
Spiritech: Were any of you remotely aroused by Will’s antics but you’re just good enough actors to be able to hide it?
Lord Tim: Funny story – no one told me, and I think maybe some of the other guys, that Will was going to drop his bikini bottoms in the pool scene. You’ll see in the clip that we all had a look of horror on our faces when he did that. I can tell you now, that was genuine horror on that first take (laughs) I can’t speak for the other guys, but seeing Will’s todger take after take didn’t do much for me in my own pants department! (laughs)
Spiritech: (Laughs) Has the band begun writing material for the next record yet, and if so, how is it taking shape compared to your previous releases?
Lord Tim: We have but we’re taking our time with it. For the most part it’s mapped out how we want to do it, but most of the ideas are fairly abstract at this stage. The scope of the next album is going to be huge, even in comparison to Set in Stone, which is already pretty massive. Style-wise, LORD is known for mixing things up quite a lot and this album will be no different, but I can say that the way we’re presenting the mix this time will be a lot different to anything we’ve done before, and getting it right is going to take some time. We have some cool stuff to keep everyone occupied while they wait, though, which we’ll be announcing really soon.
Spiritech: The band is also heading to Japan shortly for another tour, this time alongside the legendary Doro. For those of our readers who have never been to Japan, or are wondering what it’s like to be in a band touring there, can you tell us some of the highlights of your previous trips there?
Lord Tim: Well, Dungeon did three trips and now this is LORD’s second visit. Every time we go back, we find something else to fall in love with. For me, it’s a combination of the awesome people, great food and I can’t go on without mentioning the stunning Japanese girls. Gig-wise, it’s great. Even the smaller shows are something else. You may get the same amount of people as a local show in Australia, but the people are just insane and behind you 200 percent. It’s going to be awesome playing with Doro again; it’s been nearly seven years since we shared a stage with them as Dungeon, and this time we’re the seasoned veterans because it’s their first time in Japan. Very surreal for me, actually – when you grow up with pictures of Doro on your wall as a kid, the last thing you’d expect to be doing is co-headlining a tour of a foreign country that you’ve toured more than they have. We can’t wait to get back!
Spiritech: Will the current batch of shows be the last bout of “proper” touring the band conduct for Set in Stone?
Lord Tim: Most of the gigs we’ve done this year have really been stand-alone shows where we’ve targeted either all-ages crowds, played festivals or benefit shows, or supported international artists. Last year’s touring was just relentless, so we’re choosing our battles this year. That said, we plan to do a decent sized tour later in the year, getting back to places we promised we’d return to last year and trying to play places we’ve never been before. That tour will be under a different name than Set in Stone.
Spiritech: Earlier in the year you were advised to take six to 12 months off from playing the guitar due to issues with your hands. What’s the latest on that situation?
Lord Tim: I’m feeling great – the break has really helped a lot. Basically the story was that I’ve been overdoing it for many years after completely ruining my hands and wrists from over-playing and over-practicing when I’d first started playing. The unfortunate thing about LORD, and Dungeon before it, is that the momentum of the band really dictated how much of a break I could afford to take, and that was usually little or none. Last year’s touring was the final straw. Between the 40-odd shows we did, session work, recording Set in Stone and playing for Platinum Brunette briefly, my hands gave up on me and I could barely move my fingers without a lot of pain. I’d play a show and my hands would hurt for days after. We got Matt Bell from a band down here in Wollongong called Knightqueste to fill in and he’s been fantastic. We’ve been doing a couple of shows with him playing, then one or two with me playing so I’m still working my hands so they don’t atrophy on me. So between that and not doing anywhere near as much session work or recording, I’m nearly back to 100 per cent and I’d say I’ll be returning to playing guitar permanently very soon.
Spiritech: Good to hear. How difficult has it been to adapt to performing on-stage without a guitar and just a microphone?
Lord Tim: It’s been both liberating and very weird all at once. You have to remember that I’ve had a guitar around my neck in bands for 20 years or so now, and apart from doing the odd song here and there where I’ve just sung, I’ve never been in a situation where it’s just me and a microphone for an entire show. In some ways it’s been great because I could really focus on my voice and pull off a lot of stuff that I would ordinarily have to concentrate hard on to do, and I’ve been able to wander back and grab a drink while the other guys had the front of the stage to themselves. but I tell you, I really do miss having an instrument when everyone is having a great time rocking out in a long instrumental part of a song. It’s been fun, but I’ll have my guitar back now, thanks! (laughs)
Spiritech: Final question – any famous last words?
Lord Tim: “What could possibly go wrong?” (laughs) Seriously, thank you so much to everyone who has supported us in any way over the last couple of years. It’s been a hard road rebuilding LORD from the ground up after Dungeon disbanded in 2005 but I think we’re probably in the best place of any project I’ve ever been in yet to do some pretty amazing things, and we owe much of that to our fans and friends in the music industry and media. Cheers, everyone – we really appreciate it.