Australian Heavypedia: Interview with Age Of Emergence (Prog/Stoner)

Interview by Carcassbomb

  • Age Of Emergence
  • Prog/Stoner/Grunge/Metal
  • Hunter Valley, NSW
  • Formed in 2014
  • Latest album: The War Within Ourselves (March 2020)
  • Music: Bandcamp / Facebook

Age Of Emergence are a band from Newcastle in New South Wales, here’s a little tidbit from Wikipedia about the area: “Newcastle is a harbour city in the Australian state of New South Wales. Its plentiful beaches are linked by the Bathers Way, a coastal walk stretching between Nobbys Beach and Merewether Beach. The walk provides access to Bogey Hole, a convict-built ocean bath from the colonial period.”

Naturally, it’s an area like much of Australia that has a lot of beachy types, surfers and stoners, some of which are also musicians. Since forming in 2013/14 the band has released an EP titled Plea for a Dying World in 2017 as well as a brand new LP in 2020. Age of Emergence have toured live with many bands from the scene such as Anno Domini, Flaming Wrekage, Highview, PurEnvy, Rick Dangerous and the Silkie Bantams, Mercury Sky, Genetics, Odysseus Reborn and Death by Carrot. The formation of the band began with ex-Shambhala members Dean Holmes and Allan Hofer teaming up with Order of the Dragon guitarist Matt Neilson with recent lineup changes replacing Allan Hofer on drums.

Who are you and what part of Australia are you from?

We are Age of Emergence, a prog metal /heavy rock/stoner grunge metal band from the Hunter Valley region of NSW.

What is the current release out and how would you describe it?

Our current release is our sophomore EP “The War Within Ourselves” which we released last month, I would describe it as the culmination of several years’ work on the songs recorded including a year with new drummer Benn Baxter in which the EP really took shape. It’s a heavy proggy, stoner metal type album with various influences from metal and rock arenas that combines melody and lyrics that hopefully some people can relate to. Matt Neilson continues to deliver some great guitar tracks especially the solos where he is reminiscent of Tony Iommi, Brent Hinds etc we’re happy with how it turned out it’s a good indication of our sound it’s fairly heavy in a 90s kind of way with a 21st century prog metal influence.

Who are your biggest influences?

Our biggest influences are Tool, Black Sabbath, Mastodon,Dream Theater, Kyuss, Sepultura, Soundgarden, Gojira, Pink Floyd etc

Age Of Emergence

Have you played live or toured much?

We have gigged live since 2015 in the Hunter Valley and Sydney region, we were just about to undertake our first interstate tour when the corona virus pandemic struck.

Is there something unique to your state/city scene compared to other states in the country?

I’m not sure if there’s anything unique to our scene since we’ve been looking into touring it seems that certain areas have subgenres that are bigger than others. Our home base has always had a strong thrash/ brutal metal scene, hardcore and punk. Bands like us are at the periphery of these scenes and play on a variety of different genre lineups, most lately the stoner rock/ metal scene which seems to be growing slowly in the underground.

Who are some of your peers in the scene?

Peers in our scene from our latest shows have been Death by Carrot, Planet of the 8s, Odysseus Reborn, Massix, Thraxas etc there is a diverse array of underground metal we have seen live in Newcastle locals Purenvy, Evocatus,From love to Violence,Zombonimo,Whatever etc and have mates in these bands. And obviously too through social media many connections have been made with bands in different areas.

What’s the best and worst gig experience you’ve had?

I’m not sure I have a best moment live any show that goes well with no equipment problems, we play well and the crowd likes it is a highlight, the big stage at the Badgers Lair is cool at the Newcastle Leagues Club and shows we played there when it was the vault also had an awesome light show which made it feel like our biggest shows. The worst ones are when a bass head burned out and the smell filled the room as Dean didn’t notice for a song or two it had until people were going hey dude your amp is fried.

As an Australian artist do you face any specific barriers in the music making or promoting process?

In Australia I guess our geographic location in the world and our small population makes it hard to build a large following especially for bands with more niche type sounds, the numbers just aren’t there, you have to work extremely hard and play 150 live shows a year or something which is very hard or impossible for many underground bands. Even so, our live underground scene is very healthy and I think some of these bands will achieve some more success. Many Australian bands already tour the world that have started in the Australian underground scene.

What is the artwork process for the band, do you get the same person a lot of grab pieces from different places?

Matts partner Meagan does the artwork and photography for the band to this stage and she designed our latest EP artwork. The process so far has been us coming up with ideas and suggestions for locations, concepts etc and seeing what works or could work and finalising the good ideas. The EP cover is an original idea by Meagan just based on the concept of the Green Man, a pagan mythology, fertility of the earth symbol.

Is there a unique or custom piece of gear that the band uses for it’s sound, or any sponsorships?

We all just mainly use what we can afford mid range gear, the bass rig is a unique custom Baez preamp, Behringer compressor and fender amp an amp that has apparently been circulating in the local scene for about 20 years back to a Maitland band called Bias in 1999, The Frankenstein does have a cool sound although we didn’t use it for recording it is great live with a goliath 6×10 cab. For this latest EP Dean used a Dark Glass Alpha Omega for bass distortion which creates some great distorted bass tones. Benn uses

Tama superstar 6 piece shells with Remo Ambassador skins, this combo gives a nice tight warm tone. Gibraltar double kick pedal, as far as cymbals go I have a mixture of Paiste, Zildjian and Sabian. I’ve never been one to commit to a particular brand as I find a certain brand/ type that works for what I’m looking for. ie: a love soft darkness of a Sabian AAX ride the crisp sound of Paiste crash and the trashy sound of Zildjian chinas. Pro mark sticks are my favoured stick to use. 

Hardware is a mix and match between Tama and Gibraltar, Matt uses Ibanez and Ltd Guitars, Hughes and Kettner and Marshall Amps.

What is something the band is interested in doing outside of album releases?

We like to play just for fun , jamming etc home practice but also outdoor recreation, swimming, camping, fishing, 4WD, bushwalking etc..

What are some major lyric influences and how is that side of the process completed for the album?

Major lyrical influences would have to be from Maynard James Keenan, Geezer Butler, Serj Tankian, Chris Cornell, Flynn Gower, Daniel Johns etc also many 70s vinyl records that Dean’s dad used to play him like ELP, Bowie, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin.

Bands are often given a lot of advice online and through experience, what’s a piece of advice that really helped your band?

 The best recent advice was from Adam Kiefel at Sonic Heaven when we recorded our latest EP was to try and really nail down our sound which is just a little bit of dirt or distortion on the bass and vocals and the full heavy guitars and drums coming through creating a heavy melodic sound. The best general advice most given in my experience is just to persevere, don’t give up, keep doing what you’re doing.

How has COVID affected your plans and what are some things you’re doing as a band to stay afloat while shows are down?

 Covid 19 has caused us to lose all 12 shows we had coming up which are postponed not cancelled so will happen when the lockdowns are over. We are all reliant on our day jobs which luckily for us are all considered essential industry positions.

How do you feel about the current state of your genre?

We have played with some quality underground heavy bands in the Australian scene and we believe the scene is as healthy and diverse as it’s ever been. There has been a recent rise in prog metal and stoner rock bands and even a new wave of grunge starting to appear which is a great addition to the already strong thrash, metalcore, punk, hardcore, grindcore, death/ extreme/ black metal and post rock alternative, and psychedelic rock scenes.

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