A Breach of Silence are fairly new on the international scene. Hailing from Australia, they just released their debut CD Dead or Alive here in the U.S. and worldwide. It’s really good, and what I like about it is the infusion of power metal to create something that stands out from the crowd. I actually talked with guitarist Mat “Cossie” Cosgrove about that, the bluntness of his producers, falsettos, and some other things one morning last month via Skype at 7am local time. Fresh off a gig, he was ready to chat, and was very cool:
Amps: I know you just finished a gig. How’d it go?
Mat: It was good. It wasn’t huge, about a hundred kids there, which is good for Australia. It’s a bit different than in the States. I dunno, Aussies are very laid back, so if we get a hundred at the show, then we did good.
Amps: Well, you say laid-back. But what have the crowds been like considering the music you play?
Mat: Oh, they love it. We have very dedicated fans that’ll scream and punch the air and stuff. They know all the lyrics; we’ve had this album (Dead or Alive) out for about 12 months in Australia. We released it here independently first, and it started to pick up momentum. We’ve done everything ourselves, and it started to snowball. Kids are turning up and it’s really good.
Amps: And now you’re with Eclipse Records who put it out here a short time ago.
Mat: Yeah, we’re not even signed in Australia. There’s only a couple of labels, and they sign the bigger bands like Parkway Drive. But what I’m hoping will happen is that it does well in the States and then one of these labels will pick it up. We don’t really fit any classifications. We’re not djent, or metalcore, and when kids first see us they’re not sure whether to clap hands or stand there with their arms crossed.
Amps: Between you and me, I CANNOT stand that whole djent style. Oy!
Mat: I think it’s definitely a fad, but the bands that do well at it will always be big. But all these little bands trying it now, I think they’ve missed the boat. Once you’ve signed a big djent band, why sign another, you know? It’s like, if you’ve signed Metallica, why would you sign ANOTHER Metallica, right? I mean, I know we’ve got some metalcore riffs and breakdowns, but we lean more towards power metal, with a catchy writing style. The songwriting is very pop in structure, and that’s very deliberate, so people can tap their feet to it.
Amps: Where did we come up with Blair doing his falsettos?
Mat: I actually met Blair at a party when he got really drunk and started doing his falsettos. I didn’t like power metal, I never did, but I do now! I was into harder, nu-metal Slipknot and Static-X type of stuff. But I heard him do it, and I thought, “If I like that, everyone’s gonna like it!” I’ve really started to get into all of that stuff since. And that’s what Dead or Alive is. It’s mixing power metal and metalcore in an experiment, and it worked. And it only worked because we had some great help in the studio from Freddie (Fredrick Nordstrom) and Hinkie (Henrik Udd) who helped us put it all together with Rhys’s heavier vocals and adding Blair’s singing. Plus, Rhys can sing as well as scream, so they harmonize really well, too, which is changing the way we write a bit.
Amps: Since you mention it, what is the writing dynamic in the group?
Mat: On Dead or Alive Kerrod and I wrote the songs, the riffs, and Corey (original singer) and us, we all wrote the lyrics, so I guess the majority of the songwriting is done by all of us now. Kerrod came onboard just before Dead or Alive, and he added cool stuff to things we had already written. And because Freddie and Hinkie, they’re Swedish, so they’re very blunt, they would just say, “Shit song!” if it wasn’t good! They would advise us to keep it verse/chorus, verse/chorus before adding all sorts of weird bridges, you know? Keep the catchy parts ‘cause that’s what people wanna hear. So when we did it that way, it was like, “Oh, that’s fucking awesome! Why didn’t we think of that?” I’m so glad we did the album with them. The parts were there, but in some places the switch wasn’t turned on.
Amps: I know it’s premature at this stage, but do we have any type of U.S. run lined up yet?
Mat: We’re talking to some booking agents right now. It isn’t lined up just because we’ve been on tour and internet access has been real shitty for accessing e-mails and whatever. But I would say next year we’ll be there. We could be in Europe before the States. I don’t care which way we go, we’ve just gotta GO! We’re hoping to get on with some friends in a bunch of other bands like Upon a Burning Body and try to play for the kids in America. I think Chris (Poland, Eclipse Records) is hoping that radio picks up a bit and that’ll make it more comfortable, I think.
Here’s my question to you, Damian: If we were gonna play a gig there, and it was publicized well and promoted well enough, would kids turn up to see an Australian band?
Because, an Australian band can be huge in the States, then come home and play to 20-30 kids. It’s a real weird place over here. And we have so many amazing bands, but the scene is so fickle. Kids like what kids like, and they don’t turn up for what they don’t. We’ve toured hard all year and we’re just now starting to get that turnout. We do really well in our hometown, and we’re starting to get some bigger supports.
Amps: Well, over here if you promote it well, friends are gonna tell friends, especially in the metal community. Where I live it’s real organic, and the kids come out to support their bands, it’s really a great scene. And if you put on a great show, they’ll buy a CD from the merchandise desk, and they’ll tell their friends, so by your next gig here the crowd doubles. I think the music that you play would get people fired up over here, for sure. And that momentum would just build.
Amps: Is there anything you’d like to say to A Breach of Silence fans out there?
Mat: First of all, thank you for listening to us. Second of all, please tell your friends, so we can come over and shred for you. And I hope you guys all enjoy the album. My test is when I buy an album, if it stays in my car more than two months, that’s a good one, so I hope that’ll happen with some of you. Do you have a favorite song on the album, Damian?
Amps: I do! “There Will Be Blood”, and “Empty Smile” are two of them!
Mat: “There Will Be Blood” is the song that really gets people into us, I think. Any good new album recommendations for me?
Amps: Oh hell…anything from Havok, especially the latest, Unnatural Selection. Um, Annihilator- Feast, SOiL-Whole, and Gemini Syndrome- LUX. And from a prog standpoint, the new Dream Theater is fantastic!
Mat: Thanks for these, I’ll check em out.
Amps: Happy to help. Mat, thanks for taking some time out to speak with me, I know it’s late over there, so go relax, and have a beer!
And that’s that. I really like A Breach of Silence, and I hope they make their way over here at some point. American metal audiences should gobble them up like candy. Meantime, grab your copy of Dead or Alive. You’ll thank me!