This live interview with Michael Kordek of the Australian alternative metal band Daysend was done by Shane Wall on September 22, 2004, shortly before their show supporting In Flames in Sydney, Australia.

The alternative metal band Daysend is one of the fastest rising newcomer acts from Australia. After some local success they have been picked up by Metal Blade Records for worldwide marketing. Shane Wall discusses various issues with the band member Michael Kordek. [The Editor]

How did it feel to have Severance voted as the best metal album on Triple J (Australiaís national youth radio broadcaster)?
We never imagined we would ever get something like that; weíre all sort of meek, mild, humbleÖ So for people to actually like our stuff like that is pretty cool. What can I say; itís the icing on the cake.

Who has been your favourite overseas act to support?
Iím hoping In Flames. In Flames have been the one band Iíve been hanging to see for ten years. All the other ones were awesome. I wasnít that into The Haunted just because Iíd never heard their stuff before we played with them, and then after hearing them I thought, ah shit, Iíve missed out on a lot here. And you know, Strapping (Young Lad) and Skinlab as well. But Iím definitely hanging for In Flames. I wanna play fast, finish and hurry up for it to start.

In the short space of time since Daysendís inception, youíve become one of the most important acts in the Australian metal scene, why do you think this is?
Important? (laughs) Itís hard to tell, weíve gigged a lot so weíve been around, and most metal bands, even if they are good bands, donít seem to get as far and as wide as they can. Iíll admit weíve only been in Australia, weíve never left Australia, but weíve pretty much played every pub and club and gutter (laughs) and anywhere you can even think of in the place. I think thatís probably got a lot to do with it, the fact that weíve been pretty active. And as far as the band goes I think itís just music that people like. We all had other bands before this with different styles, we had death metal, thrash, and all sorts of stuff, I think because this mixes a lot of things, people find something to get happy about.

Youíve got a lot of different audiences covered I suppose?
Yeah, and thatís what we think. Coming from a death metal band, Iím just used to long hair all around and you come to a Daysend gig and half of them have got short hair, and half long hair. And itís like, whatís going on, what is this crowd?

Daysend are quite a different band to most bands who are on Metal Blade do you have any reservations about that, and if so, what convinced you to go with Metal Blade?
They were the only people that wanted us (laughs). No, just kidding. As far as Metal Blade goes, I know that theyíve got a lot of death and the full-on heavy kind of stuff, so in that sense itís kind of like, what do we expect, are we gonna get eaten alive by goats and shit? I mean I donít know (laughs). Coming from a death background, Iím pretty in tune with the death mentality, itís like brutal and thereís nothing else. Itís like if itís not brutal, die! I mean some of the stuff we do I guess youíd class as heavy, but being aware of that it can get a lot heavier still, I just hope they donít think weíre a bunch of pansies or something Ďcause weíre not grrr (laughs). Nah, it should be cool, Americans like Aussies apparently.

What direction do you see the band moving musically for the next release?
I think itíll just get more weird. Severance was very methodical, the song structures are very structured and weíre trying to pull the rod out of our asses a bit and try and just let go and just say to hell with it, even if it sounds shit just go with it if you feel, whereas before it was sort of analysed and all that kind of thing. I think the songs will get heavier; they will get a bit more dynamic as well. I guess in that sense not heavier as in vocals or blastbeats, black metal kind of style, just more dynamics in it, just bigger.

The current wave of Australian bands seems to have a greater level of professionalism than perhaps in the past, any thoughts on why all of a sudden, thereís this push?
I think people are just getting sick of not doing anything. Youíve got to realise at a point that if you just play in your bedroom, that even if youíre the best in the world and youíre a god, no-one will care - they wonít. So you have to push yourself just to get yourself out there, I think bands are just realising that. I know ten years back bands rarely left their own town, their own city, whereas these days people are driving all over the shop. So thereís a lot more sore asses out there from sitting on van seats.

How does playing with Daysend compare to your time with your old bands, Automation for example?
Itís weird because Automation was an extreme band. Itís a different vibe altogether. With that kind of stuff itís just heads down, play Ďtil you die, thereís no rest (laughs). Whereas with Daysend it ebbs and flows, thereís light bits and all that kind of stuff. In that respect itís good Ďcause Iím bit older now, and I donít have as much bounce as when I was 16 and playing in Automation, you know? (laughs) But saying that, basically, different vibes. Even in this band now Iím doing backing vocals and singing. Three years ago, I wouldíve went Ďpiss off, Iím not gonna singí, I might do a Ďgrrrí or a Ďurrrí but an Ďahhí? (laughs) Itíll be funny how it goes tonight, because my throatís just absolutely fucked, so it sounds like shit.

You didnít sound too bad just then. (at soundcheck)
I only had about two goes at it and it pretty much wrote it off. So I might crack a few Strepsils (laughs). Iíll just piss it off, what the hell.

What was it like working in the studio with dw Norton? (highly respected Australian producer and ex-Superheist guitarist)
Awesome. Yeah, Richieís awesome, and speaking of Automation, he did our EP as well. So it was good, because I knew what the guy was like when we went in, but none of the other guys had ever worked with him, so I tried to explain to them how heíd do things and all that kind of stuff. And it worked out good, Richieís very passionate when he likes something, if you doesnít like it then you know, well, obviously. When he heard it, he got into it. That was his kind of thing, you could see he was buzzing.

I noticed the albumís got that sound, you can tell that heís been involved with the production.
Yeah, itís got the Richie stamp on it. He was good in the sense, like, we had no backing vocals before we went to the studio and then he was sort of throwing all these ideas around, and we just went Ďcoolí and then we thought, Ďoh well, who gets stuck with ití. I got the short straw (laughs). Yeah, I canít rave enough about Richie.

How does the songwriting generally work within the band?
Well, Aaron pretty much writes the lot, so the rest of us donít have to do much (laughs). Heís the one that slaves over his guitar 20 hours a day, while weíre just sitting back watching telly (laughs). Nah, so heíll basically write everything, then show Meredith and myself and, you know, weíll sort of play along with it, we might garnish it with a few little different things, but the basic structure, heíll do the lot, and then heíll show Wayne, and then theyíll work things out with the drums and guitars as well. Then once weíve got a whole song together, then Simon will come in tooÖ he doesnít like the piecing together process, he just likes the finished product. And there he is, speaking of Simon.

Simon Calabrese (Daysend vocalist) - Did I just hear you?

Nah. Itís alright. Itís all bad, donít worry (laughs).

There is quite a melting pot of musical influences in Daysendís sound, what do you find most inspirational?
I think we get a lot of that Swedish kind of sound going on in there. Probably not so much In Flames these days, maybe even a little bit, but more so a lot of the older kind of stuff, more riffier kind of.

Like Whoracle or Colony?
Yeah, that kind of thing, you know? But saying that, basically, Swedish bands have sort of been our thing for the moment, and what weíre going to throw in with the next bunch of the songs is, like I said before, just get a bit more experimental and lose the Swedish influence if we can. Bring back an Aussie influence, mate! Maybe weíll throw a few more of those in there.

You could have a VB (Victoria Bitter, a popular Australian beer) can on the cover of your next album.
Yeah, yeah, just go Ďktchí (sound of opening a beer), ĎIím going through all this fucking pain, mateí. (In drunken Australian accent)

Thatíd be the perfect opening to an Aussie album! Just go Ďktchí.
Yeah, then just go Ďoh shit, fuckí and then just rip into it. I think youíre onto it. Actually, youíve got that recorded too, so we can throw that straight on. Richie will know what to do.

Non-musical influences on your sound?
Thatís a tough one. Iíve never even thought about being influencedÖ I mean Iím sure we all are, but like, Iím not into art. I mean itís all right, but I donít sort of buy it or look at it intensely or anything like that. As boring as it sounds itís just music. I find itís the only thing that really gets me to that feeling of elation. That and, you know, VB, that helps too (laughs). Nah, just kidding. Yeah, sorry for being boring. Thatís it mate.

No, thatís an honest answer, thatís what weíre looking for.
Yeah, I donít want to piss in your pocket and tell you that I like painting daisies and shit, you know. (laughs)

Oh, yeah. Iím influenced by 13th Century gothic architecture from EuropeÖ
Actually, no, speaking of that, I can appreciate architecture, like construction. Construction just gets me going too. Lucky you mentioned that. Theyíve got the M7 being built, Ďthe orbitalí out of Sydney, and every time I drive past it, I just fully bar up! I just love this construction and shit, I think itís fucking rad! So Iím boring AND sad.

In past interviews, band members have said how comfortable you are in general as a band. How important do you think that is in finding what you want from a band?
Totally. We had the luxury that three of us, Aaron, Wayne and myself had known each other for ten years or so. You know, we were mates. So there was no real Ďgetting to know youí process. But, Meredith and Simon, I met them just two years ago and theyíre cool, so you just sort of gel with them straight away. Everyoneís pretty chilled out, we all have our moments, but generally everythingís cool.

Assuming world domination is your next plan, when do the forays overseas commence?
Well, the album is getting put out in the States and Europe next month. So thatís our next step for total global annihilation (laughs). That sounds SO shit. Thereís a lot of unknowns there. Weíve never been there. I assume no-oneís heard of us there, so we just donít know how itís gonna go down. Yeah, weíve just gotta keep our fingers crossed.

I think you guys have got every chance.
Oh, cheers, mate. I hope so. Itís like soccer, they always say because Aussie soccer teams donít get too much of a chance to play the overseas ones, you canít expect the standards to be as good, and I guess itís kind of the same in music, just in the sense of performing. But itís been good in the last year, because so many international bands have come out, and weíve been so lucky to be able to play with some of them, so, weíre just learning. Just sitting back and observing how the big boys do it, and just try and do better than them. Fuck Ďem! In a nice way.

You had an unusual beginning as an instrumental band, what do you think that you got out of that in the long term?
A lot of nerves (laughs). There were two gigs we did instrumental. I tell a lie, I didnít really feel nervous doing that, because the stuff we do is pretty musical, really guitar-y, that can carry it a bit. If we were just doing Nirvana kind of riffs, people would just be bored shitless. So, in that sense it was good, Aaron was just soloing his tits off the whole time, so thereís something there to keep the interest through the whole thing. It was surprising because a lot of people turned up, I think a lot of people just didnít know what the hell they were going to get with the new band, like the people who knew our old bands. It was kind of cool to see all these familiar faces. A few of them drifted off, and we never saw them again (laughs), a few of them stuck around, we got a few new ones, so itís all good.

Finally, any advice to young bands starting up?
Just go off your guts. Everyone says it, just donít take Ďnoí, and keep carrying on. I canít really add much to that. What can I say, metal is either something where youíre really into it or youíre not. Metalheads are passionate people, so as long as youíre still passionate about doing it, then fuck it. You canít fail. So, you just canít be shit. Basically.

Thatís pretty much it, thanks for your time.
Groovy, thanks for that.

Links of interest:

Waterfront Records
Metal Blade Records