29 May 2020
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Primacy - Interview with Primacy

01 May 2020 // An interview by Paul Goddard

Auckland rockers Primacy have an explosive May lined up with the release of their outstanding debut album Seeds of Change on the 22nd. Seeds of Change comprises 7 songs that explore the pressures we face as humans and as custodians of an overburdened planet. Dark technical basslines blend with a heavy rhythmic groove, while aggressive guitar and raw moody vocals complete a dense and detailed soundscape. Paul from Muzic.net.nz spoke to the band about lockdown, their new album and plans for the future:

So, it has to be asked, how are you coping in lockdown and is it doing anything for creative juices?

Rhys: I have been in lockdown alone for the past 4 weeks. I have picked up the guitar almost every day and really enjoyed having time to practice, write and focus on me. That being said I miss the bandmates, my friends and the freedom to go out to the beach or local gigs. Surprisingly, I have even missed going to work. It’s been tough but it has shown me that I have a lot to be grateful for. I feel for those who have been less fortunate throughout this challenging time.

How do you see the impact of this pandemic on the music scene in NZ? Venues all over the world are under real pressure right now to even remain in business so do you think NZ will come through it OK or will some things need to change. Social distancing at gigs will be an interesting concept.

Will: By the time gigs are back in full swing the pandemic would have dissipated. International gigs will take longer to reappear and, to be honest, local gigs often suffer from small attendances anyway. Auckland and other centres may lose small venues due to the situation, but Valhalla in Wellington has been supported through fundraising during this time which is a great thing to see. NZ music is no stranger to hardships and will struggle on as it always has I'm sure. I hope local music gets more support in the future.

Primacy’s music shows a number of influences mainly in the rock and metal genre. Is the sound you create just an organic outcome of the people involved or is it something you think about or try to change sometimes. Could you ever see yourselves doing a 'Bring Me The Horizon' shift and ever release a record straddling other unexpected genres?

Adrian: I think mostly it’s an organic outcome for each song. We go with whatever feels right more than whether it’s within our preference of genres. I think we are largely quite open-minded enough to throw in other influences if the groove sits well and we all dig it. Primacy has been and continues to be a melting pot of influences and I cannot see that changing at all.

It is so difficult right now to make plans to play gigs and just get your music out but you are about to release your debut album Seeds Of Change. It seems an apt title with what is happening at the moment so what can you tell us about the album?

Rhys: For me on a vocal standpoint, I want to use music to help people through tough times, provoke thought and facilitate change. The tracks on this album were written about some of the personal challenges I have faced over the years and some big moments of change in my life. The album also addresses some worldwide issues we all currently face together as a species. Climate change, plastic pollution and deforestation being at the top of the list. The stress of overpopulation and overconsumption coupled with outdated ideologies are wreaking havoc on our struggling planet. The current circumstances demonstrate this pretty clearly, we are in need of change. I hope this pandemic is a turning point for everyone. To start making choices in their day to day life that ultimately lead us to a cleaner more sustainable future. Sow the seeds of change.

There have been a few line-up changes over the years how has that impacted on the overall sound and direction of the group. Are there any surprises on the new record or unexpected twists?

Jared: Each time the line-up changes the sound also changes along with it, to varying degrees. Obviously the big one is a change in vocalist, so when Rhys joined we knew it was going to be quite different. In Primacy everyone contributes to the songwriting process and everyone has quite a unique playing style. So, the resulting songs tend to be hard to pin down at times, even to us. Along with the change in line-up for this record, we also decided to keep the production in house, which is another thing that has affected the sound of the band when it comes to the records. After two EPs we were ready for a change, and the circumstances around this recording meant it made a lot more sense to self-produce. This gave us a lot more time to develop the songs as we recorded and allowed some more experimentation than before. I wouldn’t say there are any huge surprises, but we did incorporate more electronic/synth elements than before, mostly for atmosphere building. Though there is a vocoder on one of the tracks!

Was the recording process smooth?

Jared: Nope, haha. It was very much an experiment for the band and myself as a producer. We already had a bunch of the songs written and ready to record when the change of vocalist happened. So that threw a bit of a spanner in the works. We decided to record anyway, more out of having something to do while we waited for Rhys’ arrival from Canada. The instrument recording went very smoothly, as most of the songs were demoed and had been played for a while. Our original plan was to record all the instruments before Rhys touched down and have him smash out vocals in a month or two. We’d then release the songs one-by-one over the year, culminating in an album. This idea flew out the window pretty quick as we realised that writing vocals were a much more involved process than any of us in the band was able to comprehend at first. We ended up working on the tracks one at a time, releasing them as they were ready (for the first 3 singles). After this, Rhys and I had built up pretty effective workflow and decided to finish off the rest of the album all at once, which worked well. The whole process of self-producing the album was a huge learning curve for the band and myself but has resulted in massive growth for us as artists. The next records definitely won’t take as long.

Do you have any set rules or routines in the studio or when you are playing gigs?

Jared: We don’t have overall band rules or routines, more just individual things I guess. Everyone in the band is reliable so rules aren’t really needed.

Sadeer: Usually, during gigs, I make sure no eating within 3 hours of a gig so I am not too bloated. I would have 2 or 3 drinks before the gig to ease the nerves, usually a decent single malt. Then I would do some warm-ups half an hour before the set. Then it is showtime.

Most bands are either a democracy or dictatorship which one is Primacy?

Adrian: We make decisions in a democratic way mostly but in certain circumstances opinions are overruled in the best interests of the band. We are all thick-skinned enough to know when we are each wrong about something and go with what’s the right thing to do. We have very little ego running through the band which has helped greatly.

You have released a few songs over the years but it has taken a while to get to the debut album. Any reason for that? Are you perfectionists?

Will: The instruments were all recorded in 2018. Many of the songs on the album have been around for ages - in fact, one is older than Primacy itself. Rhys, adopting his role as vocalist in early 2018, laboured over his lyrics for almost two years, causing us to push forward the release date. The band (myself in particular) had a few heated exchanges regarding this slow movement forward, but that being said, it's notable to see the songs have really grown in feeling and character because of it, so perhaps the reward outweighs the burden of waiting. An analogy might be comparing fast food vs fine dining. Good things take time. I am proud of what the songs have become, so kudos to Rhys for his diligence. It's not easy to be handed a pile of fully written songs, with the pressure of an album solely on your shoulders.

Primacy always seems to have a clear focus on image and direction for the band. Where do you see Primacy in two years' time? You have had some good responses to previous releases in NZ and overseas. Is it a goal to make a living through music?

Jared: It helps to have a goal to work towards. Recording an album or EPs, releasing singles etc all helps to feel like you’re achieving something as a band. Part of that is the actual promotion and release of the singles, that’s an art in itself. We’re learning through experience mostly, every single release we’ve had has been a bit better each time. In two years hopefully, we’ll have another record under our belt and we’ll be back gigging frequently - world events pending.

It’s not a goal for Primacy as a collective to make a living from our music, we do it for the love of it. If we were, our music would probably sound quite different haha. That being said if an opportunity came along that could support us full time that would be incredible. Aside from that, it’s more of a personal thing for each member as we’re all quite different. For me personally it is definitely a goal to make a living through music. But through a combination of things like producing, writing, performing…

I am sure you are itching to get out and play live again is there anything planned? Have you given any thought to the set and how it will be played?

Sadeer: We had an album release gig planned at Whammy Bar on the 22nd of May, but that will be postponed to another date, due to the current circumstances. The set planned will consist mainly of all material in our debut album plus another couple of older tunes that are usually crowd favourite. The order of the songs won't be as per the album, but more arranged in a way for best-anticipated crowd response. We hope to be playing the songs tightly, having hopefully practised enough as a band, and with the same passion, we had before the lockdown.

What do you prefer most, performing, writing or recording and what frustrates you the most about being in a band or the music industry?

Will: Speaking for myself, I enjoy drumming for the sake of drumming, but the experience is greatly enhanced when you play with good musos who you also consider friends. As a Kiwi band, we lack the live gig opportunities being in such a small country, so I guess the most enjoyable part for me is creating original music and finding the right feel or groove to enhance other people's ideas. Releasing music is also very rewarding - perhaps not financially, but it certainly gives you a sense of accomplishment... all those ideas you've had swirling around the practice room have finally solidified and become a real, tangible entity. I hope we can record and release more in the very near future, and people take a little time to listen and enjoy what we have to offer.

If you could create a song with any other artist in the world who would it be?

Adrian: George Lynch.

Sadeer: Either Tool or Pink Floyd during Roger Waters Era.

Will: Igorrr.

Jared: Hayley Williams.

Rhys: Rou from Enter Shikari.

Sum up your new album Seeds of Change in 5 words.

More fun than a pillowfight!

 

About Primacy

Primacy are 5-piece alternative metal band from West Auckland. They incorporate a groove metal base with other elements of hard rock, progressive metal and a twist of blues flavour.

Primacy were formed in 2014 after the split of well know local bands The Blacklight Configuration, Overhaile and Heathen Eyes – the timing was right, the songs were right and the team was right, Primacy came together as a collective around guitarist Adrian Brausch's new and unused material from his former band Overhaile.

Their first EP Failure and Sacrifice was released in 2016, and followed by a mini-EP in 2017 III.

Visit the muzic.net.nz Profile for Primacy

Releases

Seeds of Change
Year: 2020
Type: Album
III
Year: 2017
Type: EP
Failure and Sacrifice
Year: 2016
Type: EP
The Demos
Year: 2015
Type: EP

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