Fresh off their new album, "Revolve," Australian rockers Carthasy are ready to rock your way
TRR: You guys have a pretty interesting band name, Carthasy. Tell me a bit about that.
CY: It was a while ago now but the name was designed to play off the idea of catharsis, of everything coming together, of releasing emotions that had been otherwise repressed. All very high and mighty at the time.
TRR: We all seem to do that at one time or another.
CY: Yeah. I think it was important as well to us that it was something that we could get the website for, but honestly it's been a continual stream of mispronunciations since so we probably would go with something else if we had our time over.
TRR: Who are the guys in the band?
Garry Dick - Vocals/Guitar
Tyson Rauh - Guitar/Vocals
Jack Hoffmann - Bass/Vocals
Lindsay Dick - Drums/Vocals
TRR: I've heard some pretty crazy stories over the years about how band members met. There was one band that met in rehab. Another couple guys met in a holding cell after a long night of drinking and public intoxication. How about you guys?
CY: Garry and I, being brothers, met at a very young age. We grew up playing music together and will probably continue doing so long after anybody cares about what we're playing. We've had a few different people in Carthasy over the years but have been lucky enough to run into Tyson and Jack through the excellent music scene here in Perth, and their talents and different perspectives were really vital in shaping what the new album sounded like.
TRR: Do you feel you fit a specific genre?
CY: We make loud guitar music - genres are difficult.
TRR: And, there's so many these days. Just bring back Rock, Hard Rock and Metal. Keep it simple.
TRR: How do you feel about the new album, Revolve?
CY: I'm thrilled about it. We went into the writing process with a really clear idea of what we wanted to achieve - direct, heavy, loud - and I think we did a pretty solid job of achieving that goal. I can happily listen to it start to back and really enjoy it, which is a tough thing to do when it's your creation and you're so close to it.
TRR: What do you think that album has to say as far as a statement?
C: I think the album makes a clear statement both in its own right and as compared to our earlier material. On a personal level, I think it's got the most musical and nuanced drum parts that I've ever written and played, and the whole album sits together really well. It was also quite fun to have a yell on a few of the tracks, which previously was just a live thing. I'm really proud of the guys creating, what I think is, without too much arrogance, a really good album.
TRR: I agree. I think it's pretty solid. How long did it take to record from start to finish?
CY: A hilariously long period. Call it three years but it was probably four.
TRR: Wow! Straight out of the book of Tom Scholz of Boston. Actually, he's usually on the 10 year plan.
CY: In good news that meant that when it came time to release it, we'd focused on every beat on the album and considered if it really needed to be there or not, so the end result is nice and stripped back. I'm thinking of the old joke about not having time to write a short letter, so you have to write a long one. It's the same idea with writing rock music I think - it can be a lot harder to write a simple song than some half hour prog odyssey.
TRR: Who produced the album?
CY: Producer extraordinaire Matthew Templeman was at the helm. He combines technical excellence with an amazing energy which brings out great performances. Passive and gentle when required, but also not afraid to give you a rev up or lay down some hard truths when required. There's a reason he's rated so highly in Perth.
TRR: How do you know when the band is really clicking on all cylinders?
CY: I think that when we're at our best, we manage to combine interesting, complex songwriting and genuinely emotive music in a way that's really unpretentious and focused. It's very easy to turn the dial too far in one direction when making this sort of music and you either end up with cool and yet ultimately uninteresting technicality or just screaming at your audience while failing to keep them interested with actually good music. I think we do a good job of maintaining that balance.
TRR: Over the past few decades, rock music has been the “red headed step-child”, rarely even mentioned on award shows like the Grammys, which has become very irrelevant. Do you feel that rock is starting to climb the ladder again?
CY: You're right in saying that the Grammys are irrelevant. I don't think that having a genre mentioned or not mentioned on there is really a reflection of how popular it is and I don't think that it's necessary for art to be winning awards for it to have a large following and bring a lot of joy to people. At the end of the day I think rock music was always meant to be a countercultural thing, and it wasn't really 'popular' music for a long time. It might come again but then again it might not. From a pure logistics perspective it's a lot more work to create and play rock music (particularly complex rock music) than it is most other genres, so it is tough to compete with all the other stuff that's out there - and a band needs to have a lot of success before it can start snowballing into the sort of tours and commercial success that are necessary to be awards-show relevant. Contrast that to a Lil Nas X who can become a global sensation almost before he released a song. A rock band just can't going to do that - the only example that comes to mind is The Strokes and they were a fashion magazine with a band attached, with all the advertising spend that goes with it. On the bright side, the accessibility of all forms of music means it's never been easier to find music that scratches your particular itch, which is good for niche bands, which I guess Carthasy falls into. We've been lucky enough to have people from all over the world enjoy our music, which to me is the real point of all of this.
TRR: Who are some of your musical influences?
CY: Oceansize, Norma Jean, Rosetta.
TRR: How do you write your songs? I know of some bands where there is one person who writes the lyrics and another who writes the music. How is it with you guys?
CY: It varies. A few of the tracks on "Revolve" were put together in the jam room but the majority were generally put together by Garry on "Guitar Pro" (there are some excellent demos with the awful guitar tones on GP6 trying to play in drop F#) and then we all worked together in the jam room to write each others parts.
TRR: My feeling is that by the entire band participating in the songwriting, it creates a stronger relationship with the members. Do you agree with that?
CY: There's a strict approach that that aspect is collaborative - the idea of "I am the drummer so only I can write the drum parts" is poison to proper songwriting.
TRR: Speaking of collaborative, if you could get together with any band or musician to record a song together, who would that be?
CY: I've never been one for meeting my heroes but it would be amazing to be a fly on the wall while Jakob, an incredible post-metal band from New Zealand, put together one of their songs.
TRR: What other bands would you like to tour with?
CY: It would be amazing to put together a tour with all of the bands in Perth that we are mates with (and share members with) and take it on the road, with people playing double sets as required. I think that would be a lot of fun to play with Statues, Voyager, Old Devil, Surroundings, Altona.
TRR: What is your most memorable show, good or bad?
CY: Jack once managed to tear his ACL mid-set during one of our shows, didn't really realize it, then continued hopping around for the rest of the set.
TRR: That's serious rock n roll!
CY: (laughing) Yes, it was very fucking metal but I think he had mixed feelings about it as he played the next six months of shows sitting on a chair after some pretty extensive surgery.
TRR: Ha! Like Dave Grohl and Axl Rose after their leg injuries.
TRR: Are there some band that you'd love to jam with?
CY: It would be amazing to play with Norma Jean. Honestly, though, every opportunity we've had to play with bands we admire, big and small, has been an absolute privilege.
TRR: Do you have any memorable interactions with fans?
CY: Garry managed to meet up with one of our mates from Brazil while he was over there for the World Cup a few years ago, purely through the Facebook page and this legend getting in touch with us on Facebook. Gaz carried a Carthasy shirt around with him for three months of backpacking (unworn, which I think was a real challenge in that sort of environment) to hook him up. We've been lucky enough to have plenty of beers with our supporters all around the world.
TRR: What’s on the table for the rest of the year?
CY: The band is currently scattered across the world (literally) so it's pens down for the time being while we go about living our lives for a bit. Putting an album out is a gruelling process and we all have a lot of other interesting and important things going on in our lives so sometimes Carthasy has to take a back seat. With that said I know Garry is working up some riffs so I'm excited to see what comes of that in the future.
TRR: Is there anyone you’d like to give a shout out to or thank you to?
CY: A huge thank you to Matthew Templeman, the best producer in Australia, for making the album happen. We couldn't have done it without him. Also to Garry, Tys and Jack - thanks for putting up with me.
TRR: Thanks for the interview Lindsay. Good luck with the next album and we look forward to hearing more great music from Carthasy.
CY: Thank you!
For additional information about Carthasy, check them out on Facebook