VEE BEE LONGNECKS and parking fines, Mourners get candid about life in a doom punk band

Hailing from the heart of Sydney’s music scene, Mourners exude a distinctive classic doom punk presence.

Their latest release, “Stalker,” sets a nocturnal tone, an ideal companion for a secretive late-night drive with windows up. With roots that delve deep into the realms of classic doom and punk legends, Mourners craft a sound that’s both haunting and visceral.

Since their inception in 2020, they’ve deftly navigated the ever-shifting currents of Sydney’s live music landscape. While venue closures present a challenge, standout moments like the Sunburn Doom Festival stand as testament to their resolve.

Mourners single 'Stalker'

Mourners offer more than just music; they invite listeners on an immersive journey through themes of trauma, addiction, and mental health. Their music becomes a sanctuary, addressing the inner demons that many grapple with.

In essence, Mourners are not just a band, but a cathartic experience, leaving an indelible mark on the listener’s psyche.

HAPPY: Where do you live? And what’s the scene like in your neck of the woods?

ALEX: I’m in the Sydney Inner West. This area seems to be like the main hub for Sydney’s music scene, some good venues are here, this is where the action is happening.

ZAC: I’m in south Sydney. There’s not much really happening here as far as I’m aware, unless ABBA tribute bands are your thing.

JOSH: I live in south west Sydney. The only “scene” in this neck of the woods is every 2nd car has a fully sick sound system. Otherwise, not a great deal. Mad dog mad man Alex’s area is more of a hot spot.

HAPPY: What are you up to today?

ALEX: I’m at work, driving my truck, right now waiting to get loaded at a container depot. So much fun. 

ZAC: Workin’.

JOSH: Fixin’ my 30 year old rust bucket. 

HAPPY: How did each of you get started in music, and what drew you to the heavy metal genre?

ALEX: I was about 5 years old when I heard a song by Deep Purple and I immediately fell in love with riffs, distorted guitars, screaming vocals, all that fantastic stuff. I was always creative by nature so it was inevitable for me to start making music at some point. Wanting to play bass came from listening to a lot of punk music. When I was 17, finished high school and started my first job, I bought a bass guitar with my first ever pay check and have been in bands ever since. 

ZAC: My old man used to play a lot of bands like Kyuss, Zeke and the Misfits in his Holden Rodeo when I was a kid, it got me pretty infatuated with heavy and aggressive music. I got my first guitar from a family member when I was about 10, a no-name acoustic full of holes and figured out how to play power chords off of YouTube. That’s about the extent of my musical skills to this day.

JOSH: My dad loved the classic 80s rock bands and always had a drum kit layin’ around. So kudos to him for that. My first experience in person was a Guns N’ Roses concert closely followed by monster trucks of course. After that I’d have to thank Zac mostly for introducing me to way cooler stuff initially when we met in high school.

HAPPY: What are some of the musical influences that have shaped the sound of Mourners?

ALEX: my playing and writing is heavily influenced by the cliche doom staples like Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard, but I do like to throw in little bits of death/black metal here and there. 

ZAC: A lot of the usual sludge suspects; Eyehategod, Buzzoven, Acid Bath, though punk has always been more my thing. 

JOSH: There’s way too many but the usual suspects include Electric Wizard, Jucifer, Type o Negative, Conan and A buttload of punk, Sludge, Punk, little bit of pop and the list goes on I could sit here all day.

HAPPY: Could you tell us about some of the challenges and highlights you’ve experienced as a band since forming in 2020?

ALEX: Challenges: Sydney live music venues getting shut down left and right. Highlights: Sunburn doom festival in Canberra, always a great crowd, amazing bands. 

ZAC: Challenges/Sydney Highlights: Not playing in Sydney, getting nerdy with guitar tones and DIY recording the band.

JOSH: Challenges would be Sydney’s live scene is slowly dying. Highlights are definitely just havin’ a beer and talking shit with my mates in the band and friends surrounding the band.

HAPPY: How does the band go about the collaborative process when writing and composing music?

ALEX: One of us would bring in a riff or two and we would practice it, see what works. I’ll usually come up with lyrics at the last minute. 

ZAC: What Alex said, one of us will write some caveman riffs, the other one will add some more caveman riffs, and we’ll all try to make it as cohesive as possible. 

JOSH: What Alex and Zac said lol.

HAPPY: What do you hope listeners take away from your music, especially from a song like ‘Stalker’?

ALEX: Musically, something for people to violently nod their heads to. As for the lyrics, most of our songs have been about trauma, addictions and mental health issues and I’d want people who deal with such to know they’re not alone, but they’re free to interpret it however they like. “Stalker” talks about fear and catastrophizing, the stalker/killer character being one’s own anxiety. 

ZAC: I mixed the song and I still can’t understand the lyrics.

JOSH: I hope they get spooked and put on real music like pantera instead because that shit bops.

HAPPY: Aside from music, are there any other forms of art, literature, or experiences that inspire your creative process?

ALEX: Not so much art or literature but personal experiences might play some part. 

ZAC: Getting to the bottom of the bong usually.

JOSH: I think I probably get in my own head too much when it comes to art and creativity because once I see something and I go “damn that’s cool”, I hate not understanding it fully and not being able to do it myself. So I reckon that fact alone is one of the many driving forces towards my creative processes 

HAPPY: How do you prepare for live performances, and what do you enjoy most about playing in front of a live audience?

ALEX: To prepare we rehearse the songs. What I enjoy is seeing people making the stink face when a sick riff hits them. 

ZAC: We have a few VEE BEE LONGNECKS in the dungeon and play 2 and half songs to prepare for our 6 song set, I enjoy playing bills we don’t fit on and watching everybody walk out.

JOSH: We prepare in Zac’s old man’s motorbike shop. I enjoy getting angry behind the tubs and skins and people bop their heads the angrier I get, it’s great.

HAPPY: Are there any specific venues or cities that hold a special place in your hearts for memorable performances?

ALEX: I have some fond memories of playing at Frankie’s, although that was before Zac and Josh joined. 

ZAC: I liked the hideaway before it closed down, but anywhere without a pedantic sound guy is good.

JOSH: Probably the duke considering how laid back it is. Just the parking fines I get from there everytime is a bit shit.

HAPPY: Can you share any exciting plans or projects Mourners has in store for the near future?

ALEX: There may or may not be something in the works but I’m not telling. 

ZAC: Alex said I can’t tell you. 

JOSH: You’ll have to contact my solicitor first.

HAPPY: Individually, do you have any personal rituals or routines that help get you in the zone before a recording session or a show?

ALEX: No, maybe that’s why I suck. 

ZAC: Absolutely losing my shit trying to find parking. 

JOSH: A triple cheeseburger from up the road.

HAPPY: Lastly, what makes you happy?

ALEX: Not much, I just keep rollin, rollin, rollin, rollin, what?

ZAC: Doing it all for the Nookie

JOSH: Nothing all I see is red I just wanna break shit like my good friend Fred Durst.