If you haven’t jumped on board with the progressive, heavy rock sound of Without Wings yet, their latest single Legacy (Beyond My Reach) is the place to start. The opener to their upcoming EP, you won’t know whether to throw your head around with the weighty chord changes, or sing along to the choral, anthemic vocals.
The EP, titled Catharsis, is what the band have to show for the last 18 months of hard work, and it’s all culminating in a huge gig at Hermann’s Bar in Sydney. With just over a week remaining until the big night, we caught up with guitarist Simon Cleary for a chinwag.
Before you witness the heaving sound of Without Wings’ debut EP next week, hear the band chat uni bars, Sydney rock and what to expect at their massive launch.
HAPPY: Launching an EP at a uni bar is bold. Expecting some chaos?
SIMON: It’s funny, booking the show we didn’t really think twice about it being a uni bar. I’ve just known it be to be place where I saw Russian Circles and my Dad breaking his thumb right after. As for the show itself; we’re hoping, not for chaos, but for some real involvement. Especially from all the mums coming.
HAPPY: Are any of you students at USyd?
SIMON: None of us are, but I’ve attended quite a few lectures, even a tute or two whilst my wife was studying there. Can’t say I remember a thing about Global Studies though.
HAPPY: Any recommendations for punters coming to the gig?
SIMON: Just come ready for a variety of good music.
SIMON: I’ve been in a band with half of the Knowgoods, and have known them since high school. I couldn’t think of anyone else I’d want up on stage being the main support. That said, both these bands are really, really killer as you said, and if it were any other day, we’d be supporting them.
HAPPY: What do you think of the hard rock scene around Sydney at the moment?
SIMON: None of us have really been in the ‘rock’ scene, so it’s hard to say. I can tell you that it’s hard to find a band in western Sydney that isn’t some off branch of hardcore or metal though. Chris (vocalist) and Roger (guitarist) are from metal and hardcore bands themselves. I used to be a drummer in a band that was almost pushing the rock genre tag, but that was nearly seven or eight years ago.
HAPPY: You guys started out as a duo. Can you tell us a little bit about bringing on Chris, Simon and Shaun?
SIMON: It originally started out with Roger and the band’s old drummer Steve jamming out after being disenfranchised with the local hardcore scene. They wrote a four track demo, and people dug it, so they put out some feelers for new members and one by one we all joined. It was an extremely smooth process to be honest, everyone clicked straight away, and our differing styles complement each other nicely I think. Steve ended up leaving, so we replaced him with a younger model, Shaun. So in the band is a nice mix of youth and experience that I don’t think you’d normally get.
HAPPY: What’s been the reception to Catharsis so far now that there’s been some time to digest the record?
SIMON: I think people are surprised, it’s not what they expected. As I said before, Chris and Roger were in metal and hardcore bands, and our drummer Shaun and bass player Kyle are fresh faces. So, there was an expectation that we would continue that hardcore sound that everyone and their mum has at the moment.
HAPPY: If you were to change something about the EP, what would it be?
SIMON: Million-dollar question that everyone would answer differently. Personally, I’m pleased with what we did, but I wouldn’t write this record again. I feel like it lacks the maturity I know we all have, because it’s reflected in the new material we’re writing.
HAPPY: There aren’t too many bands pushing prog rock at the moment, but it’s such an important genre historically. Do you think the genre is still alive in Australia?
SIMON: I think the genre is alive if you’re an already established band. New bands with this sound are incredibly hard to find, and when you do, a lot of it to be honest hasn’t got a lot of heart in it, it’s just some guys circle jerking over their instruments. Thankfully we’re too shit at our instruments to do that! Fans of this genre are incredibly picky and can afford to be. After all, they’ve got the likes of Karnivool and COG to go off. We’re hoping that people can see what we’ve done with Catharsis, and recognise where we are going with it.
HAPPY: What’s on the horizon for Without Wings? Have you got some more material up your sleeve or are you just keen to play gigs?
SIMON: Yes, and yes. We’ve got a brand-new track that we’ve written and we’re opening up the launch with it. It’s definitely showing the direction we’re heading into, and it’s really exciting. Next year we’re looking at smashing gigs left right and centre, and we’ve already got a few tentative dates booked. We’re really keen on getting out of Sydney and hitting bush, interstate, and anywhere that’ll have us!