We chat with Shiva and the Hazards as the blast off towards psych-rock prominence

Shiva and the Hazards are quickly making a name for themselves in the vast ocean that is Australian psych-rock. With our biggest exports establishing prominent international footing, it says a lot when a psych-rock band can raise it’s head above the muck.

We caught up with prominent Melbourne psych-rockers Shiva and the Hazards to chat about their huge new single and their huge tour with shoe-gaze giants RIDE.

Shiva and the Hazards

Shiva and the Hazards are on a pretty serious roll. After a killer single, Angkor Wat, the Melbourne psych rockers are heading on tour with RIDE.

HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?

DOUG: In our hotel room in Auckland. Had a late night as our flight was delayed and NZ customs wanted to confiscate all our equipment.

HAPPY: We’ve loved Angkor Wat! How does it feel sending it out to the world?

DOUG: That track has been a long time coming, we’ve tried multiple versions of it but were never satisfied with it until now. It’s a relief that it’s finally out there.

HAPPY: When I hear Angkor Wat it immediately conjures up images of the religious temple in Cambodia. Tell us about the songs conception and themes?

DOUG: It dates back to the formation of the band. I must have been going through a George Harrison phase because two of our songs and our band name were Indian/Hindu themed. I’m not really sure what it’s about to be honest. I think I do my best work when I let the songs write themselves.

HAPPY: Shiva is a powerful god known as the ‘Destroyer’ in Hinduism. How did they find their way into your band name?

DOUG: I always thought that was pretty punk rock, so initially I thought of just calling the band Shiva. Another idea was Hazards, and then I realised they sounded better together.

HAPPY: You’re about to kick off an absolutely wicked tour with RIDE starting tonight in Auckland! How does it feel playing with such a shoe-gaze giant?

DOUG: It’s been a really long and hectic few months since this was announced, it’s almost like we’ve had to think about everything else except for actually playing the shows. It will be a surreal experience walking off stage having supported one of your favourite bands who weren’t even together when you first got into them.

HAPPY: What’s one piece of gear you can’t life without on the road? Any holy-grail pedals?

DOUG: May the record show that the combined total of our equipment between the four of us is only a few thousand dollars, which is what we told NZ customs so it wasn’t considered commercial . So naturally we can’t afford fancy equipment. But if we could, it would be the Boss RC-30 loop station pedal. In a band setting we (would) use it as a sample pedal, not really as a loop pedal. But I would like another one please Boss.

HAPPY: What inspires your relationship with psychedelic music and sounds?

DOUG: For me, it’s the music more than the scene. I think if you were actually at the UFO Club or the Matrix Club in 1967 that would be different. But I think psychedelic music gets lumped in with a bit of a try hard drug scene and isn’t appreciated for what it is, unlike other art forms that explore abstract imagery.

HAPPY: Was there some divine, breakthrough moment when music, life and purpose all made sense and your sound game together?

DOUG: I don’t think the perfect culmination of all those things has happened yet, but with every day we’re more confident that it will.

Check out Angkor Wat below:

HAPPY: Who are you’re biggest influences in the world of psych-rock?

DOUG: It starts with the 60s but I’m not a purist. To me, there are elements of definitely maybe that are more psychedelic than most music given that tag. Dylan too. Soul music. Screamadelica. It’s not just one genre that inspires psych rock. You can tell from a mile away the bands that only listen to one narrow type of music.

HAPPY: What’s next for Shiva & The Hazards? Any other exciting plans in the works?

DOUG: We are playing our first headline show in Sydney next Friday at the Botany View, and are supporting Cast in October. We will also be recording new material. Stay tuned.

HAPPY: Cheers for the chat! Best of luck on tour and with NZ customs!