If you haven’t already listened to Wizard Rose’s self-titled debut album, stop what you’re doing and go listen to it now. The record is an explosion of psychedelic madness, and we’ve had it spinning on repeat ever since we first heard it.
So fresh off the album’s release, we caught up with the band themselves to chat all about it, how they formed, and what the future holds.
Hot off the release of their epic debut self-titled album, we caught up with Brisbane-based outfit Wizard Rose for a chat.
HAPPY: Hey, how’s it going? What are you up to at the moment?
JAMES: I am indeed doing absolutely phenomenally, thank you so much for asking. I’ve just returned from rehearsal with Wizard Rose and I am watching the footage that was taken of us performing at the Empire Hotel in Brisbane City on June 6th to review our performance and to find ways of improving the band, our music and our live shows.
ISAAC: I’ m doing really good, thanks for inviting us all to do an interview! Just finished up a rehearsal, got some Cat Stevens spinning on my record player and about to go have a GIANT feed.
HAPPY: We’re loving the new album! How does it feel having it out there in the world?
JAMES: I’d first like to say thank you for your truly kind words, we appreciate it so much. I feel very grateful and thankful to have released Wizard Roses first album out upon the world. Being the founding member and starting the band from just a single idea in my mind, I watched as the idea of Wizard Rose grew bigger and bigger every day all the way right up until the release date of the first album on February 11th 2019. It’s absolutely a blissful feeling, a truly remarkable accomplishment for us all and such a beautiful thing to be a part of. Like I said before I am deeply grateful and blessed to have accomplished all that we have within Wizard Rose and we are ever looking forward to bigger and grander things ahead.
ISAAC: It feels absolutely incredible. Something you may not know is that we actually had the bulk of the material written and prepared almost half a year before we even recorded it – we all swore ourselves to secrecy, not even telling our friends the name of the band. You can imagine that keeping such a secret in for so long wears on you after a while, so all I can say is FREEDOM! Opinions on the album have been uproarious, which just makes it all so much sweeter.
LUCAS: It’s always good to have the music you’ve slaved and toiled over out there in the world spreading to the ears of the listeners.
HAPPY: Could you walk us through how the band came together?
JAMES: Absolutely. I attend JMC Academy in Brisbane City to seek out, find and get to know other musicians as I didn’t know any other musicians besides myself at the time. On the orientation day, I met Lucas right outside JMC and he asked me what music I listen to and we became friends from there. Isaac and I met in the elevator heading up to a class, and Zaac I contacted through Facebook. I had asked sixteen other bass players if they had interest in joining the band, we auditioned two other bass players before Zaac, but he was meant to be all along.
ISAAC: I met James and Lucas at JMC Academy in early 2018; at this point, I had just moved from Gladstone to Brisbane and was completely fresh onto the music scene. After a trimester of study, some early jam sessions between the three of us paved the way towards James inviting me to play drums for Wizard Rose. I accepted, we met Zaac in October 2018 and invited him to join the group, and the rest is history.
HAPPY: There are so many different sounds being woven into your music. Was this sound one that came pretty naturally? Or did you have to develop it over time?
JAMES: Very natural, the sounds you are hearing flow freely out of me and express themselves through the instruments like there is no tomorrow. The music that Wizard Rose creates is the music I want to hear, no one is really writing the music I want to hear so I thought… I’ll create it. So in creating music that I truly love with my whole being, I hope to attract others from all over the world that feel the same way and are in harmony and resonate with what Wizard Rose is doing.
ZAAC: It was pretty natural, we all had our own ideas for our parts of each song. We pretty much made our sound from the first jam, having James hard rock guitar playing as our core and each one of our styles fused together.
ISAAC: That’s actually a really good question! I think what makes the Wizard Rose sound special is that the four of us each share common interests musically with artists such as Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Rainbow, but we each also have our own little branches. Lucas is addicted to all types of metal, Zaac is really into the grunge and alternative metal scenes, James loves classic hard rock and rock ‘n’ roll and my own interests range anywhere from folk to progressive rock to dream pop.
LUCAS: The sound of Wizard Rose pretty much comes from James and his wizardly fingers being moulded over years of listening to bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, Rush, Rainbow etc.
HAPPY: Forbidden Thing was a stand-out track for us! Could you tell us a bit about that song?
JAMES: The lyrics entail a story about weed. Forbidden Thing was the chosen title of the song long before the lyrics where ever written but the title Forbidden Thing fits the lyrics about weed so well, in terms of Marijuana being legal and all that jazz, it’s a “Forbidden Thing” but I got inspiration for the title from the story of Adam & Eve and the Forbidden Fruit. Forbidden Thing, I believe, is also the first complete song we had that we were able to play right the way through.
ISAAC: Ahh, the pot song! LET’S GET HIIIIIIIIIIIIIGH has become a massive fan favourite from our set, with just about everyone signing its praise as the album’s peak. From my own standpoint, I think it’s got some of my best drumming on the record – it’s also got Lucas’s finest vocal performance, at least in my eyes.
HAPPY: Were there any standout tracks for you on the album?
JAMES: I love each individual track for specific reasons but in selecting the stand out pieces for me, I’d choose Forbidden Thing and Wizard Rose. Both of those songs are such powerhouses and express a lot of high, energetic and positive energy. From what we’ve heard and seen, those two are the dominant forces upon the album.
ZAAC: Save the Queen.
ISAAC: Another really good question! We, of course, adore all eight tracks we put on the album, but if I had to single out one track I’ve always gravitated towards Song For The Promise Land. It reminds me a great deal of Going to California from Led Zeppelin IV, and I personally think it’s the most beautiful of the eight tracks. With that in mind, Wizard Rose is also such a fun track.
LUCAS: My favourite track from the album is Wizard Rose as it changes like a goddamn Rubix cube full of surprises and a lot of fun to perform!
HAPPY: Are there any particular artists you’re all digging at the moment?
JAMES: There are truly some phenomenal musicians and bands amongst the Brisbane Scene. Bands that I’d recommend that I personally like are Pretty Cash, Rude Rum, Dandelion, Stoker, Hobo Magic and Greta Van Fleet.
ISAAC: My interests skew pretty far and wide, but absolutely! I recently got back from Japan on a study tour and as such, I’ll give you a Japanese masterpiece – look up the album Long Season by Fishmans, you 100% won’t regret it. Sensational.
HAPPY: What’s next for Wizard Rose? Any other exciting plans in the works?
JAMES: We are constantly progressing, growing and moving onward and upward. We are playing live as much as we can & constantly trying to up the ante every time we hit the stage. We want to hit the audience like an express train, full power and force directed at them. We are in the stage of growth where we are getting the name Wizard Rose out in the world and amongst peoples minds, gaining interest, followers etc, promoting our music, who we are, what we are about. All is well and going absolutely tremendously, we are deeply grateful. I am also in the process of writing material for the second album.
ISAAC: At the moment, I think the main focus is to do a lot more gigs and get our name out there – then who knows, maybe a little bit of new material might start popping up here and there. I guess that’s for you to find out *winks*.