Graves: Unleash The Monster
The healing power of music cannot be understated. For many people, it’s the one thing that powers them through the day, and being able to relate to a song on a personal level has provided comfort for audiophiles the world over. From a fan’s perspective, that seemingly effortless ability to connect with their inner self through lyrics – either directly or inferred – is an untenable bond that defies logic or reason.
What often goes unnoticed is that the person singing the song is also cleansing themselves through their music, and in the case of Wollongong’s Graves, these lyrics – and the outlet they create – is their own form of self-healing. With their long-awaited debut album Monster finally unleashed on October 21st vocalist Rhys Benn says the album has provided more than a release of the band’s music – it has also helped him deal with his own inner demons.
“The whole album is pretty much from a time in my life five years ago, which was a pretty dark time for me,” he says. “My parents had just split up, and life was going to hell – [the album] is about that whole period. There are songs about some of the stuff my parents had done that I didn’t agree with, and my mental state at the time as well. There is a lot about the struggles of having to deal with mental illness and more or less push through it, trying not to give up even though it can be dark as hell at times. The music definitely helped me get through that period.”
Sharing your inner thoughts, and playing your troubles out to what amounts to thousands of strangers can’t be an easy thing, but guitarist Shaun O’Brien admits that it’s not only a way for the band to cleanse themselves, but also an opportunity to hopefully help others deal with their own problems.
“The big goal with this album is just to make people mosh.”
“If it wasn’t for writing the songs, not many people would know it,” he adds, referring to Benn’s mental issues, “but what’s the point of writing a song if you’re not going to put your all into it? Something we’ve discovered as well is that if bands write stuff that connects with them emotionally, not only does it reciprocate well live, but also, other people will try to relate to the music itself. It comes across as being more genuine. We didn’t want to dive into the more conceptual end of being a band, because our EP, Pestilence, was more about being pissed off with the world. We were trying to find our feet and trying to find more of an emotional attachment to our music. If you ever see us live, you can definitely tell it has that attachment now.”
Even the album artwork ties in with the overall theme of Monster, with each piece of the cover having some form of meaning.
“I contacted one of my friends Tim, who is a graphic designer,” Benn explains, “and I am an artist myself, so we pretty much went back and forth with a whole bunch of ideas. I wanted it to be more or less… With my illness, I hear voices and stuff like that – I wanted it to represent the different sides of who I am.”
“With all of the symbols and stuff,” O’Brien interjects, “Tim did quite a bit of work looking into symbols to do with mental health, the occult and that kind of stuff, so all of the symbols have relevance to the light and dark of mental health. It’s pretty intense.”
With such a heavy subject matter, Benn is quick to point out that Graves are keen to have the album judged on its merits. “It’s been three or four years since we released our EP,” he says, “so we’re just excited to be releasing new music to everyone. We are really looking forward to playing it live. It definitely has revamped the band quite a bit, and renewed our energy.”
“The big goal with this album,” adds O’Brien, “is just to make people mosh. We wanna see them moshing at the gigs and moshing in their bedrooms…”
Graves / Kublai Khan / Justice For The Damned / Cursed Earth
Thursday December 1st – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)
Friday December 2nd – Phoenix Arts Theatre, Brisbane (AA)
Saturday December 3rd – Drone, Newcastle (AA)
Sunday December 4th – Towradgi Surf Club, Wollongong (AA)
Monday December 5th – Red Rattler, Sydney (AA)
Tuesday December 6th – The Basement, Canberra (18+)
Thursday December 8th – Bendigo Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
Saturday December 10th – Invasion Fest, Melbourne (AA)
Sunday December 11th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide (AA)