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Pyramid Rock: Closure In Moscow & Dead Letter Circus

Well folks, it looks like we’re only a couple of days away from making resolutions we’ll never keep and ringing in 2013 with party poppers and fireworks, though for the lucky punters heading along to the Pyramid Rock Festival, they’ll be celebrating with The Amity Affliction, Anti-Flag, Dream On Dreamer, Hands Like Houses, Tame Impala, House VS Hurricane and loads more at the three-day festival on Phillip Island. Jealous yet? To ease the pain, we scored some time with Closure In Moscow frontman Christopher de Cinque and Dead Letter Circus bassist Stewart Hill to see how they’ll be gearing up for 2013 and how studio life has been treating them.


What’s been happening over at the Closure In Moscow camp?
Pulling shapes. Everything at the present falls under that umbrella.

Word on the street is that you’ve got a second studio album in the works. What can you tell us about it?
It is indeed in the works. Tracking officially starts in February so it’s a shape-pulling fiesta up until then. I can tell you that we are getting our jollies to the extreme with what’s coming together for it. We are really trying to make it a full start to finish experience more so than the last one. Everything will be connected like a stream of consciousness if you choose to flow through it like that or you can just flit about to your favourite riff outs.

Having moved to the US in 2009, how did the country treat an up-and-coming Aussie rock band?
We were treated very warmly and hospitably, more than I could have dreamed. What’s that? Our van’s motor just died? Not a problem, the mechanic that our GPS directed us to will definitely let us stay in his basement while he fixes it dirt cheap and take us out to dinner with his family one night. THAT hospitable. I’d advise any Aussie band to get over there and experience the kind of touring you can only experience in America. Even the shitty bands have a certain level of professionalism just because of the touring chops you can build up there hitting a different major city every day for two months straight.

I read that you were quite happy with the line-up change you had after your first release, so how have you found working with this incarnation of Closure In Moscow?
It’s been the best thing for the band. Sal [Aidone, drums] and Duncan [Millar, bass] are great players and they’ve added a steezy new dimension to the older stuff. The writing has opened up a lot and they have a lot of great ideas. They are quite different in their thinking compositionally, so that’s awesome to have two unique takes on things. Duncan has a great harmonic knowledge and that has been a great asset.

With the Pyramid Rock Festival coming up, you get the chance to ring in 2013 with some of the best of them. Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the line-up?
We’ve played with Stonefield once before and they were really great so it will be cool to see them again. I’m interested to see what Tame Impala are like too. Dead Letter Circus are dear chums so it will be lovely to see those guys again.

And if you have any finished, will you be trying out any new tracks?
We will be. They are extremely fun to play.

In an interview you actually said that you’ll be “sipping a whole lot of peppermint tea and coyly saying happy new year 12 seconds early because Kim from Dead Letter spun a time-bend bubble with his hypnotic mysticism.” Firstly, do tell us of Kim’s hypnotic mysticism and secondly, is it safe to say you’re close buddies with the guys in Dead Letter Circus?
Kim is a pathfinder, not the Nissan. He’s a shape-puller, the snake to oppressive thought’s mongoose, or the other way around, I’m not good with animals. We love those guys, they took us out on tour with them and they are both gentlemen and scholars.

What was it that sparked your interest in ideologies?
I really don’t know, how is it not interesting? Is transhumanism really an ideology though? It feels like it’s more just the next inevitable, evolutionary epoch… That is, if we make it through the next 20 years relatively unscathed. The jury is out for me on whether or not it’s going to be a positive step forward, it seems like the whole idea is steeped in death anxiety and not being able to come to terms with impermanence. Regardless, it’s something more people should be privy to because the issues that come along with the whole convoluted thing could become very important very soon. In regards to the eight-circuit model, I just find it really interesting to look at behaviour/motivations/desires and how they relate to the lower circuits, and how easy it is to be duped by your own imprinting even when you think about things in those terms from time to time. The human brain is the most awesomely powerful tool in the universe and I love people like Robert Anton Wilson who have a very keen, humourous insight into the sweet hacks you can perform on it. Who doesn’t want to know how to hone your own grey matter magical super duper computer?

Do you think this greatly affects the output of the band?
It has an impact on the lyrics and the way we approach things. Barrett’s guitar playing is inspired more by the teachings of Bruce Lee and The Book of Five Rings than any guitarist. I think it’s really important to know how to apply things like that in a meaningful, modulating way to your craft as a musician.


What’s new with Dead Letter Circus?
We’re in rehearsal room lockdown at the moment. No one leaves until the album is written. No excuses, no retreat, no surrender! Stay tuned for more ’80s movie quotes.

I read a few months ago that you guys were getting stuck into a new album. What’s the recording process been like?
Yes, that would be true. It’s been a gruelling process of write and rewrite and rewrite again. Jamming out ideas in the rehearsal room over and over until they’re sounding awesome and feeling good. Most ideas for songs have been conceived on computers which we call “seeds” and are then jammed and grown in the rehearsal room. It’s a very similar process to This Is The Warning only now a more refined process with everyone being a bit more Pro Tools savvy and therefore able to get ideas across better. We’re going for a post-apocalyptic theme. There’s a bit of everything there from aggressive to pretty to brooding to epic to a “nobody puts baby in a corner” kind of vibe.

You were tackling some pretty immense themes on your last record to do with empowerment and how we as a society can actually make a difference. Is this new one following in the footsteps of that?
This is the next chapter. This Is The Warning was more of a wake up and smell the coffee deal where this is a call to arms, take action, in your face, sweep the leg type of theme. Sonically we’re going for more power and aggression while still achieving epicness and grandeur.

In an article, Luke [Williams, drums] mentioned wanting to head to India for a festival. Did you guys end up getting over there?
We did end up going to India! It was a festival called Waves at Bits Pilani Engineering College in Goa and it was insane. A few of the students had built a tricopter with a video camera on it to film the show. There were a couple of moments where you would look up and there would be this terminator looking drone thing buzzing around your head. It was awesome and an awesome part of the world. We can’t wait to go back!

With the Pyramid Rock Festival coming up, you get the chance to ring in 2013 with some of the best of them. Who are you most looking forward to seeing on the line-up?
So pumped! Such an awesome festival and location for bringing in the new year. I’m pretty excited about seeing Karnivool and Closure In Moscow. No matter how many times I watch them, I’m always left in awe.

And if you have any finished, will you be trying out any new tracks?
Possibly, but I’m not going to make any promises.

In an interview I read Closure In Moscow said that they’ll be spending New Year’s Eve “sipping a whole lot of peppermint tea and coyly saying happy new year 12 seconds early because Kim from Dead Letter spun a time-bend bubble with his hypnotic mysticism.” Can you shed any light on “Kim’s hypnotic mysticism”?
Those guys! We did a tour together last year and quickly realised that they’re just as weird, if not weirder than we are. And therefore the bond was made. All the while sipping on peppermint tea and dancing, dancing with the devil in the pale of the moonlight. As far as Kim’s [Benzie, vocals] hypnotic mysticism and spinning of time bend bubbles goes, I’m under strict instruction to not comment so as not to spoil the mystery. I’m also not allowed to talk about his pre-gig ritualistic slaughter of labradoodle puppies.

According to what I’ve seen, the band is in the midst of a five-year pact over what Dead Letter Circus means. Got anything for us other than the completely absurd stab at some sort of performing alphabet massacre?
The time is nearing when all will be revealed. Until then, let’s go with the alphabet massacre.

Catch Closure In Moscow and Dead Letter Circus at this year’s Pyramid Rock Festival!

Pyramid Rock Festival
Saturday December 29th – Tuesday January 1st – Phillip Island, Victoria
Tickets are available from thepyramidrockfestival.com

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