Before five surfer dudes from Byron Bay named a metal band after their street and took their combo of flip-flops and breakdowns around the world, the Australian metal torch was firmly carried by Cog.
The alt-metal wizards were unstoppable when their groundbreaking sophomore LP Sharing Space dropped in 2008.
Sold-out tours around the country, as well as select dates overseas, a triumphant run on the Big Day Out tour and international label support, the Cog résumé broke all the rules for Australian heavy bands.
And then in 2010, things abruptly fell away. Rumours about deteriorating relationships between label and management swirled, but the six-year hiatus abruptly imposed by the band, who seemed to have the world at their feet, confounded many.
When they did re-form in 2016 with a wildly successful theatre tour of the country, things seemed like they might be back on track, but aside from a few singles and the occasional show, things have remained largely quiet on the Cog front.
“I think the decisions that we made as a band were the wrong decisions – weather you’re a muso or a businessman or whatever, you go: ‘Well, fuck I probably shouldn’t have done that.’ But I don’t wanna lose my life being disgruntled over that – it is what it is,” says Luke Gower, bassist, in a surprisingly frank fashion when we touch base with the band.
“With the proper guidance and possibly better management, we could have been a bigger band, but I feel fortunate now being in the position we’re in that I can work all year, and then twice a year I can go and play music for a few weeks, and people still come to the shows.”
Of course, all past decisions aside, there’s also the fact that the members of the band are in a different stage of life in 2021, with full-time jobs and kids taking priority over the riff machine.
“It’s definitely taken a back seat. That’s just due to the reality of having a family,” says Gower.
“Kids need attention, care and love. That comes first…and you have to work and earn a living, so that comes second, and that leaves you just trying to make time to do stuff you love, like going for a surf, playing music etc. Thank god there’s only three of us, otherwise we’d be up shit creek I reckon.”
So what then is the goal long-term for Cog, given they’ve been semi-back for five years in the Australian consciousness?
“We wanna do another album. That’s the goal,” declares Gower, before admitting that “we’ve got oodles of material, but writing a Cog song for us just takes ages.”
“What I would like is time. We can’t create a Cog album by just getting together every few months. We need a block of time and a block of money to go with that time…that’s why we only release one track at a time, because it’s all we have time to do.
“If you have a few hundred thousand in the bank account, then you can take six months off, pay yourself a wage – then you can get in a room and bash it out – and when you have that time, it’s amazing what comes out. That’s how we created the Sharing Space album, just writing in a room every day for six months.”
With the financial realities of being a band catching up with Cog, as well as the realities of life, it’s easy to see why they haven’t been able to offer more since starting up the engine again.
However, there’s no denying the power of the band when it comes to the live show, and with Cog back on the stage (when time permits) things are a little bit brighter in the Australian musical landscape.
“We set ourselves a high bar playing live, we don’t get up there pissed and fart around – we know people have paid hard earned cash to see the band, and they want it to be a good performance,” says Gower.
With 2021-mode Cog, there’s no denying that the spirit is willing. Whether or not another LP of music lands remains to be seen – but rest assured, there’ll be many more chances to bust out ‘Birds Of A Feather’ for years to come yet.
Cog will be performing at:
Other Festival 2021
Saturday, 13th February
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
Wolf & Cub
The Atomic Beau Project
From Crisis To Collapse
These Four Walls
Being Jane Lane
Free The Genie