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Norma Jean: Change in the house of…

If you’ve been following Norma Jean recently, you’ll notice that the band have traded their signature club show for the more chaotic and old school house show format. It’s something that many bands go through as a rite of passage, but never want to return to once they achieve a certain level of success. 

This is not the case with Norma Jean.

“We just wanted to go the complete opposite direction, we charged $13, and whoever could fit in, excellent. It was relieving to not worry about the production element playing live”, said frontman Cory Brandan when we caught up ahead of the band’s forthcoming Aussie run with Cursed Earth.

“We have heaps of massive stuff coming up later this year – specifically a yet-to-be-announced US tour – we’re gonna put so much into that, it’ll be a really big production as well – but we’ve been off since November so we figured we had to do something.”

“We walked into the shows with barely even a PA, and there’s something really nice about that.”

It felt only fair to ask the man himself if he would consider hosting a similar show in his own home.

“I’ve thought about it – but I don’t want that many people to know where I live!” he laughs.

“The whole idea was just to not care and chill out.we walked into the shows with barely even a PA, and there’s something really nice about that.”

“With this new LP – we’re gonna play a lot of that, and the songs are pretty involved in a melodic sense, so we saw this little run as a chance to have one last go at those songs, because we might not roll them out for awhile.”

It might disappoint die-hard fans to hear that the band want to focus on playing newer material live as opposed to rehashing Memphis Will Be Laid To Waste, but if their last few releases are anything to go by, the prospect of hearing newer material live should be all the more reason to be excited about catching the band in concert. 

Polar Similar was something that we had been trying to make for a while. You don’t want to repeat it, but you don’t want to lose it either,” says Cory about the band’s current direction. 

“For this we really tried to look for more dynamics. If something’s loud, then really make it loud, and vice versa.”

“The story was really what it came down to, so we made it about them and some of their stories…that was really the biggest inspiration behind the entire thing.”

All Hail captured Norma Jean sounding their brutal best, mixing the energy of their iconic 00’s output with the heavier sounds coming out of modern hardcore.

“…there are cycles to what we do, and I don’t like that, to be honest.”

It’s a feat of achievement made all the more remarkable by the change-over of members in the creation of the album, with drummer Ryan Leger the latest member to drop out of a band that currently features no original members.

“We handle change with a lot of care – it’s really important that we find people that both get what we’re doing, and that also have something to add to it”, says Cory.

“Once you find that, let that person get really involved, and allow them just to dive in – that adds a breath of fresh air and brings a sense of excitement to the room – because there are cycles to what we do, and I don’t like that, to be honest.”

Honesty is a key part of how Cory lives his life – not just through his lyrics, but how he models his work to those around him, most importantly his children.

“You can tell your kids to live their dreams – but then if you don’t do that yourself it seems a bit strange – so I’m trying to do it too, so that they believe me!” he exclaims, before noting that “we don’t tour as much as we used to – but we’re an older band, so we don’t have to either – we just focus on the stuff that excites us!”

If their latest offering is anything to go by, you’d be a fool to miss them when they do.


Thursday, 14 May
Amplifier Bar, Perth
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, 15 May
Enigma Bar, Adelaide
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, 16 May
Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: SOLD OUT

Sunday, 17 May
Pelly Bar, Frankston
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Monday, 18 May
Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Tuesday, 19 May
Transit Bar, Canberra
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Thursday, 21 May
Crowbar, Sydney
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Friday, 22 May
Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle
Tickets: Destroy All Lines

Saturday, 23 May
Woolly Mammoth, Brisbane
Tickets: Destroy All Lines