Really wicked set! It felt really tight. I assume you guys must practice often.
Yea usually every Sunday.
Cool as. You first song sounds as if Pantera ever got into Meshuggah. Was that intentional?
Yea Pantera was definitely an influence. Along with groups such as periphery, Dream Theater being another huge one.
Compared to Bendigo how does the Melbourne scene stack up?
Melbourne is definitely the bigger scene. Bendigo is really small. We’ve only really got the one venue that we can play at.
It’s good to be in a bigger city. We find we can expand ourselves more.
Have you found that your music gets a larger reception over here?
Well this is the band’s first show in Melbourne so it’s hard to tell.
So I gather you have been in other bands before. How was the switch from Bendigo to Melbourne with those projects?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag. Melbourne is a lot stricter compared to Bendigo. You get told where you have to be, at what time and for how long. Whereas in Bendigo, the venue we play is also the place we practice so, the people running the shows there are pretty relaxed about those sort of things.
There are definitely more punters in Melbourne though. Definitely bigger crowds. In Bendigo you often get the same mob turning up whereas Melbourne has a much more varied crowds.
You songs seem to have a lot of forethought in the way they are written. There’s a lot of polish compared to a lot of your peers. So how long have you guys been writing and gigging with each other?
As a band about 12 months. But as far as writing for bands in general, we’ve all got about 3-4 years of experience each.
So how long after you guys formed did you start writing then?
Basically straight away.
Have you guys got anything new coming up as far as releases are concerned?
We want to look to record soon. As well as that we are always writing.
We still haven’t had the chance to record the stuff we played today so getting those recorded will probably be our first move. But we are definitely are keen to write more stuff as well.
We’ve probably got a 45 minute to a 1 hour EP ready to record.
Looking at your Facebook Bio it looks as though there have been plenty of line-up changes and band changes. So do you feel as though everything has finally come together for this band?
This is pretty perfect for everyone. There’s no pressure and we all get along pretty well.
I swear every one of us, individually, has been in a band where the members have had issues and I feel as though we are the dregs.
We’ve cross membered so many times that we finally though ‘let’s just get together and leave it’.
Really have to shout out to the vocals. They’re so varied and well executed. Have you always been a vocalist?
I’ve always been a vocalist in every band I’ve been in. But I’ve also played bass here and there as well for different bands too.
Who do you think you guys are influenced most by?
As a guitarist, definitely John Petrucci would be a massive one. When I started of it was a lot of iron Maiden and a lot of classic melodic metal.
Drumming influences was definitely Eric Carr from Kiss. These days it’s definitely guys like Mike Portnoy and Danny Carey.
John Myung from Dream Theater definitely got me into bass guitar. Ever since I was playing all I wanted to do was Dream Theater so it seemed natural.
Any shows you guys have coming up?
We are playing a show with Levitation Hex in Bendigo on the 13th of May.
So guys, How’s it been going since our last talk at Uber fest?
Yea pretty well thanks.
So I’ve noticed that you guys are bringing out new merch. So I take this year has been going pretty well for you?
Yea, we’ve got a lot of dates booked now. Our shows seem to be a lot more popular than they use to be. We’ve also recorded our new single as well. So it’s been a good year.
I hear you are going into the studio to do a proper recording of your demo sister illusion.
Yea we often released the demo version before we release the proper studio version. We’ve recorded it so we are just waiting on the mixing and mastering. So you should hear something about it in three or four weeks. We are planning to do a video for it as well so that should be fun as well.
So I’ve notice that you’ve been playing a lot more in places like Brunswick, Fitzroy and Bendigo. How have those shows been going?
Pretty good. We’re enjoying playing around Elsternwick once or twice a month and we have a few shows lined up there in June as well.
We love playing so we’ll play pretty much anywhere we can.
So I see this Uberfest you have gotten a new Keyboardist and Drummer. I remember you saying the last drummer had a heart attack and couldn’t make the show. How’s he recovered from that?
It was pretty scary. He almost ‘left the building’ permanently and wasn’t well enough to return to the band after that. So unfortunately he’s had to retire. We found Benny, our Keyboardist, on a notorious internet trolling site. He’s pretty fantastic so he’s now on board with us making everything a bit better.
Was it easy finding a new drummer or was there a pretty intense audition process?
We’ve got a pretty extensive network of good musicians around Melbourne, so it was pretty easy to find someone who was up to speed with what we were doing and would also be a good fit for the band.
What’s it like landing in the top 100 for reverb nation and now having 25K twitter followers? Do you feel as though your online presence is picking up?
Yea we are currently at number 7 so that pretty cool. We have some pretty prolific rock acts following us as well which is always nice.
Do you find as though your marketing plan has changed or is it mostly the same?
It’s changed a lot. We’re constantly looking for different and new ways to promote ourselves. Stuff like guitar picks and T-shirts help a lot. We’ve also put a lot of work into our stage show, adding smoke machines and planning out lighting arrangements.
How much of you live set is new material?
It’s a mix of both. Adding new members definitely motivated us to write some new material. It’s been a pretty interesting 12 months with line-up changes but it is good to have the ball rolling the way it is.
How did you guys find you set?
Yea really good!
So what’s been happening between last Uberfest and now?
We were planning on bringing out an EP but instead decided to focus on writing new material instead.
I’ve heard you guys have been struggling to find a recording studio. What’s up with that?
Yea nah, we’ve sent out a few emails and made a few calls. No one seems interested in calling us back. But we’ve finally sorted that out. We’ll be heading to Green Man Rehearsals down at Ocean Grove. They’ve got a new guy, Darren, so we though ‘they support us so why not support them’.
So you did you single there yea?
Yea. We’re still working on a few other things there too like the last track we just played. We released ‘Who I am’ but that was more of a demo really. The stuff we are working on now is a bit more professional so I guess these will be our first releases.
I saw that you guys were on a compilation album. How did that come about?
It was through Green Man Rehearsal studios. They approached us about being a part of the album with a lot of other bands that rehearse there a lot. It was really the staff down there getting behind the local acts.
For a peninsula band you guys have suddenly pushed out to playing a lot of Melbourne gigs. What was the decision behind that?
Local bands don’t tend get a lot of shows down there unless they play covers. Also they’re all next to pokies venues so they end up complaining anyway.
What was it like playing Wakefield? Doesn’t that normally cater to inde and folk music?
We played that show with only two days’ notice so it was a pretty spur of the moment thing.
Why did you want to make a video for ‘Needless’ above all other tracks? Was it because the message was important to you?
It was one of the firsts we wrote as a band. The lyrics were about Danny Green’s one punch campaign. Also someone close to our manager lost someone due to being king hit. So we put out a video with our manager and their family to try and reach the community. We’ve put it on Facebook and it’s had around 8 thousand views and reached 20 thousand people. So if we manage to do just a little bit of good then we’d be pretty happy.
Do you have any big gigs coming up?
We are currently in a competition at Revolver. So we’ll be playing there again pretty soon as well as the Hi-Fi bar. In a couple weeks’ time we’ll be playing a gig in Meredith too so it’s all happening.
I’m trying to figure what genre you guys are and I’ve noticed that you list Bullet for My Valentine as an influence but you also bring a lot of grunge and early post-hardcore in your playing. So what would you say is your influence?
We like Pennywise, AFI and we’ll play whatever works. We’re just three dudes that just collide together and make music.
The Bullet for My Valentine influence is pretty clear when you hear our drummer’s double kick go off.
So you guys are wrapping up you Melbourne and Bendigo tour. What has it been like compared to Sydney?
Well one thing is sure. I like my own bed.
Has the crowd been any different?
In the last couple of nights we’ve had some pretty good crowds. There are rock fans everywhere.
Everyone that wanted to sing along sang along and if they wanted a good time they had a good time.
You guys have been around for nearly 10 years. What has been the biggest change you’ve noticed as far as the scene of how the band plays?
Well this line up has been together for 3 years. When you change members you change the way the song is played, because different people offer different input. So we’ve basically morphed into what we are now.
The scene is really different. It changes every couple of years. Sydney in particular has seen a lot of venues shut down and the crowds are getting smaller. These days you’ve really got to put in the effort to get people to turn up to your shows.
So does this mean you have changed how you market yourselves?
Definitely. It’s a lot of digital work. Everything is the internet and Facebook. Even as far as CD and hand held stuff, people aren’t as interested in it these days.
It’s all got to be downloaded. Giving out CDs isn’t going to win you people anymore. No one really passes them around to their mates anymore. Online presence is huge.
So what’s up with the guitar string endorsement this tour?
I guess we’ve been working with the studio that makes them for about two years now and a representative from the studio gave us the endorsement. Guitar baby string if you were wondering. These strings are just as good as anything else you can get on the market.
Have you been working on any recordings?
We’ve been working on a new album for about 6 or 7 months now. It’s finished and will be out in a few months.
Is there anything else you guys want to say before you leave?
Just keep an eye on simplestone.com for news about shows and the album.
How do think your set went? You seemed to have been cut off early. Do you know what happened there?
Yea the set was pretty good. But I’m not sure why we got cut off. It might have been because one or more bands played for too long but I don’t know why they chose us to be the one to cut off. I just saw the guy standing at the side signalling us that we are done.
So you guys recently toured Indonesia, how was that?
It was the hardest thing I’ve done in my life and I do hard shit every day. But it was amazing.
How did a small local band end up going international?
If opportunity knocks you answer. Also a lot of luck. Networking really payed off this time around. The shows were great, at one point we were in an arena playing to a few thousand people. It turns out they all knew us because of Facebook and YouTube which was surprising as well.
So what was the biggest takeaway from the tour?
Hurry up and wait. It’s the title for our upcoming album. We had been trying to come up with a really cool name for a while. During the tour our manager would tell us every night that we need to get to bed early and every morning we’d wake up early, hungover as hell, waiting while the other bands are still sleeping. It turns out we didn’t even need to get up till about noon. So that’s where the title came from.
So what’s the story behind the name Super Monkey Zero?
A lot of people think that it has to do with evolution or something science related. But to be honest it was my girlfriend’s old email password. We took that name because all our names before that kind of sucked.
So what were the crowds like in Indonesia compared to Melbourne?
It was mental. Orders of magnitude different. Some people here, if they enjoy your music, come up to you and say nice show and a lot of people standing in the back, cross armed, going ‘that’s not metal enough’. The Indonesians were just happy to have us. The fact we were international was a huge draw as well. For some of them we were their first taste of western music.
We were in a dairy isle at one point and the only way for us to escape the hoard of people wanting photos was just to jump over all the ice cream.
Have you guys got anything coming up?
Well our album is coming out soon so instead of just doing a single launch party we are going to tour Victoria and New South Wales with Simple Stone.