Any band who can make a 42 minute long romp of dusty, nasty sounding doom is well worth a listen. Agonhymn successfully check off those boxes and more. Blues Grind offers progressions that pace on like a marching army, quiet moments that lull over the music like wind over a desert and furious moments that aim to knock the teeth clean out of your head. It’s music that spans over many of metal’s glorious spectrums and does so with an element of ease. Life Is Noise took a few minutes to speak to guitarist Dav Byrne ahead of their upcoming support slot with Pallbearer on Friday July 7 at the Northcote Social Club.
What’s been going on in the world of Agonhymn?
The endless juggle of life's other priorities! We have a heap of things on the cook, musical and otherwise. Liam's other band Affordable Repayments have a new record out and one of my other bands is about to make a big announcement... At the moment, Agonhymn are experimenting with some new drum sounds.
What drives Agonhymn to make music?
I don't think the "beast in the belly" has ever been taxonomised, although I believe it's probably the same as any other forward-thinking progressive sludge outfit's reasons. Namely, free drinks.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s happened at one of your shows?
We played at a house party one time and due to the sparse nature of my vocal microphone use, I guess some of the drunk punks in attendance thought it was a "jam". We had a couple of guest singers that day. In fact, it's not uncommon for some pisswreck to be asking us from the front row at an actual gig, "Hey man, can I get up on the stage and sing some songs?". No, we are not your backing band.
Quickly tell us about an album that’s shaped the band in one way or another.
Not quite an album, but the first QOTSA split 12" that had Kyuss on the flipside doing Black Sabbath's Into the Void. Originally we didn't know you were supposed to play that at 45rpm. We never did.
Have you got any interesting stories from tour or recording you’d want to share?
It was a weekend and we were tracking drums for our first record at my home studio in Carlton (I lived in a pretty cool but slightly rundown two storey terrace house at the time). We had probably been getting takes for a few hours and it was mid-afternoon. There came a hammering from the front door, from a lady in her seventies who was holding a very fresh newborn - both were crying their eyes out. "When you smash those drums all day a baby gets very upset! And do you know what happens when a baby gets upset? Grandmas get upset!", she sobbed and marched off. I guess my studio soundproofing attempts weren't quite cutting the mustard.
A few years later, while tracking guitars for our second record, in the same studio/house situation, there came a knocking once more. "Here we bloody go!", I thought. I opened the door and a polite woman of about 40 asked me, "What are you doing up there?". I replied, "Um... recording some guitar..." to which she responded, "Well, it sounds incredible. I just wanted to let you know we've been enjoying it from across the road. What's the band called?" The moral of this story is that grandmas are jerks.
What’s the best compliment you’ve received at a show? What’s the weirdest?
"I wish you guys lived next door!" People who are drunk and/or high say all sorts of things that you can't really take seriously. Sometimes it's about my guitar sound, sometimes it's about how tight we played, sometimes it's about Liam's tight shorts. One of the weirdest compliments we had was, "You even LOOK like Eagle Twin!". At least, I assume it was a compliment.