Interview With the Butterfly Effect

By Morgan Pettersson

A great Australian rock band since 1999. They are currently touring nationwide for their ‘Final Conversation’ Tour hitting all capital cities and in between. They are also fresh off the back of touring in Europe and the U.K. Morgan chatted with Glenn the bassist and got an in depth look behind the facade and the new direction the band is taking which has influenced their latest album.

  1. You boys have recently come home to Australia after success over in Europe and the U.K, How does it feel to be headlining your own tour in Australia off the back of the huge success of your recently released album ‘Final Conversation of Kings’?

Great! We have been headlining tours over here for a while now. We’ve been to a lot of places but this time we’re doing slightly bigger venues and moving up to the next stage which is going to be preety amazing.

  1. Your about to kick of your ‘Final Conversation’ tour around Australia coming to Perth July 24th how does it feel to be performing at home and in particular how does the Perth crowd rate?

It’s great the shows are unreal! You’re in another country and you’re doing shows in front of people who have never seen the band before. They are only small crowds and you know its tiny venues and you don’t have all of your crew and all of your creature comforts that you become used to over here, and that’s good in its own way. But when you come back to Australia and your playing on big stages in front of lots of people and with your full crew and stuff its preety exciting as well you know. It’s fun to play the small rooms and it’s fun to get back to your roots and its really good for the band to get back to those smaller venues, but doing the big venues you know in time to us it’s what we do and what we are used to and  its simple for us and just good fun.

  1. So what can Perth audiences expect from this tour?

We’re going to be doing a big set. We have got guest musicians and amazing lights and it’s going to be a spectacle. We’re going to be playing a lot of old songs as well as all the new songs and were going to try and do a big set catered to everyone.

  1. How was it performing over in Europe? Did you find you were well received? Was there a different vibe or appreciation for your music?

Well it was just like it was back in Australia back 8 years ago you know it was playing to small crowds, the smallest places we were playing to about 40 people, the biggest was 100-120 people except for London which was 600. So they were preety small rooms but everyone that was there was super into it. It’s the opposite to what I was saying before about the big venues, you play big venues for a while and you get it preety easy and you start to maybe get a bit lazy and start to lose a little bit of touch, but when you’re going back and your lugging all of your own gear and you’re doing everything yourself in tiny venues you appreciate it. One of the places we played like it was a cover band venue it was so tiny you know with a tiny little stage stuck in the corner but you really get to remember what it’s like  do that and you really gain a little bit of passion back from it you know, so its excellent as well.

  1. You did tour the U.K and Europe back in 2004 after releasing some songs over there; did you find that this time there was a bigger fan base and better reception to you?

Well we were lucky enough to be supporting bands there last time so we already had a crowd of 3-400 people most nights that we played that were fans of the main bands. It’s hard to get  a point of comparison because they were someone else’s shows but when we played shows in London we only played to 150-250 people and now we played to 600 ,so because our following in Australia is bigger people over there do know us a little bit more. Bands like cog and Karnivool and us are actually getting attention overseas because of the scene a little bit, and that’s through the net and stuff everyone’s sort of seeking out new music and between the 3-4-5 bands that have been doing well in Australia. Were all sort of bringing a few fans each overseas into our music and then when they discover say a band like Karnivool, and they come along and they discover us and they discover Cog and other bands as well. So its small but its growing and people are aware of it’s you know over there.

  1. After forming back in 1999 do you feel that you are beginning to emerge and really make it as a band and musicians? That all the hard work it beginning to form into something?

Yeah it’s a strange sort of place to be in because we’ve gotten the most commercial support on this last record than we ever have before.  Even though it probably hasn’t sold as much as the last record because of the fact that people aren’t buying c.ds, but we’ve been getting a lot more exposure because novas been playing us and were doing stuff like the one night stand and they’re big things. But, it’s kind of like come to a point where the internet has made it so that there are so many bands out there and it’s almost impossible to get noticed these days. We’ve kind of got a good commercial note and commercial exposure but it kind of hasn’t really helped heaps and were actually at a point in our career now where we suddenly realised that it doesn’t really matter about commercial exposure, the songs that were writing now are really focused on just making sure we satisfy ourselves and satisfy our fans because that’s in the long run the only ones that matter. And that’s one of the great things about downloading and the internet it has made it so that now we can concentrate on just writing the kind of music that our fans love and not trying to entertain the mainstream as much and were really happy about that. So it’s were starting to get a bit of mainstream notice but its right at the point where we need it less I think, or even want it less. So it is kind of funny/ironic this weird sort of backward thing. I just thing think that you competing against the Jonahs Brothers and the Pussycat Dolls and Miley Cyrus. How can a little band from Australia try and compete in that way? They’ve got millions and millions and millions of dollars spent on marketing and film clips, so I think ultimately if we try to get commercial success we will ultimately doom ourselves, and were not the kind of band that tries to compete on that world stage. Were the kind of band that does good shows and plays great music to the fans that love that kind of music. It’s a good position to be in. There’s always been that perception with the band, we’ve been popular but if you asked the average person on the street even if they had heard of the band not the movie, you couldn’t ask them to sing one of our songs they wouldn’t know it. It’s funny we were on the big day out in 2007 we were playing poker with Evermore and we were sitting around singing ‘running!’ and giving them shit and singing their songs and whatever and then we said I bet you can’t sing one of our songs and all the Evermore boys just looked at each other and went ohhh, ahhh, ummm. But that’s kind of cool you know in some ways. Because of that feeling we had always wanted to take the band to that next level you know? Why does Tool play to 10,000 people and we only play to 1,000 people and we sort of tried to think about how we could make the band more popular and stuff and you know it worked to a certain extent but in the long run I think the music probably wasn’t as good. Looking back to the early music when we didn’t care, we didn’t have a profile and were just writing soley for ourselves and the music was better I think, more pure. We second guessed ourselves a bit less just like who cares if were popular who cares if Nova plays us or Today fm plays our music. So it’s good that we get exposure but I don’t think it’s our place to play you know what I mean. I think the record company would hope that it’s different but fuck that.

  1. Well you have been recognised as one of the most progressive new rock bands to emerge in Australia and even on the international scene. Being compared to the likes of Australian bands such as Cog, Karnivool, and Dead Letter Circus. How big a compliment do you find this?

Yeah I mean it’s kind of weird to compare us as were all part of the same scene but it’s almost like comparing siblings in a way were all sort of part of the same culture. If we were being compared to bands like Faith No More or Tool that would be…not to say I’m not honoured to be compared with those bands, it’s kind of hard to because the scene is so tight. We’ve known those guys for so long and played with them for 10 years and we don’t see them as some band that you hear on the radio and go ohh we would like to be like those guys or ohhh I hope we can one day play with those guys, we’ve always been together hanging out. So it’s great that the scene is the way it is and the scene is so tight and so big. It’s great to feel like you’re part of that great scene, I guess it’s flattering.

  1. The Butterfly Effect has been described as heavy rock with substance and heartfelt, powerful lyrics but that the recent album ‘Final Conversation of Kings’ had a different sound and was more accessible. Does this reflect a different place the band is in currently?

I think so. I don’t think it’s more accessible than Imago was. I think people think there’s a lot more to the creation process that there’s a lot more thought that goes into it, but there really isn’t, not for a band like us. For guys who make music, we just kind of write and just write what we kind of write and don’t really make any conscious decision as to how it’s going to go. If it does sound more accessible or if it sounds anything.. More progressive, more rockier or more funky I don’t know, any adjective you could come up with it’s really not through any conscious process generally speaking. Were just not good enough to say how do we write an album or song that’s bigger than Fall Out Boys album were not good enough musicians to copy a style or something we just have to write what we write and be who we are and hopefully it goes ok. Maybe we were listening to more Kelly Clarkson or something at the time when we were writing these songs who knows?

  1. The issue of the magazine this is going into has an emphasis or over arching theme of light and dark. I guess to ask a question that really ties in with that do you find you pull influences from outside sources into your music that are light or dark influences?

Clint deals with a lot of issues to do with leaving and homecoming you know he deals with those themes a lot and in his lyrics there is always a lot of conflict. We have a song off the first record called Perception Twin and you know it deals with those kinds of things, the idea of the other the twin kind of thing. I guess we find that the music that we write is fairly dark I guess in some ways but I guess in a lot of ways we are really serious kind of guys in the way that we approach the way we see the world and the things we think about, and the way we live our lives so when were writing we don’t write music that’s flippant. Clint doesn’t write lyrics that is puppies and flowers and bunnies and were certainly not like a Spiderbait band in that kind of regard. So when it comes to seriousness and consideration your music comes across as dark sometimes but I don’t think were necessarily that dark I think. Like I said Clint writes music about coming home or finding home a fair bit but he writes as many songs about finding home as he does about losing home you know. But because you’re talking about those kinds of extercentional topics you know it will sometimes come across as darkness.

  1. Now as a last little variety question, I heard on triple J that yoga has become Clint’s speciality has that taken off with anyone else? 

Well you know I don’t know. I was doing yoga a long time ago, but well you know you’ve got to have some stuff for yourself. He went to a couple of classes and I don’t know whether he’s been to more than 2 classes but that’s the kind of guy that he is and you know he’s very in the moment and at the time he did the interview he was probably very much in that moment. He probably will go back to it again, he may not who knows?

Interview published in 2009 in Metior Magazine, Perth, Australia.

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