Interviewer: Cameron Edney - http://www.myspace.com/insideout666ints
Forming back in 1999 Australian metallers
Contrive took to the streets of Melbourne quickly building a reputation
as one of the states hardest working bands! Twin brothers Paul and
Andrew Haug alongside Tim Stahlmann released their debut E.P. in 2001
which was met with positive responses from both fans and press.
Contrive had set the wheels in motion for what can only be described
as a rock n roll journey that's far from over! Contrive are a band
that are known for giving 110% to each and every live performance,
not a bad tag to have! This has led to these Aussie metallers sharing
the stage with killer artists such as Mayhem, Sepultura, Machine Head
and most recently Stone Sour.
Over the years Contrive have worked hard to achieve their goals and
have proven that they can cut it with the best! 2005 saw the release
of the bands first full length album 'The Meaning Unseen' which was
praised by critics worldwide. With tracks such as 'By way of Choice',
'Beside Yourself' and a cover of Armored Angel's 'Communion', 'The
Meaning Unseen' is an album that has something to offer fans of all
sub-genres of hard rock and metal music.
Many Australian metal fans would associate Contrive drummer Andrew
Haug with Triple J's kick ass radio show 'Full Metal Racket' and also
for his work with record company Century Media. A few weeks back I
had the pleasure of speaking to Andrew about Contrive's album 'The
Meaning Unseen', life on the road, being on both sides of the music
industry and much more. Kick back for some full metal racket with
Contrive's Andrew Haug!
Metal Fanatix: Hey Andrew, How are things
Andrew Haug: I'm good mate how are you
Metal Fanatix: I'm doin' great mate,
Andrew Haug: Yeah likewise mate
Metal Fanatix: Firstly I want to thank
you for putting some time aside to answer the following questions
for our readers. Congratulations on the release of The Meaning Unseen!
The album has been out for sometime now; looking back is there anything
you would have changed?
Andrew Haug: Fuck no, we're totally
rapt with the way it is. It's a great example of what we were doing
at that time, we keep pressing on and working on better stuff. We're
still very happy with the result!
Metal Fanatix: How long did it take
you guys to put the album together?
Andrew Haug: It was a combination of
about two years of writing; we are certainly a band that likes to
take our time. We don't want to think that we're going to do a "Metallica"
and take five years to make an album. We love to think about what
we do, how we write our songs and structures. I guess people say good
things come to those who wait!
Metal Fanatix: Well dude this is true!
'The Meaning Unseen' was mixed by Fredrik Nordstrom who has done some
amazing work with Arch Enemy and Opeth! Having Fredrick work on the
album must have been pretty cool!
Andrew Haug: Yeah, it was great! It's
really interesting 'cause a lot of people are always saying "how
the fuck did you get Nordstrom to do it"?
What basically happened was, we were thinking once the album was recorded
unmixed, who would we want to mix the record? We sat down and talked
about mixers and the albums that we really liked; obviously you have
to be realistic about your budgets too. We're not talking Bob Rock
or anything like that [laughs]. Nordstrom certainly did cost a few
bucks but that's the investment you put in. I went to his web site
which had a phone number and I just rang it! I didn't expect in a
million years that he would answer the phone. "Hello is Fredrick
there please?" Fredrick answered "Yep". "Hi, my
names Andrew, I play in an unsigned shitty band from Australia, would
you be interested in mixing us"?
Metal Fanatix: [laughs]
Andrew Haug: What he wanted us to do
was send him our previous release and press just so he could check
it out. It took Fredrick a couple of weeks to get back to us and he
told us he dug it but he's schedule was pretty full. We had to wait
about 5 – 6 months before he had a break in his schedule to
fit us in. During that time we remained quiet because you don't want
to go shoot your mouth off and say we've got such and such and then
at the last minute they can't fit you in! We didn't go to Sweden,
the cost factor is way to high. We did it all online thanks to the
wonderful world of technology we have today! Fredrick works pretty
strict hours of nine to five. Once that clock ticks five he's out
of the studio and on his way home! You have to understand he's the
kind of guy who has to click off because he has done it for so long
with so many bands.
Because of the time difference we were generally heading to our bass
player Tim's house at two in the morning to wait for him to send through
mp3 files and then we'd download them to a Cd and play them through
various stereos and computers.
Metal Fanatix: [laughs]
Andrew Haug: It took Fredrick about
a week to get through it, then we got the results back and got it
mastered. We're still really pumped about it, he was awesome to work
with online! We did have conference chats with him as well, he's certainly
an interesting character via phone to say the least!
Metal Fanatix: I bet he was, will you
guys be using Fredrick for the next Contrive album?
Andrew Haug: Who knows, like anything
its a matter of how the songs come out and a matter of what kind of
sound we want to get, its hard to say at the moment, we want to get
all the writing done first before we look into that! Who knows!
Metal Fanatix: Mate, in a few words
can you tell us the first thing that comes to mind when I mention
the following tracks from 'The Meaning Unseen'
By Way Of Choice: What a riff! The
award goes to my brother for one of the best riffs I've ever fuckin'
heard! I love it! Its pretty much always the opening song when we
Prepare To Fall: Just groove dude!
The Meaning Unseen: Dark dude, dynamic!
Metal Fanatix: I am a huge fan of 'Communion'
which as we both know is the Armored Angel cover. What I want to know
is, out of all the great metal songs why did you choose 'Communion'
Andrew Haug: Paul and I used to go and
see them all the time when we were under eighteen and just loved them,
especially seeing brothers in the band, a three-piece band as well!
They were just such an awesome band live and really an important part
to the history of the Australian metal scene. We loved watching those
dudes and started writing to them, and now obviously become long time
friends. When most bands generally do a cover it's of an international
band or someone completely non-metal related & obscure. I still
have the original Armored Angel demo tape which we pulled out and
Paul said, "we should do Armored's 'Communion'!" I said
"fuck yeah, let's give it a go"! I know a few people say
that its not really the right song for the album but I think it has
the elements of a straight ahead rock song. It's not really a fast
song in the sense of thrash which is what they were renowned for,
it's just got a straight heavy Rockin' feel to it even though it's
Metal Fanatix: Now I imagine you guys
are starting work on your next album!
Andrew Haug: Yeah, we currently have
about three songs that are 90% there structure wise. But as usual
we will just take our time and without being too cliché, take
it to the next level dude! We try and create our own sound and I think
we're doing that, but we don't want to repeat it!
Metal Fanatix: Well as I said to you
via email a few days back, I really enjoyed the album and it was definitely
not what I expected! In saying that, I don't really know what I expected
[laughs]! I guess I was thinking more on the lines of extreme metal,
and it was great for a change! Every song is diverse and complements
the next track!
Andrew Haug: We try to make every song
it's own voice, just because there's certain bands I like, it might
be Jackhammer from start to finish and that's their sound and style
and there's albums of bands I enjoy like that! Us as listeners and
players to the music we make, we want to just try different shit!
I don't think we're afraid to step out of our comfort zones! I find
that some bands are afraid to do that especially once they get a following
in case their fans decide to ditch them, but I don't want us to ever
be afraid of that cause we're not really selling out cause we don't
have a mass fan base to sell-out too so fuck it! [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [laughs] well like you
said, you're not Metallica just yet! [Laughs]
Andrew Haug: [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: Every band has their
own way of writing, how does the process work for you guys? Do you
hold writing sessions or anything?
Andrew Haug: Yeah, I practice drums
at home, and if I come up with a beat or an idea I record it on a
mini disc and Paul will start on something at home, it really does
work when we're all together. It's a very democratic thing as in no
one says this is a song I have written therefore you have to play
it my way! Paul's always got riffs and different things, he thinks
of cool structures and I'm like" cool go for it" but you
just know its going to change the minute drums kick in or whatever.
Its like anything, we've all got our own individual influences that
we can offer so nothing is going to be exactly the way you bring it
to the table or vice versa! It's just a matter of jamming and nutting
it out, just pasting songs together.
Metal Fanatix: Now for those who don't
know, yourself and twin brother Paul formed Contrive back in 1999,
I know it can be a nightmare working with any one person on a musical
level let alone a family member, how do you guys keep from ripping
each other apart when it comes to creating music?
Andrew Haug: [Laughs] Oh we do sometimes,
as all brothers do but twins is a little bit deeper! But honestly
I could not play in a band without him! We just know each other too
well; we have the same goals! I could never see myself playing in
any other band without Paul and obviously thanks to Tim he is the
ultimate mediator [laughs].
Metal Fanatix: [laughs]
Andrew Haug: I always see that there
is a special bond when I hear of any band that has a sibling in their
own band, there's just something there that's hard to explain be it
twins or not! There's just a certain bond that you just don't get
from your buddy that lives down the street who has joined your band!
When it's family it's certainly that little bit more special!
Metal Fanatix: Let's talk a little about
touring mate, what comes to mind when you think back to those first
International supports you were doing with Mayhem and Destruction?
Andrew Haug: Just another gig to try
and expose what we do to different people, we weren't necessarily
well liked or received but just the fact that we were out there take
it or leave it! It was a great opportunity to take on board! I know
a lot of bands who are more scared of what the audience are going
to think because they don't fit and quite frankly we don't give a
fuck! Without sounding arrogant we just take it as another opportunity
Metal Fanatix: Well that's right, at
least if you walk away with ten people enjoying the show, that's ten
people who didn't know a thing about you earlier that day!
Andrew Haug: Absolutely, and even if
the ten people hated ya, there still going to talk about ya! You still
win in the end! No complaints mate any opportunity bring it on!
Metal Fanatix: Since then you have toured
with Sepultura, and also Soilwork, who have you enjoyed touring with
the most and can you give us a funny story from the tour?
Andrew Haug: The most…. Probably
Sepultura because Paul and myself have been friends with those guys
since 1992. I would have loved it to have Max there, but it was still
awesome. Igor is one of the main influences on why I play drums today.
One story after a Sepultura show comes to mind. We drove straight
back to Melbourne cause we had a gig with them the next day! Literally
after we played and watched Seps it was one o'clock in the morning
we got in the car and drove ten hours straight back. I think we were
an hour out of Melbourne and the trailer tire bursts, so we had to
change the tire. None of us had slept, we went straight to the venue
and loaded in and waited for our chance to rock! Another time we played
in Sydney on the Saturday night with Machine Head and then drove straight
back to Melbourne after that cause we had an under eighteens gig to
do the next afternoon at 1:00 pm. We left at one am again and it's
usually a ten hour drive from Sydney, we got into Melbourne at 12:30
pm, we got to the venue at 12:50pm and were onstage fifteen minutes
Metal Fanatix: Oh fuck man!
Andrew Haug: It's odd, we played to
about twenty kids and I played better to them then I did the night
before to a full house at the Uni Roundhouse [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Andrew Haug: I was saying to myself
'why didn't I play like this last night'? [laughs], There's been some
mean feats there where you have to push your limits to get things
done it's just all part of it. There's certainly no complaints here.
There's so much downtime when you travel but there's never really
a dull moment for us, we enjoy hanging out and kicking back!
Metal Fanatix: Tell me about the first
show you guys did together, I believe you did it as a 2-piece at the
Tote Hotel, how was the response to that gig?
Andrew Haug: Well that was very low
key, we didn't tell anybody cause a lot of friends would always say
"oh you're never gonna play". "You're just a fuckin'
closet band" etc etc! This was cause we couldn't find a bass
player for ages! We knew a few bands and we did audition a couple
but no one was really a right fit for us! Before I went overseas for
a few months we had about eight songs completed and I had said to
Paul "Fuck this let's just get out there and do it"! We'd
always written as a drum, guitar then bass band most of the songs
and the sections were quite full. We booked the gig and didn't tell
any friends, although some had found out but most of them got there
after we had played, it was like cool you didn't miss much [laughs]
it was daring, I don't know many other bands that would have done
the same thing!
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Yeah mate, there's
some footage to get my hands on! [laughs]. Andrew, for those metallers
that haven't seen you, using only five words how would you describe
the band live?
Andrew Haug: Honest, powerful, metal,
passionate and energetic
Metal Fanatix: Do you guys have any
plans for more shows over the next few months?
Andrew Haug: We've got nothing booked
but we never avoid getting any opportunities whether or not people
are sick of us, fuck it. We just love playing live and it's a better
chance to improve, everytime you play! The album still feels fresh
for us to play, I'm not bored of it, I'm itching to write more new
stuff of course but I just love playing live!
Metal Fanatix: Now Andrew I wanted to
talk to you about drumming. On the latest album you featured a track
called Todoroki which is a piece you wrote using traditional Japanese
drumming. How long have you been studying the art of Japanese drumming?
Andrew Haug: It's been about seven years
now! It's very difficult to master plus you're playing with other
people so if you're not locked in and on time it just sounds like
a train wreck and that's what most of our classes sound like [laughs].
The classes have opened my ears and mind to so many different possibilities
on drums and with song writing. Most people who hear our stuff say
"your drumming is really weird and very tribal" pretty much
most of the drum beats have come from those classes. The reason I
put it on the album was to make people aware that Taiko drumming exists
cause' most people don't know anything about it. It's something that
is unique and it's amazing to watch even if you're not into metal,
you can be into any form of music but when you see it live you will
be blown away!
Metal Fanatix: Growing up, I was inspired
by Eric Carr, Tommy Lee and Charlie Benante to name a few, who inspired
you to pick up the sticks?
Andrew Haug: It has to be Igor man,
I started late and remember seeing the 'Arise' tour in 92 and just
going "oh my god" still to this day that was one of the
best gig's I have ever witnessed. Watching Igor play was all heart
and honesty and that's how we want to project our live shows, from
what we saw Paul and I that night! There's so many others, Gene Hoglan,
Danny Carey, Paul Bostaph; oh man I've got a laundry list [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [laughs] I know what
you mean mate, there are so many killer drummers!
Andrew Haug: I've always been into drummers
that have their own sound. No matter what band they are playing in
you know right away that it's them.
Metal Fanatix: What was the first drum
kit you owned?
Andrew Haug: I still have the same one
to be honest! I've never upgraded. It's the same kit I bought in 1994
and it's still in decent nick! Most people say the kit sounds great.
It would be great to get an endorsement but if you look after your
stuff, things last!
Metal Fanatix: Do you do anything specific
to warm up and prepare for a show?
Andrew Haug: Stretches always, that's
definitely an important factor and hand warm up's with sticks. Sometimes
I use my Taiko baton sticks to really loosen my hands and arms so
when the time comes to grab my normal sticks they feel like tooth
picks and you feel ready to go!
Metal Fanatix: Andrew, Tell us something
about the other guys we may not know!
Andrew Haug: Tim's just amazing. Paul
and I had another band before Contrive which fell apart but we never
had a bassist. We always had another guitarist. It's great to have
a bassist that's so daring and who's an awesome person. If anyone
knows about gear it's him, he's a freak [laughs]! He's so much fun
to be around; he's the most outgoing guy I've ever met! That's saying
that sincerely, I'm not saying that because he plays in the band with
me! Tim would give you the shirt off his back, he's super nice! Tim
Metal Fanatix: How about Paul?
Andrew Haug: Oh he's fucked [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs]
Andrew Haug: [Laughs] Paul's great too
man. I knew other bands where they would bag each other out and say
"I fuckin' hate my guitarist, he's such a dickhead" we just
don't have that! We get along so well, we do but heads with idea's
but no ones storming out the door. We're all on the same page and
wanting to achieve the same goal.
Metal Fanatix: What's the craziest rumor
you have ever heard about yourself and or the band?
Andrew Haug: We're shit! [Laughs] rumor
I don't know man, I don't think people even bother talking about us
like that to be honest, I've never really heard anything.
Metal Fanatix: How about yourself, obviously
you're known for doing more surrounding the industry besides drumming
in Contrive, what have you heard about yourself!
Andrew Haug: Oh yeah stupid shit like
we only get supports because I promote shows on radio, it's all tall
poppy rubbish. I just laugh because it's funny that none of these
people say it to my face! Why are people so adamant about putting
their point across and yet they never come and say it to me! If anything
I'd set them straight and tell them how it really works. Most people
don't really know how the biz works. They see what they think they
know when really they don't. Sometimes I'd like to talk to these people
who really have an issue and tell them how it works.
Metal Fanatix: Yourself being on both
sides of the coin as the guy who works for the record company and
also as the musician, what are the biggest differences you notice
these days in the business compared to when you were starting out?
Andrew Haug: That there are too many
egotistical assholes in the business that shouldn't be there. Most
people start out because they want to be apart of the industry and
see all the lights and think it's great but then sometimes they change
and seem to forget why they got into it in the first place! I've spoken
with people at work who say "man you really enjoy your job don't
ya" and I used to work in a factory so anything's better! People
just seem to lose their passion after a while and forget why they're
in the business. They get a business card and all of a sudden the
passion goes out the window. I really think you can mix business with
pleasure if you do both of them right, there's days that I have that
aren't great days and I have to meet deadlines and knuckle down and
get it done, but on the other hand I could be out digging ditches,
I don't for a minute take it for granted!
Metal Fanatix: What's your take on downloading
and file sharing? Do you think it hurts the artists, or do you look
at it as a great way to get your music out to so many more people
around the world?
Andrew Haug: It's a total double edge
sword, I don't think it hurts us cause I don't think our stuff's been
downloaded at all [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [laughs]
Andrew Haug: bands certainly aren't
selling as much as they used to because of it but in the same token
tours are up because people have heard a song and would much rather
spend their money on a live experience and a few beers as opposed
to buying an album and sitting in their bedroom! Let's face it you
can't beat the live experience! It's got it's benefits and it's downfalls
but I think for most people it's a good try before you buy tool and
I do know that most people still go out and buy stuff, especially
in metal which is such a collectable genre. The artwork always looks
killer for most bands and there's always limited releases that fans
don't want to miss out on.
Metal Fanatix: What does the future
hold for Contrive, where would you like to see the band in 5 years
Andrew Haug: Oh triple platinum, living
in the Hollywood Hills [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] I think we all
wanna be there [laughs]
Andrew Haug: Seriously, I just wanna
keep making music, we don't have a five year plan or any master plan
like some bands do. You just can't predict where you are going to
be in five years, you can't predict what people are going to be into
next week! You just have to be true to yourself and the music you
make and hopefully you will have touched a few people enough for them
to stick by you and enjoy the ride and spread the word! Part of the
excitement is not knowing!
Metal Fanatix: Andrew, there is no doubt
that the Australian metal scene is alive and well. Besides Contrive
what other kick ass Aussie bands do you recommend we check out?
Andrew Haug: Over the last couple of
years I really think people need to take note of the Perth bands!
I was in Perth a couple of weeks ago and boy they really do back their
bands over there and I kinda felt ashamed coming from the east where
people stand there arms folded at certain gigs. The people over there
get right up the front, they get there early to watch the first band,
they buy merch, it's almost like seeing bands overseas, and I was
surprised by that! It's one of the reasons I love going to Perth.
Pathogen is one to keep a look out for, Chaos Divines is another of
course, the usuals Alarum and Alchemist which I've loved for ages
and Cog which some would argue are not metal but they're a damn good
heavy band. There's some really good bands out there worth checking
Metal Fanatix: Which record/song would
define Andrew Haug to a complete stranger?
Andrew Haug: [Laughs] Fuckin' hell!
Man I'm stumped it's too hard, dude I just cannot answer that [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: [Laughs] Mate, as many
people know you're also a very popular radio personality and over
the years you have conducted your fair share of interviews! Of the
large list of rockers, who has been the most responsive and fun person
Andrew Haug: You know what's funny man,
people ask me who's been the best person it depends cause some are
face to face and others are on the phone! James Hetfield was certainly
a massive highlight for me face to face before the sold out Myer Music
Bowl show back in 2005. Ozzy I've met a couple of times face to face
which is just a highlight in itself because he's completely done it
all and then some [laughs]. It's hard man there's heaps, Danny Carey
from Tool was awesome, he was showing me his drum kit after the interview
earlier this year which was cool. Most people have been great. I just
take them all as people, I don't look at them as anything bigger or
smaller than myself. I interviewed Vinnie Paul this morning and that
was hard, I was nervous doing that interview. Dimebag's death still
cuts me, it cuts everybody up, the way it happened and it's the most
horrific moment in metal ever. Vinnie lost his brother, I play in
a band with my brother and I know I'd be lost without Paul if anything
Metal Fanatix: Yeah I guess doing an
interview like that really brings everything back home!
Andrew Haug: Yeah exactly, Vinnie was
cool. He's obviously been asked a few questions and I didn't really
dig deep. We all know what happened I didn't see the need to re-visit
it but getting back to your question he was great to chat with.
Metal Fanatix: Who is the one band you
never want to hear again and why?
Andrew Haug: Disturbed [laughs]
Metal Fanatix: Really?
Andrew Haug: Yeah I interviewed Dave
Draiman and the other dude and it did nothing for me man! There's
some bands I interview that I'm not 100% into but I know the audience
want to hear from them so I do my homework and make sure the interviews
enjoyable, now I sometimes interview bands I'm not into where the
chats have been great but I just didn't get anything from speaking
to them and musically nothing at all! That's probably one of the only
interviews that comes to mind where I have asked them standard questions
and getting 'I don't want to be doing this answers!
Metal Fanatix: Andrew I want to thank
you again for your time today! It's been a pleasure, do you have any
last words for our readers?
Andrew Haug: Obviously thanks for taking
notice of the band I'm playing in cause obviously not everyone knows
us and obviously I can't play our stuff on the radio show!
Metal Fanatix: Wow, really?
Andrew Haug: Yeah it's a policy of the
ABC that I can't play contrive music on the show
Metal Fanatix: Shit dude I didn't know
Andrew Haug: Yeah that's what's odd
about the position I'm in, people think I'm in the upper hand position
when they don't realize it's harder for us than most people. Thanks
to those who have taken the time to hear about us and check us out.
I know we've got a long way to go to spread the word and obviously
with site's like yourself and your support certainly helps get the
word out there for what we do. We love what we do and we're proud
of it. We want people to check it out. I also want to just thank everyone
for sticking with this kind of music, it's all we've got, life's too
short to bitch that Slipknots just not brutal and all that shit.
Grab your copy of 'The Meaning Unseen' where
all thrashin metal albums are sold!
To keep up with all the latest news & much more on Contrive check
out the following websites:
- Official Contrive Site
- Contrive MySpace Site
- Inside Out 666
© Cameron Edney May, September 2007 Not to be re-printed in any
form without written permission.