Menu Subscribe Search



Subscribe for the Latest Music News

Enter your email address below to subscribe to a regular(ish) dose of AAA Backstage goodness direct to your inbox.

Interview: Mac The Knife Chat About Their Latest Offering, ‘Labour In Vein’

Eora/Sydney-based post-punk quintet, Mac the Knife, have just released their angsty punk-rock anthem ‘Labour In Vain‘ – produced by Michael Kuhle and engineered and mixed by Nick Hatzakos at A Sharp Recording Studios, Eora/Sydney. We had a chat with the band to get behind the single and musical influences, learn more about their writing process and more!

What was the main inspiration behind ‘Labour in Vain’?

(From Bryn) ‘Labour in Vain’ was the last song written for the E.P. Throughout the last few years, thanks to a bunch of therapy, I’ve come to realise how much weight I put on the opinions of others. A back-breaking amount of weight, in fact. I’m in the uniquely frustrating position of being a socially anxious extrovert.

On one hand, I’m a social butterfly who craves constant interaction. But on the other hand, I’ve spent countless nights fretting over a stranger’s opinion, and endless mornings regretting interactions and replaying conversations.

‘Labour In Vain’ is a battle cry to triumph over the fear of judgements of others. This song is a love letter to being a better you, to acknowledging your shit and working through it. But more importantly, to be happy with who you are without the validation of others. A reminder that fear only holds control over you, if you allow it to.

What are everyone’s roles in the band?

Bryn, on vocals, is our fearless frontman. He writes all the lyrics by digging deep into that tortured soul of his, creating tunes that try to unpack and reflect his own experiences in life.

Loves to have a little climb onto every available surface during our gigs. Bar tops beware!

Curtis, on lead guitar, is our master of shred. A tall, handsome drink of water, who can come up with a smoking hot riff in less time than it takes you to figure out how to spell his last name (Van Haasteren).

Gerry, on rhythm guitar, is ready to bring the ruckus no matter the occasion. He hits the fretboard with an energy that could only belong to a Roosters fan.

On the kit, we have Jonny “the boom boom” Sandstrom. Jonny is an absolute wizz, having grown up playing music since before he could walk thanks to his music teacher father (shout out Graeme). Jonny plays hard, Jonny plays fast, but most of all, Jonny plays our hearts.

And last, but not least, on the Bass, the mystical Anthony Delorenzo, DeLo for short. By day, you can catch DeLo coming up with tight low-frequency riffs and dissecting brains. But by night he’s probably running a phat rave under a bridge somewhere in Botany.

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Here at Mac the knife industries, we take inspiration from a wide variety of artists. Musically we love Idles, Fontaines D.C, The Murder Capital, Bowie, Shame, The Peep Temple, and Joy Division to name just a few. However, our number one most influential artist is definitely The Strokes. The sense of nostalgia they create with their riffs and soundscapes is unparalleled and we strive to induce the same kind of reaction in our listeners.

Lyrically we’re hugely inspired by poets such as W.H Auden and T.S. Elliot, and our Queen, Patti Smith.

What’s your writing process like?

Go out. Have some bevs. Walk home. Think of some lyrics. Write lyrics down drunkenly. Forget about lyrics for 2-6 weeks. Rediscover lyrics. Try to de-code what drunken self wrote. Use decoded lyrics as a springboard for more lyrics. Write some piping hot music to go underneath and VOILA!

But in all seriousness, it’s constantly evolving. Bryn writes down every single thought that pops into his head (you should see his notes, they are bursting at the seams) and then strings them together. ‘Labour in Vain’ is a compendium of about five or six different memos around the same themes. Sometimes Bryn writes the entire song in one sitting, lyrics and all, and brings it to the band ready to go. Other times, someone will come in with an idea that we’ll jam on for a while until it’s cooking. There are so many ways to approach it, that’s what makes writing so fun.

If you could share a bill with any band, who would you choose?

Tough question, but at the moment the first artist that comes to mind is Genesis Owusu. Man, he is out of this world. We saw him for the first time at Splendor in the Grass this year and our jaws were on the muddy floor the entire set. His showmanship and energy are so inspiring to us.

How do you plan on finishing off the year?

We’re launching our new single ‘Labour in Vain’ at the House of Music and Booze on October 28th which is sure to be a barn burner. We then have a video clip releasing for it in mid-November, along with some pretty fun shows lined up. Then we’ll have the next single from our second EP ‘In the Shadow of it All’ releasing early next year. Busy times!

Written by John Zebra