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Interview: Mark Hosking from Karnivool


Perth prog-rockers Karnivool have announced a tour of Australia’s east coast, in an event dubbed ‘The Pre-Animation Tour’, following on from their west coast tour earlier this year. We had a chat with the band’s guitarist Mark ‘Hoss’ Hosking about their current tour, the band’s relationship with their fans, and smelly cheese!

How do you guys feel you’ve matured since your last album?

I think we might have matured in a few different areas, as people I think we been de-evolving, I’m pretty sure we’re as immature as ever, possibly more so (laughs). It certainly feels like it on the daily. But yeah, I think musically we’ve definitely matured now, you can’t help but mature the more time you spend with people.

We’re always trying to sort of not so much better ourselves, but just try and continue on the tangent we’ve taken as far as the music goes. I think you’d say that we like to challenge ourselves in many different ways. Musically, I guess that’s part of maturing I guess you’d say? Kind of like awfully stinky cheese?

Nice analogy!

(Laughs) Maybe wine, maybe we’ll go with wine instead of cheese.

Yeah, wine’s a bit less smelly. So how would you describe the songwriting process at this point in your career? Is it a bit old hat, or do you still have the occasional problems with it?

It’s a fairly disjointed process for us, always has been always will be. Some songs take a long time to come together and others come quite quickly. We’re always trying to intentionally write differently and put songs together in different manners. That’s certainly no exception on this album, it sort of begins with pieces and those pieces grow together and get pulled apart together.

It’s just a convoluted process of watching something form and then de-form and form again, it just keeps doing this over a long period of process until we’re forced by the nature of time to have an end date. I think if we didn’t have people around us saying “These songs have to end”, these songs would  probably just keep going and keep being re-written for years and years and years. I don’t think we’d even have released an album if people had told us we’d had to have it done by date ‘x’. So yeah it’s a funny process for us man, but it does get results in the end.

Speaking of release schedules, do you guys feel you’re pretty good at building anticipation for your next album, considering it’s coming up for three years since ‘Asymmetry’?

Yeah, the anticipation thing is important. As much as writing the album, you’ve got to build a plan for release and post-release. That’s where management comes in and good conversations and good communication is important. I guess it’s probably easier for us to build anticipation as than it is for the average pop band who releases an album every 12 months or so, because we do have that longevity between albums.

We can start building hype about a year or so before release and it’s been over a year and a half since our last release, so I hope we’re at an advantage there. I’d say it’s definitely part of it. There’s definitely a bit of showmanship, a bit of stage presence involved there. You want it to be impactful and you want the audience to get the most out of it. You try and make it as big of an event as you can, I guess.

Would you say you guys have sort of a special relationship with your fans?

I’d say this type of music we do develops a real strong fanbase, with the people who buy it and kind of listen to it. I don’t know many bands outside of this kind of music whose fanbase would wait three and a half years for the next release. We could be away for 12 months from an area or territory and return to that area and have people singing songs and knowing all the lyrics.

It’s definitely a movement as such and we’re very humbled by that, and we’re very very lucky to have that. I think there’s so many bands who don’t have that and I think it’s an amazing thing for us. It’s definitely been one of the things that’s allowed us to kind of keep going and have such a long career, I think!

So for your upcoming tour can we expect to hear any songs off the new album?

Yeah absolutely man man, we’ve always done that. In the past with the ‘Asymmetry’ and ‘Sound Awake’ tours we’ve played songs that are only 75 per cent or 80 per cent finished. We’ve taken them out on the road and performed them pre-album release. Even to the point where we’ve performed them, gone away and said “How did that go?”.

In a way the performances are almost a check on where the song’s at and it allows us to change the song accordingly. We enjoy that, we enjoy the interaction and what that creates and does for the song. So yeah, we’ll definitely be playing some new songs on this upcoming tour around Australia, which we’re looking forward to and getting some feedback from people on what they think of these new songs and see what happens to all of it!

So do you feel it’s important to road test a song before you end up finishing it completely?

I think every band is different. I think again because of our style and nature of our music I feel it’s a great idea and it really works. I can’t see Britney Spears getting away with it (laughs), but I think we’re okay to do that. I think we wouldn’t have to do it, but I’m happy to say we take full advantage of that.

Just out of curiosity, is there a tentative release date or title we could expect for the new album?

Not really man, we do have some titles floating around but we probably won’t throw those ones out publicly until the release date. As far as the release schedule goes, we just want to put this thing out when it’s ready. At this point in time it just seems like a shame to rush it together, so we want to get it right. We like what we’ve got and we’re enjoying the music that’s coming out of us. As far as the release date goes, I would say sometime early to the middle of next year, depending on us being happy with what we have…

Lastly, is there anything you want to say to your fans ahead of this tour?

Thanks for the long period of support, thanks for sticking with us. I know we’re a little slow when it comes to writing music and a little pedantic when it comes to music. The studio for us is where the work is done, when we play live it’s our holiday and our chance to have some fun. We hope that crowds can come and we can have some fun with that! That’s really part of our journey and what we want to share with the people who like our music!

Karnivool Pre-Animation Tour Dates

The Spotted Cow, Toowoomba
The Triffid, Brisbane
Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide
The Wool Exchange, Geelong
The Croxton, Melbourne
Uni Bar, Hobart

Get Tickets HERE

Karnivool Mid 2016 Tour Poster