An Interview With Andy Marsh
1. The band recently wrapped up The Decade Of Hate tour, where you played 'Hate' in its entirety across multiple continents. How was the crowd's reaction to the set and was it cathartic to give some of those songs a proper send-off?
The response was truly amazing, not just at home in Australia but throughout the US, Europe, and the UK. I think it speaks to the weight of the album to have so many people come out to celebrate its anniversary with us. Cathartic wouldn’t be the right way to describe the tour, we did right around 400 shows across the world on the initial Hate World tour, and we definitely got it out of our system. What was amazing for us was to meld the more advanced production and professionalism we dedicate to our live shows these days, and bring those songs from way back into the modern era of Thy Art. It was a nice novelty for us, maybe just a touch of nostalgia and a reminder of where this journey started.
2. 'Godlike' is the first Thy Art Is Murder album to be released on your own label, Human Warfare. How has the experience been so far in preparing the album yourself as opposed to running it through another label?
It's not truly the first, as I tested the waters out as far back as Dear Desolation by releasing the record in Australia and New Zealand, to become more familiar with the work and responsibility involved. It was just a natural progression to want to bring this level of control, independence and creative freedom, and flexibility to our band throughout the world. I suppose the biggest difference if you can stomach it, is working those extra few hours every night to ensure delivery. It's a lot of stress but incredibly rewarding to be responsible for every step of bringing the album from our brains to the fan's ears.
3. This new record offers some of the most diverse songs you have written as a band, from the musical arrangements to lyrics while still maintaining the sound your fans know you for. Tracks like "Everything Unwanted" and "Bermuda" feels like you are stepping outside of your comfort zone ... was this a conscious effort or just something that happened during the writing process?
Honestly, I think this is just a by-product of the big break we took. A lot of bands were pretty active in the time off live streaming performances and pushing to put albums together. Through either mystical foresight or sheer laziness, we chose to spend the time completely away from music hanging out with each other and enjoying the first real time away from the road in ten long years. A lot of muscle memory develops when you’re playing your own songs night after night and losing some of those patterns and familiarity on the instrument absolutely helped us go towards new sounds in the music. Consciously we embraced what was new, but we definitely weren’t forcing ourselves to try something different, it came quite naturally.
4. Take us through the first single "Join Me In Armageddeon". Who directed the video and did you guys collaborate on the lyrical themes to tie in with the visuals? The breakdown juxtaposed with the nuclear fallout is intense.
Our good friend and old collaborator Third Eye Visuals directed the clip, he had previously handled the Puppet Master music video as well as all the animation for the Killing Season clip. The only idea we really had when we begun writing Armageddon was this idea of a doomsday clock counting down, seemed to sum up these boiling tensions throughout the world, we never thought it would become so literal as it has lately.
5. Three years ago you launched Merch Warfare, an Australian-based online retailer that carries your own band as well as merch from Shadow of Intent, Fit For An Autopsy, Kublai Kahn, and more. There is so much minutia running a merch company ... were there any challenges you didn't expect to deal with on the day-to-day operations?
One of the benefits of all the idle time in the last few years was learning how to build a web store. We were in need of a place to sell TAIM's merch within Australia and New Zealand and naturally, once I had figured out how to streamline that process I wanted to help other niche metal bands sell their merch down here. Producing the garments in Australia helps our screen printing businesses and keeps the cost of shipping down for the fans. The most challenging aspects were teaching myself how to code, build out all the systems for inventory management and figure out how to provide live and shipping rates. It's been an amazing learning curve and I’m learning more every week. I really love merch!
6. Speaking of merch, what are some of your favorite Thy Art designs you have done over the years, and which design do you dig the most out of the Godlike pre-order?
The album tee features an alternative cover design that we didn’t end up using but I am personally in love with it, so I'm super stoked on that one. Of all the TAIM designs over the years, and there are hundreds of them, I return to some of the classics. The Evil Pope design is an absolute classic, as well as the Not Afraid long sleeve with the lyrics from They Will Know Another. I am a massive fan of Mark Riddick's work so every time we have the privilege of printing one of his designs it immediately becomes one of my favorites.
7. How can I get my hands on your wine collaboration "Purest Strain Of Grape?" We need this in the States!
Sadly that release is long sold out! It was a great success getting to work on some other ‘merch’ ideas that I am super passionate about given my love of wine, beer, and cocktails. We’ve now done a wine, two beers, a whiskey, and a vodka. I think a nice Australian rum and a tequila made using Australian ingredients are next on the list!
An Interview With Andy Marsh