Interview with Matt Heywood of Our Last Enemy
by Anna Denejkina
An Interview with Matt Heywood of Our Last Enemy
Written for Voltage Media
Originally published on April 18, 2011
The last time that I had the pleasure of catching this band live, I firmly planted them in the “why are they not huge yet?” category, and now – the question still remains, but they are surely climbing the ladder higher and faster.
Currently on the second leg of their national ‘Tearing Down The Empire’ tour, in support of the debut album, Fallen Empires, Our Last Enemy is rapidly finding themselves to becoming a part of the select group of Australian metal bands who are leading the horde.
The Sydney-based, industrial-infused metal quintet, has experienced line-up changes leaving a sour taste on former members’ tongues, and even a life on the other side of the globe, all in the view of advancing their sound and progressing as a band.
Catching up with bass guitarist, Matt Heywood, was an interesting affair, with his insouciant manner being broken only by an amusingly spilt cup of tea, which he fervently tried to cover up, before we continued into the patio of a café to discuss tour plans, the band’s current writing, opinion on industry and even hindsight of past live shows.
“We’re always touring, we always have like a month off and then go out, so it’s good to go out and live like pirates again,” explained Matt as we discussed the touring cycle of the band.
“We might be busting out a cover,” he continued. “We’ve got a couple, so we don’t know which one yet.” It was evident, at this point, that he wanted to keep his mouth shut as to the moniker of the bands that Our Last Enemy is planning on exploring, but after some persuasion, Matt gave a hint of The Prodigy, alas, only as a maybe. “Everything is a democracy, so it’s going to get voted on,” he clarified.
Some things, however, that can be expected live, are the re-working of the set, perhaps stage props and the band definitely pushing the ante with their already exhilarating live show.
“We always like to be the wolf in wolves clothing, rather than a sheep in wolves clothing, meaning that we play heavy and aggressive music, so the show needs to be along those lines.”
For anyone who has experienced their live-show, a theme of B-grade horror seems to pop up into one’s mind, Matt however, disagrees, seeing their stage presence as “more of music theater, rather than B-grade.”
Matt told me about a new piece that the band was working on prior to the first date of their tour, and expected it to be ready for their shows. Dubbing the song as the “train riff”, whilst still in the works, he expressed that it is “definitely more on the industrial side and probably a little bit more fast-paced.”
Our Last Enemy is a band that is constantly working, and if they are not touring they are writing new material – tentatively scheduling a new release in the form on an EP. “It’s most likely going to be an EP,” commented Matt. “It’s going to be about five or six songs long, maybe seven. We plan to put a cover on there – one that we’re not playing live, one that we’ve never played live before. What I do know is that it’s going to be a bit more of a dangerous sound.”
Another mention of a cover leads to more of my urging him to reveal the name of the band and title of the track. So, who they are considering? Well, Matt gave a very business minded answer that definitely brought on a chuckle.
“If I tell you, what if some other band goes out and does it before us?!” he asked me in a manner covered in nonchalance and a slight, yet amusing, touch of smart-arsery [sic].
“They are an Australian band, they’re not heavy metal. They’re not even heavy, but they were very popular.” After this assertion, facts that the band is circa 1980, and that they are definitely not Midnight Oil came out.
Moving onto the matter of Our Last Enemy’s debut full-length release, the aforementionedFallen Empires, Matt could only describe the experience of working on the record as being “given a baptism of fire.”
The band found itself relocating to the city of Angels for a three month period, to work on the album with famed producer, Christian Olde Wolbers. And after some hold backs, the physical record finally came out through Australian-based metal label, Riot! Entertainment.
Matt continued. “We don’t concentrate that much on album sales. It’s not on our radar at the moment. Our radar is live shows, so we don’t count on album sales at the moment.”
“I still believe that people still like the physical CD. Physical albums will eventually die out,” he explained, “but I don’t see it happening in the next five years.”
An interesting development ensued during the time that this interview was conducted and its publishing, as Our Last Enemy decided to release Fallen Empires digitally through iTunes, finding themselves reaching the number one spot on the metal charts within a mere forty-eight hours. This feat saw the metallers knock off North Carolina-based metal outfit,Between The Buried And Me, and their latest EP release, ‘The Paralax: Hypersleep Dialogues’ from the coveted, number one spot.
Taking another turn in direction of the interview, Matt and I discussed the band’s participation in the inaugural Miss Alternative event, a platform which can be translated as another fashion pageant, throwing in more tattoos, piercings and big hair.
“I have two thoughts,” he began. “First, I don’t really like the fact of someone telling someone else that someone else is better looking than you. I don’t believe in it. I don’t agree that someone is the prettiest girl out of all the other girls.”
“These days, the line between what is considered alternative and what is mainstream is very blurred. I mean piercings and tattoos are everywhere now,” he stressed. “If you really want to be alternative, just cut your hair short and tuck your T-shirt in.”
Almost interrupting himself to comment on the show side of things, he expressed that “on the flip-side, it was a fun event, it was a good show.”
Nevertheless, his prior opinion on the judgmental factor didn’t deter him, as he continued to underline that this is an event that has to be taken with a grain of salt, and if taken too seriously, “I can really see some people getting hurt emotionally – which I don’t really back. If I was in a relationship, and had a girlfriend who wanted to go in the show, I would probably advise her that it wouldn’t be the best idea.”