Hemina | Album Release: Venus | Interview
Hemina, a 4 piece progressive metal band from Sydney, released their third studio album, Venus, on the 11th of November 2016. It is an 80 minute record incorporating themes of domestic violence, relationships and individuality in the 21st century with a narrative arc.
Ellen Rosie, from the Moshpit on SYN caught up with Douglas Skene, the lead vocalist and lead guitarist for Hemina, to find out more about the album release and subsequent tour.
Hemina’s new album Venus, has been described as detailing and examining domestic violence, relationships and individuality in the 21st century, also with a narrative involved, what inspired the idea behind the album and these themes?
It pretty much all originated from my time working on government social work. I saw the trials and tribulations of family situations and how people get lost in the darkness even when they call it love. This album is an observation on how relationships can go sour once the trust has been broken and people persevere after the point of no return.
How is Venus different from Hemina’s previous albums, and what can fans expect to hear?
This is the most unified songwriting experience to date. With the most collaborative rhythmic writing from new drummer Nathan McMahon we were able to push the feels of songs in a direction I would have never thought possible as a measly guitarist and vocalist 😛 The 4 part vocals have always been a big part but I guess there is a different 4th voice this time and there is a bit of a return to more shared lead vocals with Mitch Coull singing more leads like how we had it on our debut album ‘Synthetic’.
How was it supporting Queensrÿche in Sydney? Are they a band you’ve looked up to in the past?
‘Rage for Order’ is one of my favourite albums of all time. It was phenomenal to see Queensryche 10 years after I watched them from the pit when LORD supported them the first time. They’re playing with a renewed fire with Todd LaTorre as frontman, and it pleases me to hear both new and old material being performed with such vigour and intensity. Being able to play on the same bill was an amazing opportunity even if the night was riddled with many technical difficulties.
How do you feel like line up changes have impacted on the band?
The band is smaller now in terms of personnel. It’s always been a close band especially given that Jess and I are married, however bringing a new member into the band in the form of Nathan means that the 4 of us are just super close as a unit. It’s like a family that comes together to play some tunes and share some good times in a way that we never had before.
As stated on your website, you recorded the album Venus entirely on your own, except for Ermin Hamidovic (who has worked with Periphery, Devin Townsend and Plini) who mastered it. Is there a reason you chose to self-record the album? And how do you feel like it impacted on the final result?
This primarily comes out of financial reasons to begin with as recording an album in the studio in 2016 especially when it’s heavily layered, technical and ~80 minutes long is prohibitively expensive. This is exemplified when you take into account the decline in record sales within the industry as a whole. I am extremely passionate about music production too so I really wanted to test my mixing skills and shape the album the best I could for what the band was after. When you’re so involved in the creation of the record from the composition down to the mixing and sequencing, it helps to have a fresh set of ears for the master and Ermin was easy and professional to work with. He has done so many great albums and he gave our album a very consistent sound from what I hope was already a very solid mix. I have really only heard positive comments about the production or no comments at all which I assume means it just sounds like the same calibre as other music out there.
You have some tour dates coming up in November and December for the album launch, what is your favourite thing about taking your show on the road and going on tour?
It’s a challenge to play the tough technical songs which is a good pressure cooker to place yourself in. You can get away with a lot in the studio with multiple takes and editing and the live performances forces you to be on your game. The most enjoyable moments just come from playing on stage with your close friends and grooving the fuck out in the heavy sections and seeing people dig it in the crowd.
What do you look forward to happening next for Hemina after the album launch shows?
I feel like I am going on about this a lot lately but I really want to play in Europe even if it’s just a few select shows to places with our most number of fans. I really feel like we NEED to do this in 2017 and after there it’s just about writing and releasing more of our strongest material we can. Japan is also another place I’d love to play as I am a bit obsessed with the culture.
Written by Ellen Rosie
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