Interview: Karoshi

I recently featured the song Become by Karoshi in a round-up review of songs featuring elements of metal music. I thought they had quite a unique sound to their music so decided to find out more – read on below for more info!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a single titled Become, which we reviewed. What can you tell us about the track and where can it be purchased?

The track came about with music first – the entire song was almost written before any melody/lyrics were considered (the working title was Dark Castle). This is a typical process for us, as we then trial the melody/lyrics to go with the music once we have the music right.

The track features Chris Dubrow of iNsuRge, how did the collaboration come about?

I played the music for a mate of mine (Andrew from the Scars & Guitars podcast – check it out), and he said it sounded a bit like iNsuRge. I told Mark, and the next thing I knew Mark had reached out to Chris via social media (we didn’t know him at all), had sent him the music, and he came back saying he loved it, so he had full creative license for what the vocals would be – he did an amazing job. There are so few singers of his calibre out there; it was an honour to be able to work with him. His message on it was so timely. You just want to grab people and shake them, saying: this is important, listen to it.

e created a music video for it reflecting the content, but YouTube banned it. (You can see it on Vimeohttps://vi…/506666049).

What is the writing and recording process like for you?

It comes about in one of two ways (with two guys in the band) – I will come up with a riff or a verse/chorus idea, then demo it on Pro Tools and send it to Mark to have a play and weave his magic. Mark does the same – he will put together some ideas and send them over with a guide to what he is thinking for the guitars, or if I have free reign to create something new. Recording is pretty much the same for us – guitars don’t take long; the song is written and the programming is done already. The vocals get some work, then we have to work out how to get all the sounds/layers balanced so the track sounds as massive as possible.

Have you got any plans to release a full-length album or an EP anytime soon?

I think the next release will be an EP, perhaps in the second half of the year. We did an EP in March 2021, then released a single around October last year, so with the new tracks we will most likely get five or six together before we put them out (unless we change our minds!)
Our tracks take ages to write – they start very slow, but end quickly. Having frequent releases is important whilst your following is growing. For us to write a dozen thematically cohesive tracks could take years. The shorter releases allow us more freedom thematically.

Whereabouts are you based and what is the music scene like in your part of the world?

We live in Brisbane, where the live music scene is the best (or one of) in Australia as there are many venues ranging in size with bands most night of the week. I grew up in Sydney and there is nothing close to those options there, so it’s a great place to be a musician and a music fan.

Fun fact: there are more band venues per square kilometre in Brisbane than anywhere else in Australia.

Do you plan to release any singles at any point in the near future?

No new singles planned – as previously mentioned, we released a double-A side in October (FUN4EVRY1/Pinhead (Ramones cover)) but we’ll keep the new tracks for the EP. However, if we have another collaboration, that would be a single release. And we do like collaborating.

What/who influences you most as a band? What have you been listening to recently?

I have always been influenced by music that stops me in my tracks, usually because it would be something I have never heard before. For example, I remember where I was when I heard Living Colour for the first time as their music was like nothing I had heard before (go listen to Funny Vibe if you’re not familiar with Living Colour – unreal), but I also need the music to have energy. Not necessarily fast or heavy music (although that is preferred for me), but just something that makes me move, which we have incorporated as the Karoshi #1 rule – does the music make you dance? If not, it gets reworked or put away.

Being at home lately, I have been revisiting some old influences – I watched The Song Remains The Same a couple of days ago, as well as some live Faith No More footage from their reunion tour.

Also, the whole 90s big beat movement out of the UK is writ large on our tracks. The fundamental element in that era was the big thumping drums, all tonally shifted down to be thumpier. We’ve mixed in the heavy bass that came out of the 2010s dubstep scene and then somehow wrapped it all around roaring guitars. There are some acts that sort of do this, but the guitars are always minor in the mix. We’ve tried to make them equal and as such, you get a rawer more energetic sound.

Has the pandemic hindered your work much?

It has – at the time of writing, I currently have COVID (the back end of it) and we had to postpone recording last week because of it (our engineer at the studio has it too). However, there have been times when there has been a great output of new music during these times. I think that’s been the same for most bands to be honest; however, I don’t want any songs to be about lockdowns as it’s been done to death.

Do you have any tour dates lined up? What can people expect from one of your shows and why should people come and see you perform live?

We were due to play in two weeks but that has been postponed due to COVID, so our next gig is in Brisbane on February 20th at King Lear’s Throne (details are on our website www.karoshi.band or on Facebook).

Any last words for the fans?

We live in challenging times. Studies show listening to heavy or angry music is calming. So, when things get tough, put on your favourite track and turn it up. Shout, dance, scream. It’s the answer.