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Interview

TheDownGoing's Mathias Huxley Explains Debut Full-Length Album "I Am Become"

Australian godless two piece grinders thedowngoing have recently birthed the unholy abomination that is their debut album "I Am Become." Mastered by Alan Douches in New York and recorded in Sydney, the new album is the band's first full-length foray into the chaos of grindcore.

Describing the theme of the album, guitarist/vocalist Mathias Huxley stated, "'I Am Become' is our first CD, and is based around the birth of thedowngoing. Lyrically, the album focuses on a broad range of topics, but which all can be related back to the central theme of beginning, like the birth of nihilism and the void caused by that, for example." Throughout our interview Mathias explained the band's birth, his attraction to the ferocity of grindcore, and the album's distinctive artwork.

xFiruath: What is your personal history in music and what first got you into heavy metal?

Mathias: I’ve been playing guitar for ten odd years, but it was only when I started writing my own music that a deeper fascination with music began, inspired by the epic movements of progressive rock and their often elaborate lyrical themes. My musical preferences shifted to reflect a heavier, darker side of music, and this is where metal filled the void. After much exploration of metal and its sub-genres, I was attracted to the velocity, ferocity and non-linear structure of grindcore, as the limits of music were seemingly being bent and broken in front of me at crushing speed.

xFiruath: What bands have influenced your own development as a musician?

Mathias: I draw influence from a wide range of sources. Within the grind spectrum bands like Discordance Axis, Mortalized, The Kill, and Insect Warfare have had a big impact on the sound of thedowngoing, as have more abrasive noise artists like Deathstorm and 7 minutes of Nausea. Non-grind influences are wide and varied, with prog-rocking King Crimson, pioneering thrashers Slayer, innovative metallers Destroyer Destroyer, and doomy Electric Wizard being just some of the bands and artists to have influenced my own development as a musician, whether as a guitarist or vocalist or both.

xFiruath: How do the members of thedowngoing know each other and how did the band form?

Mathias: Me and Muzz met at a music TAFE course, akin to community college in the states, and found we had a similar taste in music. During our studies, ha, we hung out and started jamming. Muzz took up the duties behind the kit and we realised that between the two of us, we didn’t need anyone else to make a hell of a racket. We had this great space above the Spanish Club in the heart of Sydney where we lived and practiced, and eventually threw our first gig up there on the top floor with Sydney grinders Kill A Celebrity.

xFiruath: How would you describe the sound of the band?

Mathias: Chaotic two piece grindcore. Heavily distorted, down-tuned guitar, frantic, blastbeat laden drumming, with highly abrasive vocals and samples thrown in to offer some insight into the aural carnage.

xFiruath: Tell me a bit about the new album “I Am Become.” Is there a theme to the album?

Mathias: “I Am Become” is our first CD, and is based around the birth of thedowngoing. Lyrically, the album focuses on a broad range of topics, but which all can be related back to the central theme of beginning, like the birth of nihilism and the void caused by that, for example. “I Am Become” is a reference to J. Robert Oppenheimer, father of the atomic bomb, symbolic of the birth of thedowngoing and the ensuing destruction caused by it.

xFiruath: Where was the album recorded and is this a self-produced effort?

Mathias: “I Am Become” was recorded and mixed by Michael Taverner at The Brain Studios Surry Hills in Sydney. The CD was mastered by Alan Douches at West Side Music NY, who we were chuffed to be working with, considering his history mastering for bands such as The Dillinger Escape Plan, Mastodon, Cannibal Corpse, Genghis Tron, etc.

xFiruath: Who handled the artwork and does it hold any particular meaning to the music?

Mathias: The artwork was created by Australian artist Grant Hunter. We were really happy to be working with Grant on the packaging for this release, and the design he came up with was a great visual representation of the themes running through I Am Become, sticking with the birth motif. The artwork is quite distinctive, which is awesome for us, as we’re never content to just sit amongst the pack and follow suit.

xFiruath: Will thedowngoing be performing any live shows in support of the new album?

Mathias: We launched the CD here in Sydney a few months back, before Muzz headed overseas. He’s in Germany at the moment, driving around and seeing the sights, so we won’t be performing any gigs in the near future. Once he returns to Australia though, we’ll be releasing our next CD, hopefully a split, and be touring all around to support it. And if everything goes to plan and funds are available, we’ll be planning some international touring as well. Fingers crossed we can make our way the U.S. one day to play some of our noise for you folk.

xFiruath: What is your local metal scene like?

Mathias: Sydney is a funny place for music. There’s always metal playing somewhere most nights, so I suppose it’s strong, although there seems an abundance of forgettable bands playing more derivative death or metalcore, or deathcore or whatever is hip at the moment. Despite this, there are no shortage of awesome Australian bands. But it can be a challenge for local bands to find a healthy support base, with the perception being that overseas bands are better than local bands, especially with summer approaching and hundreds of international bands descending on Australian shores for the festivals charging hundreds of dollars for admission while local bands struggle to draw a crowd with a five or ten dollar cover charge at the local pub. It’s possible that with such a large country and small population that there simply just aren’t enough music fans to support the artists creating music for the more niche markets in Australia, especially when the market is saturated with options and heavily weighted towards more popular types of music. Maybe that’s why so many of the great Australian bands head overseas to more lucrative markets first chance they get.

xFiruath: What bands and albums are you listening to lately?

Mathias: I’ve recently been listening to Hailstones Kill 200 from Perth. The new Dad They Broke Me is on high rotation in my car. Been on a bit of a breakcore binge, namely Venetian Snares and Dev/Null, just finished listening to Noism. And I’m digging some stoney doomed-out stuff like The Misanthrope Project and Buried At Sea for late night listening.

xFiruath: Anything at all about the state of metal today you’d like to praise or bitch about?

Mathias: Less drum triggers. That is all.

xFiruath: Anything else at all you’d like to discuss?

Mathias: We just hope that our chaotic noise will find some news fans in the land of the stars and stripes, so we thank Metal Underground for their support of our noisey two piece grind, and of course, the reader, for supporting extreme music. Together, let’s keep pushing the envelope.

xFiruath's avatar

Ty Arthur is a freelance writer who writes for both entertainment and technical instruction sites. An avid fan of many different forms of metal, he has been involved in reviewing music for several years and is currently a contributing editor for Metalunderground.com

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