Darkness falls across the land and the bitter smell of foreboding encroaches upon the acrid winds, with howling tales of impending doom drifting listlessly through the midnight air.
And why the hopelessly b-grade slasher intro you may ask? Well because Melbourne locals Graveyard Train are preparing to ravage our fair nation with the release of a new album and subsequent national tour. With this comes the promise of terrifyingly infectious live performances showcasing their rollicking librettos, stomping rhythms and signature’ je ne sais quoi’, that the band themselves have trouble attributing a name too. All that you can do is run – don’t walk – to see these masters of the macabre spin a tale of woe in an ‘oh so pleasing’ way.
“I guess these days I’m just really concerned with death,” explains Graveyard Train singer and guitarist Nick Finch, with a laugh.
“I mean, it terrifies me, so that’s what I tend to write songs about… there’s a lot of death on this album,” he admits, and with a name like Graveyard Train one comes to expect at least a little bit of nefarious narrative, a presumption the band have been more than happy to deliver to audiences across the globe.
“It really started out as an exercise in song writing I suppose, like where if you have a love song you just sort of chuck a ghost in there,” Finch explains, when questioned about the unique, and in some cases questionable, themes of Graveyard Trains’ often macabre music.
It’s not all too serious however Finch assures, acknowledging that the shadowy themes in his songwriting are approached more like that of a ghost story, than a coroners’ report.
“I just thought a horror country theme would be really fun in a song-writing sense and it was just sort of a fun idea to see how far we could take that theme”.
It is that theme that has certainly proven to be a breadwinner for these seven Melbourne musicians, who Finch affectionately describes as “a bunch of drunks and a bunch of idiots.”
“We actually do set pretty high standards for ourselves,” Finch is quick to add, and he has the muniments behind him to prove this, with the band having released two successful LP’s to date, as well as acclaimed festival highlights at the likes of Golden Plains, Meredith Music Festival and Canada’s Vancouver Folk Festival.
Despite their strong reputation for killer (pardon the pun) live shows, Finch admits that the band acknowledged that this album required their undivided attention.
“Well we were going to just get into the studio when we could between tours, but it just didn’t really work because we weren’t focussed enough and we weren’t happy with what we were doing. So it was just a conscious decision to say ‘right’, lets just takes a few months off and finish all the bits and pieces.”
A move that seems to have paid off for the band, with Finch expressing his satisfaction with the record, but acknowledging the time off has all the members itching to re-acquaint themselves with the open road and their rambunctious live shows.
“We had heaps of fun in the studio and I think we have made a pretty good record, but we definitely love playing live, and that’s where all the fun is. We’re such a big band though, there’s so many of us, it’s kind of like this horrible Contiki tour sort of thing when we get on the road, this kind of big travelling booze-bus,” he explains with a laugh.
It’s just another quirk in the unique outfit that is Graveyard Train. With their new album, Hollow, ready for release on May 12th and a national album tour kicking off the same month, there is plenty more to look forward to from these seven spooky Melbournians.