Covers for the Masses... Andy Dowling Speaks Out.
Australia has seen some really great ungrounded bands come put in the last 2 decade such as Addictive, Allegiance, Hobbs Angel of Death, Misery, Dungeon and now Lord, not a new band but were the band that came from the ashes of 'Dungeon', with Lord Tim vocals. guitar, along with bassist Andy Dowling, who met up with guitarist Mark Furtner in later years.
The band have had some guitar line up changes as well as drummers but the 3 members have come along way since the early days. Lord's 1st album was basically just Tim who played all the guitars, vocals and drum programming and released the album 'A Personal Journey' in 2003 and was later on re-released as a full band re-recorded the whole songs.
The band in total have recorded 5 albums, their 1st full length album 'Ascendance' was released in 2007 through Metal Invasion, a great debut very close to that of Dungeon's music but with more of a melodic vibe, still a great band who write some awesome tunes and albums. Fantastic guitar work and Tim's vocals to be are the finest Australia has ever produced.
The band have just released a cover albums 'Under Covers Volume 1', containing over 20 songs on a double disc that covers metal song and Pop songs that sound amazing, the funny thing is the Pop songs are awesome. I managed to chat with bassist Andy Dowling about the band, the covers albums of course. Here is what he had to say. In the meantime check out their awesome 5 albums, and of course the new covers release its a real party album!!
Hi Andy, great to speak to you finally, hope your well under these taught times. I'd like to ask you 1st about your musical up bringing, as I know you started playing the electric guitar but switched to the bass, so as a guitarist 1st who inspired you to pick up the guitar 1st?
"Well it would have to be the Big 4, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica. I always wanted to be James Hetfield when I was growing up, but when I started to play the bass guitar I was inspired by Geezer from Black Sabbath, and I was also into Kip Winger, bit of a strange one I know but I loved the way he played the bass and when he got a way from the Glam scene he became a superb song writer. I was also inspired by Rick Savage from Def Leppard, for his performance on stage and they were the big bass players that influenced me at the start.
I switched from guitar to bass because like every band there are too many guitarist and not enough drummers and bassist out there, so I decided to switch to bass instead. I had every intension to be a guitarist but I just wanted to play in a band so I decided to play the bass instead. I only expected it to last for a few months, instead it got my foot in the door with a few bands and here I am 20yrs later still playing the bass."
Can you remember the very 1st electric guitar you bought and bass guitar?
"Yes the very 1st electric guitar that I got was a budget brand called 'Pro-Axe' and my dad took me to a music store here in Brisbane at that time and my dad picked me a guitar and a small amp that got me started, that is all I needed. I think my 1st bass guitar was done with a trade in, I traded in some guitar pedals and he gave me a B.C. Rich 'Warlock bass', which was pretty much a heavy metal guitar. I later on changed to ESP bass guitars and I have been with them for 15 yrs or so now and I am endorsed with ESP."
What guitar influences did you have playing electric guitar?
"Well it was Judas Priest, Iron Maiden guitarist that really inspired me, but I was also inspired by also the original Queensryche guitarist... Mike and Chris."
Any members of your family into Heavy Metal or Rock music?
"No just me I am afraid, I discovered the music through school and having friends in the same age group as me so I discovered a lot of metal through friends brothers and sisters."
What was your 1st record you bought and 1st concert you saw?
"Well my 1st record I think was Saxon 'Rock the Nations' and I think it was the cover I was attracted too, I just love that cover. It wasn't their best album but it had some great songs that certainly got me into the whole scene. I would say my favourite album by Saxon is 'Innocent is no Excuse', I really love some of the 80's stuff they did and you really can't beat 'Wheels of Steel' album can you? The 1st concert I went to was AC/DC in 2001 but I also saw a lot of small local shows."
Moving on, what album would you say is your favourite with 'Dungeon'? I know you were in that band also before 'Lord' were formed.
"Well I think my favourite album is 'Rise to Power' and that was the album that introduced my to the band, they started to do more tours and it was my 1st album with the band, I have some fond memories form back then."
I really love the Dungeon stuff, I think Tim is probably one of the best singers to come out of Australia, great guitarist too. Also how would you compare the Dungeon music to Lord?
"Yeah Tim is certainly up there with the best, I don't know how it does it playing guitar and vocals like that (laughing). (Ed: When I listen too Dungeon & Lord, I think of bands like Dokken, Helloween, Queensryche, Primal Fear do you agree?) Like any band you evolve over the years as you get better and and with today's technology we have so much better equipment so the sound has changed a little bit. I think our music is a natural progression and the last full length album we did was 'Fallen Idols' and I feel that we had a little more European sounding to Dungeons music, with some Progressive Metal influences in places.
I think there are more Progressive Metal influences now with Mark our guitarist in the band now, he has brought a little more progressive and dark elements to the music. We still have the classic Dungeon sound in Lord's music but with newer influences. (Ed: who's the most melodic band out of the 2 bands?) Well I think Lord possibly as we have a couple of Hard Rock tracks here and there on some of the releases, but we also have that Black Thrash Metal vibe in our music too. At times I think Lord is far more heavier than Dungeon in certain respects and on the other hand Lord can be slightly lighter in the music style."
With Dungeon do you have any favourite songs?
"Yeah I like the title track for 'Rise to Power' its epic and its got a lot of different changes and arrangements, I also like 'Against the Wind' from 'One Step Beyond' also 'Under the Cross' from 'One step Beyond' and I also love the album 'Resurrection', especially the song 'The Legend of Huma' is a great song to play live."
Back in the day you were signed to 'L.M.P.' Music in Germany, did you ever tour outside of Australia? I know you played in Japan.
"Well we played a couple of shows in Germany with 'Lord' and 'Dungeon' did a small run of shows supporting Megadeth in 2005 and that was on the back bone for the album 'One step Beyond' I believe, we are long over due to come back to Europe that's for sure."
So for the people who don't know Lord's music, just how many albums has you recorded so far?
"We have record 4 studio albums, they are 'Set in Stone', 'Ascendance', 'Digital Lies', 'Fallen Idols' and we have released some EP's in-between the albums and a live album as well, and we have re-recorded the 1st 4 Dungeon albums and put it out as a box set which has better productions, but the 1st 4 albums are very special to us."
Do you think you might release a live DVD when lockdown is lifted?
"I know a lot of bands are doing the live recordings during lockdown and we did a live album in 2016 at the 'ProgPower' festival in the States which is a live album and there is also a download link that comes with the album of the concert on DVD, so you buy the live album and download the live show. We decided not to do a proper DVD release because one was the cost and we realized that DVD's weren't selling too well as they use to. So we also know people don't buy music like they use to we knew it was the best thing to do. It may come out as a bonus thing on a future album. We would love to play the UK, especially 'Bloodstock', the UK is on our play list that's for sure."
Now let's talk about the new album 'Under Covers volume 1 ', which is a great album featuring tons of covers songs of Metal, Rock and Pop. Please tell me more about this awesome album.
"Well it is released through 'Band Camp' and music has changed a lot over the years, we are an independent band and we have been for a few years now, been with 'Band Camp' is a great way to sell music, you cut out the middle man and distribution and when people buy in the stores off the rack when it comes back to the band we would get hardly anything. We wouldn't get enough to pay for the studio time, the recordings and we are usually paying the debits to the middle man. So for us it makes scene to sell it directly.
There are pros and cons and the cons are you can't get into the stores and it's not as easy for people to buy a copy especially then you have to pay for shipping. Band Camp has been really good as you can buy stuff that you can't buy from anywhere else.
As you may know we have played a lot of cover song with Lord and Dungeon and we have enjoyed the odd cover here and there and with Dungeon we loved playing songs from our idols and this way is a great way to celebrate our artist we have grown up on and respect. So over the years we have collected all these covers we have done as bonus tracks for the Japanese or EP's, or special edition releases. We get people asking where can we get to hear that song you did like 10 yrs ago so we just thought it was a good idea to have them completely put together on a 2 CD set.
So during lockdown of last year we were thinking about doing this album it seemed like a great opportunity to get the ideas and songs together and remix and re-master them and put them out as a compilation album with a few new songs we well. It's a fun release that is done really well. It was release on our own label 'Dominus'."
So the title 'Under Covers' volume 1', tell me about the title of the album and the artwork.
"Tim came up with the title 'Under Covers', he thought it was a interesting title for the album, rather witty and he wanted to put the 'Part.1' also in the title and I told him not to do that because people will think we are going to release another album in the near future. He said that we had 4 covers songs that are only half finished and there's more cover songs to come.
The artwork was done by a friend of ours called Tristian Tate who is an amazing artist and we told him about the books for kids in the 90's called 'Goose Bumps', they were like horror stories for kids and we told him we wanted this 'Goose Bumps' vibe were the 3 of us were hiding under the blankets as if there's a big scary monster behind us and he put together this fantastic cover and it's certainly different to what we have out out before. It's a fun album cover and a fun album that we did, so all in all a great idea and concept."
Was the album recorded in separate studio due to the pandemic?
"We recorded separately and we were lucky with the lockdown we managed to get together and some of it was recorded at home and we uploaded and sent it through dropbox and file share, and Tim is a absolute wizard in the studio getting all the stuff together and we are luck to have so much great technology today."
The big question is..., will there be a volume 2?
"Yes there will be a volume 2, we love cover songs and recording them, there's a few we have started and haven't recorded them yet, but 1st thing is first we need to get another Lord album out first."
Let's just talk briefly about the cover songs, there's some great tracks. You have Savage Garden 'To the Moon & Back', The Police 'Message in a Bottle' and so many more great songs.
"Yes we did Savage Garden song and they have heard our version of the song and the main singer Darren Haze I sent him the link and I really didn't think he would listen too it but he did and he put a post up on twitter saying he loved it. He was so amused that a Heavy Metal band was playing one of their songs. (Ed: What about Kyle Minogue's 'On a night like This', the video is funny, I would love to know if she's heard, its a great cover) We really don't know if she has heard our version of the song to be honest, we have not heard any feedback from her or her management or label.
The bands that have heard our versions of their songs are Ice House 'Touch the Fire', their also from Australia and they like our version, also John Farnham has also heard our version of his song 'Break the Ice' and he also likes it, also Real Life with their cover of 'Send me an Angel' and they really like it, I'd love to hear what Judas Priest and Iron Maiden think of our songs.
(Ed: What about this band X Japan, are they Japanese?) Yes they are we did a cover of the song 'Silent Jealousy' and Tim was like 'No way am I going to sing that in Japanese, I can't even speak it? They are Japan's most famous of all time, I guess they were a Speed Metal band a little bit like Blind Guardian at the beginning but in later years they became a more stadium act they play Rock, Metal, and Pop. We cover that song because it has the European Speed Metal vibe and we had a Japanese singer called Hideaki Niwa from the band 'Vigilante', a great band and he was delighted to sing the song."
It must of been hard to pick all these great cover songs like Anthrax, Symphony X etc...
"Yeah it was hard, we are always talking and throwing ideas with a long list of songs and they are all songs we grew up with and we will listen too it through the Lord view and think if it will sound good in our style how we would present the song. There's songs we love but we don't think we will pull it off, and so it has to pass the test."
The thing I like about the album is the way you record pop songs and make them Metal, there so much more appealing.
"Yeah you're right, its something different from the norm, and when you listen to a Pop song, it's not a song that you would listen too and the thing about Pop songs is there really well written and very smart and maybe not so much with the live performance but the song structures and catchy. There's a lot of metal bands that won't admit to doing a Kyle song or something that as it will spoil their image, it's about having fun."
So is the album available now to buy?
"Yes it is through Band Camp, there's t shirts as well and and you can get a digital download as well as the psychical CD or Album. It is in the Australian music charts which is crazy and were a small band in the charts with some of the big boys, which is so cool. So yeah the album is doing great."
So how will the next Lord album sound?
"Well it is going to be in your face Heavy Metal, but we are going to build other structures around the songs, give them that special touch ad try different things."
Well Andy thank you for doing this interview, I want to wish you all the best with the album sales, I hope you play the UK soon and Europe. Do you have anything to say before we finish?
"Yes thank you the fans for their support and to the new fans who will check out our music, we hope to tour soon when the pandemic has lifted. Thank you for the interview Jason, thanks for the support keep safe."
To Order the album go to: https://bandcamp.com
Thank to Andy for the interview and best wish to Lord, Be safe guys and stay Metal!!!