Thrashing, Blasting and Grinding: An Interview with King Parrot

King Parrot, the Australian grindcore/punk whirldwind, have returned with their third LP, Ugly Produce, on Housecore Records. Simultaneously comedic and intense, Ugly Produce sees King Parrot continue down their unique, entertaining path. The album is out today and now streaming on Housecore’s Bandcamp, so give it a listen while you read a new interview with vocalist Matt Young.

Ugly Produce is your third album. What are you doing differently on this record?
With this new record, we have been touring pretty solidly for almost 3 years, and it’s the 2nd record with this lineup. I think time on the road has given us the opportunity to become better musicians and a tighter band. It’s evident in the songwriting and the approach to everything the band does. I can confidently say Ugly Produce is our best record and there’s a stronger chemistry within the band on this record. In our formative years and as we’ve been breaking out of the Australian scene, we had a few lineup changes that unsettled things a little, but that’s all behind us. We’re forging ahead as a unit and everyone is pretty headstrong that we have the right personnel to push this beast forward. We recorded this record in Australia with a long-time friend of the band Jason PC (Blood Duster) at Goatsound Studios in Melbourne. He knows where we come from and understands the sound we’re going for. It’s really stripped back which makes it raw and nasty sounding, just as we’d hoped for. It sounds like an actual band playing live without too many bells and whistles production-wise. We think the sound of the band carries us enough without trying to sound too modernized or over produced. We wanted to capture the energy of the band uncompromised and I think we succeeded with that.

You’ve toured with a number of pretty diverse bands. Does your music always go over well with each crowd
Ha! Not always. We toured with Down and Orange Goblin a few years ago in the US and their audiences weren’t quite ready for something as intense as King Parrot to open the show. Some of them weren’t expecting to get a full bottle of water dumped on their head and having a maniac scream at them from less than an inch away. I think the guys from Down and OG enjoyed watching it every night though, they were always laughing and egging us on to do crazier shit.

Our grind, thrash, punk style is an acquired taste, but what we are most proud of is that it’s unique, it’s completely aggressive and in your face, and no one else sounds like King Parrot. A lot of the time people are taken back by how ‘in your face’ we can get in the live setting, but the people that do get it, always have a good time. We’ve been working hard at swaying audiences our way for 3-4 years around the globe, and we are feeling them warm to us each time we return.

You curated a festival called Thrash, Blast and Grind. What was it like to make that happen and will you do it again?
That was a touring festival that we did over the Australian summer with the guys from Psycroptic. It went really well and everyone had an awesome time. We had Revocation come out and tour with us, and the Australian and New Zealand fans came out in droves. It’s something we’ll definitely look at doing again and continue to evolve it over the coming years. We haven’t set any limitations or boundaries with it, and it doesn’t have to be at any certain time of the year. If we wanna do it, we’ll do it, maybe once a year, maybe twice a year. We’ll see.

You’ve completed U.S. tours before, but you’re from Australia. Are the metal scenes in the countries different? Similar?
The US is so diverse all over the country, so I would say that audiences are much more varied wherever you go in the states. In Australia, most people are just bat shit crazy so you can expect the same thing at pretty much every show. In the US, I find in certain places you might have to ruffle a few feathers to get that ‘over the top’ audience participation that our band loves to compliment the music we play. Although it never stops us from doing what we do, the way we do it.

We are consistent with being lunatics on stage and ejecting whatever angst we have out of our systems. It’s a great personal release to be a part of this band, and I would go as far to say it’s even therapeutic for me in a way. I’ve come to rely on this band as an outlet for my grievances with this fucked up world we live in.

In the past, people have had a hard time nailing King Parrot down to one or two (or even three or more) genre classifications. Is that something that goes through your head writing a record?
We don’t consider that for a second. We’ve always tipped our hats to many different types of bands and been conscience of creating a sound that’s our own, and that we can grow with. Nailing things down to a certain genre or classification is such a boring thing to do, and I find that if bands start out trying to be a certain genre or style they’ll probably just be another generic band.

It’s important to forge your own path and do it your own way. Eventually people will come around if you hone your craft. Some of the bands that I consider to be the greatest acts of all time aren’t hugely popular, but they have stuck to their guns and kept working hard on their music to create something unique. That’s what’s important to me, if you can make a living out of it, great. If not, stiff shit, work harder.

Between touring and releasing music, King Parrot hasn’t really ever slowed down. How do you avoid burning yourselves out while also growing as a band?
This has been the longest self-imposed break from the band we’ve ever had, which was about 4 months this year. We recorded the new album and took some time off to recharge the batteries before we take off and start touring again. We’re really committed to keep making this music and performing live as often as possible, but we’re also aware that we have to take care of things at home too. There’ll be a hell of a lot of time on the road this album cycle, but we don’t feel the constant urge to stay out all the time as we have previously. We want to do quality over quantity moving forward.

What did you write about on Ugly Produce?
There’s a lot of personal shit on the album lyrically, some of it is tongue in cheek humor and some of it is pretty serious and to the point. It’s always delivered with a large doses of angst and pissed off aggression though. We’ve had a few detractors back home who want to sling shit on us for breaking out of the Australian scene, and that is more about jealousy than anything else. We wrote “Ten Pounds of Shit in a Five Pound Bag” about those kind of people who want cut you down because you’ve poked your head up and done something that’s got you out of the scene. “Piss Wrec”‘ is about adventures in alcoholism and the ridiculous stigma attached to it in Australian culture. It’s really weird how an entire country can be so proud of being drunk. The lyrics for “Spookin’ the Animals” were written by myself and my best friend who came on tour with us as our merch guy last year. He had a really horrible experience in the UK when we were touring with Soulfly, and ended up in a psych ward for a month after an isolated psychotic incident. It was really nasty.

All in all, I can honestly say this is our most to the point record that shows the growth and maturity in the band whilst managing to maintain the absurd dark humor that we’ve always had.