With Spoonfest only 5 days away we talked to Matt Haora who is a guitarist and lead vocalist in Army Of Champions to find out just how the band works. Army Of Champions was born from the ashes of a punk band but they never limit their music style to that of just punk.
We spoke to Matt about exactly who Army Of Champions are, how their music comes to life and criticisms handed out by a vervet monkey. True story. The band and Arrest Records Australia are pretty amazing in our books and are allowing us to stream their tune, “Songs To Die By.” Great band, great track and you can check it all out here.
[Audio: 07-Songs-To-Die-By.mp3|titles= Songs To Die By |artists= Army Of Champions]
Can you give our readers a bit more background behind your band?
We started out in ’09, myself (Matt), Tav and Joel had been playing in a punk rock band together for a while. When that finished up we were keen to start something new and kinda different. For me, something different meant writing songs that I could throw in influences from other types of music, still with a punk rock frame around it…but just drawing from a heap of other areas in music that I appreciate. When our first guitarist packed up n left last year, we found Gotty. That’s who we are, and what we do today. Greg at Arrest Records was kind enough to release our first EP back in March too. We are pretty excited about that.
How does the song writing process work for you guys?
It’s funny. Its one of those things that I guess every band handles differently. It’s only really in the last few months that I have noticed a certain structure in the way it happens with us. Sometimes it works and sometimes not, but I guess knowing weather its working or not shows some form of structure in its self…What? Basically I’ll battle with a chord progression and melody for a while and then present it to the band as a kind of shell. Its then that we all do our bits to fill it…with what we hope is gold…not sand.
What do you find the most challenging about the process?
There’s always different things that are challenging. Sometimes I’ll mull over lyrics for weeks or months. Other times we will have to punch, scream and kick at a song to make it what we want, or a certain idea wont come out how I expected it to sound. That can be a good thing…sometimes it can come out better than expected…different, but better. If things start going south with a song we tend to throw it in this huge pile. We can always go back and wrench parts off it later. All challengers, but all for the love of it.
If you could share a stage with any band, from any point in time, who would that be and why?
Geez, I’d say we would all have pretty different ideas about that. Lets see, I was listening to some James Brown yesterday thinking how awesome it would have been to be involved in such an amazing musical experience such as that.
As gents with limited time, funds, real lives and jobs, what is the most difficult part of being in a band?
I guess it’s those things there that can make it difficult. Not that it’s really difficult though; it’s more about priority I think. When being married, or having kids come into it of course there are certain things that have to come before others.
On the flip side, what is the best part about being in Army of Champions?
What is unbelievable is that there is a genuine love for playing music, no matter what. For me being in the practice room covered in sweat and beating the shit out of the chords on a guitar and screaming into a microphone with four of your best mates, is always the best way to shake the blues of a shitty day at work. So yeah, I’d have to say the best thing is hanging with friends, with a few beers and playing music. It’s also pretty good having something to focus on; something to get you through the day. A tiny object in the far distance that sometimes you kind of have to squint to see better.
What is the wildest thing that’s every happened at an Army of Champions show?
Wild..? This one time a rare type of the African vervet monkey strolled into Fat Louie’s whilst we were playing. He brought a drink, sat down and watched us play. Very rare for that particular time of year too. But still, I said “hows it goin” when we were done, he said he liked the songs but suggested that maybe I don’t drink so much before playing. I said to him, “hey guy, your opinions are like assholes y’know. Everyone’s got one.” It’s all true.
What are three things the world should know about AOC?
Just 1 thing. The less you know the better.
What is your favourite track off your latest offering, “If Only Just To Hold” and why?
I’m pretty stoked on the whole thing. But the majority of the songs are pretty old now; we started recording them not really expecting too much to happen. Just sorta like we better record these, and then well move onto some new stuff. Having it released was a total bonus and I guess in a way made (some of) them fun to play again… But at jams the other night my new fave to play was ‘Songs To Die By.’ It’s a newer one and its probably moving toward the sort of style that we are doing more of now. I recently played a solo show and did an acoustic version of it. I guess its good to be able to enjoy it on a few different levels.
Who are you most looking forward to watching at Spoonfest…and why?
A lot of bands. I haven’t been to too many shows lately so it will be good to catch up with friend’s bands I haven’t seen in a while. Will be great to check out some bands I have never seen before too!
Any final words to the readers of Dying Scene?
Um..thanks for reading.