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Karnivool: "We think we fucking know everything, but we don’t"

Karnivool get political

We sat down with Karnivool's Drew Goddard and Ian Kenny to talk about how the band unwind, their charity work and the plight of Australia's indigenous population. Originally recorded for the Metal Hammer Radio Show, you can read the interview in its entirety here.

It’s been a busy time for Karnivool, the album has been out for a while, you’ve been on a huge touring cycle. What’s next for you guys?

Drew: "Sleeping in my own bed and getting back to reality, that’s the first thing on my mind. As far as the band goes we have some time off, so we’re going to continue writing. We’ve made a bit of a dent in some new stuff so far, we’ve flirted with some new music, so that’s the main thing on the agenda, just getting new material."

What’s reality for you away from the band?

**Drew: **"This is my reality when we’re on the road, but it’s not something that you can get too used to because you get back and realise you have to pay the bills, you have responsibilities. It’s an interesting one, you try to hit the ground running and keep moving but it’s always an interesting one, it’s very easy to get disconnected from reality, what I define as reality, when you’re on the road."

Kenny: "I think we live in these dual realities, because they’re both very real. This is our job and this is what we do a lot of the time, but then you turn it off and you’re home, and that’s real, that’s your family, and your girl, and everything. The thing is, the trick is, the hurdle is, the fucking beautiful thing is, the transition between the two."

Drew: "You’re at home in silence by yourself, only you. The noise is gone, the party is just this distant little thing in the background, and you’re like ‘oh shit, how do I define myself again, who am I?’"

Kenny: "What I’m going to do, I might go and rearrange the fridge, yes that sounds constructive."

Drew: "And then play some guitar, quick."

Given the success of the last album and it going to number one in Australia, do you feel pressure to deliver on that level again?

Drew: "No, I’ll be honest, the number one thing was a nice pat on the back, I guess. We won an ARIA award, which I thought we didn’t give a shit about, but then we got up there and accepted it, and thought this is cool. I’m surrounded by musical peers and I like to be so cool that I don’t give a shit. It was all good, but it’s hard enough to please ourselves, that’s the only thing that matters, whether we dig and we’re excited by the music.

Kenny: "As long as we’re moving forward, then that’s the only thing that matters. That we’re experimenting, and new people coming onboard is awesome. The more people we can share this with the better, but it’s not something we really think about."

We’ve heard you guys are involved in some charity work, a humanitarian project is that right?

Drew: "There’s a friend of ours here who works over in Nepal, some war-torn countries, Sudan, that’s a humanitarian."

Kenny: "We kind of do in our own respective ways, the band at the moment doesn’t really front anything. In our own ways we definitely give up our time and do our own little things. It’s funny you mention that, we’ve got a really close friend of ours, she’s at the festival today. She’s fucking hardcore man, she’s on the frontline of trying to make a difference for desperate people in Sudan."

Drew: "Even she thinks she’s not doing enough. Put it this way, there’s things that get me really fired up, and really fucking angry. There’s things that are so unjust that you just have to say something about it, and being in the position that we are, people say don’t preach, or whatever, but I don’t give a fuck. Especially in Australia, I’m just trying to focus on things that are happening in our country, because if you want to get into what is going on in the world, there is corruption everywhere. You’ve just got to focus on something and do something. As long as you care, empathy is there, that’s the main thing."

Kenny: "That’s the bottom line, as long as your empathy’s there and you’re doing what you can."

Drew: "In Australia it’s the indigenous plight, the plight of our indigenous folk, and how racist our country is. It really, really rubs me up the wrong way, and we have the most idiotic prime minister at the moment. It’s embarrassing for me to come over as an Australian, he doesn’t represent us, he doesn’t speak for us. So we have to say Australians have good hearts, we’re good people, come down, mind what the politicians say, but you’re more than welcome we have a lot of space, and anyone else who says otherwise is fucking deluded."

There’s a long history of music tackling politics, Midnight Oil being an example of that. What do you think of those guys?

Drew: "Amazing band, and they sound so quintessentially Australian.Then there was a band called Cog, who we toured with and they’ve taken a lot of influence from that band – they were fiercely political as well. My favourite Midnight Oil moment though was the Sydney Olympics in 2000, when they were invited to play at the opening ceremony and they all came out wearing t-shirts saying ‘sorry’, to the stolen generations, and the indigenous population, who were so severely fucked over. All this is still coming to light now, and we’re still such a young country as far as colonised Australia goes. We’re very young, and we’re very naïve, we think we fucking know everything, but we don’t. It takes bands like Midnight Oil to come out with a really catchy song, with a punchy chorus, and just a weird lanky dude."

Kenny: "They really took hold of the leaf, they were really forward thinking, and aware enough to know they had this voice. It spoke volumes, and still does speak volumes. They really used it in such a creative and political fashion, and they made a difference."

Drew: "They made more of a difference before Peter Garrett, the singer, got involved in politics. You get into politics, it’s going to distil, it’s going to water it down, and you’re going to get poisoned by it, I think. You can make a difference in music, and the arts, more than you think possible."

This interview originally aired on the Metal Hammer Radio Show. Find out more here.

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