Interview with A Breach Of Silence bassist/vocalist Blair Layt

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Plumber by day, bassist and vocalist for powercore metal band A Breach Of Silence by night, and a beer brewing hobbyist somewhere in between all that; Blair Layt is a busy man but lucky for us we got a chance to have a one on one conversation with him about what we can expect from the release of the Australian bands third studio album coming out this Fall. Not only is A Breach Of Silence releasing a new album soon but we got word from Blair that the band is planning to do a tour in the U.S. shortly after the release of their new album.

Check out the audio of the interview below or read about the upcoming album and tour from A Breach Of Silence in the interview.

EP:  So, How is everything going with the band?

BL:  Everything is going really cool man, yah really good. We’re ticking along, we just finished recording our third album and it should be out in a couple months. Our release date hasn’t been set yet, we’re still behind the scenes getting a few things sorted.  But, yah this year we are going to be releasing our third album so we our pretty excited right now.

EP: Nice. Do you guys have an album title in mind or is it still kinda up in the air?

BL:  We’re still tossing up a few ideas, but I think we narrowed it down to about three different names. One of them is, Secrets, and the other two escape me right now, but I don’t know, we’re trying for a bit of a different sort of niche on this third album. We weren’t really going for any sort of theme that we were doing on the last two; so we’re are still trying to come up with a nice title that suits the style that we’re doing; so it’s taking a bit longer than normal.

EP:  Yah. So, as far as like the new album coming up, what’s the band’s expectations as far as how it’s going to sound and what are the fans expecting to hear after it’s released?

BL:  So, the new album is going down a…..I guess you can say we’re changing our style slightly but staying true to our roots.  We did it on the last album as well.  We’re always under the impression that, you know, when you record an album it should be a reflection of yourselves during that time. We don’t want to be like Slayer where you just do the same album thirty times over.  That’s cool, don’t get me wrong, I love Slayer they’re f**king awesome.

EP: (Laughing) yep.

BL: ….but you know you can’t sort of just expect your fans to stay true to your side anymore when doing that. It’s not the eighties anymore. So, when we were doing the second album, ‘The Darkest Road’, we wanted to take a different sort of pathway mainly because Rhys was injected into the band back then so we had this new versatile screamer/singer.

EP:  Uh huh.  So, you guys actually got a new singer before ‘The Darkest Road’?

BL:  Yah, Yah. So, We recorded ‘Dead Or Alive’ our first one and then we parted ways with Corey our old screamer soon after that and then Rhys stepped in.  Rhys  did a lot of the tours for Dead Or Alive as well.  So, it was kind of weird like we recorded an album with our old singer and then soon after the album was released we parted ways with him and Rhys stepped in.  So, it was kind of surreal for a while there you know like we had all these songs that were sung by somebody else and Rhys was singing them.  Doing an amazing job obviously.  That’s why we were really excited to get into the studio and record The Darkest Road, the second album, because Rhys was just dying to get his lyrics down on paper and get them into the studio.  It was a really fun time, that second recording. But for this third one, obviously it’s all the same sort of members and that except we have a new drummer now, Tricky. So, that was really cool working with him. Tricky’s a real versatile, awesome drummer.  So, it was really cool seeing what he can do in the studio and I think everyone’s going to be pretty excited when they hear it.  We decided to go for a bit of a different sound whilst also like I said before sticking to our roots because we just didn’t want to keep it the same.  We had all these different ideas and we wanted to bring them to the table.  So the new album is a lot more, I guess you can say a lot more melodic.  We have a lot more choruses in it.  A lot more singing. It’s a lot more singing based rather than riff based.  We still got a couple of cool riffs in there you know what I mean but we decided to focus on myself and Rhys for this album.

EP:  Yah.  Well, he has an amazing voice and so do you.  So,  I would say that would be the best bet.

BL:  Thank You. Yah! Cheers man.

EP:  And everyone loves the lyrics.  You guys have great lyrics as well as far as being more deep and getting personal.

BL:  Yah! Yah we try to take it like as sort of a different aspect to most bands but not you know death and destruction, all that sort of stuff. But, we try to have a bit of meaning in there, have a bit of depth.  I’m glad the message gets across.  That’s awesome.

EP:  Oh yah.  I love it.  It’s good stuff.  So, can you describe the overall sound of the upcoming album?  I mean, you said more melodic.  Is there anything else you can add about it?

BL:  What else can you add? Rhys has changed up his screaming style for a lot of it actually.  Were stepping away from the more toneless screaming and were doing a lot more pitched screaming.  Where he’s singing but he’s screaming at the same time.  So, it’s like sing screaming.  I guess you could say.  But, it’s called pitched screaming.  I guess the only way to describe it is sort of it doesn’t really sound like it but a good way to describe it is the new Architects sound.  Where there screaming but there singing at the same time.  It’s like a pitched scream so….

EP:  Is it kind of like Iron Maiden-ish type?

BL:  Iron Maiden one of my favourite bands yah.  But, Bruce Dickinson doesn’t scream.  He sings and he sings like an angel.  But, think of power metal like Iron Maiden but with like raspy screaming instead of singing.

EP:  OK.  I hear you.

BL:  Yah. So there’s a fair bit of that on the new record.  I don’t know if I sold well just then but we’re pretty excited about it.  It sounds pretty cool.

EP:  Well, that gives us something to look forward to. Hearing something different.

BL:  Yah!  That’s it.  Exactly.  That’s it.

EP:  The last album, ‘The Darkest Road’, had tremendous success during it’s release.  Is that kind of intimidating thing to think about, trying to top that, or are you guys just fine with that?

BL:  Yah.  We were always so humbled by it.  We’re just five dudes from Brissy.  So, when we saw ‘The Darkest Road’ chart at #1 on iTunes in Australia and stuff like that we were just blown away man.  We didn’t expect it to happen.  We didn’t even expect to get signed to a record label.  You probably hear it from so many different musicians but it’s true man at the end of the day  we’re all human.   We’re just winging it.  Basically, we’re just coming up with what we like doing.  We listen to all the feedback and all the positive messages we’re getting from every body and we’re just blown away man.  It’s awesome.  Yah I guess you could say we’re kind of intimidated a little bit from our last albums success to see how this one goes.  But at the end of the day we’re proud of it.  So, I don’t care if we sold one record or one hundred million records.  It doesn’t bother me because we had so much fun doing it and we’re proud of the finished product.  So, whatever happens, happens.

EP:  The latest album is being produced by Fredrik Nordstrom and Henrik Udd.  Do I pronounce that right?

BL:  Yep.  Certainly did.  And your one of the only people who have. (laughs)

EP:  So, they worked with on ‘The Darkest Road’ also, right?

BL:  Yah they did. Yah.  And ‘Dead Or Alive’.  They’ve done all of ours.

EP:  Oh they’ve done all of them.  I didn’t know that.  So, what has it been like working with them?  Why do you keep coming back to them?

BL:  It’s fantastic man.  Fredrik is world class.  They’ve become friends of ours which is really cool.  A lot bands obviously go to there world class studio in Sweden but on Dead Or Alive we decided to maybe just use our tenacity a little bit and try something different and we flew Fredrik and “Hanky”/Henrik out to Australia and Fredrik brought his family with him and it was a pretty hectic month but look we got a really good album out of it. We played tour guide to his family and stuff like that.  We were lucky in that regard, we got to show them a lot more sides to us than just musicians.  Like the last time they came out for this third album Fredrik brought his family again and we were riding dirt bikes with them and taking them to places all around town down the Gold Coast, to the surf beaches and stuff like that.  So, we have been lucky enough to become friends with their family.  And it’s cool, it’s a cool thing to do because we’re not just going to their studio and leaving and then the next bands coming in.  They’re actually coming on an Australian holiday.  Whilst it was pretty hectic and it probably would have been a lot less stressful to just go over there and record.  We’re happy with what we did because they go home raving about Australia and it was because of us.  So, we’re cheering.

EP:  So, what’s the atmosphere like when you guys are working in the studio?  Is it pretty intense or is it kind of like pop a beer….?

BL:  Well, it’s both man.  There’s so many ups and downs.  Being in a band, you probably hear this a lot, being in a band is like being in a relationship just minus the sex.  Well, It depends what band you’re in I guess.  But look, it can be very volatile sometimes especially in that writing stage.  You got five egos butting against each other then you throw a world class producer like Fredrik in the mix and sometimes he settles you down, sometimes he shows you clarity, and other times he just frustrates the hell out of you.  He didn’t get to where he was without being ruthless.  Critical, a perfectionist, and ruthless. And God speed to him.  He does such a good job.  He’ll tell you if what your doing sounds like crap and he does.  And you change it.  And the new thing that you change it to, sucks, and he tells you and you’ll do it again and it’s like, wow man.  But, at the end of the day the product sounds awesome.  So, were happy that he does what he does.

EP:  Push you guys. (laughs)

BL:  Yah!  That’s right man.  Otherwise, it doesn’t get done.  We’ve always said, and it’s no secret man, Fredrik acts like a sixth member of the band.  He’s helped us so much.  Even though it’s our music and it’s our performance on the record, a lot of the influence came from that man.

EP:  Yah.  You guys did record this in different studios in Australia, right?

BL:  Yah. Yah we did.  We’ve been through a couple of studios.  A couple of our friends own different types of studios and stuff like that so we’ve been lucky enough to record there.  But, for the second album and this one as well, we recorded drums in a separate studio because with drums the common knowledge is the bigger the recording room the huger the sound I guess you can say.  That’s obviously open to opinion amongst sound engineers but, if you got a gigantic cool set up room, than it’s easy to create a really huge drum sound.  So, for our last album, we recorded the drums, it’s a studio here in Brisbane, called Wavelength Studios, which is such down now unfortunately.  So, for the third album we recorded drums down the Gold Coast at a friend of ours studio, Core Studios. So, Yah, It was pretty cool.

EP:  Nice.  So, the big studio was the one you recorded the drums that was the Brisbane one or?  And then then Gold Coast what did you record there, just vocals or was it guitar and vocals?

BL:  Yah. Brisbane. No.  Just drums.  Just drums for this album.  For the latest album.  Then we recorded guitars and everything like that out in a place called Roma, which is a small town about six/seven hours west of Brisbane.  And, that’s actually where Mat Cozzy is from.  So, we took Fredrick’s family out there and Cozzy’s parents live on a huge reserve like a huge ranch kind of thing out there.  The kids were able to ride dirt bikes and play with farm animals and stuff like that.  It kept the kids entertained.  And obviously being the place it is their neighbours are about 20 kilometres away, so we were able to make as much noise as possible. (laughs) That’s where we recorded guitars and bass and stuff like that and then vocals were done back in Brisbane at Cozzy’s house.  We set up his little man cave with mattresses  and all sorts of stuff to dampen the sound and created a nice working little vocal booth.  So, we did it on a budget man, but it was super fun.  Fredrick was really keen to sort it out.  It was good.

EP:  That’s awesome.

BL:  It’s good to see his other side of his profession where yah he sits at a desk and he’s a magician behind the computer but his knowledge about studio setups is ridiculously fast.  He just knows how to setup a studio well, he just knows how to get a good sound.  We were able to get what is basically a bedroom into a really cool sounding vocal studio.  So, it was cool, it was really cool.

EP:  Yah.  That’s neat.  I do a little bit of that home studio, I call it ghetto recording but.

BL:  That’s exactly what it is.  I know.  If it makes a good sound then it’s just as good as a million dollar studio.

EP:  Yah.  That’s what I’m saying too.  So, last month you played with I believe Sevendust right?

BL:  Yah we did man. Yah!

EP:  How did it turn out?

BL:  Ah man it was such a good show.  Super fun.  It was at a really cool venue here in Brisbane called The Eaton’s Hill.  It’s a world class venue, everything’s great.  I love it when you play venues like that because there is no sound mishaps or anything like that.  We had our sound guy Ian Redman who was a magician doing sound for us.  Everything was just perfect man.  It was just such a cool show.  Sevendust, the nicest guys you’ve ever met.  Everybody says that about everyone, and it sounds real cliche, but it’s true man, these guys are a touring, headlining band, like world class band and they were standing side of stage watching us play.  And, they don’t have to do that.  They can be upstairs on the phone talking to their wives or girlfriends or sons and daughters or whatever; or playing Flappy Bird on their phone.  They could be doing anything.  But, they were standing side of stage man.  They’re just super passionate guys.  Yah, we had a lot of fun that night.  Met some really cool people.  It was awesome.

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EP:  Nice.  Any upcoming shows or events coming up?

BL:  We’re coming back to the States.

EP:  Nice.

BL:  Yah.  Get excited. (laughs)

EP: (laughs)

BL:  We played a show two weeks ago here in Brissy.  And we’re just trying to keep things quiet at the moment.  Just saving our pennies for when we go on the road again.  We don’t want to do too many tours right now leading up to the albums release.  We want to do a big tour once it comes out.  This year we’ve already been all around Australia playing shows and stuff like that.  So we’re gonna have a rest for a month or two just to get all the final touches done on this album and make sure it’s all legit and awesome and then, yah, we’re gonna hit the ground running.  Later in the year we’re coming back to the States.

EP:  Nice.  Awesome.  We look forward to it.

BL:  Yah. It’s gonna be fun.  We had such a ball last time so, it’s really cool.

EP:  So, what kind of bands our you guys listening to and digging on at the moment?

BL:  Man.  Our tastes kind of vary. Hey like.  For example, myself, I listen to a lot of power metal.  I love the really melodic style of singing.  Like you said before about Iron Maiden, one of my favourite bands.  Edguy, Blind Guardian, and Rhapsody, all those real cheesy power metal you know singing about Warcraft and all that kind of stuff, and Lord Of The Rings and all that sort of nerdy stuff you know.  I love it man. I love it.  As a musician you listen to the actual song setup.  It’s just amazing music you know what I mean.  That’s what I listen to.  I try to bring that influence into the band as best I can without turning it into a power metal band.  I like to sing in that kind of style I guess you could say.  But look, the other guys some of them listen to more traditional metal core and stuff like that like Parkway Drive, As I Lay Dying, and bands like that, and Killswitch Engage.  And, it was actually really cool on this album because Tricky our new drummer, has been friends with us for years, he listens to a lot more funk and really sort of rock, like progressive rock and stuff like that.  It was really cool bringing his influence into this recording because we didn’t have that before.  Our old drummer, Andy, amazing drummer but he listens to more of the death metal and stuff like that so his drumming style was a mirror of that.  And that’s cool.  It was really fast and heavy and double kicks like a hummingbird which is awesome.  But, Tricky is just so much more versatile on the top end.  So, we listen to all sorts of music man, but mostly the heavies.

EP:  Yah.  It always seems better when there is more influences involved.  It seems like there is a better product at the end.  That is more original too, that’s not trying to copy cat something.

BL:  Yah.  That’s it man.  Exactly.

EP:  Awesome.  I heard you guys say something about dirt biking but what other activities do you guys partake in when not playing music?

BL:  Well, I like to surf.  Where I live it’s about a half an hour away from the Gold Coast.  So, I get down and go surfing as often as I can.  Rhys is a mad skateboarder.  Loves going down the half pipe and stuff like that.  We keep active man.  We’re not just locked up in our rooms and playing music.  We like to get out there and experience the great outdoors.

EP:  I do a little bit of that surfing a little bit too.  You got to when you are living in California, right?

BL:  Nice man. Yah.  It’s like the surfing capital of the world.

EP:  Yep.  Same with Gold Coast.  I’ve seen pictures of that.  It’s beautiful.

BL:  Yah.  That’s it.  We’re very spoiled human beings.  We get to live in these beautiful places and I certainly never take it for granted that’s for sure.

EP:  Just watch out for those sharks over there.  I’ve heard about them.

BL:  Yah man.  Yah they’ll get you.  They’ll get you.  No, part of being Australian is learning how to dodge sharks, so.

EP:  Oh yah. (laughs)  If the band had never met or taken off what do you think you guys would be doing at the moment?

BL:  Oh man.  Hard question.  I would probably be playing in a different band.  I guess that’s the most logical answer to that.  But look, if music wasn’t my passion, I would be, well, a very sad human that’s for sure because music brings so much joy and happiness to my life.  It’s so much fun.  But look, I’ve got a day job and stuff like that.  I’m a plumber by trade.  Look, I’d probably just be doing that and surfing and stuff like that which doesn’t sound terrible.  But, life without music is a terrible one.  So, I’m glad I’m doing what I’m doing.  And the other boys are the same.  Cozzy, he’s a environmental scientist as well.  Yah, he went to uni and did all that sort of stuff before he decided to dive into the world of music.  Yah, Tricky is a sign writer and a sound engineer as well.  So, we’ve all got our professions and stuff like that, that we do during the day to help fund the band at this stage.  Hopefully the tides will turn soon, and preaching songs can be a full time job.

EP:  That would be amazing.

BL:  Yah.  Yah that’s it man.

EP:  Last question.  Very unserious question.  What is the best beer money can buy in Australia?

BL:  Oh man.  Your talking to a Queenslander right here so I’m obligated to say 4X.  4X yah.  Do not ever drink Foster’s.

EP:  I mean they have that here.  So, that’s the only Australian beer we get here.

BL:  That’s what I mean.  Yah.  I know.  I know.  Mate, It’s absolute water.  It’s ridiculous.  It’s like the biggest joke Australia played on the world.  Like, we export this ridiculous beer and everyone laps it up, and it’s like, “Oh Australia, Foster’s.”  It’s like oh man.  If you guys only knew.  Nah man, look, I’ve got a couple of really cool favorites apart from 4X because it’s Queensland born and bred.  But, I like a little beer called Little Creatures Pale Ale.  Yep, Little Creatures is a cool one.  James Squire is another one.  They’re two of my favorites.  They’re more sort of craft beers.  But look, one that I have gotten into recently, and this is a bit of a shameless       band promotion here, the band has our own beer now.

EP:  Nice.  You guys brew it?

BL:  Yah. Yah we brew it.  Yep Yep.  We have a little micro brewery here in Brisbane.  Yah, they help us make T.P.N.E. lager, I’m sorry T.P.N.E. IPA.  It’s an IPA.  So, we named it after our song, T.P.N.E. for The Party Never Ends.  So, it’s a pretty strong beer.  It’s like 8.0%.  Yah, it’s actually getting on taps around pubs in Brisbane now.  I was at a pub called the Archive Bar at West End a little inner city section of Brisbane, and I walked up to the bar and T.P.N.E. lager was on tap.  And I’m like what?  This is awesome.  That’s my beer man, that’s my beer.  Do I get it for free you know?

EP:  Yah.  If you don’t get it for free that would be kind of weird right? (laughs)

BL:  I know right, I know.  Well, they paid for it so obviously they need to make their money.  So, I was more than happy to pay for it that’s for sure.  But, yah man look, we started that up about a year ago at the All Inn Brewery.  They’re good friends of ours now, we play acoustic sets there for them and stuff like that on Saturday afternoons because the brewery doubles as like a pub as well.  You can go there and drink as well as brew your own beer.  So, yah they get the food going on the weekends and stuff like that so you can get a mad feed.  And then, yah you can drink craft beers all afternoon.  And like they’re all brewed on site.  So, yah, it’s really cool.  So, that’s my choice of beer is well, our own, and if I’m not drinking T.P.N.E. than it’s probably Little Creatures or James Squire.

EP:  Nice.

BL:  To tell you the truth bud, I’m a rum man myself.  If I’ve got a choice than I’m drinking rum.

EP:  Go straight for the hard stuff. (laughs)

BL:  That’s it man.  I’m a pirate at heart. So..

EP:  Nice.  Alright.  Well, that’s all I got for you, so unless you got anything else you want to mention or anything like that.

BL:  No. No.  Just, I don’t think I mentioned it at all.  We’re coming back to the States.  We love you guys.  We had so much fun when we were there last time.  We can’t wait to do it over, and over, and over again.  So, we’ll see you guys later on in the year.

EP:  Awesome.  Can’t wait to see you.

BL:  Perfect man.  Sweet as. Can’t wait.

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About the author

Living in San Diego, Brandon is our US correspondent. He has been a musician, recording artist, and songwriter for 15+ years and enjoys anything related to music.

Brandon currently makes music in his home recording studio with the band Puzzled Eyes. When he is not making and recording music, he enjoys creative writing and listening to new undiscovered music. Brandon brings a great non-European perspective to EP, and has recently started doing interviews. You can find him and Puzzled Eyes on Facebook. Puzzled Eyes is also on YouTube.

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