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Black Rheno

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“It’s just ad lib chaos,” Black Rheno vocalist Ryan Miller says of the bands live show. “Ther are no premeditated things between songs like you get with some bands, none of that. We just get up and go nuts. I’m hyperactive anyway so I run around on stage climbing over tables and pouring beers on my head and all that kind of fun stuff. We just get up there and have fun. It’s heavy, we get up and cut loose. On stage, our work ethic and everything that goes on behind the scenes in the background is all the same: 100 miles per hour and don’t hold back!”


Having only been around a little over twelve months, Black Rheno have built a solid reputation through their live performances, with Miller conceding the band’s aforementioned work ethic has played a large part in their ascension.

“We have all played with bands and have a bit of experience and history and have learnt a bit over the years. We wanna travel and experience stuff, meet cool people and hopefully get out of Australia and have a good time doing it and that doesn’t just happen. You don’t just play gigs in your local scene, then a label picks you up and says ‘here’s a million dollars, off you go’. That just doesn’t happen. If you wanna do these things you have to make them happen yourself, so from the get go we asked ourselves what do we want to achieve? We toured hard and played sixty shows in our first year as a band and I guess that’s why people know about us. Our fourth gig was in Brisbane and we’re from Sydney so basically, we just started booking tours straight away. There was no gradual build up, we just went hard from the beginning and it seems to have worked.”


With their debut E.P Let’s Start a Cult receiving rave reviews, Miller says the flow on effect from that touring has paid off, but also stresses that it was important to follow that up with a quality release that was a good reflection of the band and their music.


“We released a couple of singles when we first started out and one was a punk track and one was more of a stoner metal, groove sort of track but our sound really does mix up a bit from grind to punk to stoner to groove metal and we wanted to put out an E.P where the six songs take you on a bit of a journey through what we do and gives a good representation of what we are like live.”


The album title is an extension of that feel good message, with Miller explaining it is basically a call to arms.


“It more or less says let’s get out there and crank our tunes and go as hard as we can and travel around and meet people and get them on board with all the fun we’re having,” he offered. “We’re really just having a lot of fun playing shows and hanging out. We get along super well and everything grew from there. Let’s just start a cult of good times and good music.”


For the video to their single ‘No Time for Numb Nuts’, Black Rheno pulled off a bit of a coup in enlisting the help of King Parrot front man Matt Young to play a leading role in the clip, and it was something that Miller says happened more by chance than anything.


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“He just touched base with us and we went from there,” he said. “We’ve been fans of King Parrot for a while and I think he just basically saw the work we had been putting in aside from just playing gigs and the hours that we put into music and liked what he saw.”

Unlike other musical genres, heavy metal has always seen bands unite and help each other out, with a family type vibe that has seen a large number of bands offer varying degrees of assistance, such as the above appearance by Youngy. Through appearing in each other’s film clips to helping out with tours and guesting on each other’s albums there has always been a general feeling of good will that is the envy of other forms of music.


“That’s one of the things I love about the metal scene,” Miller agreed. “It’s really like a family and it’s funny but I don’t see it in other scenes but it really is strong in metal. I run a recording studio in Sydney and I get a lot of different bands coming through and you hear everyone’s stories about what people are getting up to with all the indie bands and that sort of thing but it just seems something is happening in the heavy world that isn’t happening anywhere else. It really is like a community where everyone gets behind each other and are pumped to see each other do well. Music is not a competition and the way Australian heavy bands support each other is pretty special.”


One thing that Miller says has been important in the emergence of Black Rheno has been their ability to not only harness the sounds and energy of their favourite bands, but more importantly to use these influences as more of a guide than a defining factor of their music.


With a sound described as stoner, sludge, punk, grind and groove, there is an eclectic nature and honesty to their music that can only come from within.


“You wanna be doing your own thing,” Miller pondered. “One of the beautiful things about music is there are so many different things you can do with it. You can play 70’s rock or whatever and some people pay out on bands that do the old school stuff but I think it’s awesome. You can do whatever you want but of course hopefully you are doing something that has its own flair and uniqueness. I seriously think you have to find that naturally. I’d never play in a band that says ‘we’re gonna mix these three bands and do this with it or twist it like that’ and all that premeditated stuff. I could never do that. With our music and from my experience playing in bands you just play whatever feels right. There’s obviously influences from all the music we listen to and no doubt you’ll probably hear that in our music but it’s just what comes out. A lot of our songs were originally twenty minute metal jams where we go crazy and ad lib the whole thing and I just scream out whatever comes to my mind. I’m still singing two or three songs a night that I haven’t got lyrics for and I make up on the spot but I like that, it’s kind of fun. I just ad lib stuff until I find something that gels. It’s not trying to… it’s gotta be natural because if it’s not then it’s gonna show.”


Written by Kris Peters


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