If you love your hardcore music then there is a good chance that you’ve heard of Perth’s Cursed Earth. The band are about to unleash their latest batch of harshness onto metal fans in the form of a new EP titled – Cycles Of Grief Volume 2: Decay.
One of the things that has made Cursed Earth have such a powerful entry into the Aussie hardcore scene has been the amazing vocals of front-woman Jazmine Luders and Heavy Mag were recently lucky enough to catch up with her and chat about the brand new EP and where the band is hoping to head to next.
When we start talking about she describes the sounds of Cursed Earth Jazmine laughs, “We’re pretty much in-your-face, unrelenting riffs and break-downs and just a lot of crazy stuff. Just whatever comes to our mind really. Cursed Earth came from our main guitarist Kieran who planted the seeds out there. He was always in bands throughout the small Perth hardcore scene that we had, and still kind of do, and he just recruited a whole bunch of dudes that were in a variety of genre bands at the time and then we all kind of got together and Cursed Earth just sought of happened.”
For Jazmine, she says her love for heavy music all came out of the local scene. “It started just got to those local venues,” she explains. “We have this all-ages venue here in Perth called YMCA HQ, which is pretty well known through the Australian all-ages scene and for me the first show I ever went to was with my brother and it was a Parkway Drive show, and the opening band was a Perth band that had the slot and we really liked them. A week later we found out that there were having an album launch at the YMCA HQ, so we went down and have loved it ever since. We kept going and with my confidence, I finally had a mic grab and I just grabbed the mic and did a line and everybody just kind of looked around and you could tell they were thinking ‘holy shit did that just come out of her?’ After that it was pretty much just one of those things, I kept getting mic grabs and then I just became synonymous and I was always getting mic grabs. Then at the time, Kieran was in a band and he would always notice me getting mic grabs so that’s why he approached me first and just tried to plant the idea of Cursed Earth in my brain.”
Jazmine says the people around her were not the only ones surprised by her vocals, she surprised herself in the early days as well. “I surprised myself,” she says again laughing. “I have a very unique voice, it is very deep anyway and I have never lost my voice ever, even when I was sick when I was younger. It was weird, I’ve been a drummer ever since I was eleven years old so I thought if I was ever going to be a band that it would be as a drummer, but not after Cursed Earth. Cursed Earth is my first band, ever. My only advice out there to people that want to sing in the hardcore scene is warm up, warm up, warm up… I can’t repeat it enough. I was taught a really great warm-up technique by the producer and mixer of our record – he taught me a vocal warm-up method and without that, I probably would have lost my voice by now. You really need to take care of your voice to some extent though, especially if you are playing shows back to back every night.”
This latest episode and its predecessor both touch on some deep topics and Jazmine explain why the band decided to release Cycles Of Grief the way they did. “We decided to release it in two parts because we were seeing that people weren’t really paying attention to whole albums anymore,” she says. “ We sort of wanted to bring out the album in two parts so people could listen to the songs and really try to grasp the understanding of what we were trying to get through. And what we were trying to get through in the music and the lyrics is basically someone going through a constant cycle of grief in their life which they can’t change and they don’t know if they will ever be able to change. At the time we were writing me and the guitarist, Kieran it just felt like it was never going to end – this constant cycle of grief, and it can be aimed at anybody but we just used that as a fictional character because we don’t like to personalise… but yeah anybody can relate to it. But a lot of it is about going through a cycle of grief and not dealing with it in a way that most people should, or dealing with it in a way that is self-destructive. When I write I write personally, but I try not to personalise it when I talk about it because I just don’t like to talk about things like that. My music is my music and the reason that I make it and the reason I make it is for my own satisfaction and to have my own release. That’s why when I have twenty-five minutes on stage, you’ll see me as the rawest that you will ever see me. Apart from that, I am a very quiet person, I don’t say much and stay out of people’s way. Our lyrics is really the only form of release that I have so it is awesome to see kids grasping something from the lyrics for their own experiences that they are having because that is what I wanted as well.”
One of the things that really hits you when you listen to Cycles Of Grief Volume 2: Decay is the fact that while most tracks are less than two minutes in length there is so much going on with the track that it feels longer and Jazmine says that is because of the way that they recorded the album. “That’s mainly to do with our guitarist, Kieran,” she explains. “He writes a lot of the drums and guitars for it and he helps me write the lyrics. We’ve tried to elongate the more we’ve progressed, we’ve tried to elongate our songs because we have that little bit more to say this time so we find that little bit more to write. We also have a doom track on this second part of the album but we are progressing, because originally we decided to just be a power-violent, hardcore type band and now we are progressing into a hardcore metal band.”
The doom track that Jazmine mentioned is a track called Eternal which she says the band had to approach a little differently when they were recording. “It is really, really hard to sing,” she says as we talk about how different her vocals are on the track. “My producer wanted to kill me by the end of the day, but it ended up turning out fine and I think it will surprise a lot of people that a song like that came from us. Likewise, we’re proud because we never thought we could write a song like that. It actually ended up becoming one of my favourite songs on the record. Originally we just wanted it to be a kind of doom, drone track to have at the end of the album but then we thought to put vocals over it and have me sing over it, and then the boys realised that I can actually sing and we were like ‘f**k it, let’s just put some singing parts in it.”