Words by Mark Dalbeth
This Goes To 11 is a new column hosted by Mark Dalbeth. Mark was born in New Zealand and now lives in Los Angeles, and would be better known in Australia as having been part of the band Bellusira. Following his dreams, Mark moved to LA and has been working on Rav Medic plus an exciting new project he has in the works.As a performer, Mark has been the subject of many interviews and as a result of often being asked the same generic questions himself, has come on board with HEAVY and plans to conduct interviews with an edge.
No bullshit questions, no boring anecdotes and definitely no soft edges, This Goes To 11 is a column where the musician finally gets to turn the tables with hard-hitting questions you won’t hear anywhere else.
This week Mark catches up with Dave Cutting from Aussie rockers Chasing Lana.
Mark Dalbeth: Your biggest fear right now with the music industry?
Dave Cutting: I’d have to say my biggest fear right now would be that the live music scene won’t be as big and exciting for people anymore. Everyone seems to be very scared to go out at the moment due to the covid -19 virus. I hope once this whole pandemic dies down that the live music scene will be even bigger and stronger than ever. There is a lot of people missing it at the moment. Fingers crossed people will realise how important live music really is, not just for bands and artists but also for the pubs and clubs. Venues are struggling just as much as we are at the moment.
MD: Why do you think Rock Music is always the genre fighting for commercial acceptance?
DC: A lot of rock genres are edgier and more confronting than say ‘pop’ music. Radio and TV stations are less likely to play something that could potentially cause an uproar from the general population because the lyrics are controversial or “offensive”. I also think a lot of people simply switched over to what is more popular in order to stay up to date and relevant in today’s music. Unless a rock band comes out with a ballad or some sort of song that everyone can relate to, they’ll always stay on the back burner while other genres can rely on the same old lyrics & beats that have carried them throughout the years.
MD: Was there a moment in your career that you thought about throwing it all in?
DC: No, This year, in particular, has been one of the toughest years to go through and this is a good example of not giving up just because we’re unable to get together and rehearse or play shows/tour. When times have been tough writing and playing music has always been something I turn too. I don’t play or write music for financial gain, I do it because I truly love it. A lot of bands starting out tend to throw in the towel early on when they realise this isn’t as easy as they thought. Which shows they aren’t truly in it for the right reasons. We knew it would be hard work and a lot of sacrifice when we started the band and it would take a lot for us to give it up now.
MD: What is your typical writing process?
DC: Usually it would start with a rough guitar riff from myself or my brother Rob, we’d both work together with the music side of things. I also might have a basic chorus idea with a melody and see what riffs we have that may go well with it. Once we get the basic foundation of an idea together musically, we’d then bring it to the rehearsal studio and show our drummer and bass player to add some extra ideas. If I don’t already have a chorus and melody for a song from the beginning I’d usually save the lyric writing process till the end. Once I hear the full track all coming together I’ll then get a vibe on what I want to write about.
MD: Is there still value in printing CD’s or do you believe the Digital world has taken over completely now?
DC: There’s no denying the fact that CD sales have dropped in the last 15-20 years and the digital streaming has taken over dramatically. We live in a time now that streaming is just “easier” and more ‘’convenient’’ for everyone. We’ve always released CD’s thus far, I think it’s still a great idea, they’re great to have on the road to sell at the shows for the fans that can’t find them in stores. There’s always going to be people out there who still want to have the physical side of music, which is great. I’m one of them. Who knows, CD sales might pick back up again in the future. Look at vinyl, vinyl sales have now surpassed CD sales for the first time in 34 years! Now that’s impressive!
MD: Are you prepared to sacrifice money and comfort in order to progress your career?
DC: With how the music industry is these days most of us musicians need to have another income in order to pursue our musical endeavours. In this type of industry, we have to accept that sacrifice is all a part of the journey.
MD: Can you see modern Rock music returning to (commercial) radio in the near future?
DC: Yes I think it will. Let’s face it, rock music will never die out. While it may seem that the mass popularity has decreased, it’ll only take one band or artist with something new and fresh to get music lovers back on the bandwagon.
MD: Was Lars Ulrich right?
DC: I thought he was, yes. The bottom line is that artists and bands rightfully deserve to get paid for their work. The whole argument with him towards Napster was all about control, bands need to be able to control what they own by having more rights. People that take music online for free, is what’s killing the music industry and he made that heard. As much as Lars and Metallica copped a heap of shit for what he did, I think he did the right thing for the music industry, he took a bullet for all of us.
MD: Has Rock Music become too safe?
DC: Unfortunately, the world is now extremely politically correct and many people take a lot of offence over the smallest comments/lyric. Due to this, bands seem to censor themselves in order to avoid the backlash and hate. Especially in this day and age of social media people who have something negative to say can easily spread these comments and all of a sudden bands are portrayed as having an agenda, whether it’s political, certain beliefs or just simply what they do in their lives. Somehow people seem to think that what a band sings about is something they are trying to push onto their listeners.
MD: Do you think it’s important to play in multiple projects or solely focus your attention into one?
DC: I feel there shouldn’t be any rules when it comes to writing or playing music. Although it’s great to put all your focus into one project and make that the best creation you possibly can, it’s also very rewarding playing with other musicians. You learn, you grow and it can make you a better musician.
MD: What have you got going on or coming up that we should know about?
DC: We’re always writing, we can’t wait to hit the studio again and release some new music and start touring again. We’d love to branch out and start looking at potentially touring a different country.
Watch “Kill The Misery” from Chasing Lana below: