By Callum Doig
There’s no denying that High On Fire are one of the most electrifying bands onstage. After the success of their latest LP Luminiferous, the trio announced an Australian tour from Brisbane to Perth. With not a whole lot to say, bassist Jeff Matz spoke on behalf of the band’s excitement to return to Australia in support of their new album.
“We’ve always had a good time in Australia. It’s always a blast to get down there. Touring Australia is always a completely different experience. The travelling is completely different. As far as the shows go, the crowd’s always super appreciative and they’re always into what we’re doing. There’s always something interesting going down whenever we come here.”
Speaking to Matt Pike last year, I asked him about how he had been going with his performance onstage now that he’s sober. Jeff too, has been facing sobriety for a while now as well. In fact, from his and Matt’s experience, the whole band found alcohol as their way of escaping the nerves that spread through their bodies before each show. Jeff now believes that High On Fire are really at their pinnacle as a live band now.
“On Matt’s end, he performs so much better. I stopped drinking about four years ago, and I noticed a huge change in my performance. It’s been a real adjustment period for us, because you start dealing with things in a certain way, and then all of a sudden you kick out a big element. All of us used to drink before getting onstage, because it used to loosen us up and cope with nerves or stress. You kind of have to think of your whole approach when you take that out of the equation. All and all, he’s been doing great. We’re so much tighter as a band now.”
Luminiferous has received widespread acclaim from critics and fans across the world and has been considered as one of the best albums of 2015. Since then, High On Fire have been playing most of the album at their gigs with a few of their older works from Art of Self Defence up to De Vermis Mysteriis. According to Jeff, he personally feels attached to this record, while stating that every other High On Fire album has different attributes that make them stand out from each other.
“I’m really happy with it, personally. It’s hard to compare, because each new record we do is a new experience for all of us. They all have a different flavour to them. Luminiferous is probably my favourite album since Death Is This Communion.”
High On Fire have made numerous appearances in Australia, stating that it’s one of the best countries for them to perform in. They’ve had times from sharing the stage with Lamb of God on their 2009 headline run, to their own headlining shows and even an appearance at Soundwave in 2011. Jeff states that it’s not so much of a big deal where the band is given the chance to perform, but to be able to do their own shows seems to fit them more.
“It’s a completely different path. The majority of (people at) a festival are not there to see your band specifically. It can be a lot of fun though. I like playing club shows, small packed ones as a scenario. But festivals a great too. The Soundwave festival we did was a lot of fun, but we felt that the headlining or club shows were more to our standards as a live band. Because, when you perform at a festival, everything is really rushed, but with headline shows, we have the appropriate timeslot we need.”
High on Fire Tour Dates
17 February – Rosemount Hotel, Perth
18 February – Fowler’s, Adelaide
19 February – Max Watt’s, Melbourne
20 February – Manning Bar, Sydney
21 February – Crowbar, Brisbane
23 February 23 Kings Arms, Auckland