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Karnivool: A Decade Of Themata

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By Rod Whitfield

Perth progressive masters Karnivool have built one of the most impressive CVs of any current Australian band. 17 years together as a band, they have released three illustrious albums that are loved by prog fans the world over, the latest of which, 2013’s ‘Asymmetry’, charted all over the planet and went to number one on the Australian mainstream charts, and won an ARIA Award. They also have a burgeoning overseas following and have toured the world many times. They are inarguably Australia’s biggest and most loved progressive rock act.

It’s hard to believe that it’s been a full decade since the release of their monumental debut album ‘Themata’, but ten years it has been. And guitarist and backing vocalist, the very affable Mark ‘Hoss’ Hosking, speaking from his home in Perth after just getting back from a highly successful tour of Europe with Monuments, agrees that this boggles the mind just a little.

“If you just look at ten years as a whole, certain things feel like they were yesterday and certain things feel like they were a hundred years ago!” He laughs, with a touch of disbelief, “it’s just one of those allotments of time that makes you lose a bit of perspective in a lot of ways. But, oh man, it’s gone very quickly.

“It’s weird for me, because it’s 13 years now that I moved to Perth from Melbourne to start working with these cats,” he recalls, “I kind of just equate that as being the same period, being the entire time I’ve been living over here in Perth.”

The band are marking this massive occasion with a ten year anniversary tour of the country to celebrate the album’s release. Hoss claims that the original idea was his own, and admits that while the idea seems a little cheesy on the surface, he believes that ultimately band and fans alike with really embrace the concept.

“We were never going to do it,” he states, “we were always that kind of band who thinks, and I’m sure a lot of people think, that the idea is a bit naff. And I remember thinking it was a bit naff a while ago. But I think it was about a year ago that I floated the idea with management. I went to see a band, I can’t remember who it was, they were doing a ten year anniversary tour. The idea sounds naff, but you go along to these things, and you put everything aside, and you just go there and you feel the energy in the room. It’s a collection of memories that everybody has, for ten years.

“You know what music’s like, you hear a song and it takes you back to a time,” he continues, “not only do you have the memory of ten years ago, but you have all the time in between to think about it, and all the memories that go with it. So there’s a ball of energy sitting in that room whenever a band does anything like this. We just wanted to experience that.”

The album will be played in its entirety on the night, that much is certain. However, the album is 50 minutes long, and the band are still not sure how they are going to structure the setlist overall.

“We’re still talking about how we’re going to do it,” he reveals, “but we do want to do an honest tribute to the album. You’ll get the album from start to finish, in album track order, and whether we do something before that, or after it, or in the middle, something that represents the rest of our careers. And we want to do some fun stuff, and get some guest musicians in, and really make it a proper show.

“But in there somewhere will be the core of the full album from start to finish, which we’re quite excited about presenting.”

The band are notoriously exacting and time consuming with the release of their albums. Another thing that boggles the mind a little is the fact that it is coming up on two years since the release of ‘Asymmetry’, and in news that will gladden the hearts of ‘Vool fans everywhere, Hoss has the idea that release of their next record may not take quite as long as it usually does.

“Time just goes incredibly quickly, when you stop and have a look!” He laughs again.

“But we’ve got a lot of progress on that (the next album) already,” he informs us, “I think we’ll probably beat that four year turnaround for this next album, which is good to know for us. It’s rare!”

“There’s pieces coming, and we’re quite excited about where that’s going. So after this Themata run, we’re just going to try and lock ourselves down and write what the core of that album will be. So it’s starting to get exciting to see what the next chapter will be.”

With all modesty, Hoss and the band are justifiably proud of what they have achieved in the last 10 to 15 years of their existence, although he believes that they are just part of a bigger picture.

“We are, we definitely are, man,” he admits humbly, “and we’re more proud of what Australia’s been doing I think. It’s cool when we go overseas now and play shows in Europe and we have all these people saying that we kinda sound Australian, there’s this Australian sound, coming out of your country, with bands like yourselves, what The Butterfly Effect was, and what Cog was, and what Dead Letter Circus are.

“People just respect this Australian sound, and I think that’s fantastic for what Australia is.”

Tour Dates

Thursday 30 April – University of Wollongong, Wollongong NSW

Friday 1 May – Panthers, Newcastle NSW

Saturday 2 May – The Metro, Sydney NSW (sold out)

Sunday 3 May – The Metro, Sydney NSW (just announced)

Thursday 7 May – The Northern, Byron Bay NSW

Friday 8 May – The Coolangatta Hotel, Coolangatta QLD

Saturday 9 May – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD (sold out)

Sunday 10 May – The Triffid, Brisbane QLD (just announced)

Tuesday 12 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC (sold out)

Wednesday 13 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC (sold out)

Thursday 14 May – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC (just announced)

Friday 15 May – Kay Street, Traralgon VIC

Saturday 16 May – The Wool Exchange, Geelong VIC

Monday 18 May – The Gov, Adelaide SA (just added)
Tuesday 19 May – The Gov, Adelaide SA (sold out)

Thursday 21 May – Discovery, Darwin NT

Friday 22 May – Metro City, Perth WA





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