I had the opportunity to interview Blair Layt from A BREACH OF SILENCE, while they were touring with DROWNING POOL on the “Unlucky 13” U.S. tour this past November. Their sound is a blend of Metalcore and power metal, which they’ve dubbed Powercore.
I. O.: When did A BREACH OF SILENCE actually get together?
Blair: We formed back in 2009. We had a few lineup changes over the next year from there playing a few local shows around in our hometown of Brisbane, Australia. The line up as everyone currently knows it started about three years ago so we’ve been going since about 2011.
I. O.: What do you do in the band?
Blair: I play bass and I do the clean singing bits. Rhys (said “Reese”) [Flannery] handles the screams but he’s a very versatile young lad and he can do the clean bits as well.
I. O.: Who are the other members in your band?
Blair: Okay, we’ve got Matt Cosgrove and he’s on guitar; we’ve got Kerrod [Dabelstein], he’s on lead guitar; Rhys, as I said before, is the screamer. At the moment we have our good friend, “Tricky,” session drumming for us while we tour in the States. We’re hoping that Tricky can be a permanent member of the band. We keep putting pressure on him to be. He’s a good friend of ours.
I. O.: What happened to the other drummer?
Blair: Andrew “Stix” [Cotterell] decided to leave about four months ago [in August of 2014]. He needed to move to Melbourne and we decided that a long distance relationship wasn’t going to work out for us, unfortunately.
I.O.: You just put out your second album through Eclipse Records, The Darkest Road. I have to say I listened to both albums and you definitely built upon Dead or Alive. I was concerned when I first listened to the album, the song “T.P.N.E.” the party song, I thought it was going to be shallow, and when I listened to it I thought “oh my god, it’s not.” I was so impressed with that.
Blair: Thank you.
I.O.: Tell me about the thought process that went into making a party song like that yet having a certain tongue-in-cheek, it’s-deeper-than-it-looks ethos.
Blair: That’s exactly right. See we wanted to—each song on the album has a very strong meaning. We didn’t just sort of slap them all together because we had to. We had to cut three or four songs from the final list because we had too many, you know what I mean? Those 14 songs that are on there, they all have a special meaning. Anyhow, “T.P.N.E.” it has this little party vibe on the outside that is really about life on the road, like touring and how much fun it is and how we want to do it for the rest of our lives. You know, make the most of it while you’re out there, have fun, yeah. That’s so awesome, feel-good great that you could pick up on that. That means we did our job properly.
I.O.: The Darkest Road was a well-crafted album. I enjoyed the first album but the second album I enjoyed much more. It seems that you have evolved as artists and I really like to hear the fact that you had more songs because it means all your best went on this album.
Blair: For the second album we got Rhys. The first album we had our old singer, Corey [Staples] as our front man. Rhys brought a completely different aspect to the writing process and to the recording process and to our lives. The kids got a lot of talent. It was really, really cool using that talent in writing an album with him. That really helped with the evolution of the second album.
I.O.: The videos for the first album were kind of campy and fun. I haven’t looked at any videos from the new album and I’m not sure that there are any out at this point.
Blair: We had one released I think about a week and a half ago. We released a video for “The Darkest Road.”
I.O.: Was that different? Did it take a more serious tone?
Blair: It did. The video focuses on our friend called Dan. Dan’s a paraplegic now. He used to be fully functioning but unfortunately had an accident. He fell down a slippery slide at his parent’s property in rural country Australia. He fell off the slippery slide and broke his neck. His story now is so inspirational because he’s taking the darkest road. He’s taking the hard path back to recovery, you know. He’s going through so much with rehabilitation and training and stuff like that to walk again. The kid’s making progress. We wanted to do something as an ode to him. That’s what that video clip is about. He’s taking the darkest road back to recovery because if you take the easy path you’re not going to get very far because everybody does that.
I.O.: I really resonate with that message because October of last year I was laid off from my job and I thought to myself, “What am I doing with my life? Why not go out and do things that scare the shit out of me?”
Blair: Perfect. People say if you do the exact same thing every year of your life you can’t really call that a life.
I.O.: So what scares the shit out of you, but it’s like a good scares-the-shit out of you? What have you done recently?
Blair: Well there’s the obvious hemorrhaging all my money into a band to tour the world. It’s fun, but yeah, that would probably be the biggest scare at the moment. The result of that is, as I’m sitting here talking to you, I’m in our tour bus on the opposite side of the world from where I’ve grown up my entire life. I can definitely relate to that and that would probably have to be the biggest thing that’s scared the shit out of me right now.
I.O.: What’s the metal scene like in Australia as compared to the U.S.?
Blair: The scene in Australia is a bit smaller just because we have substantially less people in our beautiful country. Heavy music is on the rise. We are lucky enough to have some awesome, pioneering gentlemen that have put heavy music in Australia on the map: Parkway Drive and The Amity Affliction, for example. Both released albums recently that have topped the charts. Not just the metal charts but the pop charts and all genres in Australia for weeks and weeks and weeks on end. It’s a testament to the fact that heavy music is on the rise in our little country down there. We’re proud of it and there are some really cool Aussie bands showcasing themselves all over the world now.
I.O.: You’re playing shows in the U.S. how has your reception by our crowds been?
Blair: We have been blown away by how nice everybody is. It’s just so cool. We came over here not expecting anything. We’re from the other side of the planet and we just wanted to have fun. We just wanted to get through the tour, have fun, and use it as a stepping stone. Every single show we’ve played there’ve been people singing back our lyrics. There’ve been people coming up and getting us to sign stuff. I’ve seen people come up to shows with merchandise that they didn’t get from the show, which means that they bought it online or somewhere. It’s cool for obvious reasons because it means people are digging our stuff and we’re really happy about that, to see people on the other side of the world getting our message. It’s really humbling.
I.O.: I was looking up the reviews of your albums on line the other day and I saw reviews that said, “These guys are awesome,” and “There’s some kick ass music coming out of Australia.” Then at the bottom this one dude asks, “Why did you have to use the name Dead or Alive? That’s the name of another band.” I asked myself, “Dude, did you even listen to the freakin’ album?”
Blair: Listen, everybody’s entitled to their opinion, you know what I mean? Negative or positive everybody can say whatever the hell they like, unfortunately, and when you’re a band like we are you put yourself out there for judgment. Everybody has an opinion and some people really aren’t afraid to say something behind a keyboard on the Internet.
I.O.: No, they really aren’t. You’re like, “Here are my guts on the table. Please, chop them up into little bits.”
Blair: That’s exactly right. We don’t take any of that to heart. If it’s constructive criticism, we’ll take it on board. We write songs and play music for the fans so if this many people keep saying one thing it’s like, “Oh, we’ll have to consider this.” And then you get people who jump on there and speak their mind and you’re like “Right-o, buddy, no worries.”
I.O.: Did you have a dream last night?
Blair: Did I have a dream last night?
I.O.: Do you remember your dream from last night?
Blair: Do I remember a dream from last night? You know what, last night I dreamt that I was in WalMart, right? Which we don’t have in Australia, like it’s only in America. I was in a blowup pool and I was rolling through the aisles in a blowup pool in Walmart. As I awoke this morning I stepped outside the van and we had driven—I didn’t drive the last leg last night so I was asleep—we’d driven to our next town in Macomb, Illinois. We find ourselves in a car park in Walmart. It was a bit eerie and I kind of had to pinch myself, “Is this reality? Nope, definitely not.” It’s funny you asked that question because I did have a weird one last night.
I.O.: The reason I asked that question is because I’m going to interpret your dream for you. You have had one of the most common, American touring band experiences fucking ever. Every tour band ends up with their van in a car park in Walmart down by the river. So you are in a blowup pool, which every kid in America knows the blowup pool, going down the aisles of a Walmart, which is about as America as you can get, okay? So, welcome to America.
Blair: Your culture is just engulfing me at the moment. I love it.
I.O.: As a last question, what is it that you want the fans to know about A Breach Of Silence? Is there an odd story that sums up your experiences? What’s going on?
Blair: I guess the only thing I have to sort of answer that is our motto, which really needs to be resonated through every body, and that’s: Don’t ever give up. Don’t ever let anybody tell you that you’re not good enough. Always do what you want to do. Always do what makes you happy. If something makes you sad delete it from your life. Keep partying. Were coming for you.
I.O.: You’re coming for us, oh goodie!
Blair: In a blowup pool.
I.O.: <laughs> I wish you the best of luck as you finish out your tour. Have a safe trip back to Australia and I’m looking forward to seeing you when you come back to the States.
Blair: Thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure talking to you.
A BREACH OF SILENCE have returned to the Land Down Under but plan to return soon. Meanwhile, check out their recently released album, The Darkest Road. You can read our review HERE.
I.O. Kirkwood is METAL DESCENT’s Senior Live Music Editor. You can read her personal blog HERE.