King Parrot are a Grindcore band who formed in 2010 in Melbourne, Australia. They incorporate influences and elements of Punk, Rock and Roll, Groove, and Thrash into their Music. They are comprised of bassist Slatts Everyday, guitarist Ari White, guitarist Squiz, drummer Toddy Hansen, and vocalist & lyricist Matt Young. In September of 2011, the band released their very first EP, The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash. They followed up with a full-length album, Bite Your Head Off in October 2012. In March of 2013, King Parrot signed to Housecore Records and released their next full-lengths Dead Set in May 2015, followed by Ugly Produce in September 2017. The band then traveled back down to New Orleans at Nodferatu’s Lair to record their 2020 EP, Holed Up In The Lair.
We caught up with Matt and chatted about the Australian Metal Scene, their re-release of The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash, their Holed Up In The Lair EP, getting to know how King Parrot embody the Australian Culture, some of their crazy show stories from over the years, what the song ‘The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash‘ is all about, the time Matt met Pantera, and much more!
Since we’re talking about where we’re from and everything, what would you say is distinct about the Australian Music Scene?
Well, I think… What’s distinct about it? Well, I guess… In particular the Metal scene, I think has some really original bands. I mean there’s a lot of cookie cutter kind of bands that just plays run of the mill stuff, but there’s a lot of original Aussie Metal. It’s got a lot of character and personality and all of that sort of stuff, you know. And over the years, the more extreme sort of stuff has come about. There’s been some really great bands come out of the Australian scene. I mean, not– I’ll say, some of them haven’t made such a huge impact internationally, but nevertheless they’re still great bands. As a broader thing, a lot of people Love live Music here. It’s a big thing, especially our city of Melbourne.
There’s a lot of venues, there’s a lot of people going out. I think Melbourne has like five million people now. It’s a big city, it’s kind of spread-out maybe a little bit like Los Angeles or something like that, maybe not quite as big. It’s got a lot of people. There’s a great live Music scene here, not just for Metal, but it’s known as the Music capitol of Australia where we are. We’re very, very lucky and grateful there’s a lot of places to play. Our home city definitely supports King Parrot; the strongest out of all the cities in Australia.
I guess the annoying thing about Australian touring, I suppose, is that we don’t do tour buses and stuff here. I think it’s actually illegal in Australia to have those tour buses with the bands and stuff. So, we can’t actually lie down and sleep legally in a bus on the road in Australia. And everything is so far away, you know. There’s only six-seven sort of big cities that you could play.
So, when an international band comes out here, it’s a week tour, they play six or seven shows and then it’s done. For a band like us, who are from here, we do quite a bit of what we call regional touring. So, we get out to some of the smaller cities and smaller places, maybe like Fargo for instance. [laughs] We go to places like that. We go to smaller cities and play. We have good followings in those sorts of places. So, that’s worth our while, we live here, we go out to all of those places and play quite a bit and have done a lot over the years that’s helped us build our following nationally, I guess.
There’s this huge, great desert in the middle where no one is really. There’s a little bit in Adelaide down South and then Perth over West, and then up North is– there’s Darwin up there, we played in Alice Springs, which is right in the middle of the center in Australia a couple times.
We’ve played in Darwin once and we’ve played up in like places like far North Queensland, which is like Cairns and Townsville, which is sort of not where– not a lot of bands go and play out that way. Yeah, it’s interesting, it’s challenging, but it’s doable, but it’s not like America where you can just sort of get in a bus or a van or whatever and do thirty shows in a month and play every night basically.
Yeah, that’s really interesting about the tour buses.
Yeah, they just don’t exist here, you know. It’s just not a thing, you know. There you go.
How do you feel King Parrot embodies the energy of Australia?
[laughs] Well, we do, ya know. Like, that’s been something that’s we kind of been conscious of since the intersection of the band, is that we wanted to be influenced by other Australian bands, obviously we’re influenced by Metal as a whole of course, but we wanted to be influenced by our peers, some of our favorite Aussie Metal bands that we grew up listening to, and bands like Damaged, Blood Duster, Alchemist, Beanflipper, Dreadnaught, probably a hand full of Sadistik Exekution, are a bunch of the bands we grew up listening to and respected them and admired.
We wanted to be influenced by that, but we also wanted to create our own sound, do our own thing, and one of the main things that we wanted to do as well was to tour because not a lot of those bands got to tour extensively, especially in the States or in Europe. They may have done one tour a year here or there, or whatever, but we wanted to kind of try and establish ourselves internationally as an Australian band that sounds Australian. And plays with that sort of intense and in-your-face Aussie attitude, bit of larrikinism and humor. [laughs] And all of that stuff as well, so we try and capture like the aggression, the intensity, the absurdity, but we also like to have fun too so it’s fun as well, I guess those are fun. If you’ve ever been to one, you would probably agree we agree we have a good time.
Yeah, it looks like it from the videos I’ve seen on YouTube of you performing. [laughs]
Yeah, yeah. We have a great time playing live, you know, it’s so much fun. And people never know what they’re going to get or what to expect, and that’s the beauty of it. It’s sort of like one of those shows where anything can kinda happen, and it often has. [laughs]
What has been a moment where it’s like “Oh my God, I’ve seen it all!” type of moment up on stage?
Umm…. Man… I don’t even know what to say because [laughs] some of it’s really offensive and some of it’s like… There’s been quite a lot of moments.
There’s no censorship with Damnation Vault! [laughs]
[laughs] Well, we’ve had like naked people on stage with both men and women, many times. We’ve had like, what we call over here would be… I’ve been glassed before on stage, like someone smashed their beer glass over my head. We’ve had fights on stage, with like the audience or amongst ourselves. Yeah, like. [laughs] You name it…It’s kind of happened, you know. Just ridiculous stuff. We’re getting a little bit older now too ya know, so it’s probably… I think in our early days we were really sort of setting out to make a name for ourselves. [laughs]
I was talking to someone about this the other day, like I would go into the audience and knock people’s drinks out of their hands if they sort of weren’t paying attention, or if there’s a table or something in the venue and people were watching us sitting at a table, I would just grab the table and shake the table and knock everyone’s drinks over and shit like that because we didn’t want to be one of those Metal by numbers bands that are sort of, “hey, we’re just on stage and we’re just going to play the songs, and then we’re going to leave!”, you know?
It was like no, “We want to grab your attention, we want you to remember this, and we’re going to play with that intensity and we’re also going to make you…If you’re just sort of half assin’ it, we’re gonna get a reaction out of you!” And that was initially something we consciencely kind of did to ruffle a few feathers. I mean, it’s not sustainable, really, if you wanna keep doing it ’cause everyone would want to kill you. [laughs] You know, it kind of worked. Over the years, we’ve played so many shows in Australia or over in the States and Canada, Europe, and the UK. We’ve kind of honed our stage craft I would say.
We haven’t been smashed over the head with a beer glass for [laughs] a few years now, which is good. I haven’t been in a fight on stage, which is good, but it’s still intense and we kind of know how to do it, which is good.
My next question is, since the beginning of King Parrot, how would you say that energy between you and the crowd has evolved up until now?
What I would say is initially was that we kind of had to really fight for it, we had to fight for the energy from the audience, if that makes sense. We had to show them that we were going to put out as much energy as we possibly could, and we wanted that to be reciprocated. And then, as any band that starts out and they play, it’s really hard to win audiences over, and have them remember you.
Initially, we kind of had to fight for our audience, we played lots of different shows, we played so many different shows with so many different bands, different styles, different genres, whatever. And we kind of built our own audience. And now people come to our show and they know what to expect, if you know what I mean. So, there’s a bit more…Like, people know what they’re going to get and when they come to King Parrot, it’s going to go nuts, and it’s gonna go crazy, we’re gonna have a great time.
We still put everything into every show, whether there’s three people there, or three hundred, or three thousand, or whatever, it doesn’t matter. We do the same thing every time, we’re just consistent with it, we’re not a gimmick band or anything like that. We just play what we play and it’s super-fast, super extreme. We’ve obviously got some elements of Rock ‘n Roll, and Groovier kind of riffage, and stuff like that in there. But for the most part, we’re predominately like a Grindcore band with elements of Punk and Thrash and whatnot.
You’re re-releasing The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash, your 2011 debut EP…What is the decision behind that, to do that specific one?
You know what, it was just that we had never had it on vinyl. And I Love records, I Love vinyl, so that was the only decision behind it, is that we’ve never had that on vinyl. And I wanted to have it on vinyl. [laughs] So, I wanted to have every release that we do on vinyl record, and we’d never done a 10 inch record either. So, we did it on our own. It’s just something that people have been asking us for, for some time. So, we just sort of did a limited release, and Housecore Records, our US label, wanted to do it as well, which was great. So, it’s out over there too at HousecoreRecords.com. And yeah, it came out really good, we got it remastered, and it sounds killer, so we’re really happy with that.
How do you feel the album Art of it embodies the sound of the album?
Oh, for that release?
Yeah, well, heh. It was the first thing we’d ever did. We didn’t really know what we were doing… We kind of knew what we were doing, but we just sort of, going with whatever, you know, our friend…Our good friend Boyd Synnott, who does a lot of our Artwork and stuff like that, he sort of drew that and just said, “hey, I just drew this.” and we were like, “Ok, cool.
Obviously, the band is called King Parrot, it’s our first EP, we’re just going with whatever we were going with, and that was it. I mean, it’s…I guess it’s sort of…[laughs] Iconic, in our little world, that image was on the first t-shirts we ever made. It’s cool. It’s not nothin’ too fancy, it’s just straight up…Says what it is and yeah. But I think as we’ve gone on with the first album we did with Bite Your Head Off and then the subsequent albums after that, Dead Set, and Ugly Produce we definitely put a lot more thought and effort into the Artwork, since the first EP, that’s for sure.
What is the main message you wanted to convey behind The Stench of Hardcore Pub Thrash?
[laughs] It’s actually Pub Trash, not Thrash. [laughs] The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash. The main message is like… [laughs] It was funny actually, when we did that stuff, so there’s a pub or hotel, whatever you want to call it, here in Melbourne, called The Tote, and it’s a legendary Music venue here in Melbourne, it’s a cool place. It’s somewhere that all of the members of King Parrot have spent a lot of time over the years, and around the time when we were forming the band, the pub actually had to close down… There was some ridiculous heightened fees for alcohol licensing, and all of this sort of stuff, I can’t even remember what it was about. But the owners couldn’t afford to keep the doors open. And so, that song was just [laughs] about us hanging around at the pub, that it was forced to close its doors because of government fees and money, and all of that sort of shit.
So, it was just like our protest song about our favorite pub getting closed down, basically! [laughs] I mean, it was special to us, like I’ve spent some amazing shows there at that venue, it’s been around for a long time, since the 80’s– even longer actually. Like, I mean it’s been a Music venue since the 80’s, but it was a pub hotel kind of thing for maybe a hundred years or more. So, there’s a lot of history there and stuff like that, it was right in the city of Melbourne. So, it was a protest song about our pub getting closed down. [laughs]
Yeah, there ya go.
We were happy about it. [laughs]
You released your last release in October 2020, Holed Up In The Lair… First of all, I have to ask…Are you working on anything new?
We are. We are. We’ve got a lot of demos we’ve been working on throughout the pandemic lockdown thing, whatever you want to call it. But the restrictions here were incredibly strict, we couldn’t travel into state or anything like that. And our drummer Todd lives up in Queensland. We’re a very organic band, we like to write and record, do everything in the same room. We don’t do the computer thing like a lot of bands do these days, we kind of like to get into a room together, so we– during the pandemic thing, we just had a bit of a break, you know?
We did a few shows here and there, a little bit of jamming, but we’ve been. We did write on our own and we sent demos to one another and all that sort of stuff. We’ve got about 15 songs I would say, of new material we just kind of work on over the next sort of few months. Probably the next six months or something like that, and try and do some recording soon, and get a new record out for the next year is the plan. So, we don’t sort of stomp around too much with the whole writing… We like to just get it done. We’ll jam the songs for a few months and really get comfortable with them, and then we’ll try and record in our Summertime maybe, or early next year, and hopefully have a new album later next year, that’s what we’re hoping for!
Ok, awesome! And like, do you have any plans to release a Music video, even if it’s with a brand new song or with the re-release with The Stench of Hardcore Pub Trash? [laughs]
It’s a mouthful, huh. [laughs]
It is! [laughs]
Well, what we did was.. We’ve done two videos for that first EP, we’ve done two already, you know… So, we’ve never uploaded into social media specifically, so what I did the last sort of, couple of weeks, what Housecore has done over the last couple of weeks is put those videos up on social media. And I think Housecore’s uploaded them to their channel. They’re already on the King Parrot channel. So we’re just revisiting those videos and putting them up there and putting them out there, you know, some people may not have seen them before or whatnot. So we’re just sort of rehashing that. But, we will be doing more Music videos when once we have some new songs and all of that sort of stuff.
Off the last EP, off of the Holed Up In The Lair EP, we did an animated video, I’m not sure if you’ve seen it or not. But it’s cool. And so that was fun. We wanted to do a real video, but we couldn’t do a proper video with us acting and doing all of that stuff as we normally would. But unfortunately, we couldn’t get all get together. In Melbourne, the lockdown restrictions were so full-on here, like, the guys… I live outside of Melbourne and the other guys inside the band live inside of Melbourne, and we couldn’t even get to each other because of how strict it was.
Wow. That’s crazy.
It was. It was really crazy. We did an animated video, with a really cool guy from Sydney. Mike Foxall, he’s great and we were really happy with the job he did on that. But as soon as we get the opportunity to do a new video, we’re going to do it. But we got a bit of jammin’ to do first and all of that sort of stuff. Looking forward to getting into the jam room and writing and recording some demoes, doing all of that sort of stuff. Getting a new album out is going to be exciting.
Yeah. I do have to say, your animated video…Oh my God! [laughs] When I first saw that…Like it has some ….crazy imagery. [laughs] Like, it’s almost like kind of the worst thing you could expect to happen and you’re just going with it all…[laughs] I don’t know! [laughs]
[laughs] Yeah. That’s just what we kind of do…Let’s make things as ridiculous as possible and just like…make it seem normal, you know what I mean? [laughs]
Yeah. That is a crazy, crazy video! [laughs]
Yeah. We had a great time with that. It was cool. We gave him some pretty clear direction about what we wanted to do because the way that the video actually turned out, like the animated stuff. We were actually going to do all of that stuff, in person, like as a proper video with us acting and stuff. We couldn’t all get together, so I sent the video treatment as it’s called, to the animated guy. Saying that this is what we were planning on doing, but if you can do this and make it into an animation, then go for it man, go for it. Yeah, I thought he did a really good job.
Yeah. And it’s definitely something I’ve never seen before, or anything like that for that matter.
With the Holed Up In The Lair EP, how do you feel that really embraced the King Parrot energy?
Well, that was an interesting one because we were in the States, I think it might have been the end of 2017, 2018 maybe. I can’t exactly remember, but we were doing a tour and we had some time off. And we were out at Phil and Kate’s place, at the Housecore Studio, and we just sort of had a week where we were like, “can we use the studio?” and they said we were fine to use the studio. We just sent up all of our gear, try and write some songs, and record them as best we can. So, basically, what we did, what you hear on those four songs is what we did in five or six days.
We wrote the songs; we recorded them as best we could. I wrote the vocals. Philip actually wrote one of the vocals on one of the songs on Nor Is Yours, he wrote the vocals for that and the lyrics for that and did some guest on it. And that’s what it was. And it was just sitting there. And we were just going to use them as demos for the new album or somethin’ like that. It was recorded well, I rang up the engineer and sat here and said, “you know, would you like to mix these and see if we can get them to a level where that they might be releasable as like a seven inch or an EP kind of thing, and he said sure. So, he went back and remixed it all and did a really good job on it. And I went and got it mastered and I was like, “man, let’s just put this out. I mean it’s better than doing nothing, let’s do something and get it out there.” So, that’s the story behind that EP. It was written, recorded in five or six days and just done.
Ok, how do you feel recording at the Nodferatu’s Lair…Like, how do you feel that energy, like being in that studio, affects King Parrot and your sound, just being in that studio, that particular one?
[laughs] Yeah, well obviously for a bunch of kids from Australia, well, we’re not kids anymore, but you know like… When you’re– I mean we all grew up– I mean, me especially, and definitely our guitarist Ari, and our drummer Toddy, we all grew up as massive Pantera fans, as most kids into Metal did back in the 90’s. So, it was pretty surreal for us to be able to have the opportunity to record several times down there. We did the Dead Set record there as well in 2015. And then, to be able to go and do another EP, that was just really cool too, ya know. [laughs] It’s pretty surreal, but just like to know that you’ll hear all the stories of all of the other bands that have been there, and all of the other Musicians who have been there, and knowing that Down have done so much stuff out there, and Superjoint, and all of Phil’s projects, really. It’s– EYEHATEGOD… It’s crazy! [laughs]
It’s crazy that we’ve been there. We’re a bunch of kids from the other side of the world, and we’re just incredibly grateful. I mean, we know we play Extreme Metal, it’s…It’s…It is what it is…It’s certainly not everyone’s cup of tea, but we’re grateful for the people that Love that sort of Music and like our band, and all of that sort of stuff. We’re never going to be like a super…you know, popular fuckin’ band, you know? Like, we know what we do, we get it, we understand what it is. And that’s just what we Love. And people like Philip and Kate, they get it, and they see what it is, they just wanna help us be the best version of what we can be, and they’ve been incredibly supportive of us. All of those guys, all of the people from New Orleans, we’ve made lots of good friends down there.
We’ve spent more time in New Orleans, in Texas and stuff probably more time there than anywhere else in the US. Although we do have some really good friends up in Vermont, we’ve spent a bit of time up there as well. But we’ve made some Life-long friends down there and you know, it’s pretty surreal for us to…Looking at bands like Crowbar, and EYEHATEGOD as well, that we’ve all grown up with, and been fans of, and to be able to call those people friends and have been able to tour with those sort of bands and stuff, and play shows with those bands, it’s been a pretty awesome thing for us to be able to do, considering where we’re from. [laughs] It’s not like we’re just down the road or anything! Or in the next city across. [laughs] We’re from the other side of the world!
Yeah, it’s cool Music has that power though, it’s cool to connect with somebody on the other side of the world.
Indeed, it is. Absolutely.
It really is a universal language too.
Absolutely. And I think when you come across, like when you hear those bands…Like, especially the New Orleans bands and all of the bands that those kinds of guys are involved in, they all have a unique sound, a distinctive kind of sound. And I guess, when we started coming over to America or sort of started to pick up some momentum. They’ve identified that in us as well, you know what I mean? They heard that we had our own distinctive sound.
Yeah. And when you mentioned, you mentioned Pantera in the last answer, how do you feel Pantera really influenced King Parrot?
Well, I guess… I remember when… I guess…It wasn’t so much a conscious thing when we were forming the band, but I think from when we were kids more-so especially with myself and Ari, our guitarist. And probably Todd on drums…That like whole movement of when Pantera were kind of putting out Vulgar Display [of Power], and Far Beyond Driven…Yeah, that was when it first became really, really big out here, especially in Australia, it was huge.
I actually went and saw them play when I was like 14. And just the energy and the anticipation, and the excitement of them coming to Australia. I don’t think we’ve ever seen since with Metal bands. It was incredible. It was crazy. It was just so much excitement and I guess witnessing that…
What tour was that on?
That was on Far Beyond Driven, that was when they first came out here. And just seeing that in person for the first time, and I actually met them at the airport, I was coincidentally coming home from a family holiday, and the Pantera concert was the next night…And I was just like, I got off the plane, I was in Perth. We’d been in Perth with my family. And we got off the plane, and I was walking down to collect the luggage. I was like, “Oh my God! Oh my God! Pantera are here! They’re here!” They were like walking beside us, they must’ve just landed on another plane and whatever, and I just…I was absolutely couldn’t believe it. So, I actually met Dimebag, and Phil, and Vinnie, and Rex when I was 14! [laughs]
What was it like to meet Dimebag? [laughs]
He was actually really friendly. He was cool. I got a photo with him and everything. Phil was snooty and had the shits. [laughs] And I told him about that. [laughs] I was like, “you were an asshole when I met you man, when I was 14!” [laughs] But no, they were cool, man. It was really cool. I wanted to get photos, but there were other fans there, but that show in particular really sort of changed things for a lot of people, a lot of young people out here. It really helped invigorate the Melbourne, all the Australian Metal Scene as well because it, you know, you could see a band like Pantera doing the I’m Broken video, it was on this show called Video Smash Hits that we used to have. [laughs] That used to be on every Saturday morning and really influenced us a lot.
That’s so cool!
Yeah. I’d say we grew up with that Music and that kind of helped us, obviously when they did [The] Great Southern Trendkill and stuff, it was an introduction for a lot of young people to more extreme Metal, because they obviously didn’t step backwards in their extremity. They embraced it, you know? As opposed to like, Metallica, or whatever who kid of went the other way. Pantera just went, “ah fuck this, we’re going to get worse! We’re going to get heavier and more crazy!” and they did to their credit, and it worked, and I think that just sort of showed people that it was…Just do it, just do what you’re doing. I guess that sort of energy on Great Southern Trendkill and stuff like that, it was so intense, you know? And I guess, we inherited a little bit of that probably. [laughs]
Yeah, I think a lot of bands did too because you can really, really hear it especially with the newer generation of bands emerging. It’s amazing to see the influence of the generations before on Music on our culture now.
Yeah. It is, it’s crazy, isn’t it? Yeah, what an interesting band and sort of sad story, and lots of full-on stuff’s happened to them. But I think probably [laughs] I think most people would probably say that Phil was the last one that they thought would be left when they were doing it, you know? But he’s still out there doing it, which is a credit to him, and his resilience.
Yeah. Pantera definitely left a mark on Music, that’s for sure. Those are all of my questions I have, unless you’d like to elaborate on anything else or add?
Well, no…Not really. I mean, I don’t have a whole heap… I mean, yeah we just finished doing a tour here in Australia, we did about nine shows, and we did a few more, we’ve done probably 12 shows this year, which is a lot more than we did in the previous two years. So, that’s been good. We just finished doing some shows up in Queensland, where the weather’s a lot warmer than it is here. We’re right in the middle of winter right now. So, it’s been good to get back out and start playing live again.
Shows have been really cool, people coming out and having a good time, it’s been awesome. So, yeah, we’ve just sort of, we’re going to try and get this new record started, and get things movin’, and we’ll hopefully, we’re looking forward to coming back to the States at some point, whether it’ll be later this year, or maybe next year. We got a bit of stuff going on in our lives as well. We’re not in a super hurry to get back over there because we have a bit of stuff going on, but we’re definitely writing… Going to record, and then get our asses back over there, and come and see our friends over there because it’s been such a long time since we’ve been over there. I think the last time we’ve been over there was 2018 or something. So, it’s been ages. We’re ready to go. [laughs]
You can catch King Parrot at their Bite Your Head Off 10 year anniversary show on Saturday, October 29, 2022 live at the Max Watts venue in Melbourne. The band are set to perform their first full-length album, Bite Your Head Off, in its entirety!
Special guests of the evening include Black Rheno, Spawn, Witchskull, Pissbolt, and Munt.
You can grab your tickets to the event here!
Fan Fact: Black Rheno and Child Bite have a split 7″ EP out via Housecore Records! Get yours here!