Fireworks Magazine Online 39 - The Butterfly Effect


Roland Oei talked to Ben Hall (drums) and Glenn Esmond (bass) from The Butterfly Effect to find out more about this exciting band from Australia and their great new album ‘Final Conversation of Kings’.

The name of the band refers to the chaos theory.  How does that relate to the band?

B : When we were initially looking for titles for the band, it was at a time when Limp Bizkit and Korn were quite popular and we didn’t want to turn a letter around or spell something differently so I had been reading a book and it had Chaos Theory in it and it explained the 'butterfly effect' and  I brought it in to the boys and they thought it was a cool idea and it made sense; a butterfly flaps its wings over an ocean and a hurricane forms in the Pacific, you know, it was  a cool interdependence of actions that we really liked and I guess as the band has progressed it has related to us starting small and people hearing a song or two and then enjoying it more and more people enjoying it.

You formed the band in 1999.  How long did it take for you to play an international gig and where was the first gig you played outside Australia?

B : 2004 was the first gig we played here in London.  Actually no in 2003 we played in LA, then in 2004 here.  I remember we have played a few gigs in London.  We played the Camden Barfly, the Water Rats, The Garage and then we went over and did a European tour and came back and played the Garage as the final show.  That was great, it was the first time we played to audiences outside of Australia.  We jumped at that with a lot of enthusiasm.  It was the first time I had been to the UK and it was a very eye opening experience.

The band is a household name over in Australia.  Can you guys walk down the street without being recognised now?

B : I don’t have such a problem with it but Clint being the front man of the band probably  has a bit more people recognising him.   Being the drummer you kind of get the best of both worlds.

Where did ‘Final Conversation of Kings’ enter the charts back home?

B : The Kings of Leon were number one at the time, Metallica were number 2 and we were number 3.  The Pussycat Dolls were number 4.

What went through your mind when you saw that?

B : Why did the Kings of Leon and Metallica have to release albums that week?  We had the Pussycat Dolls covered.  It was great company to be keeping so we were honoured of course.

Has the increase in popularity been a steady climb?

B : There’s a government run station in Australia called Triple J.  They started playing the songs after we recorded an EP in 2002 and we started touring as soon as they started playing the songs and it’s gone from 200 capacity rooms to 2500.  That’s taken about  7 years so it’s been slow but steady.

G : (Glenn enters the room). It’s all lies.

How has the music evolved over your 3 albums?

G :  When I first joined the band, I’m the bass player and they had another bass player for 2 years before that, so it took a while for us to get used to writing together.  I like pop music a little bit more and we argue about that a bit but I try to bring the pop sensibilities in some ways.  It’s not very apparent but I try and do that a bit more plus we also have got to the point where we are less afraid to experiment.  We do what we do well I guess so once you get confident with that you can progress and start using more extreme arrangements or using different instruments.  I think those are the 2 big things we have done.

Why did you go for a more indie sound for the band rather than a metal approach?

B : I guess I don’t really think any of us have been Metal fans I mean I loved Sepultura when I was younger but I grew out of it fast.  We started off liking Faith No More and Deftones, Grunge initially and then your Limp Bizkit came out and the riffs were amazing and they were really good players and from there individual tastes diversified a lot.  Everyone has a wide taste so I think we just try and find a middle ground every time we try and write a song to please every ones ears.

G : We don’t really think about it too much and that’s the honest truth.  It’s all about what sounds good at the time.  We argue a lot about what we think sounds good in a particular instance but then you get a chance to explain where you are coming from and give another song as a reference and suddenly everyone is oh cool, no problems and the songs evolve naturally so I think as we have evolved as people the songs have moved away from the simplistic to more complex.

The new album is inspired by conflicts.  Is there a story in particular that inspired that?

G : Clint had been writing the lyrics for the record and he looked back at them and noticed that there was a theme of conflict running through the songs and he kind of made up this story, he made up pieces of prose that featured the sounds of marching boots running through the streets and the father sending the son off to war and he had these really strong images that he wrote these paragraphs about and they sort of began to inform the common theme and then when we decided on the artwork those things came more to the fore.

The recording studio you used looks pretty secluded on the Youtube footage.  Is that how you like to work?

B : It was only 20 minutes from everything that you need but it is up in the bush away from the city in New South Wales.  The last record we went to LA to do, the record before this, and the one thing that was good about this studio is we were away from distractions but not far from home as well and it was very relaxing and had a great vibe.

G : And living at the studio it was really great to be able to have the option to record up to 5 in the morning if we wanted to.  We were just staying 100 metres from where we were recording.

Did the songs come quickly? What happened with the writing and recording process?

B : No, I don’t think it came quickly.

G : It was fairly methodical I think.  We were very particular about the process.  There was a lot of demoing and it was probably 12 months worth of serious work.

B : With us when we write it will always start tediously and as everyone comes together and we can see what people are trying to do and where each of us is going, the writing process becomes more streamlined so towards the end of the writing process we will write our best songs so 18 months into writing which is about 2 months before recording we will be writing the best songs kind of thing.

G : It takes a while.  You record an album and then you take 6 months off and tour it and have fun and you don’t really think about writing at all and then everyone has to get back into that mode of being creative and have something that you want to put down on the record.  In the latter part of the writing process you usually come up with things that generally stay.

Do you end up scrapping a lot of songs?

B : Usually the first 3 or 4 songs we write don’t make the record.  They get done and parts of the riffs may get cannibalised and used in other parts of the record.

How do you feel you have pushed yourselves as musicians on this record?

B : Pushing ourselves as players a bit more.  That’s the thing from my personal perspective that I have worked on.  There’s a general rule that we try not to take the easy option and perhaps think outside of the square and push yourself a bit more.  If we really wanted to we could probably write a song a day but they wouldn’t be interesting songs.  The idea is to push ourselves individually so that we come up with something that is more unique.

Are there a lot of band springing up in Australia that are copying your sound?

G : I like to go and see young bands and there are a couple of bands that I think I hear their roots and I go that kind of sounds like our riffs but it’s hard to tell.

B : I haven’t noticed it myself but you get emails from bands saying we love you guys can we play with you so it’s an honour if you do hear it.

Are you still quite hands on then in terms of the internet and business?

G : Yeah I take care of all that on line.  Everything is done personally and when people ask questions I like to reply personally to them.  I think that the internet is responsible for a lot of bad things with the music industry but it’s also responsible for some great things, the idea that bands can reconnect with their fans on a one to one basis.  There were times in the 80s and 90s when bands thought they were bigger and better than their fans and the fans were the ones that put them in that position and its almost arrogant not to be in touch with the fans one to one and they love it and it works very well and creates a good relationship.

Any message for your UK fans?

B : We will keep coming back and playing for you if you keep coming to the shows.

G : If you build it we will come.  If you like what you read in this interview and you want to see a bit more about the band you can go to our myspace page which is

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