Thursday, February 07, 2013

Interview with Hidden Intent's Chris McEwen

Recently I was able to interview bassist/vocalist Chris McEwen of Hidden Intent. For those of you who might have missed it I reviewed their demo in late December of 2012. This 3-piece band hails from Adelaide, South Australia and they play (fun) old school thrash/Bay Area thrash. During our chat we talked about their past, present and, Lord willing and the dead don't rise to devour us all, their future. I want to thank Chris for taking the time to talk with us because, as you'll soon find out, he is one busy individual!

Andy: Chris, thanks for taking time to sit down and chat with us. I know you're a busy guy so we appreciate it. Let's start with the obvious first shall we? How did Hidden Intent come together?

Chris: Well, myself and Phil Bennett (our guitarist) meet each other at a Marty Friendman guitar expo. I needed a lift home that night but he didn't get the hint (I still give him a hard time about this haha!). At this time I was in a melodic thrash band which wasn't going anywhere (Abyzmal). Soon after I joined this hard rock band called Desert Eagle on bass which also came to no end not long after. So, Phil and I decided to not waste our time with non-dedicated musos anymore and formed Hidden Intent. We wanted our music to be in the vein of the music we both loved (80's thrash metal). After a brief encounter with a drummer I messaged Jay on Facebook. Jay was formerly of death/thrashers Blood Mason who my old band did a show with. The rest is history.

Andy:You touched on the fact that you all shared a love for classic thrash. Who are some of your favorite thrash bands Chris? Any group's in particular that you'd say Hidden Intent has been influenced by?

Chris: Personally I like thrash from the 80's and early 90's. It's just my personal opinion, but that's where the best riffs can be heard. Bands like Slayer, Megadeth, Metallica, Anthrax, Annihilator, Coroner, Artillery, Mortal Sin, Sepultura, etc. As far as Hidden Intent goes obviously  thrash is our biggest influence however our drummer Jay loves Black Sabbath and Tool which comes out in  his drumming. Also, Phil likes a lot of shred guitarists like Steve Vai, Randy Rhoads and groovier stuff like Pantera and Machine. That comes out in his playing. On the song "Die Inside" there is a lot of influences from the band Death (I'm a huge fan and wrote the majority of that song). NWOBHM bands like Priest and Maiden are also big influences of ours which you can hear on "Black Hole". So, there's a lot of influences than just thrash to say the least!

Andy: I'll say! It's certainly handy to be into so many different groups and genres when you go about crafting your own identity and sound. Speaking of sound, has it evolved at all since the 2012 demo? Are you working on new material?

Chris: We're currently working on our debut album which will feature the four tracks from our demo re-recorded (at a faster tempo haha!) and 5 new songs that we've been playing live for awhile now. The newer stuff has a more catchier groove/thrash sound. I've got most of the material done so far and Phil has been doing more so the songs are starting to come together. They sound different. We've got one in the works at the moment with the working title "riff soup". It's got all of these changes as we've wanted one song like that. But, it's far from finished so it will take awhile!

Andy: What's "awhile" time-wise?

Chris: All of the songs we have in our set currently minus one. We've been playing these for the past year so it's finally being recorded! I'm currently on my way back home from the States, back to Oz. Most of the vocals, guitars and drums are done so we just have to finish those off and then start tracking bass. Our drummer Jay had carpal tunnel so the drum parts got delayed a bit. I'd say the album will be released in April/May of this year so we shall see! I seriously cannot wait!

Andy: Neither can I as your demo was killer! I wish Jay a speedy recovery as I know first hand how carpal tunnel can effect your life! Changing gears some what is the scene like in your neck of the woods these days?

Chris: The scene in Adelaide is really good. In fact there's metal shows going on every weekend which is great. The only problem is consistency, as far as pulling in heads to each show, because kids like the hardcore stuff more these days and we are an old school band. But, then again thrash seems to be making a comeback which is great. We've got some great shows booked for when I get back. One in particular is a support slot for Hobbs Angel Of Death! They have been on the Oz scene for a long time! I also run my own monthly metal club called "Never, Neverland".

Andy: Hobbs Angel Of Death? Really? That's a name I haven't heard in awhile. Their an older band, but a really good act.

Chris: Yeah mate Hobbs Angel Of Death! It's a big honor supporting them as they've been on the scene for a long time and they're supporting Slayer in Finland I believe very soon. I basically messaged Hobbs on FB about coming to Adelaide and he passed our name along to the promoter.

Andy: Very cool! Care to tell us more about your monthly club? What's that all about Chris?

Chris: Well, "Never Neverland" is a little monthly club I run at Shotz Pool Lounge in town. I try to have a different theme each show. For instance the next one coming up in March will have a power metal theme. I usually have 4 bands, free pool, cheap drinks, etc. It's basically about giving punters a good deal and putting on a different kind of show. (See the link below for more info-Andy)

Andy: That sounds Awesome Chris! It's cool to hear about all you're doing for your scene. More artists should take that approach. So, what can your fans expect this year? What's in store for Hidden Intent for 2013?

Chris: Our goal is to finish our album and really make it thrashtastic! We also hope to start headlining our own shows this year as for the past year we were more of a support act. We've also got plans to head to South East Asia for a tour that will include Bali, Jakarta, Singapore, KL and Bangkok. But, this is still in the works so we're not sure what is going to happen!

Andy: Man alive Chris it sure sounds as if you've got a busy year in store! Any last words you'd like to share? The floor is all yours!

Chris: Yeah, we do. I just really hope we can get this album done ASAP and get it out there! I'd like to say to anyone who is reading this interview to give us a listen if you're into some 80's thrash ie Megadeth, Slayer, Coroner, Testament, Sacred Reich and so on. Be sure to like our page on Facebook and you can download our demo for FREE! (Both links below)
Cheers and Thrash till death!!!

Andy: Cheers right back to you! If you haven't checked out Hidden Intent then you're missing out on some great thrash. These guys play real thrash. As Chris said if you're into bands like Megadeth, Slayer, Testament or Sacred Reich then you should really dig these guys. Be sure to like them on Facebook and, as always, support underground, independent and local talent whenever/however you can. It's those kinds of acts that are keeping the true spirit of heavy metal alive!

Hidden Intent's Facebook page:

Link to Never Neverland:

Hidden Intent Demo (Free Download!)

Review of demo:

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