Interview with Nothing Sacred
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Karl : Well, that goes back a long long way! I’m originally from a country town where the main activity for everyone was basically drinking. So to answer your second part first, if I hadn’t gotten into music I’d probably be in rehab. But in my early teens, I found bands like Deep Purple and Black Sabbath, then the Sex Pistols and onto Motorhead. That was all it took, I had to head to the big city and find a way to be involved in this!
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
Karl : I’m pretty happy consuming music when I’m not playing or writing. New bands, live gigs, there’s always plenty to do. When I write I try not to be too influenced by the music around me, but that’s probably impossible. I certainly get inspired to write after going to a great gig.
How long has your band been around?
Karl : We started in about 1982 as a garage band under a few other names, the name change to Nothing Sacred in ‘83 really marks the start of the band though. So it’s been a while.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
Karl : We are in Melbourne Australia. We’ve never really thought that our location has influenced our sound or writing. When we first formed the ‘Australian sound’ for heavy music (if there ever was one) was probably AC/DC and Rose Tattoo. But we’ve never felt that had much relevance to what we’ve done. Even in the early 80s, we stood apart from the sort of ‘pub rock’ that dominated locally.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
Karl : A friend came up with the name for the band in late ‘82. We’d been named Heresy, which people constantly mispronounced as “hearsay”, so a change was needed. I liked the name because it was lifting the middle finger to organized religion, which I’m always happy to do!
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
Karl : In the early days we headlined the ‘86 “Metal for Melbourne” festival and that was huge. Such a great gig, local bands only and about 1400 people packed in. No record industry support and almost no media support, yet the place was packed and just going crazy. Was a great moment to be a part of.
In 2015 we went to Japan, the gig in Osaka was recorded and is online on YouTube. Great night, a small venue but packed and sweaty and we loved every minute of it.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Karl : We don’t play often enough anymore to have a favorite venue. A few of the venues from the 80s are still around and playing the Central Club was always terrific. We supported Rose Tattoo there on one occasion, I remember it well because Sham spent a fair amount of time in the band room consuming the Rose Tattoo drinks rider while they were on stage. That’s my story anyway, I’m sticking to it. As for places we haven’t played yet - just about the whole world except Australia. Happy to start anywhere and make our way around!
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Karl : Well you’d most likely get 5 different answers if you asked each band member. We cover a fair bit of ground in the band when it comes to listening to music. I always wanted to play with Motorhead, but we never got the chance. We supported Paul Dianno when he toured Australia in 2012, so I suppose “first 2 albums Iron Maiden” would have been a great gig to play. Picking from current bands, I’d love to play with Insomnium.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
Karl : Advice to younger me - “invest in Apple, then Tesla”. Musical advice for anyone - just enjoy the journey, and don’t stress about the destination too much. It’s a cutthroat business and a hard way to make a living (almost impossible, really), but the good times are better than almost anything. Play with good people, ignore the arseholes, and enjoy what you do.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
Karl : Time-travel advice to the band … right, I suppose I’d suggest (strongly) that we should have worked harder and faster to promote the first album when it was released in ‘87. I think we sort of thought the album would ‘do the work’ for us back then. We really didn’t give it the support it needed, and it was a real missed opportunity I think.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
Karl : From the older songs, I always like the title track from the first album, “Let Us Prey”. Yet another middle finger for the Catholic church! And “Final Crime” from the “No Gods” album has great lyrics, our old singer Mick did a great job with that.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
Karl : We tend to play to a crowd that has a fair number of people who have been with us since the beginning, so we always play a number of 80s tracks. “Deathwish” is always part of the set, and we’ve played that live a few thousand times I reckon. “Damaged” and “Warhead” from the first album are favorites to play as well. Off the “No Gods” album I love playing “Oracle”, it just kicks along and has a great middle section. From the new EP, I really like ‘Leviathan’, it has that feel that I really enjoy playing.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
Karl : For the new EP, we just got together and wrote. It came together quickly and felt right doing it that way. For “No Gods”, because of the COVID lockdowns, there was a lot more writing being done in isolation, and exchanging tracks and ideas via the internet. The new stuff feels strong and I think it’s because it was more collaborative. Plenty of ideas still floating around too, so let's see what happens in 2023.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Karl : More a question for the singer(s) really. I’m happy to let the vocalist decide what they want to say. We’ve always been happy to touch on social issues, more than just writing ‘fantasy’ lyrics, or singing about beer and women.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
Karl : Yeah, bands are like any other gathering of humans. It’s really hard to put 5 people together for nearly 40 years and not get into disagreements at times. We’ve had lineup changes, but mostly that’s just been people needing to move on and do other things. When we disagree about something like a writing change, or a next step in promotion, we tend to just work it out.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Karl : The new EP “Leviathan” is the immediate focus. We’ve really happy with this, came together quickly and captures where we are right now. We want to get this out and into people’s hands and look at working on more new material in 2023. Hopefully, with the pandemic restrictions calming down, we can get a chance to head outside Australia again, but that’s something we still have to work out.
Album Pre-order – https://bit.ly/LeviathanCD
Digital – https://bfan.link/leviathan-1
First single / Title track “Leviathan”
Music Video –