XS ROCK: Tell me about the latest band news? Any new projects coming out, live shows or announcements?
Kurt: We have a new single Valley coming out on October 4th. This and our last single Ghost Smoke will be a part of a full-length album we are currently recording.
Valley follows a set of freed slaves torn by the reality that they have to go to war to fight their own kin who are puppets to the remote controllers. Those still enslaved by mind control devices are only freed violently and some die in the process, leaving the freedom fighters emotionally tormented.
We’re also really excited about two shows for Greenleaf’s Australian tour! Jack Harlon and the Dead Crows are also on the tour and they’re so great! We can’t wait to be a part of it. Greenleaf is a huge influence and it’s an absolute honor to have the opportunity. We are opening the night on November 9th at Crowbar in Brisbane and November 10th at Vinnies Dive on Gold Coast!
XS ROCK: How long has the band been together?
Kurt: Dan Bartsch (Bass) and I work together and we had been jamming for about six months on another project that didn’t work out. After that, we both decided that a more stoner heavy psych vibe was for us and wrote 3 songs and demoed them and set out to the world of Facebook looking for a drummer. Easter long weekend 2018 we had our first jam with Ryan Stewart (drums) and it was instantly a good vibe. 3 months later we had written and recorded the Mountain EP and I think we just cracked 1 year since our first show!
The funniest part of all that was Ryan has a cool set up at his place for us to Jam so Dan and I went and met him at his house and imagined a dungeon type situation (it’s not it’s a spare room in the house haha) so Dan in the fear of being locked in a sex dungeon brought a knife just in case, because you know safety first.
XS ROCK: What was your main motivation for starting or being in a band?
Kurt: I’ve always been a big music fan and have written songs and riffs since I was 14. I would go to shows and watch bands and just think that I wanted to be a part of it, like on a higher level than just being a fan. I can’t draw and I want to express myself live where it’s exciting and Stoner Rock provided me with the creative freedom to write about space and other planets and monsters.
After a while of writing music by yourself, you realize that the collaboration between musicians and creatives is one of the best things you can be a part of. There are these moments when you collaborate creatively where you all go on a tangent and jam out and somehow you instinctively are just on the same wavelength, connected, that is one of the best things I have ever experienced.
XS ROCK: What is your music background?
Kurt: I started out like a lot of people in heavy music by playing in a punk band. Then I discovered Hardcore and loved the DIY aspect of early hardcore bands and after leaving behind the hardcore elitism with my teenage years fully embraced my love of metal. That band disbanded and after that, if it had guitars I was listening to it. I love learning new stuff and eventually found a love of heavy riffs, which brought me to Clutch and Clutch lead me to Orange Goblin and The Sword and boom! I was home!!
XS ROCK: What image do you think your music conveys?
Kurt: The underground revolution of alternative thinkers is here! We have heavy riffs with Sci-fi themes but the message is strong! Just like Star Wars and all the good Sci-fi the influence of the characters and events have roots in the real world. The rich are pushing consumerism and keeping us just above the poverty line to distract us from the fact that they are destroying the planet.
They control us with systems that are meant to help us like education by crushing creativity and making us perfect worker bees to line their pockets and make sure we’re dependent on pharmaceuticals to work us. Our music shows you can fight that system and become your own person and follow your passion and be as weird as you like!
XS ROCK: What are your immediate music career goals?
Kurt: We’re aiming to get a full length out in 2020 and hope to get it pressed to vinyl, we’re almost finished recording it. The whole thing is based around the ‘Remoted Controllers’ enslaving a whole population to mine and farm the resources for a drug that keeps them alive for as long as they keep taking it.
We’re hoping to be touring Australia over the next 12 months with a goal to head overseas and start adventuring other continents!
XS ROCK: What are your long-term career goals?
Kurt: Being able to live off music would be amazing! Honestly, that’s the dream, I’d love to tour the world and play shows all over experiencing everything other countries have to offer. I don’t need a million bucks, just enough to live off is fine by me.
XS ROCK: Which do you prefer? Writing new songs and recording or playing for a live audience?
Kurt: Writing and recording are cool but performing is where it’s at! I love the creativity that comes with writing and recording but when you perform the songs live they become living things themselves. We leave room for them to grow and change so we can improvise a bit and really express our relationship with the song in the moment and vibe with the audience. I’m a huge Earthless fan and they talk about how they have a bunch of parts to the songs but they don’t really have a set time where the parts change and they wait for the celestial nod and I think that’s the coolest thing ever. We have most of the songs written but there’s a lot of our songs that have improved parts that can go as long as feel like in the moment.
XS ROCK: What are your songs about? (What specific themes do they cover?)
Kurt: Our songs are Sci-fi influenced and deal with themes of greed, the power-hungry rich, revolution, an uprising of the downtrodden and the effect all of this has on an environment. The characters and places are made up but are heavily influenced in reality and the possible outcomes if these themes aren’t kept in check.
XS ROCK: Do you have any outrageous tour stories from the road? If so, please fill us in.
Kurt: We were playing a gig in Brisbane and after loading in we grabbed a beer and headed out for a smoke. Some old love probably in her late 40’s and 4 wines over her limit wanders over and has a chat telling us she’s been cut off. Then asks for some change for the Pacman machine to which I obliged mainly because it meant her going away and she’d already rubbed her crotch on my leg and grabbed Ryan’s (drummer) arse. We walked back in as the first band started playing and she followed. We were thinking she’d bail as soon as they started being a black metal band….well I was wrong. No joke she’s up the front dancing like Elaine from Seinfeld to Black Metal haha so good!. Later I saw her grabbing on some young dude with no shirt so thank you to that guy!! Not all heroes wear capes.. or even shirts for that matter.
XS ROCK: What’s the strangest request that you’ve ever received from one of your fans?
Kurt: We had one ask us to sign a CD and then ask my wife to sign it as well after she told her she’s not in the band she still insisted on getting her to sign it. She was an awesome person but it was a little odd, so there you have it! There’s a Fumarole CD out there signed by us and my wife haha.
XS ROCK: Were your parents supportive of your aspirations to play in a rock band?
They were supportive as long as I had a backup plan. In the way where they thought it was nice, I had a hobby. I think with my 3 boys if they have a passion for something I’m gonna tell them to be laser-focused on that thing and not worry about money or things because that won’t matter if you’re stuck in an office at 30 hating life.
XS ROCK: What are your favorite tracks to play live?
Kurt: This is always changing but right now we have a new one which is untitled that I absolutely love. It’s got a really cool improvised bit at the start that slowly builds and gets very intense and then hits with a key change and a massive riff that I could just play all day. Then it drops into another improve part for me where I explore a cool Aeolian feel and then crush back into the heaviness.
XS ROCK: Which band or artist inspired you to perform? Why?
Kurt: From a guitar standpoint Earthless and Zong for similar reasons, the way that their live jams just take me to another world is transcendent, it’s almost like I’m taken to a new dimension. From a whole band perspective Every Time I Die and Orange Goblin are just masters! You feel like you’re a part of something special every time you see them. The heaviness an intensity and awesome and I get such a huge energy kick. I want to be able to bring these feelings to people and share that experience.
XS ROCK: If you could design a dream tour for your band, who would be on the bill?
Kurt: King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard would be amazing and it would be a dream come true especially for Dan (bass), Forming the Void and Toke because Weight of the World is one of the greatest song ever made.
XS ROCK: What do you consider your greatest accomplishment so far?
Kurt: Musically I would say that we have played with Wo Fat when they came to Brisbane and Anthony from Your Mate Bookings who put that on has given us the opportunity to play with Greenleaf! Looks like we didn’t screw it up so I’m happy we’re starting to be seen as a serious band.
Outside of music I have 3 crazy sons who are all individuals and are not afraid to be themselves even if it means that makes them different and I think that’s the coolest thing ever!
XS ROCK: If you weren’t performing in a band what kind of career do you think you would have?
Kurt: I’d probably be recording bands or doing live sound. I definitely think music is my calling so if it’s not playing I’d like to still be involved. I recorded our EP in our jam room and although I’m happy what we achieved I learned quickly I have a long way to go if I wanted to be paid to do it.
XS ROCK: What type of equipment do you use for live shows?
Kurt: I have an Orange Rockerverb 100 MKII which is the best amp I’ve ever had, the power and clarity you can get out of it are awesome! You really can’t make them sound bad. I have a 2011 Gibson SG Special which is my main guitar and I replaced the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Invader which I love how hot it is while still being a passive pickup and if it works for Pepper Keenan it’s good enough for me. For pedals, I have a Boss SD1, an LSTR fuzz clone made by HeathenCraft FX, a Dunlop Mini Wah and a Joyo DSeed delay.
XS ROCK: What do you think of the current music scene?
Kurt: The underground is great and I’m always surprised to see how much support you can get online. The local scene is growing to be supportive space and everyone seems to support and helping each other out which is great! It’s not something I found 13 years ago trying to break into the hardcore scene. I mean maybe it was and I was just some stupid kid haha. I was a stupid kid so that probably didn’t help.
XS ROCK: For anyone that doesn’t know you, what would they be surprised to know about you?
Kurt: I’m a qualified personal trainer. There was a point in time where I was obsessed with the gym, and I mean obsessed! I was training 2 hours a day 6 days a week heavyweights no breaks and working 10 hour days at work. By the end of it, I ended up with body dysmorphia and tendonitis in both elbows. So after realizing I was overdoing and might end up unable to play guitar I gave it up and made a full recovery (and got a little fat haha)
XS ROCK: If someone had never heard you before, how would you describe your sound?
Kurt: I’d say we’re a Stoner metal band with some heavy psych thrown in there, If you like Orange Goblin and The Sword you’ll like us.
XS ROCK: Is there anything that you’d like to promote or say to your fans out there?
Kurt: Check us out over at www.fumarole.com.au we have a new single coming out October 4th called Valley and we had another one that was released earlier this year called Ghost Smoke and both of these are part of the same universe that our album is based on!
Give us a follow on social media to keep up do date! @fumarolebandaus on Instagram and Twitter and www.facebook.com/fumaroleband!
XS ROCK: Thanks again for taking the time to talk with us at XS Rock!
Kurt: Thank you! \m/