Pokémon, Isolation and Zombies with Sydney band RedHook

Updated: May 26

Words by Ben Grace

Don’t know what to listen to right now while you’re stuck in your room? Luckily for you there is an awesome heavy, genre-bending band from Sydney making waves. RedHook is the name and you’ll be damned not to wear it out! Through the power of technology during these uncertain times, I was fortunate enough to have the pleasure of having a friendly chat (via email) to the talented lead singer, Emmy. After a couple of emails and bevies (on my end), we talked about how RedHook came together, their new single ‘Dead Walk’ and what the future holds.

How did RedHook Start?

So I'm going to use a Pokémon analogy to try to explain this one. RedHook emerged as a Charmander from the ashes of my old 80's inspired metal band. Our guitarist moved interstate so we couldn't play Megadeth inspired sweep riffs anymore and had to evolve. The Charmeleon phase then came once I linked up with producing yoda Stevie Knight who completely transformed the way I approached songwriting (and convinced me to stop singing blues melodies). But RedHook didn't truly become RedHook until a guy named Craig came into the picture and we launched the project together as a duo back in mid 2018. That was the Charizard moment - we were finally ready to enter Motostoke Gym and do battle.

For people who haven't heard of Redhook, how would you describe the band to them?

I'm going to steal a line that one of our fans commented on our YouTube video for ‘Dead Walk’ this week to answer this one because it made me chuckle:

"Random metal elitist: 'what genre do you want to be?'"

RedHook: 'All of them'."

Essentially we're just three weirdos who love music and pretty much owe it a life debt, so we're doing the best we can to repay it.

What’s the inspiration for your sound?

Honestly we draw inspo from everywhere we can and our taste is all over the shop. We really admire artists who experiment, innovate and push boundaries like Twenty One Pilots, Bring Me The Horizon and Scarlxrd. The new Ocean Grove album rips too, so does the new stuff Stand Atlantic are doing. Artists with edge who don't box themselves into one genre or formula because that shit gets boring after a while. I honestly struggle to listen to full albums where all the songs sound the same.

What would be the first song you recommend people hearing?

Probably ‘Turn Up The Stereotype’ because it's the first song that Craig and I wrote together, and the one that changed everything for us when we released it.

How did ‘Dead Walk’ come about?

‘Dead Walk’ started out as a lyrical concept inside my head, this idea of using zombies rising from the grave as a metaphor for buried secrets coming back to bite you in the ass. I had this idea for how I wanted the song to sound so I shot Craig some references and he came back with this arrangement that was just so freakin perfect it blew my mind! Once I wrote the melodies the whole thing just came together at light speed. I don't reckon there was more than two months between writing it and releasing it!

How does a RedHook song get written?

It actually varies a lot! I gave you one example above with Dead Walk but it totally depends whose idea we're working on. Craig normally works like 10 times faster than me so often he'll just write sick instrumentals and send them to me to munch on creatively. But one of the new songs we're about to work on started off with just a chorus melody & lyrics I'd written and we built the music around that.

How are you dealing with this Covid-19 Situation?

Man, it's rough as. Obviously Download getting cancelled was a major bummer, we had some massive tour news that we were supposed to be announcing with the Dead Walk release as well but that's been put off for now. It's hard not to feel a bit emo about it all. I also feel guilty about feeling emo when so many of our friends in the industry have lost their whole livelihoods and can't work it all. It's a totally heartbreaking disaster. I just hope it ends quickly and that we all come out the other side and start kicking dicks again.

Any advice to other musicians dealing with this?

I'd beg everybody to be constantly checking in on each other and supporting each other and making sure your mates are doing OK. Social isolation can take a wrecking ball to your mental health if you're the type of person who's used to being surrounded by friends and family. Craig tells me the introverts are fucking thriving though so that's good news for them!

Other than that, I guess just try to see this down time from touring as an opportunity rather than a setback. The world has stopped, everyone's careers are on pause right now, we’re all in the same boat so you have a unique opportunity to use this time to focus on writing, creating, planning, innovating, getting better at your instrument - basically anything you can do while stuck indoors - without having to worry about being left behind.

Now looking back, what was your craziest show/ tour experience?

Probably breaking down in the middle of buttfuck nowhere about 40 kays north of Port Macquarie on our way up to play Halloween Hysteria in Brissie last October. It was a 40 degree day and we were waiting on the side of the road for an hour for NRMA to tell us the alternator had shat itself and we needed a toe. Nek minnit we get toed to Kempsey where the repair man tells us they'll need to order the parts in and the car won't be ready until the next afternoon - way too late. Luckily, we managed to hire basically the last bloody rental car in all of Kempsey, cram all our gear in using expert level Tetris skills then squish in with our knees basically in our faces and set back off on the road to Bris Vegas.

That's when our luck took a turn. As we were driving through Coffs, we remembered Hands Like Houses & Young Lions were playing a show there on their regional tour that night. So we thought "fuck it", pulled in to Dan Murphy's, checked into the local Budget Ibis, knocked back a few well earned bevvies and spent the night catching up with the lads and watching them play a cracker show. Drove to Brissie the next day on a massive high and played an awesome show ourselves. Happy endings all round!

Does the band name mean anything significant?

It has a few different meanings according to Urban Dictionary - each one of them more disturbing than the next

What does the future look like for RedHook?

I mean it's difficult to tell what the future looks like for any of us right now. But hopefully releasing some more spicy tunes and touring the crap out of everywhere once the world gets back to normal!!

Which underrated band should people be jamming loud?

The Dead Love, those lads seriously rip. It's a crime they're not the biggest band in Aus.

I think you answered it in a previous question, but if Redhook was an animal, what would it be?

Did I? Oh, the Pokémon thing! Yep Charizard all the way. Flight & dragon rage, baby!

Check out RedHooks’ newest single ‘Dead Walk’ and ‘Turn Up The Stereotype’ as well as their Facebook and Triple J Unearthed.

Thanks to RedHook for supplying all images used in this article.


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