Oratory are hell-bent on pushing the Australian metal scene out of its comfort zone. Their recently released music video for the song ‘Capitulation Genuflect’ shows their unique style and commitment to carving their own path in a local scene that’s been known to stifle originality.
We caught up with Nathcöre and got his take on how Oratory plan to transcend the bounds of time, space and white supremacy through extreme expression.
BAD HABIT: Hello Nath, how are you? A lot has changed since last time we talked about Oratory. Can you give us a run down on what’s happened with the band?
NATHAN: Hey man, we’re good out here. Since last we talked in early 2020, Covid happened. The band extinguished itself through a couple of creative conflicts and now has come back to life for the past year.
Through the first half of 2020, we’d basically had a record created and I was running at a furious pace to do a video and record an album. This furious pace really didn’t lend itself well to the rest of the bandmates at the time, who weren’t wanting to commit so much time to it, and in a moment of frustration we called it a day. Nothing much was happening anyway with constant lockdowns and re-emergence.
Through this time, we found out that our bassist at the time, Josh, had been apparently treating women poorly, so he got himself into a world of trouble and excommunicated from the community at large. He was not asked to re-join our band due to this.
Early 2021, Brett, our now previous drummer and I decided to do the record we had sitting around and so I asked Paul if he’d like to join in and record his parts — it grew from a session to the band being back in full swing.
We never finished the record. We asked Ben Thomson to join on bass as things started sounding good and our band has gone up and up ever since. He’s been an amazing addition and is the balancing point in the band. In recent times, our drummer and friend Brett James left the band to sort out aspects of his life. We miss him and we hope he gets himself sorted out.
On the heels of that, we somehow got lucky enough to have Andre Gaudet join us. He came in and played the set perfectly on the first go. We had to pick our jaws up off the ground. While we had Brett on drums, we cut an EP late 2021 and had Murdoch Stafford do some killer art for it.
BH: A video film clip for the song “Capitulation Genuflect” has been produced and uploaded on YouTube. I feel like there’s some sort of instinctual resistance in “underground” punk and metal against filmclips — what are your thoughts on this?
N: The shooting-yourself-in-the-foot part of underground music is what I’m a fierce opponent of. Also, in this country, rednecks and bogan mentality litter the underground. Discharge, Slayer, Motorhead and Sabbath took every opportunity to take the leaps forward etc etc with whatever was available to do. I’m not a grindcore idiot in shorts and a beard, I’m not a punk loser who wears a uniform and I’m not bound to these bullshit laws of what is and isn’t punk or metal.
I think people should tastefully express themselves through visual mediums, too, to build a story. I grew up watching videos and living for Saturday mornings, being able to cram visuals with awesome songs into my head on Rage, Channel V and MTV. Creating things is brilliant and all that I live for. Everyone considers themselves a film and music nerd in this urine-soaked heck hole of a city, but no one’s got the nuts to do anything next level and make good art in the roundest sense of the word.
BH: Did you have any doubts, anxieties or stress with doing a clip?
N: The true pain in the ass of making the video for me was first convincing my fellow band members, who had never done a video or been part of a music video production. I had a theme and more elaborate scenes I wanted to do at first and I basically got 0 response from the band through our group chat and at rehearsal. So, Matt and I simplified it and booked what we needed to and shot the video at three churches in Brisbane and VIA studios in Bowen Hills. I don’t care how punk people think they are – when the camera hit certain band members, they wanted the cameras to keep rolling once we were done. Make a video, punks. It’s fun and it rules putting ideas together.
Our awesome friend Matt Power from Rough Cut Video Production shot and edited it for us. He rules and made the day super comfortable, viable and simple. So much so that we completed the video 4 hours under time – never heard of when making videos. It was a blast to make and I’m proud of the outcome.
BH: Have you had any negative feedback on the video?
N: We’ve thus far only heard positives about the video. I’m sure it’s not as kvlt and is slightly dorky in certain ways with the shot choice we picked – but it was our first video and it’s sitting at 3.5k views in 4 months with jack shit PR – just a small PR run and it seemed to have touched a nerve!
BH: What’s next for Oratory? Let’s do a record on Bad Habit one day? What’s your dream scenario for the future of Oratory?
N: There’s an album that’s been written and burnt down and is being re-written right now. I want the band to be an album band and just release 2-3 videos per album and make them really great. If you want to release our record, I’m down. We have Mauz from Dystopia; Dave Ed from Neurosis; Jorgen Sandstrom from Grave, Death Breath and Entombed; Scott Carlson from Death Breath and Repulsion; Todd Jones from Nails and a few others to guest on our record. That will be mind-blowing when I get all these vocal tracks in.
We don’t have many aspirations. I think I’d just like the videos to be the vehicles to carry songs and get asked to play international festivals. The chemistry in the band is fantastic and when we play, it feels like we’re building a temple. I never want to leave the jam room. Outside of that I wanna do a bunch of cool shirt prints.
BH: I know you have a love/hate relationship with Australia, and sometimes a hate/hate relationship. Does that tension and frustration feed into the writing and atmosphere for the band?
N: Always. There’s a lot that goes incredibly deep into lyrics and even transitions in the song that sound like the violent push and pull of life as a minority in a racist island filled with convicts. I’m always shocked that I live in a conservative hot spot and somehow don’t go insane at how often the toxic white male dumbinance is the bounds of most given situations. It’ll always be in my veins and into my pen. It’ll always be a burning thorn in my side that in this metropolitan South East Queensland, I’ll never relate to white existence. Including an all-white punk and metal scene that people think is ok. I don’t care how many Nausea patches people wear. It’ll always be full of whites here. Until I ever see that there’s a bunch of people with colour and culture in these rooms, I will be an opponent of how uncultured the scene at large is and how conservative and cliquey it’s always been. Except you, Borg. You’ve always been inclusive and welcoming – even when you’re being sarcastic or making punks trip on their own shoelaces. The way you’ve always welcomed everyone has been amazing.
BH: Does some sort of uncomfortability and hostile environments contribute to better underground music?
N: I’ll never advocate or appreciate hostile environments because I have a permanent broken gasket in my head where the tap handle has torn off and a river of panic and anxiety is in my head all the time from being beaten daily as a kid by racists and put through that for years where I never felt safe and was always full of panic.
My first local show had a room full of Nazis with swastikas and Hitler portraits all over them. That stress of being hurt due to existing and incoming pain is more traumatic than I could quite ever explain. Until you live in a constant fear that you are going to be in conflict, I don’t think people will ever quite appreciate that it’s solvent.
I see extreme music and extreme expression via musicality. I’ve seen enough extreme situations and reactions to music – that shit bores me. If you can stand still on stage and make every beat and every note make me shudder – you’ll have tapped into me. If you inspire people to harm or threaten others – you can fuck off and die and I hope the tide washes your sandcastle away.
BH: Do you believe in UFO’s?
N: Queensland is a UFO filled with weird fucking people who live a fucking weird existence.
BH: Thanks for answering these questions, looking forward to your show in Nambour, anything you’d like to add?
N: We appreciate you running a strange business in an even stranger town and all the hardships that probably come with that. I hope young people realise that having these bastions of DIY and oddity around is an absolute gift. Us older cats can’t do this stuff as much as we like because we have too much going on, but in an area of the world with absolutely nothing going on – we appreciate you for doing what you do. We hope we can black out the windows in your shop so we can play in the dark. Bad Habit Records, forever. Peace out. – Nath
Oratory play at Bad Habit Records on Sunday 10 July with Skirmisher and None from 2.30pm. Art show by SWAK.
95 Blackall Terrace, Nambour. $10 Entry.