On the eve of the release of their latest album Dead Set, King Parrot chief screamer Matt ‘Youngy’ Young chats to Dean Forte about the excitement surrounding the release, getting big wraps from some of metal’s biggest names, and performing guest vocals on the upcoming Soulfly record.

Your new album Dead Set, out this coming Friday, tell me how excited you are for the new release?

I’ve just been down at the record label and picked up the vinyl. It’s all good man, it’s been a long time coming but we finally got there. I’m never satisfied until I’ve got the vinyl in my hands, so today I’ve got it and I’m fucking satisfied dude!

You previewed a few new songs live at Soundwave earlier in the year, what can audiences expect from the new songs upon hearing them live?

We’re doing about 7 or 8 from the new album. We’re trying to work out what works best in the new set. We’ve spent a few years in just playing the same songs from “Bite Your Head Off” – which has been cool, and it’s been a great experience to play that many shows, but we’re ready for some fresh injection and it’s an exciting time for the band. It’s going to be interesting to see how the audiences react to it. Hopefully they take to the new shit and they can get some wilder shit going than what we have in the past!

You recorded the new album with Phil Anselmo (of Pantera/Down fame) in his studio, tell us how the connection was made with Phil, and how his influence is shown on the album?

Phil reached out to me about a year and a half ago, and sent me an email, and I thought someone was fucking with me, so I cautiously wrote back, and then we started shooting the shit via email and I’m like “Holy shit! It really is Phil!” So we caught up at Soundwave, and he invited us to tour with them, and then record with him. He threw the offer out there to produce the new album, and after considering we thought it would be great for someone like Phil to produce, he’s got a great aptitude for metal, and he obviously saw something in King Parrot that he liked, so yeah, the final sound and the final product certainly has his stamp on it. He’s gone over and above to help us out, and he just wants the best for us, and help us get to that next level where he thinks that should be. It’s things like this that you really feel very grateful and it fuels the fire within.

You’ve ridden the highs in touring across the US (recently with Down and Weedeater) but having also ridden a giant low in having your tour van broken into with ticket and merchandise receipts stolen, did that effect the morale of the band, and did it affect your performances at all?

Not really, I don’t think it affected the performances. It was a shit thing to happen, but we’re pretty resilient dudes and pretty thick skinned, and we just have to try and take it in our stride and not let it affect you too much.

Your fans were pretty emphatic with their response to news of the break in, with donations being made to cover the loss within a matter of days, it must be pretty satisfying knowing you’ve got great fans with big hearts to call upon.

Yeah our manager suggested we suggested to put the call out to our fans, and you know, within a day we made the money back that we lost, so it was fucking incredible that people had our back and would go the extra mile for us, and we’re so grateful and lucky for our fans. They’re so passionate and supportive and get behind the band. We’re stoked to be able to play the style of music that we play – to be one of those throwaway bands just wouldn’t feel right for us, we’re in this for the long haul.

You’ve turned quite a few heads over the years. In 2012 you played CherryFest in AC/DC Lane and Cherry Bar, and with the response received, you played the second last headlining set in the laneway the year after. Word of mouth quickly spread about your live shows, and AJ Maddah was quick to get you guys on the Soundwave line up for 2014 (albeit on the Melbourne leg only), but you made quite an impression on both him and the bands around you, and this year you featured across all legs of the national tour, with big wraps from bands such as Lamb of God, Killer Be Killed amongst others. Some might argue that it’s been a pretty quick rise for you guys over the past 24 months, but on the other hand, it’s easy to argue that you’ve certainly done it tough and done the hard yards.

Yeah it’s been incredible. When someone like Phil Anselmo gets behind it, and you get a bigger audience, and then to have guys like Max Cavalera (Soufly/Sepultura), Randy Blyth (Lamb of God) and Burton C. Bell (Fear Factory) I never thought when I started this that I would have these guys even know of our band, so it’s very humbling. Even to have Max Cavalera come to our show in Phoenix earlier in the year, and bring his wife and his son to our show, and he asked if I would do some guest vocals on the new Soulfly record. So he gave me the address of the studio and a hand written copy of the lyrics, and went into his car, chucked the demo on the car stereo and sung the vocals, it was a fucking trip man. Then a couple of days later, we went to his house, he hooked me up, and sung some vocals on the new Soulfly record. To have guys like him want to work with us is fucking amazing.

The chaos of a live King Parrot show is something to behold, can you tell us about what flicked the switch in you to run absolutely rampant at your shows?

You know I’ve never been a vocalist in the past, I’ve been a bass player and a bit of guitar, but to do vocals, you’ve got nowhere to hide when you’ve got a microphone, so I’m getting thrown into the deep end. Around the time we were doing our first shows, I had a change of lifestyle, I stopped drinking and stopped partying so much, and just got a real good opportunity to play in a band, it gave me a renewed feeling of confidence in what I was doing, and the way I wanted to do it, so I just got up there and started going ape shit. I made the audience pay attention and try to connect with the audience. I got so sick of being in the Melbourne scene and seeing dudes standing there with their arms folded at local gigs, I really just wanted to shake that stuff up, either make them hate us or love us. I’m happy to have that compromise. I’m going to get up in the audience’s faces, I’m going to spill their drinks and I’m going to make you love us or hate us, and that’s always been the philosophy of King Parrot.

With unbridled carnage, there is also a level of humour that you guys pride yourselves on, especially Slatts, did that evolve from something, or has it always been a trait of his?

Yeah man, Slatts is a funny guy. I’ve always thought that if he wasn’t in a band, he could easily get a job as a comedian, it’s just the kind of guy that he is, and it adds a different element to the band. I think a lot of bands lose sight of the fact that music is entertainment, and it’s not always to be taken so seriously, so that’s why we do what we do.

Your music videos highlight the humorous side of the band, your latest video for “Home Is Where The Gutter Is” is a case in point – if you could get anyone to star in your next music video, who would you love to cast in any role and why?

I’d love to have Jack Black in there, or Ninja and Yolandi from Die Antwoord, they really inspired us with their videos – obviously not musically but visually – so I’d love to get those guys involved somehow.

King Parrot play the Corner Hotel this Saturday night with High Tension, Colossvs and Batpiss.

Dead Set is out this Friday via EVP Recordings.

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