The term supergroup may be bashed around a lot, but Meshiaak really are a super group not only due to their legendary members who include Jon Dette (Slayer, Anthrax, Testament, Iced Earth), Dean Wells (Teramaze) and Danny Camilleri (4ARM). With Meshiaak they are not repeating their respective histories, but are forging ahead with something new. The band are busy with their lives, but Danny found time to answer my questions about a band who are one to watch.
Jack: Hi, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you doing?
Danny Camilleri (Guitar/Vocals): Hey, thanks so much for having me. I’m doing great, life is treating me well.
Jack: How did you all meet?
Danny: Dean [Wells, lead guitar/backing vocals] and I have know each other for some time now and really wanted to work together. I guess we met through playing at the same venues in Melbourne with previous bands, we got along really well and just have the same mindset when it comes to music but share different influences in some areas. Nick [Walker, bassist] is someone that had played bass for a little while in Dean’s other band Teramaze. I remember Dean mentioning that he’s really just a very humble and down to earth dude who happened to be crazy talented at his instrument; it was at that point that I met Nick and saw right away what Dean was talking about. Jon [Dette, drums] and I share a mutual friend who actually put us in contact with each other in the very early stages of everything, we shared ideas and connected really well and were both passionate about music and Meshiaak.
Jack: The world supergroup has been thrown around a lot in regards to Meshiaak. Do you see yourself as a supergroup?
Danny: I remember the first time Dean and I actually saw the title “supergroup” associated with Meshiaak and both of us kind of had a giggle. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s very flattering but I think I speak for all the guys when I say we are four people that connect great on personal and business levels, who all share a common interest and have a deep passion for heavy music. Yes we’ve had previous careers and have done things in the industry and been around for a little while now; if coming together is what makes it a super group per-se then in that context perhaps? [Laughs] I don’t know, almost makes me feel like I should wear a cape on stage.
Jack: Was the intention always to write an album upon forming? Were you perhaps originally just writing to release an EP or a few singles?
Danny: I’ve never really been a big fan of EPs or just a single. When Dean and I spoke about working together it was always with the intention of an album, with plenty more after it. We both really enjoy writing together, it’s been so much fun being able to bounce so many different kinds of ideas of one another and just trying new things that both of us haven’t really done before. It really does open the writing process up so much more and makes it more personally challenging to continue to outdo yourself on every turn and with each new section of music.
Jack: What does each member bring to the band?
Danny: One of the things I love so much about Meshiaak is you only really need to listen to us to see what each member brings to the band musically. Everything else is as I said really, we just connect very well, we all share the same mind when it comes to the business and marketing, we all share the same interests and have the same vision for the band. It really is a cohesive effort that each one of us participate in.
Jack: You’ve released your debut album Alliance of Thieves, are you happy with the response?
Danny: The response to the album’s release has really surpassed a lot of our expectations, fans seem to really have connected with what we have done and we are truly just so grateful and humbled by it. Another crazy thing are the reviews and publications. You know it’s one thing to believe in what you’re doing and to be happy with an end product but to have so many people out there calling it ‘album of the year’ or ‘contender for best album 2016’ and ‘best debut album since Machine Head’s Burn My Eyes’ really just kinda goes beyond what we expected. Again, we’re all very humbled by the response and glad to hear that so many people dig the album.
Jack: What’s your favourite song on the album?
Danny: It really depends on my mood to be honest. The songs are fairly diverse so it kinda caters for different moods for me. I love ‘It Burns At Both Ends’, the track really just kicks my ass. Then there’s ‘At The Edge Of The World’ and ‘Death Of An Anthem’ which are personal favourites because they’re just so close to home. The other favourite would have to be ‘Alliance of Thieves’ itself, more because it was the first song that Dean and I wrote and kinda marks the beginning of everything for us.
Jack: What was the recording process like?
Danny: I’ve never had as much fun or worked as hard in my life! Dean, Nick and I flew out to meet Jon in Oakland, California and began album rehearsals out at Soundwave Studios. After five days or so we were off to Green Day’s Jingletown studios to track the drums which was super cool, always an awesome experience watching someone who’s so world class do their thing. Then it was back to Melbourne, Australia to finish everything else off out at Wells Productions which is Dean’s studio. Guitars and bass we breezed through and then came all the fun and hard work…vocals. We spent around three to four weeks tracking vocals, developing harmonies or aggressive sections, sung sections etc. This was a foreign process to me because in the past I’d have around five days to double track an album’s worth of vocals; when you’re that limited with time you tend to just stick with what you know you punch out the quickest and easiest. So being able to spend so much time concentrating on the vocals for this album was just a heap of fun. Dean, one hell of a producer too, was getting me to try a whole bunch of things I otherwise normally wouldn’t even bother engaging. It was just a really cool time and both of us are really looking forward to exploring what else we can do next time around.
Jack: What’s it been like working with Mascot?
Danny: Mascot have been great so far, they’re passionate about the band and want to see it become a success. It’s always a good thing having like-minded people around who want to see you achieve what they believe you can.
Jack: You’ve released a few music videos, does the music video still hold importance?
Danny: I believe it still holds major importance, especially for new bands, it’s just a great way for fans to identify and put faces to the music so to speak. I think in this day and age music has also become just as much of a visual medium as it is audio. People like to have their eyes entertained with something that’s visually stimulating as well as having their ears tickled at the same time [Laughs]. It just places a relevance and focus on the band itself.
Jack: I noticed on Facebook you talk to your fans a lot, do you think social media has levelled the playing field between fans and the artist in a way?
Danny: I’m actually one of those very rare human beings that doesn’t have Facebook but yeah, I guess in some ways it has. I mean I think it’s great that a fan can interact with their favourite artists or bands; I personally enjoy talking with people that appreciate what we do. I’ve actually made a few good friends over the years speaking and interacting with people and for that I think it’s great. At the end of the day, we are all fans of music, speaking the same language and connecting on the same level, it’s a privilege to be able to do what we do.
Jack: Will we be seeing any tours in the future?
Danny: Absolutely, we all really can’t wait to get out there and start playing some shows. There are some things in the works at the moment and we will hopefully be able to lock in some dates very soon.
Jack: Will you play to visit the UK and Europe?
Danny: That’s a big fat YES! [Laughs] We are very hopeful that we will be through the UK and Europe during 2017.
Jack: If you are playing live, will you be playing covers from your respective histories?
Danny: No we won’t be; I know for some people they would love to see some respective history when we play and that will kind of bum them out a little but Meshiaak really it’s own thing and it’s own entity. We left everything from the past at the door when it was opened so to speak, but who knows what the future holds? I’ve come to know in this life that you can’t really ever say never because you just don’t know.
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Danny: First and foremost is to get these dates for 2017 locked in. We’re all itching to get out on the road. Other plans are Dean and I are at the very early stages of writing already. We just enjoyed it so much and really are pretty excited about what we can come up with next. I can tell you now that it wont be Alliance Part Two though, we’re always gonna keep you guessing.
Jack: Finally, Slayer’s Reign in Blood turns 30 this year. What does this album mean to you?
Danny: Reign in Blood for me simply means, early teens lifestyle. I grew up on it, played every day for as long as I can remember.
Jack: Thanks for your time!
Danny: Thanks again for having me.