Brisbane deathcore outfit Babirusa are releasing their debut record, Humanoid, on August 28. They’ve got a self-impaling pig as their mascot, two guys doing both the high and low vocals, and they’ve managed to score a Thy Art Is Murder member as the producer… Of course we wanted to dig deeper into what is one of the River City’s most interesting new bands. Here’s one of the vocalists, Kyle Williams, to tell you more.
Since this is your debut album and more people need to get to know you, let’s start from the beginning. Where did the band’s name come from?
“The babirusa is an Indonesian boar-like animal – pretty much a pig. Dean (White) our guitarist came across the name when they were starting the band like six years ago. He was just looking for band names and looked up brutal animals and found this animal. Its canines can grow through the roof of its mouth and can curl back and eventually kill it. That reflects the concept and the view of the the band – humanity slowly just killing itself at the hands of technology.”
How did all the members come together to form Babirusa?
“Dean and Tate (Senhenn) are the original members. They started it all those years ago and had some bumps along the way. About two years ago, Dean moved in with Rangi (Barnes), who’s our drummer. They were living together and they were writing some things trying to kick it off again. Rangi and I were friends – we’d all hang out at the house. We decided to join the band and help out and to see how it would go, not really thinking anything of it. Rheese (Peters) came over one day and was hanging out with us and he and I were writing lyrics and it just worked really well and we’re like, ‘Rheese should join the band as well’ and it definitely gave us freedom to write what was written and be able to perform it … with the two vocalists.”
So how old are you dudes?
“We’re in our early 20s and late 20s.”
Who writes the lyrics?
“That’s definitely both Rheese and I. We’ll sit together and brainstorm the concept and get a movie in our head and we write off that.”
Does one take the lows and the other the highs, or do you mix it up?
“We mix it up. We both do lows and highs and everything in between.”
Do the five of you have similar tastes in music or are there some differences?
“There’s a lot of influences involved, especially between the five of us. Tate will listen to things like The Word Alive, Issues, and Volumes, and Dean and I are off listening to Vulvodynia, Within Destruction and Dance Gavin Dance. Rheese is a bit more old school, so he personally likes As Blood Runs Black, and then Ringi’s off listening to Animals As Leaders and Meshuggah.”
How did you get into metal?
“When I was about 10 I stopped listening to what the parents listened to… Kelly Clarkson, Bruce Springsteen (laughs). I started getting dropped at school by my friend’s uncle and he would listen to metal and it was Slipknot, Korn, Disturbed… That was pretty much what started me off.”
What were some of the first albums that set you on the path?
“For my birthday I always asked for CDs and I got a Slipknot CD sent over from New Zealand. That was probably my first CD I ever had. It might’ve been their self titled. Then I got Linkin Park Minutes To Midnight and I’ve played that probably 10,000 times and I remember every lyric from that album. I just read the notes back to front. My friend and I would just sit there and recite a whole song. Midnights To Midnight was my jam.”
So how did you transition into deathcore?
“It would have been when I hit high school and I was on the bus and there was older kids who are listening to Asking Alexandria and Suicide Silence. Those intense vocals was what really drew me in. I was like, ‘Woah’, I want to do this’.”
Did you just hop on YouTube and go, ‘Let’s see how this is done’?
“Pretty much. I went on there and they (the videos) were all just so confusing. They said ‘Put on your Marge (Simpson) voice and use your diaphragm and wouldn’t explain what these things are. It was definitely a learning curve. I was singing Asking Alexandria – belting it out – and I lost my voice. I was like, ‘Oh, that’s not how you do it. I need to not go as hard next time’.”
How did you get from YouTube to where you are now?
“Pretty much just sticking to it, listening to music every day on the way to school and at school all the time and just wanting to do it. Every time I’d try, my throat would condition more and more and developed eventually.”
Did you always want to be in a band?
“I’ve always liked music and I studied videography, so I do a little bit of that as well on the side. I’ve been in a few other little hobby bands along the way just for fun and this one just seemed to pick up the most.”
Video skills can come in handy for a young band! Have you shot any music videos?
“We had Dylan Cottee help us shoot (2019 single) “Desolation System”. He did the performance shots because we did full band shots and then I filmed all the rest of it and edited it. Then I did all of the (2020 single) “Catatonia” video and edited all that myself between (Adobe) Premiere (Pro) and (Adobe) After Effects.”
Shit. That would’ve taken a while?
“Yeah. Good quarantine editing (laughs). It took a long time. Gave me a lot to do.”
Now, tell us how the hell you managed to get Thy Art guitarist Sean Delander to produce your first record?
“We recorded Desolation System with Dan Field at Sledgehammer Studio and he and Sean hangout. He heard our track and wanted to work with us. He asked if we would like him to produce it and we’re like, ‘Hell yeah, definitely’.”
What are some of the lyrical themes on Humanoid?
“We’re not trying to make a whole message to take from it. It’s definitely just up to what you’re taking from it. But the the underlying message is the overuse of technology and the characters being sucked into this cybernetic world and being used like a battery to fuel the world.”
What are the band’s hopes for this album?
“Definitely just seeing how it goes. Every day we’re pushing it online and trying to grow that online presence, which is all we can really do right now because everywhere is boarded up. We’re seeing a lot of international response, so that’s always a good sign. You never really know until the day it drops.”