Amsterdam-based metallers The Charm The Fury are certainly not mincing their words, nor are they hiding their intentions with metaphorical album names. The Sick, Dumb & Happy is a calculated and deliberate commentary on phenomena including, but not limited to, the current trend of mass consumption.
Also intensely deliberate is the bands handle on the music industry, rather than sitting back and letting the album drop to silence, the band are carpe the hell out of their diem to spread the message as far and wide as possible.
Prior to the album release (which happened last Friday, March 17), we caught up with key figure and drummer Mathijs Tieken, to chat about addressing the social issues, what they’ve learnt about them since writing the album, and how things are going moments ahead of the release…
Mathijs: It’s really hectic time…During the last couple of days you always find out there are a million things that still need to happen so that’s what’s going on right now but we’re managing; we’re holding on.
The Neversphere: For someone like me who’ll never release an album in the life, it’d be interesting to know…What are these last minute things?
Mathijs: Alright, so I think the main thing is the proper music videos. What we used to do things – and I think most young bands just starting out do this the exact same way – You release an album then once it’s out you’re like ‘Ok, how are we going to let people know that it’s always out?’ That’s when you’re like ‘Hmm…It would have been good to have a music video right now…’ That’s always how it happened.
The Neversphere: how do you feel about changing your sound to straight-up metal? Do you back it enough to keep it for the next album or are you itching to get back to metalcore?
Mathijs: Definitely not the last thing. Everyone in the band is really happy that we did change it up. It feels more like our own thing. We’ve played some of these songs a couple of times but we’re doing an official release show in Amsterdam on Friday, March 24. You get this sense of ‘How is it going to work live?’ It’s coming together really nicely, so that’s the vindication that we chose the right direction because when the five of us are playing it, it sounds right.
Even if we switch it up in the future, you never know…Taste change and you want to do different things. As you said, people aren’t the same their whole lives but I feel we took a step in the right direction.
The Neversphere: The Sick, Dumb & Happy; you’ve explained this plenty since announcing the album. Basically it’s *those people*; mindless consumers. Now that you’ve spent this whole time studying the topic, what have you learnt about this social phenomenon?
Mathijs: That’s an interesting question. The more interviews you do, it forces you to think more about this stuff than you otherwise would. After having some of these talks, I’ve really found that you sort of see that the sick, dumb and happy is something that resides on all of us, even if it’s for the slightest bit.
When you look at the whole as a whole and the problems that face it and compare that to what you do in a typical day, you find out that 90% of the decisions you make tend to not be in line with what’s best for other parts of the world. Maybe child labour – stuff like that. If you’re in a supermarket and you have to make ethical decisions, you better be very, very informed of what you’re buying.
That’s one of those examples where we’re all part of this mass-consumption society and make decisions, sometimes hundreds of times each day, most of which we have no idea what the consequences will be in the long run. It’s impossible to make informed decisions about everything in your life. That’s the sad thing about it, really. You’re doing so much on a day-to-day basis that may not be conducive to survival as a species – and you won’t even know it.
The Neversphere: So you’ve learned we’re all a little bit sick, we’re all a little bit dumb, but we’re all a little bit happy?
Mathijs: Hopefully happy, at least.
The Neversphere: I imagine you’re going through a period of reflection, listening back to the record and checking out all the YouTube comments. Have you heard anything on the record that you think maybe you should have done differently, or conversely, something you didn’t realise was so great?
Mathijs: That’s a very personal thing, I guess. There are always things where I’m like ‘What if we did this?’ or ‘What if during the mixing we asked for this?’ I still have all the test mixes on my computer. Sometimes you hear something in the pre-production that didn’t make it to the record. There’s this interesting process of ‘What were the steps that you took during the process?’ It’s a never-ending thing, for every musician.
The Neversphere: You mentioned the Amsterdam shows, I imagine there’ll be more dates for Europe. But has there been any progress with locking in a run for Australia?
Mathijs: Not yet, still working on it. With these things, you rely on your label and your management and maybe someone within the local scene who picks you up. In my experience, sometimes you’ll not get an offer for months in advance then 2 weeks before a tour get the call like ‘By the way, guys, do you want to join us?’
Also for a band of our size, we aren’t a big established name. We aren’t the headliner that’s going to fill venues of thousands of people-
The Neversphere: Not yet..
Mathijs: Right, right [Laughs] Not yet…