History & Biography
TEMTRIS - KHAOS DIVINE - WORMHOLEDEATH
Having had little experience with the band aside from including their news updates in these pages there was not much of an expectation or anticipation when the 2023 album of Australia-based Temtris, entitled Khaos Divine, was sent to Metallian for review or consideration. It was a happenstance that one of our serfs took the time to press play and out came a true blue heavy metal sound that became the impetus for getting hold of the band for an interview. The first time reaching the band was on singer Genevieve Rodda’s mobile telephone when she happened to be at the gym. From there, however, she accepted an invitation, alongside the friendly pug Chilli, to visit Metallian Towers and, subsequently, in the course of 90 minutes, the host and guest spoke about the state of the metal scene, the group’s history, the concept behind the album, lockdowns and the latest news surrounding the act. There was much agreement regarding metal music and the quality of the group and disagreement regarding vaccines and public health, which culminated into something worth reading. Whichever side of the debate one lands on, we all should agree that as metal fans we have more in common than separates us and this new record through WormHoleDeath at the very least deserves attention. The bet at this end is that the attention will translate into admiration for an album that Metallian is rating highly. - 12.03.2023
METALLIAN: Gen, thank-you for the conversation. Is it a deficiency in you and the band that somebody like me who has been into metal for years has not heard Temtris or does it say more about me as a person and that I am ignorant or is it a function of the universe and that there are too many bands out there?
GENEVIEVE: Look, other people have told me that they don't listen to us because they are not fans of female fronted metal. Quite often those people will listen to us and get back to me and say, ‘oh, you don't sing like I expected you to sing.’ I admit, I myself am not a fan of symphonic metal. I am not a fan of the operatic style of singing as much as it's beautiful. It's not metal and you cannot mix the two together so I think that the thing is that people expect me to sing in this operatic style and so they don't listen (to Temtris). I think that's one of the reasons we haven't had the success because when people do listen to us they usually go, ‘oh, OK. It's not what I was expecting.’ The other thing is that there are literally so many bands out there nowadays. The market is just flooded because of the Internet. How do you reach everybody? We've been going for 20 years and we have had advertisements in magazines all around the world. How do you get people to click on that link and listen like you did? What made the difference? I don't know.
METALLIAN: In my case, it was sheer luck or the universe, but actually I am going to jump ahead. I am going to pick up on something you said. I was going to ask this later, but let me go out of order. Here at Metallian we are not fans of that operatic vocals or poppy singing like the Nightwish and Darkyra Black thing at all. We think metal is called metal because it's hard and heavy. Opera may be great, but it is not something I want in my metal. We do not have a prejudice against female singers. Think back to Lee Aaron or Hellion or today’s Arch Enemy. Capable female vocalists in metal have not been a novelty or alien or rarity for 30 years, but if you were of the Within Temptation or Nightwish variety then it would not be for me. Certainly, when listening to Temtris, the music, the guitar solos, the rhythm and the capable vocals, it is one of the best things in the recent while and yet it could have just passed us by.
GENEVIEVE: That's so awesome to hear. Something that we tried to do this time… I mean, we've always had the sound, but we modernised that a little bit. We wanted to do a modern album to grab people so it doesn't look like every other metal band. It was important to have a fresh approach to grab people, like yourself, so people say, ‘this is interesting and I will listen’ and I think that has turned out to be a winning thing for us. I mean, our last album, Ritual Warfare, got amazing reviews as well, but there is something about this album and the look of this album and what we've done that is enticing people to check us out a little more. It's a good thing, I guess, for us.
METALLIAN: Gen, what is that thing? What is it that's grabbing people? At our end, we certainly looked at the band's image initially to start. You guys do not look like the average band out there with all members looking like gas station attendants.
GENEVIEVE: I know.
METALLIAN: It looks like most bands don't even take a shower for the publicity photograph anymore. I expect them to be pumping my gas at the station. So that's one thing. Then the cover artwork was professional and interesting. Then I noticed that the write-up says Khaos Divine is a concept, but having said all of that, it was the music that I started listening to which impressed.
GENEVIEVE: We did go out of our way to write during Covid. I am married to Anthony Fox, the guitarist. We've been together for a long time. I actually joined his band when I was fourteen. We've been together a long time. We were sitting in the backyard in our spa, which we bought because we could not go on a family holiday, so we were sitting in our spa during the lockdown, which went on for nearly two years, and I said to him, as we were listening to Somewhere In Time, ‘we need to do a modern album we need to do something fresh and different. Let's do a concept album, let's try to do something we have not done before with a female character’ and it basically grew from there. I spoke to the band and they were on it. We ripped apart riffs and songs we had written and added to them what we needed. It was hard for the guitarists because many of the songs were written and we do that because we like to put the best of everything together and create music and what came out has been what we are very proud of. When we sent it to the record label, WormHoleDeath’s Carlo, to listen he sent back this email with this massively praising review saying that it's one of the best albums he's listened to since Iron Maiden’s Number Of The Beast. I was gobsmacked! My record label was talking about it this way. Even the reviews in the last couple of days have been amazing. I don't know! We try to give the best to our music and do better each time. We are writing all the time. Every time we do this, we try to step up as a band. We have managed to do that again and it makes us so proud. It has just come together for us. Album seven, lucky number maybe.
METALLIAN: Perhaps or perhaps ‘luck’ is not the word. It seems like a very deliberate action on your part. I went and listened to a number of your older songs and noticed that some of the older material had growling on it. Could you compare your delivery and the style of this album to the previous work? It is difficult to imagine you have so many albums with this quality.
GENEVIEVE: We definitely have evolved as a band. We have worked out what it is to push our songwriting and what our fans want. When we first started, we did have death backing vocals. Back then that was a new thing when we started doing it. That was not something that was common. Maybe Evanescence had been doing it, but it was pretty rare and special in Australia. There were not that many female singers in bands. I mean there still aren't. We were quite a new thing to the scene. There was not that much female fronted metal, but we certainly will have gone from a more melodic style and we've gone heavier. We've always had that twin guitar attack, but we have definitely worked on our choruses to become catchier. We want people to get that rhythm stuck in their heads. We have tried not to be so complicated. Anthony is an amazing songwriter. He loves music and he can write something that is not normal, but that is not what the fans want. The fans want to be upfront with a song that's stuck in their heads and I think that is what we've done as we got that formula, but we still want it to be heavy and this time with my vocals, I didn't even push as hard as I did with Ritual Warfare. I just wanted it to be where I can sing comfortably on stage and not tire my voice out trying to do ridiculously high notes all the time. I have backed up a little on this album, but people are liking that too so we finally worked out the formula and it's just right.
METALLIAN: You have been in a band for 30 or so years and yet are telling me that you've become heavier. Most bands go the opposite direction. They become softer overtime, but what you are saying is you are going the opposite to convention.
GENEVIEVE: Like I said, we have always had the twin guitar sound, but we want… I have noticed that in Europe that almost pop metal sound is really big at the moment and that is not our thing. I love thrash and I love bands like Annihilator, Flotsam And Jetsam, even bands like Death and Carcass, but to me nothing beats the sound with a catchy riff and catchy chorus that you can sing along to, but still bang your head, get in a mosh pit with your friends and that is what we try to do. This one is a concept and we've written it with a stack of emotions. Normally, I write about life experiences or what I know or how I felt when something in life happened, but this time I had to write to a story and it surprisingly was easier to write. I would come down, and the boys would have music, and I would just feed off it, sing and have a melody line in no time. It was fun to write this out.
METALLIAN: Did you write the record during the pandemic and the lockdown?
GENEVIEVE: Pretty much started there, yes, started during the lockdown, yes, and as the Covid thing started to ease and the music scene came back we were in the full swing of writing. We had finalised recording this album. We had to go to the record company with it last October so it was pretty much recorded and done in September… July and August of ‘22. It was all done by then.
We actually pumped this album pretty fast. There's a lot of twin guitars. We usually write and rewrite, but this one, for some reason, it just gelled. And all of us were just moved by how well it came together and emotionally we are attached to this album because it came together so well for us. We are getting such a great response. Exciting times ahead, I guess.
METALLIAN: Are you indeed receiving a bunch of great feedback and reviews?
GENEVIEVE: Well, the album just started going out for reviewers last week so I have had four in about two days giving us scores like 9.5 out of 10 and things like that, which is amazing. They are raving about the songwriting on the album. Actually some of the fans received their albums in the mail, even though it's not out yet even though the post is quite slow. A couple of fans have already received their albums in England and America, namely people who have bought it on pre-sales and thought it is a brilliant album. A lady from France just emailed saying she thought it's just superb. When you get emails from fans for who are loving it you can't ask for anything more than that. I have had one reviewer come back and say the album is a bit plodding.
METALLIAN: Plodding? What did he listen to?
GENEVIEVE: He actually didn't talk about all the songs so I don't think he listened to the album (laughs).
METALLIAN: I think he got the wrong CD because, like it or not, it is not plodding. One might not like the album and that's fine. It is subjective, but plodding?
GENEVIEVE: I mean it's supposed to be the opposite of that. We have a couple of songs that are slower, but the emotional content of those songs… this album you'll have to listen in order and that is why we release the singles in order with Khaos Divine first and then we did Eternal Death Machine. It is a concept album. We didn't want to give away the story. You need to listen to the album in order because there is a story behind it actually.
There are nine tracks on the album and I have made nine cards each one with art and the story of the song behind it on each. The cards explain about the song so people who have bought the album from me get those cards. You can sit down and read the story while you listen to the music which I think is pretty cool.
METALLIAN: I want to get to the concept in a moment. It's certainly one of my questions for you, but one thing that is refreshing is how one talks to bands and they say, ‘I don't want to explain. I don't want to talk about the lyrics. You could read it and figure it out yourself’ and while I understand where they're coming from, to me it's such a waste when you put all these thoughts and ideas into it and somebody reads it and doesn't get it. It's such a waste of effort. Why not explain when you have spent so much time writing it?
GENEVIEVE: Whenever I come up with an album I always have a concept in a sense and, even for the other albums, I have always had a concept and an idea for the artwork and I have had an idea for the photos. It all links to the story. For us It's always a whole product and not just about the music. It's about everything. I love getting a CD, opening it and reading the booklet. I mean I don't understand how people want to listen to music on Spotify. That's boring to me. Maybe if you've heard the album nine times already… I like the fact that when you listen to Queensryche and Iron Maiden there's a story in the album. And that is what I think this younger generation doesn't get and is missing. They think it's just a song that you've written in five seconds and no thought has gone into it.
METALLIAN: I want to get to the concept next, but I'm still struggling with the question I asked earlier. You and the band are getting heavier with age!
GENEVIEVE: Look, I don't know. I don't know what it is. We've got a great team at the moment and we just love creating that sound. One of the songs, for example, The Lies Become The Truth when we jam that at rehearsal, man, that song has some balls in it. It has fat, chunky riffs and it makes your head bang. Doing that stuff live and watching the audience move is just amazing and I think that's what we feed off on stage. It gives us the energy and we give it back. Writing those sorts of songs is really cool. It gets the audience involved and that is why we enjoy making songs that are melodic and catchy, but are still heavy. I don't need to do death vocals. Every girl is doing either death vocals or symphonic vocals these days. Why become like everybody else? I want to do my own style and you can be heavy and sing with my vocals. Primal Fear do it, Judas Priest do it, some of the bigger bands Iron Maiden as well so yeah…
METALLIAN: You mentioned the fans a couple of times. Do you have a fan base?
GENEVIEVE: I think people overseas think we are bigger than we are here. We have a good fan base here in Australia. The metal scene here in Australia isn't huge as it is in Europe. It is good, but it's not huge and we have great followers overseas. We just announced today that we are going to do a tour of the UK and Europe and the response has been huge this morning. I haven't announced any dates yet, but I have said we are going out in September. So I am pretty excited about that. I guess we will see when we go overseas whether we pull people’s bums off their seats and whether they come out to watch us. I truly believe we have not reached the people… here in Australia everyone says, ‘Go over there and people are going to love you.’ With this tour we will know. As you say, we are an underground band pretty much. If you go on the scale of big bands yeah, we are pretty much an underground band. I said to the boys, ‘If we go to Europe, we pretty much are starting from the bottom again over there’ and I'm quite aware of that. We are going to be paying to play pretty much on this tour. It is going to be a working holiday for us, but when you are doing what you love, who cares? sure beats the day job.
METALLIAN: What you are saying is you are up for it. You are up for starting from the ground up in Europe or wherever.
GENEVIEVE: Yes, I mean we are going over as the main band and we have a band supporting us. I never put myself up on a pedestal. Maybe that's why we haven't reached the people we haven't reached. I don't go around saying, ‘I'm a big thing.’ I don't go around raving about myself. I do it because I love it and the rest of the band feels the same. People in Australia say can we have a meet and greet and I say. ‘Yeah meet me at the bar. I'll have a drink with you.’ I'd rather be real. I don't want to be fake. That's not metal for me. That's not what I am about. Metal is family and all our fans in Australia have become our family. I usually have parties at my house and everyone comes and hangs out and has a good time.
METALLIAN: I appreciate what you're saying and the attitude. I also identify with it. This is a metal attitude. We're all together and we are supposed to be the outcasts. People in these meetings and these VIP things boggle my mind. Yet, you have announced a tour of Europe.
GENEVIEVE: Venues and details are to be announced. I have one band in Germany we announced as openers. They are Odium and they are helping me organise the tour. I do have a booking agent I have been working with who helps me organise the UK, but Europe I've done all by myself. That was a lot of work.
METALLIAN: Let's jump into it. Khaos Divine is a concept album with related cover artwork. Could you divulge what the story is and expand and elaborate on the whole concept?
GENEVIEVE: Khaos Divine is a world run by a people or a government with people they have sold a lie to. They tell the people that if you take this drug, you'll have an almost eternal life, but you have to sign a contract to take this drug and basically become a slave to society. You will be working and you will not need to sleep as much. You have limited time with friends and family because you are going to be slaving your ass off, which feels a little bit like the society today. You work and work and work and you don't seem to be getting anywhere. That's the basic concept of the story. Taking this drug and not sleeping much because you sold your soul to the corporation. The main character in the story, and on the cover, is Ember. She and her partner work at this company. She loses her partner in the story, as you've gathered by the song The Path, and they take on the corporation before she loses her partner. The head on the picture on the cover is the CEO of the company. She goes and takes revenge for losing her partner. They don't want to be part of the contract anymore. That is basically how the story pans out. They want to skip the regime. It is pretty deep.
METALLIAN: Is there any analogy here to the Matrix movies?
GENEVIEVE: No. I am not a huge fan of the Matrix movies. I do love sci-fi movies to tell you the truth. I am not a chick flick movie watcher. I had the idea of a female character on the cover. We've pretty much always had females on the cover artwork. I wanted a modern female character and my son actually sat down and wrote a bunch of stories. He loves to write. I should send you a set of cards so you can read the story as you listen to the music.
Having a female on every album is our thing. Kinda like Megadeth has a character and we decided to do the same with temptress. Yeah, we've always had a female on the covers. You know, we are a female fronted band.
METALLIAN: Is the female modelled after you?
GENEVIEVE: Everyone says that, but it wasn't done deliberately even though our drummer was most determined to have me on the cover! That was another thing we had a few discussions about. I don't like to make the band about me. My crew in this band are all amazing. I couldn't do it without them just like they couldn't do it without me. I never wanted it to be… I am a fan of Warlock… Doro, I love Warlock. That was the band and now it’s just Doro (makes a huge hand gesture) is this amazing woman who everyone idolises. She's been doing it all these years but I never wanted it to be the ‘Gen’ band. I wanted it to be Temtris. This girl, I guess, she looks a bit like me, but it wasn't deliberate. It just happened to come out that way, I think. It doesn't help that I'm extremely fit and train. It just came out that way. I have trained in the martial arts and I have taken care of myself. So a lot of people linked the character to me.
METALLIAN: Which Martial arts do you practice?
GENEVIEVE: I did and I used to teach Taekwondo. I have had a black belt in taekwondo for the last five years. I have been doing extreme self-defense, which is sweet, fighting, everything from gun disarming to knife disarming. I have taken a break from it this year because I have been too busy. I also don't have an easy day job either. I work with special needs children, one of those jobs where you have long-term goals for the children and not something you see right away, but it is rewarding to do.
METALLIAN: Which is your favourite sci-fi movie?
GENEVIEVE: (Starts thinking)... I do like a good vampire flick. I've got all the movies. I love everything. I like Lord Of The Rings. I love Star Wars. I do like the Matrix movies even though it's not one of my favourites. Any action movies I like. Fight scenes too. I like old Jackie Chan-type movies. John Wick, I love that movie, but I'm not a girly movie type. I like something that takes me out of my world (laughs). I don't want to be sitting there watching sad stuff on TV. Life is sad enough. You need to be watching something that's different or unusual.
METALLIAN: Coming back to the band and your vocals, this is neither criticism nor praise. Listening to your vocals It seems you do your own thing vis-a-vis the music. You're not exactly in sync with the rest of the band. You are not following the band and the music and the music is not following your vocals. Does this make any sense to you?
GENEVIEVE: We write, and Anthony deliberately composes music where he looks at us like an orchestra so you would have (the metaphorical) violin and cello when he writes the music. The bass player won't follow the guitar and I am the same. We're all different. That's what separates us as a band. You can hear everyone individually. We're not just copying. I don't like it when the vocalist just follows the drumbeat and the guitar line all the time. We try to do things a little differently when it comes to that.
METALLIAN: So it's a conscious decision and something you do deliberately.
GENEVIEVE: When Anthony brings music, I sit down with lyrical ideas. I will come up with what I think is above what he's done. I mean if I think it matches what he's done I will do that, but I do try to make sure that everything is separated, you can hear what is going on and everyone has their own individual piece in the songwriting. We are not into rhyming. It seems bands are trying to rhyme with what the rest of the band is doing. That becomes boring. We want to push out of that box. I hope that stands out and makes a difference.
METALLIAN: I think that works out for you. After all the proof is in the pudding.
GENEVIEVE: Yes, that's very true, certainly we try to write those pieces where everyone has their place. I mean sometimes you need to be. I mean it's like thrash music. Everything is chunk, chunk, chunk, but that's thrash for you. We always do one thrash song on every album hence Ground Zero.
METALLIAN: Let's change the topic of conversation. You earlier mentioned that you are in a relationship with guitarist Anthony Fox. At the same time there have been many comings and goings within the band. Does this create a conflict of interest or a situation where people don't stick around because it's not really a band. They are not stakeholders. I am asking why do so many members come, so many members go and secondly, is it because it's basically your band and the guitarist’s and everyone else is a guest.
GENEVIEVE: Look, it is and has been Anthony's and my band since we started in 2003, but it's more the fact that with every album, as I said earlier, we try to step up and give more and produce more and be better at what we do and that's not for everybody! We have given our lives to this band. I mean, we could have had family holidays. You know, have our house paid off, but instead we've invested in our music because we are what we do and we wouldn't be happy if we were not doing that and that's not for everybody. I think some people join the band… they come along and we say we want to tour across Australia and they are like, ‘I cannot do that. I got to work,’ whereas with me I am like, ‘fuck work I am going. I love doing this and I'm going to find a way to go.’ And that is the difference. I will give everything to my music to make it happen. That is what I have done and that is what we have done continuously. It's not for everybody. Some people think music comes first. Some people think music comes second, but music is part of me and our lives and not everyone is willing to give it up. We have had to let some people go. We had to let one drummer go because he was just lazy and didn't want to come to rehearsal. He was always making excuses. He's not professional with that attitude. I have had other people who have overstepped boundaries with me personally and I've had to go (raises her hand as a stop sign gesture) and say, ‘that's not OK with me.’ People don't know all the stuff that goes on in a band. People see so many band members come and go and they think we're assholes, but there's stuff going on that you don't really go and tell everyone about. Instead you continue on and try to be professional. I could write a book about stuff that's happened in this band.
METALLIAN: Maybe you should.
GENEVIEVE: (Laughs heartily) maybe later.
METALLIAN: Coming back to the album, one of the better songs is the title track. Could you say a few words about this song and by the way why ‘K’ and not ‘C’? Is it because there's a band in Australia called Chaos Divine?
GENEVIEVE: I didn't even know about the band Chaos Divine in Australia. The other band members knew, but I didn't know Chaos Divine. The song Khaos Divine is actually Anthony’s baby. He always writes one song on every album that's totally his baby. His music, his lyrics, the whole lot. When he wrote that song he actually turned to me and said, ‘I don't know if you'll be able to sing it.’ That song has such stepped-up notes. He didn't think there would be too many vocalists who would be able to do that. When he wrote it, he gave it to me and I said I'll give it a go and I could do it. It took me a few days to get it to where he wanted the words to be with the music because it was a little bit unusual. No, the reason we spelt it with a ‘K’ is that Khaos is the name of a god. This god does not care for his people or what happens to them. It's this theme of this corporation that doesn't care for us people as long as people are working for them and he gets what he wants. That's all they care about. That is the reason it's spelt with a K.
METALLIAN: What is the eternal death machine?
GENEVIEVE: Like I said, the eternal death machine is part of that whole… you are eternally… you will live for eternity almost! You'll be working forever, you will not die and you are a machine. You've basically become a machine for a corporation. You are not truly living. You are there for the machine. It is the fact that you sold your soul for these corporations. Do you sign the contract and sign your life away? You are working the whole time. You're an eternal death machine. You're on a treadmill and you are not getting up. Was it worth signing up for this? Probably not! It feels like the Covid vaccine.
METALLIAN: Are you anti-vaccine?
GENEVIEVE: I didn't want it. I did not fucking want it. I had to have it for my job. I had issues after I had it. There are several people in my family (with issues). I was highly against it, but (tilts her head) I had to suck it up and take it and that's another reason for this concept album. They didn't care if people didn't want it. If we didn't get it we wouldn’t work.
METALLIAN: So you were a good girl.
GENEVIEVE: Well, if I wanted to keep recording albums I need money.
METALLIAN: Indeed, we all need money to put food on the table, yet it must be pointed out that 13 billion vaccines administered is 13 billion proof points that vaccines work and are safe. Yet, in that context, Gen, what is your definition of injustice?
GENEVIEVE: (Thinks)… that's a tricky question. I haven't been asked that one before. It's really about being done wrong by. It has happened to me a few times in my career. We have been treated unfairly. I would say ‘unfairly’ would be my main definition of injustice. I was not being looked after like they promised. That's a tricky question that one. It's basically being forced to do what you don't want to do. You are not being given your own right of choice in your own life and it feels like it's happening in the world today: more and more freedoms are being taken away. I am quite often blocked on Facebook and Instagram for making a comment. Even with the cover of this album, I commented as a joke, ‘ we will take their heads off’ matching the artwork of the album and I was blocked. All I was doing was talk about a story. The world has gone mad… the world of social media. You cannot even talk about things in an art sense and be safe anymore. Freedom of speech is something that has been taken away. It is a pretty sad state of things this world is. I was discussing the album cover and someone said, ‘it looks like the assassins Creed game’ and I said, ‘Well, when we get to level four or whatever we take their heads off’ and they ban you for going against community standards. They blocked me for a month and all I was doing was talk about artwork .I couldn't comment or even post on my band page. And I was like. ‘F U.’ But what are you going to do?
METALLIAN: One of the things I have been remarking on is about comedians in this day and age. Imagine if they say something edgy, something like they used to say on stage or make a movie like they used to make or tell jokes like they used to. They would be banned for life. The censorship has become the joke.
GENEVIEVE: You cannot even discuss things without people being upset. You're not going to agree with everybody and not everybody's going to agree with you. I get that, but you should be able to have a conversation about things. You cannot do that anymore. It's really sad we can't talk anymore.
METALLIAN: We agree. On a different topic, who is on your stereo? What are you listening to?
GENEVIEVE: Actually, I went to see Stryper the other week because I love Michael Sweet’s vocals. I went and watched Stryper. They are a Christian metal band, but they have an amazing guitarist, harmonized guitars and they might not be super heavy, but they are still a great metal band and the vocals are amazing. I am listening to the newest album. I was listening to it also before I went and watched them and sadly they did not play their new albums on their tour, which I found very very strange. Why tour Australia and not play your new album? I don't know who does that.
METALLIAN: It almost sounds like a contractual problem or something similar where a band is touring and not supporting its latest album!
GENEVIEVE: Yeah, weird. I thought it's weird.
METALLIAN: OK Gen, what is next?
GENEVIEVE: Our first full-length was called Threshold. People ask to buy that from me, but we made it ourselves. When we first started I made 100 copies and sold it at our shows and people still want to get it and I say (smirks) ‘No, you're not getting that.’ People are trying to collect the stuff. Anthony is re-recording Threshold because the album was completed so long ago that all the files are damaged. We cannot actually just remaster it. He's doing some of the guitars again and I'm doing some of the vocals and we are hoping to release that for people so if they want to get our stuff right back to the beginning they can. Our second is also unavailable. The third, Shallow Grave, I have no copies of that left. I am waiting for my old distributor overseas to send back what they have left in some warehouse somewhere so I can sell them at shows. I would be lucky to get twenty copies of that back. We are up to that point where we need to re-press albums, but it takes money to do it. It takes big dollars to repress albums. If fans want Ritual Warfare they can always shoot me a message from our website and we can hook them up with that album.
METALLIAN: Is the debut being re-recorded by you and Anthony or the entire line-up?
GENEVIEVE: It all depends on time. It sort of wouldn’t be true if we had the new line-up on there so I am not sure… even with the Masquerade album we can repress that, but Anthony hates the mix and wants to re-do it, but I am not sure. I am like ‘nah, just put it out.’ It is our early album. We were learning how to do stuff. Technology was evolving and changing even back then in 2007. Recordings were flipping to digital back then. I like to just re-release that even as MP3. I like to release that so fans can get hold of it. As a band you become better at what you do and listen to your early stuff and say, ‘Oh my God’ (laughs).
By the way, do you know the guys from Wreck-Defy from Canada? I have actually sang on a track for their album, which is coming out in July.
METALLIAN: Good updates. Gen, thanks for the conversation and the music. To end the interview, obviously, as you know, Metallian is the very best website in the universe and beyond. What is your reason for agreeing?
GENEVIEVE: Anyone who supports Temtris is bloody awesome. That’s why!
Temtris’ Khaos Divine album is available through WormHoleDeath now. In addition to singer Genevieve Rodda and guitarist Anthony Fox, the band is comprised of guitarist Nadi Noroozian, bassist Vane Danov and drummer Nick Bolin. Information and updates can be found at the group’s website https://www.temtris.com.
Metallian conducted an interview with the band when Temtris released a new album, entitled Khaos Divine, earlier in 2023. The band, however, has been active some twenty years and has more history and music to its name. This is the reason Ali “The Metallian” circled back to sit down with both singer Genevieve Rodda and guitarist Anthony “Fox” Roberts to find out more. They were relaxed as they sat down in their customary black - Fox wearing a Metal Church T-shirt - as winds raged outside. The two shed light on the Temtris story.
The two have multiple albums and years to their names, but turned up quite casually and displayed a friendliness that is rare nowadays. The result is a biographical meeting where we dig deeper into the tempting life and music of the Temtris. Yet, we could not resist and obtained some newer information as well. Read on. - 08.07.2023
METALLIAN: Gen and Fox, thanks for making time for this. Let’s start with your influences, when did you get into metal and what prompted you to get into a band respectively?
FOX: Er… high school… Australia… about thirteen years old. I grew up in a household that always had the radio on. There was generally music. Parents would take me to stage shows so I had experience with music and stages from early on. In high school, around thirteen or fourteen years old, I got hold of Iron Maiden’s Live After Death double album on vinyl. I was already learning piano at that stage and was taking music at high school. It was cool at that time for bands to be forming. Bands were being formed across the high school. There were plenty of keyboardists, but not many guitarists. So, I was handed a guitar and told, ‘well, you can play keyboards so work that out!’ I found that I enjoyed it. Definitely more fun with the guitar on stage than with the keyboards. Jumped from group to group and met up with older musicians who were covering Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and those sorts of songs so I got tapes and learnt those songs. They would pick me up from where I was, take me to where the show was and we’d jump on stage and play. I was just a young kid and turned up barefoot half the time. From there, I worked out that this was okay, but I really wanted to try and do my own music so, at that point, got together with a few friends my own age and gave having a rock band a go. Iron Maiden and Metallica had come through at that stage so we said, ‘let’s try to do some of that.’ All the bands then were the cover bands doing the Black Sabbath, Deep Purple and AC/DC at the pubs every weekend. We needed a singer obviously and because we wanted to do things like Iron Maiden we needed a singer who really could sing. That made it tricky because where we live is the south coast of New South Wales in Australia. It has a small population and has a small demographic. We were very lucky to have Genevive (nods towards her) show up and audition. Right from the start we could tell that she had an amazing voice and, from the handful of singers we were able to audition, she outclassed them all easily. There is that slight thought you have about putting a female in front of a band because, in Australia, it is generally not accepted. It is always more challenging, but we approached it from the musical perspective. We were not trying to do AC/DC covers, but do music that is more challenging, more interesting, we want to play around with more arrangements and we needed a singer who had the voice and the versatility and Genevieve was it.
METALLIAN: The vibe I am getting is you don’t regret telling the guys to leave and keeping her.
FOX: (Laughs along) Not at all. I made a good choice. I sing, and I have sung in front of audiences, and when I get off stage I tell myself, ‘I did alright,’ but when I listen to her I know I am not in that realm. So I stick to backing vocals.
METALLIAN: Fox, before Genevieve answers the same question, what was the name of your high school?
FOX: Nowra high school.
GENEVIEVE: Music was big in my house too. My mother and my dad loved playing records. My mom was into big voices like Barbara Streisand. My father loved everything from AC/DC and Black Sabbath to Elton John. There was always music in the house. We sat down and watched the Countdown weekly program on TV. I was a fan of Cyndi Lauper. I remember buying my first tape and it was Pat Benatar. I was absolutely loving her voice and was blown away. She is one of my female influences if I went right back. I liked music so much I got a guitar. I got an acoustic guitar in year five or year six. Had a few lessons and sat in my room with a few albums, like Noiseworks, and worked out how to play the songs. Then I actually realised I can sing alright. I can hit some pretty good notes. I had singing lessons when I was about thirteen. My teacher thought I was pretty good and said, ‘we should audition you at the Opera House.’ I was thinking ‘naaaah.’ I was into Guns N’ Roses. I was thinking, ‘this fucking bands rocks.’ I auditioned for a different band in Nowra and they said I was not good enough. I failed the audition. I had a friend who is now my uncle and was the drummer in Anthony’s band - he married my mom’s sister later in life - and he told me that they need a singer for this metal band. Met up, auditioned and the rest is history. I liked the big voices, Pat Banetar, Axl Rose and Skid Row and thought my voice can go to those big power voices’ places. Then Anthony introduced me to Run To The Hills by Iron Maiden and I thought, ‘Bruce Dickinson, that suits my voice to a T. That’s the angle I am pursuing.’ I know many girls don’t go down that road. I know many girls are doing the symphonic opera style that you and I have spoken about, and a lot of people still don’t listen to Temtris thinking we are going to sound like that and don’t realise that we actually do not. Bruce Dickinson and Geoff Tate, I sort of blended those two styles together to create my own with that little bit of powerhouse Pat Banetar. She was opera-trained as well so it was interesting that I liked her style originally. The rest is history. I joined Fox’s band and that was more than twenty years ago.
FOX: If memory serves me right, the audition songs for Gen were Livin’ On A Prayer by Bon Jovi and Run To The Hills, to which she didn’t know the verses, she just knew the chorus so we only played the chorus (laughs), but you can tell we were targeting songs that had higher and more dynamic vocal lines. We wanted a singer who could belt, which is what we got.
METALLIAN: Gen, did you ever come across any of those band members who rejected you?
GENEVIEVE: I think I had one of those people on my Facebook. One of them did some stuff here in Australia. I always think now that it is funny that I got rejected.
FOX: That band turned more into a solo project and then became a pop music project so they may have gone in a different direction (if they had Genevieve).
METALLIAN: Gen, do you remember your vocal teacher’s name?
GENEVIEVE: … Er… Dave. Dave from the Nowra music store. I still remember, and I still practise to this day, he said to me, ‘you’ll be good if you can hit the high notes in the car.’ It is harder singing when sitting down as the car is back and forth. I still to this day do most of my rehearsal in the car! With an hour of a drive I can do an hour of rehearsal in the car.
I actually found the tape the other day… that I sent to the opera house with my audition on it. I sang Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.
METALLIAN: Could we go back to the original drummer who became your uncle?
GENEVIEVE: Andrew… Andrew Hancock.
FOX: He was only a couple of years older than us, but Genevieve’s mother is the eldest and there are many sisters. The youngest sister is not that much older than Andrew was. We were in different things together at high school.
METALLIAN: In which year was the audition where you met?
GENEVIEVE: (After they both start thinking): It was… 1988.
METALLIAN: Still, before then what were a couple of names of bands, say garage bands or school bands, you were in prior?
FOX: I am trying to remember. Many of these bands were named after songs…
GENEVIEVE: He is going through the memory bank.
FOX:... It is hard to remember… one band was called Undercover.
METALLIAN: Has the band always been based in the same place or have you moved?
FOX: We had to move at a certain point. We ran out of musicians in Nowra! I was in Nowra and went to school there. When I finished high school I moved to Wollongong for University Of Wollongong. By that stage, Gen and I were together so we moved together. Andrew, the drummer, came with us. We tried to set up a heavy metal band in Wollongong, but it turned out to be difficult to juggle university, getting out and finding the right musicians. We started a couple of times, but we could never find musicians who were organised enough. We had guitarists who would come, audition and we would plan to get songs together and then you’d try to call them and they would not return the message for three weeks. You’d start working with other guys and then the first guy turns up two months later saying, ‘OK, what are we doing?’ We would then say, ‘well we tried calling you umpteen times and you would not return the call.’ They would tell you they became busy doing something. People would just go radio silence on us for weeks. That was very frustrating and very difficult.
GENEVIEVE: At one point we had my brother, who is a drummer, join us when Andrew left.
FOX: We worked with Genevieve’s brother. We worked with Genevieve's brother's friend, Lou. He will come back into the story later on. We worked with a couple of New Zealanders who had come over trying to start a band.
GENEVIEVE: Their band was called Harbinger.
FOX: We would do covers of Kreator, Coma Of Souls, and songs like that. Heavy heavy stuff, which I really liked. They already had a singer so that wasn’t with Gen. That was just me. Then we borrowed the bass player in that band, Mark, for a while. While I was at university I had a fantastic drummer, a fantastic bass player, a fantastic guitarist and (points at Gen) a fantastic singer, but they all rolled through at different times. When I had one I did not have the others! We could have had a fantastic band if I could have had them in the room at the same time, but it just didn’t work out that way. It is the nature of the beast and, at that time, it was really hard to find people. Even further up the ladder and speaking to people who were successful and getting up on stage and playing shows, they were struggling to hold onto members and were constantly grabbing members from other bands.There were bands collapsing because members were taken and would join others.
GENEVIEVE: It is happening today… stealing members. Then we got back to Nowra and got Andrew back on drums. Gary Marshall on guitar for a couple of years.
FOX: Gary Marshall ended up being my brother-in-law. He ended up marrying my sister.
METALLIAN: Another connection…
GENEVIEVE: Small town (laughs).
FOX: He is a great guy. Great guitarist.
GENEVIEVE: A lefty!
FOX: The band was called Labyrinth and we got an EP done. It was called Escape Reality. We went to Sony Music Studio to record it in Sydney. We worked with Simon Tonks who worked on the original Mortal Sin release. Then it fell apart.
GENEVIEVE: Everytime we tried to push band members, we lost band members. Everytime we wanted the band to go further, people would leave. A lot of people say, ‘Temtris has been through so many members.’ I think it is because we have had this goal to be a stadium band and we’ve had members leave us because people cannot commit to the level we wanted to do.
FOX: In those early days, we lost a guitarist literally because we wanted to drive to Sydney to do a show! (Adopts a sarcastic tone) ‘What? You want to do a show outside of Nowra?’ A pub was closing and there was nowhere to play and we were telling him we have no choice if we want to play and become bigger. This is an example of the kind of thing we have experienced all through our story. Everytime we have tried to do something somebody has said he is not going through that.
METALLIAN: No ambition?
FOX: Yeah, no ambition. I mean, people have lives and we are not throwing huge paycheques around and paying their mortgages or anything. We understand that. Yet, you do rely on people having that same level of dream and desire and ambition.
GENEVIEVE: So then, we (points at Fox and herself) moved to Sydney. We started finding musicians again. We started getting into the metal scene. We started going to a venue called the Forest Inn. That was a metal venue that was a walk up the hill for us. We started hanging there and that is where we met Wayne Campbell of Mortal Sin, the original drummer of that band. He used to run the venue there.
FOX: Yes, there was a metal night once a fortnight. There were crowds! There were actually people there! We were excited. There were people who were wearing metal T-shirts and who got the music genre. That was very cool. At that stage we were ready to grab members and get Labyrinth going. Unfortunately, at that moment, another band called Labyrinth appeared from Italy. We had to change the name. Too bad because the name ‘Labyrinth’ suited the musical style we were going for, but anyway. We played around with a few names as we searched for musicians. We got a bit of a cohesive line-up together. Got to the point of recording. It had myself and Gen, Wayne Campbell, Rhett McCoullough who came from a band called Enticer and he brought his friend Dave…
GENEVIEVE: (Laughs) Can’t remember his last name.
FOX: Can’t remember his last name. Great player. Sorry, Dave! Dave’s shtick was that he would wear a mask onstage, like Iron Maiden’s Thunderstick. We have that on video.
GENEVIEVE: We got a song on a program on ABC TV for a program.
FOX: We re-recorded an Escape Reality song with that line-up. We had re-done a bunch of Labyrinth songs with the new members, but we never re-released Escape Reality with Temtris. It was a little more double-kick, heavy metal with Wayne drumming than we were able to do before. Rhett was a metal guitarist so the songs came out a little more ‘heavy metal’ and less ‘cover band rock.’ We were developing at that stage. One of the songs was Escape Reality, which we had done on the EP before. That recording got picked up by a video-making crew that were making a video about tools for optical fibre, the new wave of digital technology that was coming through at that stage. They wanted a song and the engineer we just worked with told them to check out our song. We signed a licence with them for that song and they put it on an instructional video that went to high schools across Australia.
GENEVIEVE: It is funny because my father-in-law is a high school teacher and he was in class one day, put that video on and went, ‘Oh! That’s Gen!’ (laughs).
FOX: And he was at Nowra High and told the students that the music is from guys from this high school.
METALLIAN: Did he say, ‘I am sorry for telling you not to go into music?’
GENEVIEVE: (Laughingly) Yeah, we were actually pretty chuffed about that because every time they played the video on TV we got royalty on it.
METALLIAN: Before getting into Temtris proper, wasn’t there another monicker after Labyrinth?
FOX: Yes, we were Labyrinthia.
GENEVIEVE: We were Overseer when we had my brother drumming… We were Overseer for like two weeks.
FOX: For a little while we were also called Anathasia.
METALLIAN: When did you become a couple?
GENEVIEVE: Not for a while. I joined the band when I was fourteen. I was just singing and doing my own thing. We both had a break from the band. I left school at fifteen because I was ever going to sing in a heavy metal band. I didn’t give a shit about school or anything else. I then realised I needed a job. I ended up moving away because the band wasn’t doing much. Then I moved back to Nowra after breaking up with a boyfriend. It was 1992 and I met up with Fox at a pub. It was when he was returning to Wollongong for the second year of university that we got together and we were trying to get the metal band going. This was 1993.
METALLIAN: Let’s talk about ‘Fox’ as a name.
FOX: (Genevieve and Fox are both laughing now) I already mentioned that we have four or five pubs in Nowar, which had bands on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturday nights. I am school-age so legally I am not supposed to be in a pub in New South Wales without a parent accompanying me. Still, at that age, we all came to pubs regularly. It is what we did. That was rural town life. We would turn up at different pubs and watch bands. I am not a troublemaker type of guy. I was really interested in the music and the bands. If you were a troublemaker and underage the pub and bar staff would not let you in, but if you kept your head down and behaved yourself they’d turn a blind eye.
I would go in, hang around, watch bands and usually had a few friends with me. The bar staff generally pretended we did not exist and we would enjoy the music. In Australia the police come to check the bars regularly to make sure there are no underage children in there drinking or getting into trouble. There was always that risk. Every single one of my friends that I went out with got arrested at some stage. They were arrested, thrown into the back of the police van, taken to the police station and all the rest of it - except me! At a certain point a joke began that I never got caught. I was at the point that I knew the bar staff so well that they would give me signals to tell me when the police were turning up. I would disappear. So they started saying, the police show up, come through the door and we can never find you. Therefore, ‘you are like a fox!’ So they started introducing me as ‘the fox.’ You will never catch him, ‘this is Anthony Fox.’ It stuck. Suddenly I am meeting people I have never met who actually thought my name was Fox!
METALLIAN: I am going to ask the webmaster to put a geoblock around this interview so no one from Liquor & Gaming NSW can read this. So, you can answer honestly. Were you underage and drinking?
FOX: (Stares at the ceiling a little bit as Genevieve stares at him emphatically nodding)... of course. It was a small town and they knew I am not a troublemaker. The people who would get into a fight were not let in. It didn’t matter if they were sixteen or twenty-two.
GENEVIEVE: In Australia the drinking age is eighteen so even for myself I would put on a tight dress and heels and get in easily or you could get in with a fake, or someone else’s, birth certificate.
METALLIAN: My understanding is that every album you have had has been a concept and also that you also always dress in black. In the first place, is the premise for this question correct? If yes, was this something that happened and you continued it or was it a conscious decision?
GENEVIEVE: (Staring down at her black sweater) I have always worn black. I used to get into trouble because I used to go to school wearing tight bubblegum jeans in black with a Guns N’ Roses T-shirt. My dad was worried that I would never wear a dress and have my hair in pigtails. I would ride motorbikes with my friends and blow up stuff. I hung out with the boys more than I hung out with the girls.
As for concepts, we did always try to have a theme. We decide what the album was about in order to help with the songwriting. I find that if you have a core story it makes it easier with the songwriting. For example, for Masquerade (album of 2007), we had that dark, vampire-y entity type thing.
FOX: Yes, it evolved because of the way we approach writing the music.I always write from images in my head. I am trying to write with emotion. I am trying to get the music to write the story so to do that you need a theme and you need to have an idea in your head. To do that you don't need something as overt as Iron Maiden’s Alexander The Great, but having some idea like on Khaos Divine to have a picture of what the character is singing about and what happened is like playing the video in your head - just like you’re sitting in the cinema watching. I rely on that for my music when I am writing. To work out where to go with the music I have to be able to play the concept in my head. It tells me what musical devices I am looking for, the scales that I want to use or what harmonies or notes have to stack the right way. This tells me what I imagine is fear or anger or spaceships or whatever it might be.. Chasing, running, time, decay… all those things, to me, have a musical representation. I get a lot of enjoyment out of navigating and working that out. It doesn’t always come out the right way, but when you do get it right it is a satisfying feeling when you want a song that is about something.
METALLIAN: Perhaps with the exception of King Diamond, themes, or full-on concept albums, have typically been of less interest to me. They somehow have been a drag. I mentioned this to Genevieve before, but with Temtris this rule does not apply. The album is still fully enjoyable.
FOX: In terms of concept albums, I completely agree with you. Many concept albums bore me to tears. The difference is the quality of the actual story. King Diamond is a great storyteller and that comes through when he does those albums. You can follow that story all the way through and you know what’s going on. You don’t get lost and he matches the themes very well. When he sings he is a consummate storyteller.He does with his voice what I try to do with my music. He has character when he sings. It still comes down to having that core, really good story.
If I look at the story for Khaos Divine, and I still believe you can make a movie out of it, the storyline is strong and deeply themed. There is a wealth of material there. I wrote many things that are not even on the album. They are in the backstory. Subplots that we wrote, they exist, they are part of the story. There are allusions to things that tell the listener there is more going on. That depth is important and it gives you a lot to work with.
Other concept albums that I, and perhaps yourself, find boring, the boredom comes from how the storyline is too superficial or too predictable or just too unrelateable or too personal to the person who wrote it.
GENEVIEVE: I think I said this to you in the other interview; when I write the lyrics I am always thinking about how I am going to sing them. If I sing the song and look at a person (in the audience) they will be like, ‘Yeah, I get that.’
METALLIAN: As you were giving me the answers, and speaking of the subplots and conceptualising, I thought of a movie and a DVD I bought called Like Someone In Love. The director is speaking about the person who designed the set in the DVD extras.The designer placed things on the set that were not going to be filmed, would not be on camera and the director questioned him about them. The designer acknowledged that all his setting’s design elements will never be seen in the movie, but nonetheless they provide atmosphere and ambiance that allow the actors and actresses to do a better and richer job.
GENEVIEVE: I remember every time (guitarist) Nadi would come down and read the lyrics I had written for Khaos Divine and I would explain what we are doing and the story he would be crying. You know you are on the right track if you can do that.
FOX: He would take that away to engineer his guitar parts, with all that backstory in his head. With the exact same reason as what you are talking about it would be within him to play the guitar reinforced with all that artistic knowledge that now he’s got.
METALLIAN: Let’s talk about the style of the band. When did Temtris incorporate, and subsequently abandon, growls and other extreme elements. How did they come about in the first place? There are none on Khaos Divine.
FOX: It’s not that they have been abandoned. It is simply a musical device. We have always said right from the outset that we would use any heavy metal device that was appropriate for generating the right feel for a song. In terms of the growls, they were just not relevant. The growls to me are symbolic of something that is earthy, something that is mystical, evil, Satanic, aggressive. When you are writing songs that are more grounded and have that element of anger or aggression to them that’s where I feel they come into play because they provide that weight or drive. They were employed more in the early days. We did enter into Temtris with one of our defining ideas being that we would use, what we now call ‘beauty and the beast’ vocals, growls that a guitarist at the time could deliver. He had been in a black metal band before. Then we had Genevieve's voice, which could belt. We were never going to go operatic with it, like many bands went, but we were going to use the growls to support some of the heavier elements that we wanted to write. If we jump to the Rapture album and the Wings Of Death song that’s the type of song that needs death vocals and we used them substantially to support the theme of the angel of death coming to take away the song. There was a horror theme really. Those vocals still exist, but by the time we got to Khaos Divine they were not necessary due to the theme of the album.
METALLIAN: Are they making a comeback in the future?
FOX: They are not off the table. Nothing is off the table. There are ideas being thrown around for the next album at the moment that could go one of two ways depending on what artistic theme ends up being targeted. They can certainly come back, but they will always be used as a device.
GENEVIVE: One of the songs on the first album Threshold has me doing death vocals in the chorus.
FOX: Gen, can actually do them, but I actually feel you have Arch Enemy for that sort of a thing.
GENEVIEVE: I actually feel every girl is doing either operatic or death vocals and I feel (shrugs her shoulders) they are all doing it.
METALLIAN: To which song are you referring?
FOX: The song is Let The Torment Begin.
GENEVIEVE: It is about playing with a Ouija board going bad so it needed the death vocals.
METALLIAN: I gotta ask, given how there are gaps between your albums, was there ever a time when the band broke up and then returned?
GENEVIEVE: You are talking about between Masquerade and Shallow Grave where there was a, what was it, six-year gap. Well, that would have been… we had a problem with a member (starts laughing).
FOX: It was personnel. Once Temtris started we never stopped. There was never a period where we broke up. We did Threshold in 2003 and toured with Pegasus and a couple of other bands, got as far away as Melbourne, which was our first interstate show, and we were gathering momentum when Mortal Sin decided to relaunch their careers and they asked for Wayne Campbell to come back. Understandably, that is his original band and he’s got strong connections with them. He decided at that point he would go back and rejoin Mortal Sin, which left us without a drummer. That slowed us down. That meant that the distance between Threshold and Masquerade was about four years, while we secured another drummer, we started working with a younger guy Tom Wallace, who is on the Masquerade album, and he wasn’t Wayne Campbell. He was a lovely guy, but he was more of a beginner who was getting into the scene. He could drum, but was still learning his chops. We persisted and took a little bit of time letting him grow as a drummer before committing him to a recording. In the end, at the other end of Masquerade, that music studio breaks musicians and, after a few shows, he was done and decided that tattooing was his goal so he put the drum sticks down at that stage. We were stuck without a drummer and we had to go look again. That created another pause while we sourced another drummer. We had another drummer James come in. He worked hard. He was more of a rock drummer so we struggled as we had already established a heavy metal style. We persisted for a while, but eventually we had to agree that we were not going to achieve what we were trying to achieve. Then after that Ben came in. Can’t remember his last name, sorry Ben, he was a really talented young drummer. He had come to Temtris shows and was a fan of the band. He was a friend who was a guitarist-slash-bass player who was going to jump onboard as well, but he ended up not joining the band. Then Ben jumped in again and we started to get ready to record Shallow Grave. By 2010 or 2011 Ben had to take a break. He had other things going on. We had started working with a producer called Syd Green. Syd was the drummer for the Australian band that was originally called Killing Time and then became Mantissa. They got a real mainstream push. They were probably the last big push by an Australian record label on the rock scene before they abandoned the rock bands - aside from The Poor. Syd is a fantastic drummer and works as a session musician now and more in the Country & Western field in Australia. He was also doing production at the time so he came onboard to do the production for Shallow Grave. Ben took a break so Syd actually did the drumming on the song Your Time Has Come, which we released as a film clip.
GENEVIEVE: We keep gaining momentum and losing it.
FOX: Ben did come back and we finished the recording. The Shallow Grave recording was done by 2011. We pushed out the film clip for Your Time Has Come and started getting ready for the promotion for the album and then at that stage, it was the third album we had done with the guitarist Llew, who was up for production himself. He asked if he could take charge of the production of the album. We said, ‘fine’ and handed all that stuff to guitarist Llew. He was going to do it with Syd, but Syd got pulled away doing session work with another band and, I think that caused a bit of a problem. The end-result was that the album, and you can see I am trying to be diplomatic here, the album sat there for two years and we could not release it, we could not move it. We could not finish it.
GENEVIEVE: Someone wanted to keep remixing, remixing, remixing, remixing. We were getting very frustrated. At some point someone was playing around with my vocals and we were getting very frustrated. That album could have been out at least twelve months earlier if not more. Band politics (laughs out loud).
FOX: Essentially, it meant we were going out to do a Shallow Grave show because we knew all the songs, but we were waiting for the album to be released. It was a tricky period for the band.
METALLIAN: Speaking of band politics, you are a couple and in the same band. I can imagine that can cause some tension (at this point Gen is nodding vociferously), not only between yourselves, but also with others. I can think of bands like Sepultura and Accept as instances. You being in a relationship, has that caused difficulties?
FOX: One advantage that we had was that Genevieve and I were establishing members of Temtris. Other members who come in and are signing on are joining us. You are joining Temtris, you are joining Gen and Fox. That precludes us from someone coming into a band that is pre-established and becoming that married couple. No one is becoming a business manager of a band that was there before. We avoid jealousy or the feeling that someone is taking someone else’s role.
GENEVIEVE: We have had a previous member question us and want to look into the books. "Where did the money from the band bla bla bla?” and I am one of those people who keeps a record of everything because I look after everything. When a previous member left we had to drop the book to the member to show how much money we had actually put in ourselves.They thought we were raking and making all these dollars or something. When they actually read the book and realised how much was actually our own money that we had poured into the band… there have been situations were people have thought there is this band and we have all this money coming in, but actually (points at herself and Fox) we both work full-time to keep this band afloat. Even now my credit card is full because we just booked this tour. It costs a fortune. Every band is running at a loss at the moment. We carry this band. Members help where they can, but when I book I try to carry that load. That is something we do because we love the band and want it to succeed. It does get tough when people think you are looking after your own interests when actually you’re not.
FOX: We learnt very early on, and Genevieve has been fantastic, when we were Labyrinth so when we did turn into Temtris we knew accountability was going to be very important, we knew we were going to come across people who were going to ask about money and we were ready to say ‘this is how it works.’ We are not sugarcoating anything, we are not selling you anything, this is how hard it will be, this is what our plan is, ‘you’re in or you are out.’ That’s what we agreed to and if you ever have a question we have all the accounts. You can tax audit us tomorrow and it is all there. We have managed to avoid all those conflicts or confusion and that has helped us work together as an effective team as well. As Gen said, it still doesn’t mean people don’t bail out because they want to get more money, but…
GENEVIEVE: ... I see band after band pull out of tours at the moment. There is no money in the scene at the moment. It’s really tough. Older bands are tired of giving and they are stopping their tours or there are people like us, who haven’t reached the top, where it is costing all the band members a shitload of money to tour Europe, but we still have that hunger. We are willing to put our own money down.
METALLIAN: Since I am a Johnny-come-lately to the band, what is it that I missed to ask in the history of the band?
GENEVIEVE: Our first support show was for the Shallow Grave album with Accept. That was our first big show playing to 800 people. It was an amazing time for us. We had worked… we felt that in the Australian music industry we had been ignored because I was a female singer. Not sure if that was a thing or not, but it was really hard to get into that group and be acknowledged. So when we got the Accept show it felt like a big thing for us. We broke through that wall when we were offered that show with a bigger band. It was really hard to get that in Australia.
FOX: It was hard. My favourite memory of that show was - obviously I was hugely excited because it was our biggest crowd - but the stage was huge and when you have never played on a stage that big I spent half of the night standing right in the front of the stage sort of trying to get as close to the audience as possible because I am used to smaller venues where the audience is standing right in front of you yelling and screaming. We are on stage and there is a photography pit so there is a barricade that is two metres away from the stage and the audience is behind that so everything is away and it is difficult for me to adjust to that. I am used to people jumping around, even on-stage, with us. We had an intro track and we were going to play it, then have the lights go up and we’d start the show. It was all very professional and it was all going to look great. In my inexperience I was not familiar with the photography pit. What I didn’t realise is that the intro played and it was pitch black as we are standing there making sure everything is right and we are nervously waiting and ready to go and the lights went on and we step forward to play the first chords and all the photographers go flash flash flash and I was blind! For the first minute, two minutes of the song I could not see anything.
GENEVIEVE: Another interesting one is when we had Nicholas on drum for us. We had Hardline Media, which does shows here. He had Girlschool coming, with Raven and Tank. With two weeks notice he asked us if we could open for Raven and Tank. Well, we could, but we were replacing our drummer. Nicholas, at the time, we had not even auditioned him yet, but I spoke to Nicholas and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s fucking do it!’ So we did the concert with two rehearsals and our guitarist walked over to Nicholas, hugged him and said, ‘Fuck, man. I have never seen someone play like that with only two rehearsals.’ He had two rehearsals and then we had another show in front of 800 people.
METALLIAN: So now we know you are gamblers as well.
FOX: Give us a chance and we’ll say, ‘yes.’
METALLIAN: I deliberately left this for last because it may bring you down and put a damper on the interview. Your music is great and you have been around for over twenty years. Yet, you have not quite made it. This has to be discouraging. What does that tell you?
FOX: It tells us we are doing the right thing! It tells me that we are honest. I don’t speak for Genevieve who will have her own answer, but I accept the fact that I am an artist and, therefore, I create things that are new, that are unfamiliar for an audience to enjoy. I don’t live in a society or community, particularly in Australia, that is confident around new ideas or art. Australia is not well renowned for its acceptance of new ideas or artistic progress. So, you are already fighting an uphill battle already to be artistic.If we were to start a clone band and just recreate a Nirvana or an Arch Enemy and just regurgitate what they do by putting our badge on it, which is something that I do not call art because that’s commercialism, we could choose to be commercial in which case we would have more access to mansions and stadium tours. But that is not the point.I don’t want to regurgitate what other people have done. I am not a copyist. I am an artist. I accept that when I am doing art because I am creating something that is unique and new I don’t expect that people would get it. When people do get it, when Metallian and yourself get it and think it’s fantastic, that means a lot to me perhaps even more so than if I were a copyist because I know that I am out on a limb. I am trying to create something that is new. If someone can listen to that and get some kind of an enjoyment out of it then that’s my job done. There is no financial aspect to that. It’s an intrinsic reward.
GENEVIEVE: We have always wanted to be true to ourselves. I always say we could have been bigger if I took my clothes off. My instagram is full of girls in their underwear. I want to be known because I can sing well. That is the hardest thing for a female in this day and age. It is all about social presence. We have probably taken the long road to get to where we are by being true to ourselves, by not giving in and by not selling out. It is sad, but it’s true. Do we want to be … I could have done operatic vocals or death vocals when it was trendy, but we haven’t. We have 7,000 followers on our band page. I’d love 50,000, but I often remark to Fox that it frustrates me to death because I can sing any Queensryche song, I can sing like any of those male singers, but I don't know what we have to do to get there so we just remain true to ourselves. We hope that it’s enough one day to break through that ceiling. We are going to Europe - we are playing small venues - and hopefully we will reach that crowd that we have always needed to reach. Maybe it’s been that we have been stuck in Australia and the scene here only likes thrash (laughs). It’s an interesting question.
FOX: Ultimately, it’s one that is not answerable until we find ourselves in that situation and we impress a festival crowd. I believe that we can. I believe that the music is good enough, but until we stand onstage at that festival, who knows? Ultimately, when we produce a product what people do and how they respond to it is up to them. We cannot make people like us anymore than I can make people hate us. Their choice! And again, that’s art. The artist paints the picture and hangs it on the wall and people look at it and go, ‘that’s crap. It’s not worth what it says,’ and other people look at it and are prepared to pay ten times as much because it speaks to them. That’s the realm we exist in.
METALLIAN: There is some disagreement here between us because, I believe, people are trendy and will ‘like’ something if they are told to or perceive it to be cool or whatever as dictated by the right sources, but at the same time we definitely live in an era of social media and outrage where if a woman disrobes or the band gets into a fight or deals drugs and gets busted or whatever that generates headlines and controversy wins the popularity contest. With that said, based on your answer, you are not very good capitalists.
GENEVIVE: Yes, yes, the battle I have had with myself for my whole career. It has been about not selling out.
FOX: It still comes down to personal integrity.
METALLIAN: What did we not discuss?
FOX: You should have asked who designs the album covers?
METALLIAN: Who does design the covers?
FOX: Me! I did the very first album. The second was done by other artists.The fourth and fifth were done by a friend of ours Darrell whose professional name is Daz Death. The sixth one was done by a fan in black and white and I coloured it. The last album was done by me. The concepts are a collaborative effort between Genevieve and I, but with this one my son Ashlan was heavily involved in the effort as well. He is a writer so he enjoyed coming to grips with… he and I spent many hours going through the storylines of the new album. That was a great thing to do for me, a father and son collaborating creatively. You can say it was a family effort.
GENEVIEVE: The photography was done by our daughter, Imika Roberts who is on Instagram as Pastel Love. Artistic children!
METALLIAN: The outdoor shots are almost surreal.
GENEVIEVE: They have grown up in a house with… I remember rehearsing and having our child. Then they were at the yard when we were having a rehearsal in the garage. I recorded the Masquerade album while pregnant with my second child. I was doing a photoshoot in a corset trying to breastfeed a baby (laughs).
FOX: We may be terrible capitalists, but people say, ‘oh your son is musical’ and he is. He is a good musician and a very good writer. I certainly have encouraged him to not get in a band (smirks as he shakes his head) and to pursue more capitalist intents. And our daughter as well, who’s got a fantastic voice just like her mother, and the same thing; she is going to be a photographer. We encouraged her to go work for a paparazzi or something (smiles). Having not explored that side of the world very much I may not be the best guide for my children, ‘(jokingly) go be capitalists, go be capitalists. Do not learn from your parents’
METALLIAN: This was a biographical conversation, but since we are here could we talk about the latest developments and include news as well?
GENEVIEVE: Yes, we have booked our flights and our car and we will fly into France on the 12th of September.
FOX: We will play four nights in a row in the UK, Sheffield, Whitchurch, London and Hastings, when we play London we play The Cart N Horses where Iron Maiden played. Then we go through Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. We have tried contacting a few other places, but again we are doing this ourselves. We have a promoter in the UK and Wormholedeath has helped. Still, a lot of it we fall back on this one (nods towards Genevieve)...
GENEVIEVE: I can handle booking an Aussie tour, but booking a tour in two areas I don’t know has been a challenge for me. Trying to organise gear and support bands has been tricky. We are going to try to have fun.
FOX: We are realists. We want to get in front of audiences, on stages, that is where we are in our element. That is what we do. We are stage performers. Our music is best enjoyed live.For us to become a bigger band we need to get in front of people. They might appreciate the level of art we are producing.
GENEVIEVE: We are actually on a two-week break from work at the moment and this one (points at Fox) is working on a lyric video for The Lies Become The Truth at the moment. I am producing it as part of the promotion reel for the tour.
The live DVD is coming together. We got the core of it together. Then we are getting tour shirts and other merchandise together.
FOX: I am getting requests for the earlier albums. We self-released the Threshold album and did all ourselves, we only made 100 copies and sold them at shows. The people who have them guard them very ferociously. Now we have grown our fan base to more than a hundred, I get regular requests for the first album and second album. They are out-of-print. There are plans for tracking and getting those out for our newer fans. The masquerade album is a mess so that may require a re-recording. We might get guest musicians or others to step in.
GENEVIEVE: Then, of course, there is the money issue. You need money to re-record and master and then people want another album, but we have not paid off the last album and the tour of Europe is costing about ten grand each…
FOX: The tour to Erope will be a determining factor on where we go next.
METALLIAN: More motivation for people to show up.
GENEVIEVE: Yeah, hopefully!
METALLIAN: So, Genevieve and Fox, why do you agree that Metallian is the very best website out there?
GENEVIEVE: Because it supports the underground scene and builds them up.
FOX: Metallian supports heavy metal as an artform and understands the artform. It is an intelligent base to reflect on that artform and to be shared by all.
Thanks to the singer and guitarist, who along with other musicians, have created metal over the years that is more than reliable. They were generous with their time.
Have you bought the Khaos Divine album from 2023 yet? Visit www.temtris.com for information and look for the band on its first foray into Europe.
If you enjoyed this, read Eliza