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Hadal Maw on supporting the local music scene

Bright, enigmatic, confident and bubbly – Sam Dillon in conversation is a complete contrast to the ripping tones and volatile melodies he spits out when fronting metal outfit Hadal Maw. 

Mind you, there’s no reason Dillon shouldn’t be this outgoing, it’s been a helluva year for the Melbourne outfit. “You’ve gotta keep busy, you’ve gotta hustle,” Dillon says of the band, who have covered heaps of ground on countless tours off the back of their latest EP Charlatan.

“If you don’t believe in what you’re creating, why would you leave the bedroom?” Dillon is the one of most outgoing and confident people you’ll likely come across on the scene – and yet when you listen to Charlatan, it’s quite the opposite. “I think I’m passionate in that, just in a different way,” he says. “If you’re going to be able to communicate then you have more power to what you’re doing.

“The better you’re able to have a conversation with the audience through the music and through interviews such as this, then the deeper the knife will strike.”

And the knife couldn’t strike any harder or hotter as it will do when Hadal Maw perform at Heavy As Metal this weekend alongside an incredibly impressive lineup of bands. Australian heavy bands are doing amazingly well overseas, and yet at home, it seems we can’t support our own.

Particularly when you take into account the closure of venues like The Reverence, it makes it harder and harder to have any kind of scene. It means a lot then to Hadal Maw to be a part of the six-strong heavy band lineup for Heavy As Metal, as they get to be a cog in the wheel of keeping the scene moving. “We’re actually coming through a renaissance period for Australian heavy music, especially the more extreme stuff,” Dillon says.

“It’s being spearheaded very well by places like Direct Touring because they’ve got enough of a pull to bring these iconic bands from overseas, which creates opportunities for local bands that are coming through the ranks.

“I find the venues shutting down has more to do with local governments and older generations with investment properties within areas that have noise restrictions – now that’s always going to throw a spanner in the works of how long you can stay open, how you’re getting money over the bar. And if everyone is living by the thought of Netflix-and-chill-at-home, that’s a very stagnant lifestyle that’s not going keep a scene alive.”

As Dillon’s passionate rampage continues, he makes the point that there is plenty going on in Melbourne’s live scene each weekend. “It’s just getting off your arse and going and supporting the things you’re supposedly passionate about,” he says. Aside from Heavy as Metal, Hadal Maw will
also take to Ballarat’s Blaze Festival in January.

“Ballarat’s amazing,” Dillon says. “It’s very important for people to also think about the rural communities when they’re organising a tour or whether they say yay or nay to a show. Just because it’s slightly isolated, doesn’t mean the scene isn’t alive and healthy out there.”

Come February, Hadal Maw will embark on a month-long tour of Europe. “That’s definitely our most exciting news,” cries Dillon. “That’ll be our first international tour with Psycroptic and our Melbourne melodic death metal mates Hollow World – 22 dates in 22 days across countless countries in Europe.” Australian heavy groups are making big waves overseas, an opportunity Dillon says is definitely a benchmark of achievement for Hadal Maw. “It’s what we always planned for, to go over to the mecca, the birth cradle of metal, which is in Europe.

“To be able to do it with an entire Aussie lineup that is making waves overseas is a very humbling experience.”

Hadal Maw play Heavy as Metal this Saturday December 8 at The Bendigo Hotel alongside Blunt Shovel, Annihilist, Naberus, Nothing and Massix. Tickets via Eventbrite.