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Hellions' latest punk album, 'Rue', needs to be on your radar

How about them Hellions? It’s been quite a year for the Sydney punk rockers. 

First they appear at January’s UNIFY Gathering where they surprise fans with new music, then they drop a banger of a new album, Rue, before they head out touring the country (twice), and then, they plaster Europe with their anthemic bops. Drummer Anthony Caruso says that for Hellions, all this activity is them easing into this album cycle.

“We had such an insane couple of years touring and then recording Rue,” he says. “Since the release we’ve been absolutely blown away by the response, we’re so keen to play shows.”

Hellions like to plan ahead, and Caruso confirms this by revealing that they have a few festival tours planned for the New Year and that they’ll be doing a dedicated album tour. To some degree, you could say that Hellions are rather calculated in not only how they release new music, but also how they write it and perform it out on tour. Caruso over this idea, saying, “I guess from our point of view we’ve always wanted to keep things, our vibe I should say, we’re really focused on building a little community around the band – that is always considered when we’re thinking about writing songs and when we’re touring.

“The way we see it is like, everyone who wants to be involved in Hellions is a part of Hellions – a lot of out decision-making is based around that. I guess it is calculated but we don’t take ourselves too seriously. We’re always open to crazy stuff.”

Speaking of crazy stuff, when Hellions dropped ‘X (Mwah)’ in their set at UNIFY Gathering earlier this year, it was crazy in the sense that the band effectively said, “here’s new music but you’re going to have to wait ten months to get the rest of it.” Laughing, Caruso says, “that was a little bit daunting to me because we were like, ‘we really want to play a new song,’ and it turned out awesome that we were able to introduce the song to that many people at once, but also a bit nerve-wracking going in and being like, ‘no one knows this song yet.’ But it turned out really well, sort of set the standard for what we want to do next, in particular for next year’s UNIFY Gathering.

“Or goal now is to step it up – even though we didn’t anticipate we’d be playing again next year, we’re absolutely stoked that we are.”

Bound for UNIFY Gathering for the second year running next month, Hellions are set to share the stage with some absolutely killer bands, among which, include some of Hellions’ personal musical influences. “We’re all big fans of Underoath, since we were kids,” says Caruso, “They had such a profound influence on us back in our early days, so it’s very cool and exciting for us to know that we’ll be sharing the stage with them, to be able to be on that same sort of platform.

“Our goal now, although we look up to those guys, and a lot of the other bands on the lineup as well, our plan is to one-up everyone and steal the show.”

Hellions are sandwiched on the UNIFY Gathering bill between Ocean Grove and In Hearts Wake, taking to the stage at the prime partying hour, so the band’s plans for production are massive. “Knowing it’ll be dark, that’s going to be quite fun,” Caruso teases. “I want it to be a surprise but we’ve been working with Pat Fox, who’s done all our album artwork, he’s been developing the live show production and there’s a lot of throwbacks.

“We’re trying to plan something special, little things throughout the set – basically the brief was that we absolutely have to ensure next year’s set is better than this year’s.”

UNIFY Gathering 2019 goes down from Friday January 11 until Sunday January 13 at Tarwin Meadows, Gippsland. For more details on the full lineup and to grab tickets, head to the festival website.