Interview with RATH
RATH is the latest incarnation of Sean Bailey's apocalyptic hardcore.
These songs were recorded during the Winter of 2020 during the Melbourne
lockdown. RATH distills familiar elements of Bailey's arsenal: a hive
of screaming guitar leads buzz around a bass / drum lockstep creepy
crawling under a vocal delivery of claustrophobic disgust. A nightmare
leaking through a face mask.
The ritual chanting and dense mood of Lakes (the blade of winter is
rotten!) meets the post-peace punk assault of Tax / Tol / Grane (Amebix,
Killing Joke, Siekiera).
2020 started from breathing in fire and
breathing out virus. This is an appropriate soundtrack for the end.
Sean Bailey is an artist, musician and tattooist from Melbourne. We reached out to him for some insight into RATH.
How did you determine when the new RATH recording was finished?
I knew I wanted to do some music while being stuck at home. I was missing my bands so I got a 4 track off gumtree and started writing songs for a new solo project. I've had a few 4 tracks in my lifetime and just find them easy to use, the tactile nature of it opposed to a digital interface, which you inevitably have to use to transfer to digital but I needed the 4 track as a base sound and went from there. I worked to get 3 songs down, demoed them to work out the beats and the arrangements then properly set up for the final recordings. Once I had the main tracks down I mixed them to the computer and then added a second vocal track and back ups. I knew I wanted to keep it simple to avoid over complicating things and steering away from the original intent, so I knew it was finished when I wanted to add more which would complicate the mixing so I had to back off!
Does dreaming effect, influence or determine your creative work with RATH?
say dreaming affects all my creative work even if it's not so obvious.
I've always had a wild dream life and struggled with night terrors and
sleepwalking since I was a kid and even when my dreaming wasn't a terror
it's always so strange and hectic. I'd talked to various people about
night terrors but no one had any answers about how to cure or calm
them... I recently found someone with the answers and was terror free for
at least a year, they crept back in but they aren't as frequent as they
once were. But dreaming is very important to me.
Do you have anything to say about the creative potential of the stomach - do you advocate for a particular diet? Do you cook well?
That's a great question. The stomach is where the fire is, the centre of things. You can stoke a lot of creativity there but it's also where anxiety goes. The positive and negative things that are drawn from the stomach have always inspired me!
I've been vegan since I was a teenager but that has always been from an animal-rights perspective first and diet is secondary. I've made vegan work for me as a diet, it's what my body is used to and if you do vegan well it's amazing, I advocate vegan and always for the animals. I reckon I cook well, I learned to cook vegan from an early age so I've had years to work on it and eat what suits me and my body. The first vegan I knew was a punk friend from Hobart, he stayed over at my parents house and made his own vegan meal of canned corn and peas, he was the first vegan I knew and inspired me but I thought veganism had to be more than a can of peas and corn. Of course being into hardcore and punk as a teenager opened the door to animal-rights and veganism and it just stayed with me. I also advocate for organics where possible it's what I like to invest in and think it's worth it.
What has inspired you recently and why?
partner and I moved to the yarra ranges a couple of months ago so I've
been feeling inspired by the local walks and surroundings. It's been a
positive change and really suits us, which makes me want to be more
creative and simplify things. With music I've been listening to some
current U.K punk like subdued, it's inspiring because the whole sound,
approach and aesthetic really resonates with me and makes me wanna play
music and even self release a cassette which I thought I'd never do
just finished Gordon Whites book 'The Chaos Protocols: Magical
Techniques for Navigating the New Economic Reality' and have read his
other one 'Star Ships'. Gordon is a leading voice in contemporary magic
but also has his head firmly screwed on politically, I can relate to
lots of what he has to say about magic and the esoteric in
general, Inspiring me to have more of a practice, that includes
approaches to art and music because that's magic too.
Can you share with us your favourite image of your favourite poet?
I'd have to say my favourite poet is David Tibet. Some of my favourite imagery ever is from the song ‘Black Flowers, Please’, I find myself singing quite often:
Oh when I saw
you standing there
dying in your hair
harvest time coughing up must
dull perfume trailing in dust
pennants at the spike of that hill
started bleeding and then the mill
sharing your love and your rage
Spewed out a new age
Sean Bailey can be reached for tattoo work here. Photo of Sean and Maeve by Cait Burgoyne.