Artists / Bands, Culture, Interviews, Metal / Hard Rock — September 28, 2012 at 11:06 am

Angry teenagers ‘Stick to the Shallows’ Speak Out!


Melbourne is known for having a remarkable underground musical scene, the best in the country and probably one of the best in the whole world. Australia is known for its unprecedented line-up of rock and metal bands that left their undeletable mark in the history of music, all peppered with a unique pub rock attitude. Standing out in such a scene is not an easy feat. There is no chance of survival for sloppy bands with ordinary performances. You have to be on top of your game all the time. Now, imagine sticking your neck out in such a scene while being a teenager hailing from the suburbs, influenced by complex genres such as progressive metal and metalcore. That’s Stick to the Shallows for you, my friends: angry talented Aussie teenagers ready to take on the world.

Fabio Marraccini had the opportunity to talk to Tehan Mclachlan (vocals) and Matt Marra (bass) about their influences, history as a band, and their new EP. Here’s what we heard!

Fabio Marraccini: Please tell me the story of this band from the beginning: how did you meet?

Tehan: Guitarist Tom (King) and I first met around 6 years ago, while playing music in school. In 2008, we started to form a band to fulfill school duties, as a project. Back then we were called Room 16 and we played a different genre. Later, we started to get more serious about it, and dove deeper into our heavier influences.

Matt: Yes, and I joined around the end of the 2010, when the band name and the musical style changed to what it is today. 


FM: Most musicians have that magic moment in their lives where they go “this is what I want to do with my life”. For some, it is a concert, for others, buying a specific record. What about you?

Tehan: Not sure about a specific moment, but I grew up with music in our lives – like getting into AC/DC when I was 8 years old. From there I started slowly transitioning to heavier bands with screaming vocals and so on. Papa Roach was probably the first of those for me. Later came Meshuggah, one of our biggest influences. Then Born of OsirisMisery Signals and The Contortionist, still on that same side of music. But I like non-heavy stuff too like Foo fighters and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Matt: Red Hot Chili Peppers for sure.

Tehan: Looking back now, it was certainly more non-metal bands, more rock and funk blending bands that shaped me as a musician.


FM: Road to success in this industry is quite hard. Why form a band and stick with it instead of trying something else?

Tehan: Passion – this is what we wanna do, period.  I’ve found our happiness playing music – can’t really see myself having a desk job or some s**t.

Matt: No higher calling than playing music, that’s it.


FM: Some of these musical influences you cited are quite challenging musically speaking. At what age did you pick up your instruments?

Matt: I picked up the Bass when I was around 12 or 13 and learned mostly on my own. After a while, I started playing some shows with a band in high school.

Tehan: I started with the guitar when I was 10, and that contributed to me being able to write songs for the band. I had singing lessons three years. Now this style of music is quite harsh on signers, so I usually have some honey to calm down my throat after a gig or a rehearsal. There were several times when my voice was completely f**ked after a gig.


FM: Now you’re about to dive into a metal scene that is considered by many to be saturated. Progressive metal had many incarnations, ranging from melodic to aggressive, and metalcore has been around for more than 10 years. How do you plan on standing out from the crowd?

Tehan: Genres don’t matter, really. Unique and genuinely good music is what matters.  Plus, we bring elements from other genres of music, as we said before.

Matt: In the end, what matters is having good catchy songs, and being able to play them well live.


FM: Right-o, now you have an exciting new EP coming out. How did the composing process evolve from your previous release to these 2 new songs?

Tehan: I really had to think outside the box this past year and a half. I was dead set on doing my best, changing things if it sounds it’s been done before. Our minds are clearer now too. As usual, Tom comes with the bases and we write all the other parts. We now own all rigs and home studios, so we can get ideas down on tape whenever we want. We also write rough drum parts for Chris (Klodinsky) to follow. Then we sit together and think what bits we can change to make it a bit more interesting.


FM: What about the recording process – was it different this time around? And the work with (producer) Beau McKee, did it help?

Tehan: On our mini demo, we had a small budget and a big studio, and it ended sounding like s**t. For this one we used our own rehearsing studio to record the basic ideas. In 4 days, we got all the tracks down.  Producer was awesome, and got for us two basic rules right off the bat: Vocals can’t be engineered to the point where they don’t sound human, and the producer should not change the arrangements. He respected both. Guitars took longer though. From there we started rehearsing those songs as a band, trying to get the live sound right, polishing each individual parts if we have to.


FM: Any plans for a full-length?

Tehan: We need to take some time to tour now. We feel we can only go up from here. This EP was another learning curve, and a full-length will be yet another plateau to reach, certainly at a later stage.


Guitarist Brendan Warner completes the band, forming a furious five-piece ready to conquer the scene with their relentless live display and their undisputable attitude.



Stick To The Shallows – You Gotta Be Fresh – Youtube preview



Stick to the Shallows – Teenage Angst EP – iTunes: