SXSW: Even Aussie Group Karnivool Has Experienced Outback Steakhouse

Categories: SXSW
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Photo by Bradford Schmidt
Karnivool (L-R): guitarist Andrew Goddard, singer Ian Kenny, guitarist Mark Hosking
Building on our obvious love for music and meat from down under, there aren't enough bands out there like Australia's Karnivool. Delivering monumentally thunderous riffs that still sound beautiful, catchy hooks that don't get cheesy, and extended songs that avoid sounding forced is no small undertaking. But Karnivool, with their first U.S. release Sound Awake, pulls it off, starting huge and staying that way, bringing serious weight to even the record's quietest moments. If we have to go here, let's say modern, Porcupine Tree-style rock, with every great thing that implies.

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At SXSW, they proved that the skills aren't just studio-based, playing a series of shows, including a couple of acoustic sets at the Belmont, that let made it clear why they deserve to sell more than a couple copies of Sound Awake on American shores.

With the rhythm section off elsewhere (perhaps getting steaks?), guitarists Andrew Goddard and Mark Hosking, along with singer Ian Kenny, sat down to talk about their record, their tour, and meat of course.

Perhaps they come by their musicianship naturally, but meat eaters, as well at least one member of the band might attribute their skills to their choice of proteins. "We're avid meat eaters," says Kenny. "You know, one theory has the ascent of man as a result of beginning to eat meat." Are talking meat as a major evolutionary trigger? "Well, it's one theory," he says with a smile. "Expansion of the brain and all that."

And what sort of meats are the band mates into? Every one of the three chose steak, fillet to be specific, as a favorite. When challenged on the relative value of that cut versus, say, a nice fatty son of a bitch, they attributed it to Aussie advertising. "It's constant at home, this whole 'eat lean meat' thing," says Hosking. "Yeah, it really is - I suppose that's where it comes from," adds Goddard.

As for meat experiences that stuck out particularly during the recent tour, there were a few.
"We had reindeer steaks at one point, but the meal on the ice breaker ferry on the way to Finland was cool; we had the opportunity to try antelope," Hosking says. "Kudu was it? And springbok I think." Goddard agrees. "It really was great. And ostrich - we had ostrich on tour too," Kenny adds. "Though it wasn't as good."

The conversation meandered to a discussion of lousy restaurants, and Kenny remembered a story from a dinner they had at an Outback Steakhouse in Germany. "It's shit, of course, Outback, but it was funny," he says. "We stopped in for something to eat, and the waitress kept calling us 'mate,' but in a German accent. It was really odd."

Karnivool's meat-fueled album Sound Awake is out now. Grab it.

--Bradford Schmidt
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