Sydney five-piece Hellions have been quickly making their mark in the Australian heavy scene, be it their atmospheric tunes and their way of encompassing such cohesive musicianship, it’s no wonder the band have been loved by Aussies since their formation in 2013. Last year, their sophomore record Indian Summer debuted at #19 on the ARIA charts, quickly assuring the musicians they had the immense love and support from their fanbase. With the release of their third record Opera Oblivia this coming Friday, guitarist Matthew Gravolin felt a sense of positivity surrounding its release as fans quickly pre-ordered the limited vinyl copies they had on offer.
“It’s incredibly humbling,” He says. “I can’t even begin to describe how lucky we feel with all the recent attention we’ve gotten. It’s been an absolute blast.”
The amount of dedication put towards Opera Oblivia became evident as the record took on a more of a collaborative approach. Working with members from different bands such as Northlane, Ocean Grove and Heroes For Hire, the quality of the record stemmed from the work of other musicians, providing an opportunity to bounce off ideas from one another while also carefully structuring each song to perfection. As Gravolin spoke, it was clear that Opera Oblivia was something they proudly worked on and to have other musicians input their ideas was what made the entire creative process worthwhile.
“With this one, I think it was just having more time put into it. Just hundreds and hundreds of hours,” He explains when talking about Opera Oblivia‘s creative process. “Obviously, every record requires heaps and heaps of time but this one in particular, it was like an obsession for all of us and it took everything in us to make it. It was out first collaborative piece as well and we had some outsiders have a look at it which was a first for us.”
“I just want the listeners to be completely absorbed by the record and I hope that we’ve completed something of enough substance to be able to do that…”
Exotic from its surroundings, the five-piece managed to once again record at the beloved Karma Sound Studios in Thailand. Tirelessly working on their music hours on end, it wasn’t the location they cared much for – it was working with their producer Shane Edwards; someone they were trusting of to maintain the integrity of their art.
“We’ve been to that studio for every Hellions record so far,” Gravolin continues. “The reason we keep going back is primarily for Shane. Shane has been working with us – Anthony [Caruso, drums] and I in particular – for about ten years. He just understands our vision more than anybody else could so it doesn’t make any sense to go anywhere else. He’s such a blessing to us and he’s an auxiliary member of the band. It certainly doesn’t hurt that it’s paradise over there. It’s absolutely beautiful.”
Edwards challenged the band to reach new heights for Opera Oblivia and when listeners come across this record, they’ll be able to hear how much the five-piece have pushed themselves beyond what anyone could expect from them. Be it his all-rounded skills in writing and producing, Edwards was able to help channel those energies while also pushing the musicians to be outside of their comfort zones.
“His biggest contribution was really pushing Dre [Faivre, vocals] and I with our vocals,” He says. “As you may notice, there’s a lot more singing and chanty, sort of bigger, melodic-sounding choruses and a lot of that is thanks to him and his encouragement. He really understands our vision and he gave us that push that we needed to sing. Without him, I don’t know if the album would sound the way it does now. He was really invested in the lyrics as well which is always helpful. It’s just so wonderful to have someone so understanding of the entire project.”
As musicians, Hellions have one of the most rewarding jobs of all and that is to create music with positive impact. With Gravolin’s insights on how he hopes Opera Oblivia is received by fans, all that matters to him is being able to make someone smile while helping them push through tough ruts and at the same time, be a record they can put on where they’re most happy.
“I want to be able to help them through bad days,” Gravolin says. “I want it to be a song of celebration for their good days and to really sympathise with them on their bad days. I just want the listeners to be completely absorbed by the record and I hope that we’ve completed something of enough substance to be able to do that; to really encapsulate a person and define their day.”
Opera Oblivia will be available for release on July 29th via UNFD / Rise Records
You can also catch Hellions while they embark on their national tour. Check out the dates below!
Quality Of Life Australian Tour
Saturday 30th July – Arrow On Swanson, Melbourne (AA)
Friday 5th August – Enigma Bar, Adelaide (LIC/AA)
Friday 12th August – Bald Faced Stag, Sydney (LIC/AA) – SOLD OUT
Saturday 13th August – The Brightside, Brisbane (18+)