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Interview: dw Norton of Superheist

The one thing I would like to end on, is the harmony and mate-ship in Superheist, the brotherhood we have, is what has created the album “Sidewinder”. We are super proud of the album, and I cannot wait for people to hear it.

After nearly a decade in the dark, the band came roaring back in 2016 with Ghosts Of The Social Dead, and hit the road for a series of sold out shows, reaffirming that their place amongst the hearts of heavy music fans still remains. 

Fully rejuvenated guitarist and songwriter dw Norton, enlisted who he describes as the best frontman in both hemisphere’s Ezekiel Ox on lead vocals. Rounding out Superheist, is Californian stalwart Keir Gotcher (Insolence, Snot) on second guitar. Old School Superheister Si Durrant (In:Extremis, Acid Wolf) returns to the fold on bass and Metal legend of the skins John Sankey (Devil You Know, Devolved)) takes the stool for what creates the heaviest line up the band has seen its 24-year history.

Their new album SIDEWINDER (out May 3rd through Black Mountain Music) is about to hit like a ten-ton hammer. Produced and Mixed by dw Norton at Black Mountain Sound Studio, this time the band have wound up all the elements that makes the Superheist right up to 11… It’s more metal, more anthemic, more hip hop and more electro than ever before! SIDEWINDER will define Superheist like no other record they’ve done in the past.

We caught up with dw Norton, who bought us up to speed on the state of Superheist in 2019

H2Z: This album, seems so much more well-rounded production wise than the last album. Would you agree?
DW: The difference is, I got to produce it all, instead of involving another producer, and them being half-hearted about it, we put everything into it ourselves. But you know how people always say, “It’s different to the last one”, well I hope so (laughs). I would hate to put out the same record twice.

H2Z: To me, the last record now sounds rushed, where I just feel there is more love and time put into this album with the different styles, for instance the song “Overlord”, it’s just massive!
DW: Yeah it is, it’s one of my favourites

H2Z: The last album “Ghosts of The Social Dead” was considered the comeback of Superheist. How do you feel about it looking back?
DW: Well, you said it yourself, when you said it now seems rushed, even though it wasn’t rushed. It was actually music that was written at some point along the way, by me, that was not necessarily intended for Superheist. So, we put the songs together and then Zeke came in and sang his vocals over the top. So, after 13 years away and putting together a new team, so to speak, you haven’t really gelled, and found your common ground in writing and recording. I’m really proud of “Ghosts of Social Dead”. The songs are great. The production is not 100% how I would have liked it, though I am still happy with it. The thing is now, we have a band and a line-up that has gelled better than any other line up of Superheist has ever had, and the results speak for themselves. The record is more diverse. The way I like to describe it, is that it’s all the elements, that have ever made up Superheist, turned up to 11. It’s heavier, its more anthemic, its catchier, its more hip-hop, and its more electro than we have ever been.

H2Z: It’s a very “Thick” sounding album
DW: Oh, its fat! We are using 8 string guitars on some songs. We have always tried to convey a larger than life sound, it’s not a humble sound by any stretch, its huge. We put on a huge show to go along with it. The personalities that are now in the band are like that as well, so it is what it is. We are not trying to be somebody we are not. The album has a lot more depth, with more elements to it than we have ever done before. The power of the drums, now we have John Sankey on board, and John has bought something to Superheist that hasn’t been there before either. Even though he is being tame, and keeping a lid on it as it’s not pure metal drums, he has a different attack to it which has bought something different to the band. And we have so many different styles that snake around, hence why we titled the album “Sidewinder”. All those styles are all very relevant to Superheist.

H2Z: When did you start getting the songs together for “Sidewinder”?
DW: I write very quick, and Keir (Gotcher – Guitars), contributed music to this as well, and we finished it 18 months ago. From there it was just about finding the right time to get Zeke to come in, as he is very busy. Once he had time to come up to Black Mountain to write his vocals and record, and then we mixed it. It was about an 18-month process as well to put the album together.

H2Z: Zeke can be very thought provoking with his lyrics, have you ever worried about people’s reactions to them?
DW: No, Never. I have never put a leash in anyone on this band. Even though I am the producer of the band, I will never put a leash on anyone’s artistic expression. If you have something to get off your chest and get out there, what better place is there than on an album.

H2Z: When did the idea for Heistfest come about and how did you go about putting it all together?
DW: Heistfest is meant to be something we can brand and do annually and build over time. Superheist, the level we are at now, and where we are in our lives, personally outside of music, aren’t going to tour every other week. Our plan is to tour 2 to 3 times a year with one of those times to be a marquee event like Heistfest. We will try to continue that brand on. We have 36 Crazyfists this year, and next year we are already looking at other bands to headline and maybe bump it up another level.

H2Z: Was the choice to not headline deliberate?
DW: Yes, it was deliberate. We don’t necessarily want it to be about Superheist, but it is driven by Superheist.

H2Z: Could we expect a headlining tour after the album is released?
DW: We are going to do something later in the year. It’s hard as Keir, our other guitar player lives in California. While he is here in Australia, we are going to shoot another couple of videos, and work that angle a bit and then do another tour later in the year.

H2Z: Any final words?
DW: “Sidewinder”, I feel, is the record we needed to do, to show the results of when a band goes through tumultuous times, line-up changes, and then finally finds itself in a better position that it has ever been. I feel really blessed to have the guys in the band. Si Durrant on Bass, who was in Superheist in the late 90’s has been a dear friend of mine for a long time, and it’s great to have him back in the band. Keir Gotcher on guitars, again who has been a friend of mine for 20 years. John Sankey, who is our international man of metal on the drums, who’s resume speaks for itself, and of course the great Ezekiel Ox on vocals. The one thing I would like to end on, is the harmony and mate-ship in Superheist, the brotherhood we have, is what has created the album “Sidewinder”. We are super proud of the album, and I cannot wait for people to hear it.

Thanks to dw for his time. Superheist’s new album is out on May 3rd on Black Mountain Music.

Tracklisting

The Riot
Crush The Crisis
Overlord
Shockwaves
Breathe
Trauma
And So We Burn
One Of A Kind
God Knows

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