With their new Domination Campaign project, Psycroptic vocalist Jason Peppiatt and guitarist Joe Hayley have swapped technical wizardry with old school death metal brutality… and taken us into the heart of a bloody conflict. Rich Holmes caught up with Jason to explore the Tasmanian duo’s debut album, Onward To Glory… and get the story behind Domination Campaign.
Rushonrock: When did the idea for Domination Campaign first germinate – and how did it evolve?
Jason Peppiatt: It’s been a project I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. I started getting back into playing guitar about three years ago and it really came from me wanting to create more on the instrumental front, rather than just singing.
When all the Coronavirus bullshit started I obviously couldn’t tour with Psycroptic for a long time, so I figured I’d spend more time in the studio and actually make something of the idea.
Rushonrock: Have you always had a desire to play old school death metal?
JP: I’ve always been a fan of old school death metal. It’s what I grew up on, but I had never really been in a band playing that style.
I’ve wanted to be in a band doing this sort of stuff but never really thought I’d end up having the time or motivation to get it from just being an idea to actually writing and recording albums.
Rushonrock: Your debut album focuses on the experience of military conflict. Did any specific battles or campaigns inspire Onward To Glory?
JP: It wasn’t really one particular battle as such. I’ve always had a fascination about what the mindset of soldiers in the world wars must have been like for them to be able to function under such brutal conditions. So in my own way I tried to explore those ideas a little more than it actually being a fully factual recounting of particular battles.
I watched a shitload of movies and documentaries on the subject at the time I was writing the lyrics, so I guess that helped a lot with inspiration.
Rushonrock: How did you adjust your ‘writing mindset’ when creating Onward To Glory?
JP: Writing the music was easy. It was just me writing a riff, recording on my phone and moving on to the next one, and then picking through them all and refining it until it was something I was happy with.
Doing the lyrics and vocal parts was the hardest, because I was writing all the parts for a Psycroptic album at the same time. I think that’s why I made Onward To Glory a war-based concept album: it made it easier for me to switch between writing for each band when I had made a conscious decision to have totally different lyrical concepts between each band.
Rushonrock: What influenced you musically when creating Onward To Glory?
JP: Lots of the classic death metal bands! I’ve always loved Incantation, Bolt Thrower, Dismember, Entombed, Sinister… and all those types of bands. I’ve seen a lot of people have picked up on the Bolt Thrower influence!
Rushonrock: Is there a war-themed album that you particularly admire?
JP: For Victory by Bolt Thrower. It’s simple, catchy, has crushing riffs and it’s heavy as fuck! It doesn’t get much better than that, in my opinion.
Rushonrock: Which Domination Campaign song are you most proud of?
JP: I’d have to say Death Before Dishonour. It was the first song I wrote for the album and it really set the style and feel that I wanted the album to follow.
Rushonrock: What has been the reaction to Domination Campaign from Psycroptic fans? Are they a little surprised you have an album like this inside you?
JP: From what I can tell it’s been really good! I think there’s a few people that maybe thought it’d have a bit of resemblance to Psycroptic because it’s made up of half the band and they’re maybe disappointed when they realise we’ve pretty much done the exact opposite of what Psycroptic does.
But for the most part I think people are actually more interested in it because of that reason and they like the fact that it’s not just an album of Psycroptic out-takes or something.
Rushonrock: What’s next for Domination Campaign? Where do you want to take the project?
JP: We are definitely keen to continue with it that’s for sure. It probably won’t be something that we’ll always be dedicating lots of time to due to our commitments with Psycroptic, but I think it’s something that’s here to stay!
Rushonrock: Do you already have ideas for new material?
JP: We’ve already started writing for album number two! It’s still going to be in the mid-paced, downtuned and heavy realm, but we’re adding a few extra things into the mix as well.
Rushonrock: Do you have any plans to play shows with Domination Campaign?
JP: We just want to be able to get back out on the road with Psycroptic once all the Coronavirus shit is sorted out and that’ll be our main priority once that can happen, so at this stage, we don’t really have plans.
But it’s definitely something we would consider down the track, as me and Joe (who plays drums on Onward To Glory) both like having a chance to play different instruments.
Rushonrock: What about the future of Psycroptic – what can you tell us about the upcoming new album?
JP: The new album is almost finished and it’s something that we are all really happy with!
We’ve just got a few bits and pieces to finish up, but there will be news probably starting to roll out in the next few months about that…
Onward To Glory is out now on Prosthetic Records. Check out our review here.