Interview: The Five Hundred

Back in July, we sent Becca off to have a chat with Mark Byrne from The Five Hundred about their the band’s new album A World on Fire and their exciting return to live shows. Here’s what went down:

So you have just played a sold-out show in. How was it?
Yeah, it sold out in a matter of days after it was announced. It was crazy being back in a room full of metalheads but it was just like the good old days. It takes some getting used to after 18 months but it was great to be back. It felt a bit surreal like we really just played a live show!

I bet it’s weird to get back out to it, but I think it has done great things for the local scene. What do you think?
Yeah, I think it’s safe to say we have loads of people ready to go for it again and I think in the past where you had the option of saying “oh I’ll go to the next one” that luxury was taken away from us for so long. I personally think that everyone is going to be back out there and raring to go now. Which is great for the scene, bands, promoters, and people. We have all been apprehensive about the return of live music but positive at the same time.

How was it playing the new songs from A World on Fire?
We were really pleasantly surprised! We have only just released some of these songs and having a room full of people screaming those lyrics back to us already was unreal. It was a really emotional moment for all of us. There was a circle pit going for the whole show, couldn’t have asked for more than that really.

What song in your upcoming setlist sounds best in a live environment?
I would say it’s a toss-up between ‘Black Dogs’ and ‘The Rising Tide’. Just judging the reactions from the crowd as well, those are the ones that get the biggest response. This is what makes or breaks the songs really for us, as we are there to entertain and make people have a good time. When you get that sort of reaction with the whole crowd going nuts, we think we definitely need to include these on all setlists. They are actually the two songs that mean the most to us, lyrically and emotionally as well, so it’s great to see people enjoying them as much as we do.

Is there any particular song that you had a hard time writing during making the album?
I mean the whole album is particularly more of a theme really. We wrote it just as the pandemic hit, so we locked ourselves away to write the follow-up to our last album for six months. The album focuses on environmental devastation, rising sea levels, and climate disasters, like losing many people’s lives and entire cities. It’s a topic that is very close to my heart. We believe in leaving a bit of room for interpretation in our lyrics because lyrics sometimes mean very different things to each person who listens to them. Although spoon-feeding our listeners have never really been our style, we felt with this record we need to be very blunt and very direct with what this is about.

I guess in a way it was nice to have that output during lockdown somewhere to get those emotions out.
I think music definitely has that ability and gives you that creative outlook to express yourself through music and get rid of all that negativity. Out of pain and suffering comes great art, it’s hard sometimes to use that as a vehicle to be creative but when you get it right it can be very rewarding.

Are there any local bands or industry people that have been killing it over the past year since the pandemic?
To be honest, I was particularly impressed with Palm Reader, the stuff they recently released and their live streaming event as well was pretty sick. The guys in A Hundred Crowns are friends and write cool as fuck music, can’t wait to see what they do next. We also have to shout out local promoter Kris from Ike Productions doing a crazy amount of work right now. If you’re reading this Kris it was great to sell out a show with and thanks for everything you do man, you’re awesome.

Finally, can you describe your band in four words for our readers who haven’t heard of you before?
Catchy, heavy as fuck!

*Can confirm they have catchy as f**k hooks*

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