Interview: Toddy Hansen of King Parrot

Hot off the trails after a massive run in the USA with Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals. Australia's favourite thrash infused grind band, King Parrot, are back as they prepare for Halloween Hysteria at the iconic Jubilee Hotel in Brisbane’s capital of live music, Fortitude Valley. Featuring 30 bands over three stages representing the cream of Australia’s heavy talent, the big gig features stoner party legends The Bennies as well as the fierce thrash metal blaze from the Southern States, King Parrot, as featured headliners. King Parrot have evolved into a fully-fledged touring and creative force barely stopping for a breath since their inception on the international metal scene in 2013. One of the hardest working bands in the world right now, the blood, sweat and tears poured into everything King Parrot does has paid off after receiving a nomination in the Best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal Album at this years 2018 ARIA Awards. We had a chat with drummer, Toddy Hansen about all of their recent success, Halloween Hysteria, touring and much more.

Congratulations first of all on another ARIA nomination for Best Metal/Rock Album, that must be some pretty good news for guys to wrap up the year with?

Yeah, well, we sort of knew we were in contention for it this year, because the album came out in 2017 so we weren't too sure whether it would qualify or not. We weren't 100% sure we'd even get a nomination because there were so many good albums that have come out in the last year or so. I don't really follow hard rock too much, but as far as metal goes there's been a lot of good ones. I would have thought bands like Ne Obliviscaris would have qualified, and there's lots of great bands out there right now releasing quality stuff. So we were pretty stoked when we found out, and we actually just found out as we were landing coming back from our United States tour, so it was a bit of a jet lagged surprise.

That's now 2 albums in a row for you guys that have been recognised by ARIA, must be a pretty good feeling to have that attention on you with all the hard work you put in?

Yeah mate, I think it's great, I just think it's nice to get a look in you know? In a way I guess you could say that we're a part of the top 5 best album of the year in that particular genre, which is pretty awesome. We went along last time, I think we might go along again because we'll be home. It's just a good day you know, you get to go in on the red carpet, suit up a bit and hang out with The Wiggles.

You've also got Halloween Hysteria coming up later this month, you looking forward to that one?

Yeah it's going to be great, really looking forward to that one. I'm from up here in Brisbane so I won't have to go far for once. There's a festival up here every year called Dead Of Winter Festival, and it's almost like a spin-off from that, because Dead Of Winter is actually really big now and those guys are doing a great job with that. With Halloween Hysteria I think they've got the same organisers behind it which is good, and it's obviously ran by Hysteria Magazine and they're all good friends of mine. It's going to be a really fun day, it's a good mixed bill with a bit of brutal metal, a bit of punk, metal, rock, doom, a bit of everything really. I can't wait!

Can you tell us a bit about when you guys found out you were going to be the headline act?

Well anytime we get offered to play a show up in Brisbane I'm always excited, so as soon as it was suggested I was pretty keen. I think we were asked a couple of months ago just before it got announced. We were super excited to be a big part of it and a few other shows have fallen in around it nicely which is good. We're definitely going to make a weekend out of it. We've got show on the Friday night down in Billinudgel and then Halloween Hysteria on the Saturday, then we're off to Sydney to play at Frankie's Pizza on the Sunday. So it's going to be a full on weekend. A good way to wrap up the year that's for sure.

You guys are touring overseas quite often, what's that been like for you guys being away from home on this Ugly Produce album cycle?

It's been great actually, that album came out at the very start of our US tour last year, so the first show of that tour was pretty much the album launch. We did a couple of our own shows over there as well where we played the new album in its entirety which was cool because we hadn't really done anything like that before for any of our other albums. Then we flew out to the UK, then Japan, then we did an Aussie run, plus a bunch of weekend shows around Australia. We also did a regional tour of Australia with Child Bite (US) and we did something like 24 shows in 30 days, we basically drove from Melbourne up to Cairns and then back to Melbourne, so we got to see a lot of the Australian East Coast which was cool. Then we just did the US run with Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals and that was very cool, and we're actually doubling as techs as well as the main support. So we were sort of working, setting up for them, all on the same bus, so that was a really good experience.

Yeah I bet. I was just going to ask you about them actually, have you guys thrown the idea around about a Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals tour of Australia with King Parrot?

I guess it's always been a throw around idea to bring one of Phil's bands to Australia because a lot of people want him out here. I don't know, I guess you could say it's in the pipeline perhaps? But there's nothing sort of concrete or anything. But yeah, it'd be nice, they're all good friends of ours, and a few of the dudes in the band also play with Superjoint, and we've sort of toured with 3 out of the 5 guys anyway and it's a great crew, they're like our family. So yeah, hopefully at some stage we'll get together and do something down here.

That would be very cool indeed. It must be nice having these iconic metal names such as Phil Anselmo and Max Cavalera, representing King Parrot by wearing your shirts and promoting you guys, do you think that's helped out guys along the way and have you learnt quite a lot from them?

Yeah, I think they've definitely helped us out by wearing our merch and giving us props in interviews and such. Obviously Phil likes us enough to have us on his Housecore Records label, and we've been lucky enough to play with Down and Superjoint a couple of times now. We went out with Soulfly over in Europe, which was really good of Max to have us tour with them. Europe seems to be a bit of a tougher market to crack for us it seems, we've done some really good tours over there and spent a good 7 weeks going everywhere. But yeah, it's been good having those guys behind us, just the fact that they like our music, it's almost surreal in a way you know? Rubbing shoulders with these legends is really cool, but I think along the way we've been working really hard over the 4 and a bit years I've been in the band, so it doesn't all come easy.

What's next for King Parrot, are you guys working on anything at the moment?

Well funnily enough we've actually been in the process of writing new material over the course of the past year or so. I don't we're ever not going to be a grind band, I think you can tell the difference between Dead Set and Ugly Produce in terms of the band gelling more. The guys had been together for a while and I'd only been in the band for a couple of months back when we started writing and recording Dead Set, but within 6 months together we'd completed a entire new album. Hopefully the next album we don't have to worry about deadlines and stuff like that. I think we're just going to keep touring and working hard, and just try and have fun with it all as well.

Written by Steve Jenkins

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