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Taking their name from an 8 FOOT SATIVA song, Auckland Metal outfit FUELSET was formed in mid 2005. Since then the band has undertaken tours of New Zealand and Australia and released a debut album ‘Tear It Down’ earlier this year. Two songs from that release, ‘Breakdown’ and ‘The Everchanging’ were recorded at the legendary York St Studio in Auckland with Andrew Buckton and have received regular airplay on NZ Radio and TV. NZRock caught up with guitarist Joe Murdie to find out more about FUELSET and the band’s plans for 2009…

NZRock: FUELSET played shows in Australia earlier this year, what was that experience like?

Joe: We went from Brisbane down to Melbourne and five shows just sort of to test it out. You hear so much about how much bigger it is and we wanted to check it out ourselves. It’s a bigger area but I think the shows that we were doing there weren’t any bigger really than what we’re doing here. But we were reasonably unknown over there really. We had one video being played in Brisbane and that was about all we’d got in Aussie when we went over to do it. So it was just testing the water really but it was definitely good. I thikn we’ll go back and we want to get over to some of the European countries and do some festivals as well.

NZRock: That’s awesome you guys got TV airplay for your video over there, how’d that come about?

Joe: Yeah well actually that one came about really easily. They contacted me on the Myspace page and said they wanted to play the video so I just put it on a DVD and sent it over. I had a mate over there and he said he saw it a few times so they were definitely playing it so that was relatively easy that one.

NZRock: With the touring that you’ve done so far what have been some of the most memorable monents in FUELSET for you?

Joe: Landing in Brisbane for the first show there was pretty cool , just you know, getting off the plane and feeling like we were actually doing something. Finishing the album definitely. Getting the first video airplay in New Zealand. And one thing that was really cool just recently on the new tour was our first time playing in Wellington. It was a really good show and we had a great time down there. So I think just getting out and seeing places is the biggest thing. We really like playing so everywhere we can play is good you know.

NZRock: I’ve seen both of the FUELSET videos and you’ve got the domestic violence theme going on in ‘Breakdown’. What inspired that?

Joe: The ‘Breakdown’ video just sort of came about. It was something we all felt strongly about. We’d had a few mates who had gone through some domestic violence sort of things and it was kinda close to home. So it was something that we wanted to get across and also get a positive message in the music as well. That’s what initiated that happening. It was kind of hard on our first video to do something like that. It was kind of an idea that really needed a bigger budget than we had but we made do and I think that we got the point across that we wanted to. We released that on White Ribbon Day the anti-domestic violence day and did an acoustic gig on K-Road in Auckland.

NZRock: Back in 2006 you guys did a demo which had a couple of songs ‘Device’ and ‘Six Feet Under’. Did that make it onto the album with different titles or anything or have they been dropped from your set?

Joe: No they didn’t make it on. We’ve sort of stopped playing them a little bit. ‘Six Feet Under’ we got a bit sick of and ‘Device’ is one that we keep meaning to re-write but it’s basically just a matter of we haven’t had time to sit down and go through it with each other. But I think those will be something that might come out on the next album or at a later date. We just wanted to get out the 15 songs that we were using at the time and get them around. So they’re definitely not forgotten they’re just sitting in the back a little bit at the moment.

NZRock: At 15 tracks long ‘Tear It Down’ is an impressive debut album. How long did it take to get all of that material together?

Joe: Most of those have been written in the last two years. ‘One On One’ is one of our oldest songs. But ‘Eight Point Five’ we only wrote this year so it takes a while. In the early days we were doing a lot more writing because we weren’t doing as much gigging but when you find yourselves gigging every couple of weeks it’s hard to find time to get the writing in so it slows down a little bit. But yeah, we wanted to put out an album of substantial length. I mean we all grew up with the early Thrash albums and stuff like that which were always an hour or so long. So it was something that we wanted to do. We didn’t want to bring out a 30 minute album you know. People were telling us to just put 10 on and things like that but it was like nah, put them all on there because we’ve got the time to record them.

NZRock: How’d you go about recording the album. Two of the tracks ‘Breakdown’ and ‘The Everchanging’ were done at York St Studio in Auckland. Did you record the rest after that?

Joe: Yeah that’s it. At the time we wanted to get two really good quality singles out there and get the videos done for those so yeah, we just took out a bank loan basically and booked ourselves in at York St for three days. It was like 42 hours in three days and we cranked them out. It was a bloody awesome time man and York St is certainly a good place to record. We would’ve done the whole thing there if we had a huge amount more money.

NZRock: What was it like working with Andrew Buckton in the studio?

Joe: Really, really good man! He puts in heaps of his own ideas but he’s happy if you’re not into them. He’ll just thrown them out there and works well with you – does a lot of producing stuff with it as well and lets you have the final call at the end of the day which is what we wanted. And he knows his stuff, he’s been doing it for a long time. I think he’s got a natural sort of talent to do metal even though he’s not a big Metal fan himself or done much Metal over the years. But it just fits with him and we’re happy with it anyway.

NZRock: The other tracks were recorded at Phons Studios. Is that in Auckland as well?

Joe: Yeah Phons Studios is just a really small studio. It was a friend of a friend who has gone through an engineering course and he’s starting up his own studio. I helped him out with a bunch of gear and did the building work for him so we basically just went in there and recorded with him. It didn’t even end up costing us anything so we’re pretty happy with what we got for that. And then yeah, because of the job Andrew had done we decided to go back to him for mastering of those tracks.

NZRock: So what are FUELSET’s plans in 2009?

Joe: We’re putting a few things in progress. We’ve got another new song that we want to record as a separate single and get that out next year around March. We also want to get down to the South Island and we want to do a tour of some smaller towns. We’ve sold a few CDs to places like Hawkes Bay and we’re doing a gig in Coleville so we want to get around little towns that people don’t often get to and give them the opportunity to come out to shows as well. We’re looking forward to Coleville. That’s going to be in the town hall there. There’s actually a bunch of local guys that play together in a Metal band so we’re going to get them on board and do some stuff there. It should be cool.

NZRock: Do you have any parting words for the FUELSET fans?

Joe: Thanks! They come to the shows and support us. Especially in Auckland, everytime we play in Auckland we get a good show and we certainly appreciate it. We’ve got lots of things coming up soon and hopefully they’re going to like it so yeah, thanks and keep supporting!