I spent 2020 discovering TONS of new bands – by year’s end, only a few have stuck with me and my playlists. When I caught wind of Galleons ahead of their album Metropolis, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. The vocal prowess of Tom Byrne drew comparisons to greats in the scene, supported by a compelling instrumental backdrop. To say I was blown away after first listen of singles “Elsewhere” and “Cybersex” is an absolute understatement. It was one of the first albums I got a review copy of, and one I’m still singing along to in December. Now, seeing them sign with Famined Records (who have had the likes of Time, the Valuator and The Afterimage) and drop their best-performing song yet is a joy to see. I got to shoot some questions to vocalist Tom Byrne here:
The New Fury: Hate the Player, Not the Game has amassed tons of listens in no time at all. How does it feel to get onto Famined Records and see immediate success?
Tom Byrne: It feels pretty good to know that people are digging a bit more of a “serious” sound from us, and that our first single with Famined Records didn’t flop because of that change in style. We were a bit hesitant about that because in a lot of this new music what you’ll be hearing might not be as chaotic or technical as our tracks from Metropolis. We were initially worried that our listeners might have been a little taken aback by that. Glad to see that’s not the case and people are really enjoying it so far. The goal with this new music was always to create something more focused, distilled and cohesive. We love Metropolis, but even we can admit that sometimes it was a bit all over the place, even if that variety is a thing people enjoyed about it. We hope they can also enjoy something from us that has a more overall connected sound.
New Fury: What went behind the stylistic lyrics for Hate the Player, Not the Game?
Tom: Honestly, I don’t think too much when writing lyrics for Galleons songs. The priority for Galleons tracks is usually about finding rhythm, melody and catchy hooks over the substance in the lyrics, but this time it was a bit different. Due to the more serious sound (even with some of our usual quirky elements) I chose to write about some more personal topics. Still in my usual esoteric, metaphorical way, but this new music touches on things that I rarely ever speak about. This new music is very much about catharsis for me and getting a lot of things off my chest that I haven’t done in any other songs or writing up to this point.
New Fury: In working with two great bands, how do you differentiate your work with Valiant Hearts from Galleons?
Tom: I don’t consciously try to differentiate my singing from Galleons to Valiant Hearts at all. I’m the same person with the same voice, regardless of the band. The difference between the two just comes down to how the members of each band write their music. Max, Eugene and Sergey in Galleons all write in a different way to Igor in Valiant Hearts. The sound is just different inherently because of that. They put their own personality traits and influences into their music and that’s what gives them their individuality. New Galleons music definitely is more post-hardcore inspired than Swancore/Mathcore, but that’s completely on purpose. This new music is influenced by Emarosa’s self-titled album, and that should come across in the atmosphere of the new songs immediately (or so we hope) upon hearing them. We’re not trying to recapture that same magic from the Emarosa record, we really just want to take the dark, moody atmosphere that record had and try some new things with it. Add some heavier elements and screams here and there, some more modern production, a bit more layering in the vocals, and some different influences from other types of music. It’ll be super interesting to see how everyone reacts to it.
New Fury: The groundwork was laid with Metropolis this year, and you’ve been hard at work on new stuff ever since. How hard is it to be patient in releasing your new stuff?
Tom: Yeah, we basically start writing new music before whatever album we’re releasing has even finished production. We already have about 5-6 decent demos for a fourth album, and we’re once again surprising ourselves with the direction it’s taking. It is extremely difficult to just bite our tongues and hold back all this music, but there’s a process to it all that has to be followed so we have a successful launch. There’s honestly more that goes on behind the scenes after the album is finished being written, than the time it takes to write the album itself. If we had the money to fund more than one producer at a time, we could probably pump out two albums a year. But I’m sure that the marketing side of things would have a meltdown with that and it would turn into absolute chaos. We’re not Drake, so we can’t just drop double albums out of nowhere unfortunately, even though we’d love to. Because of the different styles and influences we bring into our music, burnout has never really occurred either. I honestly thought it would have by now, but by changing things up from album to album (even slightly) it really helps to keep burnout and writers block away.
New Fury: We saw previous Time the Valuator vocalist Phil Bayer AND The Color Morale vocalist Garret Rapp in the studio for songs from you, how exciting is it to work with talents like them?
Tom: Both Phil and Garret have been a pleasure to work with and we couldn’t be more excited to have them on our tracks. Phil’s become a great friend of mine over the past few months that I’ve known him. He was actually introduced to me by Chelsea (the owner of Famined Records) and at the time both Igor [Valiant Hearts] and I were very much enjoying Time, the Valuator’s 2018 album, so it was pretty fortunate to get that introduction. Phil and I just got to talking about things and that just eventually led us to asking him if he would like a spot on a track, which he more than happily agreed to. I worked closely with Phil to select his parts for the track and it’s actually turned out to be more of a duet than simply just a feature. Phil’s track is definitely one of my favourites of the new music we’ve done so far.
Garret’s track is absolutely also up there as one of my favourites so far, top 3 along with Phil’s track for sure. We got in contact with Garret through the FeaturedX platform, which I’m lucky to also now be a part of as well. This isn’t intentionally a plug for it, but it’s been incredibly helpful with sorting out featured artists to work with in the industry. All of that used to be left up to getting in contact with them personally and a lot of the time people can be flaky with this stuff, so FeaturedX has honestly made it a breeze to get bigger name vocalists like Garret on board for smaller bands like ours. I’m also a huge fan of Garret and The Color Morale, ever since their 2011 release ‘My Devil In Your Eyes’, so working with Garret on a track is definitely another career goal of mine as a musician. He’s an extremely talented vocalist, as anyone that’s heard his music before will know. Garret’s part on the track is very melancholic and intimate, so the texture and timbre of his voice worked exactly as we imagined for the part. His improvisations and embellishments that he added to the part also shine over what I had there originally.
New Fury: Who’s at the top of your list to tour with when things are safer?
Tom: We don’t tour due to having band members on two different sides of the world, so it’d be a miracle if we toured with anyone at all haha.
If we do ever get to do music as a full time job and have the money to tour and pay for flights both from Russia and Australia, we definitely have some bands and artists we’d love to tour with. There’s too many to name honestly, a lot of them being bands one hundred times the popularity of ours, but you gotta make goals like that, because who knows what could happen in the future. All we can ask is that if people enjoy our music, that they keep listening. We hope everyone’s staying safe out there amidst all this COVID insanity and we can’t wait to bring you more new music.