Nestled at the intersection of hardcore punk and metal, Tired Minds have spent their years meticulously fusing the incendiary riffs and throat-ripping vocals of both genres, creating a unique alloy that’s as brutal as it is beautiful. The Australian quintet’s latest EP, The Body Is A Burden, expands this sonic tapestry, bearing the hallmarks of stalwarts like Converge, Touché Amoré, and Cult Leader while retaining a distinct, gritty edge.
More than just another post-hardcore act churning out retreads, Tired Minds set themselves apart through unexpected layers—flashes of European darker hardcore, death metal, and even harsh noise. They bring this polyphonic stew into a succinct, crushing, and exquisitely textured whole. Political angst and societal unrest lace through the compositions, evergreen themes fueled by the decaying echoes of neoliberalism. This visceral discontent, a burning core of fury and defiance, shines through the band’s artistic choices.
Despite the geographical challenges and the complexities of recording during a period of loss and grief, Tired Minds stays connected through the thread of friendship and a shared desire to keep evolving. They revel in the stripped-down immediacy of their live performances, a back-to-basics approach that makes their music all the more potent.
In a candid conversation with bandmates Paul Graham and Ben Bullivant, the band delved into their creative process, multi-layered influences, and the catalytic impact of their live shows. As they gear up for a European tour in 2024 and tease future projects that promise to push their technicality to new heights, one thing is abundantly clear: Tired Minds have no intention of slowing down, and we’re all better off for it.
Your sound is described as a love letter to melodic heavy acts like Converge, Touché Amore, and Cult Leader. How do you maintain that connection to your influences while evolving and finding your own unique voice in the post-hardcore scene?
“I think for all of us in the band, we have such a wide taste in music that we are often pulling bits and pieces from bands that sit well outside the genre. While our sound bears similarities to the bands you mentioned, I’m not sure it was entirely intentional. When we started we were listening to a lot of melodic hardcore and death metal, so I think when those combined we landed in our current sound. Since then, we have really worked on refining the sound we have.”
“Bed Lore” dives into themes about the lifecycle of power and control. Can you speak to the political or societal messages that underpin your music? How do these themes connect with your own personal or collective philosophies?
“I think it’s hard for anyone who isn’t incredibly wealthy to look around and not feel frustrated at our systems. Decades of neoliberalism have really eroded the quality of life for people of our generation, meanwhile we get told that we are lazy, selfish or just need to work harder. It’s hard not to feel defeated and angry at times, and I think, while not intentional, that is a theme that pops up in our music regularly.”
Guitarist Paul Graham mentions bringing a “heavier, more crushing vibe” to your work and simplifying riffs. Can you elaborate on this transformation in your creative process? How has your approach to songwriting changed over the years?
“Our process is admittedly glacial paced; with Ben living in Melbourne and the rest of us in Newcastle, it can be hard to get everyone on the same page. Generally, the band will write the music and send it to Ben, where it almost goes through an approval process with Ben guiding the direction. I think as Ben wanted to move away from melodic yelling, the band followed suit to create less of those quieter moments, so when it came time to record, we leaned into the heavier aspects of our work.”
You’ve cited drawing from European darker hardcore. What specific aspects of this European scene inspire you? How has it shaped the texture and ethos of your music, as heard in tracks like “Bed Lore”?
“One aspect of this European hardcore that we really love is that the heaviness of the music needs to come from the writing. There’s less reliance on making things sound heavier in production; it forces us to be dynamic in the way we write and make use of space and the tones we can pull out of our instruments.”
Touring has been a major part of your journey, with plans for Europe in 2024. How has the live performance experience informed your music and your connection with fans? What have you learned from sharing stages with acts like Modern Life is War and Cult Leader?
“I think the key aspect of this band is that we are just a group of friends making music together. It’s amazing to think of our time together as a band and coming from playing in a shed to playing overseas and, like you said, sharing the stage with some of our favourite bands. I’m not sure if touring has so much changed the music we write as we focus on writing the music first and very little changes in the songs themselves when we pull them to a live scenario.”
With friends and family passing away during the recording of “The Body Is A Burden,” how have grief and loss influenced the emotional intensity of your music? Can you describe how you channelled these emotions into your compositions?
“To be honest, it probably didn’t impact anything from a composition perspective, as the emotional aspect underpins a lot of what we do by default. It did however impact our ability to be active/write/release whilst we took time to work through everything.”
As the world shifts back to opening up, how are you feeling about returning to the stage, especially with a rescheduled Europe tour? How will you translate your new record into a live setting?
“Thinking back to what I said earlier, much of our music relies on the composition over production; as such, we just really need a drumkit and some distorted amps to do what we do. We are just starting to get back into the swing of things, but there really doesn’t seem to be a huge difference for us moving between recording to live.”
Several years have passed since LOOM in 2017. How would you describe the evolution of Tired Minds from then to now? What artistic leaps have you made, and what has remained constant in your identity as a band?
“The constants have definitely just been our friendships, in terms of artistic leaps; personally I have been listening to a lot more harsh noise and incorporating some of those elements into the way I compose. Really, I feel like over the last decade of being in a band, very little has changed for us.”
How do you view your place in the Australian hardcore scene? What do you feel sets Tired Minds apart, and what contributions do you hope to make to the musical landscape in your home country?
“That’s a hard one; we’ve always straddled this line of playing with hardcore bands and metal bands while never being either. We certainly try and push ourselves and hope people can appreciate the fact we do draw from such diverse influences.”
The Body Is A Burden cements your place in the heavy music world. What direction do you see Tired Minds going next? Are there new influences, themes, or sounds you’re eager to explore in future projects?
“I think this project, we simplified a lot of the riffs and tried to push our tones. I personally would like to see us really push our technicality on the next few releases, playing further with time signatures and unusual noises while maintaining the tones of this release. We’ve already got some new stuff in the works that I think aligns with that!”
You can (and should) purchase The Body Is A Burden here after its release on September 8, 2023.