Australia’s Airbourne is a week away from the release of their latest record, Breakin’ Outta Hell. Drummer Ryan O’Keeffe took some time out to talk about recording the album at home in Australia, being in a band with his brother, what the fans mean to Airbourne, and what he wants them to do the weekend the album comes out.
Shockwave Magazine: Your new album, Breakin’ Outta Hell, is coming out next week so tell us about it.
Ryan O’Keeffe: Well, it’s the first record we’ve done in Australia, back home in Australia. We flew out Bob Marlette who’s the producer we worked with ten years ago on our first album, Runnin’ Wild, and we also flew out Mike Fraser who has only mixed the band on the second record (No Guts, No Glory) but it was great to have him engineer as well. So, we did it at home and we’re all extremely proud and happy with the result. I just can’t wait for it to drop.
So, you had started talking about working on this album back in 2014. Was the writing and everything pretty smooth?
Yeah, I think so. We’re always working on writing and things, and the late part of last year we finally came home from Europe and buckled down on getting songs together. Then Bob came out to Australia at the early part of this year and did some pre-production, and we were able to make songs like “Rivalry” and things like that. I think the “Breakin’ Outta Hell” song was actually done in the later part of recording in the studio.
Since your first three albums were recorded in America, what changed that made you want to do this one back home in Australia?
I guess we thought that we’d be coming back to the States to do another record, and Spinefarm (Records) sort of said, “How would you guys feel about doing it at home? What’s wrong with doing it in Australia?” and we were like, “Well, I guess, nothing.” We never really thought about it. The studio we did it at was an amazing studio that had ballrooms in it, and it seemed to work out really well and really comfortable this time around.
What are you most looking forward to with the upcoming tour?
I think, just coming back to the States. It’s been a while since we toured North America so we’re really anticipating the shows. It’s one of those things, we’re hungry to get back out on the road and I think September 12th is our first show.
What do you think differs about being in a band with your brother than being in one with friends or other people?
With Joel, when it comes to the band we’re both pretty serious about the band and what’s best for the band. We never let our own personal stuff or anything like that get in the way.
What would you say about Airbourne, that’s different from other bands out there?
The thing about us is we are very passionate. We’re extremely devoted to the band in a way that the band is our whole lives. We’re always on tour, there’s no family, our house basically is the tour bus and we’re happy with that. That’s, kind of, the way we want it to be, and always be that way. It’s one of those things, to do this for the rest of your life and for it to be your job, it’s one of those things you have to accept, and I definitely do.
Talk about your fans because your fans love you to death. I’m one of them; one of my best friends, Rachl, has the Black Dog Barking album cover tattooed right on her forearm. What do the fans bring to you for motivation?
Well, they’re just as passionate as we are, and that’s why we love coming back on the road, and we love doing shows because we see that when we do a show it’s almost like a release for some people. They really get behind it and they really enjoy it.
When I was preparing for this interview I came across a picture of Slash wearing an Airbourne shirt while performing on stage. When it comes to your peers and the musicians that do the same type of music, when you see that how does that make you feel?
When we saw that it was amazing, ya know. We’ve crossed paths with Slash a few times and he’s a great guy and it’s always great to have a chat with him. I’m actually really happy to see him out there with Guns N’ Roses, I know it’s been talked about for years and everyone always talks about it but it’s finally come to happen and I think it’s awesome. He’s such a great bloke as well.
And, bringing it back around to the new record, what are you most looking forward to with the record? What would you like it to accomplish?
It’s hard, these days, to project what you want a record to do because you can’t go by album sales. You just want it to be spread out to everybody. I would just be happy to see it received well. When we work on these things, we put so much into them because we’re so passionate about them and so happy with the result. It’ll be what it’ll be. I’m just glad that is a part of a body of work that I’ve been a part of, a legacy to leave the planet with, so to speak.
Ryan, I’d like to turn this over to you. I’d like you to say something directly to your fans to get them excited for the record. What do you have to say to them?
On September 23rd, when the album comes out, make sure your fridge is stocked, the bar is stocked and none of your friends have pre-engagements. Make sure you’re all ready to go for a big weekend because once you put the record on, the only thing you’re going to want to do is party.
Awesome. Ryan, thank you so much for setting aside a little bit of time to talk to me, to talk to your fans and to get us all excited for what’s to come.
Thanks for having me, mate. It’s been my pleasure.
Airbourne has just started their North American tour which runs until mid October. Breakin’ Outta Hell comes out this Friday the 23rd.