RUN Interview

Scott Kaufman

True Heaviness Is Time is the second EP from Melbourne, Australia blackened post-metalcore band RUN. The EP, which was surprise released this week, features guest vocals from Joel Birch (The Amity Affliction), John Floreani (Trophy Eyes), and Sophie Jest (R.U.B). Self-produced and engineered by guitarist Lewis Noke-Edwards, the release is boosted by a mix from Forrester Savell (Karnivool, Animals As Leaders). A limited vinyl run, also featuring the 2020 debut EP For You Will Never Find Peace Within Your Quiet as the B-side, will be available for pre-order on June 7 through Stiff Cut Records.

Although now fleshed out with a full lineup, Run is the vision of vocalist Lochlan Watt, who has previously filled in for bands such as Thy Art Is Murder and Psycroptic. Having previously hit the road with Deafheaven, Hexis, and Earth Caller, so far in 2024, Run has already toured Australia alongside Svalbard and The Amity Affliction. Watt, also host of the national metal radio show The Racket, chatted about the band’s new release, how his cancer battle has fueled the group’s music, what keeps him enthused about working in the industry, and more.

Brendan Crabb: You’ve filled in for other bands in the past, and been involved in numerous other musical projects. But while RUN is centered around your vision, has it taken some time to fully realize that?
Lochlan Watt: There were actually a few proto attempts at doing RUN, that were originally probably less black metal, I’d say. But the post-metal, metalcore thing was always where I really wanted to be. And then when I finally started working on RUN, I had the idea to bring in the blackened sort of sound into it as well. But I think on this new EP, that vision is definitely significantly more realized than it was on the previous single or previous EP.

From the guests to the production and artwork, this release feels like a next level move for the band. Is that something you’re proud of?
Yeah, I’m really happy with it. And I do think that we have taken it to the next level and being able to do it as like a full band, that’s collaborating and invested in it as a unit, as opposed to a studio collaboration, like the first EP was with me paying a producer and a session drummer to bring it to life. This time around, we’ve had like, five guys that care about what we’re creating. And we’ve all put a lot of effort in and done several rounds of pre-production, really worked on the songs together and brought it to life. I’m really proud of it, and really happy with how its sounds, looks and feels.

You’ve been friends with Joel Birch for a long time, but with label deals and the like, is it still a straightforward process to call or message him and say, “hey, do you want to be on a song?” Or is it far more complicated?
He doesn’t really do many guest vocals. And I wouldn’t really be interested in doing it if it was something where a label was like, “you’ve got to pay for this” or do a licensing thing or something. But it was purely just (being) mates. I just messaged him, because he was a fan of the first EP, and he hadn’t even heard the song yet. I sent him the demo. And he was like, “I haven’t listened to this. But yes, let’s do it.” And so when they were on tour last year with Silverstein, I just picked him up the day of a show, and took him to a mate’s studio to get it done.

But it’s funny, I asked him at the time, “do you have any other guest vocals coming up?” And he was like, “no, I only did this because you’re my mate.” He’s like, “I get asked all the time. I used to get asked all the time to do stuff and I’ve just got no interest in doing it. So the last time someone asked me to do a guest vocal I said, “yes, $10,000.” And then I never heard from them again.

You undertook a lengthy Australian tour with The Amity Affliction earlier this year. What do you learn from an extended tour with a band at that level?
I’m not sure. I’m sure I picked up a lot of things by osmosis, but it wasn’t the first time I’ve done a tour that extensive. It was definitely the most extensive one I’ve done in Australia. I think maybe something I might have learned from them about the longevity of things -obviously, things have changed with Ahren (Stringer) now – but they were all sober on that tour. And they’re very responsible. Like, before the shows, they’ll go do things like Muay Thai or play golf, as opposed to just nursing a hangover.

I’m now picturing them playing golf, and that’s intriguing to me.
Joel’s obsessed with golf these days. I think it’s just very crucial to longevity. Not burning yourself out, just trying to remain healthy on tour. I guess if there’s anything I learned, in particular, from the Amity tour, it’d be that one. But I guess you just learn from getting up on-stage every night and playing to such big crowds, how to command a show, and how to perform effectively. And we really locked in by the end of that tour with kind of recognizing the moments where you’d ask the crowd to make some noise or get a circle pit going. You kind of fall into the rhythm of what works and what doesn’t on-stage.

You referenced your health battles on-stage a few nights ago when supporting Svalbard. Do you feel your own struggles, and everything associated with that such as facing your own mortality, will always fuel RUN’s music to some extent? Or will you distance it from that subject matter at some point?
“Everyone’s Cancelled, Everything’s Cancer” is a single that we put out in 2023. There were a couple of songs on the first EP that was sort of related to my tumor diagnosis. But I hadn’t even really been through the bulk of it at that point. I never wanted RUN to be like a negative, angry sort of project. I wanted it to be like more bittersweet, philosophical, sad, but hopeful. Not like, “I’m pissed off at the world and fuck this guy or fuck that thing.” But after cancer and COVID, that double whammy, I really had a lot of negativity that I needed to expel. And so I just thought I’d channel that all into one song, “Everyone’s Cancelled, Everything’s Cancer,” and hopefully just be able to move on from it from there. And not have to have my creative output defined by cancer moving forward.

And I suppose with the title of the EP, True Heaviness Is Time, what I kind of realized after coming through the other side of all of that was that perhaps the heaviest thing in life is not so much having to deal with sickness, pandemics and things, but just the passage of time. It’s the one thing that unites everybody. It’s an inescapable heaviness that everyone has to deal with. I suppose mortality is a big theme of RUN, whether that’s just through eventual natural causes or being faced with your own mortality, or even people choosing to end their own lives. That’s been a big lyrical influence to me. And what I’ve really tried to embrace with RUN is just how being alive is actually great, even if it is full of shitty things.

Is part of that evolving vision the realization that the band’s cover of the Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris” had run its course, and doesn’t fit with the current direction?
Yeah, I think the cover was fun, and it was something that I always wanted to do. And I guess it’s had a mixed reception; I think mostly positive, but not everybody’s enjoyed it. And I would much rather just focus on original music, and writing our own songs moving ahead.

You’ve been in a series of bands, worked as a promoter and in various touring-related capacities, and hosted a metal radio show for some time. What motivates you to keep doing all of these ventures?
Someone once told me that you either get out of this shit, or grow out of this shit by the time you’re 30, or you’re in it for life. And at this point, I’m in it for life. And some days I don’t feel like going to work just like anybody else. But I’m still very thankful that I get to be involved in what I love to pay the bills.

But ultimately, that’s what keeps me doing a lot of that side of it, is that just like anybody else I have to pay my bills, I have to eat. But the one thing I have that I suppose isn’t tainted by that at all, because it doesn’t pay bills – it’s the opposite, (because) it creates bills – is RUN. And it’s just like this, I don’t know if it’s a narcissistic thing, or just like this urge, this compulsion I have to just want to create music and put my thoughts into songs. I just get a real kick out of being involved in collaborating on projects like this, and particularly the artwork and stuff, and just the music videos. It’s just… Run is just my fun hobby. And I’m fortunate enough to have a couple of jobs in the same kind of field that pay me enough to be able to afford to fund doing this band.

You’re now a decade into your radio career – is it as exciting now as it has always been?
I’m 11 years, 12 years into it now. And now if I’m being truthful, it’s not as exciting every week. It’s just another day at work. But every now and then I still have a show or get to do an interview or something that just kind of sparks me back up and makes me go, “fuck yeah, I have the best job in the world.”

Any famous last words?
By the time this is out, I suppose True Heaviness Is Time will be out. Please check it out.

(interview published June 4, 2024)

Watch RUN – “Summer” Video

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