Out of the shadows of darkness in the world, arises a bit of hope and light as Alien Weaponry has released their second album, Tangaroa! Entering our hearts and our minds starting today, September 17th, 2021. This album is full of chugging guitar riffs and insightful lyrics with a progressive twist, which appears to be the new evolution. Just when you think the 2018 debut album, Tu, can’t be outdone, Tangaroa invades and removes any of the potential fear of not living up to expectations from that incredible first release.
Imagine if you will, alien teenagers who sweep the world with not only some colossal instrumentation, but a message of importance and urgency. Alien Weaponry began in 2010 by brothers; Henry de Jong (drums and backing vocals), and Lewis de Jong (guitar and vocals). Replacing long-time bassist Ethan Trembath in 2020, is newest member, Turanga Morgan-Edmonds. They have paved a way to help others embrace the beautiful culture of the Maori ancestry with many songs written in the Maori language. Tangaroa not only continues this theme, but excels the progressive direction they are heading toward.
Henry and Lewis were humble and considerate enough to sit down with Metal Nation and discuss the new release. This interview was done on September 16th, before release day in the States.
Tangaroa is out in New Zealand today! Unfortunately, not in the States until tomorrow.
Henry- “Yeah it has been out for 11 hours here already. We are stoked to hear the little bits of feedback from our fanbase, which is super exciting for us. It has been a long time waiting.”
Congratulations! I have been lucky enough to have the album for a month now and have listened to it multiple times. I am sure some of your fans waited until midnight, ready to digest it right away.
Henry- “I woke up to probably five or six messages just from people I am friends with on Facebook, seeming to be overwhelmingly positive, which is awesome.”
I am sure it has been nerve-wracking to get it out, with the way the world is. I know many bands last year had to keep postponing their releases in order to wait until they could tour on them.
Henry- “Actually, the original plan was to release it a little earlier, but for us it was trying to plan around when we thought we might be able to tour and we thankfully got it right.”
Yes, thank goodness for that. Every time I have listened to the album, I have a new favorite. I was fortunate to see you play live with Black Label Society. I was there to do a concert review and the owner of Metal Nation told me to look out for Alien Weaponry, because they were the must-see of the night. He was exactly right. The show was full of so much emotion and energy and intensity. I felt it was very heart-felt. I was thoroughly impressed.
Henry- “Thank you very much.”
Lewis- “We have been practicing hard pretty much every single day, trying to get ourselves ready with all the new stuff, because obviously Gojira is an awesome band live….”
Henry- “They are a force to be reckoned with.”
Lewis- “So we have to be on the ball every single night. So we are going hard a bit right now.”
I agree they are a force to be reckoned with, but I think you guys are more than up for the challenge. You have a lot of the same ideals as Gojira, many of the same lyrical outlooks that I feel a lot of people need to hear, and I appreciate that about both bands. The fact that you guys are touring together is really cool. Plus, with this album, there is more of a chunky guitar progressive sound. Is this the direction you think you will be heading?
Henry- “That is definitely what we have been inspired with lately, for this album at least, but I do feel like it is something that will stick with us.”
It is a good sound for Alien Weaponry and you do it really well.
Henry- “At the end of the day we are doing what we love and what we want to be writing so if people are enjoying it, that’s good. I feel if we ended up releasing music that everyone universally hated, if we wrote it with the same mindset, it wouldn’t really offend us as much.”
Lewis- “It might upset the band but it’s a good thing that people seem to like it *laughs*.”
I think like is not quite the word. You guys have blown up since the first album. You have more than made your place in the metal world, and it is very well deserved.
Henry- “That is really good to hear.”
You have a mix of English and Maori lyrics. What I find fascinating, is the ones that are in Maori have so much emotion, you still feel the story behind them, even if you don’t understand it. Is this something you have strived to do intentionally or did it happen naturally?
Henry- “I think it is more of a natural thing. We have found that people who don’t speak Maori still seem to vibe with the songs, which is a really awesome thing and a lot of the time it inspires people to learn more about that song and actually go and read the translated lyrics as well, which for us is pretty inspiring to have people wanting to read Maori and find out more about the Maori history and what we are talking about in our songs.”
Obviously, your culture is very personal and near and dear to you. You get to share it with the world, which is not something many cultures get to have the opportunity to do, or even is necessarily accepted. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with you guys, it is very welcomed and accepted and, like you said, people are wanting to learn more. With the email I got, the lyrics were attached and the English translation was available. Did you guys do that with the physical copies as well?
Henry- “That is a good question, I can’t remember if we decided to do that or not. I am pretty sure yes. There is a line in Maori then a translation in English all throughout our Maori songs. I think that is what we did with our last album too. I don’t generally sit and sift through the book *laughs*.”
Oh hell! That was the best part of getting albums when I was younger, before the digital age. With the importance of your lyrical content, and you tackle many important topics, what do you feel people can do individually to make a difference in our world? It is easy to feel like, “I am only one person, I can’t make a difference.”
Henry- “If you think about it, anything we are talking about on the album, it is like a vast fanbase. Each fan is only one person but when together you become this massive force and almost a lifeline for the band, which is what the band thrives on, but if we can turn around and do that for the planet, and Maori rights, and mental health, that can be looked at in the same way. Whatever you do as an individual just imagine ten thousand other people doing that, and then it becomes something big.”
I agree. Even small random acts of kindness or picking up trash can make a big difference.
Henry- “Absolutely. I think, me and Lewis at least, are very hyperaware of what we do. We have grown up and learned about ourselves and I think it makes us able to tell what we are doing, but it also makes us kind of strange to people. I think our hyperawareness is one of the driving factors and our passion for the things we are writing about. I think people need to be very aware of what they are doing and understand themselves before they can start doing anything to really change, you know?”
I agree. I think it is a wonderful message and you have many years to continue expressing to the fans and hopefully everyone will understand the messages and incorporate it into their own lives and environment.
Henry- “Absolutely and while there is a thousand different ways you can take the lyrics of our songs, it is all up for interpretation. We try not to be shoving things down your throat so much, but to open things up for conversation.”
Opening up conversations is very important, especially now.
What do you guys like to do in your spare time?
Lewis- “I like to do a lot of art and skate, more specifically longboard. I have taken up surfing recently.”
Henry- “I spend a lot of time listening to music. I have been working between shows to make some money. I love to sleep as well *laughs*. One thing I have taken up more recently is mixing drum and bass sidetracks and stuff, like EDM stuff. It is pretty popular in New Zealand and the UK. I have naturally gone into that because it is just finding the beat in a song and being able to match things up.”
That sounds like it would be fun. October is coming up! Are you guys horror fans?
Henry- “I do like a bit of horror. I am more into sci fi horror like the Alien franchise and Event Horizon, things like that.”
Event Horizon is terrifying. I saw it the theatre cried myself out of there.
Henry- “Yeah it is a cult classic now. You look back on it and it still looks fantastic today.”
I need to hype myself up to watch it again. How about you Lewis? Do you enjoy scary movies?
Lewis- “Yeah, I’m a big fan. When I was younger there were some movies that scared me but I struggle to find ones that really, truly terrify me, but when I do find one it is always enjoyable and memorable. Like Henry said, big fan of the Alien movies. I wouldn’t really call this one horror, but Ex Machina had some horror elements to it.”
Henry- “More of a psychological..”
Lewis- “Psychological horror yeah.”
Henry- “It has a sci fi thriller vibe to it. With movies I generally go more toward psychological stuff. When movies rely on jump scares, you can only watch so many movies with a bunch of jump scares, and it is like, ‘Ok’.”
Do something new. I am the same, I enjoy the psychological thriller/horror movies more. Oculus and 1408 or two of my favorites.
Henry- “I am going to write those down. Wicked.”
*We, of course, discussed The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings quickly. Also, how beautiful New Zealand is.*
What do you feel the rest of the world can learn from New Zealanders?
Lewis- “How to chill! *laughs*”
Henry- “New Zealanders have almost a humility about them. They are very conscious of the way they treat other people and conscious of the fact that everything you are going to do is going to affect people in some way. Which is why people are happy here. We were taught to always be considerate. It is something we see when we go overseas, but not as much. Other places sometimes feel like the mentality is, ‘It’s all about me,” more than considering how what your doing could be affecting other people. There is also a huge part of New Zealand that has kind of adopted the Maori ideals as well and I think that is where the humility comes from as well as the respect for the environment and the land that we live on. I think there is a lot to be learned from our culture over here, and we are still definitely trying to improve and get it more Maori. *laughs*”
I like that. I know the States can learn a lot and I hope some of that has a trickle-down effect. It is very needed right now.
Henry- “I will tell you what, some of the most kind and considerate people we know, people we have worked with or met in the States, you definitely do have some amazing people over there.”
That is good to hear. I know that, but sometimes I forget when things are crazy. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me, I know you guys have been hounded with interviews lately.
Henry- “I got to say, the interview kept me awake *laughs*. Thank you for that. Thanks for the awesome questions.”
*laughs* I am glad for that. I can’t imagine having to answer the same questions over and over a million times. It would drive me mad.
Henry- “We definitely have had some interviews where we are trying to stay awake, Lewis did actually fall asleep in one.”
Lewis- “I fell asleep, then I woke up and tried to play it off like it didn’t happen, but the interviewer knew what happened *laughs*.”
If you have not already ventured into Alien Weaponry, I highly suggest you do now. Between the cultural aspects, the insight, the earth-saving messages, and the shattering musical output, you will be quick to fall into metal heaven, as you go down the rabbit hole of the monumental music and insanely beautiful videos. Tangaroa brings on a new level, with progressive riffs and staggering drum beats. Make sure you take the time to listen, share, and buy merch from this incredibly talented three-piece.