2016 is proving to be an extremely busy year for Australian hard rock band, Airbourne. Not only is their fourth studio album due on September 23 but the band is also embarking on a fall tour with dates scheduled in Canada, U.S., and Europe. Decibel Geek staff writer Laura Suchan had an opportunity to ask Airbourne drummer Ryan O’Keeffe a few questions recently in an exclusive interview.
Q. I first became aware of Airbourne when you supported Motley Crue on their 2009 Canadian Dead of Winter tour. That was very early in your career as Airbourne hadn’t even released the second album (No Guts, No Glory) at the time. What was it like touring with Motley Crue?
A. That was great. We did an Australian show with them before that in the very, very early days and I think we actually played with them in Japan but when we toured in these parts that was a really, really great tour. A great bunch of guys. I wish they were still out on the road.
Q. This is a really busy time for the band. There’s a tour starting very soon and a new album, Breakin’ Outta Hell coming out in a couple of weeks. The general consensus on the first single, which is the title track, is the fans love it. It’s being called fast and gritty. What do you have to say about the track?
A. It seems it has been received really well. When we play it live my brother (vocalist Joey O’Keeffe) will announce the song by saying, “This is Breakin’ Outta” and then everyone in the crowd will scream “Hell”. It seems to be going really well and I just can’t wait to drop the rest of the record.
Q. Breakin’ Outta Hell is your 4th studio album and the first on your new label Spinefarm Records. Why did you make the switch to Spinefarm from Roadrunner?
A. Well, Roadrunner had downsized a bit, had changed a little bit from when we were first with them and a lot of people we worked with there are gone. Funnily enough Jonas (Nachsin) who use to run Roadrunner NY, now runs Spinefarm US so we have actually been working with a lot of people that worked with Roadrunner and now work independently or else with Spinefarm. It just felt like the right way to go. They (Spinefarm) are broadening their horizons and expanding more into rock and roll. They are known as a metal label and I think you will see Spinefarm grow quite a lot bigger than they have been.
A. I guess we have only been playing “Breakin Outta Hell”. “Rivalry” came out just as we landed here in L.A. so it is going to be interesting. I mean we are going to have a few goosebumps that’s for sure. The last song, “It’s All for Rock N Roll”, being written about Lemmy, will definitely have to be in the set and “Rivalry” as well so who knows.
Q. How did you come up with the title of the record, Breakin’ Outta Hell?
A. We were in the studio and it was near the end of recording and we were trying to figure out what we were going to call the record, Blood or Rivalry, but we felt they weren’t strong enough. I had some old papers that I had hung onto for years from when the whole band used to live in a house together and we had a bunch of song titles written on it. “Rivalry” was one of them and I said to Joe, “That’s what the album is going to be called, Breakin’ Outta Hell,” and he totally agreed. He said, “Absolutely” and we went into the studio the next day and played the song with that in mind.
Breakin’ Outta Hell will be released September 23, 2016.