IRONSTONE: "We are particularly proud of this EP as it feels more mature, personal and unique than anything we've done previously"

The Australian band IRONSTONE already woke my interest in 2020 with their debut EP "Prophecy", and having had an eye on their channels since then, them releasing new music didn't go unnoticed here. The follow-up is named "The Place I Cannot Find", and came out on October 29th, 2022, which offered a great opportunity for a stop down under on our musical journey. 


Welcome to read what their guitarist Edward told me about their background, inspirations and the new work:  

Hey, thanks for making time to answer my questions. Could you please introduce yourself and IRONSTONE to our readers?

Hey mate, no worries - Looking forward to the questions :-) My name is Edward, I’m the guitarist for IRONSTONE. We're a progressive metal band from Bendigo, Australia (close to the city of Melbourne). We've been together with our current line-up since 2019.

You’ve just released your second EP, "The Place I Cannot Find". How do you feel about it now?

As a band we’re very excited. A large amount of time gets invested into larger bodies of work like this, and it's so satisfying when it’s finally released. It’s about taking that build up of creativity and putting it out there, then waiting for the reaction. We are particularly proud of this EP as it feels more mature, personal and unique than anything we've done previously.

Let’s take a look at the mystical cover artwork. What can you tell us about its origins, and how does it reflect the record thematically?

That's a really good question! The cover was generated using AI software and then edited and optimised by us. Essentially you enter word prompts into the AI and it generates a series of images. After trying MANY different prompts and generating a multitude of images, the cover was created, and we all instantly knew it was the one.

The art has a very mysterious, eerie energy and ties in well with the theme and title. It represents the abstractness of this place of peace that everyone seems to be searching for and the void surrounding this fleeting concept. It’s beautiful and unsettling at the same time, perhaps a bit like our music!

Indeed :-) Could you dive a bit into the EP’s topics with us, please?

Essentially the EP is about the constant search for peace, fulfilment and stability in your life. A place where you’re accepted and fit in. The songs all tackle different aspects of the journey and describe different internal and external battles that take place. From abstract personal issues to relationships, it covers a wide array of relatable distractions that blur your vision as you search. 

Though the songs often take the listener on a journey from beginning to end, the endings are not always sweet and do not always offer resolution. As such the songs frequently weave between calmness and despair with no end in sight, much as people perceive their own lives. Manageable one moment, unbearable the next. Whether or not this place of inner peace exists is irrelevant because the constant pursuit of this ideal is what drives us to continue marching forward.

Since your amazing debut ‘Prophecy’ in 2020, you further developed as musicians and composers, with ‘The Place I Cannot Find’ turning out heavier and even more varied. Could you briefly describe your writing and recording process please, and did it change over the years?

Our recording process has remained basically the same since the beginning. We track everything ourselves at home, and love the luxury of being able to take the time to be as fussy as we want! 

In terms of song writing, I write all of the music and a lot of the lyrics. That is one big difference actually. For this EP our lead vocalist, Dan, has really stepped up and increased his input into the melody and lyrics. It’s definitely added a new dynamic to our writing and freshened up the sound vocally. 

On top of that I've started to write songs more how I prefer them to be, with less regard for conventions or structure. I decided that if I liked a part, I would use it no matter how complex or odd it may be. Because of this I'd say the sound of the music has matured and become more unique than on our previous tracks. We've started to really develop some signature habits that pop up in a lot of our songs, and we really believe it’s the dawn of a uniquely recognisable sound for IRONSTONE.

Where do you draw your inspiration from, music-wise and lyrically?

Musically we're very inspired by other progressive metal and djent bands like Periphery, Tesseract, Meshuggah and Twelve Foot Ninja. We try to capture select parts of the sounds we admire and blend them with our own personal preferences and ideas to make something reminiscent, but unique. 

Lyrically we try to cover philosophical and meaningful topics that are relatable. In our recent songs we’ve been touching on slightly more personal topics, being a bit more raw and vulnerable.

Let’s make a little time trip, as behind every band, there’s an individual story. When and how did you guys get together?

The band has had a few different line-ups, which is to be expected when you start as young as we did, as a teen cover band. I won’t list all the comings and goings, but the band slowly evolved into playing originals. The current line up came to be in June of 2019 when singer Dan Charlton offered me a ride while I was walking home from school in the rain. Just a chance meeting. We got chatting in the car and he told me he was a singer. At that point I had been singing for the band and desperately wanted someone to take over that role so I could focus entirely on guitar. As soon as I got home I stalked him on Facebook and sent him a message. A week later he joined IRONSTONE! We still talk about what an absolute fluke that was!

How did you come up with your band name, and is there a deeper meaning behind "Ironstone" for you?

I was talking with a muso friend about bands, and he mentioned Parkway Drive and how cool it was that their name referenced the street where they lived. We had been trying to think of a new band name, so it caused a bit of a light bulb moment.

‘Ironstone Road’ was the name of a street where our very first singer lived. We thought  IRONSTONE (without the ‘road’) was a strong, simple name, and we all really liked it! It does also have some Australian significance: Ironstone is a very signature Australian rock, containing much of the gold found here and also the basis of central Australia’s famous red dirt. We love that our name references where we live, and that the only Ironstone Road in Australia is located in our home town of Bendigo.

That's awesome! Let’s talk about Ironstone live: What was your most memorable show so far?

I would have to say our very recent EP launch show. It was such a great night and really rewarding to finally play all the new tracks live! Seeing so many people there to support us and the other bands was a real thrill.

How would you describe your local rock / metal scene, and is there anything special about it? Did you notice changes over the past years?

We consider Melbourne to be our local scene. It has certainly taken a hit after the pandemic however it still remains resilient and diverse as ever. I would describe the scene as energetic and ambitious. There seems to be an infinite sea of truly amazing and inspirational bands that surround us, and it drives us to be the very best that we can. We are very grateful for our scene.

What can you tell us about your future plans?

For the moment we intend to continue releasing singles and EPs to help grow our following and increase awareness. Of course we’ll also continue to play live shows, servicing our local scene. In the future we’d love to dip our toes in the touring side of things and gain more fans outside of Australia. We plan to be very busy!


Do you have any further thoughts you’d like to share here?

I would like to thank everybody who supports us in any way. We appreciate it deeply and will continue to deliver high quality heavy music! We are just getting warmed up. Thanks so much for the interview too!

You're most welcome :-) Thanks again for your time and these insights into your work \m/