Religious Observance interview with the legend that is: Wayne.


Religious Observance interview with the legend that is: Wayne.

DHZ: First before I cross-examine you, can you give me the history of the glorious Melbourne institution known as RO and introduce yourself and any absentee band members not present:

WAYNE: Religious Observance started in 2015 when Ben from sludge band She Beast suggested having a jam with noise band Colostomy Baguette? - we were super happy with the results and this Religious Observance was born.

In 2017 our original bass player Sarena (Acid Witch) decided to leave the band, and we brought in Campbell (The Void) on bass and vocals as well as Ringo (Filth Bucket) as second guitarist. Then in 2019, our original drummer decided to leave the band, and we brought in Andrea (Lucy Für). 

Fast forward to 2021 and our noisemsith John (X) decided to leave the band.

After a few jams and unsuccessful attempts at getting another noise person, Campbell (who had previously made noise in other bands) switched to noise. We brought in Claudia (Tinkerbell) on bass, and this is our current lineup today.

oh and I've been doing vocals the whole time (though we had a couple of temp vocalists for a couple of shows when I was working overseas)

 7 Years of Neglect the new album has just dropped-it’s incredible in every way, how happy are you with this release, this is far ahead in terms of songwriting, confidence and frankly sheer aggression than your previous releases, what’s the background to this much-anticipated album? What are the sonic differences to this release? What it a recording approach, new influences, the band lineup changes or something else that spawned such a psychotic audio experience?
Also, I’m curious how a longer creative process (or time delay for that matter) impacts the sound of each new record.

Wayne:Thanks, we’re very proud of it. I honestly don’t think it took us all that long to write it, but the lineup changes meant we were writing as an incomplete band for a little while. Once the current lineup was established, we finished writing and just kept practicing as well as playing live a bit, get them nice and tight. We recorded in December 2022 at Goatsound, and it was still a few months before mixing and mastering was complete. We consciously decided to not release until we had physical versions of the album and we were all very keen on vinyl. We’ve been working with Primitive Moth recordings, who are a new label in NSW. There’s been lots of delays along the way, some due to mistakes or errors and probably preventable, and some completely outside anyone’s control. I think it's definitely been a learning experience for all involved, but so glad we’re at the home stretch. Recording approach wasn’t vastly different from any other recording (at least as my memory serves) but I guess the main differences are our new lineup, particularly Campbell’s noise approach is a bit different from John’s. There’s always a huge mix of influences between us all. We’ve never been a straight-forward doom band, but I think after playing Sunburn festival (which is amazingly run and a great time by the way) we just solidified our stance of not being “just another doom band” and really try put some more mid-paced sections and slightly shorter songs. Having said that, I’m completely not opposed to doing lengthy slow songs again in future

DHZ: Lyrically what is this album about and what is the album title in reference to? Is it influenced by cult books/films etc, because that’s definitely the sense I get from the artwork and previous lyrics?

WAYNE:To be honest, I tend to focus more on writing vocal patterns than lyrics. Some songs will have lyrics, but often it's more of a placeholder so I can keep a consistent pattern. Some lyrics will change from time to time, so what is recorded isn't necessarily what is said when we play live. Campbell and I often don't share what we're saying, even in songs where we're doing vocals in trade-off or at the same time. As for the album title, it was something Ben said while jamming one time, I can't even remember what he was referring to but I immediately thought we should use it as a song title or album or something. When we recorded it, it was basically on our seventh anniversary as a band, so it seemed fitting to use it as a name for the album we were recording.

DHZ: What do you think you can achieve creatively in live spaces that you can’t in your recordings and vice versa? How free-form are the gigs, RO seems to thrive on the energy of each band member, unlike any other band I have seen? Your live performances are energetic and fun. How have you cultivated your physical presence during performance?

What do you feel like you embody as a performer when you’re on stage? 

WAYNE: Thanks for the kind words. Performing live is one of my favourite things. We've usually got a set planned and very rarely stray from it to be honest, but live gives us the ability to play a bit more with feedback. I can really only speak for myself but I definitely rely on the other members for visual cues to indicate song movements, and generally try and bounce off their energy. I don’t really know what I embody as a performer, but I’m a regular punter at gigs and try and learn from other bands what makes a good live show. It’s obviously very subjective but for me a bit of movement and energy is easily as important (possibly more so) than playing super tight, at least in a live performance sense. I love going to see doom bands but often get a little bored when there’s not too much energy. I also love going to hardcore, punk, grind, etc. shows, and they are typically very full of energy. I kind of like to be somewhere in the middle I guess. You’ll often see me on floor rather than stage – sometimes this is due to lack of space, but I also tend to feel a little odd on stage, I feel more at home on the floor with the punters.

DHZ: What is the general RO approach to their music? What is the aim from the creator’s point of view? How would you define your voice as an artist? What do you consider to be the most valuable resource for the work you do? 
WAYNE: Again, I can only really speak for myself here. We’re pretty relaxed, to be honest. A song will typically start from a riff idea (Ben often writes riffs outside of the rehearsal room) and then it’s definitely a group effort, everyone will have their ideas. We’ll change, restructure, add and remove things until it feels right. As we’re writing I’ll try and come up with either a vocal pattern or lyrics for at least part of the song, and adjust to suit as the song progresses. Not really sure how to define my voice as an artist. Most valuable resource? I’m completely drawing a blank sorry haha.

DHZ: What would you say is the most vulnerable song on this album, and what does it mean to you?

WAYNE: I don’t really know how I’d identify a song as “vulnerable”. If anything, maybe the closing track, as it’s got a bit more of an ambient feel compared to everything else.

DHZ: RO has a dazzling array of musicians who have their fingers in many pies; be it other bands/projects/artistic endeavours; how does this balance out and what is the crossover? I’d also love any thoughts on how important the crossover or intersection is between art and music?

WAYNE: It can be a challenge in times of availability, but I feel like RO is the main project and focus, at least it definitely is for myself. For me, having other bands is a good thing, as I kind of want to be performing every week, which isn’t really sustainable for a single band. It’s also good because I can try doing experimenting different things in different bands, and potentially adopting these methods into other bands.

DHZ: How do you feel that economic structure or financial constraint impacts creativity?

How does your creativity help you connect to and navigate the world?

WAYNE: Yikes, getting deep here! I think economics do make it challenging - equipment, rehearsing, travelling for gigs, etc. are all quite expensive, and it probably does hold us back to a degree. On the flipside, I feel like it in turn makes us more productive – we’ll make the most of our time and push our instruments and equipment to their limits, which can bring out some sounds we may not have otherwise. We definitely connect with others around the world via Bandcamp and social media, though at this stage it’s basically only in a digital / remote sense. Hopefully, we can change that in future.

DHZ: RO as a collective and individually are huge supports of the Melbourne music scene/community-what makes us so unique and consistently one of the most productive extreme music scenes in the world? And who currently blows your mind musically?

WAYNE: Yeah we’re all pretty regular gig pigs, and half of us work in some of the venues we frequent. Speaking for myself of course, I think Melbourne has a very strong music community, and I reckon there’s a lot of venues, bands and punters who have the right attitudes. It is great and all, but sometimes feels more like multiple mini-communities. For example, we have like 4 or 5 different “punk” scenes in Melbourne. Stylistically there’s slight differences, but they mostly keep to their own mini scenes, and I kinda hate it. I like my d-beat punk, street punk, hardcore, etc. but they so rarely ply shows together, which sucks – they’re all so close to one another! Currently blowing my mind is Spew Balloon, Isua, Goat Shaman, Overthrone, Persecutor, Eight Count, Straightjacket Nation, ESP Mayhem, Internal Rot. So many more, go see some gigs!!

DHZ: You scored the only Aussie spot on the legendary Asakusa Deathfest, first congrats and secondly how did this come about? What other festivals would you love to play at?

WAYNE: Thanks, we’re pretty excited about it. We owe this a lot to Ash from 100 Years War - they played the festival last year I believe, and Ash has drummed with Butcher ABC, one of the members is one of the main organisers. Ash suggested us and put a good word in, when submissions were open we sent our submission and a few weeks later had the confirmation that we’re in! I’d love to play Obscene Extreme, but really keen for any festival, particularly if they’ve got a mixed lineup.

DHZ: The RO sound is unusual in that it combines several genres that fans may describe as brutal, reflective, relaxing, confrontational and jarring. How did you develop your aesthetic? I love how RO doesn’t particularly sit in any particular genre slot and has a vibe that is equally we don’t give a fuck yet at the same time is embracing and all welcoming to any punter; thoughts?

WAYNE: Yeah you’re spot on, we started with mixing sludge and noise but most of us always had other bits and pieces just below the surface. Again, talking for myself (though I think the sentiment is similar for the rest of the band) I love a lot of different styles, and really like it when these styles get mixed, the lines get blurred. I go to lots of gigs and love a mixed bill, so it was natural for me to want to have a “mixed bill” sound as a band.

DHZ: Let’s move on to the lighter questions-What’s next for this unholy band? Plans? Merch? Collaborations? Give us the dirt?

WAYNE: Merch indeed, we’ll have records and CDs of the new album at the launch, plus some new shirts. We’ll be playing Sydney and Canberra at the end of July, Melbourne, Ballarat and Adelaide in August and no doubt more to come. We’ve already got a few songs basically ready to go, so I’m sure we’ll record sooner or later, whether that’s an album or an EP still to be confirmed. We’ll hopefully do some other shows while in Japan, but it’s a tight squeeze in terms of money, time off work, etc. so we’ll see how we go with that.


DHZ: Who would be your dream band to support? And why?

WAYNE: Eyehategod for sure!! For me, Mike IX Williams is definitely up there with the biggest influence on my vocals. Corrupted, Dystopia and Meth Drinker would be up there too of course but obviously never gonna happen. In terms of going with varied styles a tad I would love to support a band like Apartment 213, Despise You or Birdlfesh.

DHZ: Any thoughts and messages or art/music/books to recommend to the readers?

WAYNE: I’m not much of a reader or art connoisseur to be honest. But can definitely recommend Jack Rogers ( who did the artwork for the album – we gave him songs to listen to and come up with something he felt suited it, and he nailed it!

Locally, look up :

· Kator (@gladiaturd on insta)

· Displeasing Designs (@displeasingdesigns on insta)

· Claudia (

If you’re familiar with our local scene you’ve probably seen their work multiple times with flyers, merch etc.

Musically, I’ll just list a few current favourite local bands:

· Isua (

· Persecutor (

· Overthrone (

More gigs:

Cheers Wayne and many thanks for providing the most unsettling music that we adore over the almost ten-year period, much kudos and love.

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Photos were lifted from the band's social media accounts and more recent gems from the godlike work of:

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