Shackles muse on wasted jet fuel, anti-vaxxers and the power of photography

Words by Luke Buckler, pics by Rod Hunt
Unbelievably Bad Contributors


Byron Bay’s nicest grindlords Shackles have continually surpassed their own benchmarks. After a brief yet triumphant tour of New Zealand in 2015, they’re about to put out some new records and play a bunch of shows in Europe, before hosting Brooklyn’s MAGRUDERGRIND for their Australian tour in August.

UB talked about Byron, travelling, and the distinct flavour of drummers with their singer, Mark.




Shackles has been a little bit quiet by your own standards recently, what do you have coming up?
We have two Brisbane shows in June, then we go to Europe for 21 shows, and then we come back and do 11 dates in Australia with MAGRUDERGRIND.

What are you dreading or freaking out about in regards to the Euro jaunt?
Losing luggage or getting robbed. And I’m very hazy on what’s going on with the smaller shows and how they’re being promoted. But I’m really excited about Obscene Extreme and Fluff Fest.


Would you consider yourself a worldly, well-traveled man?
Hahahaha, which asshole wrote these questions? I am absolutely not a worldly, traveled man, and nor do I really care to be. I’m 28 years old and have only seen my home country and New Zealand. I kinda feel travelling doesn’t make much sense in this day and age, and that a lot of dumb people waste a lot of jet fuel flying across the planet so they can see something they could easier read about in a book or just see professionally photographed online. And we’re all kinda molding into one people with the internet and globalisation anyway. Differing traditions and cultures will probably be a thing of the past when we’re colonising space. I hope to be proved wrong, but we’ll see.

Shackles has at least a couple of records coming up – what have you been working on?
We have a split 10″ with FISSURE from LA coming out in June on Dead Heroes, which will be followed by a 12″ or 10″ EP on Resist. It’s currently getting mastered, and the layout should be complete in the next few weeks.


You’ve developed quite a recognisable art style for SHACKLES, where did you pick up the Photoshop skills?
I have no Photoshop skills. I do all the art by hand, cut and pasting primarily, and then have computer savvy friends put it together. My mates Chris and Miro have been just as responsible as me for the artwork coming out how it does.

Are you doing other bands?
I do another band called called CARNAL URGE with Eddie and Ben (from Shackles) and our mate Oscar who was in PUKE. It draws from a similar well of influences to Shackles, but it doesn’t have the sludgy bits and it’s lighter on grind influences. All the lyrics are on the one kinda theme. I also just started a doom band with some Brissie guys.

How is having two interchangeable and compatible drummers working out for you?
Yeah, ideally it would be best if we could do double drums all the time, but it would be really hard at some shows. Both guys bring distinct flavours and probably make us more of a fun band to watch.


Which drummer you like better?
Neither. They’re both awful, awful people.

What’s the worst thing about Byron Bay?
Nearly everything about it sucks these days. It’s a bubble full of spoiled brats, models in vintage slayer shirts posing with surfboards, anti-vaxxers, crystal healers, and people that own five mansions and wear Che Guevara shirts who are trying to purchase an alternative lifestyle. You could say it’s mostly a left-leaning kinda place, which is good for the most part, but I think it transcends the political left and right spectrum and is more on the dumb and dumber spectrum.

What’s the keyboard shortcut to do that ‘E’ thing?
You cut and paste a sigma from Google. That’s what I do.


European and Australian tour dates below:

Shackles Famine Euro Tour

Shackles Magrudergrind Tour


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