Hercules Morse: Hardcore’s not-so-hard guys


Image provided by Hercules Morse

Hercules Morse (Left to Right) Michael Prokojes, Alex Underwood, Jarrod Murfit, Richard Patterson-Hyde, Alex Marsden

Mason Smith, Reporter

Imagine you’re in a band, preparing for your first gig in months – pretty daunting, right? Now imagine you’re playing this gig without one of your band members – sounds like chaos, yeah? Performing live is a difficult task at the best of times, and when unexpected issues arise most bands would wave the white flag and cancel. But Hercules Morse isn’t like most bands.

I sit quietly in the corner of the Hen House Recording Studios and observe Hercules Morse go about their weekly business. To my left, I see vocalist, Richard Patterson-Hyde and guitarist/vocalist, Alex Underwood. To my right, bassist/vocalist, Jarrod Murfit and drummer, Alex Marsden. The five-man hardcore band are about to rehearse and organise their setlist for their next show. I couldn’t help but notice something was missing. Guitarist, Michael Prokojes was nowhere to be seen.

“Prok can’t make our next show, so it’s just the four of us,” Underwood revealed.

This setback doesn’t seem to faze them. There is no sense of nervous energy in the room, thanks to the chemistry and friendship the boys have cultivated over the last five years. However stressful the situation may be, the group isn’t affected by it. Without any hesitation, they blast out 30 minutes of the most intense and chaotic music I have ever heard, bookended with countless jokes and laughs.

For those who aren’t aware of the hardcore genre, it’s like punk rock on steroids. And while most hardcore bands want to be seen as aggressive and tough, Hercules Morse knows that’s not their identity. They are a self-proclaimed ‘anti-hardcore’ band, who from my brief dealings with them, are the furthest thing from aggressive or stand-offish.

“Apart from our music, nothing about any of us is hardcore,” Patterson-Hyde said.

“We aren’t straight-edge, we don’t have crosses on our knuckles or anything like that. We don’t fit that stereotype,” Marsden added.

To strengthen the band’s anti-hardcore persona, you only need to look as far as their name. I went into my interview wanting to know one thing more than anything else; where did their name come from? The boys confirmed it came from the Old English Mastiff from the Hairy Maclary books.

“We went through a few cringe-worthy names. Hercules Morse was just thrown out there and it stuck,” Underwood said.

“Funny story, my dad actually found an old Hairy Maclary book and showed it to me not long ago and asked if that’s where the name came from,” Murfit chimed in.

Although they started off as a pop-punk band and call themselves ‘anti-hardcore’, their music is undeniably and unmistakably hardcore. The evolution of their sound has been constant, with plenty of discoveries along the way.

“We were just jamming and then Richard decided to start screaming, and it was actually a lot better than his singing… no offence,” Underwood said.

After taking some time to reflect on their debut EP, Control Your Own, the group realised that they may have strayed away from their sound, admitting they probably tried too many things.

2019 marks a new beginning for Hercules Morse. With their sophomore EP currently in the works, the boys hope to build on the foundations of Control Your Own and create a tighter, more refined project second time around.

“We’ve pretty much got all the songs sorted and we’ve booked our recording sessions for June. It’s definitely coming together,” Patterson-Hyde said.

“[The EP] will be faster and with more breakdowns. There’s going to be less experimental stuff and more songs like Unfazed. We’ve kind of found out what works for us now,” Underwood revealed.

While Hercules Morse as a band is still in its infancy, its members are slightly older than many of their contemporaries. With the average age of the band hovering in the late-20s and with all members having a nine-to-five job, the group understands they may not be able to ‘make it’ in the music industry. Even gaining a strong foothold in their own town is difficult.

“The Perth hardcore scene is very cliquey, so I don’t think we have made it,” Murfit explained.

The group still has a strong desire to tour and put on the most energetic and chaotic shows possible.

“We know we’re not the best musicians out there, but the one thing we want to be known for is our live shows.

“The one thing I hate more than anything is playing a show and the crowd just stands still,” Underwood said.

To their credit, they put on one hell of a show, and boy, do they have some stories to tell. At last year’s WAMFest, Patterson-Hyde was visibly unwell before, during and after their set, with each song punctuated by vomiting and dry-heaving. Another wild night saw Patterson-Hyde break the stage just two minutes into their show at a local venue. Unfazed, Hercules Morse played the rest of their set without missing a beat.

“That [breaking the stage] got us a lot of attention, the manager of the venue loves us because of it,” Marsden said.

From their attitude to their band name, it’s clear that Hercules Morse do things a little differently. But when you’re playing with your mates and creating some pretty solid music, you don’t need to do things by the book.


Listen to Hercules Morse – Control Your Own here.