Concrete Lawn on their forthcoming LP Aggregate: “Drums and bass are hench as fuck”

Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Sydney punk band Concrete Lawn will be releasing their new LP Aggregate May 1st on Urge Records. They first came to our attention in 2018 when they put out a killer cassette tape, DEMO. We interviewed CL about the new forthcoming album, recorded, mixed, and mastered by Jono Boulet from Arse/Party Dozen.

How did you first discover punk?

CAMPBELL (guitar): I first discovered punk when I found The Stooges’ “Fun House” in my dad’ s CD pile when I was 14 and it blew me away from the moment I listened to it.

JACK (bass): Going to see shows at Black Wire Records (R.I.P).

What are some of your favourite punk records?

CAMPBELL: Some of my favourite albums are The Saints – Eternally Yours, Ausmuteants  – World In Handcuffs, Devo – Q: Are We Not Men?, Anaemic Boyfriends – Fake ID 7″, Radio Birdman – Radios Appear, The Cure – Boys Don’t Cry, Gee Tee – Live And Dangerous, MC5 – Kick Out The Jams, XTC – Drums And Wires, Gangajang – Sounds Of Then (I know it’s not punk but who cares!) and too many more to name.

JACK: All Bagged up by The Bags, as well as some of those early X records, also The Urinals. That Decline Of Western Civilisation doco really had a huge impact on me. Then also more angular stuff like No Trend was big to be honest, probably the only punk band I regularly listen to at home I think. In terms of locals: Nasho, Canine, Morte Lenta and Robber are my favourite punk bands.

MADDISON (vox): Can easily say Fuckheads by Gauze and Pick your King by Poison Idea but in terms of current punk/hc records, I would definitely say Binasa EP by Sial, Anxiety’s self-titled and Perfect Texture by Geld, mostly everything from Static Shock’s record label is simply sick. 

Photo by Dougal Gorman (courtesy of CL’s Insta).

Who or what made you think, ‘hey, I wanna make music!’?

JACK: Seeing small DIY bands and spaces and people doing things on their own terms, again, Black Wire Records; but also Paradise Daily Records, Sexy Romance, Dispossessed, Monster Mouse, Beat Disc, Sex Tourists, Pink Batts, No Refunds (remember those shows LOL?), Orion are all things that stick in my mind as like, things that made me want to do this. 

ALEX (drums): In high school a lot of my friends were in bands and I always wanted to do that. There was this show on at school like for the end of the year and I thought to myself, I could do that mad easy!

I know that everyone in the band grew up going to heaps of shows; what was the first show you went to?

CAMPBELL: First show I went and saw was AC/DC when I was about 15, it was pretty boring it was a bunch of 70 year old men on stage playing for 3 hours practically the same song. There was a heap of aggressive bikies there too LOL. But, the first proper show I saw was The Pinheads and some random indie bands. Pinheads pretty much blew the other bands out of the water with their wild spontaneous energy.

JACK: First show I ever went to was My Chemical Romance in 2007 and it is still the best show I’ve ever been to LOL.

MADDISON: For my 15th birthday, I got given my eldest sister’s ID. First time I officially used it was at the Lord Gladstone for this shit Violent Soho-like band. Got kicked out in the first 10 minutes LOL… maybe due to the fact that I was wearing a Grateful Dead tie-dye t-shirt, and purple gumboots.

You’ve about to release your new LP Aggregate; what’s your favourite thing about it?

CAMPBELL: The drum sound, that’s all I’m sayin’.

JACK: Drums sound great on the record, they often sound like break beats which is sick. Alex taught themselves drums via jazz I think, very cool.

ALEX: I like hearing how we’ve come together as artists, and how like everything has come together and it sounds tight.

MADDISON: Drums and bass are hench as fuck, especially in “Milk”.

You recorded with Jono from Arse; how did you come to working with him? What was it like working with him?

CAMPBELL: Jack just slid into his DMs that simple. Jono was super easy to work with and he was super patient with us, for example he sat down with me for like an hour to help me try and find a good guitar tone and he stayed back with Madz until late into the night doing vocal tracks.

JACK: Sent him a text message because we liked his recordings, that Top People EP [Third World Girls] is great.

MADDISON: Simply Jono’s chicken pillow, I want one.

What’s one of your fondest moments from recording?

CAMPBELL: Watching old blokes out of the studio window play lawn bowls, while we were trying to record.

JACK: I think I was really stressed about life stuff at that point so it was nice having three days or something to not really have to do real life things.

While writing for the record what kind of place where you writing from? What emotions were you tapping into?

JACK: Dissolution, boredom, hatred, I guess. Also, obligation, because people keep asking us to play shows LOL.

MADDISON: To be honest, this whole album has been written over a period of almost two years so I can’t remember what frame of mind I was in whilst writing the lyrics but probably anger/frustration LOL. It’s hard for those emotions not to arise as frequently as they do considering most of the population are clueless clowns.

What’s the title song “Aggregate” about?

MADDISON: Most of my lyrics touch on the issues of systemic oppression/abuse, although, this song in particular focuses on ecocide, land dispossession, and the lingering injustices of colonialism. Title itself is just a bunch of elements combined to form a solid. Needed in concrete mix I think IDK thought it was cute.

The cover art by Maxine Booker is beautiful; what was the idea behind it?

CAMPBELL: I’m not sure what the idea behind the art work is but, we all just thought the art work look really good. Sorry if that sounds super shallow but LOL.

JACK: Max is one of our dear friends and they made great art work what the fuck more do u want lad.

MADDISON: It’s a DIY artwork that evolved into an inverted wood block print. Concept surrounding the artwork is open to the audience’s interpretation.

Art by Maxine Booker.

What’s been one of the best shows you’ve ever played?

CAMPBELL: Playing at the Marrickville “Bowlo” early last year, it was super sweaty and it was a Sunday arvo so no one was being super serious.

JACK: My favourite live show was NAG NAG NAG 2019, we were playing wayyyy too late in the night and we just played super sloppy and I kept hitting Campbell with my bass. At some point he tried to hit me back and I tripped over the power cord for the whole stage!! I don’t really remember but it was nice to have fun in front of a crowd of serious punk people. This is may be contentious, though I think Mad wasn’t happy with that show LOL.

ALEX: I really liked the show we played with Pinch Points and Surfbort at the Croxton a couple months back. We played mad tight and I had met a bunch of people the night before and they came through it was lit.

Vid by Gummo.

Have you ever had an embarrassing moment on stage?

CAMPBELL: We were opening for Straight Arrows and playing a good set but then realising I had my fly undone throughout the whole entirety of the set.

JACK: I felt really sick one time on stage.

What’s one of the biggest challenges your band faces?

CAMPBELL: Old gronks!

JACK: Being organised enough to practice, coming up with interesting riffs, being treated as novelty teenagers by an aging scene of men in their 30s.

Besides music what are some things that are important to you?

CAMPBELL: Anti-gentrification.

JACK: Community and forms of care which don’t replicate broader systems of power.

ALEX: Not allowing wack shit to keep going on. I want to write plays one day.

MADDISON: DIY culture, solidarity, and my darling dog, Zeus.

Please check out: CONCRETE LAWN. CL on Facebook. CL on Instagram. Pre-order Aggregate on Urge Records.

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