Perth punks Cold Meat: “We just wanted to create music with the raw energy which comes from not knowing how to play your instrument but just needing to get something out”

Original photo by Alex Leech. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Cold Meat may have released THE punk record of 2020 with their new LP Hot & Flustered on Helta Skelta Records. Their sound resides somewhere in the realm of bands like !Action Pact!, Vice Squad, Crass and early Rubella Ballet. We interviewed them to find out more about one of our favourite Australian punk bands.

When did you first discover your passion for music?

ASH (vocals): My family listened to a lot of music growing up and we were all encouraged to play instruments. I played drums in school and always wanted to be in a band but couldn’t be arsed practicing. It wasn’t until getting into punk and Feminism that I actually developed any real passion for playing music I think.

What’s the best thing about making your own music?

ASH: Being creative with friends and getting to play with great bands!

KYLE (guitarist): For me, probably just the release. I need something to channel my anger and frustration which I can’t express through other forms. That and all the people you meet and make connections with along the way who share a common outlook.

Photo by Alex Leech; courtesy of Cold Meat.

Growing up, who were your musical influences?

KYLE: As a young teen Black Flag, Misfits, Pennywise. Anything that was on the Crusty Demons MX vids.

What brought Cold Meat together?

KYLE: We just got talking about it at parties. Me and Ash had been jamming with her playing bass I think and myself on drums but then we talked to Char and she was keen to play drums so I jumped on guitar and we got Tim in to play bass. We just wanted to do something new that was pretty primitive, raw and energetic, like the late ’70s and early ’80s DIY punk had been. Char had never played drums before and Tim hadn’t played bass. We just wanted to create some music with the raw energy which comes from not knowing how to play your instrument but just needing to get something out.

Can you tell us about the first time you performed?

KYLE: I can’t actually remember it. It was a gig at 208 though. House show. I think it went alright ha.

TIM (bass): It was actually the first time I’d ever played live so I was incredibly nervous! Thankfully it was just in a lounge room surrounded by friends.

Photo by Alex Leech; courtesy of Cold Meat.

Congratulations! You’re LP, Hot & Flustered, was released yesterday (March 20); what were some of the things inspiring it?

ASH: As far as lyrics go it’s a bit of a mix between silly, tongue-in-cheek songs about petty, personal grievances and more serious, sincere songs.

KYLE: After doing a few 7”s we just wanted to do a full length. So we spent a year or so working on that. It’s not a whole lot different from the 7”s I don’t think. Just the kinda usual inspiration – anger, and frustration with current political and social issues and the utterly inadequate ideas and frameworks poised to “solve” these issues, and bands like the Electric Eels, Gang of Four, The Bags. At least for my part.

In the spirit of your record’s title; what’s something that gets you hot and flustered?

ASH: Kyle when he wears his fishnet top and pleather pants.

Is your songwriting collaborative? Tell us about your process.

KYLE: Yeah. I usually just come into band practice with an idea for a song and then we all jam on it and add our parts.

What’s one of your favourite Cold Meat lyrics?

KYLE: “He’s sucking the cock of Cobain” is a pretty good one. Or, “I’m going to spew in your ZZ top hat, because I hate ZZ Top”.

TIM: “He wants to lick your walls and he wants you on all fours” from Crawlers. I must admit I did think Ashley was singing balls for a while. This is not the first time I’ve misheard the lyrics.

Were there any challenges creating the album?

KYLE: Not really. Cold Meat is a pretty easy band to work with. It was more of a struggle writing for an album rather than just a 7” though. Trying to write songs that would fit conceptually and flow.

TIM: The recording went pretty smooth this time. We did attempt to record some noise parts using a vacuum cleaner, metal, glass and a hammer but didn’t end up using it on the final mix. It was still really fun smashing stuff and a great way to wind down after the recording.

Cold Meat are from Perth; how does your environment influence your art and creativity?

KYLE: For me, it probably doesn’t too much. We’re so easily connected now with social media and online content that I’m probably more influenced by what’s going on in the US, UK or Melbourne and Sydney right now. Although of course we did have the Victims, Scientists, Cheap Nasties etc. and I’m a huge fan of that stuff.

The LP’s amazing art work is by Jen Calandra; how did you come to her work? What’s the story of the cover?

KYLE: I think we just came across her work online. I instantly loved it though. I initially came across her black and white illustrations and thought they were perfect for punk art. Although they reach far beyond it too. We just asked her if she’d want to do the artwork for the album and she’s was keen. So, given we were all familiar with her work and loved it, we said she could do whatever she wanted. She came back with an idea and we went with it. I suppose you’d have to ask her if you want some deeper analysis. There’s certainly a feminist bent though.

You’re feminists (everyone in the Gimmie office is too!); when did you first start to realise the importance of feminism?

ASH: I don’t remember a specific turning point but I think going to uni and being made aware of inequalities between men and women in a range of contexts shifted my worldview. I think I was extremely sheltered before leaving school and home. I became angrier and angrier the more I found out about the astonishing rates of domestic and sexual violence, widespread economic disparities, disproportionate representation of women in politics, art, music etc. This was around the same time I discovered Feminist punk, literature and art, and started making connections with super engaged and inspiring women like Charlotte [Cold Meat’s drummer]. I think Feminism is about being vigilant in recognising and confronting inequality but also trying to ensure that the hard work of the Feminists who came before us is not forgotten or worse, undone.

TIM: The Riot Grrrl bands of the ’90s were probably my first introduction to feminism. This was in high school when my friends and I were all discovering music and punk together. Someone lent me a Bikini Kill album and it all started from there!

Photo by Alex Leech; courtesy of Cold Meat.

What have you been listening to lately?

ASH: Special Interest, Soakie, Ubik and Fitness Womxn.

KYLE: Lately, the Annihilated demo, the Electric Chair 7”s, Sandford Clark resissue. A lot of Venom and Darkthrone too. I dunno, guess it’s a sign of the times.

TIM: Nylex, Paranoias, Ubik

What do you enjoy doing when not creating music?

ASH: I teach art at a high school full time which is pretty great and if I get any time outside of that I like to try and make my own.

KYLE: Mostly reading. Study takes up around 90% of my time, that and procrastination. Trying to finish my PhD. I guess I enjoy that sometimes.

TIM: Ocean swims, reading and eating baked goods.

Please check out: COLD MEAT Hot And Flustered. HELTA SKELTA Records.

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