The Stress Of Leisure’s Interesting Times: “A response to modern ‘tough guys’ like Trump and Bolsonaro”

Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

One of our Brisbane-based favourites The Stress Of Leisure are premiering the song ‘Interesting Times’ along with its DIY made in isolation video here on Gimmie today. The track is a mix of post-punk and new wave goodness with hypnotic keys, a stomping drum beat and Tina Weymouth-ish bass line. We spoke to guitarist-vocalist Ian Powne about the track.

The Stress of Leisure are premiering a song today “Interesting Times” which was recorded during the sessions for your album Eruption Bounce; why was the time right to release this track now?

IAN POWNE: Jessica Moore (drums) had been lobbying hard for this song ever since it didn’t fit Eruption Bounce. Subtle representations were made again at the start of March. I’d kind of forgotten about it. Jessica is smarter than me, so here we are.

Can you tell us a little bit about writing the song?

IP: We wrote the music for this song at the end of a rehearsal from memory, very quickly, most probably in 2016. My memory of this song is quite blurry but I remember spending a lot of time on the lyric and really hollowing it out to it being very non-specific subject matter. It feels like kind of a response to modern ‘tough guys’ like [Donald] Trump and [Jair] Bolsonaro, but then again strangely, it also feels aligned with the present pandemic.

You’ve made a real DIY clip for it while in isolation; how did you go about making it?

IP: DIY is the word. Pascalle Burton was the creative force behind this. She had assembled a whole lot of Prelinger footage. Coupled with that, was her idea to have a social media feed. We set up a green screen in our living room and I was the difficult talent in the end performing to the song.  Pretty much like training a cat. I find it hard to watch, but I’m trusting my bandmates’ judgement on this one.

How have you been faring during these interesting times currently happening in the world? Other than making videos, what else have you been doing while in isolation?

IP:Observing all the health systems and people struggling around the world, it’s not hard to feel vulnerable. Both Pascalle and I are working from home so we’re very lucky. I’ve become an infectious disease armchair expert in the meantime.

Recently you went to Melbourne to record for a new record; what can you tell us about it at this point? What is it sounding like?

IP:We recorded it just in time it seems, and have mixed it now. It feels like a great capture of who we are, all the idiosyncrasies of what makes us tick. John Lee who has recorded and mixed it for us, ‘got us’ pretty much straight away and has really drawn out our punkier side. There’s something a little No Wave-ish about the spirit of it. It’s our most political album too, a lot of discontent in the lyric. We’ll release it later this year, Scomo will be trembling.

Can you recommend something we should check out?

IP: Have really enjoyed the release of Use No Hooks The Job that Chapter Music just put out. Basically it’s a collection of songs this funky Melbourne art band recorded in 1983, but had never put out. Lots of fun, and smart. We’ve played with Cable Ties before and am excited for their new album Far Enough which I’ve just started listening to.

Please checkout: THE STRESS OF LEISURE. TSOL on bandcamp. ‘Interesting Times’ on Spotify. TSOL on Facebook. TSOL on Instagram. Our previous interview with TSOL.

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