Maq of Melbourne punk band The Faculty: “All snappy dressers… just people with a lot of heart and soul and warmth and love to give”

Photo courtesy of The Faculty. Handmade collage by B.

We love The Faculty! Punchy and fun, and punk and fun, and explosive and fun, and cheeky and fun, and really rock n roll and FUN!; did we mentioned fun enough yet?! Next month the Melbourne punks are set to release new EP, Here’s To Fun. We spoke to Maq from The Faculty to get the low down!

You’re currently laid up recovering from back surgery; how are you doing? How have you been passing your recovery time?

MAQ: I’m doing really well thank you for asking! I collapsed on a walk to A1 bakery and ended up having an emergency discectomy on my spine, crazy shit but feeling all the better for it! Recuperating at my mum’s house on the coast and getting there slowly but surely. I had my staples taken out yesterday so I’m no longer a cyborg but I’m able to go for very middle age style strolls along the beach and take photos of the sunset. To pass the time I’ve been watching Tik Toks, reading about celebrity scandals (Heidi Fleiss & yachters) and giving the Stan account a good rinse haha.

What first got you interested in music?

MAQ: My parents had me and my brother when they were fairly young and they were avid RRR listeners. When mum was pregnant with me she went and saw Fugazi play in Geelong, nothing could stop her. On our yearly holiday to Cactus Beach in SA we’d listen to a selection of tapes over and over that were really eclectic and reflect both my parents all-over-the-shop taste to this day – Supergrass, Kraftwerk, Smashing Pumpkins, The The – all big favourites in the car. I think I gained musical sentience when I discovered The Ramones though. That was when everything changed.

Growing up in Torquay for the first part of my life, my brother and I were into skateboarding and we got into a lot of music through skate videos. There was one skate video Sorry that had John Lydon as the narrator and it was the first time I heard The Stooges and it set off a firecracker in my ass. From there on I met a bunch of skaters in Geelong who shared a lot of music with me. When I was about 13 my first boyfriend was Zak from Traffik Island and he had the coolest music taste I’d ever heard. He still does now I reckon. I knocked around with that crew with my best friend Hanna and every party was soundtracked by Johnny Thunders and The Sonics and shit. Basically thankyou to my young horny-for-skaters self ‘cause that got me into the good shit.

What was the first show you ever went to? What do you remember about it?

MAQ: I don’t know what came first – Robbie Williams at Vodaphone Arena or Area 7 at St Kilda Fest. I remember Robbie covering Kiss or Nirvana or something and all the old birds really getting hot for him – I remember just thinking he was a bit “bad” and I wanted to be like that myself. Like he’s naughty but he’s still a bit of a dork, I can relate to that. Area 7 was the first time I’d ever been in a moshpit. Watching people skank and stuff really tripped me out and set me on a little ska phase. We’ve all had a ska phase. Embrace your ska phase.

Photo : Jamie Wdziekonski

What was it that drew you to making music yourself?

MAQ: When I was a kid I had a drumkit and I’d practice along to punk and try and emulate it. My dad’s mate who was in a cover band was my drum teacher and he’d teach me like paradiddles and stuff and I’d be like “ok Elvis Costello when are we gonna learn the good shit? I wanna know how to play like I’m in the Ramones” – I was never any good. I kind of let it go for a long time and got into DJing and doing radio. It was only with The Faculty that I decided to finally fulfil a lifelong fantasy of being in a band. A real Riff Randall complex.

What inspired The Faculty to get together?

MAQ: All the other members of The Faculty are incredible musicians and have been in some absolutely unreal bands – Meter Men, Franco Cozzo, and Whitney Houston’s Crypt. I’d never been in a band I was just a wannabe but I think I was feeling bold one day and chucked a status on Facebook “Who wants to start a band”. James who plays guitar and I had known each other since we were about 13 and used to DJ underage at Streetparty events haha, Tommy I’d known vaguely from going to gigs, Lorrae and I worked together. They were the people who replied. A total motley crew. After our first practice I asked the gang if we could add a fella in who had really good hair and a cool cross earring and that was Al who then took it up to the next level on second guitar. The band works because it shouldn’t – we are all really different but somehow that makes us, us. There’s something for everyone in The Faculty.

What’s something you can tell me about each member of the band?

MAQ: Lorrae (bass) is a legit witch and powerhouse of a woman. She is the most inspiring, strong and badass woman I’ve ever met. She runs the label Our Golden Friend amongst a myriad of other things and she has next level psychic energy. James (guitar) is in like 1 billion bands and is an absolute workhorse both physically and spiritually. I think he is powering half of Melbourne on his rock n roll energy. Tommy (drums) loves WWE and being naughty but in the best way like teehee naughty, he also looks better than any of the fellas who take their top off when he takes his top off. Fellas love taking off their top don’t they?  Al (guitar) is a superstar. He is training to be a hairdresser and is like one of those freakish people who can pick up any instrument and be like rreeeeoooowdiddleydooo. All snappy dressers too and just people with a lot of heart and soul and warmth and love to give. For a punk band were all quite sensitive and in tune to each other’s needs and vibe.

In June The Faculty are getting set to release new EP Here’s To Fun, in the spirit of the title; can you tell us about one of the most fun The Faculty-related times you have ever had?

MAQ: I think every time we hangout is pretty funny. We do chip reviews on our Instagram and we all love memes a lot. But the funniest Faculty moment was when we were recording, Tommy took off his clothes and James hosed him down in the backyard. I think we got it on some kind of camcorder. I think Al Montfort who recorded us was probably like…. Dr Evil voice: Riiiiiiiiiiight.

The first single from the EP is called ‘Chrissy Moltisanti’ is inspired by the character from The Sorpranos, right? What sparked the idea to write this track?

MAQ Sure is! Christopher is my love-hate character from the show. You wanna root for him but he is an orboros. The song is about having someone in your life who wants to be a “made man” like Chrissy, someone super aspirational to the point where it’s kind of endearing but they just keep getting in their own way and behaving like a derro. A lot of the EP is lyrically related to a breakup but I wrote that before that even happened so maybe it was a self-fulfilling prophecy. I think men should really consider ethical non monogamy before they go and fuck people’s shit up. There’s also vague themes of the Moreland Hotel because I like the decor and I wanted to put Metallica lyrics in a song and try and get away with it. I also wanted an opportunity to really yell at fellas who are total dickheads and stare them dead in the eye and pretend I’m just singing a fun little ditty about The Sopranos. It’s nice to have the protection of being in a band to be a bitch although I did tell a fella I hope his dick falls off recently ‘cause I heard he’d been a drongo so maybe I’m just a regular bitch haha

When did you start writing for the EP—how did it come about?

MAQ: It’s funny because the songs are quite old now – a couple of them have been in our set since day dot (P2P, The Locks) so the stuff I was writing then I have probably either dealt with those emotions or forgotten about whatever was pissing me off. We have a nice process I reckon.  We all kind of collaborate together at practice, people will bring riffs and ideas musically. Often I’l have a bunch of fragmented ideas in notebooks and my phone and then the band will jam out the song and I’ll just fill in the blanks with the lyrical themes and jigsaw the themes or little bits of writing I have to fit the patina of the song were writing. The way I write songs is usually to have two themes going at once, one might be something personal and the other just some bullshit I fancied in an action movie. We are all pretty busy in our day to day so the EP was pretty much the only songs we had going so it was quite easy to put it together ‘cause it’s all we had haha.

Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of your new EP? I know it was recorded and mixed by Al Montfort and mastered by Mikey Young.

MAQ: We were so lucky to have Al record the EP for us. That man is worth the lore. He set up his gear at Tommy’s house in Coburg and we recorded it live in the room we always practice in. Al made us all feel really comfortable and had a few tips but was never overbearing or like that producer from 24 Hour Party People, he was a gentleman. We also introduced him to bubble tea and got him in on a chip review.  It was pretty special for us that he agreed to doing it, I’ve been a fan of basically everything he’s ever done. I went to a Lower Plenty show on my own once when I was like 19 and he and his partner Amy chatted to me for ages and were such rippers and I think so many of your heroes you can meet and be like disappointed but those two were the most warm and beautiful people and that extended to Al’s process as an engineer. Mikey did a fantastic job as always and put up with our daggy old questions and made the EP sound even better than we thought possible. There’s a reason these blokes are the Kings.

Is song ‘Alexis Texas’ about the porn actress? How’d this song get started?

MAQ: HAHAHA. Kind of. Its only when someone holds a mirror up to you that you realise some of the stuff you spout off is so silly haha. I was really obsessed with this other porn star’s Instagram where she would post herself getting these like skin treatments where they’d cryogenically freeze her in a tank thing and I wanted to write a song about that but her name didn’t sound as good as Alexis Texas’. It’s a good litmus test that song, shows you who in your audience is a horny bugger. One of my good friends like blushes whenever we play that song which has become a running joke. #Teamtexass

What’s the song ‘Mr. Sardonicus’ about?

MAQ: Ooh, it’s about this really unreal movie Mr Sardonicus which was directed by this legend William Castle. Castle was like a kind of Kmart version of Hitchcock but made films that I think are just as compelling. It’s about a man who becomes a ghoul and I wanted to write about it and when I was trying to beef up the lyrics I just kept thinking ghoul…Misfits…Danzig!! So I then turned it into a song about how I wanted to see Danzig and Nick Cave have a death match. Like Celebrity Death Match. Remember that show? I remember watching that on Foxtel at nanna’s and loving the Gallagher brothers episode. And it’s also about how I didn’t want to clean my room. Slice of life, y’know? LOL!

What music/bands/songs have you been loving lately?

MAQ: Contrary to the music I play, I don’t listen to a lot of punk outside of the fabulous gigs my peers play. I am usually listening to country music or something I found on a YouTube vortex. I reckon I have the music taste of a Mojo Magazine reader, always waiting for a new Roxy Music bootleg or B sides ahha. But lately I’ve been gagging for Mink Deville, Levon Helm’s solo albums, this song On The Road Again by Rockets, Amanda Lear, Spotify playlists my friend Charlie makes me that jump from like Yes to Killing Joke and the Delta Goodrem Megamix on Youtube from her Mardi Gras performance. I think a lot of what I listen to is symbiotic, whoever I’m around and what they like fascinates me. My housemate loves that Delta Megamix and at first it shit me how much he wanted to chuck it on now I’m like mouthing the bits where she’s like “How am I guys” along with him.  Locally my favourite band is Bitumen. They are the sexiest, coolest and most interesting band in the world. Pure sex magic. I’m gagged for that new band Shove I think they are formidable and I always listen to Constant Mongrel like over and over again and love seeing Future Suck live. Parsnip rock too – virtuosos, we’re so lucky to have them! Moth rip and anything and everything Union Jerk records. I keep up with the Lulus-wave stuff with fellas singing songs about men in companies and shit like every man and his dog but amongst the mix there’s some real standouts that are mostly hot chicks making hot shit.

Outside of music what are some things important to you?

MAQ: I love movies big time. I have a film night ‘Top Of The Heap’ which is on hiatus at the moment due to the current situation but the energy of that is being kept alive in a movie group chat I’m in Movie Magic with some nears and dears and most of my life is consumed by watching De Palma movies and screenshotting hot dudes in blue jeans in neo noirs. I’d like to think I have two lives. One as a big mouthed psycho fronting me band and wearing latex and mouthing off about horny shit and then my truer self which is a celibate straight edge nerd who is a meme farmer and obsessed with videos of people stepping on cakes in TNs and shit.

Why don’t The Faculty put out?

MAQ: You’ll have to watch the movie Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains to find out.

Please check out: THE FACULTY. The Faculty on Instagram.

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