Our Carlson: “Punk Is an attitude”

Original photo by Natalie Jurrjens. Handmade mixed media art by B.

Our Carlson doesn’t hold back on debut EP A Bit Much, his writing is both funny and frustrated as he speaks to the experience of living, and of being diagnosed with epilepsy at thirty-three. Ranting over dance club and break beats, Carlson’s record is honest and from the heart. Today Gimmie is premiering the super fun video for single ‘Cappo Dog’. We spoke with Our Carlson just last week about the release, video, his punk origins (he was in hardcore band King Brown), epilepsy, the UV Race, MDMA, Gary Ablett, Save Our Scene and much more.

Your live show looks like it’s so much fun! I’m stoked to be talking with you today. Your EP A Bit Much came out at the start of the year, right?

OUR CARLSON: Yeah, it came out on the same day that I played a show at The Forum with Cash Savage and the Last Drinks. That was a bit of a buzz. I had DJ Katie Pearson with me on that one. Cash has been deejaying with me heaps lately, which is lots fun; I’m trying to get as many of them in as I can before The Last Drinks go bananas. They’re going to go to Europe a couple of times next year. My partner DJ Ruby Princess deejays with me sometimes as well. 

It’s great that you can get lots of different people to join you on stage and DJ your set.

OC: Yeah. I honestly got sick of bands breaking up; members getting jobs and moving interstate, having kids, or whatever takes them away from music. I think anyone that has been in bands for a while, knows what I’m talking about there. You have to find new members, they have to learn the songs. I just wanted to do something that was nice and easy. It was very easy when we were twenty-one, it was like, “Yeah, let’s do a band and go on tour!” Lives get in the way.

How did you get into music?

OC: There was always music around the house. As far as me getting into music on my own, my next door neighbour, Emma, she was really into Fat Wreck Chords punk, pop-punk, things like that. It would have been in the late 90s. Through her I got into music and started going to shows. 

I started a hardcore band just when I left high school, and really started getting into hardcore then. 

What was the name of your hardcore band?

OC: King Brown. That’s just gone up on Spotify through Oz Digital Hardcore Archive. they have an Instagram The record label that we were on doesn’t exist anymore. That whole section [time period] of music is missing from Spotify; only older stuff that’s bigger is put on there. They started contacting people about putting their music on there and all of the money goes to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Listening to it brings back memories, there’s so many bands that you forgot about. It’s really cool. 

I was around in that period. There were some great bands. Having been involved in punk and hardcore for well over half my life and making zines, I have a big archive of Australian music from that period, lots of demos, especially on CD or cassette. 

OC: So many good demos back then! Lots of amazing stuff. You’re from Brisbane?

I’m originally from Brisbane, but am currently on the Gold Coast.

OC: There were bands up there like The Daylight Curse, we played a bunch with them. It was a pretty big scene up there.

There were a lot of bands, a lot fell under that North Coast Hardcore scene umbrella.

OC: Live you can tell that I was a hardcore kid, I’m stomping around the stage doing the whole hardcore thing. It’s where I learnt to play to a crowd and do my thing. I got my chops at The Arthouse. It hasn’t left me. 

Lately I’ve been going back to it. My car just has a CD player, whenever I’m out of range of community radio it’s onto CDs, listening to all that old stuff. I’ve been listening to heaps of The Nation Blue lately. I got to play with them at OK Motels. It was so great, they hadn’t played in ages. I still go to Mindsnare shows  every time they’re on.

I love Mindsnare! I’d go to all of their shows when they’d come to QLD. I remember the launch for their first LP Credulity in like 1997 or ’98. They’re one of Australia’s all-time best hardcore bands.

OC: Definitely one of the best! They’re my favourite. I’m just looking at my first tattoo, on my foot, a Mindsnare tattoo [laughs] that I got when I was younger. 

What attracted you to the hardcore scene?

OC: I was angry. It was a good outlet for me, and there’s the whole community vibe of it, I really loved that. All Ages shows; me and my friends would pile into cars and drive so far, we’d be in the northwest of Melbourne and drive all the way down to Frankston for shows. You’d know everyone. It was good fun. Touring bands, just hanging out with everyone.

How did you go from doing hardcore to doing what you do know with Our Carlson? It’s pretty different.

OC: It is different [smiles]. I started getting into a lot of different music. My friend Izzy [Stabs] that does a lot of the music, he really got into electronic music; he started buying me records. He’d be like, “You gotta hear this! You gotta hear this!” And I just started listening to it more. It’s really similar with the scene, there’s a really good community within that scene. There’s a lot of females driving that community as well, I’ve really enjoyed that aspect. I really get a kick out of the music, the people, the clubs. I really love a sweaty club or warehouse show, it reminds me of punk and hardcore in many ways. Being able to make music from your bedroom is pretty cool. 

Photo by Natalie Jurrjens.

I know quite a few people from the punk and hardcore community that ended up going on to doing something electronic or beats-based. They still have that punk and hardcore spirit, they’re just channeling into something new and evolving; like what you’re doing.

OC: Yeah, I think so. I used to exclusively listen to punk and hardcore, then life changes and you start getting exposed to different things. I listen to everything. Sarah Mary Chadwick is a huge influence for me, her vocals and lyrics are so honest. For me, doing this, it’s the most honest I’ve ever been with music. Listening to her I was like, ‘I can do this!’ You know when you see someone else and you’re like ‘I can do it! I can put it all on the line.’ People connect with that, you just got to do it. 

The first song I wrote was ‘Ain’t Too Great Mate’. I sent it to a few people, and people were just calling me going, “Are you alright?” I was like, ‘I am alright now, I’ve got this out and I’m feeling better.’ 

It all started from epilepsy. I had this idea in my head and I started rambling into the phone. I spoke to Izzy and said, ‘We have to do something with this. Do you reckon we can make some electronic music with this?’ We got together and made the first track, and it worked.

When you were thirty-three you were diagnosed with epilepsy. I’ve had people close to me diagnosed with various conditions later in life, so I have an understanding of what that’s like. I wanted to ask you about your experience. What was life like for you before the diagnosis and then how did being diagnosed change things?

OC: Well, you have one seizure and you don’t have epilepsy, some people have one seizure and they don’t diagnose that as epilepsy. Once you have a second one, they say you have epilepsy. It was a year between them for me. 

It’s just the fear of not knowing when it’s going to come. Sometimes I have panic attacks, I get a bit of anxiety and go, ‘Oh fuck! I’m going to have a seizure.’ It’s not, but that just builds. Meds are annoying, I love them and I hate them. Some days you forget to take them, you don’t have any on ya, you’ve got to drive back to the house to get them. I live in the country, everything is half and hour or forty-five minutes away. Once I have a seizure I can’t drive for six months. There’s no public transport out here. I live in a tiny little town, it’s a half hour drive to the train to get anywhere, the you have to get to Melbourne to go to all of these appointments. The doctors don’t seem to know much about epilepsy, that’s the most frustrating part. They don’t know too much and they can just theorise and they don’t want to tell you things that may not be true. Rich Stanley from Power Supply has epilepsy, and I learn more from him and other people with epilepsy than I do from the doctors. He’ll give me advice and tips, I’ll tell him what’s happening and we can talk all about it, it helps immensely—a big thank you to Rich! 

With the music, I wanted to put it out there and let people know. I’m pretty comfortable about talking about epilepsy. I wanted people to know, because one in twenty-five Australians have epilepsy. People don’t really talk about it. Since putting it out there, the amount of people that have come up to me and told me they have epilepsy, that I didn’t even know had it, is so many; it’s because people don’t talk about it because there’s a stigma around it. If everyone knows about it and knows what to do, it’s not so scary… I mean it can be.

I know what you mean. When people talk about things it can help normalise these things, and people don’t have to feel that stigma or isolated and alone. Another big thing I think is that just looking at someone isn’t always an indicator of what’s going on with them, so many health challenges are things you can’t outwardly see all the time. Having health challenges can also very much impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing, all these things people just can’t always see.

OC: That’s it, exactly. The mental health side of it is huge! We all struggle with mental health at some stage in our lives, that’s come along way though from people talking about it. My dad committed suicide when I was fourteen, that was all through him being an old school dude. Everyone was like, “No. No way. Not Wayne.” He seemed so happy and was out and about, he had a larger than life personality, but he couldn’t talk about things because that wasn’t the culture. There’s been huge steps in that but there’s a long way to go. 

The hardcore scene has lost a lot of people to suicide over the last couple of years. A lot of the time it seems to be men my age. Hopefully we can keep talking about it and people can get better and realise that you can get through stuff, that there is help and your friends will help you. It is tough, but I hope conversations can help it and we don’t have to go through losing people over and over. 

Absolutely. That’s why I always make an extra effort to check-in with people, even people I might not know super well, or maybe it’s someone I’ve interviewed sometime over the years. I’ve experienced a fair amount of loss in my life and know how important it is for people to know that someone is there for them. I actively reach out to people, because having suffered from severe depression and anxiety in my life, felt like I had no one and I know how hard it can be to reach out when you’re in the midst of feeling that. Sometimes you feel like you don’t want to bother people or be a burden on them, cos everyone has something they’re dealing with. 

OC: Yeah, I found myself doing that a lot of lockdowns too, calling friends and being like, ‘Hey, I’m just calling to check-in. What’s going on?” That helps a lot. When they do feel down at least they know they can reach out to me, that people care. It’s easy to forget that people care, and that your friends love you, when you’re deep in a depression. It’s nice to remind people of that whenever you can. Just a simple call and check-in, that’s all you need to maybe make a difference. 

What helps you when you get depressed? 

OC: My partner runs Ray Holistic Health. A lot of that has helped me lately. Things like acupuncture and meridian lines. I remember the first time she did it to me, she was holding these points on my head and it felt like all of this energy was rushing and coming up out of my head. I feel like talk therapy is good, but this other stuff, Chinese medicine and stuff like that where you don’t have to talk, seems to make a big difference for me, it realigns things. 

Time to myself is good. I like to go off Ito the bush. Take a trumpet out there and blow as hard as I can. That’s really good!

Hanging out with my friends! I have really good friends I chat with. Cash Savage is always really good for me, we always check-in. Having people that you can just be really honest with, people that don’t judge. I find I always feel better after a big chat. Sometimes you don’t want to have that chat, but you’ll feel better after it if you do, it’s a good release.

Totally. How did you come to the name Our Carlson? I know Carlson is your last name.

OC: Our Carlson is just a play on “our Kylie”. I love Kylie Minogue, she’s amazing, has been for a long time. Never have I known her to have a scandal. How has she never had a scandal? [laughs]. I can’t think of one. Surely she has been scandalous! I wanted to have something with my name in it too, so I could really own it. 

You did mention that this project is the most honest you’ve been in music.

OC: Yeah. The stuff I’m writing now is even more honest and pretty wild, really digging into stuff. I found it a little difficult to write in lockdown because a lot of stuff comes from talking with people, sayings and things I overhear. I might say something and then someone laughs and goes, “That’s a lyric.” I kind of just blurt them out. Listening to records helps me write too. I might be listening to a hardcore record and get something in my head. I just jot things down or yell into my phone. When I started seeing people I started writing a lot more again. 

Where did your EP title A Bit Much come from?

OC: [Laughs] It’s just something I say a bit. Something came up and I said, ‘That’s a bit much.’ The whole thing is a bit much, the music is a bit much, epilepsy is a bit much, life’s a bit much—the whole experience I was having was just a bit much. It’s probably more than a bit much, but it’s a nice, cute little way of putting it. 

We’re premiering the clip for song ‘Cappo Dog’. It’s a song about how we’re basically all capitalists living in a capitalist society.

OC: Yeah. I’ve had big troubles with money my whole life, coming from the punk scene, I never want to spend money. Buying a house for me was huge! Until my partner told me we were going to be paying ten bucks more a month than we were for rent in Footscray. The whole capitalist system and money is always something that I’ve struggled with, and making money off of other people. I’m a carpenter and I’m always going to give people the bill and I knock money off it. I’m horrible with making money. 

We are all living in a capitalist society, you may think your not, but when you buy a beer there’s tax on that; when you fill up your car with fuel, there’s tax on that; there’s tax everywhere. 

The film clip, my mate Flagz made it. He’s done a bunch of clips, the latest Blake Scott one, Cash Savage’s ones, Batpiss, a few for Tropical Fuck Storm. We workshopped the idea. He moved to Woodend, which is not too far from Blackwood. We’ve been hanging out a bunch, he’s got a shed, Stanley’s, which is named after his uncle Stanley who passed away. He gave him some cash and his dad was like, “What are you going to do with it?” He’s like, “I’m just going to pay off some of my credit card.” His dad was like, “Uncle Stanley would not like that.” Uncle Stanley was a bit of a party dude, so he bought a pool table and a dartboard, it’s in his shed. We just hang out there and workshop ideas. 

We put up green screen all around the shed and made the clip in there. Tommy from Batpiss was living with him at the time (I think he’s just moved back to the city). Tommy, his partner and Flagz’ partner all came out and collaborated. I hadn’t been able to collaborate in so long, I can’t believe how much I missed it. We were putting costumes together, I’m playing three different characters as well as myself, Our Carlson in it. It was so much fun! They were yelling at me to do this and that [laughs].

One of the characters is Bradley, The Wolf Of Blackwood.

OC: Yeah. Bradley owns Capri Real Estate, he drives around in a Ford Capri, he works the stock market and is a news presenter on Channel 420. He’s a real capitalist grease ball.

Another character is Blaire.

OC: Blaire is a trustfund kid. He moved down from around the Byron Bay Area to the Southside of Melbourne and then moved over to the Northside. He has a  bar and a restaurant named after himself, as well as a men’s skincare range. He started Anti-tax and Anti-tax League. He’s a shocker.

Then there’s Rico’s cousin. He was born in Ballarat. He’s rumoured to be Gina Rinehart’s illegitimate son. He’s been banned from Milney’s bar, which is a bar I frequent a bit when I’m in Melbourne. He’s a bricklayer’s son, he’s going to take over the business, but he started moving bags instead of moving bricks. He’s a bit of a character. He doesn’t pay much tax but he’s a capitalist too. He’s moving those units and making that money. 

The song mentions Ray Cappo, the singer of Youth Of Today and Shelter. He became a Hare Krishna and started his own yoga thing, now I think he’s worth a couple of million of bucks! 

I’ve interviewed Ray. When we spoke he was going to Cher’s house and teaching her how to prepare raw food dishes. He’s also the only person that has ever charged me money to interview them, he charged me the equivalent of a private yoga lessons. I’m friends with people that played in Shelter and they’ve told me how he’d go to India and buy cheap tulsi neckbeads and then come back home and jack up the prices to sell them to hardcore kids at shows.

OC: Wow, he’s gone from the punk world to Cher’s house! I would definitely go to Cher’s house.

Me too! 

OC: She’s amazing. There’s a great thing on YouTube about Cher, it’s Westside Story from back in the day, she plays all of the parts. It’s a 10-minute clip. There’s five of her dressed up as all of the gang members, singing and dancing. It’s really amazing. It’s a good few minutes of your life spent.

Nice! I’ll have to check it out.

OC: I’ve made a bunch of cash, that’s my promotional tool at the moment—$420 notes. It’s with the ‘Cappo Dog’ clip launch, everyone that comes gets a $420 note on arrival.

Cool, I love when people go the extra mile and do fun things.

OC: That’s what it’s all about, doing fun things! My friend Sophie made my suit I wear, it was fun to sit down a collaborate with her. She’s making another suit at the moment; SÜK workwear, it’s overalls. It’s non-binary workwear that more fits femme shapes, it’s really good stuff. They’re doing great things. We had to take mine in bit because my body is pretty straight, snake-hips [laughs]. There’s going to be all tassels and beads. 

Because hardcore is so… oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?

OC: In a box!

Yeah, totally. With this project you can do whatever you want, it’s limitless. 

OC: Yeah, that’s what I like about it. I remember when King Brown started, we were pretty silly. The songs weren’t so much, they were serious. At the shows we talked a lot, talk about 80s cricketers and silly stuff for too long. You’d see hardcore kids looking around at the cool kids to see if it was ok to like it; I loved breaking down those barriers. Hardcore was very straight edge, especially at that time in Melbourne. Everyone wore black. I’ve always liked to shake it up a bit.

I remember when things were like that. In Brisbane we had real militant straight edge kids that would go to shows and knock beers out of people’s hands. I remember people wearing all black too, I used to stick out because I’d wear bright colours or white; I didn’t want to wear the uniform. 

OC: [Laughs]. I remember I went to a show at The Arthouse, everyone was wearing black and I was wearing a bright red Mindsnare t-shirt and people looking at me like, “Whoa! What are you doing? Are you in the wrong place mate?” It was like I was wearing the wrong outfit, so I thought, ‘I’ll keep doing this!’

I’ve had people do that to me to. I was going to a punk show my friend’s band was playing and there were two punk girls, one with a Chelsea haircut and the other had a mohawk, out the front of the venue sitting on the sidewalk smoking. I’d just come from a formal dinner party, so was looking glam, and as I approached one of them spat near my feet. I looked at them and they’re like, “Are you lost love?” And I’m like, ‘No, I’m here to see my friend’s band.’ They rolled their eyes, kind of like, as if! As they were hassling me my friend came out of the venue and was like “Bianca!” And ran over and hugged me and the two girls looked at each other in astonishment. Punk police are so lame.

OC: [Laughs], yeah. I copped it at the last Maggot Fest. Haram were playing and I was in the pit wearing a white button up shirt with all these dolphins embroidered on it, these curst punks were targeting me and laughing at me. I went up to them and I was like, ‘I really like your uniforms boys, they’re so sexy. I love how you put the uniform on to come out!” [laughs]. It’s so silly, punk is an attitude, it’s not an outfit.

Yeah. The punk people that I love the most are the ones that continue to push things forward, to me punk isn’t a static thing. 

OC: With the straight edge thing in the beginning for us, we’d see all ours friends sniffing glue and passing out at the shows just being wasteoids, and we just wanted to be positive. Not being in the punk box is punk, just doing your own thing. I think hardcore ruined punk a bit, in America especially, all the glitter kids and stuff like the Germs; there seemed to be a lot of queer kids and then Black Flag got massive and things got more macho, there were fights and all the freaks and weirdos stopped going to shows, which is a shame. From everything I’ve read and seen, that whole Germs-era looks rad to me. 

The L.A. punk scene has inspired so many people I know. I was talking to Kira from Black Flag the other day and she mentioned how back then the scene was so small, and we talked about the impact that it had still to this day. It was such a diverse little community and things didn’t sound the same. 

OC: It seemed like there was a lot of women involved in punk at the start. I love how the Germs were around for a year or so before they even played a show, they just had a logo and put flyers up around town, how cool is that?

There’s such a common misconception that there wasn’t many women in punk, but there totally was. 

OC: Yeah, punks always seemed to focus on the men more.

Photo by Natalie Jurrjens.

Are there any other songs from your EP you’d like to tell me about?

OC: ‘Ideology’ seems to be one that gets a bit of a run.

We love that song, it’s one of our favourites.

OC: Intellectuals seem to like ‘Ideology’ so that says something about you [laughs]. All the smart art kids seem to be into that one. It’s all about, what is an ideology? What are you thoughts?

The whole Gary Ablett part actually happened. My sister and I was actually at this place with big pools, a diving board, it’s like a really crap Wet n Wild in Geelong. Gary Ablett Snr was sitting there, Jnr was probably running round in the pool somewhere and she went to the tuckshop and got a brown paper bag and got him to sign it. She still has it, she’s going to dig it out for me. 

I like how that whole song works. The beats really cool. It hits you pretty hard. That song came out pretty easy. 

It’s something that I think about and think about, I mean I’m not constantly thinking about having a seizure but it does come into your head all the time. You might stand up too fast, and be be like, ‘Oh, what’s that!’ I might be working on a roof or climbing up a ladder and you’re like, if something happened now I’d be in a bit of trouble. That one really hits me a bit. 

I got a new song that’s all done pretty much.

What’s that about?

OC: It’s about conspiracy theories. It’s a fun take on it. I talk about Paul Kelly and How To Make Gravy and how that’s not how you make gravy! I don’t know what Paul’s going on about there, there’s a bit of a conspiracy around that [laughs]. 

It talks about The UV Race! They made their first film Autonomy and Deliberation, and then they made another film UV Race Disgrace Space; that hasn’t come out, it was made ages ago but it’s not finished editing. The line goes: The UV Race disgrace space before any billionaire but it was buried, conspiracy. 

There’s parts about: no one like my ‘We want 6G’ sign at the no 5G rally. There’s stupid things that are going on in the world at the moment. People flying off to space. 5G. Anti-vax. It just drives me crazy, especially the anti-vax stuff, how could someone be so self-centred; disabled people can’t go out, if people with disabilities get Covid they’re going to be in trouble, they’re looking at death; the elderly as well. People go, “The vaccines new!” It’s not even new, they’ve been using it for different kinds of things for ages, it’s just a new twist on an old vaccine. It drives me nuts that people can be so selfish. I know it can be scary, it’s a scary time, but doing your research on the internet is not the way to go. 

It’s a bit much! 

OC: [Laughs] It’s a bit much! If I get Covid and get quite a high fever, there’s a good chance that I will get a seizure. If people with epilepsy get Covid there’s a good chance we’ll have a seizure. I’m living my life and if that happens it happens…

Is there anything you need to be mindful of in regards to your epilepsy? When you play live does strobe lighting effect you or loud noise?

OC: Not for me. I’m not triggered by strobes. I’ve done a lot of tests and strobbing doesn’t trigger me, which is very good. I don’t have strobes at my shows though because I want them to be accessible, especially to people with epilepsy. I love strobes and going to places like Strawberry Fields festival. I usually work there driving artists to the stage, giving them their riders and making sure they’re happy. It’s a pretty fun job. 

Stress for me is a big one. I’m not meant to stay up too late either, sometimes I get a bit excited though, I come to the city and I’m having fun and I’m really bad at leaving a party, I always have been. I always want the fun to keep on continuing. 

There’s actually been studies into MDMA and it stops sodium valproate for working, which is in my epilepsy medication, so no more MDMA for me. The love drug! There’s a few things you have to be weary of. For me the meds really work and I really need to continue to take them every day. I have to try not and stress out too much either, I don’t work nearly as much as I used to. Hopefully I can just do more music. When doing a trade sometimes it can be stressful and difficult working with people, organising things. I tell people now that I only work three days a week, or sometimes I might need a week off. We’re lucky that we bought in the country and live a pretty cheap life, so I don’t have to work too much. The whole having to work for five or six days a week, what are we doing? You have one or two days off, decompress and got to go back to it and do it all again. Capitalism has really sucked everyone in.

That’s a big thing to do with your mental health, working so much you don’t have time to work on your mental health. I have so many friends that were political but then you buy a house, have kids… my partner and I decided not to have kids, it makes things a lot easier. If we did have kids I wouldn’t be doing this and be able to put so much time into what I’m doing, and all my money into what I’m doing. 

What you’re doing helps your mental health though, right? You can process things going on in your life through your art. You learn about yourself. Then there’s the joy of collaborating. Music, arts, culture and self-expression is so important!

OC: Yeah. I was talking to the Save Our Scene people over the internet. They were talking about how we need an economic feasibility study and health feasibility study into music and the arts, which a lot of different sectors have but we don’t have. If you have that, then the government can work off of that and know how much money the sector brings in and it’s this good for people’s health and maybe we should give it more funds! I contacted the local council, that’s a good place to start. They get a bad rap, but I think they’re trying to do the best they can with not a lot of resources.

I went and worked for the Hepburn Shire when I first got epilepsy. I had been working by myself and felt very uncomfortable, if I fell down and if it was in the morning no one would find me until night; I’m out in the backwater, working on properties with no one else around. I worked for the council in parks and gardens. They were great with my epilepsy. I had a seizure while I was there and couldn’t drive for six months, so they got someone to work with me and drive me around, and let me change my hours, they were very accommodating. 

Going back to the feasibility studies, if you can get your local council and your state MPs to do that, then get the federal government to do that, maybe then we’ve got a chance of getting more money put into local arts and music. 

We love the A Bit Much album art that Ben Mackie drew. How do you know Ben?

OC: I know him through music. He played in Cuntz, is now in Chemo Beach and Spiritual Mafia. Ben does a lot of different styles, but that crayon-style is something I really like. I sent him a few photos of me and asked him to do a portrait. He did a couple for the circular labels on the record, they’re pretty gnarly. He’s a legend. It’s nice collaborating with all of your friends. 

Collab-ing with friends is the best. Nice Cong Josie shirt you’re wearing by the way!

OC: Love Cong! He’s coming up this way to play at the church in Blackwood. The Uniting Church sold three churches and put the money into the church in Blackwood. If you’re a local you can rent it out very cheap. I’m actually in the church committee, which is a bit of a laugh for me, I’m not too much into the church. They asked me to be on the committee, because I put on art shows and gigs in town a bit. I rocked up the first day and I’m like, ‘So, queer people?’ and they’re like, “The Uniting Church has queer ministers.” And I was like, ‘Are we going to have a welcome to country at this thing?’ They’re like, “Yep, we’ll do all that and pay for it.” There were a whole lot of things where I was like, ok, as far as church goes this seems not too bad. 

You mentioned earlier that out in Blackwood you’re a town of 300 people. How do people out in your area respond to art shows and gigs you put on?

OC: There’s a lot of artists and musicians in the town. If you do something in the pub they want to hear covers. I did that a few times. Bitch Prefect played in the pub, another one of my bands Wild Blooms played, Eaten By Dogs, Joshua Seymour (who is one of the most underrated musicians in Melbourne). At the pub they really want to hear Midnight Oil; they want to hear covers. 

I put on an art show, Terry and Vertigo played. I was like, ‘Oohhh, a hardcore band, I wonder how this will go?’ People loved it! They own the pub, it’s their space, but if you put an art show on somewhere else it changes their mentality and they’re more open to other things. Vertigo played and people came up to me afterwards and I’m like, ‘What did you think?’ They were like, “They’re great! The singer’s pretty cute.” [Laughs] . It’s so great, you’ve got fifty and sixty-year-old people getting into hardcore at the church.

Our Carlson’s A Bit Much out now ourcarlson.bandcamp.com and @our.carlson
https://www.instagram.com/our.carlson/

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