nipaluna Punks It Thing: “Nothing wrong with being a weirdo”

Original photo by Max Croswell. Handmade collage by B.

Today It Thing release EP Syrup into the world. Bold, loud, with hook ramming into hook, It Thing deliver 9 tracks that zip by at the speed of light with an inspired cleverness and simplicity. Syrup gives us rebelliousness with a smile, while lyrical tongue firmly planted in cheek. Gimmie caught up with frontwoman, Charlotte Gigi to get the scoop.

Hi Charlotte. How’s your day been? 

CHARLOTTE GIGI: It’s been really relaxed today. I just cooked up a pot of mapo tofu and now I’m in bed doing a drawing, so a pretty good day! 

It Thing are from nipaluna, have you always lived there? how did you first find your local music community? 

CG: I was born & raised mostly in nipaluna (Hobart), lived in Naarm for like 8 years or something then moved back there when I was 17. I just recently relocated back to Naarm again, so a bit all over the place, but nipaluna will always be my home. 

I’ve always loved live music so it just felt like a natural progression to start going to gigs. When I was 18 I started religiously going to the Brisbane Hotel on Fridays and Saturdays to see any bands I could and found a total wealth of great punk music coming out of Hobart’s scene. That was pretty much the most thrilling thing ever. 

What’s one of your favourite albums?

CG: I think whatever comes into my head first is the best answer, so I’m going to say Life’s Too Good by the Sugarcubes. That album changed my whole perception of what makes a good vocalist. The balance between the two vocalists (Björk and Einar Örn) is delightful, one moment it’s dreamy and melodic and the next it’s super goofy and humorous. It’s genius. The guitar riffs and bass lines are so bouncy and delicious, it just makes me smile. 

Who or what first inspired you to make music? 

CG: Chrissy Amphlett from the Divinyls. I must have been 7-years-old when I found a copy of What a Life! in my dad’s CD collection. The album cover alone already had me, probably because Chrissy looks a bit like my mum [laughs]. I put it on my Discman and listened. I just thought, wow! This is the coolest thing ever! She was relatable to me, the songs are tough as—she’s been with me since. 

Have you ever had a moment where you doubted yourself in relation to making music? What helped you move through that? 

CG: Yeah, I have moments like that on and off. I’ve struggled with health problems for pretty much my whole life, so yeah, sometimes I have a crip moment and get discouraged, but then I rise from the ashes ‘cause there’s nothing else i’d rather be doing. Quitting’s for quitters. 

What brought the band together in 2019 in the Brisbane Hotel beer garden? 

CG: The Bris was 100% the gravitational centre of music in Hobart, so we all met there one way or another and had a jam. We wrote a bunch of songs straight away and like two weeks later we were gigging. I can’t believe they used to sell $2 pints, that just seems like a total joke now. I love that place so much. 

What initially influenced It Thing’s sound? Do you feel it’s changed over the course of writing together more? 

CG: Hmm… I guess I can only really speak on the vocals side of things, for me it was the Ramones. I wanted to write short, straight to the point songs, because all my lyrics are based off like, one sentence prompts. I never have a good idea that lasts for more than two minutes. The Ramones do that well, so for me that was a huge inspiration. I don’t really feel like the process has changed on my part, I’m not sick enough of doing it that way to branch out just yet [laughs].

What do you remember about It Thing’s first show? 

CG: Oh man, I was really crook. I had like, walking pneumonia or bronchitis or something. My friend Molly Turner told me to eat a clove of garlic to help clear me up, which I misunderstood as “head of garlic”! Before that gig I was sitting around eating like fourteen cloves of garlic. I will never forget that [laughs]. 

It Thing have a new release. Where did the EP title Syrup come from? 

CG: I just think that the word is super textural, it makes you think of thick, sticky, sugary liquid, which is how the music sounds like to me. 

How long has Syrup been in the works for? What did you love about the process of making it? 

CG: Since mid-2019 it’s been in the works. It was originally just going to be four songs but I guess we feel like we had more to bring out right now. The best part of making it was writing the songs! Nothing beats the feeling of leaving a band practice feeling like you just levelled up. We all write our own parts, so when you all end up on the same wavelength it’s real special. 

Which track was the most fun to write?

CG: I feel like writing ‘Rocket Song’ was particularly fun. I remember not really being in a good mood but then Clab just whipped that riff out and it was like, what the hell was that?! [laughs]. That just brought me up onto his level instantly. That song is so chaotic to me, the recording is funny too because Jmo, our original drummer, had just had a blood test that morning so the ending is just super urgent because his arm felt all wriggly and weak and it influenced us all. It sounds like a car accident, so we went with it. 

What’s the most personal song on the EP? Can you tell us a little about it please? 

CG: Probably ‘Borrowed Time’ or ‘Pet Snakes’. 

‘Borrowed Time’ is about visiting my friend’s home town to go to his funeral. 

‘Pet Snakes’ is about how alienated I felt when I was a kid. It’s about having no autonomy, getting in trouble a lot and nothing good happening—just grim 2000s low-income suburban realness. Booo. 

We really enjoy the tongue-in-cheek qualities in your lyrics; who are the lyricists that you enjoy? 

CG: [Laughs] Thank you! I think Scott Walker, David Byrne, HR from Bad Brains and Beastie Boys are all pretty crackers. I love witty lyrics and I love lyrics that don’t always literally make sense, just abstract ones that somehow make a point. 

Where did the lyric ‘I lost my cool / I’m so uncool’ come from? (It’s one of my favs on the EP). 

CG: I dunno, just keeping it real to be honest [laughs]. Nothing wrong with being a weirdo or feeling like one. 

We love the cover art which is hand-sewn patchwork by Molly Turner (you mentioned her earlier) representing each of the nine tracks on the EP; what drew you to Molly’s work? Which is your personal favourite patch? 

CG: Molly is like, the realest person out there and her art is purely unpretentious, and that’s the most special thing ever. Her art is sophisticated, warm and nostalgic but still very playful and colourful. I couldn’t be more stoked with having her art on the cover. I think my favourite patch is the leopard, I think it looks like Clab [laughs]. 

Last question, what’s the best part about being a creative? 

CG: If the world had a net-happiness percentage, being an artist would be adding happiness points into circulation instead of like, being a real estate agent. 

It Thing band’s EP Syrup is out today on Marthouse Records. Please check out @itthingband.

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