Gut Health: The Band You Need To Know

Original photo by Sophie Gabrielle. Handmade collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne five-piece Gut Health’s’ EP Electric Party Chrome Girl is one of the fieriest debuts of the year. Their no wave, queer rave culture inspired post-punk floor-fillers are uninhibited, full of energy and addictive. The biggest strengths of the four-track collection is its joyous fun and assertively tongue-in-cheek wit. It’s full of character and panache. We saw their LGBTQI+, femme, and non-binary heavy lineup play a wild show earlier in the year and from that performance alone, we were hooked, and patiently awaiting a release! 

We are thrilled to be introducing you to Gut Health and premiering their debut single ‘Inner Norm’ today. We recently got to know four of the band’s members Athina Uh Oh, Adam Markmann, Dom Willmott, Eloise Murphy-Hill and hear about their musical journeys, inspiration and music.

What have you been up to lately (band-wise or otherwise)?

ADAM: We had a little rest for a couple of months just before this release. Athina and I had an amazing trip through Europe and Egypt. It was spectacular! Now we are getting the ball rolling again, getting back into venues and getting excited about the release of our new EP.

Tell us about Gut Health’s origins.

ATHINA: Gut Health was Adam and I making fun during lockdown. Though we both had aims for the project, it grew naturally out of a connection to music we shared a love for, each other, and later to the rest of the lovely band members. 

Dom and Adam are also long time collaborators, so their process is rather organic. Myka and I had met a few times through some of my friends who play music with them. I was very honoured that they were interested in being a part of the project after nervously hitting send on that first message. Long time admirer. Eloise and I have a few mutual friends, so when I heard that they shred I was very excited. Oh, and Angus and Adam met truckin’. 

Each of you are from different backgrounds from punk to jazz, and influenced by queer rave culture; tell us a little about where you’ve come from?

ELOISE: Most of the work I’ve done is mostly in the folk-pop music world, playing in bands with close friends and for a couple of my friend’s solo projects. What I really love about Gut Health is that it’s given me a space to play guitar in a completely different way than what I’m used to. 

DOM: I’ve played in different noisy bands with Adam for about 5 or 6 years now but our first ‘music date’ was him showing me James Chance and then us writing a complete rip-off track. In a way, Gut Health is us just getting back to what we started. 

ATHINA: The only other music project I was involved with was with some dear friends playing more soul driven tunes and a short DJ stint. I was definitely in need of a little more confidence then! Life’s a mission of finding your own voice – it’s possible that people can tell when you’re being true to yourself or not. 

How did you first discover music?

ADAM: I’m very lucky to have an extremely musical family. My Mum and Dad were always listening to great punk, goth and new-wave music from the 80s. My mum worked in a record store when she was younger, and my dad taught me my first guitar chords. My uncle is a bass player too and inspired me quite a lot to pick one up. I grew up with a healthy dose of Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, Elliott Smith and the Cure when I was little.

ELOISE:I think I had just the old CD’s in the car, acoustic guitar around the house, childhood discovery of music. Lots of Paul Kelly, Crowded House and Stevie Wonder. I remember when I got an alarm clock that also had a CD player in it- such a game changer. 

ATHINA: I’m also grateful to have a family who mainly work in creative fields. If we go back, my granddad was an accountant but he collected a fuck-tonne of trumpets throughout his life and would play for hours out of passion. My grandmother was a conductor and played a few instruments. Dad therefore grew to love music, collecting records that I was able to put on as a child and playing it. 

My parents recall me jumping off the walls to The Collins Kids, and bringing a CD of The Stylistics so the whole class could lie down in rest time and listen to it in prep, because it would make me cry, haha. My mother’s family would put rembetika among other things on the speakers. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Who’s one of your musical heroes?

DOM: R. Stevie Moore changed my perspective on what music can do and what a musician can be. He was so unapologetic and so varied, always making, always acting on impulse and always doing it for himself.

ADAM: Elliott Smith is my favourite musician of all time. I grew up on him, my parents would always be listening and my dad would always be singing and playing his songs. I feel like he’s become part of me in some way. I love his vulnerability, truthfulness and talent.

ELOISE: I think the way that Arthur Russell made music was just incredible, seems like music would just be constantly coming out of him. Such a variety of styles as well.

What’s an album that’s helped shape you and what do you appreciate about it?

ADAM: I think that listening to Loveless for the first time really changed my view on how music can be made. I don’t think I was the same person after listening to it for the first time. I like how you feel like you’re falling slowly through the air and completely weightless.

DOM: Modern Lovers (S/T) was a big one. ‘Comedy’ in real music was something I hadn’t considered until I heard Jonathan Richman being a big dumb fool.

ATHINA: Betty Davis (1973). An unapologetic babe. 

ELOISE: Donny Hathaway’s Live 1972 – ridiculously energetic music, being able to hear the audience so clearly be a part of the music is so captivating.  

When and how did you come to pick up your instrument or use your voice?

ADAM: I started playing bass when I was in high school. I play guitar a bit too, but it didn’t speak to me as much. I used to de-tune my Dad’s old acoustic guitar and slap it to pretend I was flea at about 14, I think?

DOM: I did a lot of singing as a kid but when my voice broke I had an identity crisis, got disillusioned and ended up picking up the bass thinking it’d be easy… 

ATHINA: I actually can’t remember, but I was always obsessed with singing. I’ve never been very technical when it comes to instruments or vocal training even though I participated in a couple high school things. I always wrote and sang for catharsis. 

ELOISE: My older brother started learning electric guitar when I was a kid. As a younger sibling I think I got a bit jealous, and wanted to get better than him, so I did. Kind of sinister really. 

Why is it important to you personally to make music?

ADAM: It’s strange, the more I think about it the more I’m not actually sure. I know it’s because I love music. It’s holds so much significance for me, not only because of the sound itself but the communities that you form. But I have a bit of trouble putting my finger on where the exact compulsion stems from. Maybe it’s because of how significant it has been to my family? I’ve grown up for it to feel like home. 

DOM: I think sound as an art material is simply amazing. It’s got something to do with it being invisible yet physical and only describable through other senses (warm, bright, crunchy, smooth, etc.) Specifically with music, I really marvel at its capacity for defiance. Placing expression, sensation and presentness on a stage and collectivising people around an appreciation of those concepts is an incredibly powerful thing.

ATHINA: I also think it feels like home because of my upbringing. I don’t necessarily believe that I’m saving lives playing music. However, there is something very special about people coming together to dance, to share their sensitivities or their rage. To comment, question, find catharsis, or to escape. I don’t know what I’d do without it. 

ELOISE: I think for me it’s just one of those things that there is nothing I would rather do. I can never get sick of playing with music. 

 Where’d the band name come from?

We thought it was funny how trendy it had become in Melbourne – such a talking point for everyone suddenly. Phonetically it’s quite satisfying to say too. It’s quite silly. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

 We’re excited Gut Health are releasing debut EP Electric Party Chrome Girl; what’s the story behind the title?

ADAM: Myka once misheard some lyrics that were ‘electric, kind of home grown.’ We all just thought it was very funny and became a little in-joke for us. The song isn’t even on the EP hahaha

 How long have you been working on it?

DOM:Most of the songs were written in fits and bursts between lockdowns, with the recording happening mostly late last year. When we initially started recording, the aim was to make some demos just to hear ourselves back before the ‘real studio sesh’. We never ended up having the patience to do it all over again, plus the tracks didn’t sound so bad to begin with.

We’re premiering lead single ‘Inner Norm’; what’s it about?

ATHINA: Inner-Norm is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating look at Naarm/Melbourne’s Inner North, observing how over time the self-identified ‘alternative’ residents begin to morph into what many northern resident’s proclaim as ‘normies’/normalcy. I’ve always struggled with the term ‘normie’ because it comes off as a little high-horse to me. 

I think a lot of us, particularly young people, find ourselves trying to navigate where we fit in, how we fit the ‘mould’. Humans are strange creatures, we often have a desire to categorise ourselves and others on a surface level. 

We love the song ‘Barbarella’ too; what inspired you to write it?

ATHINA: It is about Barbarella (1968), played by the icon Jane Fonda. Male gazey stuff aside, Jane Fonda is so sexy and I like to see her fighting evil while wearing amazing campy outfits. Maybe it’s a crush song to Jane Fonda, because she’s great, and her playing a superheroine just, like, tipped me over the edge. The song is based around the line in the script ‘Genius is Mysterious!’ 

The band self-recorded the EP in a storage facility in Brunswick; what do you remember most from recording?

DOM: We had a pretty small amount of equipment to record with so all the main elements were tracked pretty basic, but for some reason I went all out on the percussion day. I placed mics around the room in this huge stereo image, most of which was either summed to mono or just thrown out!

ADAM: I guess cause the storage units are all just concrete cubes, you can hear – in very intimate detail – every band’s sessions around us. There was a particular band right next to our room that was insanely loud. It seemed like they knew our calendar, and every time Dom and I went to do some of the more nitty gritty recording that required silence and concentration they decided it was a great time to start blasting their tracks. I really can’t emphasise more how loud it was. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Simon Maisch from Bitumen, OV PAIN, Telekninet, EYESØRES mastered it; what made you want to work with Simon?

ADAM: Simon was recommended to us by our friend Ferg (Laughing Gear/Romero) when we were toying with who should mix it. It just made total sense – I love Bitumen so much and everything he has mixed and mastered comes out amazingly.

We first fell in love with you band when we saw you play a show while we were in Naarm at the start of the year. What’s the best and worst shows you’ve played and what made it so?

ADAM: I dunno about best or worst, but we once played this little doof/party over New Years in Torquay. We were planning on driving up with a fill in drummer George, as Myka wasn’t available, and had our gear packed and ready to go. After we had packed everything the next day and were about to leave, George messaged us saying they were a close contact so we were kinda just stuck with all our gear. We decided to drive up anyway with everything and see what happens and party regardless.

We ended up rocking up and the guy who was running it was trying to convince us to play anyway, and introduced us to this drummer Luke. I was pretty nervous and apprehensive of improvising, but we decided to agree to it anyway without ever having played music with this guy. It was a bit awkward at first when I met him, then we smoked a bit and had a big skate and threw ourselves around and bonded quite a bit.

We decided we were going to do a Pittsburgh show (short for The Pittsburgh Enlightenment Experience) the name is a whole different story, but the short of it is that me and some friends did an improv show once under that moniker at the Coburg RSL, we call improvised sets ‘Pittsburgh shows’ now. Anyway, the show went off, it was super fun and I think we all got closer from the experience. 

Playing at last week for Dr Sure / Bench Press recently was also a really fun time. We also had heaps of fun playing with Screensaver and Loose Fit – such a lovely and talented crew. 

What have you been listening to, reading or watching lately?

ADAM: I’ve been listening to a lot of DJ Screw recently. I can’t seem to stop, it’s hypnotising.

DOM: I’ve been obsessed with this polish no-wave band Atol Atol Atol. It sounds like someone live-dubbed the universe collapsing in on itself.

ATHINA: Last film I watched was The Worst Person in the World. I found Nina Hagen’s New York New York album when I was away, so whacky wild and fun! It was produced by Giorgio Moroder. 

ELOISE: I’m embarrassingly late to watching Squid Game. It’s great. I’ve been listening to a bit of Gang of Four this week as well. 

When not doing Gut Health-related things, what can we find you doing?

ATHINA: Making films, eating bagels, and watching Rocky Horror. 

ADAM: Playing RPGs and listening to Silmarillion audio books.

ELOISE:Probably in a pool, or in line to pay for a pastry and coffee that is a bit out of my budget. 

What should everyone know about Gut Health?

Buffest, most swol band in Melbourne. 

Pre-Order Gut Health’s Electric Party Chrome Girl EP from Marthouse Records. Follow @gut__health + Gut Health on Facebook.

Phil and The Tiles’ ‘nun’s dream’: “Sex” and “Catholic school”

Original photo: Elysia Stasi, Jodie Farrugia & Estella Paltos. Handmade collage by B.

We’ve been excited about Naarm six-piece, Phil and The Tiles, since we saw live footage of their debut show late last year at a DIY punk gig held in drains in Moone Ponds supporting Gimmie favs, Enzyme and Alien Nosejob.

Phil & The Tiles play exhilarating punk that borrows from garage-rock and new wave. Today we’re premiering their first single ‘Nun’s Dream’ from a forthcoming EP S/T 7” release on Anti Fade Records. Guitarists Hattie and Reilly tell us about the band, their music, fun shows they’ve played, and about what they’re listening to.

What first ignited your passion for music?

HATTIE: School of Rock.

REILLY: My mum bought my sister some guitar lessons and she didn’t want to go, so I did them instead!

What’s an album that really had a big impact on you and what do you appreciate about it?

HATTIE: Unknown Pleasures [Joy Division]. It made me realise I didn’t have to be that good at an instrument to make good songs.

REILLY: There’s heaps, but probably listening to Primary Colours after I saw Eddy Current at Big Day Out when I was like 14, put me on the right track music-wise I think!

Which bands, albums or songs have you been listening to most lately?

HATTIE: ‘Boys’ by U.S. Girls, Snow on the Sahara by Anggun, and ‘I’m on Fire’ Electrelane cover. 

REILLY: Been pumping Combat Rock by The Clash. CIRCUS ST from Cloud Ice 9. Rock and Roll by Charlie Feathers. The second Durutti Column album all been on heavy rotation. 

How did you first meet each other?

HATTIE: Met Reilly and Powelly at parties, they introduced me to Andre, we were all playing together for a bit. I met Reef through Reilly at Meredith. Reef, Reilly and I made some darkwave stuff. Met Charlotte through Reef at the Northcote Bowls Club.

REILLY: Me, Powelly and Andre used to play in a fuzz band in high school, that we still have phone recordings of somewhere. Hattie and I met at parties. The first two times I met Reef he was on acid, we started hanging after I saw him try to stage dive at a UV Race show with Powelly and nobody caught him. I met Charlotte at Reef’s house. 

Phil & The Tiles got together in 2019; what brought the band together?

HATTIE: Phil the house cat.

REILLY: We were jamming before then at my old house in Mordialloc doing minimal-synth post-punk stuff, but that sort of fizzed out. We moved it to Hattie’s garage, got our mate Eli to drum and it caught a second wind. We’ve had a few different lineups and reshuffles since then. 

EP art by Reilly Gaynor.

Who’s the funniest person in the band and what’s the last funny thing they said or did?

HATTIE: Reef thought it was his birthday next weekend, but it’s actually two months away.

REILLY: Andre’s just suggested we do socks on cocks for our launch like the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 

What was the first song you wrote together? How do Phil & The Tiles’ songs usually come together?

HATTIE: ‘Health/Body’. Someone usually comes in with one or two parts already written, then we play it a bunch and write each part over the top. 

REILLY: Yeah, ‘Health/Body’. We did a cover of ‘Stuck On You’ by Sardine V as well. Usually, someone comes to the group with a riff and we go from there. 

What’s your favourite song from the EP and what’s it about?

HATTIE: ‘Nun’s Dream’; sex.

REILLY: ‘Nun’s Dream’ is actually about going to a Catholic school.

What did you love about the process making the EP?

HATTIE: Adding the backup vocals and vibraslap.

REILLY: Cheers to King Gizzard for letting us use their egg shaker thingo while they were away! Also, massive cheers to Lewis for bringing the other slab!

Phil & The Tiles have played a few shows this year including gigs with Civic, Research Reactor Corp, Ouzo!, Future Suck, Shove and The Shifters; what’s been the best or worst show you’ve played and what made it so?

HATTIE: Playing with Civic is always fun, they bring a big and rowdy crowd. 

REILLY: Our first show in the drains supporting Enzyme was psycho. We played before Alien Nosejob, four hours later than we were meant to, because they couldn’t start the generator. We’ll probably never have that many studded leather jackets at one of our shows ever again. Cheers to Reis from happytapes for filming it! 

Have you ever stuffed up anything when playing live?

HATTIE: No comment.

REILLY: Every single time. 

When not making music what could we find you doing? What’s your day job?

HATTIE: Studying and teaching kids about dinosaurs, but Centrelink is where I make the real money.

REILLY: I build mini golf courses and laser tag arenas.

What are you looking forward to at the moment?

HATTIE: Seeing Reilly’s art in the flesh on our 7” cover.

REILLY: Extra public holiday for the dead Queen is alright, they should kill a royal every year!

Anything else you’d like to share with us? 

HATTIE: No one in the band is called Phil.

REILLY: Thanks for having us!! 

Phil & The Tiles’ S/T 7” debut release will be available from October 28th on Anti Fade Records.

Follow: @philandthetiles and @antifaderecords.

Delivery: “Enjoy the ride”

Original photo: James Morris. Handmade collage by B.

We have a rousing new song for you! ‘Baader Meinhof’ from Naarm band, Delivery. Their ever-evolving garage rock style with a post-punk wildness shining on this track, has us anticipating the November release of their debut full-length. We caught up with the band to ask about it, what they’re listening to, their recent tour with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen, go-to karaoke songs, and what makes them laugh.

We love knowing about what other people are listening to; what’s been on your radar of late? 

DANIEL (drummer): Very excited for the new Alex G and Jockstrap records coming out this month. Locally I’ve been loving the new Garage Sale record and the latest Teether album MACHONA

JAMES (guitar-vocals-keys): Been on a bit of an EXEK tear lately. The new Workhorse album is really great too. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say The Davinci Code by Blakey Bone – if you know, you know.

LISA (guitar-vocals): I’ve been listening a lot to The Comet is Coming in prep for Meredith and I’m hotly anticipating having my mind blown by their live set. More locally though I’ve been thrashing Cool Sounds who probably make the best music in the world?

BEC (bass-vocals): So much good music is coming out at the moment! Recently, Cool Sounds (agree with the statement made above ^ too good), Eggy, Michael Beach, Vintage Crop, Wireheads, and Ty Segall have been on heavy rotation for me. 

SAM (guitar-vocals): My sister Lil and has recently put me on to Harry Nilson’s The Point, so I’ve been in a bit of an early 70’s zone lately (Emitt Rhodes is another). Also been playing a lot of NO ZU’s Afterlife and lots of Possible Humans. I’m really excited about all of the releases that our friend’s labels have been putting out this year too, as well as other people’s projects in Delivery (Blonde Revolver, Heir Traffic).

Delivery recently toured the East Coast of Australia with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen. We were stoked to finally meet you all in person when you came through Meeanjin; tell us about being on the road with such incredible bands?

LISA: It was lovely meeting you! Touring with TFS and Party Dozen was such a wild ride. We had a few very early mornings and close calls with flights but we managed to come away mostly unscathed. It was such a genuine privilege to be able to witness these incredible bands do their thing each night and we still can’t believe we got asked to join them! Everyone was so welcoming and lovely, but a definite highlight was joining TFS on stage at The Croxton for a rendition of ‘Saturday Night’ by Cold Chisel. Honourable mention to James for ungraciously yanking out Kirsty’s saxophone lead right before her solo, and to Gaz and Fi’s literal rockdogs Ralf and Foxy who definitely stole the show.

Photo: Jhonny Russell.

‘Baader Meinhof’ is the first single off your upcoming debut album, Forever Giving Handshakes. Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, which the song is named after, is kind of an increase in your awareness of something that leads you to believe it’s happening more; have you experienced this yourself? 

BEC: Yeah for sure, I feel like this happens all the time. You meet someone new and see them everywhere or learn about a new thing then it pops up all the time. I found the term Baader Meinhof when I was actually searching for how to describe something else online, but that feeling is always quite weird and the term is kind of interesting… so why not write a song about it haha I guess. 

The song is also about putting mental time into reading into the universe about things and overthinking about stuff; is this something you feel you do?

BEC: Haha ahh kinda, I try not to do that though which is kinda the point of the song. I think wondering about the deeper reasoning of why things happen in life and what it all means is something that can be easy to do, but kinda just prefer to enjoy the ride and not overthink things too much because ultimately most of the time it is just what it is … For example with the Baader Meinhof phenomenon in reality, there’s no increase in occurrence of anything, it’s just that you’ve started to notice something more haha.

What’s your personal point of view on the song or its making?

JAMES: I think ‘Baader Meinhof’ was one of the most collaborative songs to come early in the process of making this album, and I think it ties together a lot of the things we do well as a band with everyone’s own little personality too. Bec is charging from the get-go and when Lisa joins in they both do their classic slightly sassy/extra cool vocal thing, we gave Sam a fair bit of leeway of the guitar solos and Danny is hitting everything as hard as he can as per usual. And I got to play a keyboard solo, cop that.

Was there any specific sonic references points for the new collection of songs?

JAMES: This song started with a bunch of sonic reference points that we sorta tried to disguise. I think Bec and Lisa’s original idea for the song was fairly inspired by ‘Boys In The Better Land’ by Fontaines DC, and the song’s main riff was actually this guitar idea I had that sounded a lot like AC/DC haha. Had to pull out a few tricks to Delivery-ify everything though. Overall, the new record does a pretty similar thing – we’re pulling references from some favourites like The Intelligence, Yummy Fur, Lithics, Parquet Courts, and then doing our very best to make it sound like Delivery.

The single was recorded live in your rehearsal space in Brunswick, as is the majority of the new album; why did you choose to record this way?

JAMES: The first 7” was a real lockdown project, and sounded nothing like the live band with its drum machines, DI’ed guitars and synths. The next 7” was more of a group effort, but was still recorded in our garage one at a time, so still didn’t really capture the band at full force. After a year of playing together, it seemed like a good time to show people the real deal.

SAM: The space in Brunswick is covered in sound treating foam, wall to wall. It’s a really good room to record something in if you want it to sound close and in your face, which is probably the type of energy that these songs were going for. I like recording live because you’re able to get people’s communication in the room on the recording. The performance always has something a little extra, whether it be imperfections or just a great vibe.

Photo: Jhonny Russell.

Whose idea was it to shoot the video in a karaoke bar? What’s your go to karaoke song?

BEC: That was my idea, inspired by good friend and karaoke fiend Isobel Buckley. One morning I was watching IG stories from everyone’s weekends as you do! And saw a bunch of videos of her and a few friends at the karaoke bar and though damn this shit is so funny and entertaining, why not make it into a whole three and a half minute film clip? So a few weekends later, Delivery + Sam (Spoilsport) and James Devlin went for our very own karaoke night out and the rest is history. My go-to karaoke song always changes depending on my mood. I think me and James duetting at the Boogie club house to Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’, ending in both of us crowd surfing, is a pretty massive karaoke highlight for me so maybe let’s just say that. 

DANIEL: ‘Wuthering Heights’ (singstar duet) – Kate Bush

JAMES: A little song called ‘Knights of Cydonia’ by Muse.

LISA: I like to think that I’m actually quite a good crooner, so I reckon ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra.

SAM: Anything from Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane.

The album art work featuring the band on a roller coaster rules! What’s the story behind it?

BEC: It was all a bit of a rush getting the album together as these things usually go… haha and one of the things we left to the very last minute was the name and artwork. A few names were being thrown around and one was ‘Trying to Enjoy the Ride’, and the idea of the artwork was inspired by that name when me and Sam (Spoilsport) were joking around once. Even though the name turned out to be totally different we still backed the idea enough to roll with it.

Getting the photo was real funny actually. Luna Park is not as whimsical as you’d recall from being a kid – it is actually a bit of a hell-ish nightmare, especially if you have a fear of birds and are very hungover… both of which I may have been. We got there in the end though and I’m super stoked with it. A massive shout out to James Morris for taking the picture and waiting in the carpark for over an hour while we lined up for the Scenic Railway, and also for James Devlin for his amazing design work on Delivery’s alway tight timelines.

How did you come up with the name for the album, Forever Giving Handshakes?

JAMES:  There’s a song on the album called ‘Born Second’, which features the line “forever giving handshakes”. In the context of that song, I was thinking about how whenever I have to give a handshake I’m always concerned about whether I’m shaking firmly enough or not – for some weird reason, someone once decided that was an adequate way of measuring up a person. 

As an album title it seemed to nicely round out a few recurring themes – some tracks are about feeling stuck in a rut, some tracks are about the workplace, some tracks are about winning big and/or losing hard. All in all, it’s because Delivery are hustlers.

What are you most nervous about getting ready to release your debut album?

JAMES: The inevitable fame and fortune.

BEC: Selling out of the records too quickly.

DANIEL: Not winning an ARIA.

SAM: The maddening power going to everyone in Delivery’s heads.

LISA: People at work finding out about it. 

What’s the last thing that made you laugh really hard?

DANIEL: Sam Lyons, Billiam and Meaghan Weiley filling in on RRR together last week had me cackling

LISA: The last thing that made me really belly laugh was playing a game of catch in the pool with my sister and friend Iso on holiday recently.

SAM: James Morris on the phone

BEC: Watching ‘Nathan for You’… Also tour antics with Crop and Stroppies, funny crew. 

JAMES: Playing Truth or Dare with Vintage Crop on the weekend. Jack Cherry can handstand.

Delivery’s Forever Giving Handshakes will be out in November. Order now via Spoilsport Records and Feel It Records in the US. Anti Fade will be releasing a a special tape with demos – get it here. Find Delivery live videos on our Youtube channel.

Blonde Revolver: “Friendships, bad mental health and housemates, getting dressed up and feeling good” 

Original photo courtesy of Rack Off Records. Handmade collage by B.

Today punk band Blonde Revolver drop the utterly cool new single ‘The List’ from their exciting upcoming debut full-length due out next year on Rack Off Records. Raw expression and attitude are on full blast as they rip through this driving track. This song has fangs. Blonde Revolver are a vital band.

Everyone in Blonde Revolver has other bands – Future Suck, Carpet Burn, Delivery, Body Maintenance and Gutter Girls – as well as doing all kinds of other cool stuff; what’s like been like for you lately? What have you each been up to? 

BEC: Speaking on behalf of everyone, life has been busy! Future Suck just put out their debut album, Simulation. Delivery is about to start releasing theirs. Body Maintenance and Carpet Burn have been recording and Gutter Girls are about to play their first show in almost two years. Other than that, Grace and Emma have been Pub Footy captains for the Cudas and killing it. Iso has just been living it up in Bali. Kayley has a new job at PBS Radio and is about to jet home to Canada for a while. Zoe is getting her license and Emma just got a new job too, so it’s all happening really!

What’s the last song that you listened to and what are your thoughts on it?

EMMA: ‘Okay Okay’ by Pino D’Angio. It’s an Italian disco song from the early 80s and it gets me so hot. 

GRACE: I just re-listened to Garbage’s 2005 album Bleed Like Me at the recommendation of Billy from Disco Junk and it holds up hard. Big rocking out in your low rise jeans and Jay Jays’ top vibes. 

KAYLEY: I’ve been listening through Pookie’s album FLick for the first time and currently on the title track. So far I’m really enjoying it. 

ISO: ‘Tribulations’ by LCD Soundsystem. I’m having a big early-naughties moment although I’m never really not having an early-naughties moment.

ZOE: ‘No G.D.M’ by Gina X Performance. The synth and drums make me stop whatever I’m doing and drop it like it’s hot.

BEC: The last song I listened to was ‘Grounded’ by Pavement. Good band, good song. 

In May this year you celebrated the milestone of being a band for two years; what did it mean to you? What’s one of your favourite band-related moments from the past two years? 

EMMA: It’s pretty crazy to think we’ve been a band for two years, but I suppose time flies during lockdown? It’s been pretty nice being able to have regular band pracs and hangs for the second year we’ve been together and also watching our music evolve too. One of my (Emma) favourite moments from the past two years was definitely playing at Down South Fest in Port Fairy this year. We belted iconic female pop songs from the naughties on drive up and it was such a beaut day. The line-up was sick and the crowd were super welcoming and looked like they enjoyed our set which is always a great feeling. Then we spent the rest of the festival drinking guava voddy cruisers. It was pretty magical.  

And, in August it was the one year anniversary of your first release, the self-titled EP, that you put out in 2021. How do you think the band’s sound has evolved since then, as well as yourself as a musician? 

GRACE: Post-Covid lockdowns in Melbourne we’ve just had so much more time to collaborate on songs and really find a sound that we feel is ours. Like a cute little mix of all the different genres all six of us love. I’ve been trying to practice guitar for the first time in my life and it’s been super fun adding extra little bits on top of songs and working out places where all our instruments can shine a little. At the start most of us were playing our instrument for the first time in a band and one person would write something and we’d be like cool, let’s all just play that same riff. Now it’s fun breaking it all down a little more and being more comfortable in working out what each one of us can bring to the band. 

We’re super excited that your debut full-length album is coming out next year on Rack Off Records! ‘The List’ is the first single from it; what made you choose it as the first taste of the upcoming album? 

KAYLEY: ‘The List’ was one of the first songs we wrote as a band. When we were recording our EP in 2020, we were thinking of adding another part to the song so decided not to record it then. Upon reflection, we decided it was good as is and finally recorded it along with the rest of the tracks for our debut album in 2022. I think we chose it as the single because it’s so fun to play live and it harks back to the start of the band. 

What can you tell us about writing it? 

ISO: We smashed out the album over a 2-month period. We had a bit of a deadline, so we were meeting after work and hungover on weekends to write and went pretty turbo during that time, but it came together really seamlessly. Everyone would bring a riff or idea to prac and then we’d all work together to flesh it out. Special thanks to cream cheese bagels all over Melbourne for getting us through! ❤ 

When and where did you record it? How was the session? 

KAYLEY: We recorded the album at a Secret Location in Fairfield over two weekends in May/June 2022. The sessions were really good, it felt just like the Get Back sessions… except there wasn’t much tension and no one left the band. 

ISO: Recording happened to be during Kayley’s unhealthy addiction and wildly-belated discovery of the Beatles and would come to each day of recording dressed as a different member. 

What kinds of themes does the upcoming album explore lyrically? 

ZOE: The album is a real mix-bag lyrically, each song has it’s own story. It mostly covers experiences that I’d had over the past year – writing is such a great outlet for making sense of something. But the album covers everything from friendships, bad mental health and housemates, getting dressed up and feeling good after lockdowns, and last but not least, dating and falling for someone.

Do you listen to other people’s music while making your own? Was there anything specific you were listening to while making the upcoming album?

GRACE: I think most of us listen to music pretty much 24/7. I’ve been listening to heaps of Motörhead and Girlschool and looking up YouTube guitar tutorials. I’ll never be able to play like Kelly Johnson but a girl can dream.  

Blonde Revolver have played a handful of shows this year; what’s your favourite part of performing live? 

ZOE: Outside of the outfits and band banter before we go on stage, there’s something really special about getting lost in a performance and looking out to see people having just as good of a time as we are. There’s a real sense of community at Melbourne shows, and we really feel it on stage. 

What was the best gig you’ve been to recently? Who’s a band or artist that you haven’t seen live that you’d love to? 

EMMA: Cate Le Bon in Castlemaine was hands down one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Her stage presence was so fricken cool and I fell in love with the bassist that night. Would pay big money to go see Phil Collins and force the rest of BR to come with me.   

ISO: I’m still buzzing from Future Suck’s LP launch. Grace and Kayley were cheekily and fiercely commanding the stage and the rest of BR were cheerleading and drooling with the rest of the crowd. So much energy in FS’ shows, you come away shook in the best way. The dream would be front row at a Peaches concert paired with watermelon Cruisers for the BR crew. It’s a Peaches world, we’re just dancing in it.

GRACE: Aww Iso! :’) there’s actually a photo of all the BR girls going nuts at the front of the FS show that gave me little teary eyes. Angels! Recently mine would have to be the Swab LP launch at Thornbury Bowls. The Neuros and Vampire played too and every band were insanely tough and there was so much good energy. It’s the best I’ve ever seen swab play and that’s saying something because every show they play is just mind-blowing. 

KAYLEY: Leah Senior at the Curtin launching her reissues/box set. She played a really beautiful set – as always. Iso and I were meant to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs in July but they cancelled their Melbourne show and we were absolutely gutted. But in reality I would probably be disappointed anyway because I would just want them to play ‘Fever To Tell’ in its entirety and we all know they’d play those post-2003 tracks.

ZOE: The Church at Northcote Theatre! I went recently with a few close friends and it was the most magical experience. My mum and I are big fans and there was something very full circle about texting her song-by-song updates while she was reliving seeing them when she was around my age.  

BEC: I just got back from a regional tour with Vintage Crop and the Stroppies, every gig was so fun… Both bands are amazing live. Vintage Crop really do go absolutely off though, their performance is next level they SEND IT every time it’s very inspiring and entertaining to watch.

What’s a song that always puts you in a good mood?

EMMA: ‘Moja Bhari Moja’ by Rupa – It’s another early 80s disco song but from India. You simply cannot be mad listening to Rupa. 

ISO: ‘Gloria’ by Laura Branigan is played before every show without fail. Also a great one to listen to in the car with the windows down on a 23 degree day. 

GRACE: Anything on Hello, I’m Dolly makes me wanna kick a door down.

KAYLEY: Julian Cope ‘Sunspots’.

ZOE: ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’ by The Talking Heads

BEC: ATM – ‘6 Or 7 More’ – Cool Sounds.

What’s a band that everyone should know about?  

EMMA: Shove – they have a new EP coming out early October on Rack Of Records as well. Front woman Bella is iconic and the music is just so sick.

ISO: Big Wett – horny dance music paving the way for the rest of us.

GRACE: I’d say Shove too, but Emma already took them so let’s go with this little band called KISS. You want the best? You got the best. 

KAYLEY: Dodda Rivka.

ZOE: Kosmetika! Iconic Melbourne band. 

BEC: Yeah Mets ^ Damn, too many good bands especially from Australia. A local band I’m particularly obsessed with ATM is Micheal Beach, he’s releasing an EP at the moment, singles are so good, can’t wait to hear the whole thing – check it out. 

What’s the rest of the year look like for you? 

ISO: We have a second single off our upcoming album coming out, our first ever video clip and a handful of shows lined up for the rest of this year. Hopefully a debaucherous night of karaoke to celebrate the single releases and another fun year getting to play and make music with besties. 

Blonde Revolver’s single ‘The List’ out now – listen HERE.

Follow @blonde.revolver and @rackoffrecords.

The Vovos: “Funny, nostalgic, danceable, epic!”

Original photo by Rick Clifford. Handmade collage by B.

Beth, Lu and Ruby from “punk bitch” band The Vovos, collectively answered our questions about their invigorating new split 7” release, Vampire Club, with one of our favourite prolific Naarm-based punks, Billiam.

What have you been up to since last we spoke for Gimmie issue 5?

THE VOVOS: We’ve recorded and released Jessica Day, with an upcoming split 7-inch with Billiam. We went to the ABC to perform a song on Spicks & Specks, which is airing on Sunday 11 September. Meeting Adam Hills and having the whole ‘rockstar-on-TV’ experience was really fun. Our songs have also been featured on the new ABC Me show, Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse; seeing our name in the credits was truly surreal. We’re also gearing up to record our next album this month – so it’s been a busy year for The Vovos!

What’s your favourite experience as a band so far?

THE VOVOS: Seeing our projects come from random silly ideas to become real things in the world, like on physical vinyl and on the internet is really exciting. We all love writing songs and the moment that a song comes together for the first time is magical, and seeing it recorded & released & then watching people listen to it is honestly amazing. 

You’re getting ready to release a split 7” with Billiam called Vampire Club; where did the title come from? I know there’s a line in your new song ‘Jessica Day’ that’s on the 7” that mentions a vampire club.

THE VOVOS: We took it from ‘Jessica Day’, and the line is reminiscing on our childhoods being part of spooky clubs and making believe about vampires & witches. It has since evolved into an obsession for some of us with all vampire-based media, but the line ties into the theme of the whole song about how it was easier to be authentic as children, and missing that.

We’re premiering the video for ‘Jessica Day’; what’s the song about? Tell us about writing it.

THE VOVOS: ’Jessica Day’ was written in the midst of Year 12 and COVID lockdowns, and it reflects that moment of transition out of high school, and struggling with new ideas around what is acceptable in terms of expression & creativity. It’s a rejection of the idea that art should be a certain way or people should behave a certain way in order to be taken seriously. 

While we were in lockdown, we were all obsessed with the show, New Girl, and its main character (after whom the song is named) served as inspiration as well.

Describe the new song in five words.

TV: Energetic, funny, nostalgic, danceable, epic!

The video was made by Kalindy Williams from Hearts & Rockets; how did you first come to her work and why did you want to work with her?

TV: We love Kalindy & have played shows organised by her and with Hearts & Rockets for a long time. We love her bright colours & vintage aesthetic, and thought they really suited the vibe of the song, so when we heard that she made music videos we jumped at the opportunity!

Where was the video shot?

TV: To fit with the New Girl-ian tone, we shot in Ada’s sharehouse. We asked her housemates very nicely and bribed them with food and ended up essentially throwing a daytime house party equipped with Billiam Beers and a terrible Vovos cake to film it.

What do you remember most from shooting the video?

TV: Fatigue. The night before was the election, so we’d all been out late and when the day came, we were all hungover, the house was freezing cold, and it ended up being a 12-hour shoot. But it was so nice to have all our friends there supporting us, and dancing so enthusiastically to our song – even though they were essentially being forced to. 

‘Justice For Pretzel Man’ is the other song on The Vovos’ side of the Vampire Club; what’s the story of this song?

TV: This is one of the weirdest songs we’ve ever written. Its inspiration came from a beautiful soft sculpture that Lu made, for Year 12 art class, out of recycled clothing, which we lovingly dubbed Pretzel Man. It took all of her energy and months of work, and yet in the end was given a brutally mediocre mark. The song ties in with a broader theme to our side of the record which questions the idea of ‘good’ art and grading creativity. 

The 7” art is a collaboration between Billiam and The Vovos; how did it come together? You had an Art Day, right?

TV: Making the art for this was very stressful, as one of our chief artists, Ada, was in Europe for much of the period when we really should’ve been doing it, which led to mass procrastination. Eventually, we got together with Billy, some pastels and a photocopier at Ruby’s house and made the art together one Sunday afternoon after Ada got back. We dubbed this, Art Day, and made a little vlog.

Has your creative process changed much since your first release Constructive Criticism in 2019?

TV: The process itself hasn’t changed much – we’ve always gotten together to brainstorm lyrics, worked through the sections and added finishing touches to each of our parts on our own, and we still do that to this day. However, we’ve definitely gotten much better at each step in that process, and even since our latest release, Jana, we’ve gotten a lot more attentive with adding dimensions and complexity to the songs.

What’s your favourite Billiam track on the split release? What do you appreciate about it?

TV: Our favourite song is Jenny Destroys Records. The opening absolutely slaps and, as always in a Billiam song, the riff is catchy and sticks in your head. We love the distinctive Billiam sound & production style, and are very excited to be releasing this record with him!

What have you been listening to, watching or reading lately? Why does/doesn’t it rule?

TV: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga (movies), Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Diaries, What We Do In The Shadows, ‘Vampire’ by Antsy Pants, Jennifer’s Body, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Dracula, You Broke My Heart’ by bis, Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, ‘Monsieur Dracula’ by Fleur, ‘No Vampires Remain in Romania’ by King Luan, Doctor Who Season 5, Episode 6. We love the way all of this media captures the experience of being alive in the 21st century.

What’s the rest of the year look like for you?

TV: We’re currently writing and recording our next album, and in the coming months we’ll be continuing to work on it. We’re very excited to have it out in the world sometime next year! We also have our launch for Vampire Club on September 16 at Nighthawks with Billiam & the Teethers, so come dance with us.

Get Vampire Club HERE. Follow @thevovos and @billiamofbilliam. Get TIX to the 7″ launch HERE.

The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith on new album, Rapscallion: “I was having a lot of fun reminiscing about growing up skateboarding”

Original photo: Izzie Austin. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

The Murlocs’ upcoming new album Rapscallion sees them forging into new territory with a playful mix of drama and effervescence as they give us a loosely conceptual coming-of-age story of searching, love, loss, independence and belonging. There’s effortlessly catchy garage-rock groovers that we’ve come to love from The Murlocs, along with detours into chaotic heavy moments and unabashedly cool drifts into fruitful synth work that will pleasantly surprise listeners. Rapscallion has shown the band humbly continue to hone their songwriting craft, the writing even more precise and confident than previous outings. It’s an exciting and inspiring album. Gimmie chatted with The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith about the record. 

What’s life been like lately for you?

AMBROSE: I’m good . I’ve been home for two weeks. We had that tour in Europe cancelled. I went to Budapest and hung out with friends for a week and then came home back to the winter. Budapest is pretty fun, I found a couple of cool dive bars, went to some baths and went skateboarding. It was good to decompress after the shattering news of tour being cancelled. It was nice to avoid the Melbourne winter for longer. It’s been really cold, I guess I’ve just been acclimatised to the Europe summer for so long now [laughs].

Last we chatted, was for your album Bittersweet Demons and at the time I thought that was my favourite Murlocs record, but now I’ve heard your new record, Rapscallion, and it’s become my favourite Murlocs album. Congratulations! It’s an incredible album! I feel it’s stretched you guys into new territory; what do you think?

A: Sick, thank you. For sure it’s stretched us, it’s probably the heaviest thing we’ve done so far. I’m so proud of it. It’s been the easiest to talk about in interviews too, cos I actually have enough to talk about for once, rather than cringing thinking about my anxieties and shit. It’s nice to have something more conceptual that has a storyline. The music side of things has all come from our guitarist, Callum Shortal. It’s been the most seamless record we’ve had. 

Do you find it easier when someone else does the music and you just have to worry about arranging, adding things and the lyrics?

A: Yeah, but I’ve never had to do too much, over the years it’s gotten less and less. For the first time, I didn’t have to arrange or do anything, he’s just nailed it. He knows how our songs work. He knows when I’m supposed to sing and all of this, that and the other. For a while there, he would send me one-minute demos and had not really finished them off, but waited ’til we got together in a room and we’d piece it together. Because we were in the first lockdown here in Melbourne, he took it all on, did it himself and would send me tunes frequently. 

We finished Bittersweet Demons and that was 70% my songs written on piano. Cook [Craig] gave songs. Tim [Karmouche] contributed two songs and[Matt]  Blachy contributed. At the end, it was more half and half with the other guys song-wise. I wanted to try and step back and contribute more to King Gizzard, so I encouraged the guys to write. I told them I wanted to go back to focusing on lyrics. Callum had one song on that album, it was cut from Manic Candid Episode the album before. All of a sudden he got into a rhythm and was on a roll and would send me songs once a week or so. Before we knew it we had the whole record. We only cut one.

He’d quickly send stuff to me while I was working on Gizzard stuff, and I could sequence the album musically and write the storyline. I got the flow of the music and then it was like, cool, now I can conceptualise what this is going to be. I wrote lyrics as I went. The songs came in pretty much in order they ended up. It was a good flow. 

I read that the concept was inspired by Corman McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian. Where you reading that at the time?

A: Yeah. It was one of the first books that I had actually finished in the last couple of years. I connected with it, started riffing off it and channelling past experiences from my youth. It’s a lot more of a light-hearted version. 

In that book the main character is a teenager called “The Kid” and the story is of his adventures, He’s kind of an anti-hero.

A: Yeah, totally. Ours is a similar concept, but not as gruesome as the book. It’s that coming-of-age, outcast, ugly duckling-figure that runs away from home story. He has an attitude of, fuck trying to find his feet. As the album goes along, each song is a step by step progression into him going through all of these life changing experiences.

I enjoyed listening to it unfold. The book you were inspired by is a Western novel and I noticed easter egg references throughout the album, lyrically and musically. In the first song ‘Subsidiary’ there’s the lyrics: I’m leaving this one horse town.

A: There’s a bit of an urban cowboy vibe! [laughs]. 

The second song ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ sees the character hitchhiking and crossing paths with truckers and transient folk. I love fiction narratives (in my day job I work as a book editor), I really got into the story you were telling. There’s so many cool lines on the album. There was one in song ‘Bobbing And Weaving’: Last train departing on the platform for the unloved. 

A: [Laughs]. Yeah. I’m glad you like that one. There’s a lot of sombre people getting the train sometimes. That song is about him dodging ticket inspectors and trying to find the ropes of living independently. 

I got a sense as well, that the character has always been a fighter.

A: Yeah, it’s totally about that, and about trying to find a second family, a group he can connect with. While I was writing it, I was having a lot of fun reminiscing about growing up skateboarding. I thought about all the friendships that I’ve gained from those experiences, travelling interstate or just being around the city and sleeping on whoever’s couch that I made friends with that day. It was derivative of that stuff, real experiences, but taken to a more extreme level. There were definitely people that I grew up with who had similar upbringings, and skateboarding was acceptance for us, any shape or form was welcomed. 

Photo: Izzie Austin.

As the story unfolds I found that there’s elements and a sense of danger, transience and free-wheeling, which is all stuff that ties in with being young and skateboarding; being nomadic, being spontaneous. I think all of that translated well and can be felt on the album.

A: Great!  It was a good coping mechanism to escape when I was locked down and couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t write diary entires or personal experience at the time because there wasn’t really much going on. It was nice to reminisce. 

Another line I loved was from ‘Compos Mentis’: Chubby rain soaking heavy like cinder blocks. That’s such strong imagery. 

A: Sweet. It’s self-explanatory, especially when you’ve got some real soggy socks [laughs]. 

[Laughter]. Each song is like a scene in a novel or film.

A: That was the name of the game.

In ‘Compos Mentis’ the character seems to be reflecting on his life.

A: Reflecting and trying to navigate what route he’s going to take next. He’s taking things day-by-day. That was my thought process for a lot of my life until all of a sudden, now I’m thirty. It’s all about taking things as it comes. 

Compos mentis means taking control of your mind, right?

A: Yeah, that part of the album has him by himself for a while and he starts to question if he has a sound mind and is cable of continuing on his journey [laughs].

In the beginning of his journey his parents don’t really understand him or even really just believe in him. Taking it back to the song ‘Living Under A Rock’ it’s like his life started a little sheltered but then the character realises that there’s this big world out there.

A: Totally! It’s that small town syndrome and not really been aware of stuff beyond his street and the shops down the road. He’s trying to escape and make it to the big smoke to see what’s happening [laughs]. 

That’s what you do when you’re a skateboarder living out in the suburbs, you head into the city to meet your friends and skate spots.

A: You hang around the streets and you meet different kinds of people, some your own age, but a lot of the time, people older. I was always surrounded by older people and was corrupted. My character was built quickly, early on. I was streetwise from a young age. All those elements were thrown in there. 

Then in song ‘Farewell to Clemency’ he gets into a fight and there’s the great line: Toxic masculinity is dead. That was a powerful lyric.

A: That’s just him trying to crush that whole scenario. I feel it’s a good way to stamp that song at the end [laughs]. 

As the story continues there’s song ‘Royal Vagabond’. I feel like that song is about survival.

A: Totally. When I was listening to it when I would skate back and forth to the studio, I felt like in that song, he felt like he was on the up and he’s found a family that he can call home with a leader that’s larger than life; someone who can direct him and give him some words of wisdom. He can help steer him in a direction where he finally starts to feel confident within himself. It’s about him finding a gang under a bridge, they’re hanging around fires and shooting the shit. He finally feels like he’s become a part of something. 

‘Virgin Criminal’ is next and it reflects that he’s new to crime, but then  in the following song his life takes a little turn in ‘Bowlegged Beautiful’ and he falls in love with Peg.

A: Yeah! [laughs]. Peg is a member of the gang but doing her own thing as well. When I heard that bass line, I thought of someone strutting down the street in the city towards him and he’s fixated on this person that’s coming into his life. He’s overwhelmed and all he wants is this one person. 

It totally captures that feeling.

A: She’s the love of his life.

Yeah. ’Wickr Man’ sees them both go dumpster diving and they have a violent itch in common, like when they kick the rats. Then they’re waiting around for the guy up stairs so they can get drugs. 

A: It’s a ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ Velvet Underground rip. Each song is a new experience. He’s met this girl that’s in to dabbling in drugs. She teaches him a lot of things quickly and he grows up fast. By the end of that, it falls into tragedy with ‘The Ballad of Peggy Mae’.

You broke my heart with that song! I was so sad listening to it. I wanted them to win.

A: She didn’t last for long [laughs]. 

Like three songs! When she ODs you get a sense from both the music and lyrics that the protagonist feels guilty and grief-stricken. 

A: I’ve had friends OD before on the street, so it’s channelling that vibe. It’s a very broad daylight and in your face that song. That’s why I put the city sounds at the start of it. I wanted it to sound chaotic. I couldn’t imagine the song without it having a sad narrative. I even tear up a bit when I listen to that one too [laughs].

Awww. Well, that is the reality of that life, these things totally happen. You mentioned that you’ve experienced friends OD-ing. It’s a hard thing to see. Do you find it’s easier to write about these kinds of things in a fictional narrative?

A: Yeah, you can let your guard down and dive into it being something else and put a different light on it.

Last song is ‘Growing Pains’ which has another line I really dig: Highlander with a harrowing track record. Growing up in the 80s and 90s I grew up watching the original Highlander movies. I used to watch them with my mum.

A: [Laughs]. He’s already thinks he’s seen it all by this point now. He’s experienced a lot. He’s had a fast-paced life, and now he’s just trying to keep his chin up. He rides off into the sunset and the horizon is an open book! [laughs]. 

Do you think there could have been another song after the last one? Where might he have gone?

A: Nah, I think ‘Growing Pains’ was a pretty good way to wrap it up. You can picture him walking off down the highway to go hitchhike and start again. There wasn’t anywhere to go from there. It’s a perfect closer song. 

Agreed. It’s pretty cool how you initially just started listening to the musical tracks Callum sent and then you just started imagining everything.

A: I’m lucky because Cal can write such great, gritty, garage-y songs that work will with my tone of voice and the themes I go for. In the past he’s written more poppy song, but it still has a bit of grunt to it, which I really like, and that’s because quite a theme to our music. It was great to have it set out. It had a great flow and I could just tell what would happen. The last three or four songs he goes very extreme. Then there’s a nice little trot along to the finish. 

The garage-y elements of Murlocs that we love are still present on Rapscallion but then it goes into a more post-punk kind of territory. There’s lots of cool noise and synths on this record. 

A: We got synth heavy at times, that was to add textures throughout for once instead of being straight. I’m still wondering how we’re going to pull off some of those noises live, because there’s overlapping things going on. We’ll find a way to work it out and make some things squeal [laughs]. There’s definitely a lot of layers, but then some parts there’s not much at all. There’s a couple of moments in songs where there’s lots going on. It was so fun! We were messing around with a Behringer Poly D synthesiser. Tim bought one as well, so we can play with that live. It made it go down more of a post-punk prog way. 

It was recorded at your houses, sending songs back and forth?

A: In hindsight, it’s a record that I wish we would have recorded the beds together in the same room. As it went along, Blachy got better at recording his drums. Ultimately, when we gave it to Mikey Young to start mixing, he nailed it. Each track took him one or maybe two goes.

Cal was listening to a lot of Eddy Current [Suppression ring] as he always does. He was listening to Country Teasers. There’s even elements of Pixies on there. I even hear Neil Young. He listens to a lot of Doom metal as well; he was in metal bands before we started the Murlocs, so he’s always had a darker shade of things going on than the rest of us. It was great because I got to take myself out of my usual shoes and write from another perspective.

On song ‘Wickr Man’ there’s a spoken verse.

A: Yeah. In ‘Bowlegged Beautiful’ and ‘Wickr Man’ I do my tryhard breath-y Tom Waits voice [laughs]. The first time I started realising it could be something was when I did the King Gizzard ‘Straws In The Wind’ song, I sing it differently live. But with those songs it just felt like those parts needed to be more spoken word and less sing-y. They didn’t need any melody because they already had this badass feeling to it. I wanted to riff on some things rather than always just sing a tune. 

It took me a few listens to realise it was you doing that part, I was like, ‘Is that someone else?’ 

A: [Laughs} These bits do kind of sound like some husky dude that’s been sitting at the end of the bar for too long. The voice suited those tracks.

How did you come up with the title, Rapscallion?

A: [Laughs]. Well, we always name our album titles after songs. It’s hard to go out on a limb and name an album something completely random that just sounds cool or makes sense for the whole thing. This time, because it was more conceptual, it didn’t make sense just to name it after a track. 

I was visiting my dad, we were talking about the storyline of the album and that I wanted some kind of word for this feral kid protagonist, that didn’t have a name throughout the album. He said, “What about rapscallion?” There was another one like “curmudgeon” and a few other words that came up. He said “rapscallion” first. I thought it sounded a bit Pirates Of The Caribbean [laughs]. I think it fits perfect though. I think some of the guys were a bit [talks in a comedic voice]  “Rapscallion!” kind of in a Monty Python-type voice! It makes sense now, so I’m glad we stuck with it. 

It’s a memorable, fun word to say. 

A: Yeah. It has been used a whole bunch, Cal sent me a scene from The Simpsons the other day where someone says it [laughs]. 

The album art is by Travis MacDonald; was it made specifically for the album or was it an existing piece?

A: It was an existing piece, someone in Sydney owns the original painting. We’d been friends for a bit, and I was looking at a bunch of Travis’ paintings and I thought they would suit the vibe of a classic rock, 70s-sounding record that we were going for. I wanted to have a n album cover that could work without titles for once. I just wanted to make a statement that was timeless. I had a bunch of references of paintings I grew up with and a few other things, I set him some drawings and he started to sketch up what it was going to be and was going to commission me for that. But, I just kept going back to that painting we ended up using. I was already too hung up on it. It was perfect, that’s just Rapscallion, right there. 

Album art: Travis MacDonald.

The figure in the painting does look like a street tough. 

A: Yeah, someone said the other day that it looks like the cover of a novel that is a coming-of-age story, which I agree with. The original painting was called, Graceland. He said it was of a random weirdo-lurker out the front of Graceland. The way it’s come out with the street light lamppost and all of the colours and textures, it fits it perfectly. I didn’t want it looking all dark and gloomy, I think the painting is a good happy medium. 

After having listened to the album a lot and been immersed in the Rapscallion  world, I can imagine that when you came across that painting you would have thought, ‘That’s it!’ I know the feeling because sometimes with Gimmie we’ll come across something we love when making it, but then we’ll try other things and more often than not we end up coming back to what we first were drawn to.

A: Yeah, when you do art and creative things, even like writing songs, when you make demos, often you end up just going back to the original of what it was before it got too out of hand. I didn’t want to go down that road where I was just going to do a 180 and go back to the beginning anyway, so we stuck with it [laughs]. 

Is there a specific moment on the album that you really, really love and think is super cool?

A: There’s lots of different sections, they all have their moments really. I listen to softer music generally rather than heavier stuff, so I’ve probably listen to ‘The Ballad Of Peggy Mae’ the most more recently than the other songs. In ‘Growing Pains’ there’s some parts in there too. I like how the album starts and finishes with synth intros to album opener ‘Subsidiary’ and closer ‘Growing Pains’. 

We’ve finally learned to play ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ live and ‘Living Under A Rock’. I definitely have a lot of fun playing those two songs. ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ is a good one, it’s nice to have some more uptempo songs. We did ‘Subsidiary’ once at a gig, but I feel like it’s not quite there yet.

What have you been listening to lately in general?

A: Not a whole bunch really, that’s probably way I’m so understimulated. 

Is that because you’ve been so busy?

A: Yeah, I feel like I’m always too over my own head in shit that’s going on whether it’s with Gizzard or Murlocs. I feel like I’m always trying to keep up with things. I listened to the new Chats record [Get Fucked] this morning. R.M.F.C. is great, so is that new The Frowning Clouds [Gospel Sounds & More from the Church of Scientology] record on Anti Fade. Listening to that takes me back to being a teenager and hanging out with this guys and going to those gigs.

That was a great record. We’ve heard some of the new R.M.F.C. full-length that’s in the works, it’s sounding incredible. 

A: Sick! They’re great. 

There’s also a new Gee Tee album in the works that rules too!

A: Cool! I haven’t seen them play live yet but I’ve heard stuff and I’ve seen video snippets online and they’re sick!

Totally! What’s the rest of the year look like for you?

A: I’ve got four or five weeks rehearsing with The Murlocs, we’re going to start to learn this album on Wednesday. We’re going to do a test run of those songs at a show here in Melbourne, so we can get more confident with that. We’re going to rehearse a couple of nights a week forth month, but then I go to the States with King Gizzard for all of October, then the three Murlocs will come over and meet us towards the end of the tour and we’ll do three shows supporting Gizzard. At that point we wanted have played together for a month. I’m getting a bit nervous about that, rocking up to Levitation and Red Rocks hoping that our muscle memory will be enough to go off. Then Murlocs do the US in November. Then I’ll come home for December and we might do a Gizzard Melbourne show. That’s about it!

That’s all! Phew, that seems like a lot to me. 

A: [Laughs]. It is a lot, I’m just trying to play it down in my head, so I don’t stress too hard.

[Laughter]. Do you enjoy rehearsals? Is that fun for you?

A: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it and how we’re going to be doing these new Murlocs songs. It’ll all come together. I haven’t played much guitar in a while. I’m going to have to play guitar pin a few of the newer ones, that’ll be a bit wonky [laughs]. I’m looking forward to just hanging out with the guys, we don’t get to hang out as much as we’d like. 

Do you have anything else other than music stuff happening?

A: I’ve been skateboarding a little. I had that week in Budapest skating with friends. I skated a few times since I’ve been home. It’s the classic I’m-starting-to-get-my-groove-back thing and I fell over on my wrist a few times and hurt it, so I have to stop again. I was getting too excited! [laughs]. I can’t risk hurting my hands or arms. When you don’t do it for a while, you forget how to fall. 

Do you still get the same feeling now that you had when you were younger skateboarding?

A: Yeah, totally. It’s really good for my mental health or for anyones. You get a nice release, a feeling of freedom. You’re out and about and you catch up with old friends. You get back on your feet and it’s a nice feeling—that feeling you get when you land something after trying for a while. It’s a nice rush of adrenalin. 

There is plenty in the pipeline. With Gizzard there’s always stuff, and we have another Murlocs record that’s done as well. I’m just trying to figure out the art for it now and trying to talk everyone into doing video clips, but everyone tells me to “chill out!” [laughs]. That’s all well and good, but I’m never home enough and I like to do things well in advance so I’m not scrambling to do things at the last minute. 

Totally! As this album is loosely a concept album with a narrative, is the next album different to that?

A: Yeah, the next one is less strings attached. It’s still a while off ’til it will be released, but I’m really pumped on this next release! Somehow we’ve maybe topped Rapscallion! It’s more poppy. I’m starting to think of the plan of attack for that one. Things seem to only be getting better and better. As we all get older we’re getting better and better at writing songs. It’s all good. 

Rapscallion is out September 16 –  pre-order HERE. Follow @themurlocs + The Murlocs on Facebook. Murlocs’ Bandcamp.

**Another in-depth chat with Ambrose can be found in the our print zine – Gimmie issue 3.**

GIMMIE ZINE ISSUE 6

FEATURING : GEE TEE / LOOSE FIT / FUTURE SUCK / PARTY DOZEN / DANCINGWATER / KITCHEN’S FLOOR / JAI K MORRIS-SMITH (EXEK) / C.O.F.F.I.N TOUR DIARY

Gee Tee have a new hook-stacked record of lo-fi garage punk rock n roll coming out, and we’ve got the scoop from the enigmatic, Kel Mason.

Future Suck vocalist Grace Gibson tells us about their powerful and transformative new hardcore punk album, Simulation.

Party Dozen, the duo with magnetic creative artistry, Kirsty Tickle & Jono Boulet give us insight into their electrifying and apocalyptic sounding latest album, The Real Work.

Neo-soul-punk DancingWater yarns about Blak joy, feminism, racism in punk, healing through creating, and a desire to see “more Aboriginal people fronting punk bands”.

We explore Loose Fit’s deliciously exciting catchy yet jagged release Social Graces (one of our favourite albums this year) with creative powerhouses, Kaylene Milner & Anna Langdon. This band is pretty special.

Matt Kennedy of Kitchen’s Floor assures us he’s an optimist as we explore their upcoming record None Of That, a balance of witty levity and brutal tension.

Jai K Morris-Smith from Exek & Grossman/Morris-Smith shares his eccentric, experimental selections of some of the coolest music you haven’t heard, but should.

C.O.F.F.I.N’s Ben Portnoy gives us a raw, witty, bona fide rundown of 38 days on tour across the US as they support Amyl & the Sniffers.

[ This is a pre-order. Zines will be posted in next couple weeks ]

60 pages. A4 size.

Gee Tee photos by Oisin Dermody.

ORDER HERE!

R.M.F.C.’s Buz Clatworthy: “Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play”

Original photo: Alex Wall. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

We’re excited about the new R.M.F.C. 7” Access! Its addictive, energetic garage rock jangle with anarcho-punk drumming, and infectious melody. The combination is dizzying and sees R.M.F.C.’s sound transcend influences and fast track into a fervent lane of its own. The addition of 12-string guitar into the band giving us a fuller sound. Buz’s songwriting has taken leaps and bounds from first release Hive. This taster of things to come has us waiting with bated breath for the full-length album set for release in 2023.

Whenever we see you play live, we’re always in awe of how great everything sounds. Playing the drums while singing isn’t an easy thing to do; what was it like for you when you started doing it? What helped you get better at it?

BUZ CLATWORTHY: It was difficult at first when the original live band formed but I’ve always found it way harder to play guitar or bass and sing than I have drums; drums have always been my main instrument. I think it’s maybe something to do with the way my brain works that drums just make more sense to me, but in saying that I’ve never gotten very deep into the technical side of things, my style of playing is very simple and straightforward.


Aside from naturally getting better at it by repetition, I’ve got some little cheats to make it easier like adding breaks in the drums when I structure new songs. My drumming & singing role in the live setting definitely had a part in informing how I wrote the newer songs. I think the very blocky/rhythmic phrasing of my words also helps a lot cause it slots in with what my limbs are doing on the kit. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Are there any drummers, vocalists or songwriters that you’re inspired by? What do you appreciate about their style?

BC: Stephen Morris of Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order, Laurence Tolhurst from The Cure and whoever drummed on the first Gang Of Four album. Those three all have a similar snappy drum sound & semi-robotic feel and were big inspirations in my formative years style-wise. As most R.M.F.C. songs are built around bass lines, Klaudia Schiff from Kleenex/Liliput and Peter Hook from Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order are very important songwriting inspirations. I love their use of the bass as a leading instrument, the bass lines are what make most of my favourite tracks by those bands. 

I was talking with Kel from Gee Tee the other day and he mentioned that when you look back on your earlier releases you can really hear some of your influences coming through. You’ve been writing and making a new R.M.F.C. album; were you mindful of influences coming through for this one? How do you feel your sound had developed for those earlier releases?

BC: Yeah, being mindful of influences coming through is always something I keep in the back of my head when I’m writing/recording songs. There are definitely still subconscious attempts here and there to sound like whatever I’m enjoying listening to at the time but I always maintain a conscious effort to just sound like R.M.F.C. It’s usually more an attempt to replicate what I enjoy about the actual sonic aspect of older bands I like now.


For the earlier releases, I never thought anyone would care much for what I put out and I just wanted to make what I thought was cool at the time. When I listen to the Hive 1 & 2 releases now I just hear 17 year old me trying to sound like Jay Reatard and The Coneheads and that’s basically what it is, I was obsessed with bands like that. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Kel and I were also talking about how everyone in you guys’ friend group are great song writers and supportive of each other’s work. He mentioned that you don’t record at your house, but you go back to your parent’s place in Ulladulla; where to my knowledge all off your stuff’s been recorded? Why do like to there to record? 

BC: On one hand it’s just hard to find a good spot in Sydney to record let alone somewhere consistent to leave your stuff set up but I also feel like that room has become kind of an integral part of R.M.F.C in a way, It would feel weird not recording there for this band. It’s good having that space down there to visit and have nothing to do but make demos or record songs. It’s all set up in my old bedroom so when I go down to record I’m spending the majority of my time in that space and don’t really have to think about anything else. Once I finish the album recordings I think I’ll bring my recording desk up to Sydney and set up in my room so I can make demos and focus on something different for a while. 

Last we spoke, you told us that you were finding inspiration to write a little harder than usual because you hadn’t been able to travel as much and hang out with your friends because of the pandemic and it’s lockdowns. Has that changed?

BC: Yeah that’s definitely no longer an issue but since moving away from home and not having my recording setup I’ve found it just as difficult to make songs as I was during that stint. With R.M.F.C being a solo thing I find it so much easier to develop song ideas when I have my recording desk on hand to place the different parts together and make necessary adjustments, It’s a good writing tool. 

We love that you’ve been taking your time with the album: things more often than not, turn out better when you don’t force them and allow the songs to unfold in their own time. Has there been a turning point moment during your album’s creation were songs and the process has started to progress quicker for you? 

BC: There hasn’t necessarily been any specific turning point where things have progressed quicker. It seems to come in waves, I’ll have an off period where it feels like nothing is working out and then I’ll have a wave of productivity and get a bunch done. Everything’s pretty much written now it’s just a matter of finding time to go down and record the songs and getting them right. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

You’ve just released a new 7” on Anti Fade Records – Access/Air Conditioning; what made you choose these two songs? How do you feel they compliment each other?

BC: I basically chose ‘Access’ cause I felt it was the best song to have as a standalone release out of what I already had recorded, I have other songs I maybe like more but they just seem to work better in the company of the rest of the album. 

I mainly chose to cover ‘Air Conditioning’ (by UK post-punks The Lillettes) for the B-side cause I just really like that song but it also has that “human condition” phrase in it. I use the same phrase in two other songs that will be on the album which gives this 7″ an extra little connection. The two songs complimenting each other wasn’t necessarily a consideration but I think they work together as a good representation of where I want to go with the band. 

We love ‘Access’ and remember seeing you play it live when we saw you earlier in the year; is it challenging for you to get a song you’re used to playing live recorded the way you’d like?

BC: Every new song starts with a demo or final recording that I take to the band to learn so it’s usually the other way around, but the way I heard and thought about ‘Access’ definitely changed during the period between making the initial demo and making the final recording. I don’t think this is necessarily because I was used to playing it live but it took a while to get the final recording to sound right, I don’t think anything could make the process harder than I already make it for myself. 

Art by Ian Teeple.

What was the idea behind the 7” art? 

BC: I pretty much just gave Ian [Teeple] a bunch of Wire 7″ covers for reference and we went back and forth with ideas. I was very pedantic with this design suggesting adjustments etc. which probably annoyed Ian but he was very patient and I think we both really like how the artwork turned out, I’ve had lots of good feedback on it too. Thank you Ian! ❤ 

You told us about the recent Other, Like Me: The Oral History of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle documentary. Thanks! What’s something, in relation to creativity or performance, that you took away from watching it?

BC:I really liked the emphasis they placed on the idea that you don’t actually need any form of training to make successful new radical music or art. I did music through to my final year in high school and while I did enjoy aspects of it, for the most part it contradicted what I felt music should be, so that resonated with me. Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play/had a very basic level of knowledge and skill in regards to their instruments and TG’s influence was probably instrumental in the existence of a lot of those projects. 

I also really like how a lot of what COUM did wasn’t intended to be art, rather just something that existed and didn’t have to mean anything. 

What’s something that you’ve been interested in and getting into lately? 

BC: Angelica from G2g/Wanderlust got me onto this duo called Lives Of Angels who I’ve been obsessed with. I’ve also been listening to a lot of country music lately. My friend showed me this Numero Group compilation called Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music. Lots of great tracks on it that all sorta came in the wake of the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, shout out to Dyl Scott <3.  I’ve also been loving Operating Theatre/Roger Doyle. I heard their track ‘Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth’ on a radio show playlist Ian Teeple did recently and have been really enjoying exploring their catalogue. It’s so good having lots of friends to share music with 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Is there anyone you know that’s working on, or created something really cool, that you’d like to shout out?

BC: Ian is currently working on the second Silicone Prairie album, I’ve heard it in its current form and it’s very very good. What The Toads have so far for a release they’re doing next year is also very very good. Carnations from Sydney should have a release out soon which I’m super keen to hear. Aside from that there are a bunch of friends working on things I’ve seen/heard that I’m very excited about and would like to shout out, but cannot share. 2023 is shaping up to be a good year for the underground. 

What’s the rest of the year looking like for you? 

BC: I’ve made some time here and there over the next couple of months to finally finish recording the new album. R.M.F.C has a few shows coming up, playing with the Ramones and The Prize at the Lansdowne on the 28th of October which is very exciting. We also have an exciting show coming up in Naarm/Melbourne in November. 

R.M.F.C.’s Access 7” is out now on Anti Fade Records – get it HERE and in the US find it via Feel it Records. Follow @r.m.f.c.fanclub and @antifaderecords + R. M. F. C. On bandcamp.

Grungegaze sludgepop trio Terra Pines: “Love, Burnout, Escapism” 

Original photo courtesy of Terra Pines. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Meanjin band Terra Pines are dropping one of the albums of the year and we’re premiering it! Dynamic arrangements, elastic overdrive, atmospheric production, sugary harmonies, melodies washing over you in pulsating waves, glorious crescendos—this is the stuff that dreams are made of. Gimmie caught up with Terra Pines to get insight into making album Downbeats

What’s life been like lately?

KELLY (guitar/vocals): Life has been pretty interesting adapting to this post-plague world. We are about to go on tour again and I’m definitely feeling the “Will everything be cancelled” anxieties.

CAM (drums/vocals): It’s kind of a weird time to be in a band. Getting some momentum into being active again has a been a bit of a challenge.

OWEN (guitar/vocals: I’m really excited that we’re finally getting to put these songs out. It’s been a long couple of years. 

Is there anything that’s been engaging you lately that you’ve been watching, listening to, or reading lately?

KELLY:I’m going through a phase of listening to a lot of music at the moment. Enjoying the new Sasumi record Squeeze. Also really excited for the new Gilla Band record- the two singles ‘Eight Fivers’ and ‘Backwash’ have been superb. 

CAM: Count me as another who is very excited about new Gilla Band. Also listening to the relatively recent Springtime and Infinity Broke records a lot. Low’s ‘Hey What’ is still getting a lot of play for me, too – such amazing production combined with Low’s usual quality songwriting. There’s been lots of really good local stuff, too, like the A Country Practice album from last year and the upcoming Renovators Delight album.

OWEN: Both Cam and Kelly’s other bands (Spirit Bunny and Ancient Channels) put out records semi-recently that I really enjoyed, and still listen to. The new Infinity Broke, Tropical Fuck Storm and Springtime records are all favourites of mine.

New album Downbeats is your second LP. You were putting finishing touches on it in January 2021; when did you start writing for it? How did you get into writing for this record?

KELLY: I’m always writing so I’m not sure if there was a point that kicked it all off. There are some songs on Downbeats that predate a lot of the songs off our first record. Songs like Sun Spells for instance (the album opener). It didn’t fit the first record and we weren’t sure what we wanted to do with it or even if we would do anything with it for a while.

CAM: There was probably a little break after the first album before we started working on things as a band. There’s usually a pretty big backlog of unused demos and song ideas that we can work on, so it’s great to be able to cherry pick the best ideas that get us all excited. From memory we had the vast majority of the album pretty well planned out before we started recording, maybe there might have been a song or two that was added in late in the piece (and perhaps knocked some other songs off the record, I think we’ve got another three or four somewhat completed songs that didn’t quite make the cut).

OWEN:I think we started with 16 rough ideas, 13 of which were recorded. And as Kelly suggested, sometimes they don’t fit the general direction of the record. Hopefully they’ll get used later on. There’s still good songs predating the first record that haven’t fit either album.

How did the writing evolve as you went along?

KELLY: We basically wanted to pick up where we left off at the end of the first record. The final songs on that record had a lot more layers and textures and were a bit more stylised. We wanted to explore that a bit more, I like to think about ‘Downbeats’ as more of a studio record. 

CAM: We just wanted to push ourselves a bit more, try a few new things and experiment a bit more with song structures. A lot of the first album was us figuring out what we were as a band, so with this one we had that base already established so we could play around with things a lot more right from the get-go.

OWEN: There’s way more lead and less walls of guitar on this one, which left a lot more space for vocals and other things to come through. 

Did Covid or the pandemic impact Downbeats

KELLY: Definitely, we had mostly finished recording a few weeks before covid hit Australia. That absolutely messed with our momentum for a while with the stop/starting of the economy.

CAM: Yeah, things came to a screeching halt in 2020. We were almost finished with all of the tracking for the album, but weren’t quite far enough along to really get stuck into mixing etc. It took a long time for us to regroup and get things finished. Luckily once we restarted our enthusiasm for the songs was rekindled.

Did you have any ideas of what you did or didn’t want to do on your sophomore album?

KELLY: We didn’t want to make the same record again and we wanted to incorporate different sounds, ideas and atmosphere. Speaking for myself, I wanted to really cut the fat and have a really sharp record, all killer no filler etc. In order to do that we had to cut a few songs but I’m glad we did that.

CAM: Refinement and progression from the first record, really, with a few new twists thrown in. We wanted to try to add a bit more non-guitar instrumentation, which is something we started playing around with towards the end of making the first album. And as Kelly said, just making sure that songs didn’t meander or outstay their welcome, that they were always moving towards something.

Where does your love of melody come from?

KELLY: I’m a slave to melody so if there isn’t a nice hook I’m gone, bye! I’d say most of that comes from the music I’ve consumed throughout my life. Hooks are what resonates with me among other things. 

CAM: As much as we’re a noisy, shoegaze-punk kind of band, we’re also a pop band. We want to add as much beauty and catchiness as we can to the feedback and fuzz. That tension between the extremes is a major part of what makes the best Terra Pines music.

What kinds of stories are you telling listeners with your lyrics in this collection of songs?

KELLY: A lot of these songs were written in 2019 so most of the lyrics are in response to what was going on around then. Some songs are inspired by the bushfires (‘Pinos Altos’ and ‘Indoor Kid’). Some are about love, burnout, escapism etc… I like to keep things a bit vague, lots of imagery and metaphor. I don’t like to be explicit in what I’m talking about. Classic Pisces. 

Why did you choose Downbeats as the album title? 

KELLY: The title worked on a few fronts for us, the gloomy nature of the record but also as a musical reference. We thought it was cool.

CAM: We had the pseudo- title track ‘Downbeat’ for quite a long time, it was one of the first songs written for the record and I think the first one we started playing live regularly. We kind of liked it as an album title but thought it might be a bit much, perhaps a bit too blatant to call a moody rock record ‘Downbeat’. Making it Downbeats gave us the double meaning.

The record was self-recorded again by Cam at Incremental Records. Tell us about the process. 

KELLY:It’s such a privilege to have the engineer as part of the band. To begin with we recorded live demos in the studio in order to get the structure of the songs solid. Structure was something we thought a lot about this time around. When we got around to recording the songs we took our time and played around with sounds.It was lots of fun.

CAM: It’s also just practical. It allows us time and it saves us money, plus we felt like we hadn’t really explored the limits of what we could do in that context with the first album. The first record was recorded almost all live, at least in terms of the drums and guitars. There’s actually not a lot of overdubbing on that record other than the vocals, some keys and a smattering of extra guitars here and there. This record, while not necessarily being THAT much more layered than the debut, was recorded more piecemeal, building things up from the drums, guitars, vocals, etc. It was just a different way of working that allowed us a bit more time to focus on individual parts and sounds. We could take the time to vary the sonics a bit more.

How did you push the boundaries of creativity for yourself writing or recording Downbeats

KELLY: I think we thought about the songs a lot more this time, the first record was all instinctual at least from a writing perspective. This time around a lot more thought went into structure and tone. I also spent a lot more time trying to workshop vocal melodies.

CAM: For me, I came into the first album very much as just being ‘the drummer’ – all of the songwriting was done by Kelly and Owen back then and I was just support for their ideas. I don’t think I was even going to be singing at first, that really only came about once we started playing some shows and we realised that it worked better if someone could harmonise with Kelly’s vocals. It wasn’t until towards the end of writing and recording that album that I started collaborating on songwriting. With this album there was a lot more workshopping the songs as a band, the songs were often coming in a little bit more skeletal than on the first one and there was a lot more room for adding new parts and really playing with structures and melodies. We were able to do some cool things like on the song ‘Pinos Altos’, where none of the choruses are played the same way twice. Just cool little unexpected changeups where previously we might have played things a lot straighter.

OWEN: There’s always things in the original demos that we’re trying to recapture, which presents its challenges, especially if the part is off the cuff, like most of the guitar solos tend to be. 

What do you value about each other personally and creatively?

KELLY: I love the way Owen plays guitar, he doesn’t play like anyone I’ve ever heard. The way he accents notes and his playing style is so out there to me! As for Cam, I love his ideas around structure and his extensive knowledge of music in general. I’m glad we all get on personally because that would be very uncomfortable if we didn’t.

CAM: There are definitely some brutal truths uttered between us when writing and recording! We’re all working towards the same goal though, to make something which excites us. I think we’re one of those bands where we’re really a mix of each of our musical personalities, if you swapped any of us out it would be quite a different thing. I think showing your musical personality can sometimes be a challenge when you play a style that’s hidden behind so much fuzz and volume. Kelly and Owen have such unique ways of playing and writing, generally I’m just trying to slot myself in amongst them in a way that holds it all together – in all of my other drumming projects I don’t really play drums the way I have to in Terra Pines, I’m usually a lot looser.

OWEN: They’reboth great singers, and I like that this record has allowed that to shine through. 

Downbeat’ was the first single released from the album back in October of last year; why did you choose this track to kick off sharing this album to the world?

CAM: It just seemed like a good indication of the record, and it has a good chorus and a cool momentum throughout. We’d been playing it live for a while and it had been getting a good reaction so we just went for it.

What influenced the album track sequencing?

KELLY: I think the sequencing selection happened organically, we all arrived at more or less the same conclusions based on flow. Certain songs just make sense as openers, closers and everything in between.

CAM: When we were listening to the demos we had a playlist order that over time became the album tracklisting. Along the way we added a few newer songs which meant that some others got bumped off, but for the most part that demo playlist stayed relatively consistent. I think for the most part there was mostly a consensus between us, and there were some songs that just seemed obvious, eg: starting the record with ‘Sun Spells’ and also starting side B with ‘Pinos Altos’. A couple of songs were maybe a little contentious in terms of their placement on the album, I think there was maybe a little bit of debate about closing the record with ‘Nightshade’?

OWEN: I’m pleading the fifth on this one hahaha 

How does the album make you feel? 

KELLY: Chuffed! 

CAM: Really proud. I think it’s a cool record, I still listen to it occasionally from front to back for my own enjoyment, even after spending hours and hours recording and mixing it. I think it sets up a real mood while still going to lots of different places, which can be a challenge with the style of music that we play.

OWEN: I’m super proud of it. It improves upon all the elements of the first one, and that’s all you can ask for really.

What’s one of your personal favourite moments on the album? What do you appreciate most about it? 

KELLY: My favourite moment on the record is Wiseacre. It nearly didn’t happen because I didn’t want to go there. It was an old demo we had lying around in the dark recesses of our google drive. The original demo was faster and more post-punk in nature, Cam had the idea of slowing it down and making it more doomy. I’m glad he convinced me because now it’s my favourite song on the record.

CAM: That’s happened twice now, I’m pretty sure Kelly’s favourite song on the first album had a similar story. I think my favourite moment is the changeup with the alternate chords in the final chorus of ‘Blood Moon’, I really like the way that it makes that song feel really epic. There are other cool moments though, like the outro of ‘Indoor Kid’, or the solo in ‘Downbeat’. ‘Wiseacre’ is indeed a favourite, we were trying to turn it into a bit of a slowcore song, like heavy Low or Codeine. It turned out really well, I think it’s my favourite song production-wise.

OWEN: Nightshade’ is definitely a highlight for me. Kelly’s vocals set such a mood. I really like where ‘Wiseacre’ and ‘Green’ ended up as well. Both of those songs changed considerably in the recording process.

Album art and single art features buildings and architecture; what was the idea behind representing these songs with this imagery? 

CAM: Kelly had been doing some collages, a lot of which combined superimposed images of architecture combined with these cosmic backgrounds. Owen and I both loved them, so we all went out one day and took a bunch of photos of some brutalist architecture around Brisbane and basically recreated the vibe of Kelly’s mockups but in a slightly higher quality. We just really loved that combination of the rough, monolithic feel of all of that concrete brutalism, juxtaposed against the inherent sense of craft and beauty. Taking that and combining it with the epic scale of the night sky seemed to work well as a representation of our music.

You’re heading out on the road for an Australian tour to support Downbeats; what’s the best and worst things about being out there?

CAM: The travel is sometimes the best thing and sometimes the worst thing. Seeing the beauty of the spaces in between the major cities is wonderful, but it can be gruelling, especially when combined with struggling through peak-hour traffic in unfamiliar cities. I’m not a fan of the lack of sleep that generally goes hand in hand with touring, I like my sleep. But on the flip-side you meet some really cool people, see some really cool bands, hopefully get some time to eat some good food (as opposed to roadside maccas). Probably the worst thing these days is being away from family, so if you’re going to go on tour you’d best make it worthwhile.

KELLY: The food is both the best and worst part of touring.

OWEN: Catching up with mates that we don’t get to see that often, and exploring different cities is always a lot of fun. Eating good food, not drinking too much and getting enough sleep is crucial. Roadside Maccas is acceptable if Lord of the Fries is shut. 

Terra Pines’ Downbeats is out tomorrow (Sept 2) on False Peak Records – order it HERE. Follow @terra_pines and find the on Facebook terrapinesband.