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.

Lo-fi Post-punk Band Maraudeur: “We’re all in need of connection”

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

Maraudeur’s sophomore album Puissance 4 is highly spirited, paper-thin post-punk, filled with unexpected moments and dizzying highs, stoking curiosity in the listener. There’s a freshness, joy and sense of freedom on the record, that rightly earned Marauder mentions on many underground music Best Of 2021 lists. 2022 sees Puissance‘s release on one of our favourite US labels, Feel It Records. 

In signature Gimmie-style, we interviewed Maraudeur because we love their music, wanted to know more about it and its creators, but couldn’t’ find anything out there about them. 

Maraudeur is based in Leipzig, Germany but everyone lives in different areas; can you tell us a little bit about where you live?

CAMILLE: I live in Lyon, which I would say is an interesting city regarding shows. Also, there are plenty of active and creative bands! I moved here 14 years ago because I was interested in music, and many of the bands I wanted to see were touring there. It’s also quite a pretty city, with two rivers crossing, hills… I like walking around and I’m not bored yet, so I stay here! 

LISE: I live in Leipzig, it’s green, but also grey. There are a lot of lakes; really nice in the summer!

CHARLOTTE: I live in Geneva. It’s a pretty rich city, and there are rich neighbourhoods that look awful, but there’s also a cool scene of struggling artists and nice cheap places to hang out to. It’s a small city, so everybody knows each other and solidarity is present. So even if you’re poor, you’ll get by.

What’s life been like lately for you?

LISE: Trying to re_create new assertments, which were destabilized throughout the pandemy. Héhé, a real casse-tête.

CAMILLE: Mostly working (I’m a social worker), playing shows (with Maraudeur and Litige, my other band) or hanging out at friend’s shows!

How did you first discover music?

LISE: I remember my mum hearing Janis Joplin a lot in the car . . and I hated it. I think I was scared of her voice. It changed since then.

CHARLOTTE:: I remember my mum and I listening to Crash Test Dummies when driving to l’Ardèche in the summer. Especially the “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” song. That was easy to sing along.

CAMILLE: I remember my mum listening to Roch Voisine (she found him pretty sexy), Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. But, I was more interested in dance music and the boy bands from the 90’s.

Why is music important to you?

CHARLOTTE:: Music ideas come around my head when I’m bored. It’s like if it was my brain’s favourite game to avoid boredom. Although it likes other types of art to play with, melodies are very often the first ones to pop in. So, to answer the question, I’d say music is important to me because it’s like my playground where I can create anything, set my own rules (or no rules at all) and simply have fun! And that makes me feel free. Free to express, whatever and however I want to, and also free to be myself.

CAMILLE: It helps me to deal with the strangeness of this world and to feel a bit more optimistic ! Also listening to music is a perfect way to keep curiosity alive, wanting to know more about this band, these kinds of weird sounds… It never ends! About playing music, it allowed me to challenge my own limits. And to learn dealing with others.

LISE: Music is the best meditation trick, it can keep you focused for hours, a real relief from the outside !

When did you first pick up an instrument? Who or what inspired you to?

CAMILLE: I  started playing on my brother’s drum kit, that we had at our parent’s basement.

It was just for fun, nothing serious came out of my solo starter practices.

When I moved to Lyon, I used to hang out a lot with the people at this local DIY space called Grrrnd Zero. Many people had rehearsal spaces, where we ended drunk after shows. At one point, a friend asked me to join him and his girlfriend to play music with them, and it was the first time playing drums was becoming something “real” to me. So I would say my friends, my brother inspired me to dare picking up an instrument, in spite of my lack of technical skills or lessons. I never learned anything academic or by taking lessons, and I will probably never do.

How did you meet?

CAMILLE: I met Lise and Charlotte in Brittany at a festival called Binic in 2016, where they were hanging out. I was totally high, and when I saw Lise, I was remembering her from a few months before: in fact, she played a show with Couteau Latex in Lyon. We didn’t really talked there, but we finally ended up talking that summer. I found these two girls really nice, and they pretty much invited me to join them during the weekend. Lise asked me if I wanted to play in Maraudeur but I couldn’t so far. A few months after, she emailed me for a tour in France. Again, I couldn’t be available. But Lise didn’t take it for granted, and asked me again! Then I said YES and joined

Maraudeur. Morgane and me met in Lyon, where she was living before moving to Saint-Etienne.

CHARLOTTE:: Lise and I met a long time ago, when we were teens. We started our first band together with two other guys. Funny thing is that the four of us barely knew each other before starting playing music together. So we basically met in the practice space.

LISE: Charlotte and I met Myriam, who’s playing synth and also singing on the album at a Maraudeur concert in Paris, next thing we know is that she was going on tour with us! It’s always a mind maze to talk about all the band members, cause there’s been a lot. They come, they go, its fluid. Can be sometimes confusing but it also keeps the waves flowing !

We really love your album Puissance 4, it’s so interesting, there is so much happening; what are the things that are important to you in regards to creativity?

CHARLOTTE:: I think I partly answered that question before, but I’ll add a few things. So if I keep going with my music/playground metaphor, let’s say that creativity is actually the whole playground, and music is an area of it. And in this area, there are many mini-areas, which each contains many mini-mini-areas, etc. etc. And that’s where keeping the metaphor gets tricky because it’s even more fun to try to play in different areas at the same time, haha! My point being that there’s so much to discover and experiment, all it takes is to be curious and to dare to try out stuff. And as this is all about fun, then it’s even more fun when there are friends around! More people means more ideas and more ways to look at things. It also means compromises, but it’s worth it. Compromises can also be a way to mix up things even more and generate more interesting stuff. So, to summarise, I’d say that diversity of ideas, experimentation, collaboration, curiosity and courage are the keys to be creative and inspired for me.

What’s the story behind the title? (I’d never heard of the word before and looked it up because I’m a nerd and love finding new words, and found it means “great power, influence, or prowess”).

LISE: Héhé. Actually it’s the name of a game. Puissance is also a mathematical term, it means “to the fourth”. We used it as a small clin d’oeil to the fact that it’s the first time that we recorded all together, as if it made it then possible to multiply our capacity to create something. But puissance does mean power, yes. Greater scale power.

What kinds of songs do you enjoy writing the most?

CHARLOTTE: I have no preference actually. I like writing any songs. Diversity is nice, otherwise I get bored.

LISE: Short & dirty.

CAMILLE: A song I can’t play, like ‘I’m Here’

Is there anything that you find challenging about songwriting?

CHARLOTTE: Lyrics! Lyrics are hard… And remembering everything. Structures, riffs, lyrics, pfiouuu… I’m sure songwriting is a good memory exercise for the brain! And on a darker note, songwriting can be scary sometimes. Starting a song can make me feel unsafe and stressed. But I rarely feel this way in bands though. The other’s input keeps me inspired, and the group dynamic works like an anchor into the real world and prevents me from drifting on Anxiety Sea.

CAMILLE: To adapt myself to the weird structures of Maraudeur ! 

Where have you found inspiration for a recent song you have written?

LISE: I’d like to talk about a song that we’ve been working on ‘La Jaguar.’ We were having a residency in Geneva and we would always eat in the parking lot, because that’s where the sun was. We laughed about the fact that we were stealing the spot of expensive cars (there’s a lot in Geneva).

CHARLOTTE:: … A parking spot by the river and where the sun always shines! We imagined that some rich person actually bought this spot for the view and the sun exposure, haha!

CAMILLE: There is a song that we refer to as “the Eddy Current” one, which is totally not similar to the great Eddy Current Suppression Ring, but it’s funny we were understanding each other while calling it like that. And we love this band.

CHARLOTTE: It’s true now the result is very different, but originally it was because of the guitar riff that sounded a bit like them. Personally, I still hear it, and I enjoy that.

How long did it take to write Puissance 4; do you write collaboratively?

LISE: We were one month in Leipzig; to write, practice, go on tour for a week and even mix the album. It was obviously way too much of a plan but it worked. We did re-mixed some vocals a bit later though. There was already four songs that were already written/partly recorded, but the rest we did all together.

CAMILLE: I’ve never spent so much time in such a short duration in a rehearsal space. Sometimes it was intense.  But it was a cool experience ! 

What’s your favourite song on the album? What do you love about it? What’s it about?

LISE: I would talk about the sound of the album. We were really restrained in terms of mixing and that’s what makes it special… to me. I think the fact that we mixed all together gave the album an envelope, even though some songs sound really different; you can hear there are two different snare, for example.  

What is one of your fondest memories from recording the album?

CAMILLE: Eating every day in 15 days at least the same croque monsieur! 

CHARLOTTE: Recording live on tape, aiming for the perfect one-shot that never happens, but ending up liking the flaws. And then, mixing on a super nice big boy of a mixer, turning knobs live, it was like a multiple hands choreography! And, knowing there won’t be no turning back. We didn’t own a multiple track interface at that time, so we were bouncing the songs stereo, and yep, that was it.

We love the Puissance 4 cover drawings. You screen-printed it yourself, right? I understand many artists contributed; what was the idea behind having many artists draw something? How do you think it reflects the album’s music or themes?

LISE: My theory would be that we like to involve our personal vicinity into our work. I like the idea to somehow pay tribute to it. It would be kind of a disillusion to believe that this album just came out of only our minds; there are people around, smells, buildings, atmospheres, dirty punk caves,  there’s places we like go to whether it’s in Leipzig, Lyon, Genève, Saint Etienne, Burgundy. It felt like a good way to bridge this environment to what we do. We’re all in need of connection.

CAMILLE: I totally agree with Lise! 

What’s next for Maraudeur?

MARAUDEUR: An Italian tour in November. Rehearse in the summer. Welcome a new member in the crew! And, record a new album at the end of the year if everything works out! Thanks for the interview!!! 

GET Puissance 4 via Feel It Records (US). MARAUDEUR Bandcamp. In Australian find it via Tenth Court Records and Repressed Records. Follow @maraudeur_zeband and Maraudeur on Facebook.

Alien Nosejob’s Jake Robertson on new record, Paint It Clear: “Hopefully it will mean something to somebody.”

Original pic by Carolyn Hawkins. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

One of our favourite creators, Jake Robertson (you might know him from Ausmuteants, Hierophants, School Damage, Swab, Drug Sweat, SMARTS and more) is back with a new album for his solo alter-ego project Alien Nosejob. Paint It Clear is ANJ’s fourth full-length. 11 brilliant tracks mixing post-punk with 80’s new wave and even a little disco. Recorded by Mikey Young, the record has ANJ sounding more dynamic and brighter than ever. Gimmie loves Jake’s quirky, humorous and wry observational lyrics and skilful songcraft. We’re excited to share with you, the first track released from the ANJ camp in thirteen months ‘Leather Gunn’ along with our chat with Jake, a sneak peek insight into the forthcoming album.

JAKE ROBERTSON: I’ve been working a lot, it’s taken a toll, I’m basically always tired. I still have a job, which half of my friends don’t since Covid, so I’m pretty lucky in that respect. It’s hard to come home and be motivated to do anything.

When we spoke the other day, you mentioned that you’ve been having a little bit of a break creatively, and that you’ve spent most of your spare time just chilling watching TV and reading.

JR: Yeah. I’ve been reading a bunch, and watching heaps of TV. Kerry my housemate, when he moved in, he brought a giant TV with him; we’ve been going to town on it. It’s the first time that I’ve had a television in ten years—I’m lovin’ it! [laughs]. It’s so good. I’m still writing heaps; I’m constantly writing in-between watching The Righteous Gemstones or whatever.

I feel like maybe a year ago, when I was working a little bit less, I’d finish work, come home and do music for a bit, then go see some mates. Since lockdown has happened, I can’t really see friends, and sometimes can’t be bothered doing music. It’s weird, like I’ve kind of got extra time, but I don’t [laughs].

I feel like you’ve been pretty prolific and released a lot over the last few years though.

JR: Yeah, I have. But everything I’ve released, even the album you’re interviewing me about, most of that was written a while ago. I probably would have recorded it around the time the last Gimmie interview happened.

Yeah, it was around November 2020.

JR: Yeah, that was when I recorded it, but some of the songs were written around 2015, at least the embryonic versions. I’ve just touched them up a little bit.

Having a bunch of songs you’ve written over a long period of time, how did you decide which ones to use for this record Paint It Clear?

JR: The majority of the stuff that I do under the Alien Nosejob name was written with other bands in mind. One or two of them were potentially going to be an Ausmuteants song back in the day. One of them was going to be a Leather Towel song. I have a little log of all my half-finished demos that is written up and pasted on my wall. Every now and then I’ll listen back to something and go, yeah, I could do something with this.

It’s interesting that you said a few of the songs were written with other projects in mind, I had wonder that, because I got that feeling from listening to the album. Jhonny and I were talking about how it doesn’t have one particular sound like other Nosejob releases. I commented that tracks sounded like a Ausmuteants track or even Hierophants or even reminded me of the Nosejob Italo-disco album. The album feels a little like an amalgamation of all the stuff you’ve done.

JR: Yeah, kind of. When I was putting it together, I was trying to be conscious of not making it sound like it’s being too influenced by something else, even though there’s definitely a couple of songs where I’m like, ‘Oh, I was listening to a lot of The Cure’ [laughs]. I haven’t listened to it since I got the test pressing in February. It’s like The Cure with a crappy singer, not Robbie Smith [laughs]. Those two songs are ‘Clear As Paint’ and ‘Duplicating Satan’, which is the Italo-disco-sounding one you were talking about; I remember trying to make it sound like ‘The Walk’ by The Cure, one of their singles from 1983-ish. Hopefully it doesn’t actually sound like it, but I was definitely going for it.

I can totally hear the in there. What can you tell us about the album’s title Paint It Clear?

JR: [Laughs] I literally just jumbled the words of the song ‘Clear As Paint’ around. That song and the title, it was an amateur attempt of a contranym, like painting something clear. If you painted something clear it could be see-through, like glass.

Nice. You mentioned you’ve been watching a lot of TV and films. I love movies, I have since I was a kid. I’d go to the video shop with my mum and we’d get out twenty VHS is $20 for the week. What have you been watching?

JR: We had a very similar upbringing, Bianca. We’d get seven weeklies for $7; you’d pick them up on a Thursday, spend the week watching them and then pick up another seven when you brought those back the following week. I did that from when I was about eight until I was eighteen. It would be a weird week if I didn’t get out at least three videos.

Rad! Whenever I look at those 1001 movies you have to see before you die or 100 best movies of the 80’s and 90’s lists, I’ve seen most of them except for a small handful of titles.

JR: In that 1001 movie list there’s probably another 800 I’d need to see! [laughs]. I’d watch and lot but also rewatch a lot.

Pic by Carolyn Hawkins.

What are some of your favourite movies?

JR: One of my favourite movies lately, because I’ve just rewatched it is, Blue Murder, the mini-series. I created a Letterboxd account the other day, so I was actually thinking about this. I really like the movie The Vanishing, it’s a Dutch one. It’s good if you’re a fan of eerie-ish horror movies. It’s so good. Not the remake with Kiefer Sutherland, but the original. I watched Blood Simple with my housemate, it was awesome, I’ve never seen it before. Movies! Woo! [laughs]. I love Mean Girls and stuff like that as well.

We were talking about comic books before too; I was a really big fan of Ghost World growing up and still am now.

I love ­Ghost World too, and the Mean Girls movie is a classic!

JR: You have to mix up the arty ones with the blockbusters.

For sure. I can’t watch too much of anything at once, mixing things up is essential. For example, if I’ve watched a run of horror movies or true crime, I have to watch something nice and fun and not dark and brutal.

JR: Yeah, it’s time for a Pixar movie! [laughs]. Pixar know how to rip your heart out more than anything else. I feel like the only time that I shed a tear is when I’m watching a Pixar movie [laughs]. The last time I got on a plane, which seems like a long time ago now, I thought it would be a good time to watch the Pixar movie Up. I feel very sorry for the person that was sitting next to me because I was crying, slobbering all over them [laughs].

Awww [laughter]. So, the first single for your album will be ‘Leather Gunn’…

JR: Yeah, it is. When Billy [Anti Fade], Sam [Feel It Records] and I were thinking of what the first single off the album should be, we were like, we’ll each say our top three. That wasn’t in mine, but they both had it in theirs, they have the outsider perspective. To me, all of the songs, I just shit them out and I’m done with it [laughs], I don’t think about them anymore. They both had that song first, so I was like, ok, let’s do that one first.

What was happening when you wrote it?

JR: John Douglas who plays in Leather Towel with me, he was moving back to Australia from New Zealand and we were talking about doing a new Leather Towel album. I was trying to come up with something that sounded different to the first album; that was the only song that I wrote for it. We played two or three gigs, then Covid happened and he went back to New Zealand. We didn’t even get to try that song as a band. It seemed at the point where it probably wouldn’t happened, so I made it a Nosejob song. I kept the ‘Leather’ in there as a nod to that, and the ‘Gunn’ was because the original demo of it, the guitar was single note surfy, like a Peter Gunn da na da na da na na na. Lyrically, it’s about people not doing what they’re told no matter how minuscule and pointless or petty the thing they’re not doing is.

What are the songs the you really love on the album?

JR: I really like ‘Duplicating Satan’.

Was that one of the songs on you top three list?

JR: My list was ‘Duplicating Satan’ and ‘King’s Gambit’ (which will be the second one released, I wrote it in 2015 but never put lyrics to it) that was probably my best written song on the album, it took me ages to write it. The other song is the last one ‘Bite My Tongue’. I get why that wouldn’t be a not-released-before-the-album-comes-out one. That’s another one that took me ages to write. It took me ages to learn how to play it too. ‘Bite My Tongue’ and a few songs that I have, are about… you know when you have a thought or a way of feeling about a certain situation but you can’t find the words to get it out. It’s almost like a block and you just can’t say your mind. It’s a feeling I have sometimes, I can’t even tell myself what it is. Basically, it’s about a mental block and not being able to get your words out properly.

I get that, it makes sense.

JR: Kind of, I think I was trying to make sense of it in the song. Hopefully it will mean something to somebody.

I really love the song ‘Jetlagging’ on the album.

JR: That one was originally written with Ausmuteants in mind, I wrote the lyrics on an Ausmuteants tour, travelling 400kms a day and just eating the same meal over and over again. It’s a very my-first-tour, Tours’R’Us or Tours For Dummies lyrics! [laughs]. I really love that song too.

Also, I love ‘The Butcher’ which is before ‘Jetlagging’ in the album sequencing.

JR: A couple of years ago, I was getting obsessed with Terry Hall and Fun Boy Three. I was trying to write something a little bit from that camp, and The Zombies’ song called ‘The Butcher’ as well; it was definitely an influence on it, but I didn’t mean to call it the same song [laughs]… I’m kind of noticing that now.

I got Mikey [Young] to record the drums; he recorded the drums, bass and guitar for the album. Except for ‘Duplicating Satan’ which I recorded at home, and ‘The Butcher’. I couldn’t work out what I had played in the demo, I had to drag the demo out and stretch it over the drums that I played. I don’t think anyone else will notice this, but if you listen closely the drums and the rest of the music keeps on going out of time because of that. I tried to relearn how to play it, but after a while I was like, I can’t be bothered! [laughs].

Is it weird sometimes listening back to your songs and being able to remember what was happening in your life or what you were doing at the time of writing or recording it? Kind of like having a sonic diary.

JR: Yeah, it is. I might think something is not about something, but it will be. I’ll generally listen to an album that I’ve done when I get it on record, and that’s it. I actually listened to an Ausmuteants album, Amusements, the other day, it was the first time since we recorded it. It was a nice feeling; I definitely like it more than I thought I would. It was good to have an eight-year distance of not hearing it, it was recorded in 2012 or 2013. I won’t rush to listen to it again [laughs], but I didn’t hate it as much as I thought I did.

Album art by Nicky Minus.

Who did the album art for Paint It Clear?

JR: How good is it?!

Really, really good! That’s why I was asking, it’s very cool.

JR: It was done by Nicky Minus. They grew up in Hornsby in New South Wales, but they’re living in Melbourne now, and does a lot of work for the Worker’s Art Collective doing a lot of work for Union. I got onto them by following Sam Wallman who is a comic book artist/cartoonist.

Is that the same Sam who has done artwork for you before?

JR: Yeah, he did the first Ausmuteants 7 inch in 2010. I’ve been following his stuff before then, he’s besties with Nicky, I saw their stuff through that and was blown away by it. I just bought some of their art for my wall, and because I look at it every day, I was like, it could suit this album. They were into it, they wanted to make something from scratch. I’m glad they did and am super happy with the way it turned out.

What else have you been up to of late?

JR: I’ve been doing some home-recording with Vio [Violetta DelConte Race] from Primo! I’ve loved her songwriting for ages, she has a good idea of space, if it doesn’t need to be played, she won’t; the way I play is the opposite of that [laughs]. It’s kind of inspired by Michael Rother, and sounds basically like School Damage and Primo! If I could sound half as good as Primo! I’d be happy. It’s called Modal Melodies. The only rule of the project is that we’re not allowed to play live, it’s just a recording thing.

Cool! I can’t wait to hear that. I love Primo! too. They’re all such incredible songwriters.

JR: There’s a new Swab album around the corner too coming out on the label Hardcore Victim in around January or February. And, I’m playing drums on the new Ill Globo album!

Alien Nosejob’s Paint It Clear is out November 12. Pre-order now: Anti Fade (AUS) and Feel It Records (USA).

Anti Fade are also offering a bundle deal, including Paint It Clear on vinyl, the last record Once Again The Present Becomes The Past on cassette and a t-shirt and a ANJ shirt! Get it HERE.

Read another Gimmie interview with Jake: Alien Nosejob: “I wanted to make it sound like a mixtape that you’d give to your friends”

Please check out: aliennosejob.bandcamp.com

Boston Post-Punk Band Sweeping Promises: “Dreaming of a future where shows and traveling and hugs are a thing again”

Original Photo: Caufield. Handmade collage by B.

Sweeping Promises may just be the coolest band we’ve found so far all year! If you follow us at @gimmiegimmiegimmiezine you’ll know how much we love their debut album Hunger For A Way Out—we’ve already declared it our favourite release of 2020! Their music is raw, simple, yet spirited and absolutely thrilling. From the bouncy and urgent title track opener with its angular guitars to moody, slower tempo closer “Trust” this record is from go to whoa solid! The vocals alone are so right on that they made our editor cry. Gimmie interviewed Sweeping Promises’ bassist-vocalist Lira Mondal.

How did you and Caufield first meet? Can you tell us about your creative partnership please?

LIRA MONDAL: I met Caufield when we were both undergrads. I was in the basement practice room of the music building playing with some other music majors when I noticed this very tall lanky blond guy peeking in through the tiny window in the door. His first words to me were, “Are you in a band? Can I play in your band?” Soon after that we were writing together exclusively, and have been for over a decade now.

Our creative partnership is rooted in total trust in and respect for one another, something that only comes with having worked together for years. For instance, I used to be very guarded about writing lyrics and would absolutely destroy myself laboring over them for fear that they weren’t good enough to show anyone. But when you’re working with just one other person, there’s no room to be coy or shy. Not if you want to get anything done.

We’ve cobbled together a pretty efficient songwriting method where I’ll play something on bass and he’ll drum along, and then I’ll work out a melody to put on top, and once we’re satisfied, we’ll track it and he’ll put guitar on it while I work on words. We both offer up suggestions to one another – change the riff up here, draw out a vocal part or change some words there. It’s intensely collaborative. Not only is Caufield a hyper-talented multi-instrumentalist, but also a consummate engineer and producer. He’s mixed and mastered everything we’ve worked on, as well as a bunch of other projects. I’m extremely lucky and grateful to have him as a collaborator!

When and how did you first discover music?

LM: It was all around me, constantly. My parents immigrated to the United States from Bangladesh in the late 70s/early 80s, so I heard Lata Mangeshkar mixed in with lots of ABBA and Madonna. I listened to a lot of radio, and as an older Millennial I was one of those kids who would vigilantly post up by my boombox which was always loaded with a blank cassette tape, my finger quivering above the “record” button and ready to strike should the deejay demigods mercifully heed my song requests.

As a solitary kid who was glued to my computer, I spent countless hours trawling through Launch.com, a pre-Pandora/pre-YouTube Internet radio and music video site. Later in high school, I discovered music magazines like Tokion and Under the Radar, which really expanded my horizons. Music magazines were a big source of education and inspiration for me, and I cherished the ones that occasionally came with compilation CDs.

Speaking of compilations, another absolutely vital part of my musical upbringing came in the form of a highly influential mix CD my older brother and sister-in-law made for me when I was 12. It featured a bunch of Mazzy Star and Portishead and Björk, and it changed my life, most notably by curbing my (troubling) Red Hot Chili Peppers habit.

How did Sweeping Promises come into being?

LM: We were jamming one night in this abandoned science lab-turned-art/gallery space that Caufield miraculously had access to through his grad department; it was sometime in late 2019, and we ended up writing “Hunger For a Way Out” in about 20 minutes. It wasn’t like anything we’d written up to that point. Since it didn’t fit into any of our existing projects, we decided on the spot to create a project around that song, because we couldn’t just leave it. The next night we were in the space, we wrote “Blue” and “Out Again”, and then we just kept on writing.

I know that you also have the bands Mini Dresses, Splitting Image and Dee-Parts; what did you want to do differently in Sweeping Promises?

LM: We wanted to capture the exhilaration of writing songs in the moment, of irrepressible energy and things just barely holding together. A lot of our other projects featured very in-depth production efforts; we wanted Sweeping Promises to work fast n’ loose.

The band is from Boston, Massachusetts; what can you tell us about living there?

LM: It’s a compact city, but it’s awfully charming. We miss it already, and the neighboring cities of Somerville and Cambridge where we also lived and worked. I personally happen to love the cold, so the snow and single-digit winters suited me just fine.

As for music, it’s very expensive and increasingly becoming hostile to anyone who isn’t in the tech or finance sectors. That said, there is a passionate population of incredible musicians, artists, organizers and promoters, studio engineers, activists, and scene folks who are trying their best to unify the fractured musical landscape of the city, and we are beyond grateful to call a bunch of those people our friends. There’s formidable talent and creativity in Boston and the surrounding areas, and it’s a shame that no one seems to care or notice beyond the music community itself; with venues shuttering left and right to make way for more and more condos that no one can afford to live in (even pre-COVID), it remains to be seen what the musical landscape’s going to look like there. I have hope, but it’s looking pretty grim now.

Your debut record Hunger For A Way Out was recorded using a “single mic technique”; can you tell us a little about this technique and what made you decide to record this way? You record at home don’t you?

LM: With this project we wanted to capture the action of the space we were in, this cavernous concrete subterranean lab. Because it was so naturally reverberant, we didn’t want to have to sort through the sludgy frequency layering that would’ve occurred if we’d mic’d everything individually. And we were riding high on the spontaneity of the songwriting process and wanted to capture that. So we put our one Shure KSM32 in the middle of the space facing the drums, and then I plugged in my bass amp and had it also facing the mic, and we recorded the basic tracks that way.

There are overdubs, of course! There’s no way we could have done the whole thing live just the two of us. But most of those overdubs are all with that same Shure mic, usually keeping it in the exact same position after tracking the drums and bass. It’s on the guitar amp, it’s on my vocals (with the monitor on, so there’s quite a bit of bleed to make them crunchy and ultra-saturated).

Lyrically what kinds of things were influencing your songwriting for this record? I understand that you usually write from an immediate source of inspiration like books and movies. Was it that way this time? Or did you feel you had something to say yourself?

LM: These songs emerged out of feelings of frustration, dissatisfaction, alienation – an acknowledgment that life in late capitalism is harmful and destructive, and a summoning of strength to be defiant in the face of it. Whereas in earlier projects I would tap into some external source like a book or a film for a perspective to write from, these songs are very much my impressions and feelings at the time of writing. I was pulling from everything: my experience in the restaurant industry, the need to “hustle-ify” your creativity, self-care culture.

What do you personally get outta making songs?

LM: I love performing, which for me is the culmination of making music. Songwriting gets me there. One of the hardest parts about quarantine, which I know so many other musicians can relate to, is not being able to perform live and feel the thrill of getting up on a stage and engaging with other people in that immediate and visceral way.

I also love going back to songs we wrote or projects we did years ago, and hearing how much our sensibilities have changed. It’s like a time capsule: I’m immediately transported back in time, and I remember what the recording session was like, where I was at in my life, the mood I was trying to conjure. I cherish that aspect of songwriting – that diaristic, transportive quality.

Hunger For A Way Out’s artwork is by D.H. Strother; can you tell us a little about the symbolism?

LM: David was in complete control of the art for the album, actually! We sent him the record and told him he had free reign, and he came up with these utterly dazzling visuals. They remind me of the experimental visual music films of Mary Ellen Bute and John Whitney with their bold colors and hypnotic, kinetic lines.

I know that you’re very inspired by Ari-Up from The Slits; how did you first come to her music? Why is she an inspiration?

LM: I think it was sometime in high school; I heard “Typical Girls” and “Instant Hit” and fell in love with her vocal delivery, dripping with attitude and playfulness and killer wit. I love how free her singing was, like she was making it all up on the spot, but it’s still very focused and rhythmic and sharp. She, along with Poly Styrene, Exene Cervenka, Vanessa Briscoe Hay, and Cindy Wilson, possessed a kind of no-holds-barred expressivity and confidence that really resonated with me, and still does.

When did you first start singing? How did you feel when you first started doing it? How do you feel now?

LM: Honestly, I don’t remember! I’ve been singing pretty much all my life. I started singing in choirs when I was in grade school, and it definitely became a defining part of my nerdy persona. I loved it. I loved being part of a large group of people, weaving our individual voices together to create a rich, dynamic tapestry of harmony and unity. It’s a precious connection.

In college I studied music with a concentration in vocal performance. I remember bristling at the techniques my instructor employed, feeling extremely self-conscious about the goofy warm-ups and physical exercises meant to strengthen my breath control or develop my whistle register. After I graduated, I enthusiastically unlearned everything I was taught in an effort to bring more instinct and intuitiveness into my singing. Now that I’ve been away from classical repertoire for almost a decade, I’ve noticed a growing urge in me to sing that way again. Funny how that works.

What have you been listening to lately?

LM: Caufield showed me the new Kate NV record the other day. She’s amazing! We admire her other project Glintshake. Earlier in quarantine I came across The Techniques and fell head-over-heels for their song “Travelling Man”. I’m also a huge fan of Erika Elizabeth’s show on MRR called Futures and Pasts, which is a veritable treasure trove of obscure and insanely catchy post-punk from all over the world. Highly recommended listening! Her band Collate also rules.

Outside of doing music, I’ve read that you’re a pastry chef! What interested you about pursuing that line of work? What’s one of your favourite things to make?

LM: It began purely as a hobby/distraction from applying to graduate programs in musicology. Once I realized I was more interested in looking at recipe blogs than theories of music and meaning in Romantic art song, I figured I might as well pursue a career in baking and pastry. It’s one of the most fulfilling and pleasurable ways I can think of spending time. Every small act – measuring ingredients, mixing a batter, kneading dough – is a ritual, imbued with the tantalizing possibility that something sweet lies just within your grasp. It’s tactile and meditative, alchemical. I particularly took to chocolate and spent a glorious year as a chocolatier at a small women-owned chocolate and confectionery shop; now that we’ve moved, I’m learning how to make chocolate from bean to bar, with the goal of starting a modest savory chocolate project. Let me just say, the aroma of cocoa beans roasting in the oven is otherworldly.

How has all the uncertainty in the world due to the pandemic been affecting you?

LM: For the most part I’m able to keep my worries and anxieties at bay, but it’s hard. It’s hard to live in a country where there is no leadership, where our “president” wilfully denies the existence and severity of the pandemic and loses no sleep at night as the death toll climbs above 180,000. It’s hard to see our news cycle portray protesters of racial injustice as “violent mobs” when cops get away with shooting Black people in the back and teenagers can buy automatic assault weapons and shoot activists with impunity. It’s hard to live in a world where millions upon millions of people are living in uncertainty because they’ve lost their livelihoods to the pandemic and are desperate to make sense of a senseless situation. Making music and connecting to other people through music…that helps.

What cheers you up when you’re feeling down?

LM: Writing and recording new music with Caufield. Sharing something I cooked or baked with the people I love. An ice-cold seltzer on a hot day. Watching my sourdough starter grow. Dreaming of a future where shows and traveling and hugs are a thing again.

Please check out SWEEPING PROMISES; SP on Instagram. Hunger For A Way Out out now on Feel It Records.