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.

Melbourne Noise-Punks Super-X’s George Ottaway: “Mechanical and wild sounding…”

Photos: courtesy of Super-X; handmade mixed-media by B.

Super-X’s debut self-titled album is full of aliveness, possibilities and risk. The Naarm/Melbourne trio walk the tightrope of balance of control and dissonance that’s beautiful and ugly at the same time. Gimmie interviewed co-vocalist-guitarist, George Ottaway.

Hi George! How are you? What did you get up to today?

GEORGE OTTAWAY: Hey Bianca! I’m pretty good, it’s the weekend, so I’m taking it pretty easy so far. My girlfriend is from Madrid so tonight we are heading to what’s meant to be one of Melbourne’s best Tapas bars. Will report more on this later!

What’s an album in your music collection that’s important for you?

GO: For me, it’s got to be Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92. It’s a really beautiful album and I find myself coming back to it again and again since first discovering it in my mid-teens. It evokes a lot of memories for me, including a really memorable solo trip I did to Iceland for All Tomorrows Parties Festival back in 2015, when I listened to it a lot. I also think it’s probably the most coherent and consistent Aphex Twin release, and maybe the only one where he isn’t intentionally trying to fuck with his audience!

How did you first get into music? Did you and your brother (Super-X’s co-vocalist-guitarist) Harrison get into music together?

GO: Growing up, music had a very important presence in our house. Our parents are both music fans and liked to fill every possible moment of silence with community radio or a CD from their collection. I remember hearing a lot of the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Nick Cave. Our dad in particular made it his personal mission to impart his musical taste on us; by the time we hit primary school he was pumping The Stooges’ Raw Power on cassette in the car as he drove us to school! When we were teenagers, we both picked up guitar and formed garage bands with our friends. It was a pretty interesting, exciting time to be making music, websites like Myspace and programs like Garage Band were suddenly making it really easy and accessible for young kids like us to record songs and get them heard by a wider audience. This was also around the time we discovered the Melbourne underground scene! We got into bands like Kiosk, Bird Blobs, Sea Scouts, Circle Pit, Witch Hats, ECSR, Zond, the Nihilistic Orbs label and started going to a lot of shows.

When did you first know that you wanted to play music yourself?

GO: I think around the age of 13. I was pretty obsessed with music and just knew it was something I had to do. In primary school I had a pop-punk band that played to the other students in the school hall, which was pretty cute and my first taste at playing music.

What inspired you to start Super-X?

GO: I’d watched Harrison – he’s a bit older than me – play shows in different bands over the years and I was itching to get into it myself! We were both living together at home at the time and both of us playing guitar just made it easy. We were intrigued by each other’s styles – I’d say Harrison is more technically astute, while my own style is a bit more naive and abrasive. We both wanted to play in a band that was a bit grimier and more ferocious than what we had previously done, so we outlined a bunch of key influences that we both enjoyed and started jamming regularly. After a while Harrison wrote the guitar line for ‘Weapon-X’, which is where we found our sound. A little after that we recorded our first demo, with me playing drums – it’s still up on our Soundcloud!

Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process for your debut self-titled album? Do you write collaboratively?

GO: A lot of the time we just bring in a riff or even a drum idea to practice and see where it takes us. Super-X rehearsals are always really fun: we spend a lot of time just jamming and improvising together. Harrison, Kaelan [Emond ] and I have been playing together now for a while so we all know how to interact with each other, when to rise and when to tone everything down. After we have the instrumentation down then we usually work on our lyrics – often it just begins with a murmur and becomes more fully formed as the song grows.

The album was recorded over six months between August 2019 and February 2020 at Invention Studios in Footscray working with Ryan Fallis and Mathias Dowle. Ryan & Mathias are fantastic to work with – they are incredibly patient, contribute great ideas and have one of the most incredible guitar pedal collections I have ever seen, including a number of pedals from the former U.S.S.R that they let us use! They are also lovely dudes, highly recommended!

Was it intentional to take your time recording or was it a necessity because of other commitments?

GO: In 2019 we had actually hit a bit of a slump with the band. We were all beginning to lose a bit of interest and all had a lack of direction with what we wanted to do and had all considered breaking the band up. We had tried recording a year prior but were pretty disappointed with the results. With work and other musical commitments (Kaelen plays drums in Obscura Hail, and I play rhythm guitar in Future Suck) we were also struggling to find the time to devote to Super-X. It was at this stage we decided to take a gamble and head back into the studio with Ryan Fallis & Mathias Dowle at Invention Studios. We were pretty unprepared in a number of ways, a lot of songs were only 80% complete, but I think taking this risk definitely added a bit of vulnerability and excitement to the sessions. We weren’t really sure what was going to come out of it and we just dived in head first. The album was recorded as live as possible with very minimal overdubs. We’d been thinking about the structure of the album for a while: we wanted a strong narrative and a focus on ambient and sound pieces throughout. Figuring out the exact track listing and order of the album was really exciting – we experimented with it as the tracks started to take shape – and ultimately pretty satisfying.

What influenced your choice to go with a real bare-bones vocal?

GO: Harrison and I aren’t natural singers, and the focus of Super-X has always really been on instrumentation, with lyrics and vocals taking a bit of a backseat a lot of the time. I think a lot of our inspiration vocally came from a the early Iceage LP’s. We wanted a delayed sound on the vocals and to have them gritty and pretty low in the mix. I think lyrically we just wanted them to be direct and to the point as possible so they could pierce through all the distortion and effects.

The album came out right in the middle of lockdown because of the global pandemic; how did you feel about not being able to play shows for its release? Any plans to play shows soon?

GO: I was actually quite thrilled with the album coming out in 2020. It’s such an iconic year for all the wrong reasons, but with no shows on and everyone having a lot of solitude I think it enabled us to carve out our own space and get the interest of Spoilsports records and Polaks, who did a joint release for the album. I think a lot of people took the time to actually give it a spin who might not have given it the time of day in other circumstances. Friends and fans have always described our music and live shows as a bit dystopian so I think having it released in 2020 is sort of fitting funnily enough?

We’ve actually got two shows coming up! Thursday March 4th at the retreat with Crash Material and our official LP launch on Saturday March 27th at Old Bar. We will be revealing the full line-up a little further down the track for that one.

What’s the most fun you’ve ever had playing a show? Where was it? What made it a blast?

GO: I lived in a massive pretty run-down house with an enormous backyard in Caulfield from 2015-2020. A lot of the LP was written in that house and is based on that particular chapter of my life. We had a bunch of parties with my housemates and would get bands to play in the lounge room which would always go off. There’s something about seeing live bands outside of the normal constraints of a venue which gets people really fired up. We had over 100 people at one of the parties and set up smoke machines and strobes, we had a fire lit outside and a TV at the end of a dark corridor looping Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on high volume. Super-X played with Tony Dork (who just released a brilliant LP on Legless last year!) and it went off! Both bands played well and I’ve got some pretty memorable photos from the night. After bands we had a bunch of techno sets going well and truly into the early hours. Someone put the smoke machine on full blast and the dance floor turned into a thick, smoky nightmare scene for an hour or so with people panicking and spilling out into the backyard. My neighbours wouldn’t look me in the eyes for months after! I went to a music festival a year later and a guy I swear I had never seen before in my life came up to me and was preaching to me about how it was one of the best parties he had ever been to haha. It was loose.

Travel has been off the cards for most people for a while now because of the pandemic but if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?

GO: I had plans to go to Brazil for a 6-8 weeks on my own but COVID of course fucked everything up. I’ve always loved hot weather, good food and to be as far away from anyone who’s first language is English as possible when travelling. In 2018 I travelled through the Balkans and wound up getting a bus from Athens to Gjirokaster in Albania. Its where the dictator Hoxce was born and has a pretty fascinating history. There’s loads of old Nazi war loot that the Albanian army kept after they defeated the axis in the castle, including old tanks and captured flags, weapons and a documentation on how they defeated the retreating axis armies, which is pretty interesting. Albania was definitely a highlight of recent years, beautiful country and off the beaten track.

You did the artwork and design for the album; did you study art? How did you decide on the imagery? What made you go with a stark black & white palette?

GO: Yeah, I did! I did a fine arts course at RMIT specialising in drawing, so I was glad to put it to use for creating the imagery for the album. I’ve always been a firm believer in that the imagery and aesthetics of bands are just as important as the music. It’s got to be strong, bold and to the point. I honestly think if the Germs and Black Flag didn’t have their great aesthetics (the four bars symbol and Germ’s circle one logo) they wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as they are today. People want to feel cool when they wear your band t-shirt or buy your record so the aesthetics have got to hold up.

Locally HTRK have incredible design for every release they do, I’m a massive fan of them. Nigel Yang is one of my favourite guitarists.

With Super-X I wanted something equally as bold so I decided on an industrial looking electrical plug image. Super-X is pretty mechanical and wild sounding at times so I think it suits what we do. I think for a debut LP classic black and white can never go wrong. I also drew a lot of inspiration from Peter Saville’s design and techno/ambient LP’s from the ‘90s like Underworlds Dubnobasswithmyheadman and Autechre LP’s. A lot of musical groups the less you see of the artists themselves sometimes the better, it creates more mystique and intrigue.

I never want Super-X LP’s to be about my Harrison, Kaelan or myself, or the way we look or whatever or to have us pictured on the front or back cover. I want the experience of listening to a Super-X LP to be like putting on a film with narrative of beginning, middle and end. With a strong emphasis on visual bold aesthetics to suit. The less focus on us as individuals the better. I’m a firm believer in that.

Have you been working on anything new?

GO: We have! We’ve got a bunch of tracks we’ve started to develop and have been working on some ideas in terms of sound and aesthetics for the next piece. It’s going to sound a little bit different.

Who are some bands you love that we should know about?

GO: I think locally Romero – shit hot band that a bunch of our buds play in. I used to play drums in the guitarist Ferg’s post-punk band Eyesores years ago when I was cutting my teeth playing my first ever shows. These guys are working on an LP that I am very much looking forward to, it’s really fun rocking power-pop. I really dug the new TOL album, Justin Fuller has influenced me a lot, he’s an amazing guitarist and always creates a very intense atmosphere. It’s like gothic tinged hardcore? I’m really enjoying Snowy Band, beautiful gentle pop and the production is excellent.

What’s something that’s been interesting you lately that you want to share with others?

GO: I recently discovered Japanese cyberpunk metamorphoses films from the early ‘90s. 964 Pinnochio (check out the trailer on YouTube for an idea) is fucking wild, I guess you could describe them as industrialist-fetish films? and the soundtracks is an absolutely incredible mix of techno and ambient selections I’ve never heard. The director Shozin Fukui also directed Rubber’s Lover which is just as twisted as 964 Pinnochio. There’s also Tetsuo The Iron Man which is more well known by Shinya Tsukamoto. These films are very confronting! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Please check out SUPER-X on bandcamp; on Facebook; on Instagram; on Tumblr. Super-X’s self-titled debut album out via Spoilsport Records and Polaks Records.