Tape/Off and Total Pace’s Branko Cosic: “Watching Fugazi’s Instrument documentary was the turning point. It seemed like a subconscious roadmap on how to start a band”

Handmade collage by B.

Branko Cosic is one of the hardest working people in Brisbane’s music community. He plays in alt-rock band Tape/Off, punk band Total Pace, indie-rock band Gold Stars, organises shows including Sonic Masala Fest and does a show on 4ZZZfm radio. We recently chatted to Branko about his love of music and all he has going on.

What first got you into music?

BC: Earliest memory I have of liking music is seeing the video clip for “Out Of Mind, Out Of Sight” by Models on TV. It blew my mind. I think I kept begging my parents to hear the song again, so Mum went down to Woody’s Music down in Woodridge and grabbed the 12” single of it. I’ve still got the record.

I also had older cousins that had cool tastes in music, so I remember digging through their collections and hearing things like The Cure, Devo, Public Enemy, Ice-T, N.W.A, Stone Roses before turning the age of 10.

You play the drums; how did you first start? What drew you to them?

BC: A family friend had a drum kit setup in his garage, and I was enamoured by all the parts that went together to make it up. After that, every time I would see performance clips on Rage, I’d be mesmerised by the drummers and their setups. I got my first drum kit at 15. The first song I attempted to play was Powderfinger’s ‘D.A.F’. It had a really tricky hi-hat pattern in the chorus, and before I acquired a kit, I had practiced air drumming to it (with my mum’s old makeup chair as the “snare drum”) and was adamant that was going to be the first thing I tried.

What was your first introduction to DIY?

BC: Watching Fugazi’s ‘Instrument’ documentary was the turning point. It seemed like a subconscious roadmap on how to start a band. It was the most honest document of being in a band and everything that went along with it (recording, releasing, touring, etc).

A few years later, I went with a friend to this place in Red Hill called ‘Lofly Hangar’. It was a DIY space that had parties once a month and was filled with people with the same interests as me that I never thought anyone else in Brisbane shared. It was like an epiphany when I found it. That place was my church. I learned so much during those short-lived years. I wouldn’t be where I am today without the existence of Lofly Hangar.

You’re in band Tape/Off and Total Pace; how are they musically different from each other?

BC: They’re slacker rock bands in their own way, which are both loud, but have different intensities. TP has it’s foot on the gas 95% percent of time, T/O dynamically weaves through the gear changes. T/O listens to a lot of Pavement, Slint, Sonic Youth, Fugazi… and TP listens to a lot of The Replacements, Cloud Nothings, METZ…

What sparked each to start?

BC: I started T/O in 2008 and was my first go at starting a band from scratch. I had been in bands before that, but they never got off the ground. I was initially going to play guitars, but had more fun playing drums. Simon, Matt and [Luke] Henery had started putting TP together when they asked me to join. We’ve all been buds for years, so it was exciting to start something new.

The last release Tape/Off had was song ‘Work Xmas Party’ towards the end of last year; have you been working on anything new? What can you can tell us about it?

BC: Yep, we’ve been working towards a new album. It’s about half-written at the moment. We seem to be travelling to more intricate and quieter passages in the new songs. We’re challenging ourselves to not be so loud and introduce more warmth into them. I would love to get it out in the next year or so.

‘Work Xmas Party’ was something that we just needed to get off our chest. It came together quite quickly in the practice room and it was super quick to record. So rather than sit on it, we thought we’d get it out before the end of the year to coincide people’s favourite/least favourite time of year when they have to congregate with their fellow worker outside company time to mostly shameful results.

Does Total Pace have anything new in the works?

BC: This is also true. We have a new EP coming soon that we’re currently putting artwork together for. We released the first single off it ‘Stay In’ just two weeks ago on the internet. Most of the songs got their live debut when we played with Mclusky* in January. We’ve also been playing a cover of ‘Shopping’ by Pet Shop Boys which has been awesome to play. A recorded version of that should surface sometime in the future.

As well as playing in bands you also do radio show Unnecessary Knowledge with Tape/Off band mate Cam [Smith]; what’s some of your favourite songs and bands you’ve been playing lately?

Turnpike is probably the most played artist on our show. The most brutal music from the most humblest humans on earth. Requin is also another favourite and also sits in the humble basket. Party Dozen, Good Boy, Bushing, Majestic Horses, Local Authority, Good Morning, PYNES, Cable Ties are bands we’ve been playing lots of lately.

I love playing anything from Bearhug, Batrider, Can, Slayer, A Tribe Called Quest, Screamfeeder, Aphex Twin, OVLOV, Flying Lotus whenever I get a chance.

How did you get involved in community radio? What inspired you to do it?

BC: My good friend Rachel Tinney was my conduit into Community Radio. I met her at The Hangar in 2009 and when she started volunteering at 4ZZZ, she was the first one to start playing Tape/Off. She had a graveyard shift show called ‘Theme Me Up, Scotty!’ from 12am-2am on Wednesday nights. I used to finish work around midnight so she invited me down to the station to check it out. I’d keep her company whilst she was doing the show and would marvel at the CD library.

Six months later, she was offered a daytime show and asked me if I’d like to be her official co-host, which I completely jumped at. It was Rachel that called it Unnecessary Knowledge because she thought I knew too much of it and it has stuck ever since.

She moved interstate in 2013 and I then asked Cam if he’d like to jump on board. The rest is history.

You also have interviewed bands yourself; who’s been a highlight and what made it so?

BC: Too many to count, but talking with Conrad Keely from …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead about their magnum opus ‘Source Tags And Codes’ was pretty special. That album is in my top 5 of all time.

The Kashmere Stage Band was another highlight. You should check out the documentary about them called ‘Thunder Soul’. Rachel and I interviewed them when they came out to promote the doco and could’ve talked for hours about all of their stories.

What’s something that you’re really, really excited about?

BC: I’m working to start a new musical venture that is equal parts terrifying and exciting at the same time. It’s going to combine my love for music, graphic design and film all into one. It’s the new record label that launched a few weeks ago, called ‘Zang! Records’ and I run it with Jack McDonnell, who is a fellow 4ZZZ-er. You can check it out at: Zang Records Facebook and Zang Records Instagram.

I also play in a band called Gold Stars with Ben from Tape/Off and Phil from aheadphonehome/Lofly Hangar which is for fans of Guided By Voices. Look out for our debut album that will drop sometime this year.

Please check out: TAPE/OFF and TOTAL PACE. T/O on Facebook. TP on Facebook. Listen to Unnecessary Knowledge.

Brisbane Grunge Indie Rockers Lunchtime: “Family and emotional violence is a hard topic because love is used as a weapon so often… we’re trying to help young people who are going through similar situations feel strong”

Original photo by Kieran Griffiths. Handmade collage by B.

Lunchtime are a band that wouldn’t be out of place in the ‘90s; the dream of the ‘90s is alive in Brisbane. Their songs are a mix of grunge, punk and indie rock, the band co-founded by twin sisters Eden and Constance along with high school friend Lachlan. We interviewed them just as they were getting set to drop their latest single and video ‘Science Of Sorrow’.

Lunchtime are from Brisbane; what can you tell me about where you live?

LACHLAN: Constance, Eden and I live at Stafford but they used to live in Deception Bay and I lived at Caboolture while Tim lives in Carindale.

CONSTANCE: The best thing about Deception Bay was going down to the local shops and seeing people sitting at the bus stop drinking wine. Our single ‘Deception Bay’ was inspired by these three blokes who were omnipresent at that bus stop. 

EDEN: I always know if it’s a cloudy day in Stafford cuz Constance only does the washing when it’s raining which is annoying but funny.

How did Lunchtime get together?

LACHLAN: We started when the twins and I were at school and then two years ago Tim joined the band after our previous drummer left.

CONSTANCE: It was kinda weird how we ended up in the same band because Eden and I were in a band with these other guys that broke up and started a band with Lachlan which also broke up then the three of us formed Lunchtime with the drummer from the original band.

EDEN: I just remember me auditioning Tim before the others got there and the only question I asked was “Do you like Tiny Teddies” and he said “Yeah they’re alright” and I was like yup this is the one.

Photo: Ben McShea.

How did you start playing music?

LACHLAN: I picked up a guitar.

TIM: I started drums in school.

CONSTANCE: I found my dad’s old guitar in the garage. It had three strings and that’s how I taught myself to play. Hence the punk rock band…

EDEN: Constance needed someone to back her up so I got forced into it and then I decided playing piano was cool cuz I was obsessed with Mika back then. Then I also got forced into playing bass cuz our first bass player decided he wanted to play guitar instead.

Can you tell us something about everyone in the band?

LUNCHTIME: Tim can do a kickflip. Eden is an artist @mumblebee_art and has 93 cacti. Lachlan can put his legs over his head Constance is a Pilates nut!

Constance and Eden are twins; what’s it like creating with your sibling?

CONSTANCE: It’s pretty great because I never really have to explain the artistic direction I want the song to go in, she just knows. Or if one of us is struggling with part of a song in the writing process we can run it by the other and they usually can make it perfect in two seconds.  

EDEN: I love it because it’s like we were made to harmonise with each other. Singing together is so easy and she can always finish things if I hit a wall or tell me how to do it better. You can be brutally honest with each other and there’s no hard feelings.

What’s an album that means a lot to you?

LACHLAN: Hungry Ghost by Violent Soho. They’re a really good Brisbane band, I think we look up to them a lot.

EDEN: I remember hearing ‘Covered in Chrome’ and thinking he had a weird voice and I liked that cuz I thought I sang funny as well. The show at the Riverstage for that album was my first mosh pit and I lost my toenail which I keep to this day in a jar.

Photo: Schema Collective.

What was the first song you wrote for Lunchtime? What was it about?

CONSTANCE:  The first song I wrote for Lunchtime was called “Get over it”. It’s the last song on our first EP Feedback and it was about the first time a band I was in broke up. When bands break up it is way more upsetting than any romantic break up. For me anyway haha. The song was me telling myself that you can try and do everything to forget and still feel the pain but you need to find a way to move on and get on with your life.

EDEN: My first song for us was “I Bleed Lemonade” it was about me punching a concrete pillar after my mate told me he had unknowingly set up my secret crush with someone else.

Your latest song was released late last year and called ‘Deception Bay’; how did that song get started?

CONSTANCE: Deception Bay is where Eden and I grew up. I wrote it when I was about 16 and in the midst of trying to figure out life and all these crazy emotions. ‘Deception Bay’ was named because when it was discovered they thought it was a river because it was so shallow. Random fact but it started the process of ‘huh this place isn’t as it seems let me make some art about it.’ At 16 I was at the restless point when you just want to run away from your problems and used my hometown as a synonym for everything (mentally, etc) I was trying to escape from.

Last year you released single ‘Show n Tell’ which is a song about domestic violence and feeling like there is nowhere to go even when you’re in the place where you are supposed to be safe; what inspired you to write this song?

CONSTANCE: Eden and I had a lot of family issues (as you can probably tell cuz half of our songs are about it.) ‘Show n Tell’ was written about my family and basically what it was like for us growing up. Writing songs has always been a coping method for me because I felt the only way to be heard was through music. The lyrics are pretty dark and sarcastic I think I wrote them after a particularly nasty fight.

EDEN: Family and emotional violence is a hard topic because love is used as a weapon so often. I think we’re trying to help young people who are going through similar situations feel strong and let them know they can get out because there is so much to look forward to in life.

I saw that you were recording last month; is there new music in the works? What can you tell me about it so far?

LACHLAN: We’re recording every day for a couple of things hopefully you see it sooner rather than later cause we don’t have any excuses for time.

CONSTANCE: We’ve been working away at an album which should be finished this year at some point. Its top secret but we may be about to drop a new single – ‘Science Of Sorrow’ [Ed’s note: the song has come out since we did this interview]. We are pretty stoked about this song as it is our longest yet (over 5 mins) and quite different from our other material.

EDEN: One of our mates is hiding in a scene so there’s a Where’s Wally kinda scenario in the new music vid.

I know recently you were super excited to be working on a music vid with Kieran Griffiths Filmmaking; tell us a little bit about it?

LACHLAN: Kieran is a mate we met at a gig and have been good mates since and he did a degree in film so we thought it would fun to work together.

CONSTANCE: We were filming the music vid for our next single. It was pretty fun we all just set up in Tim’s living room for a couple of hours. Kieran is super talented and we are pretty honoured to be working on this with him.

EDEN: The Griffiths twins are our insanely talented best mates, Kieran had been bringing his camera to Gathos and one night we got talking and said it would be cool to do a collab. He directed and shot the whole thing singlehandedly. I’m really proud of it cuz the new song is my baby and is very personal to me. He made me punch yet another concrete wall and made Tim sing which was great. Keen as mustard for yas all to hear it.

How are you keeping busy while we’re all locked down at home right now?

LACHLAN: Lots of recording and Netflix and Minecraft.

CONSTANCE: Studying a marketing degree and a lot of songwriting and jamming.

TIM: Hanging with my girlfriend and fishing.

EDEN: Painting and gardening and watching Friends at 6pm on channel 11.

Please check out: LUNCHTIME. Lunchtime on Facebook. Lunchtime on Instagram.