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.**

The Prize: “Power pop always has great energy.”

Original photo by Izzie Austin. Handmade collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne-based band The Prize give us everything good about power pop and rock n roll on their debut EP Wrong Side Of Town. Full of harmonies, hooks and energy, with melody to burn, the infectious 4-track release on Anti Fade will be running through your head all day. We’ve listened to it on repeat, over and over and over. Along with their dynamic live show—The Prize are ones to watch! 

Gimmie caught up with dummer-vocalist Nadine Muller and guitarist-vocalist Carey Paterson to find out all about The Prize.

What was your introduction to music? Nadine, your dad is a member of Cosmic Psychos; did he introduce you to lots of stuff?

NADINE: I was pretty fortunate growing up with my parents’ record collection! Dad has always played in bands and mum used to tour-manage, so they have collectively introduced me to a lot of great stuff!

CAREY: I got into it through the radio and Rage, and then just through my mates. My folks have great taste, but didn’t try and push any music on me, so I discovered it in my own way and at my own pace. Went through a couple of phases but it all clicked into gear at like fifteen when me and my friends got really into CBGBs bands and started trying to cover their songs.

When did you first start playing your instrument? Who or what influenced you?

NADINE: I first started playing around thirteen/fourteen. My dad is a drummer too. I was pretty lucky to always have access to a kit, but I think it really kicked-off when I saw the movie Josie and the Pussycats (which was based on a comic book from the 60s). I really loved the soundtrack to that movie and I brought it on CD and would play along to it in my bedroom. So I guess you could say I was influenced by a fictional drummer, in a cat costume.

CAREY: I wanted to play drums when I was about twelve, but my parents managed to talk me into playing guitar instead. It was a pretty reluctant switch at first but it eventually became the instrument that I got obsessed with. I had all the staple kid heroes like Hendrix, Angus Young and Jimmy Page.

What’s an album that has really helped shape you? What about it was so influential?

NADINE: I watched the Ramones movie Rock’n’roll High School very early on and fell in-love with the Ramones. The soundtrack to that movie really embedded itself in my psyche with artists like;

Alice Cooper, Todd Rundgren, Devo.. And the movie itself really shaped me and set me up for a future, 70s aesthetic. 

CAREY: An album that really shaped my tastes is probably Vampire on Titus by Guided by Voices. This album sounds like it was recorded on an answering machine but the songs are so good. I really like how this band would just hang out and get drunk and wind up recording such interesting music. Their albums are usually pretty inconsistent but you get moments of absolute magic like ‘Unstable Journey’ off this one.

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Can you tell us a little about your musical journey? Nadine you were in Killerbirds and Wolfy and the Bat Cubs, (and both you and Carey were in) Mr Teenage. Carey I know you’re originally from Canberra and played in some bands there too, like The Fighting League and PTSD.

NADINE: I started Killerbirds while I was still in school and we got to play with some great bands like the Celibate Riffles and Bored! After that band wound-up, I started another band with some friends from Bendigo, called Wolfy and the Bat Cubs, which I played bass in. 

Joe and Carey had played together a handful of times before I’d actually met Carey and then we all ended up in Mr Teenage together, which was unfortunately short-lived but we decided to get something else going after that, which has resulted in The Prize!

CAREY: Fighting League felt like the first proper band I was a part of. I started on drums and got booted on to guitar. After that all started working and became a really fun band to be in. I also played in the live bands for TV Colours and Danger Beach for many years. Got to play some amazing shows and tour Europe. PTSD was something that got started when I was living in NYC in 2016 at the same time as Lachlan Thomas, who releases music as Danger Beach, and James Stuart who was drumming in an incredible punk band called Haram. There’s another tape’s worth of music in the pipeline for that band as soon as I sit down and finish the vocals.

When starting The Prize; what was on playlists of your musical influences?

NADINE: I had just been introduced to The Toms and I think we were all playing that first album on repeat for a few months! Also a power-pop band from the UK called ‘The Incredible Kidda Band’ we discovered in a deep YouTube hole and loved them so much that we covered their track ‘Fighting My Way Back’ which is on our debut release.

CAREY: Bands like the Toms, the Shivvers, Incredible Kidda Band and the Nerves. Also a lot of Badfinger, Cheap Trick and Thin Lizzy. I think the sound was born out of combining the poppier and rockier ends of that spectrum of bands.

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Why the name The Prize?

NADINE: I wish there was a better answer for this question! We had booked in our first show, which was with Civic at the Croxton and they were holding off making the poster until we’d settled on a name. So there was a bit of pressure to come up with something asap… 

We just wanted it to be something straight up and simple. ‘Blondie’ was obviously already taken and Brownie just doesn’t quite have same ring to it.. Anything with a Z is a bonus for logos and designs… We were all sitting in my dad’s shed one night, which is full of vintage bits and bobs and ‘THE PRIZE’ was written on an old sign hanging up on the wall and we went, “that’ll do”.

The Prize came together in 2021, during the pandemic; how did you jam and write songs during this period?

NADINE: I was living with our bass player, Jack at the time and we had a jam room and some recording gear so we would muck around with riffs here and there and send them back and forth. 

Between lockdowns we would all get together, to try and work on songs but it felt like a pretty 

difficult and slow process during that time. Once restrictions were eased, we stared rehearsing pretty intensely as we had a bunch of half-cooked songs and a first gig already booked in.

What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learnt about songwriting or your process while writing your debut 4-song EP Wrong Side of Town?

NADINE: Probably to not overthink it. It’s important to get the structure right and spend time on each song but also knowing when to leave it be, is something that took me some time.

Artwork by Sammy Clark.

What attracts you to the power pop sound?

NADINE: I love a good hook and melody!!! Power pop always has great energy and its something that’s fun to dance and sing-along to. Its a real, feel-good genre!

What’s title track ‘Wrong Side Of Town’ about?

NADINE: Joe had written the guitar lead-line a few years ago and it’s such a great riff! When we were trying to craft the song around that I  really wanted to do it justice with the melody and the lyrics.

The lyrics were written during one of our later lockdowns and it was definitely getting to breaking point for a lot of people.. Myself included.

A lot of people were packing up and moving home or back to the country and it’s about wanting to get away and start again but really just ending up, right back where you started.

How did ‘Easy Way Out’ come together?

NADINE: Easy Way Out was actually the first song that we wrote and was also one of the first songs I had really ever written lyrics for. It’s about feeling burnt or letdown by someone.

What did you have on your mind when you wrote ‘Don’t Know You’?

NADINE: Joe and I really pulled that one out of nowhere! I’d been humming a melody for a few weeks and when he and I caught up one day, he showed me a new riff he’d written and the melody worked perfectly over the top. I think we had that song written and demoed in about two hours!

It’s about being close to someone and sharing experiences together and then, for whatever reason they are no longer a part of your life. You still see their face around but you feel like they’re a familiar stranger. 

On your 7” you do a cover of ‘Fighting My Way Back’ by The Incredible Kidda Band; what inspired you to pick this track? 

NADINE: Its such a great song! We actually found it while trawling the Internet for power-pop bands and when that song came on we were all like how have we never heard this band before?? 

It was unanimous to add that to our set. We reached out to TIKB ahead of our release and sent them a copy of the track and luckily, they seemed to really like it! 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

What was the most fun part of recording?

NADINE: Collaborating and working with your friends to make something is always fun, although at times, kind of stressful! but listening to the finished product is alway the most fun part for me.

CAREY: I find recording stressful so probably realising we’d finished it

Nadine, as well as playing drums and singing in The Prize, you’re also a makeup artist and hairstylist working with Ed Sheeran, Charli XCX, Amy Shark, Meg Mac, Thelma Plum, Nick Cave, Amy Taylor and Harry Styles band; how did you get into that line of work? Who has been one of the biggest surprises to work with?

NADINE: I started out doing a hairdressing apprenticeship while I was still at VCE and living in Bendigo and then when I moved to Melbourne, I would help out friends bands for music videos and photoshoots and it just really snowballed from there! 

I did a short course in makeup and then started getting booked for some really fun jobs! 

The biggest surprise was working with Ringo Starr’s all Star band. I got to meet a Beatle! Which was very special and pretty surreal!

What’s been your favourite show The Prize has played yet? What made it so?

NADINE: Our first show was in November last year with CIVIC at the Croxton and I think that’s still my favourite to date. I had never done lead vocals before and to get to the stage where I was able to play drums and singing at the same time, took a bit of work for me- I nearly threw in the towel a few times! 

To finally get to the point where we could pull it all off live and play our first show, felt like a triumph in-itself and the added fact that it was the first show in 18 months of lockdowns (that any of us had played, let alone been to..!) The energy in the room was something I wont forget.

CAREY: I’ve really enjoyed playing at the Curtin this year but I reckon the arvo show at the Tramway in May this year was the funnest. Something about a good Sunday arvo show that hits different.

Who are some of your favourite performers to watch?

NADINE: There are so many good ones! But just to name a few; Grace Cummings, CIVIC, The Murlocs, RMFC, ROT TV and of course, Amyl and the Sniffers always put on a great show.

CAREY: As far as local bands go, I’ll go and see Civic and EXEK any time I can. Faceless Burial always blow my mind. I saw the Blinds play recently after a long hiatus and that was one of the best shows I’ve seen in ages.

Your debut is coming out on Anti Fade Records; what’s one of your favourite AF releases? Why should we check it out?

NADINE: I think I listened to CIVIC’s record New Vietnam an absurd amount of times when that was released on Anti Fade in 2018—every song is a banger! More recently, RMFC and Modal Melodies is great!

CAREY: I would probably have to split the honours between the Reader 7″ by RMFC and Civic’s New Vietnam. Buzz from RMFC is one of the best young talents making music in Australia today. New Vietnam is one of the best debut releases in recent memory.

What’s the rest of the year look like for The Prize?

NADINE: We have our first 7” coming out in September and the first single will be available this week (today I believe, when this interview comes out)!

We have a tour with The Chats and Mean Jeans starting in September, plus our launch show on October 1st (which I’m not sure if I’m supposed to announce yet butttt we have a very exciting lineup for that)!

The Prize Wrong Side of Town EP available via pre-order at Anti Fade Records. Out September 2.

Check out: facebook.com/theprizemelbourne + @theprize___ + @antifaderecords

Michael Beach: “No rules ever. Keep it wild and free.”

Original photo by Sarah Gilsenan. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne-based musician and songwriter Michael Beach is back with new song ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ from his forthcoming self-titled EP. Beach is intensely cool and has become a master of writing and harnessing beautiful melodies, creating a spontaneous feel in his songs, wrapped up in a lively, elegant squall of garage rock n roll and swirls of distortion. Beach’s work is always engaging and vulnerable. ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ reminds us of what makes him an excellent songwriter. 

How are you? What’s life been like lately for you? You’re currently in the US spending time with family.

MICHAEL BEACH: I’m well, thanks! It’s been real nice to get back to California after too long away.  We came over to visit my parents but my mom got COVID the day before we got here, so we’ve had to improvise a bit. Life was pretty busy before I left…a ton of work to do with the new record coming out, but Goner and Poison City have helped so much, so I feel pretty lucky. Off to Big Sur today, plus a visit to Robinson Jeffers house in Carmel. Stoked!

We’re premiering your new song ‘Out In A Burning Alley’ the first single from your up coming 12” EP that will be out in September; were there any specific influences for this song?

MB: Thanks! I recall wanted to cross a Saints-style guitar tone with a Peter Laughner rambling narrative—not sure why but I think those were my compass points for this one.

  

What’s one of the biggest things you’ve learnt about while songwriting for your new EP? Do you have any rules for yourself?

MB: No rules ever. Keep it wild and free. Ha!  The old ‘serve the song’ maxim is a good one. Otherwise I’d say the more time goes on, the less I know.  ’m gradually unlearning everything. My brain is decaying nicely by this point.

What was the experience like of recording ‘Out In A Burning Alley’?

MB: It was a grand old time. Andy/Poison City offered up his family’s country house for us to record in. I moved my 8-track up there and we spent a couple winter days recording, eating, and drinking. Excellent memories with excellent friends—it was a totally enjoyable recording experience. 

Video Directed by Alexandra Millen.

You’ve been making music for some time now; who or what helps you trust your instincts in relation to your creativity?

MB: As far as trusting myself, I think friends help a lot, and I’m lucky to have such excellently creative friends. Time and experience have helped. I enjoy the process of creation so that’s enough most of the time.  

You’ll be touring the US in September/October and play this year’s Goner Fest; what is something that you have to do before a performance?

MB: Yeah, can’t wait to be back in Memphis! Before a show…stay connected to the band, connected to the audience, connected to spirit of the thing I’m trying to get across. Keep it connected!! 

What’s something that’s been bringing you a lot of joy of late?

MB: Nan Shepherd’s The Living Mountain. Anybody out there wanna book me some shows in Scotland?!

Michael Beach will launch the new EP in Naarm on October 29 at The Curtin. MB’s music via Poison City Records and in the US on Goner Records.

More Michael Beach: michaelbeach.org + @michaelbeach__ + facebook.com/MBandtheartists + michaelbeach.bandcamp.com.

Read our previous chat with Michael: “Good Things In My Life Have Happened Because Of Music.”

Naarm Punks Split System’s ‘Demolition’: “Anxiety…Hope For Change And Clarity”

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

Split System, featuring members of Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters, Stiff Richards, Doe St, Speed Week, The Black Heart Death Cult & No Zu, annihilate with ‘Demolition’ the first single from their forthcoming debut album. It harks back to raw, unbridled 70s Australian punk rock n roll and ploughs straight-ahead with melody and passion. Split System tell Gimme about their individual musical journeys, albums that shaped them, new music they’re loving, the new single and their album slated for an October release on Legless Records.

What kind of music were you obsessed with when you first discovered music?

JACKSON (vocals): I started by listening to my dad’s David Bowie and Beatles CDs etc. and making tape compilations using everything he had.

MAWSON (guitar): My dad played in bands my whole life, which surrounded me with rock n roll from an early age, but I think discovering Eddy Current Suppression Ring was a turning point for me. Growing up in Frankston and realising there was so much more outside of the bubble that I was immersed in—ECSR was the gateway drug.

RYAN (guitar): Nu nu-metal and pop-punk were my first loves. When I was 15 or so, I started getting into the classics like the Ramones, the Stooges and The Go-Betweens.

DEON (bass): The first album I owned was Silverchair’s Neon Ballroom on cassette, which I picked up from the local 7/11. From there I moved on to some metal and punk classics – Iron Maiden, Metallica, Misfits – that really got me into playing fast-paced, heavier music. 

MITCH (drums): My old man was into music, so naturally I became obsessed with our record player (which I’m still running). I raided his vinyl collection and the bands that stood out for me as a 6-year-old were Pink Floyd and Dire Straits. From that day Floyd has been the one obsession that hasn’t left, but Dire Straits have snuck back in in the last couple years, I think it brings me a nice level of comfort.

Can you tell us a little bit about an album that was/is a really big deal for you and why it made an impression on you?

JACKSON: When I was in year 10 my friend Ryan gave me Television’s Marquee Moon and Modern Lovers s/t and said let’s make a band and that really was a big turning point in my life musically.

MAWSON: ECSR – So Many Things, it blew my mind in my younger years and to this day remains one of my biggest influences.

RYAN: Pink Flag by Wire is a thumper. I like the way they sabotage the songs by ending a chorus where you’d usually repeat or repeating something else ad nauseam. Honourable mention to Fever by Kylie Minogue.

DEON: I’d have to say The Velvet Underground – Loaded. ‘Sweet Jane’ is the stand out track for me. Lyrically and musically this album hits the mark front to back.

MITCH: Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys. How could you not love Buddy Miles and Billy Cox with Hendrix! Best grooves ever!!!

What’s a song, band or album that you’re loving right now? What do you appreciate about it/them?

JACKSON:  I just heard the s/t album by KPAX (krah) a band from Belgrade, Serbia. It was recently released on Doomtown Records. It’s raw and makes you feel that heat on the street of a big hectic city.

MAWSON: Future Suck & Cutters; what’s not to love about em’.

RYAN: The new Future Suck single ‘Hell for Leather’ goes hard – good people making good music. I’m digging a band from Hobart called Rabbit – catchy power-pop, can’t beat it.

DEON: Exek and their recent release Advertise Here. Experimental post-punk dub of the highest quality. Probably one of the most important bands.

MITCH: Clamm. Really digging their energy, I saw them live at NinchFest this year and they totally owned the stage

How did you end up on a musical/creative path? I know all members of Split System play/played in other bands: Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters, Stiff Richards, Doe St, Speed Week, The Black Heart Death Cult & No Zu.

JACKSON: I started properly playing in bands in probably grade 11/12 with some mates from high school. From that point on, I didn’t care much about anything else and spent my least favourite classes sitting in a storage room at school playing guitar. In grade 12, I got a job collecting glasses at a bar in Fortitude Valley and saw a lot of great Brisbane bands playing there. A few days before I turned 18, I quit and started spending most nights drinking and watching bands there.

MAWSON: Playing music was always my escape from some of the harsher things going on around me. Jamming heaps with friends just eventually lead to the right combination of people at the right time.

RYAN: I started playing in bands when I was in high school living in Launceston. I was playing in a couple of scrappy punk bands, who had to share bills with metalcore bands to get a gig. We eventually got some gigs in Hobart and connected with some great bands more aligned with us. After moving from Tassie to Melbourne, I didn’t start playing in bands again for almost a decade.

DEON: As a kid I remember my older brother always playing guitar, so I guess that kind of rubbed off on me, we had a few old guitars laying about the house, which I’d noodle on. As a teenager I went on to play in various garages/sheds with mates bashing around and making noise.

MITCH: I started learning the drums as an 11 year old and by 14 my cousins mates were after a drummer, i had a quick try out and made the cut. Our name was THC lol. We managed to a get a gig at Broadford Festival which was ran by the Hells Angles, as a 16 year old i thought was pretty rad. Someone was shot there, yikes!

You only had one jam together before lockdowns happened. What initially brought Split System together?

MAWSON: Well, initially it was Jackson’s idea to get a couple of us together to try and fill some space while we yo-yoed in and out of lockdowns. The first jam Jackson jumped on drums and Ryan, Deon and myself just mashed out a bunch tracks we had in the back pocket. Everyone gelled pretty well so we got Mitch to come jump on the kit and the 7” got written then and there.

RYAN: I think another bloke was lined up to drum, but didn’t show up to the first jam. Thankfully we’ve got the salami making, hog smokin’, bongo playing, shagadelic bad boy that is Mitch McGregor.

Single art by Deon Slaviero.

Gimmie are premiering Split System’s new single ’Demolition’ from your forthcoming debut album that will be released in late 2022; what’s it about? What was the process when writing it?

JACKSON: Ryan sent a few early versions of the chords through and at the time I was working securing a building that was about to have its neighbouring building demolished. So, naturally the lyrics began to take shape while I was up on the side of the building doing all sorts of shit and thinking about the building beside it getting knocked down. Around the same time my partner had just given birth to our daughter and it all sort of just fell into place lyrically through those two situations.

Split System released a self-titled 7” earlier this year on Legless that was recorded remotely with everyone recording their parts at home and sending them to each other via email; how is your debut album different from the EP? Was it recorded with everyone in the same room?

MAWSON: That first 7” probably reflects the lack of time spent writing in the simplicity of the tracks, but we felt like it had good energy and it was a great excuse to make something out of the down time. The LP is definitely a more complete package, even though we still had limited time to get everything finished we’re pretty happy with the direction its taken.

RYAN: I dig the rawness of the 7”, however the LP is a lot more hi-fi.

What kind of headspace were you in recording the new album?

MAWSON: We recorded live at Rolling Stock Studios with Andy Robinson over a weekend. Working with him just felt like any old jam, a few takes of each song… was super chill and easy.

MITCH: When you have Andy ‘Rowdy Robo’ Robinson at the helm ya know its gonna be a ripper of a sesh, plus he’s easy on the eyes too!

What themes does the new album explore?

JACKSON: Half of the lyrics were written when I was sober and half when I’d started drinking again. There’s probably a bit of that is in there. I stopped drinking when my partner became pregnant with my daughter, so I could clear my head a bit and prepare myself for another kid. I’d say there’s a lot of subconscious anxiety littered throughout the album as well as a bit of hope for change and clarity. I usually just listen to the instrumental versions of the songs until a line or something pops into my head and then go from there.

Do you prefer writing, recording or playing live most? Why do you enjoy it best?

RYAN: I love all elements of playing music, but you can’t beat mucking around and having a jam.

MITCH: The rush playing a live show to a whole bunch of folks! I love it.

What do you do when not playing music?

JACKSON: Labour for a construction company, play with my kids, and try to keep healthy so I can keep up with them.

MAWSON: I clean windows.

RYAN: I do social work for a crust. Apart from that, bugger all.

DEON: Watch other people play music and graphic design.

MITCH: I love cooking in my spare time, when I’m not doing that I’m listening to music while knocking cabinets and furniture up.

What does the rest of the year look like for you?

MAWSON: Stiff Richards and Jackson Reid Briggs both have Europe tours over July followed by some well needed holidays for everyone. After some time off we will be coming into September/October ready to go. The LP will be coming out some time in October with a stack of gigs to follow.

MITCH: I really can’t wait for the LP to come out and play some shows, the record is something I’m really proud of. The gang that is Split System are a bunch of legends and I’m stoked to be playing with them, bring on the tours!!

What’s making you happy right now?

JACKSON: Family and having some drinks!

RYAN: The Carlton Football Club not being complete shite.

MAWSON: Not working!

DEON:A long black with a dash of milk.

MITCH: Watching the salami I made cure. Yum!

Split System bandcamp. Legless Records bandcamp. Follow @splitsystem666 & @leglessrecords.