guppy ‘lipshitz’ premiere – “I step into the part of myself that doesn’t give any fucks and it’s completely liberating in a sexual hyper-feminine way”

Photo courtesy of Guppy. Handmade mixed media art by B.

Meanjin/Brisbane band Guppy don’t sound like anyone else. It’s post-punk, it’s noise rock, it’s No Wave, it’s art-pop, it’s guitar-less, there’s wild saxophone, but saying all that only tells part of the story—it’s a dizzying array of cool. There’s an accidental alchemy formed from the simplicity and joy of friendship and explorational, experimental jams. After seeing Guppy live earlier this year, we loved them so much we interviewed them and put them on the cover of our print publication of Gimmie Issue 2. Those that have seen their hectic live show can attest to their magnetism. Guppy features members of some QLD’s most exciting bands of the last decade Clever, Cured Pink, Per Purpose, Psy Ants and Come Die In Queensland.

Today we’re premiering their DIY debut video and song ‘Lipshitz’ from their forthcoming highly anticipated first album, 777antasy . We spoke with Guppy’s vocalist, Pam, who represents a new kind of thrilling frontwoman.

We’re excited to be premiering Guppy’s debut clip for song ‘Lipshitz’ from your forthcoming debut album in the works; why did you choose this song for your first video?

PAM: We’d been tossing round ideas for clips we could put together ourselves and in the process of spitballing one night we decided to demo this lip-syncing idea, thinking we could use some green paint around my mouth and key it out and it would look a bit like that Mulligrubs show. Because this song’s full of attitude, it made sense to try it out with this track. We did a bunch of takes that progressively became more complicated, with little cameos from Jack [saxophone-vocals] and Callum [drums] interweaved between closeups of Mitch [bass-vocals] and I, but in the end, the best take was basically our first one. I guess the choice of song wasn’t so deliberate, it was just meant to be.

How did the song initially get started? What’s it about?

P: As usual, the music came first. It had a real tense, unnerving undercurrent that held lots of space to drag out the tension. Jack wanted to make a lovemaking song. When it came to writing the lyrics, I knew it wouldn’t start with a melody. The gups joked that I should approach it like a rap. So I did. I was thinking more about words with bite, phrasing, repetition. It was like a word collage, guided by this book I got from the lifeline superstore Thugs and the Women That Love Them by Wahida Clark. It’s titillating stuff. And subconsciously it was helping me express parts of myself that I usually keep to myself. She snake-charmed the rude outta me. It felt good. Next prac, it came out in a blaze and I thought it was done, but I think Mitch could see the potential of more narrative if he were to voice the male perspective. And it made it even better. He’s not afraid to be tacky but also vulnerable. I think we get a real kick out of both our characters.

What do you love most about it? We love the co-vocals and attitude in the delivery, along with the hectic energy sonically.

P: Yeah I think you’re onto it. For me it’s less about the story and more about how it feels to deliver it. I step into the part of myself that doesn’t give any fucks and it’s completely liberating in a sexual hyper-feminine way. That’s probably what I love about it most, that it’s so fun to play live. Everyone’s so animated. Like, Mitch chugs this heavy bassline along with Cal who’s holding it down, holding the tension, and then Jack comes in at the end of every line with some sass, punctuated by this squealing skronk. Everyone’s suddenly moving more as the song builds. Yeah it’s got good energy. 

Photo by Jhonny

Can you tell us a bit about recording it? What do you remember from the session?

P: We recorded in this little studio tucked away in Stafford just across from the Stafford Tavern. The roof was covered in egg cartons and Callum was propped up on this platform with what felt like a huge drum kit covered with mics. The drums really filled the room. We were so close together but listening to each other through headphone sets. It didn’t take long for us to get the final take. 

We recorded vocals on a different day. For most of the day I’d recorded vocals alone but for this song Mitch and I recorded together and I remember it felt like I was properly hearing his lyrics for the first time. It just poured out of him, enunciated in the way that only he can do. It was so natural to him. It was cool, I remember him coaching me through my parts trying to get the gold outta me. 

What is the symbol that appears at the beginning of the clip?

P: Well we decided to call the record 777antasy, like ‘zan-ta-see’. We were humouring ourselves with shit like ‘we belong to the fantasy genre’, ‘with roots in karaoke’ and a ‘smack of funk’, etc etc. Anyway, it stuck. And Jack came to practice with this symbol she’d fashioned at work, cut out from lino. It was perfect. If you look closely in the circle it reads 777antasy without being too obvious. The sevens cut down the centre and into each other in this angular way. Then I extruded it and warped it in cool 3D world. We’ll be using the symbol in slightly different incarnations across other videos and the record. 

You made the video yourselves. What went into the making of it? 

P: Well I feel like we almost lucked out with getting a one-take-wonder that night we were mucking around. Jack just got on my phone and started filming, fixing weird things to our heads that she’d rummage out of her car, giving us directions. She’s super resourceful that Jack. A few beers later and it’s as if the video made itself. It felt like the hard part was done cause we had the raw footage but little did I know how painstaking the video editing process would be. Feels like new territory. Lots of fun but lots to learn. I edited the clip in After Effects and used Blender to animate the opening sequence. The pain was worth it though, that 3D opening puts a big fat smile on my face everytime. 

What’s one of the biggest lessons you learnt making the clip?

P: Just cause you have a million effects doesn’t mean you’ve gotta use them all. 

What’s happening next for Guppy?

P: We’re working on a band website and album art so we can launch it early next year with the help of Gimmie (THANK YOU!). Also working on ideas for more videos… We like the idea of producing them ourselves so that we can put our own stank on it. There’s something about the way we work together, jamming and editing ideas that feels magical and we want that to come through in our videos, everything that we do. Plus, we’re gonna have more downtime so we can work on new songs and prepare for the 777antasy launch. That should be a hoot. I want it to be over-the-top larger-than-life, an extravaganza! That’s if I had it my way. 

Follow @itsguppybaby. Listen to Guppy’s first single ‘Creepin’ at itsguppybaby.bandcamp.com.

Wollongong post-punk duo Chimers’ ‘Paper trails’ video premiere

Original photo courtesy of Chimers. Handmade collage by B.

Wollongong post-punk duo Chimers’ energy levels are high on their galloping, melodic-filled noise-pop debut self-titled release. Padraic’s shimmering guitars and urgent vocals against Binx’s staunch backbeat conveys a confidence of musicianship (they also play in Pink Fits, Drop Offs & Fangin’ Felines) that gives us a memorable, powerful collection of songs.

Today Gimmie is premiering their video for song ‘Paper Trails’ and we couldn’t be happier! We chatted with vocalist-guitarist Padraic to get insight into the song and clip.

What’s life been like lately for Chimers? You played a show this weekend past with Arse.

PADRAIC: Busy! We got excited and overcommitted a bit for December but it’s been great, we haven’t really had a run of gigs before so it’s been nice to play regularly and try a few new songs out live. The gig with Arse was fun, great band, great people. 

We’ve also just finished recording 2 songs for a single that’ll come out in January 22 so yeah…we’ve been keeping busy

Did it change or evolve much after jamming it over and over from the initial writing?

P: ‘Paper Trail’ was written about a specific time and place. I’d been through a breakup, was working a shit job doing 12 hour days, 7 days a week and didn’t have a band going so had no real focus in my life. Very much a “what the fuck am I doing with my life?” kind of stage and I wasn’t in a good place mentally. The title is from an old journal I found during the first lockdown which was cringeworthy to read, I wish I’d done Ian MacKaye style journals and written about events or things I’d done rather than my feelings….it was tragic reading it now but probably helped at the time I suppose. I met Binx not long after and the rest as they say is history.

We’re excited to be premiering your new clip for song ‘Paper Trail’; what inspired the writing of the track?

P: I can’t really remember to be honest! We were in lockdown and writing a lot of stuff at the time. It was pretty early in the band’s existence, so we were throwing a lot of ideas around. I’m guessing it got faster and more intense as that seems to be how our process works in general. It wasn’t really in the running to be on the album when we went to record, it was more of a throwaway “let’s do a take and see how it sounds”. I’m glad we did; we’ve never played it live so it probably would’ve been long forgotten by now

What helps to get your creative juices flowing?

P: I know it was different for everyone and some people couldn’t get motivated or whatever, but the lockdowns were great for us! We probably wouldn’t have started the band if they didn’t happen. The fact that we have a jam room at home definitely helps, we can jam for 20 minutes if we like, just plug in and play. I think that all helps with momentum, which is massive. We can write quickly, make decisions about songs, recording, artwork whatever without the usual back and forth between band members etc. The fact that we know each other so well too, there’s no dramas, we just get on with it. I mean, I get to play music with my best mate/soul mate/life partner whatever you want to call it! I love looking over and Binx is smashing that kit…that makes me want to write more….

What can you remember from recording it?

P: We recorded it at The Pinshed with Jez Player as part of the album sessions. When we were doing vocals, Jez had an idea for a falsetto harmony in the chorus which he sang, and it sounds great and really added to it. I love how you can hear it on its own for a split second at the very end of the song.

Chimers cover art by MollySkehan.

Can you tell us a little bit about making the video? It was filmed on Dharawal Land. What kind of story does it tell?

P: As for telling a specific story that’s not really what we did with this one as opposed to the one we did for ‘Surrounds’. We made it with our friend Charlie Conlan (who also did ‘Surrounds’) and we basically set up a green screen in our loungeroom and then Charlie did his best to get some shots in between us either laughing at each other or feeling (and looking) really awkward in front of the camera. From there it was all Charlie’s work with the time lapse footage etc.

What was the most fun part of the clip to make?

P: Just hanging out and having fun making a video with our good mate. ‘Surrounds’ was a bit more of a collaborative effort whereas this was a bit more of a lockdown limited contact kind of thing. The real fun part for us was watching the finished product when Charlie had sent it through.

What would you like people to get from ‘Paper Trail’?

P: Mmmmm…. I suppose like anything you put out there you hope some people like it! I mean that shouldn’t matter if you like what you’re doing that’s enough but there’s plenty of music out there so if yours connects with someone then that’s pretty gratifying and a bit overwhelming. A mate actually called me to tell me that he’d had ‘Paper Trail’ on repeat when he was driving to work and was giving it all kinds of raps and I respect his opinion on music so that was nice to hear. I know what music means to us so if ours does that for someone else then that’s pretty cool right! There’s no way to not sound corny saying that but y’know, it does mean a lot

What’s next for Chimers?

P: New single in January which will also have a limited release as a split 7” with a band that we both really love so that’s going to be great. Planning to record again in February and we have King St Carnival, Yours & Owlsx and Snake Valley Festivals to play. Fingers crossed we get to Ireland later in 2022 for some gigs with hopes of a quick dash to Spain for a week or two tacked on, that would be fun!

FYI we have an in-depth interview with Chimers in our new issue of Gimmie Gimmie Gimmie zine – available HERE.

Chimers debut album is available HERE. Follow Chimers @chim_ers 

gimmie issue 5

This issue we bring you even more in-depth chats with creatives than ever before!

Bass boss, dog mom and Academy Award winner Kira Roessler shares her musical journey, chatting Black Flag, Dos, her new solo album, film work, and shares life lessons of love and loss.

We get a peek into minimal synth-punks Laughing Gear’s world yarning on their couch over a few beers.

Leon Stackpole, frontman of garage rockers Power Supply (featuring members of Drug Sweat, Voice Imitator, The Sailors and Eddy Current Suppression Ring), explores new record – In the Time of the Sabre-toothed Tiger.

screensaver’s Krystal Maynard tells us about growing up in the Perth punk scene, playing in a riot grrrl band, guitar inspiration Poison Ivy and the journey of the band’s synth-punk debut album Expressions Of Interest. 

Blonde Revolver’s vocalist Zoe (also of Alien Nosejob & Body Maintenance) chats drumming, realities of working in the music industry, her bands and new music. 

Self-expressionist Tim Kerr gives us an insight into his art book Self Taught and new musical project Up Around the Sun. We cover DIY, skateboarding, surfing, and songwriting – all things Kerr’s done since the 70s to this day. We also talk about the Big Boys documentary in the making.

Pipe-eye’s Cook Craig opens up about creativity and home life.

The Vovos tell us about their “punk bitch attitude”, origins at Girls Rock! Melbourne, creative struggles and motivations.

Synth-punk cowboy Cong Josie wins our heart as he bares his soul.

Time For Dreams’ Amanda Roff gets deep about music, creativity and stunning new record Life Of The Inhabitant.

Husband and wife duo Chimers (championed by Henry Rollins) chat community, mental health, balancing being a musician and parent, plus their debut album.

Punk duo Piss Shivers met at a Propagandhi show and features members of CNT EVN and Toy, don’t even have a release out but we love them after seeing them live. We nerd out about punk and their drummer singing with Jello Biafra moments before acquiring a black eye.

Chinese-Australian avant-garde composer Mindy Meng Wang explores breaking tradition, punk and collaboration with Brian Ritchie (Violent Femmes), Ma Haipaing and more.

Dougal Shaw breaks down Dr Sure’s Usual Practice’s new album Remember the Future? Vol 1 & 2.

Kate Binning of Bitumen drops in for a “DJ set”, sharing a playlist of songs she loves.

60 pages. A4 size. 2 Cover Variants. Limited Edition. 

Get it: gimmiezine.bandcamp.com

U.S.A. pressing coming via totalpunkrecords.com

Our Carlson: “Punk Is an attitude”

Original photo by Natalie Jurrjens. Handmade mixed media art by B.

Our Carlson doesn’t hold back on debut EP A Bit Much, his writing is both funny and frustrated as he speaks to the experience of living, and of being diagnosed with epilepsy at thirty-three. Ranting over dance club and break beats, Carlson’s record is honest and from the heart. Today Gimmie is premiering the super fun video for single ‘Cappo Dog’. We spoke with Our Carlson just last week about the release, video, his punk origins (he was in hardcore band King Brown), epilepsy, the UV Race, MDMA, Gary Ablett, Save Our Scene and much more.

Your live show looks like it’s so much fun! I’m stoked to be talking with you today. Your EP A Bit Much came out at the start of the year, right?

OUR CARLSON: Yeah, it came out on the same day that I played a show at The Forum with Cash Savage and the Last Drinks. That was a bit of a buzz. I had DJ Katie Pearson with me on that one. Cash has been deejaying with me heaps lately, which is lots fun; I’m trying to get as many of them in as I can before The Last Drinks go bananas. They’re going to go to Europe a couple of times next year. My partner DJ Ruby Princess deejays with me sometimes as well. 

It’s great that you can get lots of different people to join you on stage and DJ your set.

OC: Yeah. I honestly got sick of bands breaking up; members getting jobs and moving interstate, having kids, or whatever takes them away from music. I think anyone that has been in bands for a while, knows what I’m talking about there. You have to find new members, they have to learn the songs. I just wanted to do something that was nice and easy. It was very easy when we were twenty-one, it was like, “Yeah, let’s do a band and go on tour!” Lives get in the way.

How did you get into music?

OC: There was always music around the house. As far as me getting into music on my own, my next door neighbour, Emma, she was really into Fat Wreck Chords punk, pop-punk, things like that. It would have been in the late 90s. Through her I got into music and started going to shows. 

I started a hardcore band just when I left high school, and really started getting into hardcore then. 

What was the name of your hardcore band?

OC: King Brown. That’s just gone up on Spotify through Oz Digital Hardcore Archive. they have an Instagram The record label that we were on doesn’t exist anymore. That whole section [time period] of music is missing from Spotify; only older stuff that’s bigger is put on there. They started contacting people about putting their music on there and all of the money goes to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre. Listening to it brings back memories, there’s so many bands that you forgot about. It’s really cool. 

I was around in that period. There were some great bands. Having been involved in punk and hardcore for well over half my life and making zines, I have a big archive of Australian music from that period, lots of demos, especially on CD or cassette. 

OC: So many good demos back then! Lots of amazing stuff. You’re from Brisbane?

I’m originally from Brisbane, but am currently on the Gold Coast.

OC: There were bands up there like The Daylight Curse, we played a bunch with them. It was a pretty big scene up there.

There were a lot of bands, a lot fell under that North Coast Hardcore scene umbrella.

OC: Live you can tell that I was a hardcore kid, I’m stomping around the stage doing the whole hardcore thing. It’s where I learnt to play to a crowd and do my thing. I got my chops at The Arthouse. It hasn’t left me. 

Lately I’ve been going back to it. My car just has a CD player, whenever I’m out of range of community radio it’s onto CDs, listening to all that old stuff. I’ve been listening to heaps of The Nation Blue lately. I got to play with them at OK Motels. It was so great, they hadn’t played in ages. I still go to Mindsnare shows  every time they’re on.

I love Mindsnare! I’d go to all of their shows when they’d come to QLD. I remember the launch for their first LP Credulity in like 1997 or ’98. They’re one of Australia’s all-time best hardcore bands.

OC: Definitely one of the best! They’re my favourite. I’m just looking at my first tattoo, on my foot, a Mindsnare tattoo [laughs] that I got when I was younger. 

What attracted you to the hardcore scene?

OC: I was angry. It was a good outlet for me, and there’s the whole community vibe of it, I really loved that. All Ages shows; me and my friends would pile into cars and drive so far, we’d be in the northwest of Melbourne and drive all the way down to Frankston for shows. You’d know everyone. It was good fun. Touring bands, just hanging out with everyone.

How did you go from doing hardcore to doing what you do know with Our Carlson? It’s pretty different.

OC: It is different [smiles]. I started getting into a lot of different music. My friend Izzy [Stabs] that does a lot of the music, he really got into electronic music; he started buying me records. He’d be like, “You gotta hear this! You gotta hear this!” And I just started listening to it more. It’s really similar with the scene, there’s a really good community within that scene. There’s a lot of females driving that community as well, I’ve really enjoyed that aspect. I really get a kick out of the music, the people, the clubs. I really love a sweaty club or warehouse show, it reminds me of punk and hardcore in many ways. Being able to make music from your bedroom is pretty cool. 

Photo by Natalie Jurrjens.

I know quite a few people from the punk and hardcore community that ended up going on to doing something electronic or beats-based. They still have that punk and hardcore spirit, they’re just channeling into something new and evolving; like what you’re doing.

OC: Yeah, I think so. I used to exclusively listen to punk and hardcore, then life changes and you start getting exposed to different things. I listen to everything. Sarah Mary Chadwick is a huge influence for me, her vocals and lyrics are so honest. For me, doing this, it’s the most honest I’ve ever been with music. Listening to her I was like, ‘I can do this!’ You know when you see someone else and you’re like ‘I can do it! I can put it all on the line.’ People connect with that, you just got to do it. 

The first song I wrote was ‘Ain’t Too Great Mate’. I sent it to a few people, and people were just calling me going, “Are you alright?” I was like, ‘I am alright now, I’ve got this out and I’m feeling better.’ 

It all started from epilepsy. I had this idea in my head and I started rambling into the phone. I spoke to Izzy and said, ‘We have to do something with this. Do you reckon we can make some electronic music with this?’ We got together and made the first track, and it worked.

When you were thirty-three you were diagnosed with epilepsy. I’ve had people close to me diagnosed with various conditions later in life, so I have an understanding of what that’s like. I wanted to ask you about your experience. What was life like for you before the diagnosis and then how did being diagnosed change things?

OC: Well, you have one seizure and you don’t have epilepsy, some people have one seizure and they don’t diagnose that as epilepsy. Once you have a second one, they say you have epilepsy. It was a year between them for me. 

It’s just the fear of not knowing when it’s going to come. Sometimes I have panic attacks, I get a bit of anxiety and go, ‘Oh fuck! I’m going to have a seizure.’ It’s not, but that just builds. Meds are annoying, I love them and I hate them. Some days you forget to take them, you don’t have any on ya, you’ve got to drive back to the house to get them. I live in the country, everything is half and hour or forty-five minutes away. Once I have a seizure I can’t drive for six months. There’s no public transport out here. I live in a tiny little town, it’s a half hour drive to the train to get anywhere, the you have to get to Melbourne to go to all of these appointments. The doctors don’t seem to know much about epilepsy, that’s the most frustrating part. They don’t know too much and they can just theorise and they don’t want to tell you things that may not be true. Rich Stanley from Power Supply has epilepsy, and I learn more from him and other people with epilepsy than I do from the doctors. He’ll give me advice and tips, I’ll tell him what’s happening and we can talk all about it, it helps immensely—a big thank you to Rich! 

With the music, I wanted to put it out there and let people know. I’m pretty comfortable about talking about epilepsy. I wanted people to know, because one in twenty-five Australians have epilepsy. People don’t really talk about it. Since putting it out there, the amount of people that have come up to me and told me they have epilepsy, that I didn’t even know had it, is so many; it’s because people don’t talk about it because there’s a stigma around it. If everyone knows about it and knows what to do, it’s not so scary… I mean it can be.

I know what you mean. When people talk about things it can help normalise these things, and people don’t have to feel that stigma or isolated and alone. Another big thing I think is that just looking at someone isn’t always an indicator of what’s going on with them, so many health challenges are things you can’t outwardly see all the time. Having health challenges can also very much impact on your mental and emotional wellbeing, all these things people just can’t always see.

OC: That’s it, exactly. The mental health side of it is huge! We all struggle with mental health at some stage in our lives, that’s come along way though from people talking about it. My dad committed suicide when I was fourteen, that was all through him being an old school dude. Everyone was like, “No. No way. Not Wayne.” He seemed so happy and was out and about, he had a larger than life personality, but he couldn’t talk about things because that wasn’t the culture. There’s been huge steps in that but there’s a long way to go. 

The hardcore scene has lost a lot of people to suicide over the last couple of years. A lot of the time it seems to be men my age. Hopefully we can keep talking about it and people can get better and realise that you can get through stuff, that there is help and your friends will help you. It is tough, but I hope conversations can help it and we don’t have to go through losing people over and over. 

Absolutely. That’s why I always make an extra effort to check-in with people, even people I might not know super well, or maybe it’s someone I’ve interviewed sometime over the years. I’ve experienced a fair amount of loss in my life and know how important it is for people to know that someone is there for them. I actively reach out to people, because having suffered from severe depression and anxiety in my life, felt like I had no one and I know how hard it can be to reach out when you’re in the midst of feeling that. Sometimes you feel like you don’t want to bother people or be a burden on them, cos everyone has something they’re dealing with. 

OC: Yeah, I found myself doing that a lot of lockdowns too, calling friends and being like, ‘Hey, I’m just calling to check-in. What’s going on?” That helps a lot. When they do feel down at least they know they can reach out to me, that people care. It’s easy to forget that people care, and that your friends love you, when you’re deep in a depression. It’s nice to remind people of that whenever you can. Just a simple call and check-in, that’s all you need to maybe make a difference. 

What helps you when you get depressed? 

OC: My partner runs Ray Holistic Health. A lot of that has helped me lately. Things like acupuncture and meridian lines. I remember the first time she did it to me, she was holding these points on my head and it felt like all of this energy was rushing and coming up out of my head. I feel like talk therapy is good, but this other stuff, Chinese medicine and stuff like that where you don’t have to talk, seems to make a big difference for me, it realigns things. 

Time to myself is good. I like to go off Ito the bush. Take a trumpet out there and blow as hard as I can. That’s really good!

Hanging out with my friends! I have really good friends I chat with. Cash Savage is always really good for me, we always check-in. Having people that you can just be really honest with, people that don’t judge. I find I always feel better after a big chat. Sometimes you don’t want to have that chat, but you’ll feel better after it if you do, it’s a good release.

Totally. How did you come to the name Our Carlson? I know Carlson is your last name.

OC: Our Carlson is just a play on “our Kylie”. I love Kylie Minogue, she’s amazing, has been for a long time. Never have I known her to have a scandal. How has she never had a scandal? [laughs]. I can’t think of one. Surely she has been scandalous! I wanted to have something with my name in it too, so I could really own it. 

You did mention that this project is the most honest you’ve been in music.

OC: Yeah. The stuff I’m writing now is even more honest and pretty wild, really digging into stuff. I found it a little difficult to write in lockdown because a lot of stuff comes from talking with people, sayings and things I overhear. I might say something and then someone laughs and goes, “That’s a lyric.” I kind of just blurt them out. Listening to records helps me write too. I might be listening to a hardcore record and get something in my head. I just jot things down or yell into my phone. When I started seeing people I started writing a lot more again. 

Where did your EP title A Bit Much come from?

OC: [Laughs] It’s just something I say a bit. Something came up and I said, ‘That’s a bit much.’ The whole thing is a bit much, the music is a bit much, epilepsy is a bit much, life’s a bit much—the whole experience I was having was just a bit much. It’s probably more than a bit much, but it’s a nice, cute little way of putting it. 

We’re premiering the clip for song ‘Cappo Dog’. It’s a song about how we’re basically all capitalists living in a capitalist society.

OC: Yeah. I’ve had big troubles with money my whole life, coming from the punk scene, I never want to spend money. Buying a house for me was huge! Until my partner told me we were going to be paying ten bucks more a month than we were for rent in Footscray. The whole capitalist system and money is always something that I’ve struggled with, and making money off of other people. I’m a carpenter and I’m always going to give people the bill and I knock money off it. I’m horrible with making money. 

We are all living in a capitalist society, you may think your not, but when you buy a beer there’s tax on that; when you fill up your car with fuel, there’s tax on that; there’s tax everywhere. 

The film clip, my mate Flagz made it. He’s done a bunch of clips, the latest Blake Scott one, Cash Savage’s ones, Batpiss, a few for Tropical Fuck Storm. We workshopped the idea. He moved to Woodend, which is not too far from Blackwood. We’ve been hanging out a bunch, he’s got a shed, Stanley’s, which is named after his uncle Stanley who passed away. He gave him some cash and his dad was like, “What are you going to do with it?” He’s like, “I’m just going to pay off some of my credit card.” His dad was like, “Uncle Stanley would not like that.” Uncle Stanley was a bit of a party dude, so he bought a pool table and a dartboard, it’s in his shed. We just hang out there and workshop ideas. 

We put up green screen all around the shed and made the clip in there. Tommy from Batpiss was living with him at the time (I think he’s just moved back to the city). Tommy, his partner and Flagz’ partner all came out and collaborated. I hadn’t been able to collaborate in so long, I can’t believe how much I missed it. We were putting costumes together, I’m playing three different characters as well as myself, Our Carlson in it. It was so much fun! They were yelling at me to do this and that [laughs].

One of the characters is Bradley, The Wolf Of Blackwood.

OC: Yeah. Bradley owns Capri Real Estate, he drives around in a Ford Capri, he works the stock market and is a news presenter on Channel 420. He’s a real capitalist grease ball.

Another character is Blaire.

OC: Blaire is a trustfund kid. He moved down from around the Byron Bay Area to the Southside of Melbourne and then moved over to the Northside. He has a  bar and a restaurant named after himself, as well as a men’s skincare range. He started Anti-tax and Anti-tax League. He’s a shocker.

Then there’s Rico’s cousin. He was born in Ballarat. He’s rumoured to be Gina Rinehart’s illegitimate son. He’s been banned from Milney’s bar, which is a bar I frequent a bit when I’m in Melbourne. He’s a bricklayer’s son, he’s going to take over the business, but he started moving bags instead of moving bricks. He’s a bit of a character. He doesn’t pay much tax but he’s a capitalist too. He’s moving those units and making that money. 

The song mentions Ray Cappo, the singer of Youth Of Today and Shelter. He became a Hare Krishna and started his own yoga thing, now I think he’s worth a couple of million of bucks! 

I’ve interviewed Ray. When we spoke he was going to Cher’s house and teaching her how to prepare raw food dishes. He’s also the only person that has ever charged me money to interview them, he charged me the equivalent of a private yoga lessons. I’m friends with people that played in Shelter and they’ve told me how he’d go to India and buy cheap tulsi neckbeads and then come back home and jack up the prices to sell them to hardcore kids at shows.

OC: Wow, he’s gone from the punk world to Cher’s house! I would definitely go to Cher’s house.

Me too! 

OC: She’s amazing. There’s a great thing on YouTube about Cher, it’s Westside Story from back in the day, she plays all of the parts. It’s a 10-minute clip. There’s five of her dressed up as all of the gang members, singing and dancing. It’s really amazing. It’s a good few minutes of your life spent.

Nice! I’ll have to check it out.

OC: I’ve made a bunch of cash, that’s my promotional tool at the moment—$420 notes. It’s with the ‘Cappo Dog’ clip launch, everyone that comes gets a $420 note on arrival.

Cool, I love when people go the extra mile and do fun things.

OC: That’s what it’s all about, doing fun things! My friend Sophie made my suit I wear, it was fun to sit down a collaborate with her. She’s making another suit at the moment; SÜK workwear, it’s overalls. It’s non-binary workwear that more fits femme shapes, it’s really good stuff. They’re doing great things. We had to take mine in bit because my body is pretty straight, snake-hips [laughs]. There’s going to be all tassels and beads. 

Because hardcore is so… oh, what’s the word I’m looking for?

OC: In a box!

Yeah, totally. With this project you can do whatever you want, it’s limitless. 

OC: Yeah, that’s what I like about it. I remember when King Brown started, we were pretty silly. The songs weren’t so much, they were serious. At the shows we talked a lot, talk about 80s cricketers and silly stuff for too long. You’d see hardcore kids looking around at the cool kids to see if it was ok to like it; I loved breaking down those barriers. Hardcore was very straight edge, especially at that time in Melbourne. Everyone wore black. I’ve always liked to shake it up a bit.

I remember when things were like that. In Brisbane we had real militant straight edge kids that would go to shows and knock beers out of people’s hands. I remember people wearing all black too, I used to stick out because I’d wear bright colours or white; I didn’t want to wear the uniform. 

OC: [Laughs]. I remember I went to a show at The Arthouse, everyone was wearing black and I was wearing a bright red Mindsnare t-shirt and people looking at me like, “Whoa! What are you doing? Are you in the wrong place mate?” It was like I was wearing the wrong outfit, so I thought, ‘I’ll keep doing this!’

I’ve had people do that to me to. I was going to a punk show my friend’s band was playing and there were two punk girls, one with a Chelsea haircut and the other had a mohawk, out the front of the venue sitting on the sidewalk smoking. I’d just come from a formal dinner party, so was looking glam, and as I approached one of them spat near my feet. I looked at them and they’re like, “Are you lost love?” And I’m like, ‘No, I’m here to see my friend’s band.’ They rolled their eyes, kind of like, as if! As they were hassling me my friend came out of the venue and was like “Bianca!” And ran over and hugged me and the two girls looked at each other in astonishment. Punk police are so lame.

OC: [Laughs], yeah. I copped it at the last Maggot Fest. Haram were playing and I was in the pit wearing a white button up shirt with all these dolphins embroidered on it, these curst punks were targeting me and laughing at me. I went up to them and I was like, ‘I really like your uniforms boys, they’re so sexy. I love how you put the uniform on to come out!” [laughs]. It’s so silly, punk is an attitude, it’s not an outfit.

Yeah. The punk people that I love the most are the ones that continue to push things forward, to me punk isn’t a static thing. 

OC: With the straight edge thing in the beginning for us, we’d see all ours friends sniffing glue and passing out at the shows just being wasteoids, and we just wanted to be positive. Not being in the punk box is punk, just doing your own thing. I think hardcore ruined punk a bit, in America especially, all the glitter kids and stuff like the Germs; there seemed to be a lot of queer kids and then Black Flag got massive and things got more macho, there were fights and all the freaks and weirdos stopped going to shows, which is a shame. From everything I’ve read and seen, that whole Germs-era looks rad to me. 

The L.A. punk scene has inspired so many people I know. I was talking to Kira from Black Flag the other day and she mentioned how back then the scene was so small, and we talked about the impact that it had still to this day. It was such a diverse little community and things didn’t sound the same. 

OC: It seemed like there was a lot of women involved in punk at the start. I love how the Germs were around for a year or so before they even played a show, they just had a logo and put flyers up around town, how cool is that?

There’s such a common misconception that there wasn’t many women in punk, but there totally was. 

OC: Yeah, punks always seemed to focus on the men more.

Photo by Natalie Jurrjens.

Are there any other songs from your EP you’d like to tell me about?

OC: ‘Ideology’ seems to be one that gets a bit of a run.

We love that song, it’s one of our favourites.

OC: Intellectuals seem to like ‘Ideology’ so that says something about you [laughs]. All the smart art kids seem to be into that one. It’s all about, what is an ideology? What are you thoughts?

The whole Gary Ablett part actually happened. My sister and I was actually at this place with big pools, a diving board, it’s like a really crap Wet n Wild in Geelong. Gary Ablett Snr was sitting there, Jnr was probably running round in the pool somewhere and she went to the tuckshop and got a brown paper bag and got him to sign it. She still has it, she’s going to dig it out for me. 

I like how that whole song works. The beats really cool. It hits you pretty hard. That song came out pretty easy. 

It’s something that I think about and think about, I mean I’m not constantly thinking about having a seizure but it does come into your head all the time. You might stand up too fast, and be be like, ‘Oh, what’s that!’ I might be working on a roof or climbing up a ladder and you’re like, if something happened now I’d be in a bit of trouble. That one really hits me a bit. 

I got a new song that’s all done pretty much.

What’s that about?

OC: It’s about conspiracy theories. It’s a fun take on it. I talk about Paul Kelly and How To Make Gravy and how that’s not how you make gravy! I don’t know what Paul’s going on about there, there’s a bit of a conspiracy around that [laughs]. 

It talks about The UV Race! They made their first film Autonomy and Deliberation, and then they made another film UV Race Disgrace Space; that hasn’t come out, it was made ages ago but it’s not finished editing. The line goes: The UV Race disgrace space before any billionaire but it was buried, conspiracy. 

There’s parts about: no one like my ‘We want 6G’ sign at the no 5G rally. There’s stupid things that are going on in the world at the moment. People flying off to space. 5G. Anti-vax. It just drives me crazy, especially the anti-vax stuff, how could someone be so self-centred; disabled people can’t go out, if people with disabilities get Covid they’re going to be in trouble, they’re looking at death; the elderly as well. People go, “The vaccines new!” It’s not even new, they’ve been using it for different kinds of things for ages, it’s just a new twist on an old vaccine. It drives me nuts that people can be so selfish. I know it can be scary, it’s a scary time, but doing your research on the internet is not the way to go. 

It’s a bit much! 

OC: [Laughs] It’s a bit much! If I get Covid and get quite a high fever, there’s a good chance that I will get a seizure. If people with epilepsy get Covid there’s a good chance we’ll have a seizure. I’m living my life and if that happens it happens…

Is there anything you need to be mindful of in regards to your epilepsy? When you play live does strobe lighting effect you or loud noise?

OC: Not for me. I’m not triggered by strobes. I’ve done a lot of tests and strobbing doesn’t trigger me, which is very good. I don’t have strobes at my shows though because I want them to be accessible, especially to people with epilepsy. I love strobes and going to places like Strawberry Fields festival. I usually work there driving artists to the stage, giving them their riders and making sure they’re happy. It’s a pretty fun job. 

Stress for me is a big one. I’m not meant to stay up too late either, sometimes I get a bit excited though, I come to the city and I’m having fun and I’m really bad at leaving a party, I always have been. I always want the fun to keep on continuing. 

There’s actually been studies into MDMA and it stops sodium valproate for working, which is in my epilepsy medication, so no more MDMA for me. The love drug! There’s a few things you have to be weary of. For me the meds really work and I really need to continue to take them every day. I have to try not and stress out too much either, I don’t work nearly as much as I used to. Hopefully I can just do more music. When doing a trade sometimes it can be stressful and difficult working with people, organising things. I tell people now that I only work three days a week, or sometimes I might need a week off. We’re lucky that we bought in the country and live a pretty cheap life, so I don’t have to work too much. The whole having to work for five or six days a week, what are we doing? You have one or two days off, decompress and got to go back to it and do it all again. Capitalism has really sucked everyone in.

That’s a big thing to do with your mental health, working so much you don’t have time to work on your mental health. I have so many friends that were political but then you buy a house, have kids… my partner and I decided not to have kids, it makes things a lot easier. If we did have kids I wouldn’t be doing this and be able to put so much time into what I’m doing, and all my money into what I’m doing. 

What you’re doing helps your mental health though, right? You can process things going on in your life through your art. You learn about yourself. Then there’s the joy of collaborating. Music, arts, culture and self-expression is so important!

OC: Yeah. I was talking to the Save Our Scene people over the internet. They were talking about how we need an economic feasibility study and health feasibility study into music and the arts, which a lot of different sectors have but we don’t have. If you have that, then the government can work off of that and know how much money the sector brings in and it’s this good for people’s health and maybe we should give it more funds! I contacted the local council, that’s a good place to start. They get a bad rap, but I think they’re trying to do the best they can with not a lot of resources.

I went and worked for the Hepburn Shire when I first got epilepsy. I had been working by myself and felt very uncomfortable, if I fell down and if it was in the morning no one would find me until night; I’m out in the backwater, working on properties with no one else around. I worked for the council in parks and gardens. They were great with my epilepsy. I had a seizure while I was there and couldn’t drive for six months, so they got someone to work with me and drive me around, and let me change my hours, they were very accommodating. 

Going back to the feasibility studies, if you can get your local council and your state MPs to do that, then get the federal government to do that, maybe then we’ve got a chance of getting more money put into local arts and music. 

We love the A Bit Much album art that Ben Mackie drew. How do you know Ben?

OC: I know him through music. He played in Cuntz, is now in Chemo Beach and Spiritual Mafia. Ben does a lot of different styles, but that crayon-style is something I really like. I sent him a few photos of me and asked him to do a portrait. He did a couple for the circular labels on the record, they’re pretty gnarly. He’s a legend. It’s nice collaborating with all of your friends. 

Collab-ing with friends is the best. Nice Cong Josie shirt you’re wearing by the way!

OC: Love Cong! He’s coming up this way to play at the church in Blackwood. The Uniting Church sold three churches and put the money into the church in Blackwood. If you’re a local you can rent it out very cheap. I’m actually in the church committee, which is a bit of a laugh for me, I’m not too much into the church. They asked me to be on the committee, because I put on art shows and gigs in town a bit. I rocked up the first day and I’m like, ‘So, queer people?’ and they’re like, “The Uniting Church has queer ministers.” And I was like, ‘Are we going to have a welcome to country at this thing?’ They’re like, “Yep, we’ll do all that and pay for it.” There were a whole lot of things where I was like, ok, as far as church goes this seems not too bad. 

You mentioned earlier that out in Blackwood you’re a town of 300 people. How do people out in your area respond to art shows and gigs you put on?

OC: There’s a lot of artists and musicians in the town. If you do something in the pub they want to hear covers. I did that a few times. Bitch Prefect played in the pub, another one of my bands Wild Blooms played, Eaten By Dogs, Joshua Seymour (who is one of the most underrated musicians in Melbourne). At the pub they really want to hear Midnight Oil; they want to hear covers. 

I put on an art show, Terry and Vertigo played. I was like, ‘Oohhh, a hardcore band, I wonder how this will go?’ People loved it! They own the pub, it’s their space, but if you put an art show on somewhere else it changes their mentality and they’re more open to other things. Vertigo played and people came up to me afterwards and I’m like, ‘What did you think?’ They were like, “They’re great! The singer’s pretty cute.” [Laughs] . It’s so great, you’ve got fifty and sixty-year-old people getting into hardcore at the church.

Our Carlson’s A Bit Much out now ourcarlson.bandcamp.com and @our.carlson
https://www.instagram.com/our.carlson/

Gimmie RADIO OCT 2021

New playlist for October is up now for your listening pleasure!
This months features songs from screensaver, Dr. Sure’s Unusual Practice, Laughing Gear, Hearts and Rockets, Ausecuma Beats, Power Supply, Bitumen, Alien Nosejob, Springtime, and more.

Post-Punk Rave-Up Wild Man Cong Josie: “I have always had the belief that anyone is an artist”

Original photo by Nadeemy Betros. Handmade mixed media art by B.

At Gimmie HQ we’ve been bumping the new Cong Josie album Cong! hard since it arrived in our inbox. We loved it so much that we ordered the hot pink limited edition vinyl version. The album is officially out Oct 22 on It Records (home of our favs – New War and Atom). It’s a fabulous high energy clash of minimal synth, EBM (Electronic Body Music), rockabilly-ish vocals, punk attitude with a whole lotta throb and thrust, along with some heart tugging surprises.

Today we’re debuting the electrifying song ‘Cong The Singer’ along with its video, a guerrilla D.I.Y. ode to the Naarm/Melbourne suburbs that spawned Cong! We chatted with the man, the myth, the legend himself, Cong Josie alter-ego of musician Nic Oogjes.

In your heat beat ensemble NO ZU you play instruments; now as Cong Josie you’re just singing?

CONG JOSIE: Yeah. It was a really deliberate choice, a really arrogant choice [laughs], that’s kind of what the song ‘Cong The Singer’ is about. Arrogant in that I’ve never been a singer. I love singing; I love singing in the shower. I’ve always loved singing along to Roy Orbison, trying to sing ‘Crying’. Very ambitious targets! All of the “Bobby Movement” like Bobby Darrin; there was a lot of guys called Bobby in the 50’s that did rock n roll ballads. Elvis. All that kind of stuff. It was a deliberate decision not to carry around instruments anymore.

I keep going through these things with each new project. After my first when-I-was-becoming-an-adult-and-start-taking-things-seriously band, I was like, ‘I don’t ever want to have to carry around a drumkit anymore!’ I would be up front playing some rototoms so that I could stand up, and that led into NO ZU. I was only going to carry standup percussion, but then it expanded. It grew to a point where I didn’t want to carry all this stuff around; trumpets, all sorts of stuff. There was lots of clothes for each band member too, I’d carry around to each gig. Our baggage loads on planes were crazy!

I was like, ‘I just want to be a singer!’ Even though I can’t sing. That’s really arrogant, but I have always had the belief that anyone is an artist and anyone can make something interesting if you have the drive and ideas. In fact, most of my favourite singers, that I just mentioned… even Roy Orbison, sings off key, which makes his voice really interesting and intriguing, where he often has to bend into a note. There are a lot of notes that aren’t quite right.

I love singers that are non-singers, I find their voices really interesting. There’s this Greek singer Márkos Vamvakáris, who was one of the biggest rebetiko stars; they call it the Greek Blues, it’s a lot about hash dens and sordid activities. It was real people’s music, real working-class music. His voice is like a chainsaw! It’s not good, but I love it, it has the most edge to it. Obviously, that throughout punk and post-punk as well, it’s like that. It’s from that background that I thought I could at least make something interesting. I can sing these two notes, kind of, if I’m in this register [laughs].

[Laughter]. What else is the song about?

CJ: It’s about playing with that idea of a singer. It’s a fantasy tale about being a hero of the suburbs. I’ve never really understood why everything has to be so city-centred, and why everything has to play into these references of what’s cool and what’s happening now. In my fantasy dreamworld, there would be pockets all throughout the urban sprawl of Melbourne and beyond, where amazing music is happening. And, there’s this one singer that plays around the Eastern suburbs, around the R.S.L. and chicken-parmigiana-pubs, that are actually really creative and great but for whatever reason in our culture (in the 80’s bands would go out and play those places), it’s just not a thing now. It’s about that, because it’s just an impossibility.

The other layer is that actual baring of childhood and real-life things. As I was saying before, it’s amazing to hear yourself in music. I haven’t heard other people mention the Eastern Freeway in a song before! It’s a pretty good road [laughs]. It also expresses that driving was a form of freedom when I was younger. Going to the city, to places for “culture” and discovering different kinds of music was really important to me. So, that road means a lot.

Even my suburb. I’ve actually moved back to my teenage house, that’s where I am now. I bought it off my mum, which was very strange. I remember living here when I was younger, I remember this Australian rapper called Bias B, he talked about the trainline here. Aussie hip-hop around 2000 was the first time I ever heard specific areas mentioned. He talked about the Burra to Eltham train! Growing up here in a leafy suburb having nothing to say, but it’s not true, hearing things like that, I loved it, and that’s probably how it fed into my work.

The video clip we’re premiering for ‘Cong The Singer’ is really fun! What do you remember about filming?

CS: We only shot it two weeks ago, so I remember all of it [laughs]. And if anyone wants to know, we did do it Covid safe, I’m even wearing a mask in one part. I was actually saying this to Nick [Mahady] who filmed it with me…

He did your ‘Leather Whip’ clip too!

CJ: Yeah. This is kind of like ‘Leather Whip #2’. The first song was set in Greece because we happend to be there before Covid. Nick is a really great friend and talented artist; he did the portrait artwork for my releases so far and the Cong! cover. He’s an example of someone that is so open and creative and sensitive. We have a really great relationship, since I discovered more about myself and valued that aspect in people even more.

I was saying to Nick, that this video and ‘Leather Whip’ mean so much to me and are so close to me, because we literally went out with a camera and a few sketched ideas. We saw a rabbit, so we filmed a rabbit. We saw a bin chicken… or we decided to go to the river, which felt like minus thirty degrees! It was all very spontaneous over two days. It was nerve-racking also.

The first shot we did was Footscray Amphitheatre. We got there and it was so quiet. It was a Saturday morning, beautiful weather.  A couple of people were sitting in their Northface jackets drinking coffee. There were two groups of people looking down at exactly where we were filming. There were people jogging. Being in a cowboy hat, add to this debaucherous music, which we knew was going to be loud for a moment; I had my little Bluetooth speaker to mime to. It was scary! We actually started talking to each other, “Oh maybe we can do this other shot” [laughs]. We started setting up and one of the people there made a joke to me, he said, “Are we going to get an organ performance?” Because he saw my pants underneath my long jacket I was wearing and that broke the ice. I was like, ‘Ok, this is alright’ [breaths a sigh of relief], and then I started performing. I was like, ‘This is the best grassroots campaign ever, I just made three fans!’ It was me and Nick, and Johnny Cayn (Cayn Borthwick) was there.

The clip is very direct and real. It’s very D.I.Y. This is going to sound really bad, but I can’t stop watching it. My band The Crimes that are in it, can’t stop watching it either. There’s so many funny bits. They’re like, “Why are you presenting the Westgate Bridge?” [laughs]. I’m like, ‘I don’t know?!’

Do you have a favourite moment from the video?

CJ: In one of the first musical breakdowns, I’m on the Coburg Lake stage and there’s people having picnics, bemused by what we were doing – I’m either clicking my fingers or combing my hair – and there’s a rollerskater behind me twirling. That was a guy we met while we were packing up. Initially there were two boxers on stage. They said they were happy to be in the video and they had the music cranked, they were big beefy guys; then they told us they didn’t want to be in it. As we were packing up one of the boxers were like, “Hey, get Tony! Tony is amazing. Get him in it.” We introduced ourselves and asked if he wanted to be in it. He said, “Ok.” Then he started doing spins and we pretended music was going on. It’s one of the most beautiful shots, because he’s really great. It’s a great juxtaposition.

That’s one of my favourite shots too! His leg movements are perfect, such finesse. It works so beautifully.

CJ: There’s another one second shot of us with a beautiful white dog.

That’s my other favourite shot!

CJ: There was a mum and daughter walking their dog. I was doing the shot where I comb my hair near the car, obviously people were looking at us a bit strange. I said ‘hi’ as they walked past and thought maybe I should ask them if we can get a shot with that big gorgeous dog. They were really happy to, and they gave me treats to keep the dog in the vicinity. You don’t get shots like that otherwise. I wanna keep doing it. Maybe it’s a great way to build my fan base [laughs], very slow and labour intensive.

[Laughter]. We’re so happy to be premiering the song and video, it’s right up our alley. We really love your whole album Cong! It fuses so many things we love together – it has a kind of rockabilly vocal and then it’s got an EBM feel and a punk spirit.

CJ: Yeah, cool! It has all of those things. I really dug into a world of the Norton Records label, they do some really great outsider rockabilly like Hasil Adkins. Those wild rockabilly/rock’n’roll/country fellas: Jack Starr, Stud Cole, Legendary Stardust Cowboy, Terry Allen are some of the sleezy cats that have been an influence. Also, a lot of the artists that The Cramps were inspired by, they called them wild men, and apparently some of them really were—that’s a big influence on who Cong is. Cong is the wild rockabilly artist but in a suburban Australian setting, so he’s also gonna be a bit different.

In terms of the electronics, I was never able to focus on the throb, as I call it, the throbbing rhythm. In NO ZU everything was still mechanical and awkward funk, a bit more danceable in a different way. It’s a big clash of those things.

I love Johnny Cayn’s guitar on the track. It’s probably the most slide-y, rockabilly thing on the record. It’s just wild and out of control.

Yes! It’s very cool.

CJ: I really love Simone aka Mona Reeves’ voice with the “Saturday night” part on there too, which is inspired by the Elton John ‘Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting’ track. Just that idea of being really excited by a Saturday or Friday night is a musical trope that was really fun to explore!

Ed’s note: We spoke with Cong Josie for over a hour, this is a small extract from a more in-depth chat exploring the entire album, growing up in Melbourne, toxic masculinity, Nicolaas Oogjes musical evolution, creativity, getting through life’s challenges, and creating your own world to heal and grow. Read it in our next print issue (#5) we’re currently working on.

Pre-order Cong! HERE. Follow @congjoise

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yeah, it was around November 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pic by Carolyn Hawkins.

What are some of your favourite movies?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What was happening when you wrote it?

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

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

JR: I really like ‘Duplicating Satan’.

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

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

I get that, it makes sense.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Album art by Nicky Minus.

Who did the album art for Paint It Clear?

JR: How good is it?!

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

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

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

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

What else have you been up to of late?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please check out: aliennosejob.bandcamp.com

DR SURE’S UNUSUAL PRACTICE’s dougal shaw: “Being human is a lot to fucking handle”

Original Photo: Cielo Croci. Handmade mixed-media by B.

Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice are Gimmie favs (they were one of the first bands we chatted with when we started Gimmie). We’re thrilled to announce the new wave art-punks’ forthcoming full-length album Remember The Future?, which will be out on Marthouse and Erste Theke Tonträger, as well as premiering the entertaining video for song ‘Infinite Growth’. We love their blend of clever social commentary and politics with catchy well-written compositions and fun visuals. Gimmie spoke with guitarist-vocalist Dougal Shaw to find out more.

How have you been feeling? I know a lot has happened this past week in Naarm/so-called Melbourne with lockdowns still in place, protests and an earthquake!

DOUGAL SHAW: I’m actually surprisingly pretty good at the moment. The pendulum has swung back around to the positive end [laughs]. It’s been swinging back and forth pretty consistently. Today I’m feeling good. Yesterday I had one of those days where I was just, what’s the point? Why? [laughs]. Trying to find some motivation to keep pushing forward. In general, in the last month, I’ve been feeling pretty positive.

Good to hear. On the “why?” days like yesterday, do you just allow yourself that space and know that what you’re feeling will pass?

DS: Yeah. The last couple of years if it’s taught me anything, it’s taught me to listen to your body and mind if you’re having those down times. Maybe in the past I would have tried to push through those times and keep working on projects. I’ve realised now that, if I do try to work through those times it’s pretty shit work; you go back to it and it’s got this weight to it, you’re putting all this stuff onto it. I’ve learnt to give myself days off, which I’ve never really been good at giving myself days off—what’s the next project?

Same! Jhonny and I are like that too. This next print issue of Gimmie has taken longer to get together because we both deal with (as many people do) bouts of depression, anxiety, stress, heath problems and things of that nature. Even though it’s something you absolutely love doing and it’s fun, some days you still find it hard.

DS: Exactly. I feel like it can work both ways. In the past I have used my creative practice as a way of processing a lot of what’s going on in my world and the world around me. Potentially in those down times would be when I was more inclined to get in the studio and write music. Now maybe being removed from all of the good times, and being able to have that separation where you’re out in the world doing things and having a good time, obviously you’re not going to be doing creative things and writing in those moments, so when you have that quiet moment to yourself and you’re feeling introspective, those might be the times that I’ll go and create. Now being removed from the outside world and being stuck in my own little world, it’s made me a bit more conscious of those kinds of things. A bit more conscious of your emotional state and more intuitive when it comes to what I need for myself in each moment. Sometimes it will be that I’m not doing anything today, I’m just going for a really long walk and I’m going to try and clear these cobwebs out. The one positive, I guess, is that I have a lot more tools now to manage those things, in the past I may have found those bouts of anxiety and depression to be really overwhelming and not know how to deal with them; going out and partying used to mask those things. Without those vices to lean on, you’re faced with yourself and your like, ‘Fuck this is a lot!’ Being human is a lot to fucking handle [laughs].

Photo by Alivia Lester

There’s been a period where you haven’t been writing too many songs, especially not as many political songs, but writing more fun songs when you do write.

DS: Yeah. For a long time, I thought of my music as a vessel for change, to use my voice and privilege to start conversations. At the same time, I’ve always just written silly songs as well. I pretty much didn’t write anything for a year. I was working on other projects. I didn’t feel like I had anything to say.

I feel like you did say a lot before that, you had this run where you put out a lot, and everything was such a high quality.

DS: Thank you. Maybe that was part of it, feeling a bit empty. Being isolated from the community and from actually being able to engage with the world, I found it really hard to think about what I had to say, or I found what I had to say wasn’t worth documenting. Deciding to put this album out this year… it was floating around for a while, we finished it a couple of months ago and we didn’t feel like there was any rush, because we aren’t able to play shows for it.

By this album do you mean, Remember the Future Vol. 1 & 2 together?

DS: Yeah, that’s this one. It was a really drawn-out thing because of Covid that really felt like it was hanging over my head for ages. That was this big black cloud in my head as well. We recorded half of it at the start of last year and we were booked in to do another session in April, two weeks after we first went into lockdown. The whole idea with the record was that it was going to be the first full band recording, so I was kind of stuck on that for ages. Rather than moving on, finishing and getting it out, it was like, no, we gotta do this with the band. We finally finished it in May this year. It’s finally come together! It feels like a really weird one, because of the Covid stuff we decided to put out the first half last year. Our European label Erste Theke Tonträger, hit me up to do a record, he really liked Remember the Future Vol. 1, he wanted to do a full-length with that and then another of our EPs on the other side. I was like, well, this is half of a full record. That was the push to finish this record.

You recently had a song ‘Live Laugh Love’ on the Blow Blood Records compilation, A Long Time Alone.

DS: That was the first song I’ve written after this huge gap of not writing. The compilation was the kick I needed. I’d seen that Christina had been advertising for contributions for ages, and I thought, ‘I have to do a song for this.’ The deadline had come and I hadn’t done it, which was a Friday, so the next day, Saturday, I plugged everything in for the first time in ages and made this really dumb song.

Did it feel weird plugging everything in again after so long?

DS: Kind of. The song is funny in itself, I’m glad it has a home on the ALTA compilation, because otherwise it would have been another one on a dusty hard drive. It feels like a song after not having written a song in ages, it’s a silly song.

It has a fun title!

DS: [Laughs] I know! The concept came before the song. It’s about forgetting about how to live, laugh, love. I saw one of those inspirational infographic things that someone had posted. I’m glad it’s getting a home. I wrote that song, then in the week following it, I wrote one or two songs in a day, ten songs in a week. A week later I sent Christina a different song, and was like, ‘I actually made some decent songs now. Do you want to put one of these on?’ She was like, “It’s too late, I’ve already sent it off.”

A couple of days ago you released the song ‘Ghost Ship’ too.

DS: Yeah, that was another compilation [on Critter Records]. I wrote that one at the very start of the lockdown. It was inspired by… they were coming out with all these bail out packages, but they were going to big corporations and multi-million dollar companies [laughs]. It was a funny concept.

It’s crazy how all of these big companies received bail outs and then ended up making a profit and doing better than ever!

DS: Exactly! They didn’t actually lose any revenue; they gained all this government funding that was designed to help struggling people. That’s capitalism!

We’re premiering Dr Sure’s new clip for the song ‘Infinite Growth’. It’s a fun clip. What sparked the idea?

DS: A lot of the time when I’m doing visual stuff, I want it to be fun and playful, because a lot of the time I find the lyrical content to be pretty heavy. I liked to offset it with something a little more accessible. Potentially if you were to follow the narrative of the song then the clip would be pretty heavy—talking about mining, the destruction of the ecosystems. By taking a representation of these things, of people in suits, business men, which is a reoccurring motif in a lot of our visual stuff, and thinking about the result of their actions. For this one, they’re still pedalling their narrative of infinite growth, while the climate has heated up so much that their faces as literally dripping from their body.

Love the special effects!

DS: Yeah, really top of the line. We got the hair and makeup team… professional prosthetics! Nah. I looked up how to make prosthetics and the easiest solution that I came across was to just mix Vaseline and flour, then use coco to create different tones of it. It was pretty gross stuff to put all over your face, but it was worth it.

Pic by Cielo Croci

You wrote the song around the time that our government were talking about destroying sacred Indigenous sites.

DS: Yes, exactly. It was Djab wurrung Country. They decided to build a new highway that was going to take off two-minutes of drive time for people commuting into the city. To do so, they had to destroy these hundred-year-old sacred birthing trees. That was the spark, but at the same time, it felt like a real time of solidarity for people coming together to stand against those things. That’s where the duality in that song is trying to reframe this capitalist terminology talking about infinite growth and kind of reclaim it for the people and the ecology.

Nice. What else have you been up to?

DS: I’ve been collaborating with my partner Liv on some things, which is really nice. She’s an artist and really good photographer. We’ve worked on stuff before, a lot of the time our practices have been off in different directions. Having a lot of time together and being isolated from anyone else, we’ve been working on stuff. I spent this week making a zine to go out with the record. It’s a collaboration with Liv, she took all the photographs. It’s a zine of lyrics, photos, my art and poetry, all mashed up. She took a series of photos based around the concepts of the record and I mashed them up with my brain spew! [laughs]. We’ve been thinking about creative ways to put out this record.

Liv and I have been making some songs too. She’s been learning the guitar for the last couple of years. We’ve been putting down some of her ideas. With Liv’s limited knowledge of playing, it’s been good for me to teach her that a song can be really simple; it’s made me reassess my approach to songs. When you make a song that’s only two chords, you can leave all of this space for layering and making it interesting in other ways. It doesn’t have to have all of these chord changes for it to be engaging.

When Jhonny and I make music, I like to go for how does this feel, and keep trying things until eventually something fits and feels good to me and us. That’s when you come up with something that is unique to you, because you come with all of your experience or lack of, and that all comes out in those moments.

DS: Exactly. I feel like I’ve always approached music in a really similar way. I’ve purposely avoided learning too much. Sometimes I question if that has been the right approach? Most of the time, I stick by that approach, it’s more about feeling and how you react to it. To me, it’s always been about how you react to whatever it is you’re recording. Picking up the next instrument is a reaction to the last instrument. It’s about what feels interesting.

Pre-order Remember The Future? HERE.

MOD CON’s Erica Dunn: “A plea for honesty and a real searching for truth in these sorts of times”

Original Photo by: Jamie Wdziekonski. Handmade collage by B.

Gimmie have loved Naarm/Melbourne trio MOD CON since we first heard their debut release in 2017, the MOD CON/Fair Maiden split 7”. In July we featured guitarist-vocalist Erica Dunn on the cover of our first print edition, and now we’re incredibly excited to premiere the film clip for song ‘Ammo’, the first single off upcoming sophomore album, Modern Condition. We chatted with Erica about the song and clip, and of finally playing live shows again, plus we get a sneak peek into the new record, due out October 1 on Poison City Records.

ERICA DUNN: I’m walking my dog, Poncho. We’re just strolling around in soggy-arsed creek-land.

Nice! How have things been since we last spoke a couple of months ago?

ED: Things have been busy. Sometimes I’m like, it’s a rat race in my mind! [laughs]. There always seems to be a lot to juggle. I feel like it’s a strange new era where, because we’ve been locked down, you have to clear your mental expectations if your mental health is going to be ok; you have to get really present. When the lockdown is lifted it’s fucking crazy the adrenaline kicks in, you feel like everything is on, and you have to make the most of it! There’s also a new gratitude for when you are able to work and do stuff. It’s just, let’s fucking go! [laughs].

You’ve finally got to play some live shows again.

ED: We [Tropical Fuck Storm] were pinching ourselves thinking that the gigs with King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard happened! We played every capital city without a hitch. It was incredible, it felt like normal life. We’re playing a MOD CON show on Sunday and the capacity is forty people, you just have to roll with it. We’re supporting Exek on Saturday night too, they just released one of the best records I’ve heard in ages! There’s only 100 people able to attend, it’s like a parallel universe.

We love that Exek album too!

ED: Shows have been varying degrees of normal. It’s always great to play though. Playing a show to forty people a year ago, might not have seemed worth it, but now I’m like, fuck it! The venue can sell beer and we can party—do it while we can! We have to take it as it comes. It’s hard to know where boundaries are when booking things because it can change so quickly, it’s all go, then stop, then go again. We’re about to release an album into a very different world than when we have previously.

[Erica talks to Poncho: “come on, up you get, in the car!”]

He’s old!

What kind of dog is Poncho?

ED: A mystery boy! [laughs]. He’s probably a Ridgeback mixed with a Staffy. He’s getting on to be thirteen now. He needs help getting into the car, but still loves to cavort around every day. We did our loop of the Darebin Parklands, which is so beautiful.

That’s a lovely way to decompress after rushing around doing things all day.

ED: For sure. There are times when I’m so busy or it’s freezing or raining and I’m like, fuck this! But then I always feel better afterwards.

Yeah, I get that too. Especially if it’s wet or cold, you kind of feel like you really accomplished something. I find that when you push yourself to do something and you do it, then that filters out into other parts of your life and you can start to achieve more and more.

ED: Yeah, that’s a great way to look at it. I’m going off to boxing class later, that’s the real decompression! [laughs].

We’re premiering the clip for your new album Modern Condition’s first single ‘Ammo’; can you remember writing the song?

ED: I was talking to the girls yesterday about it when we were having a practice. It was actually the last song written for the album, which is funny because it’s the first song out. It was the wild card song. It was the last one to get lyrics, I wrote them on the second last day of recording with John [Lee]. I just moved house and it was in the same week I spoke to you last; we just finished recording the record.

The song is not exactly how I have gone about things in the past. We had the riff, structure, tension and trajectory of the song sorted, and in the jams, I was yelling mystery words. In that coming together, we all recognised there was a vibe, an angle, to the song and the stuff I was spontaneously yelling. I had recordings of those jams and captured a couple of the bits of imagery that I was on about. The genesis is, that it was a bit of a mad, haphazard one [laughs].

One of the things we especially love on ‘Ammo’ is the drums!

ED: Raquel [Solier]! Fuck yeah! We were really running on a mad schedule and a couple of things interrupted the recording, [bass player] Sara [Retallick] got real sick and couldn’t make it, and there was a snap lockdown just before we were to start recording, which was meant to be our final pre-production-type thing.

There was a couple of days that Raquel and I did that was a guitar and drums day trying to nut out mystery question marks about a few songs. She came up with this crazy fucking rhythm for this song. It’s so sick! The subtext right there, is that it sounds kind of military-esque, it’s very explosive. She’s a wizard! She’s complicated and it’s fantastic [laughs]. We have a lot of back and forth, she often writes rhythms based on the lengths of my lyrics or parts of phrases. She’s much more adept at musical knowledge and language than I am. I get too fucking muddled and am like; where’s the one?! [laughs].

[Laughter]. I’m excited to hear the full album. How amazing is that remix that Ela Stiles did for ‘Ammo’?

ED:  It was something that we did on the last record too, we approached Jacky Winter to do a remix for us. I don’t know if other artists get this certain hang up, but if you record something it’s strange, it’s like, is that it? It’s very finite in a way and then it’s out in the world. I’m interested in melodies and melody writing and playing around with ways of doing things, it makes sense to chuck out a remix and have a different perspective; another layer on all the ideas that are in there. You can see people’s reactions to it as well, for some people it’s another way into the band. Remixes freak some people out and others think it’s bangin’! It’s another way to explore the world of the song.

We’re definitely on the it’s-bangin’ side of things!

ED: Same!

It’s always cool to hear a song in a new context.

ED: And, it’s fun! Ela is another musician, composer, producer that has such mad chops! I have a lot of respect for her. It’s so cool to see how your song comes back at you and you can see things that someone else picked up, and what they have as the backbone, how they put a whole new spin on it. When I first heard it, I was driving in the car and I was like, far out! It raises your heartrate for sure! It’s anxiety inducing in a good way, especially how she pulled out the melodies.

Let’s talk about the ‘Ammo’ film clip. It was Oscar O’Shea that filmed it?

ED: Yeah, Oscar is someone that is so positive and excitable. He’s a can-do problem solver, up for anything. The clip, artwork and all the things that come beside releasing a song and album, are the stepping stones in which to explore and springboard some of the ideas at play in it. The clip is a play on sitting in a society that is always throwing shit at each other and navigating that, hoping it doesn’t stick, hoping that it doesn’t fly up in your face. It was a couple of packets of Golden Circle pancakes and crumpets, and a few friends on the side chucking them in our faces. It was a challenge trying to eyeball the camera, get the lyrics out and seem unphased [laughs]. It’s an analogy, sometimes I feel like that in life. It was a fun way to build on what I’m ranting about in the track.

It looks cool visually. Did you cop any crumpets to the head?

ED: We got a couple! [laughs]. I definitely got a couple in the face; I could definitely do a blooper reel! Raquel is Kung fu trained and did a couple of badarse, sick moves at the end. She grabs one out of the air without even paying much attention to it, it’s super cool!

I noticed in the clip she was reading The Tao Of Pooh [by Benjamin Hoff].

ED: Yeah, how good! I wanted her to bring along a prop. She was reading it at the time. She’d come over for a cup of tea and she brought up that she had been re-reading that and finding pearls of wisdom in it. I was like, fucking bring that to the clip, it’ll be perfect! That was legit on her bedside table at the time we made the clip. It sat perfectly in this world of trying to be present while everything is exploding overhead. Then we were playing around with the flour and the milk, it was evoking smoke and explosions, which was cool fun to experiment with.

There was a bit of a collab on the clip too. Carolyn Hawkins from Parsnip and School Damage did a bunch of the stop motion.

When we first saw the clip, we totally thought it was reminiscent of her style, that’s so cool it actually is her work!

ED: Yeah, it’s got her all over it. She’s another person that we thought of working with because she’s got the mad prowess, great vision and she understood what we wanted straight away. I sent her an old clip of the Sesame Street [sings] “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten…” old school thing. I was thinking about “ammo” and thinking about it in all these different contexts, weaponry, and objects in our lives gaining agency. She nailed the undertones of aggressiveness and the sinister aspect that simple objects can have, especially en masse. It’s not overdone or in your face. That’s how I feel at least when I watch it. Part of me is like, woo hoo! Look at those little forks fly! Oh my god they’re getting power! They’re growing and stockpiling and conspiring with each other! [laughs]. There’s an edge to it. Props to my housemates too, that are still wondering when they’re getting their bottle opener back, and our forks!

I love that you’re all such nerds and there’s so much thought that goes into everything you do.

ED: Yeah, it’s true! I feel like there’s two ways of looking at things. In the past, album releases like this have a big emotional weight for me, they can be fucking stressful. You can think, argh! I’ve already put all of my spirit into making the record and now there’s all these other strange hats you have to wear as a musician.

The other thing is, you can see it as extra opportunities of getting to collaborate with people that you want to work with and make it really fun! This experience has been completely fun. I am completely enamoured with what Caz has done, and all of the mad ideas with Oscar; same with Ela. It’s all fun new ways to see the song. A new dimension.

I love that there’s a light-heartedness to it too. The things you’re singing about can be serious, but then the clip give them a levity.

ED: It’s definitely crossed my mind that the song is not prescriptive, I’m not saying there’s a better way or that I have an answer, these are things that are going around in my mind and this is an avenue in which I can explore them. Having a light-hearted aspect is part of my personality, there’s a tongue-in-cheek-ness. Often, I realise retrospectively that I’m asking questions in my lyrics. It’s definitely an exploration.

It’s also a double-sided coin, the band is really serious and aggressive, we play live shows and there’s not much mucking around, the things that the three of us bring to a live show can be pretty staunch! However, the flip is that we’re in love with each other and when we’re playing, we’re having a really good time, it’s just the best for our mental health and for our relationships, it’s what the band is built on, and we’re always laughing. That gets represented in the music and all we put out, in some way.

I’ve always loved the quote from Gareth [Liddiard] where he said: MOD CON is like a cross between The Bangles and Black Flag. I thought that’s pretty on the money, because you have that aggression but then also pop sensibilities.

ED: [Laughs] Yeah! I think he was chuffed about that quote being pulled out about our last record. Maybe it’s just the two bands Gaz knows?! [laughs] Only kidding! I do think there is a crossing of a couple of worlds.

With the new album being called Modern Condition is the title a reflection of the album’s themes?

ED: Yeah. We had a long car trip together recently, we played a show three hours outside of Melbourne, and we were sussing out what the album should be called. We wanted it to be another MOD CON-ism, keeping Mod in the title. I think this is going to be two of three, there’s probably going to a trilogy. This section “Modern Condition” is a bow that can be tied between all of the songs, it’s really exploring human sensibilities. People talk about the human condition, but this is what humans are up to in these kinds of circumstances. If I was going to pull out some overarching themes of this album—it’s mostly a plea for honesty and a real searching for truth in these sorts of times.

“Ammo” is the first cab off the rank to represent that. It’s having a little investigation and inspection of the human condition in modern times. I feel like the backdrop of big scale and small-scale weaponry is the first investigation, without wanting to sound mega highbrow or whatever the fuck! [laughs]. I’m still trying to work it out for myself. It’s investigating myself too; what are my default positions? What am I defensive about? Doing that I’m also trying to investigate how to be open and how not to always be on the default and being defensive and collecting ammo, shit to chuck at another person.

I feel that finding your truth and actually living it can be a very hard thing. I’ve been going through that the last few years of my life, but I can definitely say since I found it and have been living it, nothing but great things have happened.

ED: You’re absolutely right, it’s a life journey! It can be totally confronting. But, once you have realisations about some things in your life, you can’t go back.

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