Heir Traffic: “Abstract and poetic… introspective meditations”

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

Naarm/Melbourne band Heir Traffic are set to release their debut album No Hearth on one of our favourite Australian labels Marthouse Records. Today Gimmie are premiering the video for the record’s first single ‘Smoke Taint’ which is giving major swamp rock, post-punk vibes. Heir Traffic’s Daniel Devlin and Zac Marshman tell us about the video shoot, their beginnings, and writing & recording the album.

Tell us, how did you end up on the path to making music? What led to Heir Traffic coming into being? 

ZAC: Luke [Morton], Daniel, and myself all started playing and writing music together when we were about 16. The three of us became friends through our similar musical interests, so it was pretty natural that we started jamming together. Eventually, after getting past our psych-rock phase, we started putting together some instrumentals which ultimately became early Heir Traffic songs once we started jamming with Hughy [Mitchell] on vocals in summer 2018/19. Later we shuffled around the guitar arrangements and had a bunch of songs with synth, and so Mike [Bradvica] started playing bass with us. 

What’s something that we might be surprised that you listen to? What do you appreciate about it? 

DAN: Joshua Tree by U2, 1116 SEN AM talkback radio, Slipknot self-titled debut album, the RRR Eat It market report, Soulwax FM GTA V radio.

What’s something that you’ve seen lately that’s blown you away? What do you look for in new music?

DAN: I recently saw Finnish death metal band Krypts while visiting Hobart this month.  I’ve always had a big admiration for metal musicians, and watching the proficiency of a band like Krypts was very inspiring. It’s hard to pinpoint what I really look for in new music, and it’s hard to say for the rest of the band as well [laughs], but I think there’s just this intangible feeling you get when you hear a great song. I definitely felt that during the Krypts set! 

What’s an album that is a big deal for you? Why is it significant to you?

ZAC: Devotion by Beach House is an album that we love and has its own footnote in the Heir Traffic origin story. Late in 2018, Hughy had written a few bedroom-dream-pop songs that were inspired by early Beach House. He worked on them with Luke, and then later Daniel and I jammed them as well. Once we finished a couple of Hughy’s songs, we pulled out some old post-punk instrumentals, Hughy wrote some lyrics, and we never looked back! 

Heir Traffic’s debut album No Hearth is coming out in August; what are the overarching themes of the record?

ZAC: The lyrics are typically abstract and poetic, but many songs address issues associated with ineffectual political leadership in Australia. Others take the form of introspective meditations. Some have characters and narrative. Musically, we tried to maintain a distinct brooding atmosphere which we could use to explore dissonance and tension in order to create some form of catharsis.

Where does a song most often begin for Heir Traffic? How does the songwriting process work between you guys?

DAN: Zac and Luke will generally bring fully formed demos to the group before we start working on the song as a band. It’s only recently that we have started collaborating on demos, or jamming out song ideas like we would have when we first started. There are probably a few exceptions to that, but usually, a decent demo will end up in our google drive, we will discuss the structure as a group, and then work on getting the song into a live set together. 

When you’re writing a record, what do you tend to do if you get a bit stuck for inspiration?

ZAC: I would often turn to other Heir Traffic songs, or songs off albums that we admire, and pick one or two simple elements that work really well and try to use those as the basis for something new. Novel things like one particular strange guitar chord, or a crash cymbal on a certain off-beat would often kick start a new part. Through the cycle of feedback, collaboration, and jamming, every part eventually morphs into its own unique thing, and every member imparts their own playing personality, and so a new song appears!

Any notable challenges making the album?

ZAC: Aside from all the re-scheduling and delays that happened because of covid restrictions, the album process was relatively smooth. We recorded and mixed with Paul Maybury at A Secret Location Sound Recorders, and he was awesome to work with and had a great feel for the sound we wanted to capture. The only thing we didn’t do in the studio was the guitar tracks, which we recorded ourselves in rehearsal rooms at Singing Bird Studios. Being our first time recording guitar properly, there was lots of troubleshooting and head-scratching going on, but it all worked out in the end and was a good learning experience for us. 

All photos courtesy of Heir Traffic.

What’s one of your fondest memories from recording No Hearth?

DAN: I remember when we began setting up on the first day of recording, we were really spoilt for choice with equipment and had a lot of fun playing around with different drum sounds and bass pedals. From a personal perspective, one of my fondest memories from the recording was getting to use some of Paul’s cymbals he had around the studio. Paul has this pretty amazing set of high hats that you can hear on a few of the tracks throughout the record. I think they were 15-16” and gave off a very distinct 60’s sizzle. It was amazing to see the amount of vintage gear the engineers and musicians working at a Secret Location have managed to collate over the years. 

We’re premiering the video for song ‘Smoke Taint’ which was shot on Super 8 at The Briars’ Historic Homestead in Mount Martha, Victoria; what do you remember from shooting the video? See any ghosts?

DAN: The Briars is really close to where we grew up, so it was a lot of fun going back there to shoot a video. It was a really hot day in February, so I definitely remember getting sunburnt [laughs]. 

We went into the video with a very loose idea of what we wanted to do, so it was great having Jenn Tran with us to shoot and help guide us with a lot of the shots and concepts. We all love Jenn’s visual art and professionalism, so working with her was probably the most memorable part of the experience. 

As for ghosts, I definitely got a chill when we went inside the old mill, which you can see towards the end of the video. That shot actually ended up being the album cover!

What sparked the idea for the ‘Smoke Taint’ lyrics?

ZAC: All the lyrics are written by Hugh. He works at a winery, so I guess that’s where the inspiration for an allegory about a winemaker came from. The lyrics were written around the time of the 2020 bushfire crisis, and the satire of the lyrics portrays the diminishing political integrity of that time. The story told by the lyrics is about a wine whose grapes have been tainted by bushfire smoke, and the deceptive misrepresentations of that wine that the sommelier uses to try and turn a profit. 

What’s the best thing about the video?

DAN: I really love the shot of Hughy having wine poured into his mouth. To me, it makes that chorus line “I’ll drink it all!” even more absurd. It was also just a funny scene to shoot because we kept having to refill the wine bottle with Ribena. By the end, Hughy was essentially drowning in the stuff, and had it all through his hair and shirt for the rest of the 30+ degree day haha. 

You collaborated with artist Jenn Tran on the video, they also did the album art as well as the art for your last release The Roman Road / The Bellows; how did you come to work with Jenn? How do you feel Jenn’s style compliments your songs?

ZAC: Jenn and Hugh both studied animation together. We really admired a lot of her experimental animation and collage work that we had seen, and thought it would suit the sparse and raw sound of the Roman/Bellows double single perfectly. For the ‘Smoke Taint’ video, we were super eager to work with Jenn again. We love what Jenn came up with when editing the video, and think she has captured the dark and anxious sound that we were striving for with the album.

What can you tell us about the No Hearth album cover image?

DAN: This was the final super-8 shot we took while filming the ‘Smoke Taint’ video. We had no intention of getting the album cover that day, but when we saw back the shots Jenn had taken we all really liked it. The actual image is of an abandoned mill sat next to what looks like an old farmhouse / shearing shed. My brother James Devlin did some additional colour grading on the super-8 still after the shots came back, which we ended up using for the artwork.  

What are you most excited about for the rest of the year?

ZAC: Aside from putting the album out and playing more shows, we are all really looking forward to getting back to Meredith Music Festival in December. We’ve all been going for years and have sorely missed the sup’ recently—a home away from home for us all. 

No Hearth is out on Marthouse Records August 26. Pre-order vinyl HERE. Find Heir Traffic  on Insta @heirtraffic and on Facebook

Beijing duo Naja Naja: “A very large part of our music is instinct. We like to keep it very raw…”

Handmade collage by B.

We love duo Naja Naja from Beijing! They have no big ambitions beyond making music for fun; one of the very best reasons that often produces the most interesting and exciting music. Their music is a cool combination of motorik rhythms, post-punk, electronic bleeps and blips, indie and melody culminating in an off-kilter retro-futuristic sound. We caught up with bassist-vocalist-artist Gou Gou and guitarist-vocalist-beats programmer Yuhao on the day of their debut EP being released outside of mainland China. This is their first interview outside of China too!  

It’s an exciting day, your debut self-titled EP is out in the world.

YUHAO: Yeah, I’m glad we set up today to talk. We released it in China (Bie Records) at the end of last year but for overseas Wharf Cat Records help us to release it today. We’re glad to see that now.

Currently, one of you are based in Beijing and the other is in San Francisco, right?

GOU GOU: Yeah.

Y: Previously we were both based in Beijing, I moved to San Francisco this year for work.

How did you first meet?

GG: We first met actually in another band called Last Goodbye in Beijing.

Y: There were four people in Last Goodbye but it ends up me and Gou Gou have really similar tastes, so after a few years playing together we decided to start a project with only two of us. We don’t have a big ambition, it’s just for fun for the two of us to make something fun.

That’s one of the best reasons to make music. What does the band name Naja Naja mean?

Y: Naja actually means snake. We chose this name because we think it’s adorable, it’s not about snake that’s adorable, we don’t really care about the literal meaning but how it sounds and how the characters work is also a duplication, and we like many bands with duplication like Yin Yin, Django Django and Ratatat. We think this name is cool. 

You mentioned that you have similar taste in bands; what are some of the bands you both love?

GG: In the early years we listen to indie music bands more, but this years I have more appreciation for disco, like italo disco. 

Y: A few years ago, we both like post-punk. There’s a band called Snapline, it’s a band in China. Lately we like some artists in the 80s or old stuff like disco and other electric genres.

What’s the music scene like in Beijing?

GG: This year many club and live houses close…

Y: Yeah, because of the pandemic.

GG: Many bands are preparing some tours in China but it can’t go on.

Naja Naja started making songs for the EP by sending tracks back and forth to each other?

Y: Yeah. Because when we started this project the pandemic had just started. We were locked in our own home and we started to do some work on our computers and we send our ideas to each other to see if we can develop something based on the other’s work. That’s how our first songs got developed. Later the pandemic becomes less severe in China and we could go to some places to do rehearsals and to polish our songs, that’s how we write those songs in those years. 

What was the first song you wrote together?

GG: ‘Sunset Shopping Centre’.

That’s the instrumental track?

Y: Yeah, that one.

Do you have a favourite song on the EP?

Y: I would say ‘Running Dog, Floating Elephant’. 

What’s that song about?

Y: That song is written by Gou Gou, so maybe she can talk about it.

GG: [Laughs]. The name of this one comes from Japanese art festival. The first time I met this exhibition there was a big wall with some Japanese words on the wall and a very small English version behind and I see this…

Y: There were some words put together and some of the words were ‘Running Dog, Floating Elephant’. Gou Gou thought that maybe a scene can be developed from these words because it seems interesting. She thinks they’re like a dream or is maybe a weird scene. The idea is from the words, she just think about it and developed the song.

Cool. I really love the song ‘Dong Dong’. It’s got a really fun video for it too. Where did you film it?

Y: We worked together with Bie Records for the EP. Actually it’s filmed in their office. We planned a party and we invited our friends there. We celebrated the release of the EP on that day with our friends because we did a lot of work with them. We performed a few songs where they can dance with. The music video is just to record this celebration or party. 

It looks like it was so much fun!

Y: [Smiles] Yeah, yeah. I think that maybe some of the best memories for me in the last year, because we have been through such a lockdown and everyone is in their home, and we got this opportunity to be together and celebrate something that we worked together with and make it released. It’s a very good memory for me in the last year.

GG: Me too!

Did making music and art during the pandemic help you get through it?

Y: Yeah.

GG: No. 

Gou Gou, you did the art for the EP cover?

GG: Yeah. I draw the cover, I paint the cover.

Y: She made a lot of versions, different ones. She made a completely different version each day during a week. There are five to six. Finally we chose this one.

EP art by Gou Gou

What made you chose the one you did?

GG: Instinct. 

Do you use instinct a lot when you’re making music?

Y: Yeah, I think so. A very large part of our music is instinct. We like to keep it very raw instead of very polished. We wanted to keep our first feeling, our raw feeling of it.

How long have you been making music for? You mentioned that you were making music before Naja Naja.

Y: Naja Naja started from 2020. Before that we wrote some things by ourselves but I think we never released what we wrote completed stuff, ideas.

GG: For me, when I am in high school I start to like indie music. At that time I would be the Hit magazine and download the music from the internet. I will listen to more to bands from other nations but not the Chinese bands, but when…

Y: [Translates from Chinese to English for Gou Gou] She has started to listen to more local indie bands since college. 

For me, I think there’s a trend in China when I was in high school, there are a few years where pop-punk was very popular in China, especially American pop-punk like Sum 41 and the Offspring; that’s the first time I started to listen to different genres other than pop music. After that I started to listen to more genres and find music by myself on the internet. There was a time when I like post-punk very much and post-rock. It was a time I started a band in college.

Any challenges making your EP?

Y: What we thought would be a challenge was the recording and mixing. At that time we don’t have much money to record and find someone to mix, but later we thought ‘Let’s just try recording at home.’ We tried learning how to mix ourselves, we just did it. We found it turns out that it meets our expectations. It’s not a challenge anymore. 

There is a fun fact that we buy some microphones, some of them are little expensive, we thought it should be good, but it turns out that we used those microphones to record our vocals but the sound was too clean. When we hear our demos, we think that our demos are better because they have some, a little overdrive with the sound. Later on we decide to just use the low-end device to record some of our vocals. 

What is the song ‘Tunnel’ about?

Y: I think there is a person which enters this tunnel, but they could not get out from it. They go through a very long way and think they will come out the end, but actually it’s just another start of this tunnel, so you just have to loop in this tunnel and you never come out. It feels like something we think, ’Is this the end of something?’ But it actually turns out that it’s just another start.

Is that why you put the song last on the album? Because it’s the end of something but the beginning of something else.

Y: Yeah, yeah, that’s it exactly. We thought we must put this song at the end, we feel it was right to do. 

GG: It is my favourite song in this EP. The first time when it come out as a demo, I think it is very special because when he ask the lyrics in this song… I just like it.

Me too! We ordered the vinyl record version.

Y & GG: Thank you!

Can you tell us a little bit about yourselves?

Y: Gou Gou is a designer. I am a software engineer. 

[Translates for Gou Gou] She has many interests, she likes drawing and has a lot of friends and she likes to talk to her friends a lot during her day. She mentioned that I am the exact opposite to her; that’s an introduction for myself [laughs]. 

GG: [Laughs].

What’s next for Naja Naja?

Y: We are planning for a full album. There are a couple of songs we are writing. We have already recorded some. We’re also working on a project, it’s like a connection of our music and our work, because I’m a software engineer and she’s a designer, we are working on our web art stuff so people can interact with it. We will put some of our music into it. It’s like a game with our music.

That’s so exciting! We can’t wait.

GG: Yeah.

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

Y: Gou Gou says she loves the puppy on Gimmie’s instagram! 

Thank you. We love puppies. Whenever we’re asked for a photo of ourselves for a press thing we always send people a photo of us with the Gimmie dog head over our heads, because we don’t want things to be about us, it’s about all of the bands and artists that we feature on the site and in our print zine. Often when people do magazines, someone is the face of it, sometimes people use it as a vehicle for themselves to be known as a somebody, for their ego, but we’re not interested in that. It’s all about the music and art.

GG: Yes. And, the puppy is adorable. 

It is! Everything we do, we do on instinct, like you do too. 

GG: I think it is very meaningful. 

Absolutely. We do it because we love it. 

GG: It’s very cool! 

Y: Thank you for doing this interview. It’s the first time we do it overseas. We are very excited to have this talk with you. 

NAJA NAJA’s Bandcamp HERE. Follow Naja Naja @najanaja_band. Naja Naja self-titled EP out via Wharf Cat Records (US) and Bie Records (China)

Display Homes: “We started to draw more on influences from bands of the 80s like Delta 5, AU Pairs, Pylon, B-52s”

Original photo courtesy of Display Homes. Handmade collage by B.

Eora/Sydney 3-piece Display Homes are back with new music! The asymmetric guitars, bass grooves and dynamic drums we’ve come to love on their previous two EPs are all there brighter than ever on forthcoming debut album What If You’re Right & They’re Wrong?. It’s raw but sharp, minimalist and danceable. Their pop sensibilities make it accessible while their post-punk leanings make it exciting. We’re calling it now as one of our favourite albums of the year! 

Today Gimmie are premiering first single ‘CCTV’ with accompanying video shot via CCTV at a pub vocalist Steph King once worked at. We caught up with the band for a yarn.

We’re excited that you have new music coming out. The sneak peek copy of your debut full-length album, What if you’re right & they’re wrong? has been on high rotation at Gimmie HQ! It’s one of our favourite releases we’ve heard so far this year. How long have you been working on it and how does it feel to be releasing it into the world?

GREG CLENNAR: Thanks, glad to hear you are enjoying it! We recorded the album at the end of 2020 and the songs were written over the two years prior to that, so it has been a long time coming. To finally announce the album is very exciting to say the least. The delay caused by COVID and the subsequent delay with pressing plants has drawn it out as I am sure many other bands have experienced. It’ll definitely be a relief once it’s out.

What influences have shaped Display Homes’ sound?

GC: I’m not sure if there’s been any one collective influence for our sound, even though it may come across that way. At our first ever practice, none of us had any idea of what we wanted to do, except that Darrell had already declared our name was Display Homes, which Steph and I both wholeheartedly endorsed. We didn’t even know who was going to sing, which entailed a few failed attempts on mine and Darrell’s behalf before realising that Steph was clearly the best singer in the band. As we evolved and the sound started to make more sense, I think we started to draw more on influences from bands of the 80s like Delta 5, AU Pairs, Pylon, B-52s etc, who we all love.

How has the band grown from 2019’s EP E.T.A.?

DARRELL BEVERIDGE: In 2019 we all lived together in one of the most beautiful sharehouse in Marrickville. Seriously, this place was incredible, a true Display Home inhabited by us FRAUDS. It looked like one of those places that instagram bedsheet companies use to shoot their ads and people look at them and go, “If I get these pistachio coloured sheets, maybe I can live somewhere like that!”  Unfortunately the owner dogged us and kicked us out because they wanted to move back in. 

In terms of progression as a band, I think we’ve just tightened a few loose screws. When we were recording the album and I was doing guitar for one of the songs, Owen the producer stormed into the room on about the 38th take of a very simple guitar part and said to me, “You keep hitting that top string, do you even use it?” I replied, “I do not.” Owen: “Then take it out!” So now I only play with 5 strings (seriously).  So technically, I’ve regressed musically.

Where did the album title come from?

STEPH KING: I always find it hard to give anything a title. I couldn’t think of a title for one of the songs on the album and I asked Darrell and he named it ‘Neenish’– which was the name of his cat at the time, probably because he remembered he needed to feed her. It worked out surprisingly well as the lyrics very much matched the behaviour of a little kitty cat. 

I was struggling to think of an album name and was rewatching season 1 of Fargo during lockdown. What if you’re right & they’re wrong? is the quote on the poster in the basement that Lester reads moments before he loses the plot. It just stuck with me. I asked Greg and Darrell what they thought, and they liked it, so we went with it. I think if I asked Darrell for an album name he probably would have suggested ‘Beans’ – which is the name of his current cat. But cat names can only go so far.

Photo courtesy of Display Homes.

We’re premiering first single ‘CCTV’ as well as the video for it, which is your first music video. Tell us about the writing of ‘CCTV’.

SK: The lyrics were inspired by a game that I’d play when I was bored on long car trips using letters from number plates. Using the three letters I would add one more letter to make a word. I came up with a drum beat and brought it to practice and then Greg and Darrell added their parts. I think it was one of the quickest songs we have ever written. Over time I have found that if I bring an idea to practice that has the drums and vocals already aligned it makes it a lot easier. Playing both at the same time means they really need to work together, and if it isn’t written with that in mind, it can be a struggle to play live. 

The album was recorded and mixed by Owen Penglis; what brought you to working together? What was recording like? What was one of the most fun moments for you? What was one of the most challenging?

DB: I met Owen close to 10 years ago and was actually going to record one of my old bands EP with him (we were called Sucks) but we ended up going with someone cheaper for the same reason one would drink cask wine over bottled wine.  Sucks were cask-punk, Display Homes is more bottle-punk. It’s still cheap but it’s in a bottle at least. 

It was all fun except for this satanic devil dog in the studio that had it in for me and wanted to fucking bite me all the time. I find recording really difficult and uncomfortable and while I enjoyed the process as a whole, actually doing my parts made me pretty self-conscious on many levels.  Why am I self conscious? Why do I keep fucking these parts up? But Owen was great, he could really pull you out of your head. Just as you’d finish a song and convince yourself you had nailed it, you would look up and see Owen with a big smile and he would say, “Tune your guitar and do it again!” He really encouraged us to get the best out of the recordings.

The video was made using the CCTV cameras at the Cricketers Arm Hotel, a pub, that Steph used to work at. Steph, what were some of the best and worst bits about working there?

SK: The Crix is a very special place. It’s the best pub in Sydney! It’s like the clock stopped in 1995 and everything is the same. It was my first job when I moved to Sydney and the overwhelming sense of community with staff and locals was very welcoming. Worst bits – hmm, it’s near the SCG so maybe on game nights when rude men would buy three Jack and Cokes at a time. It always felt weird, kinda like the outside world was entering the pub for a few hours and then leaving again. 

What do you remember most about the day of filming ‘CCTV’?

SK: It was an interesting music video to ‘shoot’ because there wasn’t a great deal of shooting involved. As it was all done on the CCTV cameras, we would set up in front of one of the cameras with the help of our very good friend Luke Smith who brought along some lights and his handy cam to get some additional footage. I would yell out to our friends who we coaxed into coming along with a couple of free beers “Ok everyone we are doing it now”, often without anyone hearing me, and then one of the bartenders would start the song on the speakers so that we could try and play along to keep the footage in time. We couldn’t hear a thing and every take we would finish a couple of seconds before the recording ended. The whole day was very much an experiment and even by the end of it we didn’t know what was caught on the cameras. It wasn’t until we got home that we could really try and figure out how we would put it all together. 

What was it like putting together the downloaded footage for the clip?

SK: The first hurdle was downloading the footage. After we finished up for the day I was told by the pub manager that “the security camera guy is coming in the morning and last time he came he wiped all the footage from the system”. Panic mode kicked in at the thought of losing it all and involved me arriving at the pub at 7.30am the next morning and contacting several different people to get a hold of the key that opened the cupboard of the security system. I kid you not, there was about 10 seconds remaining on the last piece of footage as the camera guy was walking up the stairs at 10.30am. Then came sorting through the thousands of files of footage, which was very tedious, but also very fun at times. It was my first time editing and I obsessed over it for months – but we got there in the end and we are all really happy with it.

Which is a favourite from the album?

DB: I liked recording ‘Proof Read’. When Steph was doing the vocals, me and greg were standing in the other room looking through the window psyching her up to make her get as tough and intense as she could. Jumping up and down yelling “GO STEPH!!! FUCKING BELT IT OUT!!!!!! YESSS !!!! IT’S A HIT!!!!” Steph nails it in that song I reckon.

Album closer ‘Aufrutschen’ was on the E.T.A. cassette; how do you feel the album version has changed?

DB: Part of me didn’t want to do it, but then I remembered growing up hearing multiple versions of the same song from bands I liked – I really liked that. Like a live recording, EP version, and then an album version or whatever. I always thought there was no bad that could come from that.  If people like it they’ll listen to both, if they don’t they’ll listen to neither. It’s like if you put $5 in the pokies and got $10 credit, or put nothing in there and got nothing. Everybody wins! Or no-one wins! Take your pick!

We love the album art; who did it?

SK: We actually had a completely different cover that I did on lino. We were sitting on it for a while and I just wasn’t sold on it. I am studying architecture and almost every semester I always partnered up with my friend Allyson because we worked so well together. We always managed to produce our best work at the last minute. Five minutes before a presentation we both grabbed pastels and started scribbling our building on the page. I asked her if she would mind if I used it for the album cover and she said go for it (thanks Allyson!). It reminds me of a time when my studies and hobbies were at peak productivity. Sometimes it’s crazy how much you can get done in a day.

Can you tell us a fun fact about Display Homes?

GC: When we supported Real Estate at the metro the official run sheet said ‘Display House’. As Darryl Kerrigan of The Castle says, “It’s a home not a house”. 

What do you do when not making music?

SK: I think I can answer this one for all of us. We all work 9-5, enjoy swimming laps, and eating delicious charcoal chicken. 

What’s next for Display Homes?

GC: The record will be out on Erste Theke Tontrager this European Summer and then we will look to play some album launch shows. We have played Melbourne and Brisbane before but we are excited to play some other cities/towns this time round. We have started writing some new music too, so maybe another album!

Display Homes’ debut album What if you’re right & they’re wrong? out soon via Erste Theke Tontrager.  Follow @displayhomesband + DH on Facebook. DH on Bandcamp.

Vintage Crop’s new song and clip ‘double slants’: “‘The keys to the universe’ is the funniest thing to say at the start of a song!”

Original photo by Leland Buckle. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

It’s exciting times, Geelong’s Vintage Crop have a new record on the horizon—Kibitzer—and Gimmie are here to share the first single and clip with you! Their fourth album of snappy punk has themes of resilience, identity and acceptance, while musically a welcomed extra dose of melody, and the introduction of horns on a couple of the tracks. Gimmie spoke to vocalist Jack Cherry. 

JACK CHERRY: We’re really happy with how the new record sounds. The songwriting feels like something to be excited about.

The album Is called Kibitzer! That’s a Yiddish word, right? It’s a term for a spectator, usually one who offers advice or commentary, which is kind of what you guys do with your songs.

JC: Yeah. Last year I got into playing chess and that’s a term used in chess. I thought it was too good of a word not to use for something else. It’s a cool looking word, has a great meaning and I felt like it connected with what I do lyrically. It seemed to fit.

What got you into playing chess?

JC: I went to a friend’s place and he asked me for a game. I haven’t played since I was ten or eleven playing with dad. It was horrible playing with dad because he would not let anyone else win. I threw it away and never wanted to play chess because it is so hard. When I played against my friend, about two years ago, I was like ‘This is a really interesting game.’ I got carried away with all the different strategies and techniques, it was really engaging. I don’t play as much any more, it was really just a hot minute where I really got into chess, and some of the ideas really stuck around.

That would explain the album art work as well.

JC: Yes! We had a different idea for the album art that was literally a chess board but we thought it was a bit obvious and it didn’t click with what we were doing, so we didn’t use it. There’s definitely visual themes of chess as well. We had Robin Roche do the art again, they did Serve to Serve Again for us. We always love his work. He makes things look simple but there’s so much detail in them, that’s how we feel about the songs as well; simple sounding songs but there’s a lot in there when you listen to it. We think his artwork matches the songs.

Album art by Robin Roche.

How long were you writing this collection of songs for?

JC: As with anything we do, it starts pretty much right after the last one finishes. The first couple of ideas happened towards the end of 2020, we had two or three solid songs that we were happy with. Then it took all of 2021 to write another seven that we were happy with. So, there was the initial push. We didn’t really record the album until November 2021. Two of the songs were finished just the week before. 

Do you find your songs change very much during the process?

JC: To be honest, I think they change after even longer. We have songs from the first two records that we still play live and we find those songs have morphed a lot since we first recorded them but a lot of the newer stuff feels a bit more finished. We took that lesson from the first two albums of, well, we’ll make sure that we really investigate these songs and make sure we have all the parts that we want to play. I feel like with New Age in particular we went in and recorded it straight away without developing the songs to their fullest extent. We’re able to now write a song and finish it, really finish it earlier.

The new album sounds a lot more melodic to me.

JC: Yeah, that was conscious as well. Tyler our drummer had said to me, maybe eight months before we were set to start really writing the album, ‘This time let’s get a producer in and get someone to really push us to do different things.’ I was so deeply offended… in a nice way, that he would suggest that. Out of spite I started to write melodies and tried to actually sing a bit to prove that I could do it and we don’t need a producer [laughs]. It’s a good push for us. Three albums of doing the same thing, it’s nice to have the fourth one where we branch out a bit. Same with the trumpet on a few of the tracks, we really wanted to play with some new tools. 

I noticed that on Kibitzer you almost sing! 

JC: [Laughs] Yeah, it’s scary to fully let go but it’s nice to have a go. I’d rather it be a flop and those sort of songs not hit as well but have tried it, then do the same thing and get the same result.

They totally did hit though! Your singing and the trumpet were things that got my attention.

JC: Thank you, that’s the reaction we’re looking for. Glad it worked! I think it keeps it fun for everyone, not just us. 

You mentioned having a producer for this record; it was Jasper Jolley?

JC: Yeah, Jasper recorded it. Jasper is in Bones And Jones. He is a friend of ours, he grew up in Geelong as well, we’ve been friends for ten years or so. We’ve always been in similar circles but because Bones And Jones’ music is a little different to ours we thought recording with Jasper might make us sound like them, which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just we have our own sound and we don’t want to mess with it too much. Recording with him was a treat though, everything sounds amazing, he was so patient. I think we want to work with him again because it was so good. He didn’t really produce, he didn’t offer a whole lot of advice but he was a good set of ears and a good set of hands. 

Everything was recorded in one session?

JC: Yeah, we set up and started recording at 11am and was finished doing vocals by 7:30pm. It was eight and a half to nine hours in total and we had everything done. 

Was that out of necessity? Was it because you wanted it to capture a spontaneity? Or the vibe you have live? Sometimes I see bands I love live and they’re amazing but then I hear the same songs recorded and it disappoints me because it feels pretty lifeless.

JC: Because they’ve spent seven hours choosing a guitar sound [laughs]. I think for us, it’s not to capture anything in particular, but we like to record together. None of us have the patience to do it over more than one day [laughs]. We have the songs ready, we just want to go in, get them done and get the ball rolling cos there’s not much we can do after the initial recording, we do it all at once and then there’s only vocals and keyboard left. We don’t want to muck around adding too much to it because anything else we add we probably can’t play live and tonally it’s a very simple sound, it’s not like we have to find the right tone or tune the snare a certain way; it’s just going to sound like us because it’s us playing it. 

Lyrically, themes on the album have to do with resilience, acceptance, accepting your own limitations; were these things written from things you were experiencing in your own life? Often your songs are commentary and observations of other people’s experiences.

JC: Yeah, I find that with themes for albums, I develop them after I’m finished. I don’t try and dissect anything I’ve written a whole lot. Now it’s all finished I can look back and really figure out what I was trying to say. I think that looking inwards is more so a reflection of all of us settling in to full-time work and branching out, Tyler just bought house, my partner and I live together and we’re looking at buying somewhere as well—it’s a get-on-with-it attitude. 

Everyone else is in the same boat and it’s just how you react to things, if you can try your best to be positive and just keep on going, because that’s really all you can do. A lot of times you don’t have too much control over life, the best way is to roll with it. That’s a lot of what I’ve been thinking about at the moment. 

Maybe I will be in this job for fifteen or twenty years, or if I leave this job I’ll be in another job for fifteen or twenty years, thirty years or fifty. While it’s crushing to think that I’ll never be a rock star playing stadiums around the world, at least I have a job, somewhere to be and something to do, that’s all I can do.

I work another job as well as doing all the Gimmie stuff as well. My job pays my bills and then doing Gimmie we never have to compromise, we can keep it advertisement free and do whatever we want with it. It’s a wonderful thing not having to compromise on your art.

JC: For sure. With the band we’re paying for pretty much everything and we’re in control of everything, it’s our outlet. That’s the way that we can express those feelings, through the band. It makes it worthwhile in the end. Working 40 hours a week doing something you don’t really want to do, but the rest of your time you do get to spend doing what you want to do and you can afford to do it and it’s comfortable. It’s great. 

We’re premiering the song and clip for ‘Double Slants’! I love the first line of the song especially: He’s got the keys to the universe / and they’re hanging from his belt loop. It’s such strong imagery.

JC: I thought it was a really good fusing of reality and fantasy. “The keys to the universe” is the funniest thing to say at the start of a song! If you take those abstract thoughts and ground them in reality somehow it makes it hit a bit more. 

The whole song isn’t about anyone in particular, it’s an adversarial song. It’s nice to be able to poke fun at someone that everyone can relate to, everyone’s got that sort of person in their life. That’s all I can really give you; it just happens.

As Vintage Crop songs are often about everyday kinds of things, having that fantasy element in there was another unexpected surprise. Being surprised by music and art is one of my favourite things.

JC: That’s true. The belt loop part was a play on… that seems to be the trend, that for some reason people hang their keys on their belt loop, which is a little dig; to me, I just don’t get it. 

Being sardonic in lyrics is also another Vintage Crop signature. 

JC: Yeah! [laughs]. 

We love the clip for ‘Double Slants’! In it you get kidnapped; what do you remember from shooting it?

JC: We filmed most of it on the road out the front of the house I grew up in – which was totally coincidental! We just needed somewhere with a quiet road and no house, it just happened to fit the bill. It was actually a pretty painful day for me in the end; I was manhandled, thrown around and rolled down a few hills. But Leland [Buckle] did such a great job with it that it was worth it! 

We’d previously worked with him on the clip for ‘The North’, so we were naturally pretty keen to work with him again. We really like a lot of his reference points for filming and editing, he’s got great taste and a bit of an unusual eye which is something that you just can’t put a price on. We spoke briefly about a rough concept for the video and then by the end of the day he had taken the ball and run with it. We trust him with the vision and pretty much everything you see in the video is straight from his brain.

What’s your favourite moment from the clip?

My favourite moment of the clip is probably the woman in the front seat of the car smiling back at the camera in the front seat. A brilliant piece of irony and it just makes me laugh every time. 

Vintage Crop’s new album, “KIBITZER” is out June 24th through Anti Fade Records (AUS) – pre-order HERE – and Upset! The Rhythm (UK).

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.