Gut Health: The Band You Need To Know

Original photo by Sophie Gabrielle. Handmade collage by B.

Naarm/Melbourne five-piece Gut Health’s’ EP Electric Party Chrome Girl is one of the fieriest debuts of the year. Their no wave, queer rave culture inspired post-punk floor-fillers are uninhibited, full of energy and addictive. The biggest strengths of the four-track collection is its joyous fun and assertively tongue-in-cheek wit. It’s full of character and panache. We saw their LGBTQI+, femme, and non-binary heavy lineup play a wild show earlier in the year and from that performance alone, we were hooked, and patiently awaiting a release! 

We are thrilled to be introducing you to Gut Health and premiering their debut single ‘Inner Norm’ today. We recently got to know four of the band’s members Athina Uh Oh, Adam Markmann, Dom Willmott, Eloise Murphy-Hill and hear about their musical journeys, inspiration and music.

What have you been up to lately (band-wise or otherwise)?

ADAM: We had a little rest for a couple of months just before this release. Athina and I had an amazing trip through Europe and Egypt. It was spectacular! Now we are getting the ball rolling again, getting back into venues and getting excited about the release of our new EP.

Tell us about Gut Health’s origins.

ATHINA: Gut Health was Adam and I making fun during lockdown. Though we both had aims for the project, it grew naturally out of a connection to music we shared a love for, each other, and later to the rest of the lovely band members. 

Dom and Adam are also long time collaborators, so their process is rather organic. Myka and I had met a few times through some of my friends who play music with them. I was very honoured that they were interested in being a part of the project after nervously hitting send on that first message. Long time admirer. Eloise and I have a few mutual friends, so when I heard that they shred I was very excited. Oh, and Angus and Adam met truckin’. 

Each of you are from different backgrounds from punk to jazz, and influenced by queer rave culture; tell us a little about where you’ve come from?

ELOISE: Most of the work I’ve done is mostly in the folk-pop music world, playing in bands with close friends and for a couple of my friend’s solo projects. What I really love about Gut Health is that it’s given me a space to play guitar in a completely different way than what I’m used to. 

DOM: I’ve played in different noisy bands with Adam for about 5 or 6 years now but our first ‘music date’ was him showing me James Chance and then us writing a complete rip-off track. In a way, Gut Health is us just getting back to what we started. 

ATHINA: The only other music project I was involved with was with some dear friends playing more soul driven tunes and a short DJ stint. I was definitely in need of a little more confidence then! Life’s a mission of finding your own voice – it’s possible that people can tell when you’re being true to yourself or not. 

How did you first discover music?

ADAM: I’m very lucky to have an extremely musical family. My Mum and Dad were always listening to great punk, goth and new-wave music from the 80s. My mum worked in a record store when she was younger, and my dad taught me my first guitar chords. My uncle is a bass player too and inspired me quite a lot to pick one up. I grew up with a healthy dose of Stone Roses, My Bloody Valentine, Elliott Smith and the Cure when I was little.

ELOISE:I think I had just the old CD’s in the car, acoustic guitar around the house, childhood discovery of music. Lots of Paul Kelly, Crowded House and Stevie Wonder. I remember when I got an alarm clock that also had a CD player in it- such a game changer. 

ATHINA: I’m also grateful to have a family who mainly work in creative fields. If we go back, my granddad was an accountant but he collected a fuck-tonne of trumpets throughout his life and would play for hours out of passion. My grandmother was a conductor and played a few instruments. Dad therefore grew to love music, collecting records that I was able to put on as a child and playing it. 

My parents recall me jumping off the walls to The Collins Kids, and bringing a CD of The Stylistics so the whole class could lie down in rest time and listen to it in prep, because it would make me cry, haha. My mother’s family would put rembetika among other things on the speakers. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Who’s one of your musical heroes?

DOM: R. Stevie Moore changed my perspective on what music can do and what a musician can be. He was so unapologetic and so varied, always making, always acting on impulse and always doing it for himself.

ADAM: Elliott Smith is my favourite musician of all time. I grew up on him, my parents would always be listening and my dad would always be singing and playing his songs. I feel like he’s become part of me in some way. I love his vulnerability, truthfulness and talent.

ELOISE: I think the way that Arthur Russell made music was just incredible, seems like music would just be constantly coming out of him. Such a variety of styles as well.

What’s an album that’s helped shape you and what do you appreciate about it?

ADAM: I think that listening to Loveless for the first time really changed my view on how music can be made. I don’t think I was the same person after listening to it for the first time. I like how you feel like you’re falling slowly through the air and completely weightless.

DOM: Modern Lovers (S/T) was a big one. ‘Comedy’ in real music was something I hadn’t considered until I heard Jonathan Richman being a big dumb fool.

ATHINA: Betty Davis (1973). An unapologetic babe. 

ELOISE: Donny Hathaway’s Live 1972 – ridiculously energetic music, being able to hear the audience so clearly be a part of the music is so captivating.  

When and how did you come to pick up your instrument or use your voice?

ADAM: I started playing bass when I was in high school. I play guitar a bit too, but it didn’t speak to me as much. I used to de-tune my Dad’s old acoustic guitar and slap it to pretend I was flea at about 14, I think?

DOM: I did a lot of singing as a kid but when my voice broke I had an identity crisis, got disillusioned and ended up picking up the bass thinking it’d be easy… 

ATHINA: I actually can’t remember, but I was always obsessed with singing. I’ve never been very technical when it comes to instruments or vocal training even though I participated in a couple high school things. I always wrote and sang for catharsis. 

ELOISE: My older brother started learning electric guitar when I was a kid. As a younger sibling I think I got a bit jealous, and wanted to get better than him, so I did. Kind of sinister really. 

Why is it important to you personally to make music?

ADAM: It’s strange, the more I think about it the more I’m not actually sure. I know it’s because I love music. It’s holds so much significance for me, not only because of the sound itself but the communities that you form. But I have a bit of trouble putting my finger on where the exact compulsion stems from. Maybe it’s because of how significant it has been to my family? I’ve grown up for it to feel like home. 

DOM: I think sound as an art material is simply amazing. It’s got something to do with it being invisible yet physical and only describable through other senses (warm, bright, crunchy, smooth, etc.) Specifically with music, I really marvel at its capacity for defiance. Placing expression, sensation and presentness on a stage and collectivising people around an appreciation of those concepts is an incredibly powerful thing.

ATHINA: I also think it feels like home because of my upbringing. I don’t necessarily believe that I’m saving lives playing music. However, there is something very special about people coming together to dance, to share their sensitivities or their rage. To comment, question, find catharsis, or to escape. I don’t know what I’d do without it. 

ELOISE: I think for me it’s just one of those things that there is nothing I would rather do. I can never get sick of playing with music. 

 Where’d the band name come from?

We thought it was funny how trendy it had become in Melbourne – such a talking point for everyone suddenly. Phonetically it’s quite satisfying to say too. It’s quite silly. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

 We’re excited Gut Health are releasing debut EP Electric Party Chrome Girl; what’s the story behind the title?

ADAM: Myka once misheard some lyrics that were ‘electric, kind of home grown.’ We all just thought it was very funny and became a little in-joke for us. The song isn’t even on the EP hahaha

 How long have you been working on it?

DOM:Most of the songs were written in fits and bursts between lockdowns, with the recording happening mostly late last year. When we initially started recording, the aim was to make some demos just to hear ourselves back before the ‘real studio sesh’. We never ended up having the patience to do it all over again, plus the tracks didn’t sound so bad to begin with.

We’re premiering lead single ‘Inner Norm’; what’s it about?

ATHINA: Inner-Norm is a bit of a tongue-in-cheek, self-deprecating look at Naarm/Melbourne’s Inner North, observing how over time the self-identified ‘alternative’ residents begin to morph into what many northern resident’s proclaim as ‘normies’/normalcy. I’ve always struggled with the term ‘normie’ because it comes off as a little high-horse to me. 

I think a lot of us, particularly young people, find ourselves trying to navigate where we fit in, how we fit the ‘mould’. Humans are strange creatures, we often have a desire to categorise ourselves and others on a surface level. 

We love the song ‘Barbarella’ too; what inspired you to write it?

ATHINA: It is about Barbarella (1968), played by the icon Jane Fonda. Male gazey stuff aside, Jane Fonda is so sexy and I like to see her fighting evil while wearing amazing campy outfits. Maybe it’s a crush song to Jane Fonda, because she’s great, and her playing a superheroine just, like, tipped me over the edge. The song is based around the line in the script ‘Genius is Mysterious!’ 

The band self-recorded the EP in a storage facility in Brunswick; what do you remember most from recording?

DOM: We had a pretty small amount of equipment to record with so all the main elements were tracked pretty basic, but for some reason I went all out on the percussion day. I placed mics around the room in this huge stereo image, most of which was either summed to mono or just thrown out!

ADAM: I guess cause the storage units are all just concrete cubes, you can hear – in very intimate detail – every band’s sessions around us. There was a particular band right next to our room that was insanely loud. It seemed like they knew our calendar, and every time Dom and I went to do some of the more nitty gritty recording that required silence and concentration they decided it was a great time to start blasting their tracks. I really can’t emphasise more how loud it was. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Simon Maisch from Bitumen, OV PAIN, Telekninet, EYESØRES mastered it; what made you want to work with Simon?

ADAM: Simon was recommended to us by our friend Ferg (Laughing Gear/Romero) when we were toying with who should mix it. It just made total sense – I love Bitumen so much and everything he has mixed and mastered comes out amazingly.

We first fell in love with you band when we saw you play a show while we were in Naarm at the start of the year. What’s the best and worst shows you’ve played and what made it so?

ADAM: I dunno about best or worst, but we once played this little doof/party over New Years in Torquay. We were planning on driving up with a fill in drummer George, as Myka wasn’t available, and had our gear packed and ready to go. After we had packed everything the next day and were about to leave, George messaged us saying they were a close contact so we were kinda just stuck with all our gear. We decided to drive up anyway with everything and see what happens and party regardless.

We ended up rocking up and the guy who was running it was trying to convince us to play anyway, and introduced us to this drummer Luke. I was pretty nervous and apprehensive of improvising, but we decided to agree to it anyway without ever having played music with this guy. It was a bit awkward at first when I met him, then we smoked a bit and had a big skate and threw ourselves around and bonded quite a bit.

We decided we were going to do a Pittsburgh show (short for The Pittsburgh Enlightenment Experience) the name is a whole different story, but the short of it is that me and some friends did an improv show once under that moniker at the Coburg RSL, we call improvised sets ‘Pittsburgh shows’ now. Anyway, the show went off, it was super fun and I think we all got closer from the experience. 

Playing at last week for Dr Sure / Bench Press recently was also a really fun time. We also had heaps of fun playing with Screensaver and Loose Fit – such a lovely and talented crew. 

What have you been listening to, reading or watching lately?

ADAM: I’ve been listening to a lot of DJ Screw recently. I can’t seem to stop, it’s hypnotising.

DOM: I’ve been obsessed with this polish no-wave band Atol Atol Atol. It sounds like someone live-dubbed the universe collapsing in on itself.

ATHINA: Last film I watched was The Worst Person in the World. I found Nina Hagen’s New York New York album when I was away, so whacky wild and fun! It was produced by Giorgio Moroder. 

ELOISE: I’m embarrassingly late to watching Squid Game. It’s great. I’ve been listening to a bit of Gang of Four this week as well. 

When not doing Gut Health-related things, what can we find you doing?

ATHINA: Making films, eating bagels, and watching Rocky Horror. 

ADAM: Playing RPGs and listening to Silmarillion audio books.

ELOISE:Probably in a pool, or in line to pay for a pastry and coffee that is a bit out of my budget. 

What should everyone know about Gut Health?

Buffest, most swol band in Melbourne. 

Pre-Order Gut Health’s Electric Party Chrome Girl EP from Marthouse Records. Follow @gut__health + Gut Health on Facebook.

Delivery: “Enjoy the ride”

Original photo: James Morris. Handmade collage by B.

We have a rousing new song for you! ‘Baader Meinhof’ from Naarm band, Delivery. Their ever-evolving garage rock style with a post-punk wildness shining on this track, has us anticipating the November release of their debut full-length. We caught up with the band to ask about it, what they’re listening to, their recent tour with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen, go-to karaoke songs, and what makes them laugh.

We love knowing about what other people are listening to; what’s been on your radar of late? 

DANIEL (drummer): Very excited for the new Alex G and Jockstrap records coming out this month. Locally I’ve been loving the new Garage Sale record and the latest Teether album MACHONA

JAMES (guitar-vocals-keys): Been on a bit of an EXEK tear lately. The new Workhorse album is really great too. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say The Davinci Code by Blakey Bone – if you know, you know.

LISA (guitar-vocals): I’ve been listening a lot to The Comet is Coming in prep for Meredith and I’m hotly anticipating having my mind blown by their live set. More locally though I’ve been thrashing Cool Sounds who probably make the best music in the world?

BEC (bass-vocals): So much good music is coming out at the moment! Recently, Cool Sounds (agree with the statement made above ^ too good), Eggy, Michael Beach, Vintage Crop, Wireheads, and Ty Segall have been on heavy rotation for me. 

SAM (guitar-vocals): My sister Lil and has recently put me on to Harry Nilson’s The Point, so I’ve been in a bit of an early 70’s zone lately (Emitt Rhodes is another). Also been playing a lot of NO ZU’s Afterlife and lots of Possible Humans. I’m really excited about all of the releases that our friend’s labels have been putting out this year too, as well as other people’s projects in Delivery (Blonde Revolver, Heir Traffic).

Delivery recently toured the East Coast of Australia with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen. We were stoked to finally meet you all in person when you came through Meeanjin; tell us about being on the road with such incredible bands?

LISA: It was lovely meeting you! Touring with TFS and Party Dozen was such a wild ride. We had a few very early mornings and close calls with flights but we managed to come away mostly unscathed. It was such a genuine privilege to be able to witness these incredible bands do their thing each night and we still can’t believe we got asked to join them! Everyone was so welcoming and lovely, but a definite highlight was joining TFS on stage at The Croxton for a rendition of ‘Saturday Night’ by Cold Chisel. Honourable mention to James for ungraciously yanking out Kirsty’s saxophone lead right before her solo, and to Gaz and Fi’s literal rockdogs Ralf and Foxy who definitely stole the show.

Photo: Jhonny Russell.

‘Baader Meinhof’ is the first single off your upcoming debut album, Forever Giving Handshakes. Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, which the song is named after, is kind of an increase in your awareness of something that leads you to believe it’s happening more; have you experienced this yourself? 

BEC: Yeah for sure, I feel like this happens all the time. You meet someone new and see them everywhere or learn about a new thing then it pops up all the time. I found the term Baader Meinhof when I was actually searching for how to describe something else online, but that feeling is always quite weird and the term is kind of interesting… so why not write a song about it haha I guess. 

The song is also about putting mental time into reading into the universe about things and overthinking about stuff; is this something you feel you do?

BEC: Haha ahh kinda, I try not to do that though which is kinda the point of the song. I think wondering about the deeper reasoning of why things happen in life and what it all means is something that can be easy to do, but kinda just prefer to enjoy the ride and not overthink things too much because ultimately most of the time it is just what it is … For example with the Baader Meinhof phenomenon in reality, there’s no increase in occurrence of anything, it’s just that you’ve started to notice something more haha.

What’s your personal point of view on the song or its making?

JAMES: I think ‘Baader Meinhof’ was one of the most collaborative songs to come early in the process of making this album, and I think it ties together a lot of the things we do well as a band with everyone’s own little personality too. Bec is charging from the get-go and when Lisa joins in they both do their classic slightly sassy/extra cool vocal thing, we gave Sam a fair bit of leeway of the guitar solos and Danny is hitting everything as hard as he can as per usual. And I got to play a keyboard solo, cop that.

Was there any specific sonic references points for the new collection of songs?

JAMES: This song started with a bunch of sonic reference points that we sorta tried to disguise. I think Bec and Lisa’s original idea for the song was fairly inspired by ‘Boys In The Better Land’ by Fontaines DC, and the song’s main riff was actually this guitar idea I had that sounded a lot like AC/DC haha. Had to pull out a few tricks to Delivery-ify everything though. Overall, the new record does a pretty similar thing – we’re pulling references from some favourites like The Intelligence, Yummy Fur, Lithics, Parquet Courts, and then doing our very best to make it sound like Delivery.

The single was recorded live in your rehearsal space in Brunswick, as is the majority of the new album; why did you choose to record this way?

JAMES: The first 7” was a real lockdown project, and sounded nothing like the live band with its drum machines, DI’ed guitars and synths. The next 7” was more of a group effort, but was still recorded in our garage one at a time, so still didn’t really capture the band at full force. After a year of playing together, it seemed like a good time to show people the real deal.

SAM: The space in Brunswick is covered in sound treating foam, wall to wall. It’s a really good room to record something in if you want it to sound close and in your face, which is probably the type of energy that these songs were going for. I like recording live because you’re able to get people’s communication in the room on the recording. The performance always has something a little extra, whether it be imperfections or just a great vibe.

Photo: Jhonny Russell.

Whose idea was it to shoot the video in a karaoke bar? What’s your go to karaoke song?

BEC: That was my idea, inspired by good friend and karaoke fiend Isobel Buckley. One morning I was watching IG stories from everyone’s weekends as you do! And saw a bunch of videos of her and a few friends at the karaoke bar and though damn this shit is so funny and entertaining, why not make it into a whole three and a half minute film clip? So a few weekends later, Delivery + Sam (Spoilsport) and James Devlin went for our very own karaoke night out and the rest is history. My go-to karaoke song always changes depending on my mood. I think me and James duetting at the Boogie club house to Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’, ending in both of us crowd surfing, is a pretty massive karaoke highlight for me so maybe let’s just say that. 

DANIEL: ‘Wuthering Heights’ (singstar duet) – Kate Bush

JAMES: A little song called ‘Knights of Cydonia’ by Muse.

LISA: I like to think that I’m actually quite a good crooner, so I reckon ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra.

SAM: Anything from Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane.

The album art work featuring the band on a roller coaster rules! What’s the story behind it?

BEC: It was all a bit of a rush getting the album together as these things usually go… haha and one of the things we left to the very last minute was the name and artwork. A few names were being thrown around and one was ‘Trying to Enjoy the Ride’, and the idea of the artwork was inspired by that name when me and Sam (Spoilsport) were joking around once. Even though the name turned out to be totally different we still backed the idea enough to roll with it.

Getting the photo was real funny actually. Luna Park is not as whimsical as you’d recall from being a kid – it is actually a bit of a hell-ish nightmare, especially if you have a fear of birds and are very hungover… both of which I may have been. We got there in the end though and I’m super stoked with it. A massive shout out to James Morris for taking the picture and waiting in the carpark for over an hour while we lined up for the Scenic Railway, and also for James Devlin for his amazing design work on Delivery’s alway tight timelines.

How did you come up with the name for the album, Forever Giving Handshakes?

JAMES:  There’s a song on the album called ‘Born Second’, which features the line “forever giving handshakes”. In the context of that song, I was thinking about how whenever I have to give a handshake I’m always concerned about whether I’m shaking firmly enough or not – for some weird reason, someone once decided that was an adequate way of measuring up a person. 

As an album title it seemed to nicely round out a few recurring themes – some tracks are about feeling stuck in a rut, some tracks are about the workplace, some tracks are about winning big and/or losing hard. All in all, it’s because Delivery are hustlers.

What are you most nervous about getting ready to release your debut album?

JAMES: The inevitable fame and fortune.

BEC: Selling out of the records too quickly.

DANIEL: Not winning an ARIA.

SAM: The maddening power going to everyone in Delivery’s heads.

LISA: People at work finding out about it. 

What’s the last thing that made you laugh really hard?

DANIEL: Sam Lyons, Billiam and Meaghan Weiley filling in on RRR together last week had me cackling

LISA: The last thing that made me really belly laugh was playing a game of catch in the pool with my sister and friend Iso on holiday recently.

SAM: James Morris on the phone

BEC: Watching ‘Nathan for You’… Also tour antics with Crop and Stroppies, funny crew. 

JAMES: Playing Truth or Dare with Vintage Crop on the weekend. Jack Cherry can handstand.

Delivery’s Forever Giving Handshakes will be out in November. Order now via Spoilsport Records and Feel It Records in the US. Anti Fade will be releasing a a special tape with demos – get it here. Find Delivery live videos on our Youtube channel.

The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith on new album, Rapscallion: “I was having a lot of fun reminiscing about growing up skateboarding”

Original photo: Izzie Austin. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

The Murlocs’ upcoming new album Rapscallion sees them forging into new territory with a playful mix of drama and effervescence as they give us a loosely conceptual coming-of-age story of searching, love, loss, independence and belonging. There’s effortlessly catchy garage-rock groovers that we’ve come to love from The Murlocs, along with detours into chaotic heavy moments and unabashedly cool drifts into fruitful synth work that will pleasantly surprise listeners. Rapscallion has shown the band humbly continue to hone their songwriting craft, the writing even more precise and confident than previous outings. It’s an exciting and inspiring album. Gimmie chatted with The Murlocs’ Ambrose Kenny-Smith about the record. 

What’s life been like lately for you?

AMBROSE: I’m good . I’ve been home for two weeks. We had that tour in Europe cancelled. I went to Budapest and hung out with friends for a week and then came home back to the winter. Budapest is pretty fun, I found a couple of cool dive bars, went to some baths and went skateboarding. It was good to decompress after the shattering news of tour being cancelled. It was nice to avoid the Melbourne winter for longer. It’s been really cold, I guess I’ve just been acclimatised to the Europe summer for so long now [laughs].

Last we chatted, was for your album Bittersweet Demons and at the time I thought that was my favourite Murlocs record, but now I’ve heard your new record, Rapscallion, and it’s become my favourite Murlocs album. Congratulations! It’s an incredible album! I feel it’s stretched you guys into new territory; what do you think?

A: Sick, thank you. For sure it’s stretched us, it’s probably the heaviest thing we’ve done so far. I’m so proud of it. It’s been the easiest to talk about in interviews too, cos I actually have enough to talk about for once, rather than cringing thinking about my anxieties and shit. It’s nice to have something more conceptual that has a storyline. The music side of things has all come from our guitarist, Callum Shortal. It’s been the most seamless record we’ve had. 

Do you find it easier when someone else does the music and you just have to worry about arranging, adding things and the lyrics?

A: Yeah, but I’ve never had to do too much, over the years it’s gotten less and less. For the first time, I didn’t have to arrange or do anything, he’s just nailed it. He knows how our songs work. He knows when I’m supposed to sing and all of this, that and the other. For a while there, he would send me one-minute demos and had not really finished them off, but waited ’til we got together in a room and we’d piece it together. Because we were in the first lockdown here in Melbourne, he took it all on, did it himself and would send me tunes frequently. 

We finished Bittersweet Demons and that was 70% my songs written on piano. Cook [Craig] gave songs. Tim [Karmouche] contributed two songs and[Matt]  Blachy contributed. At the end, it was more half and half with the other guys song-wise. I wanted to try and step back and contribute more to King Gizzard, so I encouraged the guys to write. I told them I wanted to go back to focusing on lyrics. Callum had one song on that album, it was cut from Manic Candid Episode the album before. All of a sudden he got into a rhythm and was on a roll and would send me songs once a week or so. Before we knew it we had the whole record. We only cut one.

He’d quickly send stuff to me while I was working on Gizzard stuff, and I could sequence the album musically and write the storyline. I got the flow of the music and then it was like, cool, now I can conceptualise what this is going to be. I wrote lyrics as I went. The songs came in pretty much in order they ended up. It was a good flow. 

I read that the concept was inspired by Corman McCarthy’s book Blood Meridian. Where you reading that at the time?

A: Yeah. It was one of the first books that I had actually finished in the last couple of years. I connected with it, started riffing off it and channelling past experiences from my youth. It’s a lot more of a light-hearted version. 

In that book the main character is a teenager called “The Kid” and the story is of his adventures, He’s kind of an anti-hero.

A: Yeah, totally. Ours is a similar concept, but not as gruesome as the book. It’s that coming-of-age, outcast, ugly duckling-figure that runs away from home story. He has an attitude of, fuck trying to find his feet. As the album goes along, each song is a step by step progression into him going through all of these life changing experiences.

I enjoyed listening to it unfold. The book you were inspired by is a Western novel and I noticed easter egg references throughout the album, lyrically and musically. In the first song ‘Subsidiary’ there’s the lyrics: I’m leaving this one horse town.

A: There’s a bit of an urban cowboy vibe! [laughs]. 

The second song ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ sees the character hitchhiking and crossing paths with truckers and transient folk. I love fiction narratives (in my day job I work as a book editor), I really got into the story you were telling. There’s so many cool lines on the album. There was one in song ‘Bobbing And Weaving’: Last train departing on the platform for the unloved. 

A: [Laughs]. Yeah. I’m glad you like that one. There’s a lot of sombre people getting the train sometimes. That song is about him dodging ticket inspectors and trying to find the ropes of living independently. 

I got a sense as well, that the character has always been a fighter.

A: Yeah, it’s totally about that, and about trying to find a second family, a group he can connect with. While I was writing it, I was having a lot of fun reminiscing about growing up skateboarding. I thought about all the friendships that I’ve gained from those experiences, travelling interstate or just being around the city and sleeping on whoever’s couch that I made friends with that day. It was derivative of that stuff, real experiences, but taken to a more extreme level. There were definitely people that I grew up with who had similar upbringings, and skateboarding was acceptance for us, any shape or form was welcomed. 

Photo: Izzie Austin.

As the story unfolds I found that there’s elements and a sense of danger, transience and free-wheeling, which is all stuff that ties in with being young and skateboarding; being nomadic, being spontaneous. I think all of that translated well and can be felt on the album.

A: Great!  It was a good coping mechanism to escape when I was locked down and couldn’t go anywhere. I couldn’t write diary entires or personal experience at the time because there wasn’t really much going on. It was nice to reminisce. 

Another line I loved was from ‘Compos Mentis’: Chubby rain soaking heavy like cinder blocks. That’s such strong imagery. 

A: Sweet. It’s self-explanatory, especially when you’ve got some real soggy socks [laughs]. 

[Laughter]. Each song is like a scene in a novel or film.

A: That was the name of the game.

In ‘Compos Mentis’ the character seems to be reflecting on his life.

A: Reflecting and trying to navigate what route he’s going to take next. He’s taking things day-by-day. That was my thought process for a lot of my life until all of a sudden, now I’m thirty. It’s all about taking things as it comes. 

Compos mentis means taking control of your mind, right?

A: Yeah, that part of the album has him by himself for a while and he starts to question if he has a sound mind and is cable of continuing on his journey [laughs].

In the beginning of his journey his parents don’t really understand him or even really just believe in him. Taking it back to the song ‘Living Under A Rock’ it’s like his life started a little sheltered but then the character realises that there’s this big world out there.

A: Totally! It’s that small town syndrome and not really been aware of stuff beyond his street and the shops down the road. He’s trying to escape and make it to the big smoke to see what’s happening [laughs]. 

That’s what you do when you’re a skateboarder living out in the suburbs, you head into the city to meet your friends and skate spots.

A: You hang around the streets and you meet different kinds of people, some your own age, but a lot of the time, people older. I was always surrounded by older people and was corrupted. My character was built quickly, early on. I was streetwise from a young age. All those elements were thrown in there. 

Then in song ‘Farewell to Clemency’ he gets into a fight and there’s the great line: Toxic masculinity is dead. That was a powerful lyric.

A: That’s just him trying to crush that whole scenario. I feel it’s a good way to stamp that song at the end [laughs]. 

As the story continues there’s song ‘Royal Vagabond’. I feel like that song is about survival.

A: Totally. When I was listening to it when I would skate back and forth to the studio, I felt like in that song, he felt like he was on the up and he’s found a family that he can call home with a leader that’s larger than life; someone who can direct him and give him some words of wisdom. He can help steer him in a direction where he finally starts to feel confident within himself. It’s about him finding a gang under a bridge, they’re hanging around fires and shooting the shit. He finally feels like he’s become a part of something. 

‘Virgin Criminal’ is next and it reflects that he’s new to crime, but then  in the following song his life takes a little turn in ‘Bowlegged Beautiful’ and he falls in love with Peg.

A: Yeah! [laughs]. Peg is a member of the gang but doing her own thing as well. When I heard that bass line, I thought of someone strutting down the street in the city towards him and he’s fixated on this person that’s coming into his life. He’s overwhelmed and all he wants is this one person. 

It totally captures that feeling.

A: She’s the love of his life.

Yeah. ’Wickr Man’ sees them both go dumpster diving and they have a violent itch in common, like when they kick the rats. Then they’re waiting around for the guy up stairs so they can get drugs. 

A: It’s a ‘I’m Waiting For The Man’ Velvet Underground rip. Each song is a new experience. He’s met this girl that’s in to dabbling in drugs. She teaches him a lot of things quickly and he grows up fast. By the end of that, it falls into tragedy with ‘The Ballad of Peggy Mae’.

You broke my heart with that song! I was so sad listening to it. I wanted them to win.

A: She didn’t last for long [laughs]. 

Like three songs! When she ODs you get a sense from both the music and lyrics that the protagonist feels guilty and grief-stricken. 

A: I’ve had friends OD before on the street, so it’s channelling that vibe. It’s a very broad daylight and in your face that song. That’s why I put the city sounds at the start of it. I wanted it to sound chaotic. I couldn’t imagine the song without it having a sad narrative. I even tear up a bit when I listen to that one too [laughs].

Awww. Well, that is the reality of that life, these things totally happen. You mentioned that you’ve experienced friends OD-ing. It’s a hard thing to see. Do you find it’s easier to write about these kinds of things in a fictional narrative?

A: Yeah, you can let your guard down and dive into it being something else and put a different light on it.

Last song is ‘Growing Pains’ which has another line I really dig: Highlander with a harrowing track record. Growing up in the 80s and 90s I grew up watching the original Highlander movies. I used to watch them with my mum.

A: [Laughs]. He’s already thinks he’s seen it all by this point now. He’s experienced a lot. He’s had a fast-paced life, and now he’s just trying to keep his chin up. He rides off into the sunset and the horizon is an open book! [laughs]. 

Do you think there could have been another song after the last one? Where might he have gone?

A: Nah, I think ‘Growing Pains’ was a pretty good way to wrap it up. You can picture him walking off down the highway to go hitchhike and start again. There wasn’t anywhere to go from there. It’s a perfect closer song. 

Agreed. It’s pretty cool how you initially just started listening to the musical tracks Callum sent and then you just started imagining everything.

A: I’m lucky because Cal can write such great, gritty, garage-y songs that work will with my tone of voice and the themes I go for. In the past he’s written more poppy song, but it still has a bit of grunt to it, which I really like, and that’s because quite a theme to our music. It was great to have it set out. It had a great flow and I could just tell what would happen. The last three or four songs he goes very extreme. Then there’s a nice little trot along to the finish. 

The garage-y elements of Murlocs that we love are still present on Rapscallion but then it goes into a more post-punk kind of territory. There’s lots of cool noise and synths on this record. 

A: We got synth heavy at times, that was to add textures throughout for once instead of being straight. I’m still wondering how we’re going to pull off some of those noises live, because there’s overlapping things going on. We’ll find a way to work it out and make some things squeal [laughs]. There’s definitely a lot of layers, but then some parts there’s not much at all. There’s a couple of moments in songs where there’s lots going on. It was so fun! We were messing around with a Behringer Poly D synthesiser. Tim bought one as well, so we can play with that live. It made it go down more of a post-punk prog way. 

It was recorded at your houses, sending songs back and forth?

A: In hindsight, it’s a record that I wish we would have recorded the beds together in the same room. As it went along, Blachy got better at recording his drums. Ultimately, when we gave it to Mikey Young to start mixing, he nailed it. Each track took him one or maybe two goes.

Cal was listening to a lot of Eddy Current [Suppression ring] as he always does. He was listening to Country Teasers. There’s even elements of Pixies on there. I even hear Neil Young. He listens to a lot of Doom metal as well; he was in metal bands before we started the Murlocs, so he’s always had a darker shade of things going on than the rest of us. It was great because I got to take myself out of my usual shoes and write from another perspective.

On song ‘Wickr Man’ there’s a spoken verse.

A: Yeah. In ‘Bowlegged Beautiful’ and ‘Wickr Man’ I do my tryhard breath-y Tom Waits voice [laughs]. The first time I started realising it could be something was when I did the King Gizzard ‘Straws In The Wind’ song, I sing it differently live. But with those songs it just felt like those parts needed to be more spoken word and less sing-y. They didn’t need any melody because they already had this badass feeling to it. I wanted to riff on some things rather than always just sing a tune. 

It took me a few listens to realise it was you doing that part, I was like, ‘Is that someone else?’ 

A: [Laughs} These bits do kind of sound like some husky dude that’s been sitting at the end of the bar for too long. The voice suited those tracks.

How did you come up with the title, Rapscallion?

A: [Laughs]. Well, we always name our album titles after songs. It’s hard to go out on a limb and name an album something completely random that just sounds cool or makes sense for the whole thing. This time, because it was more conceptual, it didn’t make sense just to name it after a track. 

I was visiting my dad, we were talking about the storyline of the album and that I wanted some kind of word for this feral kid protagonist, that didn’t have a name throughout the album. He said, “What about rapscallion?” There was another one like “curmudgeon” and a few other words that came up. He said “rapscallion” first. I thought it sounded a bit Pirates Of The Caribbean [laughs]. I think it fits perfect though. I think some of the guys were a bit [talks in a comedic voice]  “Rapscallion!” kind of in a Monty Python-type voice! It makes sense now, so I’m glad we stuck with it. 

It’s a memorable, fun word to say. 

A: Yeah. It has been used a whole bunch, Cal sent me a scene from The Simpsons the other day where someone says it [laughs]. 

The album art is by Travis MacDonald; was it made specifically for the album or was it an existing piece?

A: It was an existing piece, someone in Sydney owns the original painting. We’d been friends for a bit, and I was looking at a bunch of Travis’ paintings and I thought they would suit the vibe of a classic rock, 70s-sounding record that we were going for. I wanted to have a n album cover that could work without titles for once. I just wanted to make a statement that was timeless. I had a bunch of references of paintings I grew up with and a few other things, I set him some drawings and he started to sketch up what it was going to be and was going to commission me for that. But, I just kept going back to that painting we ended up using. I was already too hung up on it. It was perfect, that’s just Rapscallion, right there. 

Album art: Travis MacDonald.

The figure in the painting does look like a street tough. 

A: Yeah, someone said the other day that it looks like the cover of a novel that is a coming-of-age story, which I agree with. The original painting was called, Graceland. He said it was of a random weirdo-lurker out the front of Graceland. The way it’s come out with the street light lamppost and all of the colours and textures, it fits it perfectly. I didn’t want it looking all dark and gloomy, I think the painting is a good happy medium. 

After having listened to the album a lot and been immersed in the Rapscallion  world, I can imagine that when you came across that painting you would have thought, ‘That’s it!’ I know the feeling because sometimes with Gimmie we’ll come across something we love when making it, but then we’ll try other things and more often than not we end up coming back to what we first were drawn to.

A: Yeah, when you do art and creative things, even like writing songs, when you make demos, often you end up just going back to the original of what it was before it got too out of hand. I didn’t want to go down that road where I was just going to do a 180 and go back to the beginning anyway, so we stuck with it [laughs]. 

Is there a specific moment on the album that you really, really love and think is super cool?

A: There’s lots of different sections, they all have their moments really. I listen to softer music generally rather than heavier stuff, so I’ve probably listen to ‘The Ballad Of Peggy Mae’ the most more recently than the other songs. In ‘Growing Pains’ there’s some parts in there too. I like how the album starts and finishes with synth intros to album opener ‘Subsidiary’ and closer ‘Growing Pains’. 

We’ve finally learned to play ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ live and ‘Living Under A Rock’. I definitely have a lot of fun playing those two songs. ‘Bellarine Ballerina’ is a good one, it’s nice to have some more uptempo songs. We did ‘Subsidiary’ once at a gig, but I feel like it’s not quite there yet.

What have you been listening to lately in general?

A: Not a whole bunch really, that’s probably way I’m so understimulated. 

Is that because you’ve been so busy?

A: Yeah, I feel like I’m always too over my own head in shit that’s going on whether it’s with Gizzard or Murlocs. I feel like I’m always trying to keep up with things. I listened to the new Chats record [Get Fucked] this morning. R.M.F.C. is great, so is that new The Frowning Clouds [Gospel Sounds & More from the Church of Scientology] record on Anti Fade. Listening to that takes me back to being a teenager and hanging out with this guys and going to those gigs.

That was a great record. We’ve heard some of the new R.M.F.C. full-length that’s in the works, it’s sounding incredible. 

A: Sick! They’re great. 

There’s also a new Gee Tee album in the works that rules too!

A: Cool! I haven’t seen them play live yet but I’ve heard stuff and I’ve seen video snippets online and they’re sick!

Totally! What’s the rest of the year look like for you?

A: I’ve got four or five weeks rehearsing with The Murlocs, we’re going to start to learn this album on Wednesday. We’re going to do a test run of those songs at a show here in Melbourne, so we can get more confident with that. We’re going to rehearse a couple of nights a week forth month, but then I go to the States with King Gizzard for all of October, then the three Murlocs will come over and meet us towards the end of the tour and we’ll do three shows supporting Gizzard. At that point we wanted have played together for a month. I’m getting a bit nervous about that, rocking up to Levitation and Red Rocks hoping that our muscle memory will be enough to go off. Then Murlocs do the US in November. Then I’ll come home for December and we might do a Gizzard Melbourne show. That’s about it!

That’s all! Phew, that seems like a lot to me. 

A: [Laughs]. It is a lot, I’m just trying to play it down in my head, so I don’t stress too hard.

[Laughter]. Do you enjoy rehearsals? Is that fun for you?

A: Yeah, I’m really looking forward to it and how we’re going to be doing these new Murlocs songs. It’ll all come together. I haven’t played much guitar in a while. I’m going to have to play guitar pin a few of the newer ones, that’ll be a bit wonky [laughs]. I’m looking forward to just hanging out with the guys, we don’t get to hang out as much as we’d like. 

Do you have anything else other than music stuff happening?

A: I’ve been skateboarding a little. I had that week in Budapest skating with friends. I skated a few times since I’ve been home. It’s the classic I’m-starting-to-get-my-groove-back thing and I fell over on my wrist a few times and hurt it, so I have to stop again. I was getting too excited! [laughs]. I can’t risk hurting my hands or arms. When you don’t do it for a while, you forget how to fall. 

Do you still get the same feeling now that you had when you were younger skateboarding?

A: Yeah, totally. It’s really good for my mental health or for anyones. You get a nice release, a feeling of freedom. You’re out and about and you catch up with old friends. You get back on your feet and it’s a nice feeling—that feeling you get when you land something after trying for a while. It’s a nice rush of adrenalin. 

There is plenty in the pipeline. With Gizzard there’s always stuff, and we have another Murlocs record that’s done as well. I’m just trying to figure out the art for it now and trying to talk everyone into doing video clips, but everyone tells me to “chill out!” [laughs]. That’s all well and good, but I’m never home enough and I like to do things well in advance so I’m not scrambling to do things at the last minute. 

Totally! As this album is loosely a concept album with a narrative, is the next album different to that?

A: Yeah, the next one is less strings attached. It’s still a while off ’til it will be released, but I’m really pumped on this next release! Somehow we’ve maybe topped Rapscallion! It’s more poppy. I’m starting to think of the plan of attack for that one. Things seem to only be getting better and better. As we all get older we’re getting better and better at writing songs. It’s all good. 

Rapscallion is out September 16 –  pre-order HERE. Follow @themurlocs + The Murlocs on Facebook. Murlocs’ Bandcamp.

**Another in-depth chat with Ambrose can be found in the our print zine – Gimmie issue 3.**

R.M.F.C.’s Buz Clatworthy: “Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play”

Original photo: Alex Wall. Handmade mixed-media collage by B.

We’re excited about the new R.M.F.C. 7” Access! Its addictive, energetic garage rock jangle with anarcho-punk drumming, and infectious melody. The combination is dizzying and sees R.M.F.C.’s sound transcend influences and fast track into a fervent lane of its own. The addition of 12-string guitar into the band giving us a fuller sound. Buz’s songwriting has taken leaps and bounds from first release Hive. This taster of things to come has us waiting with bated breath for the full-length album set for release in 2023.

Whenever we see you play live, we’re always in awe of how great everything sounds. Playing the drums while singing isn’t an easy thing to do; what was it like for you when you started doing it? What helped you get better at it?

BUZ CLATWORTHY: It was difficult at first when the original live band formed but I’ve always found it way harder to play guitar or bass and sing than I have drums; drums have always been my main instrument. I think it’s maybe something to do with the way my brain works that drums just make more sense to me, but in saying that I’ve never gotten very deep into the technical side of things, my style of playing is very simple and straightforward.


Aside from naturally getting better at it by repetition, I’ve got some little cheats to make it easier like adding breaks in the drums when I structure new songs. My drumming & singing role in the live setting definitely had a part in informing how I wrote the newer songs. I think the very blocky/rhythmic phrasing of my words also helps a lot cause it slots in with what my limbs are doing on the kit. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Are there any drummers, vocalists or songwriters that you’re inspired by? What do you appreciate about their style?

BC: Stephen Morris of Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order, Laurence Tolhurst from The Cure and whoever drummed on the first Gang Of Four album. Those three all have a similar snappy drum sound & semi-robotic feel and were big inspirations in my formative years style-wise. As most R.M.F.C. songs are built around bass lines, Klaudia Schiff from Kleenex/Liliput and Peter Hook from Warsaw/Joy Division/New Order are very important songwriting inspirations. I love their use of the bass as a leading instrument, the bass lines are what make most of my favourite tracks by those bands. 

I was talking with Kel from Gee Tee the other day and he mentioned that when you look back on your earlier releases you can really hear some of your influences coming through. You’ve been writing and making a new R.M.F.C. album; were you mindful of influences coming through for this one? How do you feel your sound had developed for those earlier releases?

BC: Yeah, being mindful of influences coming through is always something I keep in the back of my head when I’m writing/recording songs. There are definitely still subconscious attempts here and there to sound like whatever I’m enjoying listening to at the time but I always maintain a conscious effort to just sound like R.M.F.C. It’s usually more an attempt to replicate what I enjoy about the actual sonic aspect of older bands I like now.


For the earlier releases, I never thought anyone would care much for what I put out and I just wanted to make what I thought was cool at the time. When I listen to the Hive 1 & 2 releases now I just hear 17 year old me trying to sound like Jay Reatard and The Coneheads and that’s basically what it is, I was obsessed with bands like that. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Kel and I were also talking about how everyone in you guys’ friend group are great song writers and supportive of each other’s work. He mentioned that you don’t record at your house, but you go back to your parent’s place in Ulladulla; where to my knowledge all off your stuff’s been recorded? Why do like to there to record? 

BC: On one hand it’s just hard to find a good spot in Sydney to record let alone somewhere consistent to leave your stuff set up but I also feel like that room has become kind of an integral part of R.M.F.C in a way, It would feel weird not recording there for this band. It’s good having that space down there to visit and have nothing to do but make demos or record songs. It’s all set up in my old bedroom so when I go down to record I’m spending the majority of my time in that space and don’t really have to think about anything else. Once I finish the album recordings I think I’ll bring my recording desk up to Sydney and set up in my room so I can make demos and focus on something different for a while. 

Last we spoke, you told us that you were finding inspiration to write a little harder than usual because you hadn’t been able to travel as much and hang out with your friends because of the pandemic and it’s lockdowns. Has that changed?

BC: Yeah that’s definitely no longer an issue but since moving away from home and not having my recording setup I’ve found it just as difficult to make songs as I was during that stint. With R.M.F.C being a solo thing I find it so much easier to develop song ideas when I have my recording desk on hand to place the different parts together and make necessary adjustments, It’s a good writing tool. 

We love that you’ve been taking your time with the album: things more often than not, turn out better when you don’t force them and allow the songs to unfold in their own time. Has there been a turning point moment during your album’s creation were songs and the process has started to progress quicker for you? 

BC: There hasn’t necessarily been any specific turning point where things have progressed quicker. It seems to come in waves, I’ll have an off period where it feels like nothing is working out and then I’ll have a wave of productivity and get a bunch done. Everything’s pretty much written now it’s just a matter of finding time to go down and record the songs and getting them right. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

You’ve just released a new 7” on Anti Fade Records – Access/Air Conditioning; what made you choose these two songs? How do you feel they compliment each other?

BC: I basically chose ‘Access’ cause I felt it was the best song to have as a standalone release out of what I already had recorded, I have other songs I maybe like more but they just seem to work better in the company of the rest of the album. 

I mainly chose to cover ‘Air Conditioning’ (by UK post-punks The Lillettes) for the B-side cause I just really like that song but it also has that “human condition” phrase in it. I use the same phrase in two other songs that will be on the album which gives this 7″ an extra little connection. The two songs complimenting each other wasn’t necessarily a consideration but I think they work together as a good representation of where I want to go with the band. 

We love ‘Access’ and remember seeing you play it live when we saw you earlier in the year; is it challenging for you to get a song you’re used to playing live recorded the way you’d like?

BC: Every new song starts with a demo or final recording that I take to the band to learn so it’s usually the other way around, but the way I heard and thought about ‘Access’ definitely changed during the period between making the initial demo and making the final recording. I don’t think this is necessarily because I was used to playing it live but it took a while to get the final recording to sound right, I don’t think anything could make the process harder than I already make it for myself. 

Art by Ian Teeple.

What was the idea behind the 7” art? 

BC: I pretty much just gave Ian [Teeple] a bunch of Wire 7″ covers for reference and we went back and forth with ideas. I was very pedantic with this design suggesting adjustments etc. which probably annoyed Ian but he was very patient and I think we both really like how the artwork turned out, I’ve had lots of good feedback on it too. Thank you Ian! ❤ 

You told us about the recent Other, Like Me: The Oral History of COUM Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle documentary. Thanks! What’s something, in relation to creativity or performance, that you took away from watching it?

BC:I really liked the emphasis they placed on the idea that you don’t actually need any form of training to make successful new radical music or art. I did music through to my final year in high school and while I did enjoy aspects of it, for the most part it contradicted what I felt music should be, so that resonated with me. Most of my favourite music was made by people who didn’t really know how to play/had a very basic level of knowledge and skill in regards to their instruments and TG’s influence was probably instrumental in the existence of a lot of those projects. 

I also really like how a lot of what COUM did wasn’t intended to be art, rather just something that existed and didn’t have to mean anything. 

What’s something that you’ve been interested in and getting into lately? 

BC: Angelica from G2g/Wanderlust got me onto this duo called Lives Of Angels who I’ve been obsessed with. I’ve also been listening to a lot of country music lately. My friend showed me this Numero Group compilation called Wayfaring Strangers: Cosmic American Music. Lots of great tracks on it that all sorta came in the wake of the first Flying Burrito Brothers album, shout out to Dyl Scott <3.  I’ve also been loving Operating Theatre/Roger Doyle. I heard their track ‘Spring Is Coming With A Strawberry In The Mouth’ on a radio show playlist Ian Teeple did recently and have been really enjoying exploring their catalogue. It’s so good having lots of friends to share music with 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

Is there anyone you know that’s working on, or created something really cool, that you’d like to shout out?

BC: Ian is currently working on the second Silicone Prairie album, I’ve heard it in its current form and it’s very very good. What The Toads have so far for a release they’re doing next year is also very very good. Carnations from Sydney should have a release out soon which I’m super keen to hear. Aside from that there are a bunch of friends working on things I’ve seen/heard that I’m very excited about and would like to shout out, but cannot share. 2023 is shaping up to be a good year for the underground. 

What’s the rest of the year looking like for you? 

BC: I’ve made some time here and there over the next couple of months to finally finish recording the new album. R.M.F.C has a few shows coming up, playing with the Ramones and The Prize at the Lansdowne on the 28th of October which is very exciting. We also have an exciting show coming up in Naarm/Melbourne in November. 

R.M.F.C.’s Access 7” is out now on Anti Fade Records – get it HERE and in the US find it via Feel it Records. Follow @r.m.f.c.fanclub and @antifaderecords + R. M. F. C. On bandcamp.

New Slag Queens’: “A weird album for a weird time” 

Original photo: Isabelle Gander. Handmade collage by B.

Gimmie are super excited that nipaluna band Slag Queens have new music! We’re touting their forthcoming record Favours as one of the records of the year. Three years in the making, grittier than debut, You Can’t Go Out Like That, their sophomore album ventures into new territory, full of intriguing weird, and beautiful pulsating moments, but it’s unmistakably Slag Queens. It’s an exuberant listen that feels very much of this moment. First Single ‘Dogs’ is one of their most impressive turns yet. We’re premiering the song and clip today—check it out for yourself. 

You recently played at MONA in Ben Salter’s Import/Export installation space; tell us about it.

WESLEY: That was really heaps of fun! I also helped mix the space over Dark Mofo and it was a pretty huge marathon! On the day we played I think most of us were a bit fragile from the night before, I was a bit worried but then it turned into a really fun show!

CLAIREY: Yep, I nearly asked for a sick bucket next to my drums. When he reached out to us about playing, I asked if we could play later in the day because we all had party plans on Friday night. He said 12noon with Bloody Mary’s or nuthin. We made it. First couple of songs were pretty shaky but I think we pulled it off! Big thanks to Ben for having us.

Since your last album You Can’t Go Out Like That Slag Queen’s debut record, Lucinda and Claire moved south from Launceston to nipaluna/Hobart; how did the move change things for you? Did it spark new creativity? How does where you live affect your art?

CLAIREY: Lucy and I moved down in 2018. Lucy moved in with Wesley in Lenah Valley and I took the small loft in Amber’s share house in North Hobart. I loved Launceston, but it was time to do the cliche thing and embrace the pull south. Slags had really found a home in the community that centred around The Brisbane Hotel and contemporary arts spaces like Visual Bulk and Good Grief Studios. Those spaces have been so inspiring for me creatively and important for finding a community, sense of belonging etc. Shit’s been weird since The Bris closed – we’re all a bit lost. Reflecting on You Can’t Go Out Like That, it really was an album with something to say about Launceston. Favours is noisier and darker but I’ll fight anyone who wants to trot out a boring ‘Hobart is dark’ analysis. You’ve drunk the corporate paganism kool-aid, kid. 

Slag Queens have a new album Favours coming out in August and it’s your first release in a few years; what are your feelings about it at this point?

WESLEY: I’m super excited! Having joined the band just after wear thus for you was released it was an interesting experience touring an album I wasn’t on, and it’s been such a long time I the making and I think we’re all really proud of it and cant wait to start showing it to everyone. 

LUCINDA: Agree with Wesley! It’s been so long coming and it’s been really special writing new music with Wes and Amber. I’m really proud of what we’ve accomplished together!

CLAIREY: Also excited and a bit nervous!

Why did you decide to name it Favours?

LUCINDA: We called it Favours for a few reasons. Favours has this delightfully camp air to it, and it puts us in mind of the idea of a ‘favourite’ at court or in a race, the idea that luck is behind you, but its rarely luck is it? It’s more that you’ve somehow convinced or charmed someone powerful and now you’re it baby and enjoy it while you can because you might not be tomorrow!

A favour itself is interesting too, because a favour is something that doesn’t have clear rules about it. It’s both something you can do freely or because you owe someone something. It gets me thinking about the favours we do for bosses, for family, for gender, for patriarchy. Can we stop doing these favours? What happens when we stop? 

It was written and recorded over three years. When did you first start writing for this album? Last we spoke you said you do songwriting quite collaboratively with everyone in the same room, which at the time was the shed out the back of Claire and Amber’s house.

CLAIREY: Yep, that’s right! This album was written and partially recorded in the shed out the back of Amber’s (I’ve moved since we last spoke). Not gunna lie, it’s pretty chaotic in there, but it also feels so comfortable. Maybe that also describes our band dynamic? Most songs were written between 2019-2020 very collaboratively with everyone in the shed supervised by a life-sized Keanu Reeves cardboard cut-out. ‘Dogs’ and ‘Excuses’ were both songs we had written and discarded years ago, but got resurrected and reimagined. 

All photos by Isabelle Gander.

What kinds of things were happening in your life that inspired it? Where was your head at when writing it? I understand that a lot of lyrics came from looking inward and Lucinda described it as “Angsty. Itchy. Frustrated.”

LUCINDA: Some of the lyrics are drawn from watching TV, film, reading books, which I guess the last few years has given us all a new appreciation for. Like ‘Mood of Abandon is based on the feeling of watching the first season of Russian Doll. That sense of doing the same thing again and again and never being able to break out of patterns, and the kicking, screaming frustration of not being master of your own destiny. That feeling in Russian Doll is just so familiar to me and it certainly has been peaking at times over the last few years. Even though it sucks, it’s a feeling with an energy that lends itself to writing. 

And I guess it’s a feeling that’s both personal (why can’t I be better, why do I make the same mistakes again and again?) and about politics (are we still here talking about whether we should do something about climate change? About job seeker? About our completely fucked and unfair migration system?) I don’t like to be pessimistic about these things because nihilism is a cop out  and we owe it to each other to sort this shit out. But i certainly feel like the lyrics on this album are reflective of a level of tiredness that I hadn’t encountered before. 

Is music cathartic for you? 

LUCINDA: Listening, writing and playing music absolutely yes 1000 times yes. Recording on the other hand is death by a 1000 cuts. 

WESLEY: To be honest I’m mostly listening to 00s hardcore and alt-metal at the moment. So yes.

AMBER: I keep asking myself this but it’s been 15 years and I keep performing music so there’s definitely something cathartic in the process that keeps me coming back.

CLAIREY: It’s the best and worst thing in my life. 

What is the strangest thing or thought that has inspired a piece of work? 

LUCINDA:It’s not on this record, but we recently wrote a song inspired by a mythical search for Neil Diamond which was inspired by a sheet of karaoke songs that was on the floor of the shed. 

WESLEY: Truth be told, that shed probably inspires most of our songs, it’s great.

The album was recorded and mixed by Jordan Marson at Studio HMY with additional recording by the band in various sharehouses across nipaluna/Hobart; what was it like to be back in the studio and what did also recording in sharehouse spaces bring to the recording?

CLAIREY: It was great to work with Jordy again. We learnt a lot recording You Can’t Go Out Like That with him and wanted to continue working together. We’re such a funny bunch with recording – we really struggle with it hey! We started recording with Jordy in his home studio back in 2019. We worked on ‘Shelter’, ‘Hazard’, ‘Shades’ and ‘Best Western’. In retrospect, those songs were super new at that stage and maybe needed a bit more time in the world before we recorded them. After that we decided to buy a bunch of gear and give things a go ourselves while Covid was happening. Home recording was both a necessity and comfort for us. It allowed us to take more time, experiment and be in familiar settings, which I think helped remove some of the pressure of recording. We went back into the studio with Jordy to finish off the last tracks in late 2021.

Are there any moments recording or wiring that you feel like you really got to play or experiment on the record?

WESLEY: Personally, quite a bit. I’d done a few noise performances before joining Slag Queens. Everyone else seems to be pretty okay with me bringing that into our songs, although I do struggle when it comes to locking things in. I think ‘Dogs’ was definitely the one that we had a lot of fun putting together.

How did you stretch yourself with this collection of songs?

WESLEY: Yoga.  I’d say we’re all pretty flexible so nothing felt like too much of a stretch, except that one thing…

AMBER: It feels like less of a happy go lucky punk album, more grit, and more allowing ourselves to lean into some atonal weird sounds without feeling like things need to sound like other bands. It’s a weird album for a weird time.

CLAIREY:I hate yoga.

There seems to be a lot of fascinating sounds on you record, from what we’ve seen from live videos online and the film clip for ‘Dogs’ we’re premiering, it’s courtesy of what Wesley is doing with a stereo, drills and various things, we’d love to know more about this; what’s happening there?

WESLEY: It’s really cool! Grab an AM radio and essentially anything, like infrared remotes, small engines, big engines, tools, kitchen appliances, modems, camera flash, and they all get picked up by the radio, and you’re able to affect pitch and tone in heaps of different ways! 

What’s ‘Dogs’ about?

LUCINDA: Sex, thugs and working conditions. They don’t really go together thematically but oh well. 

WESLEY: I think they fit.

Jo Shrimpton shot the video. Where did you shoot the film clip? What do you remember from the shoot? Do you ever feel awkward making a video? 

LUCINDA: We shot it beneath the Tasman Bridge in nipaluna. We had all these plans about using car headlights to light us up but we didn’t need them because it’s so brightly lit under there. My main memory was freezing my tits off. I do feel generally awkward when shooting but that particular night was quite a lol and it was actually really nice to have this big space to run around in, and to be wearing an outfit I really liked and also to know that I wasn’t alone coz the rest of the band was there looking hot. 

AMBER: Once you’re in a location that speaks for itself, it’s easier to feel like you’re more of a piece of set decoration and you can let go of some of the ego or insecurities attached to being filmed. You’re just one piece of a larger picture.

The album art is by Laura Gillam is cool; how did you connect for the cover? What’s the story behind it? 

CLAIREY: Huge shout out to Laura for painting a smiling turd on the front cover! A past housemate had one of Laura’s paintings – another fallen patriarch, this time a cowboy being pulled off his bucking horse by a thylacine. Personally, I felt an affinity with Laura’s work because it’s a bit silly, highly political and has a strong look. It was a pretty simple process – we all knew Laura, she and Wes both had studios at Good Grief. I hit her up and she approached us with the idea of doing a fallen Colonial red coat with his horse pissing on his stuff (that’s on the back). I like that she included a pineapple with his stuff – we’ve used pineapples a couple of other times in our art. 

Album art by Laura Gillam.

Is there anything else any of you are working on at the moment you’d like to share with us?

CLAIREY: Amber and Wes have a little band performing at the upcoming nipaluna/Hobart Little Bands #8. Amber is also still performing as Slumber and Dolphin. Lucy has been working on a solo project which is sick. I’m downstroking bass till by hand falls off in RABBIT – we just finished an album. We’re all always working day jobs.. Except for Amber who recently quit hers to study carpentry. 

Directed by Jo Shrimpton (Flare Production).

 Slag Queens’ Favours will be out mid-August on Rough Skies Records. Follow @slagqueens and @roughskies

Lo-fi Post-punk Band Maraudeur: “We’re all in need of connection”

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

Maraudeur’s sophomore album Puissance 4 is highly spirited, paper-thin post-punk, filled with unexpected moments and dizzying highs, stoking curiosity in the listener. There’s a freshness, joy and sense of freedom on the record, that rightly earned Marauder mentions on many underground music Best Of 2021 lists. 2022 sees Puissance‘s release on one of our favourite US labels, Feel It Records. 

In signature Gimmie-style, we interviewed Maraudeur because we love their music, wanted to know more about it and its creators, but couldn’t’ find anything out there about them. 

Maraudeur is based in Leipzig, Germany but everyone lives in different areas; can you tell us a little bit about where you live?

CAMILLE: I live in Lyon, which I would say is an interesting city regarding shows. Also, there are plenty of active and creative bands! I moved here 14 years ago because I was interested in music, and many of the bands I wanted to see were touring there. It’s also quite a pretty city, with two rivers crossing, hills… I like walking around and I’m not bored yet, so I stay here! 

LISE: I live in Leipzig, it’s green, but also grey. There are a lot of lakes; really nice in the summer!

CHARLOTTE: I live in Geneva. It’s a pretty rich city, and there are rich neighbourhoods that look awful, but there’s also a cool scene of struggling artists and nice cheap places to hang out to. It’s a small city, so everybody knows each other and solidarity is present. So even if you’re poor, you’ll get by.

What’s life been like lately for you?

LISE: Trying to re_create new assertments, which were destabilized throughout the pandemy. Héhé, a real casse-tête.

CAMILLE: Mostly working (I’m a social worker), playing shows (with Maraudeur and Litige, my other band) or hanging out at friend’s shows!

How did you first discover music?

LISE: I remember my mum hearing Janis Joplin a lot in the car . . and I hated it. I think I was scared of her voice. It changed since then.

CHARLOTTE:: I remember my mum and I listening to Crash Test Dummies when driving to l’Ardèche in the summer. Especially the “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm” song. That was easy to sing along.

CAMILLE: I remember my mum listening to Roch Voisine (she found him pretty sexy), Joan Baez and Bob Dylan. But, I was more interested in dance music and the boy bands from the 90’s.

Why is music important to you?

CHARLOTTE:: Music ideas come around my head when I’m bored. It’s like if it was my brain’s favourite game to avoid boredom. Although it likes other types of art to play with, melodies are very often the first ones to pop in. So, to answer the question, I’d say music is important to me because it’s like my playground where I can create anything, set my own rules (or no rules at all) and simply have fun! And that makes me feel free. Free to express, whatever and however I want to, and also free to be myself.

CAMILLE: It helps me to deal with the strangeness of this world and to feel a bit more optimistic ! Also listening to music is a perfect way to keep curiosity alive, wanting to know more about this band, these kinds of weird sounds… It never ends! About playing music, it allowed me to challenge my own limits. And to learn dealing with others.

LISE: Music is the best meditation trick, it can keep you focused for hours, a real relief from the outside !

When did you first pick up an instrument? Who or what inspired you to?

CAMILLE: I  started playing on my brother’s drum kit, that we had at our parent’s basement.

It was just for fun, nothing serious came out of my solo starter practices.

When I moved to Lyon, I used to hang out a lot with the people at this local DIY space called Grrrnd Zero. Many people had rehearsal spaces, where we ended drunk after shows. At one point, a friend asked me to join him and his girlfriend to play music with them, and it was the first time playing drums was becoming something “real” to me. So I would say my friends, my brother inspired me to dare picking up an instrument, in spite of my lack of technical skills or lessons. I never learned anything academic or by taking lessons, and I will probably never do.

How did you meet?

CAMILLE: I met Lise and Charlotte in Brittany at a festival called Binic in 2016, where they were hanging out. I was totally high, and when I saw Lise, I was remembering her from a few months before: in fact, she played a show with Couteau Latex in Lyon. We didn’t really talked there, but we finally ended up talking that summer. I found these two girls really nice, and they pretty much invited me to join them during the weekend. Lise asked me if I wanted to play in Maraudeur but I couldn’t so far. A few months after, she emailed me for a tour in France. Again, I couldn’t be available. But Lise didn’t take it for granted, and asked me again! Then I said YES and joined

Maraudeur. Morgane and me met in Lyon, where she was living before moving to Saint-Etienne.

CHARLOTTE:: Lise and I met a long time ago, when we were teens. We started our first band together with two other guys. Funny thing is that the four of us barely knew each other before starting playing music together. So we basically met in the practice space.

LISE: Charlotte and I met Myriam, who’s playing synth and also singing on the album at a Maraudeur concert in Paris, next thing we know is that she was going on tour with us! It’s always a mind maze to talk about all the band members, cause there’s been a lot. They come, they go, its fluid. Can be sometimes confusing but it also keeps the waves flowing !

We really love your album Puissance 4, it’s so interesting, there is so much happening; what are the things that are important to you in regards to creativity?

CHARLOTTE:: I think I partly answered that question before, but I’ll add a few things. So if I keep going with my music/playground metaphor, let’s say that creativity is actually the whole playground, and music is an area of it. And in this area, there are many mini-areas, which each contains many mini-mini-areas, etc. etc. And that’s where keeping the metaphor gets tricky because it’s even more fun to try to play in different areas at the same time, haha! My point being that there’s so much to discover and experiment, all it takes is to be curious and to dare to try out stuff. And as this is all about fun, then it’s even more fun when there are friends around! More people means more ideas and more ways to look at things. It also means compromises, but it’s worth it. Compromises can also be a way to mix up things even more and generate more interesting stuff. So, to summarise, I’d say that diversity of ideas, experimentation, collaboration, curiosity and courage are the keys to be creative and inspired for me.

What’s the story behind the title? (I’d never heard of the word before and looked it up because I’m a nerd and love finding new words, and found it means “great power, influence, or prowess”).

LISE: Héhé. Actually it’s the name of a game. Puissance is also a mathematical term, it means “to the fourth”. We used it as a small clin d’oeil to the fact that it’s the first time that we recorded all together, as if it made it then possible to multiply our capacity to create something. But puissance does mean power, yes. Greater scale power.

What kinds of songs do you enjoy writing the most?

CHARLOTTE: I have no preference actually. I like writing any songs. Diversity is nice, otherwise I get bored.

LISE: Short & dirty.

CAMILLE: A song I can’t play, like ‘I’m Here’

Is there anything that you find challenging about songwriting?

CHARLOTTE: Lyrics! Lyrics are hard… And remembering everything. Structures, riffs, lyrics, pfiouuu… I’m sure songwriting is a good memory exercise for the brain! And on a darker note, songwriting can be scary sometimes. Starting a song can make me feel unsafe and stressed. But I rarely feel this way in bands though. The other’s input keeps me inspired, and the group dynamic works like an anchor into the real world and prevents me from drifting on Anxiety Sea.

CAMILLE: To adapt myself to the weird structures of Maraudeur ! 

Where have you found inspiration for a recent song you have written?

LISE: I’d like to talk about a song that we’ve been working on ‘La Jaguar.’ We were having a residency in Geneva and we would always eat in the parking lot, because that’s where the sun was. We laughed about the fact that we were stealing the spot of expensive cars (there’s a lot in Geneva).

CHARLOTTE:: … A parking spot by the river and where the sun always shines! We imagined that some rich person actually bought this spot for the view and the sun exposure, haha!

CAMILLE: There is a song that we refer to as “the Eddy Current” one, which is totally not similar to the great Eddy Current Suppression Ring, but it’s funny we were understanding each other while calling it like that. And we love this band.

CHARLOTTE: It’s true now the result is very different, but originally it was because of the guitar riff that sounded a bit like them. Personally, I still hear it, and I enjoy that.

How long did it take to write Puissance 4; do you write collaboratively?

LISE: We were one month in Leipzig; to write, practice, go on tour for a week and even mix the album. It was obviously way too much of a plan but it worked. We did re-mixed some vocals a bit later though. There was already four songs that were already written/partly recorded, but the rest we did all together.

CAMILLE: I’ve never spent so much time in such a short duration in a rehearsal space. Sometimes it was intense.  But it was a cool experience ! 

What’s your favourite song on the album? What do you love about it? What’s it about?

LISE: I would talk about the sound of the album. We were really restrained in terms of mixing and that’s what makes it special… to me. I think the fact that we mixed all together gave the album an envelope, even though some songs sound really different; you can hear there are two different snare, for example.  

What is one of your fondest memories from recording the album?

CAMILLE: Eating every day in 15 days at least the same croque monsieur! 

CHARLOTTE: Recording live on tape, aiming for the perfect one-shot that never happens, but ending up liking the flaws. And then, mixing on a super nice big boy of a mixer, turning knobs live, it was like a multiple hands choreography! And, knowing there won’t be no turning back. We didn’t own a multiple track interface at that time, so we were bouncing the songs stereo, and yep, that was it.

We love the Puissance 4 cover drawings. You screen-printed it yourself, right? I understand many artists contributed; what was the idea behind having many artists draw something? How do you think it reflects the album’s music or themes?

LISE: My theory would be that we like to involve our personal vicinity into our work. I like the idea to somehow pay tribute to it. It would be kind of a disillusion to believe that this album just came out of only our minds; there are people around, smells, buildings, atmospheres, dirty punk caves,  there’s places we like go to whether it’s in Leipzig, Lyon, Genève, Saint Etienne, Burgundy. It felt like a good way to bridge this environment to what we do. We’re all in need of connection.

CAMILLE: I totally agree with Lise! 

What’s next for Maraudeur?

MARAUDEUR: An Italian tour in November. Rehearse in the summer. Welcome a new member in the crew! And, record a new album at the end of the year if everything works out! Thanks for the interview!!! 

GET Puissance 4 via Feel It Records (US). MARAUDEUR Bandcamp. In Australian find it via Tenth Court Records and Repressed Records. Follow @maraudeur_zeband and Maraudeur on Facebook.

Post-emo outfit Propaine: “When you start a band and put your art into the world you’re always full of self-doubt”

Original photo @meandmimicry. Handmade collage by B.

We first came across Propaine when we were in Naarm/Melbourne earlier this year, we had gone to check out Gut Health play at The Retreat, on recommendation from Bryce from Laughing Gear, and Propaine were the opener. We appreciated their rousing post-emo sound that’s coloured by a dreamy combination of post-punk and indie rock. 

Today Gimmie are giving you a sneak peek of their debut EP The First Part.

Tell us a little bit about each of you? What might people be surprised to know about you?

PROPAINE: Our four-piece ensemble consists of Jack (TK), Jack (Poggo), Angus and Mia. Mia and Poggo worked together slinging beers at the Gasometer Hotel and TK and Angus met in the dusty warehouse of a local wine store. Sharing music with each other was a big part of all our friendships before we ever thought of making songs together. When we’re not huddled up in the shed making songs, Mia manages a bar and occasionally TikToks, Angus saves the world, and the two Jack’s do Jack things. 

How did you first discover music? Why are you drawn to making your own?

P: All of us grew up in the golden age of pop punk in the early 0000’s listening to My Chemical Romance and trying to be cool. It feels like that era of music and pop culture in general is having a bit of a renaissance, which is nice to see because it brings up a lot of memories of how music slapped as a 10-year-old. In a way, we are drawing on that period, but also the period that came before it, especially the 90’s hardcore scene. We really wanted to take bits and pieces of some really great guitar sounds from the 90s punk subcultures. 

What’s Propaine’s origin story?

P: The two Jack’s used to live with one another and had been making music together on and off for a few years. Like all good origin stories, a breakup happened and some music therapy was needed. A new direction of making cathartic, romantic, emo music ensued and the two Jack’s wrote a couple of songs. We knew straight away that there was only one person who was romantic and emo enough to send the songs to and it was Angus. Angus loved the tracks and agreed to smack the toms. The three of us played around for a bit but something was missing. The songs needed an injection of life from a powerful storyteller. We already knew Mia could sing, she’d done some backing vocals on another project. So, we invited her to join, and we all immediately felt that we were all going to work really well together. 

We’re premiering your debut EP The First Part; how long did it take it write? What’s your process?

P: The EP took a couple of months to write. The process for the songs that made it on to the EP usually start with TK, our guitarist, making little scratch demos and sending it to everyone. Angus, Poggo and TK then refine it and fill out the drums and bass whilst Mia sits on floor scribbling down lines and ideas for lyrics. The songs usually take form fairly quickly. 

Photo by Jhonny Russell.

What is your EP all about? Please give us an insight into each song on The First Part:

P: With the instrumentation side of things, when we first needed to describe our music to other people, we came up with the description of the music being romantically emo. Romantic doesn’t necessarily relate to the idea of love. But the heavy burden of the romantic feeling. Romance involves deep stress and confusion, as well as intense euphoria and viscous fluctuations between feeling joyous and feeling hopeless. We wanted to make music that captures the timeless, weightless effect of going through these romantic feelings. 

MIA: Lyrically, the EP is a combination of love, addiction, relationships, confusion, maturing and trauma. I like to think of this EP as relating to people who feel as though they are lost or hurting. 

‘Rotting’ was something I wrote as more of a poem which is how a lot of my writing begins. I was in I guess my “party phase” at the time doing lots of things I shouldn’t have been. Exploring avenues and dabbling in drugs whilst looking somewhat presentable on the surface- all the while rotting where I stand. 

‘idkwiw’ I feel is the anthem for 20-somethings who just have no idea what it is in life that they want! Questions with no answers, feeling lost and unsure. Why universe why?! Kinda like a why was I born lol vibe.

‘Shin Splints’ is similar to ‘idkwiw’. Just a general feeling of hopelessness when you can’t get out of bed or shake a depressive routine. 

‘Cut My Hair’ is my silly little love song, for someone who helped me through a really rough patch in my life. Who loved me and embraced me but still acknowledged that I was a little broken and that that’s okay.

‘Devoured’ is a song I wrote about the anxiety I feel as a woman in everyday life. The constant uneasy feeling you have even when doing everyday tasks. The line “undressing me mentally, sure feels like a felony” isn’t the most poetic, but I think it really paints a picture of how horrible even a glance can make someone feel. 

What aspect did you like the most about recording the EP?

P: The best part was finally hearing the songs not in a live context. The way that a song sounds when it’s recorded versus playing it live is so stark that it’s always a real treat to hear the ‘hi-fi’ version of what you wrote for the first time. We had an amazing audio engineer working with us- Julian Cue- who has loads of experience, so he was able to really bring out the most of what is essentially one guitar, one vocal, a bass and drums. 

What was the trickiest part of recording?

P: The flipside of hearing the ‘hi-fi’ version of your songs is feeling incredibly self-conscious about your parts and trying to resist the urge to change things all the time. The music we all listen to and currently connect with has a big influence on the music we make, so trying to stay true to our initial inspiration and not just change it because we suddenly loved the new Drake album is a tricky one.

Album art by Chloe Shao.

We love the EP artwork; who did it? How do you feel it complements the EP’s songs?

P: The EP artwork was done by Chloe Shao – a digital artist from Naarm/Melbourne. Choosing the artwork for the songs was almost harder than making the songs themselves. But one day, we walked into the home of some good friends of ours and Chloe’s work was up on their wall. When we asked who it was and checked out her stuff online, we knew we had found the one. Chloe had mentioned that she created the final piece we went with when she was struggling with alcohol, feeling rotten inside. Chloe’s inspiration and process mirrored Mia’s lyrical experience, capturing the turmoil of alcohol dependency and the mental havoc of her recently having quit drinking. 

How do you hope people feel when they listen to The First Part?

P: There wasn’t a particular feeling or cultural zeitgeist we were tapping into when making The First Part. Our aim really was to make powerfully emotive songs accessible for people who don’t listen to much emo/ punk, but also putting in enough there for the nerds. We hope the collection of songs can be played driving home when you’re feeling fresh or when you’re strolling the murky foggy streets of deep winter Naarm/Melbourne.  

What’s the best and worst shows you’ve played so far? What made them so?

P: We’re looking forward to playing our worst show. 

Our best one was probably our debut show at the Old Bar with Metdog and Spunk. When you start a band and put your art into the world you’re always full of self-doubt so it was amazing to play a sold out show with a couple of incredible local bands. We also have a played a few house parties and they are always great.

What’s your favourite way to wind down after a show?

P: Pint of diet coke, no ice. 

What’s the last song that you heard that was really, really amazing, that you think we should check out?

JACK: Garage Sale – ‘Shoes On’. 

ANGUS: Duster ‘Retrograde’.

MIA: Eat Your Makeup ‘Holy Bats’. 

JACK: Nuvolascura ‘Death As A Crown’

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

PROPAINE: Yeah! We’re launching the EP this Saturday the 2nd of July at the Old Bar. We also have a track coming out on compilation album for a new Melbourne label called sore horse, which we’re super excited about. And currently busy in the works making the next ep, so if you don’t like this one then we’ll hit you with another one till you do. 

Propaine’s EP The First Part EP out June 2 – find it HERE. Follow @propaine. Watch our live vid of Propane’s ‘idkwiw’ HERE.

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)