Original photo: Pierre Baroni / Handmade mixed-media collage by B.
Naarm/Melbourne-based band Imperial Leather deliver punk heat with big emotions, sharp edges, and new wave sass on their self-titled 7” that’s out today on Rack Off Records! Gimmie got an insight into the EP and the creatives behind it – Annaliese Redlich, Emma Peel, Ginger Light and Alice Edgeley.
We understand that Imperial Leather started after a dream and wanting an excuse to spend more time together; what was the dream? What brought you together and what did you initially bond over?
ANNALIESE (guitar, vox): I literally had a dream about Emma when I first met her properly playing footy that we were going to do some cool shit together!
GINGER (bass): To have fun & laugh.
I first met Emma at a Soul A Go Go in 2010. We bonded over her 60s style, music & her incredible thigh high Italian boots. I met Annaliese as a client of mine in 2013. We bonded over music also & got to know each other after dancing at a Slow Grind a fever night. She started dating my boyfriend’s friend. We all went to many gigs together. I met Alice in 2016 when I opened up my salon Ginger Hair in Collingwood. She made an appointment and said she wanted red hair like a Scottish person. I thought that was cool. I’d seen Alice around town with her husband William & their gorgeous dog Rupert. We bonded over small dogs & fashion. Alice has a clothing boutique Edgeley & makes the most beautiful outfits I’ve ever worn. Thanks Alice!
ALICE (drums): Annaliese was putting on a night and asked me if I wanted to come dressed as Poison Ivy. So a mutual love of The Cramps!
How did you first discover music?
GINGER: I discovered music on the radio. Mum use to listen to Gold 104.3 in the car. We use to do lots of long drives. They played 60’s & 70’s music.
EMMA (keys): The classic mum and dad’s record collection. Dad, in particular, had cool stuff like Electric Prunes and other garage artists from the 60s.
ANNALIESE: I’ve never had a time in my life where music wasn’t everything. My Dad really into classical, Mum really into 60s girl groups and The Stones. As a teenager that classical pressure got me into the immediacy of punk.
ALICE: the first record I remember wanting to put on was Bob Marley and the Wailers.That was when I was reeeeally young. I’ve aways been quite obsessed with music. I had a yellow Sony portable tape player and I used to take it around with me and play cassettes over and over until they shredded.
Who or what inspired you to start playing music yourself?
EMMA: Ok, this is really ridiculous, but when I was a tween I was really into…Glenn Miller (LOL – i know) and used to imagine myself playing trombone in a big band. Instead my mother enrolled me in piano lessons….
ANNALIESE: I could never imagine not playing, but for so long it was in my bedroom and just trying to get out stuff that was eating away at me. I grew up with the whole “10,000 hours of practice” mantra and so I kept it to myself. That’s definitely why I found punk so liberating when I discovered it, cause the idea you had to be a musical “genius” to play in front of others just always felt so wrong to me. Plus there’s as much beauty in mistakes, as there is cold and boring clinicism in “perfection”.
GINGER: The Leathers inspired me to start.
When did you start?
ALICE: 2019 at the age of 39 I started learning the drums so that I could be in the band. I had to message them all then to say “Hi I’ve started lessons. Are we going to get together and jam?”
EMMA: 1986, baby!
ANNALIESE: At age 10 with an acoustic guitar in my bedroom, first tunes were Nirvana and Deep Purple lol!
Is there an album or band that has had a big impact on you and what do you appreciate about it/them?
GINGER: So many bands & genres. The Beatles are probably my fave. I love the diversity over their 10 years together. The Beatles always make me happy when I listen to them.
Emma: I have musical epiphanies on the regular, so I can’t narrow it down.
ANNALIESE: Quite literally impossible to answer but Tina Turner, Ronnie Spector and other 60s girl group vibes was my earliest obsession at 6 years old. Discovering Bad Brains and Bikini Kill when I was 12 made me wanna play music. Dean Blunt’s Black Metal and Mike Rep and Tommy Jay marked a landscape of music I’d been previously unable to articulate and it felt so liberating to hear it actualised. Bona Dish, Carambolage, Delta 5 were part of the stomach bacteria that formed my vibes for Imperial Leather. Just to name a few out of the 1000s of key moments for me!
ALICE: I love the Cure, Three Imaginary Boys. Also Kate Bush blew my mind when i heard her on the radio late one night.
We’d love to know more about each of the tracks on your new self-titled EP we’re premiering. What sparked the writing of ‘Heavy Breathing’?
GINGER: We jammed Heavy Breathing at Bakehouse one day. I really like it it ‘cause it was simple & fun. Annaliese always makes it fun, she changes the lyrics & makes me laugh. It’s a hot song.
How did ‘Lewis Lee’ come together?
ANNALIESE: I record demos on my phone and for a period of time everything was getting auto labeled as “Lewis Lee Associates”. At the time I was going through a particularly bad break up and at that point where you wonder if you ever really knew that person you were so intimate with at all. The lyrics of that song are all about the physical and digital objects in our lives that are evidence of our existence and relationships; the pixels that form a message on a phone, sheets of paper etc. And so it’s a break up song to a person I never knew and it felt apt to call him Lewis Lee.
GINGER: ‘Lewis Lee’ came together from Annaliese’s wifi connection at her home. Cool song.
EP artwork courtesy of Rack Off Records.
What inspired ‘Smile Now, Cry Later’? Can you share with us a time where you’ve experienced this?
ANNALIESE: Again with the break ups! I kinda mostly feel motivated to write in these headspaces, or about sex or anger, all strong experiences. I’m trying to work on love songs but I find these tricky.
‘Smile Now, Cry Later’ is wondering if what you went through with someone close ever really meant anything at all when it’s all said and done. Asking what the point of all the good times are when they’re only gonna end in tears. Also doing the dirty on yourself by grinning and bearing it, when you really should just get the hell outta there!
GINGER: This one’s Annaliese. It’s fun to play i really like it.
What’s the story behind ‘Creep Stain’?
EMMA: Band practice is always a very cathartic time whereby we all bring our gripes and grievances and have a big old whinge just to get it out of our systems. Quite often we talk about creeps that lurk around our lives. Mostly ex lovers and insincere people. I was so cross one night that I channelled my rage into the riff and then i took it to the band and we worked it up into a song together.
ANNALIESE: A definite catharsis! A rack off rant dedicated to all the vampires!
GINGER: Hahaha, Emma came up with the riff on this number. Annaliese threw in the words, most of what we all use in our daily vocabulary.
What aspect did you enjoy most creating your EP?
GINGER: I actually really enjoyed the recording. I was nervous of course. But Billy Gardener was a dream, so kind and cool.
EMMA: The last few years of lockdowns stopped us from rehearsing and recording, so to finally be in the same room together doing this thing was incredibly joyful.
ANNALIESE: Recording with Billy Gardner and the process of mixing with Dave Forcier was so great! But just having it out feels really satisfying after the past few years of fuckery tbh. Also working with the Rack Off Records women has been amazing, their enthusiasm and support of what we do is unreal!
We understand that members of the IL are DJs; what’s your go to song for instant happiness?
GINGER: At our first gig supporting Davey Lane at The Espy in December 2020. We were all a little nervous I think. Well I certainly was. I can’t remember if it was Emma or Annaliese but they played Peter Gabriel’s ‘Sledgehammer.’ It was hilarious, we all danced around & shook the nerves loose.
EMMA: Anything by Jorge Ben.
ANNALIESE: Such a hard question to answer. Everything from Adolescents – ‘Kids Of The Blackhole’, Satan’s Rats – ‘Louise’, GG King – ‘Remain Intact’, Thin Lizzy – ‘Wild One’, Rockin Ramrods – ‘Bright Lit Blue Skies’. BUT If I were a pro wrestler, my entry song would be Triplett Twins – ‘Pretty Please’. It’s such an amp up!
ALICE: Kid Creole and the Coconuts- ‘Lifeboat Party’ or ‘Marcia Baile’ by Les Rita Mitsouko.
Earlier in the year you supported Shannon & The Clams; what do you remember most from that show?
ANNALIESE: That was such a rad night. I’d met Shannon several times before interviewing her on my radio show, she is a gorgeous person, so it was amazing to be asked to support them. I was also DJing that night so was mostly running around all night. Shannon is one of the great voices of the last decade imo, and the whole band are extraordinary musicians and people. It was such an honour to be on a line up with them!
GINGER: I remember the sound check thinking…. Wow Shannon’s voice is phenomenal. I love her bass, singing & big hair.
What would be your dream collaboration?
GINGER: I would love if The Leathers could do a video with Nick McKinlay or Izzie Austin.
EMMA: I’d love to collab with Our Carlson.
ANNALIESE: We do a cover of Bona Dish’s track 8am. When we put it up online Steven Chandler of the band wrote to us to say how much he dug it, so that would be pretty amazing! Or I know I’m speaking for Alice our drummer too when I say a clothing collab with Seth Bogart Wacky Wacko, or the incredible Wha-Wha and Kaylene would be a DREAM.
ALICE: A collab with Koffee would be ace.
What do you get up to when not making music?
GINGER: Cutting hair, making people look beautiful & hopefully getting some rest in.
EMMA: Doing a weekly radio show, DJing, running a music festival, parenting and wondering why I’m bloody tired all the time.
ANNALIESE: I’m a full time podcast producer and also do a weekly Saturday music show on 3RRR Fm called Neon Sunset. I’m also always DJing and noodling around with music stuff, and like Emma wondering why I have over committed to everything!
ALICE: I’m a fashion and costume designer and I have a shop so I’m either chained to the sewing machine or computer or doing some shop stuff. We use the shop to rehearse in which is useful.
Original photo courtesy of Sooks. Handmade collage by B.
Sooks are a punk band from Boorloo/Perth, Western Australia via Brazil, that we discovered this year when they released debut songs ‘The Bends’ and ‘Bushfire’. The members also play in other bands, Asbestos Face, Lounge Tourist and Wound Honey. Their DEMO 22 cassette rules! Check them out, they may become one of your new favourite bands. Gimmie caught up with the four-piece for a chat.
What makes Sooks, Boorloo via Brasil? What are the music communities like in both places?
KYLE [guitars & composition]: Our beautiful drummer Rudah is originally from Sao Paulo.
RUDAH [drums]: It is impossible to answer this question without talking about politics, which would make this answer too long, but basically there are a lot of similar things between the punk/hardcore scene in Perth and in São Paulo (where I came from). At the same time, I think in Australia people play punk music because they like it, other bands play punk to express their feelings and to protest for improvements in people’s lives, while in Brazil we make punk music as way to fight for our basic rights that are not respected or they were stolen from us and to protest against corruption and political decisions that affect everyone. A hypothetical situation, Australia is worried about fixing the roof of the house, in Brazil we don’t even have the land to build our house yet.
Like Australia, Brazil was invaded, colonized, indigenous peoples were enslaved and many people brought from different parts of Africa were used as slaves. There was no historic repair. There is no regret or intention to fix this dirty past. Femicide is something that shames us too. Brazil is the seventh country that kills most women in the world. Since President Bolsonaro (alt-right) took office four years ago, Brazil has returned to the world hunger map and the number of people living in extreme poverty has increased too much. Punk in Brazil fights against all this. Nowadays, unfortunately, Brazil is a country that flirts with fascism. That’s the main enemy, but I hope this is going to change in the future.
About music, I reckon in Perth there are many places for bands to perform. In Brazil bands are struggling to find a place to play. The media hardly gives space to punk and hardcore bands. They always prefer other musical genres that are more traditional in Brazilian culture, so that’s one thing hard to explain and people in Australia will never understand it… and honestly, they don’t need to understand that, but many friends have asked me about politics, culture, punk scene and why I decided to move to Australia. Anyway, I love my friends and my bands (Sooks, Nervous and Asbestos Fence).
ANGE [words, vocals & guitars]: We love having Rudah in the band, he’s so passionate about social justice in both Australia and Brasil – thanks for your answer Rudah we love you.
Boorloo is the Noongar (Indigenous) name for Perth where we live and make music. We want to highlight that sovereignty of this land has never been ceded and First Nation peoples are custodians of the longest continuing culture in the world, which is why we use this traditional name. Rudah has put it eloquently, we are a lucky country here in Australia but we have a ways to go, especially in our journey to reconciliation. My hope for the immediate future is that we finally establish a treaty and begin, genuinely, to decolonise.
Sooks had their first jam in January 2022; what do you remember about it?
KYLE: Ahh well, I remember booking the first rehearsal before I even had any fully formed songs ha-ha! It gave me a deadline to consolidate my ideas such that I had something to pitch to the “band”, so we weren’t just staring at each other in the room. From memory I wrote the first 4 tracks in less than a week.
ANGE: I remember having a lot of fun with wonderful humans and having a sore throat the next day – that jam was the first time I’ve ever tried yell-y vocals! I am an average singer so learning how far I could push my voice was a challenging and fun experience.
MORGIN [bass and vocals]: I remember being very nervous and worried that I wouldn’t be able to play fast punk riffs with a pick (I’d always gotten frustrated using a pick in the past and given up), but I was super excited to start a new music project with my close friends. I couldn’t wait to see what Ange was going to come up with lyrically and how she was going to sound as a punk vocalist (I had high expectations and she only exceeded them)
RUDAH: That summer, Kyle and Angie invited me to start a new project. They said it was just to record some songs and release them online. I think things started to happen in such a natural way that we kept rehearsing and playing in gigs. It’s really good when the energy is good. Kyle, Angie and Morgin are amazing people.
You were set to play your first show a few months later in April with Sweat, but one of you got Covid; what was your first show like when you finally got to play it?
ANGE: This was a bummer to miss but I guess the reality of playing shows right now. We were lucky enough to be approached by Sweat again in June and played their EP launch at The Bird (a bit of a live music institution) which was a blast!
KYLE: Yeah and we actually go an opportunity to fill in for our sister band Nervous for a hardcore show at North Perth Bowlo in May. That ended up being our first show and it was good to get the ball rolling. I remember there being lots of crossed arms and blank looks across the room. There’s footage on Youtube of Ange trying to jump around and make up for the lack of crowd movement.
MORGIN: On the drive to the North Perth Bowlo gig I just remember feeling like I was going to vomit. I had only memorised my bass lines the week prior so was veeeeery worried I would make lots of mistakes (which I kind of did haha)
RUDAH: I remember that night it was really hot and there was a sink and a fridge behind the drums. I was literally playing drums in a kitchen. It was a special night. I really like playing gigs that don’t have a stage. I don’t like big stages. I think this goes against the essence of punk.
All live photos by Tom Tufnell.
Members are in other bands and/or have been in many bands previously, can you tell us a little about them and of how Sooks came together? Why did you start making music together?
KYLE: Rudah and myself have played in Asbestos Fence for a number of years now. I responded to an ad online of his and we bonded over a mutual appreciation of Fugazi. Half of Asbestos Fence are in Nervous . Morgin and I have been friends for ages, and she plays bass in Lounge Tourist, an excellent local post-punk outfit . Ange plays solo and also in Wound Honey and I figured her lyrics would work wonderfully in a punk setting. Oh, and she’s my partner. I guess I cherry picked the members for the band and wrote songs knowing what everyone would appreciate and enjoy playing as a unit.
How did you discover music? Is there an album or band that had a really big impact on you? What do you appreciate about it?
KYLE: Great question! I had to think about this – hearing Eddy Current definitely spurred the ‘aha moment’ when I realised I could potentially write songs and be a member of a band. My introduction to the world of this kind of music was through the discovery of post punk, listening to bands like Wipers, Gang of Four, This Heat (to name a few) for the first time and then going down the rabbit hole.
These days I discover most of my music through Bandcamp – trying to listen to everything that comes out on labels like Iron Lung, Static Shock, La Vida Es Un Mus etc.
ANGE: Seminal albums for me would be Bjork’s entire body of work, In Rainbows by Radiohead. More recently, releases from Perfume Genius, Wet Leg, Mitski, Angel Olsen, The Beths, Big Thief & Parquet Courts
MORGIN: I owe all of my music knowledge and ability to my Father. He was the bass player of a cover band throughout my younger years, so I have memories of attending rehearsals/ watching gigs and even getting on stage as a ~10 year old and singing with them. My childhood was filled with the music of The Beatles, Prefab Sprout, James Taylor, Prince and loads more. My Dad continues to be my biggest musical inspiration and the reason I play music. I actually used his vintage Harmony bass guitar when I first started playing shows and didn’t have my own.
RUDAH: Music has always been part of my life. My grandfather worked at the first vinyl factory in Brazil (Odeon). He used to make that label that goes in the middle of the vinyl. Sometimes he made a mistake on purpose and took the vinyl home. My mother told me that instead of taking toys to school, I took vinyl.
Musically speaking, I grew up listening to a lot of Brazilian music (MPB, Bossa Nova and Brazilian rock bands from the 80’s) and was also introduced to many bands by my father, cousins and friends. I remember my dad introduced me to Nirvana in 90/91. My cousin showed me the Ramones around the same time, right when Brain Drain came out (the last record with Dee Dee playing bass). Afterwards, I started looking for more bands, but at that time it was very difficult. In Brazil we exchanged letters with fanzines and made compilations on tapes. Skate videos were really important for us to find out new bands too. It is worth mentioning the importance of MTV in the 90s. This happened in a pre-CD era. Sorry, I’m feeling like the old lady from the Titanic movie lol
We’ve heard you describe your music as “big, dumb, punk”; what influenced this sound?
KYLE: Ah yes, this meme! I don’t know how it started but I struggle to describe our sound beyond an amalgam of a bunch of very simple first-wave sounding stuff. We generally use tried and true progressions leaning on a bunch of tropes that make our songs familiar-sounding, but I can’t think of any one specifically?
ANGE: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! That being said, I am no punk expert and I think in some ways my distance from a lot of punk music can be a boon. I am always trying to come up with unique phrasings or so-dumb-its-smart wordplay to keep it interesting. Not to say that all punk is dumb! I just put thought into trying to have a different vocal style or delivery in every song to keep things fresh.
RUDAH: There’s a Brazilian punk band from 80’s called Os Replicantes that used to say: be punk, but don’t be dumb. There are several ways to interpret this.
Artwork by Francesco Goats
We love your Demo that came out in August this year; what can you tell us about writing this collection of songs? What does Sooks’ creative process involve?
KYLE: I generally have a half-cooked idea then we workshop it as a band. Lyrics are usually written on the spot by Ange, and we have a new song by the end of the rehearsal. Occasionally, I’ll go home with my tail between my legs and work something out before reconvening and trying it again.
ANGE: There’s always giggling from Morgo and I as we watch Kyle try to explain to Rudy what he wants from the drum sound (with Rudah doing his bombastic Brazilian style anyway). The whole band end up teasing Kyle a bit for cracking the whip and being our ‘chefe’ (boss)
RUDAH: My mission is to play drums in time and put all my energy into the songs. I show them some ideas and beat variations, but basically Kyle and Angie already have some ideas to show me. It makes my job easier.
What’s your personal favourite track on your debut release? What’s it about?
KYLE: ‘The Bends’ – it feels the most visceral and I love Ange’s vocals. It’s about toxic relationships coming to an end.
ANGE: ‘Idiom/Idiot’ – Short, fast, loud. I challenged myself to write a nonsense song entirely made up of idioms but it ended up being a statement on the complexity of the English language and how we tie ourselves in verbal knots trying to communicate a simple point.
MORGIN: ‘U.D’ – it goes hard from start to finish and Ange kills it with all the vocal gymnastics. It also has a powerful message about all the bullshit in the world (‘Bushfire’ is my favourite to play live – love the doom groove)
RUDAH: NFT. I don’t know what it is about because I can’t hear anything while I’m playing drums (sorry, bad dad joke).
Demo was straight to tape recorded live by Will Hooper at Stable Sounds; why did you chose to do it this way?
KYLE: I guess I’m responsible for spearheading this ha-ha. I am a big fan of all the releases he’s been involved with, and the fact he prioritises getting a true live sound. I believe the tape hiss and snarl helps but I’m no expert. From my limited experience lots of other producer types don’t work this way. There’s a certain energy in his work and I’m hoping that was captured in our demo.
ANGE: I love recording live but this was my first time recording to tape. I really enjoyed working with Will, it felt pretty effortless and we managed to smash it all out in the space of a weekend. The scariest part of the whole thing was trying to figure out if I could do a better vocal take each time! If you re-take the vocals, you lose the previous take. The immediacy of being pressured into making those choices was kind of cool though and forces you to leave your perfectionism at the door.
RUDAH: I had already recorded on tape in this analog system in Brazil a long time ago (98/99). I particularly like this format. Will is an amazing guy. It was a pretty cool experience. We had a lot of fun that day.
What are some great bands local to your area that we should know about?
KYLE: The local music scene here is shockingly good. As far as punk is concerned everyone needs to hear (in no particular order) No Future, Krimi, Helta Skelta, Ghoulies, Bikini Cops, Semtex 87, Paranoias, Aborted Tortoise, Cold Meat, Gaffer, Total Defeat, MSOL, Nervous – Basically everything that comes out on Helta Skelta & Televised Suicide Records.
RUDAH: Whenever I have free time, I go to gigs to meet new bands. I’ve seen a lot of bands since I came to Perth. I really like all the bands that Kyle and Angie mentioned, besides them it’s also worth mentioning the bands from Another Rat Records and the Black Diamond Lake band.
What do you do when not making music?
ANGE & MORGIN: Collaging and drinking zooper dooper-based cocktails
RUDAH: Running, crossfit, playing soccer and FIFA on my PS.
What’s something really important to Sooks?
ANGE: Social justice & work-life balance.
RUDAH: Making music without forgetting our roots.
KYLE: Having an excuse to cancel plans.
What’s next for Sooks?
SOOKS: We’re super excited to be playing ALT fest at Badlands Bar on November 12th and will be cooking up new music in the very near future.
Dungeon synth-punks Lassie bring a winning combination of excitement, wit, punchiness, fun and escapism on their latest full-length album BEHOLD. The band are at the tail end of a European tour. Gimmie caught up with them to chat about the album and their record’s launch in a medieval village, playing with the Osees, music they love (including Australian bands we love too – CIVIC, Pinch Points, Gee Tee, R.M.F.C.) and more. We first spoke to Lassie a couple of years ago. They’re one of our favourite German punk bands.
How have you been? What’s been happening in your world lately?
MARI: Oi Bianca! Thanks – been alright, the usual insanity of our quasi-dystopian here and now, I had Covid two times but feel alright generally. We just returned from a festival in the south of France called Montesqiou – it’s a small festival in a medieval village there’s a hill where D’Artagnan’s mother was born. A ideal setting for us. Organized by very nice people and the whole village, old and young are pulling it off together. We saw great shows by Pogy & les Kefars and Powerplant! It was also the first time we toured by train.
KATHI: I am OK. Lots of different projects I started during lockdown were due now, so I’m actually a bit overworked, creatively speaking, but I go on holidays soon.
SHREDDY: It’s Autumn now, which is actually my favorite season, but it’s cold and I wish I could go on holidays too.
TEUN: I’ve been traveling a lot this year: a full-fledged European tour with my other band Lemongrab, the France trip with Lassie as well as visits to many other countries. It’s been exciting but a lot of fucked up stuff happened in the last months so I’m really happy to be back in Berlin for the moment. I just moved to a new place, and I’m excited for new beginnings. Something that includes less traveling and less partying hopefully, and, at risk of sounding like a total twat, a bit more financial security.
FRITZ: Busy busy! Not enough time for what really matters and that often is playing music and coming up with new ideas. Other than that I’m still pulling the strings here and there, setting up DIY shows in Leipzig and releasing tapes of friends via my little tape label Universum Bacteria [ubac].
What’s something you’ve been listening to a lot?
TEUN: Sun Cousto, Quintron & Miss Pussycat, the sounds of my new dishwasher, BBC fucking 4.
SHREDDY: ‘Access’ by RMFC, Dorothy Ashby, Kate Bush, Michele Mercure, Peace De Résistance, Podium, Taqbir, Joy Division, Linda Smith. Also I’ve been really into ‘Caprisongs’ by FKA Twigs lately, she’s such a great artist!
MARI: Exxon – Diesel Tape, Cex Crime, Natoxie & TKD – Applaudissement, Imaginary, Worlds Podcast, Alvilda – Negatif, Nikki and the Corvettes, Pinch points, Powerplant, Crime of Passing, SICK THOUGHT’s new singles , Skin Deep – Football Violence, Famous Mammals, Decoder Ring Podcast, You’re Wrong About podcast, Mark Mothersbough – Midnight Muzak, Violenta & URIN , Alt NYC 88 Soundtrack, The End – People talk, Graveturner, Cuero, Soup Activists and Coins paraléles.
KATHI Random Dungeon Synth (old and new), Phantasia, Plantasia, Peace de Resistance, Poison Ruin, Taqbir, Warthog, NTS radio Feelings playlist, Hex Dispensers, Straw Man Army, Linda Perhacs.
FRITZ: Oog Bogo, Poison Ruin, ATOL ATOL ATOL (my new favorite band from Wrocław/Poland), Bili Rubin (SPAM: just released his new cassette on UBAC), Peace de Résistance, Plastics, Giulio Ersamus, Gee Tee (Rock Phone 7”), Famous Mammals, Duster, Acetone.
In June Lassie released a new album. The name suggests that the listener is about to experience something remarkable or impressive with the album; where did the title come from?
SHREDDY: It’s that phrase sometimes used in medieval-themed and/or fantasy movies.
When there is something about to happen and a knight or a wizard shouts “BEHOOOOLD!”. We used that phrase like a running gag in daily life. I think the title wasn’t necessarily supposed to point out something impressive with the album. We just thought it would be funny to name it like that, because it sounds really epic!
MARI: Well the listener is wrong – just kidding – ya BEHOLD comes from a long running gag between our friends who like us love to talk nonsense in medieval english or german or what we think that might sound like. (I am pointing the mace at you governor and leader of the water people Warberg!). Some of us also have a soft spot for sci fi and fantasy, especially pen and paper RPGs and magic so there is def. a connection.
TEUN: Some of us, that is to say you haha.
Again, we love Shreddy’s artwork! What can you tell us about it?
SHREDDY: Thank you so much!! It’s the first time I did the artwork for a LP and I was very happy to do it. The font from the cover is the same one that has been used for ‘Bat Out of Hell’ by Meat Loaf.
MARI: I can tell you that I do also love it to death and that she is always way too shy about it. So I am gonna do a lil advertising for her newest strike of genius ( don’t know if you can use this German expression in English lol) A zine called PATCHES (semi-autobio) and generally about how FLINTAS feel on and off stage in this band, scene and I guess in general – correct me if I am wrong. There is also a soundtrack and spoken dialogues by Kathi that complete this piece.
KATHI: Yeah, that was a really cool and intense project! and Shreddy’s drawings are supercool as always. For the cover its the same, all the tiny details are just perfetto
What were the best and worst bits of making the LP?
SHREDDY: Covid started when we wrote the first songs for the album. I think that’s why the process felt kind of slow and some of the “new” songs already seemed like weirdly “old”, because we couldn’t practice together for some time, or play live etc.
For me the recording was lots of fun. We could experiment with sounds or developing parts that didn’t seem finished before. This was super refreshing and really nice!
MARI: It was amazing to work with our friend Tobi Lill in Berlin, he was very patient and didn’t produce or intervene much only in the right moments he would be like “nah don’t do that it’s stupid” – which I think is a quality that most recording engineers lack – the ability to step back and let the madness play out. The worst was how long it was taking lol – I caught Covid in-between so the whole thing happened over 3 sessions of 4- 5 days, from which during the second I was quarantined in a hotel room in Berlin, we luckily had the money to pay for one night and traveled back to Leipzig the next day. Also the nature of the building and its neighbors we recorded in is worth a lil story but maybe someone else wants to describe that lol.
KATHI: It’s a huge building, and there are people practicing, living or partying (or all at once) so its smelly and noisy around the clock. and there is also a cute dog. So it was a bit hard to chill when we had breaks during the recordings. Constant Bass equals Constant Pain (btw also the title of a cool album by New Project 666 from Hamburg, Shreddy also did their cover)
TEUN: Yes that building is mad. It’s got a lot of good bands in it but also a lot of junkies and sometimes when you go to the bathroom some wino’s passed out on the floor and everything smells of piss. Tobi has created a little paradise in there however, he’s got a lot of beautiful shiny equipment and a nice couch that I slept on more than once. We bought loads of food and beer from the supermarket and practically spent many 12-hour days in there working, waiting, joking, partying, and shredding.
FRITZ: All in all an amazing experience to record in entirely new surroundings. I didn’t know Tobi before and also really admired his patience, never felt any pressure. A trained ear might really sense some acid techno frequencies underlaying the entire album. I have learned to accept them during my stay at this madhouse.
How would you describe your life when making the album?
MARI: Frustrated yet eager.
TEUN: My new dishwasher.
FRITZ: Drunk on love.
What kinds of things were inspiring you when writing the new collection of songs?
SHREDDY: The Internet, Blade Runner, modern life of spiders and humans.
I think the lyrics of ‘Hurricane’ are inspired by ‘Cross the Breeze’ by Sonic Youth, because it was my favorite song at the time I wrote them.
MARI: Tobi’s KILLING JOKE obsession inspired some of the lyrics of ‘ZYCHOKILLER’.
The inability of saying “no” and therefore getting swamped in deadlines and things to do.
The passing of my uncle. General shit state of society we are living in. “It was capitalism all along!” (quoting You’re wrong’s Sarah Marshall here). Powerpop. The works of Ursula K. le Guin, Octavia Butler, Phillip K. Dick. ‘1 4 the Road’ is about a creep I hitchhiked with on the way to the call center I worked at a long time ago – he at some point got a paranoid boost, switched lanes and shouted “I can kill you all”. Civic. German conspiracy honks who were demonstrating against Covid measures and ‘celebrities’ making money off hopping onto that.
What lyric do you most love on the record?
MARI: “I wanna breathe your whistling lightness – your moonlit eyelid – is pounding frightless”~ ‘HURRICANE’
TEUN: I love the lyrics to ‘Frowning Term’ and how it’s a play on the CAPTCHA test, as well as on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick. They are like an elegant philosophical joke that flows very nicely along with the tune. Very DEVO: are you human? Bravo guys!
KATHI: BBF, ’cause its so much more than meets the eye or ear. It’s about friendship.
FRITZ: Puh…where do I start? Well, answering to this on my laptop after just clicking through pixilated images after logging in somewhere again and again and again, it always strikes me how ‘FROWNING TERM’ is brightening my boring office hours. I really liked our high speed demo version of that song as well, which we released through our friend Jonas’ label Turbo Discos.
SHREDDY: “It makes no difference what you choose to be – even if it’s something real cool like a wizard” ~ ‘MULTIVERSE’
How did you approach songwriting this time? How similar are your approaches to making music?
MARI: We started by doing 4-track home recordings during lockdown – sending them around so each party would contribute their parts – recording them at home or in the rehearsal space. This was the starting point, from which the recordings went through a lot of stages and also the songs changed quite a bit – you can hear this process pretty well when listening to the 3 released versions of Temporary Cemetery (Flennen compilation version is the roughest most demo-ish but it’s so cool I love it personally – then you have the single version which is still recorded by Lassie alone but mainly digital – and then you have the 16-track studio version on the album recorded with Tobi).
TEUN: This remote way of recording didn’t really work for me. I’d record the drums in Berlin and it felt strange, the others not being there. In the end we ended up not using these tracks at all. The band can be more than the sum of its parts, provided that we actually have a sense of togetherness. So I think it’s good that we changed our mind and recorded the album being in the same room physically. Although the recordings on it aren’t live, we used a lot of ghost tracks, where someone else would play along and you’d hear them in the headphones so that it didn’t feel like you’re playing in a vacuum.
What’s your favorite song on the album and what’s it about?
MARI: ‘Zychokiller’ is my fav, and it’s not really about anything specific – but that is also what I like about it – the lyrics where kind of made up on the spot before singing – just phrases with a certain feeling – so anyone can project, at least that’s what I am hoping. But for me if I’d to pin it down – it’s about these teens who grow up together outside of society kind of, falling in love, coming of age, developing in different directions, being frustrated by their ‘scene’ and betrayed by their kind and ideals and also gender dynamics, how teachers are always bastards, and revenge haha. Kind of a gory Ghost World scenario.
KATHI: Phew, I can’t really say. I like ‘Spiderweb’ cause it’s about spiders and I think that’s cool. And sounds cool.
TEUN: I like a lot of them but I also think ‘Spiderweb’ is my favorite. It’s a funny, cute lyric that fits the slight horror/fantasy theme of the record, but this contrasts with the fact that the song is aggressive and a bit over the top at the end – which I really like, it could be the soundtrack to a thousand knights galloping down a mountain. I think a lot of what we did on the album is a bit over the top, and to me that’s not a bad thing; everything’s densely packed with *stuff*, and that makes it sound very bombastic which ties in well with the album name.
SHREDDY: It’s hard to say, I think I like a lot of songs for totally different reasons.
‘Modern World’ and ‘Multiverse’ are very cool, they are also fun to play live. Hurricane too, because we switch instruments there. ‘Spiderweb’ is about a spider who is going out at night and she puts on her going-out shoes and going-out gloves and stuff like that.
FRITZ: No downsides in my opinion. I love the album in its entirety, how everything melts together and how we decided not to fill it up with too much extras this time. It’s such a punch in the face!
You had a record release party for BEHOLD and encouraged everyone to dress in medieval costume; who had the idea for this? Who had the best costume and what did it look like?
MARI: Honestly, I don’t remember who or how we came up with that idea – but the medieval theme has been a long running gag between us – me and ‘others’ love to use medieval speech sometimes and it was just natural that it would evolve into sth like this at some point haha. Also I grew up playing fantasy pen and paper RPGs and LARP a lot, so this is kind of a natural development. I’ll send you some pictures of the best costumes!
KATHI: Yeah actually there were a lot more great costumes than i imagined, I felt underdressed haha. There were even self-made Lassie shields.
SHREDDY: So cool!! ❤
FRITZ: The venue [“Recycling Museum”] was also the best spot to set up such a wacky themed party. Formerly some kind of a junk shop we were surrounded by all kinds of trash that shaped our stage fortress in the end.
Lassie recently played a show with the Osees and King Khan; what’s your recollections of the show?
SHREDDY: Thee Osees have two drum sets on stage.
MARI: The day after we had that medieval release party and naturally we invited them to come because King Khan also played in the city, there was big hectic and nobody really knew how to work that digital mixing desk which was new in that location ( recycling museum ) – at some point Leyton the sound-guy of King Khan showed up with their guitarist and offered to take over the live mixing – from then on it sounded really massive – very cool move!
KATHI: I feel more comfy on smaller stages.
TEUN: I remember going to the back stage fridge during the Osees set to get a beer but they were all gone; at this moment the Osees were doing a longer instrumental jam and John Dwyer barged in like a madman screaming for a beer and when there were none, he cursed King Khan loudly for having drank them all and slammed the fridge door before grabbing a soda and making his way back to the stage like an angry bear, pushing people to the side. Kinda freaky but also a bit understandable and funny.
FRITZ: (The) Osees brought me back a few years ago when I was digging Thee Oh Sees a lot. What was I doing in all those years?? Their show was insane. And incredibly loud! Lost track of time during their 5-hour set and zoomed out.
What’s been your scariest experience as a band?
MARI: Recently we played a festival in the south of France and went there by train to hang out in a bungalow with a pool (!!) before a bit – it was in this setting that Teun told us he wanted to quit the band for a bunch of personal reasons – I’d say the time since then was the scariest part of the band’s history so far. Because of the conflicts and uncertainties which come with a landslide decision like that.
TEUN: Yeah this is scary, in a real-world kind of way, not like Exek having their tour van roll down a cliff or anything spectacular like that. It’s scary because you build this thing over time and get to identify with it and with the others. You are a kind of powerful institution that defines you and which you represent when you go anywhere. However, to what point this is solely a good thing, no one can ever tell you. Are Lassie destined to play ‘Spiderweb’ and ‘Gimme A Break’ at the age of 81, like the Stones? I’m joking, but I am scared. I was scared of making the wrong choice and still am. You know, it’s hard for a lot of musicians and band people to talk about this kind of thing. I often feel like my bands and all my friends’ bands are doing great and we’re happy when we’re doing band stuff and we pretend that’s all there is, but in the meantime our everyday lives are going to shit; we’re broke as fuck and frustrated with society and we’re not getting any younger. Having said that, Lassie is probably the best thing that ever happened to me, and we still have a common goal. I’m not planning on leaving the stage with a whimper.
What ideas do you have for future work?
MARI: We booked a big tour to play the new album in October, it’s still uncertain if we are going to do it or not because of aforementioned reasons, so we are also not really big on ideas for the future. I think a lot of us need some time to find a better balance between the different lives we are living. Especially when it comes to financial and psychological safety, playing so many shows and doing everything that comes with that is often hindering when it comes to establishing your “other” daily life if you know what I mean. None of us have real jobs so a lot of times we either don’t have money or have to rely on the annoying Jobcenter options in Germany – that can wear you down pretty easily. But I don’t wanna sound too pessimistic here as well, we just have to figure out a lot of stuff for now.
KATHI: We decided to go on this tour together. And then we see from there. It’s pretty confusing, but a change always is a possibility. Right now i have absolutely no idea what is going to happen. I think I am gonna focus on university and my instrumental skills. And then we will find out what the future Beholds haha.
TEUN: I want to us to play a kick-ass tour. And to do it as a team.
SHREDDY: I have nothing to add : – )
FRITZ: Everything is said! This tour will be a blast!
Lastly, what do you hope listeners can learn about you from this record?
MARI: As always from Punk and R’N’R – that you can be whoever the fuck you wanna be and most likely you are not alone out there!
KATHI That it’s cool to try stuff and experiment. You don’t have to be perfect on an instrument or with your voice in order to use it for a song. You just have to like it.
SHREDDY: Yes, and have fun doing the stuff you like.
TEUN: I don’t have anything to add. Except that it’s OK to trust people over 30 sometimes.
We’ve been excited about Naarm six-piece, Phil and The Tiles, since we saw live footage of their debut show late last year at a DIY punk gig held in drains in Moone Ponds supporting Gimmie favs, Enzyme and Alien Nosejob.
Phil & The Tiles play exhilarating punk that borrows from garage-rock and new wave. Today we’re premiering their first single ‘Nun’s Dream’ from a forthcoming EP S/T 7” release on Anti Fade Records. Guitarists Hattie and Reilly tell us about the band, their music, fun shows they’ve played, and about what they’re listening to.
What first ignited your passion for music?
HATTIE: School of Rock.
REILLY: My mum bought my sister some guitar lessons and she didn’t want to go, so I did them instead!
What’s an album that really had a big impact on you and what do you appreciate about it?
HATTIE: Unknown Pleasures [Joy Division]. It made me realise I didn’t have to be that good at an instrument to make good songs.
REILLY: There’s heaps, but probably listening to Primary Colours after I saw Eddy Current at Big Day Out when I was like 14, put me on the right track music-wise I think!
Which bands, albums or songs have you been listening to most lately?
HATTIE: ‘Boys’ by U.S. Girls, Snow on the Sahara by Anggun, and ‘I’m on Fire’ Electrelane cover.
REILLY: Been pumping Combat Rock by The Clash. CIRCUS ST from Cloud Ice 9. Rock and Roll by Charlie Feathers. The second Durutti Column album all been on heavy rotation.
How did you first meet each other?
HATTIE: Met Reilly and Powelly at parties, they introduced me to Andre, we were all playing together for a bit. I met Reef through Reilly at Meredith. Reef, Reilly and I made some darkwave stuff. Met Charlotte through Reef at the Northcote Bowls Club.
REILLY: Me, Powelly and Andre used to play in a fuzz band in high school, that we still have phone recordings of somewhere. Hattie and I met at parties. The first two times I met Reef he was on acid, we started hanging after I saw him try to stage dive at a UV Race show with Powelly and nobody caught him. I met Charlotte at Reef’s house.
Phil & The Tiles got together in 2019; what brought the band together?
HATTIE: Phil the house cat.
REILLY: We were jamming before then at my old house in Mordialloc doing minimal-synth post-punk stuff, but that sort of fizzed out. We moved it to Hattie’s garage, got our mate Eli to drum and it caught a second wind. We’ve had a few different lineups and reshuffles since then.
Who’s the funniest person in the band and what’s the last funny thing they said or did?
HATTIE: Reef thought it was his birthday next weekend, but it’s actually two months away.
REILLY: Andre’s just suggested we do socks on cocks for our launch like the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
What was the first song you wrote together? How do Phil & The Tiles’ songs usually come together?
HATTIE: ‘Health/Body’. Someone usually comes in with one or two parts already written, then we play it a bunch and write each part over the top.
REILLY: Yeah, ‘Health/Body’. We did a cover of ‘Stuck On You’ by Sardine V as well. Usually, someone comes to the group with a riff and we go from there.
What’s your favourite song from the EP and what’s it about?
HATTIE: ‘Nun’s Dream’; sex.
REILLY: ‘Nun’s Dream’ is actually about going to a Catholic school.
What did you love about the process making the EP?
HATTIE: Adding the backup vocals and vibraslap.
REILLY: Cheers to King Gizzard for letting us use their egg shaker thingo while they were away! Also, massive cheers to Lewis for bringing the other slab!
Phil & The Tiles have played a few shows this year including gigs with Civic, Research Reactor Corp, Ouzo!, Future Suck, Shove and The Shifters; what’s been the best or worst show you’ve played and what made it so?
HATTIE: Playing with Civic is always fun, they bring a big and rowdy crowd.
REILLY: Our first show in the drains supporting Enzyme was psycho. We played before Alien Nosejob, four hours later than we were meant to, because they couldn’t start the generator. We’ll probably never have that many studded leather jackets at one of our shows ever again. Cheers to Reis from happytapes for filming it!
Have you ever stuffed up anything when playing live?
HATTIE: No comment.
REILLY: Every single time.
When not making music what could we find you doing? What’s your day job?
HATTIE: Studying and teaching kids about dinosaurs, but Centrelink is where I make the real money.
REILLY: I build mini golf courses and laser tag arenas.
What are you looking forward to at the moment?
HATTIE: Seeing Reilly’s art in the flesh on our 7” cover.
REILLY: Extra public holiday for the dead Queen is alright, they should kill a royal every year!
Today punk band Blonde Revolver drop the utterly cool new single ‘The List’ from their exciting upcoming debut full-length due out next year on Rack Off Records. Raw expression and attitude are on full blast as they rip through this driving track. This song has fangs. Blonde Revolver are a vital band.
Everyone in Blonde Revolver has other bands – Future Suck, Carpet Burn, Delivery, Body Maintenance and Gutter Girls – as well as doing all kinds of other cool stuff; what’s like been like for you lately? What have you each been up to?
BEC: Speaking on behalf of everyone, life has been busy! Future Suck just put out their debut album, Simulation. Delivery is about to start releasing theirs. Body Maintenance and Carpet Burn have been recording and Gutter Girls are about to play their first show in almost two years. Other than that, Grace and Emma have been Pub Footy captains for the Cudas and killing it. Iso has just been living it up in Bali. Kayley has a new job at PBS Radio and is about to jet home to Canada for a while. Zoe is getting her license and Emma just got a new job too, so it’s all happening really!
What’s the last song that you listened to and what are your thoughts on it?
EMMA: ‘Okay Okay’ by Pino D’Angio. It’s an Italian disco song from the early 80s and it gets me so hot.
GRACE: I just re-listened to Garbage’s 2005 album Bleed Like Me at the recommendation of Billy from Disco Junk and it holds up hard. Big rocking out in your low rise jeans and Jay Jays’ top vibes.
KAYLEY: I’ve been listening through Pookie’s album FLick for the first time and currently on the title track. So far I’m really enjoying it.
ISO: ‘Tribulations’ by LCD Soundsystem. I’m having a big early-naughties moment although I’m never really not having an early-naughties moment.
ZOE: ‘No G.D.M’ by Gina X Performance. The synth and drums make me stop whatever I’m doing and drop it like it’s hot.
BEC: The last song I listened to was ‘Grounded’ by Pavement. Good band, good song.
In May this year you celebrated the milestone of being a band for two years; what did it mean to you? What’s one of your favourite band-related moments from the past two years?
EMMA: It’s pretty crazy to think we’ve been a band for two years, but I suppose time flies during lockdown? It’s been pretty nice being able to have regular band pracs and hangs for the second year we’ve been together and also watching our music evolve too. One of my (Emma) favourite moments from the past two years was definitely playing at Down South Fest in Port Fairy this year. We belted iconic female pop songs from the naughties on drive up and it was such a beaut day. The line-up was sick and the crowd were super welcoming and looked like they enjoyed our set which is always a great feeling. Then we spent the rest of the festival drinking guava voddy cruisers. It was pretty magical.
And, in August it was the one year anniversary of your first release, the self-titled EP, that you put out in 2021. How do you think the band’s sound has evolved since then, as well as yourself as a musician?
GRACE: Post-Covid lockdowns in Melbourne we’ve just had so much more time to collaborate on songs and really find a sound that we feel is ours. Like a cute little mix of all the different genres all six of us love. I’ve been trying to practice guitar for the first time in my life and it’s been super fun adding extra little bits on top of songs and working out places where all our instruments can shine a little. At the start most of us were playing our instrument for the first time in a band and one person would write something and we’d be like cool, let’s all just play that same riff. Now it’s fun breaking it all down a little more and being more comfortable in working out what each one of us can bring to the band.
We’re super excited that your debut full-length album is coming out next year on Rack Off Records! ‘The List’ is the first single from it; what made you choose it as the first taste of the upcoming album?
KAYLEY: ‘The List’ was one of the first songs we wrote as a band. When we were recording our EP in 2020, we were thinking of adding another part to the song so decided not to record it then. Upon reflection, we decided it was good as is and finally recorded it along with the rest of the tracks for our debut album in 2022. I think we chose it as the single because it’s so fun to play live and it harks back to the start of the band.
What can you tell us about writing it?
ISO: We smashed out the album over a 2-month period. We had a bit of a deadline, so we were meeting after work and hungover on weekends to write and went pretty turbo during that time, but it came together really seamlessly. Everyone would bring a riff or idea to prac and then we’d all work together to flesh it out. Special thanks to cream cheese bagels all over Melbourne for getting us through! ❤
When and where did you record it? How was the session?
KAYLEY: We recorded the album at a Secret Location in Fairfield over two weekends in May/June 2022. The sessions were really good, it felt just like the Get Back sessions… except there wasn’t much tension and no one left the band.
ISO: Recording happened to be during Kayley’s unhealthy addiction and wildly-belated discovery of the Beatles and would come to each day of recording dressed as a different member.
What kinds of themes does the upcoming album explore lyrically?
ZOE: The album is a real mix-bag lyrically, each song has it’s own story. It mostly covers experiences that I’d had over the past year – writing is such a great outlet for making sense of something. But the album covers everything from friendships, bad mental health and housemates, getting dressed up and feeling good after lockdowns, and last but not least, dating and falling for someone.
Do you listen to other people’s music while making your own? Was there anything specific you were listening to while making the upcoming album?
GRACE: I think most of us listen to music pretty much 24/7. I’ve been listening to heaps of Motörhead and Girlschool and looking up YouTube guitar tutorials. I’ll never be able to play like Kelly Johnson but a girl can dream.
Blonde Revolver have played a handful of shows this year; what’s your favourite part of performing live?
ZOE: Outside of the outfits and band banter before we go on stage, there’s something really special about getting lost in a performance and looking out to see people having just as good of a time as we are. There’s a real sense of community at Melbourne shows, and we really feel it on stage.
What was the best gig you’ve been to recently? Who’s a band or artist that you haven’t seen live that you’d love to?
EMMA: Cate Le Bon in Castlemaine was hands down one of the best shows I’ve ever been to. Her stage presence was so fricken cool and I fell in love with the bassist that night. Would pay big money to go see Phil Collins and force the rest of BR to come with me.
ISO: I’m still buzzing from Future Suck’s LP launch. Grace and Kayley were cheekily and fiercely commanding the stage and the rest of BR were cheerleading and drooling with the rest of the crowd. So much energy in FS’ shows, you come away shook in the best way. The dream would be front row at a Peaches concert paired with watermelon Cruisers for the BR crew. It’s a Peaches world, we’re just dancing in it.
GRACE: Aww Iso! :’) there’s actually a photo of all the BR girls going nuts at the front of the FS show that gave me little teary eyes. Angels! Recently mine would have to be the Swab LP launch at Thornbury Bowls. The Neuros and Vampire played too and every band were insanely tough and there was so much good energy. It’s the best I’ve ever seen swab play and that’s saying something because every show they play is just mind-blowing.
KAYLEY: Leah Senior at the Curtin launching her reissues/box set. She played a really beautiful set – as always. Iso and I were meant to see Yeah Yeah Yeahs in July but they cancelled their Melbourne show and we were absolutely gutted. But in reality I would probably be disappointed anyway because I would just want them to play ‘Fever To Tell’ in its entirety and we all know they’d play those post-2003 tracks.
ZOE: The Church at Northcote Theatre! I went recently with a few close friends and it was the most magical experience. My mum and I are big fans and there was something very full circle about texting her song-by-song updates while she was reliving seeing them when she was around my age.
BEC: I just got back from a regional tour with Vintage Crop and the Stroppies, every gig was so fun… Both bands are amazing live. Vintage Crop really do go absolutely off though, their performance is next level they SEND IT every time it’s very inspiring and entertaining to watch.
What’s a song that always puts you in a good mood?
EMMA: ‘Moja Bhari Moja’ by Rupa – It’s another early 80s disco song but from India. You simply cannot be mad listening to Rupa.
ISO: ‘Gloria’ by Laura Branigan is played before every show without fail. Also a great one to listen to in the car with the windows down on a 23 degree day.
GRACE: Anything on Hello, I’m Dolly makes me wanna kick a door down.
KAYLEY: Julian Cope ‘Sunspots’.
ZOE: ‘This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody)’ by The Talking Heads
BEC: ATM – ‘6 Or 7 More’ – Cool Sounds.
What’s a band that everyone should know about?
EMMA: Shove – they have a new EP coming out early October on Rack Of Records as well. Front woman Bella is iconic and the music is just so sick.
ISO: Big Wett – horny dance music paving the way for the rest of us.
GRACE: I’d say Shove too, but Emma already took them so let’s go with this little band called KISS. You want the best? You got the best.
KAYLEY: Dodda Rivka.
ZOE: Kosmetika! Iconic Melbourne band.
BEC: Yeah Mets ^ Damn, too many good bands especially from Australia. A local band I’m particularly obsessed with ATM is Micheal Beach, he’s releasing an EP at the moment, singles are so good, can’t wait to hear the whole thing – check it out.
What’s the rest of the year look like for you?
ISO: We have a second single off our upcoming album coming out, our first ever video clip and a handful of shows lined up for the rest of this year. Hopefully a debaucherous night of karaoke to celebrate the single releases and another fun year getting to play and make music with besties.
Blonde Revolver’s single ‘The List’ out now – listen HERE.
Beth, Lu and Ruby from “punk bitch” band The Vovos, collectively answered our questions about their invigorating new split 7” release, Vampire Club, with one of our favourite prolific Naarm-based punks, Billiam.
What have you been up to since last we spoke for Gimmie issue 5?
THE VOVOS: We’ve recorded and released Jessica Day, with an upcoming split 7-inch with Billiam. We went to the ABC to perform a song on Spicks & Specks, which is airing on Sunday 11 September. Meeting Adam Hills and having the whole ‘rockstar-on-TV’ experience was really fun. Our songs have also been featured on the new ABC Me show, Soundtrack to Our Teenage Zombie Apocalypse; seeing our name in the credits was truly surreal. We’re also gearing up to record our next album this month – so it’s been a busy year for The Vovos!
What’s your favourite experience as a band so far?
THE VOVOS: Seeing our projects come from random silly ideas to become real things in the world, like on physical vinyl and on the internet is really exciting. We all love writing songs and the moment that a song comes together for the first time is magical, and seeing it recorded & released & then watching people listen to it is honestly amazing.
You’re getting ready to release a split 7” with Billiam called Vampire Club; where did the title come from? I know there’s a line in your new song ‘Jessica Day’ that’s on the 7” that mentions a vampire club.
THE VOVOS: We took it from ‘Jessica Day’, and the line is reminiscing on our childhoods being part of spooky clubs and making believe about vampires & witches. It has since evolved into an obsession for some of us with all vampire-based media, but the line ties into the theme of the whole song about how it was easier to be authentic as children, and missing that.
We’re premiering the video for ‘Jessica Day’; what’s the song about? Tell us about writing it.
THE VOVOS: ’Jessica Day’ was written in the midst of Year 12 and COVID lockdowns, and it reflects that moment of transition out of high school, and struggling with new ideas around what is acceptable in terms of expression & creativity. It’s a rejection of the idea that art should be a certain way or people should behave a certain way in order to be taken seriously.
While we were in lockdown, we were all obsessed with the show, New Girl, and its main character (after whom the song is named) served as inspiration as well.
Describe the new song in five words.
TV: Energetic, funny, nostalgic, danceable, epic!
The video was made by Kalindy Williams from Hearts & Rockets; how did you first come to her work and why did you want to work with her?
TV: We love Kalindy & have played shows organised by her and with Hearts & Rockets for a long time. We love her bright colours & vintage aesthetic, and thought they really suited the vibe of the song, so when we heard that she made music videos we jumped at the opportunity!
Where was the video shot?
TV: To fit with the New Girl-ian tone, we shot in Ada’s sharehouse. We asked her housemates very nicely and bribed them with food and ended up essentially throwing a daytime house party equipped with Billiam Beers and a terrible Vovos cake to film it.
What do you remember most from shooting the video?
TV: Fatigue. The night before was the election, so we’d all been out late and when the day came, we were all hungover, the house was freezing cold, and it ended up being a 12-hour shoot. But it was so nice to have all our friends there supporting us, and dancing so enthusiastically to our song – even though they were essentially being forced to.
‘Justice For Pretzel Man’ is the other song on The Vovos’ side of the Vampire Club; what’s the story of this song?
TV: This is one of the weirdest songs we’ve ever written. Its inspiration came from a beautiful soft sculpture that Lu made, for Year 12 art class, out of recycled clothing, which we lovingly dubbed Pretzel Man. It took all of her energy and months of work, and yet in the end was given a brutally mediocre mark. The song ties in with a broader theme to our side of the record which questions the idea of ‘good’ art and grading creativity.
The 7” art is a collaboration between Billiam and The Vovos; how did it come together? You had an Art Day, right?
TV: Making the art for this was very stressful, as one of our chief artists, Ada, was in Europe for much of the period when we really should’ve been doing it, which led to mass procrastination. Eventually, we got together with Billy, some pastels and a photocopier at Ruby’s house and made the art together one Sunday afternoon after Ada got back. We dubbed this, Art Day, and made a little vlog.
Has your creative process changed much since your first release Constructive Criticism in 2019?
TV: The process itself hasn’t changed much – we’ve always gotten together to brainstorm lyrics, worked through the sections and added finishing touches to each of our parts on our own, and we still do that to this day. However, we’ve definitely gotten much better at each step in that process, and even since our latest release, Jana, we’ve gotten a lot more attentive with adding dimensions and complexity to the songs.
What’s your favourite Billiam track on the split release? What do you appreciate about it?
TV: Our favourite song is Jenny Destroys Records. The opening absolutely slaps and, as always in a Billiam song, the riff is catchy and sticks in your head. We love the distinctive Billiam sound & production style, and are very excited to be releasing this record with him!
What have you been listening to, watching or reading lately? Why does/doesn’t it rule?
TV: The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer, The Twilight Saga (movies), Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead, Vampire Diaries, What We Do In The Shadows, ‘Vampire’ by Antsy Pants, Jennifer’s Body, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, ‘Dracula, You Broke My Heart’ by bis, Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, ‘Monsieur Dracula’ by Fleur, ‘No Vampires Remain in Romania’ by King Luan, Doctor Who Season 5, Episode 6. We love the way all of this media captures the experience of being alive in the 21st century.
What’s the rest of the year look like for you?
TV: We’re currently writing and recording our next album, and in the coming months we’ll be continuing to work on it. We’re very excited to have it out in the world sometime next year! We also have our launch for Vampire Club on September 16 at Nighthawks with Billiam & the Teethers, so come dance with us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Split System, featuring members of Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters, Stiff Richards, Doe St, Speed Week, The Black Heart Death Cult & No Zu, annihilate with ‘Demolition’ the first single from their forthcoming debut album. It harks back to raw, unbridled 70s Australian punk rock n roll and ploughs straight-ahead with melody and passion. Split System tell Gimme about their individual musical journeys, albums that shaped them, new music they’re loving, the new single and their album slated for an October release on Legless Records.
What kind of music were you obsessed with when you first discovered music?
JACKSON (vocals): I started by listening to my dad’s David Bowie and Beatles CDs etc. and making tape compilations using everything he had.
MAWSON (guitar): My dad played in bands my whole life, which surrounded me with rock n roll from an early age, but I think discovering Eddy Current Suppression Ring was a turning point for me. Growing up in Frankston and realising there was so much more outside of the bubble that I was immersed in—ECSR was the gateway drug.
RYAN (guitar): Nu nu-metal and pop-punk were my first loves. When I was 15 or so, I started getting into the classics like the Ramones, the Stooges and The Go-Betweens.
DEON (bass): The first album I owned was Silverchair’s Neon Ballroom on cassette, which I picked up from the local 7/11. From there I moved on to some metal and punk classics – Iron Maiden, Metallica, Misfits – that really got me into playing fast-paced, heavier music.
MITCH (drums): My old man was into music, so naturally I became obsessed with our record player (which I’m still running). I raided his vinyl collection and the bands that stood out for me as a 6-year-old were Pink Floyd and Dire Straits. From that day Floyd has been the one obsession that hasn’t left, but Dire Straits have snuck back in in the last couple years, I think it brings me a nice level of comfort.
Can you tell us a little bit about an album that was/is a really big deal for you and why it made an impression on you?
JACKSON: When I was in year 10 my friend Ryan gave me Television’s Marquee Moon and Modern Lovers s/t and said let’s make a band and that really was a big turning point in my life musically.
MAWSON: ECSR – So Many Things, it blew my mind in my younger years and to this day remains one of my biggest influences.
RYAN: Pink Flag by Wire is a thumper. I like the way they sabotage the songs by ending a chorus where you’d usually repeat or repeating something else ad nauseam. Honourable mention to Fever by Kylie Minogue.
DEON: I’d have to say The Velvet Underground – Loaded. ‘Sweet Jane’ is the stand out track for me. Lyrically and musically this album hits the mark front to back.
MITCH: Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys. How could you not love Buddy Miles and Billy Cox with Hendrix! Best grooves ever!!!
What’s a song, band or album that you’re loving right now? What do you appreciate about it/them?
JACKSON: I just heard the s/t album by KPAX (krah) a band from Belgrade, Serbia. It was recently released on Doomtown Records. It’s raw and makes you feel that heat on the street of a big hectic city.
MAWSON: Future Suck & Cutters; what’s not to love about em’.
RYAN: The new Future Suck single ‘Hell for Leather’ goes hard – good people making good music. I’m digging a band from Hobart called Rabbit – catchy power-pop, can’t beat it.
DEON: Exek and their recent release Advertise Here. Experimental post-punk dub of the highest quality. Probably one of the most important bands.
MITCH: Clamm. Really digging their energy, I saw them live at NinchFest this year and they totally owned the stage
How did you end up on a musical/creative path? I know all members of Split System play/played in other bands: Jackson Reid Briggs & The Heaters, Stiff Richards, Doe St, Speed Week, The Black Heart Death Cult & No Zu.
JACKSON: I started properly playing in bands in probably grade 11/12 with some mates from high school. From that point on, I didn’t care much about anything else and spent my least favourite classes sitting in a storage room at school playing guitar. In grade 12, I got a job collecting glasses at a bar in Fortitude Valley and saw a lot of great Brisbane bands playing there. A few days before I turned 18, I quit and started spending most nights drinking and watching bands there.
MAWSON: Playing music was always my escape from some of the harsher things going on around me. Jamming heaps with friends just eventually lead to the right combination of people at the right time.
RYAN: I started playing in bands when I was in high school living in Launceston. I was playing in a couple of scrappy punk bands, who had to share bills with metalcore bands to get a gig. We eventually got some gigs in Hobart and connected with some great bands more aligned with us. After moving from Tassie to Melbourne, I didn’t start playing in bands again for almost a decade.
DEON: As a kid I remember my older brother always playing guitar, so I guess that kind of rubbed off on me, we had a few old guitars laying about the house, which I’d noodle on. As a teenager I went on to play in various garages/sheds with mates bashing around and making noise.
MITCH: I started learning the drums as an 11 year old and by 14 my cousins mates were after a drummer, i had a quick try out and made the cut. Our name was THC lol. We managed to a get a gig at Broadford Festival which was ran by the Hells Angles, as a 16 year old i thought was pretty rad. Someone was shot there, yikes!
You only had one jam together before lockdowns happened. What initially brought Split System together?
MAWSON: Well, initially it was Jackson’s idea to get a couple of us together to try and fill some space while we yo-yoed in and out of lockdowns. The first jam Jackson jumped on drums and Ryan, Deon and myself just mashed out a bunch tracks we had in the back pocket. Everyone gelled pretty well so we got Mitch to come jump on the kit and the 7” got written then and there.
RYAN: I think another bloke was lined up to drum, but didn’t show up to the first jam. Thankfully we’ve got the salami making, hog smokin’, bongo playing, shagadelic bad boy that is Mitch McGregor.
Gimmie are premiering Split System’s new single ’Demolition’ from your forthcoming debut album that will be released in late 2022; what’s it about? What was the process when writing it?
JACKSON: Ryan sent a few early versions of the chords through and at the time I was working securing a building that was about to have its neighbouring building demolished. So, naturally the lyrics began to take shape while I was up on the side of the building doing all sorts of shit and thinking about the building beside it getting knocked down. Around the same time my partner had just given birth to our daughter and it all sort of just fell into place lyrically through those two situations.
Split System released a self-titled 7” earlier this year on Legless that was recorded remotely with everyone recording their parts at home and sending them to each other via email; how is your debut album different from the EP? Was it recorded with everyone in the same room?
MAWSON: That first 7” probably reflects the lack of time spent writing in the simplicity of the tracks, but we felt like it had good energy and it was a great excuse to make something out of the down time. The LP is definitely a more complete package, even though we still had limited time to get everything finished we’re pretty happy with the direction its taken.
RYAN: I dig the rawness of the 7”, however the LP is a lot more hi-fi.
What kind of headspace were you in recording the new album?
MAWSON: We recorded live at Rolling Stock Studios with Andy Robinson over a weekend. Working with him just felt like any old jam, a few takes of each song… was super chill and easy.
MITCH: When you have Andy ‘Rowdy Robo’ Robinson at the helm ya know its gonna be a ripper of a sesh, plus he’s easy on the eyes too!
What themes does the new album explore?
JACKSON: Half of the lyrics were written when I was sober and half when I’d started drinking again. There’s probably a bit of that is in there. I stopped drinking when my partner became pregnant with my daughter, so I could clear my head a bit and prepare myself for another kid. I’d say there’s a lot of subconscious anxiety littered throughout the album as well as a bit of hope for change and clarity. I usually just listen to the instrumental versions of the songs until a line or something pops into my head and then go from there.
Do you prefer writing, recording or playing live most? Why do you enjoy it best?
RYAN: I love all elements of playing music, but you can’t beat mucking around and having a jam.
MITCH: The rush playing a live show to a whole bunch of folks! I love it.
What do you do when not playing music?
JACKSON: Labour for a construction company, play with my kids, and try to keep healthy so I can keep up with them.
MAWSON: I clean windows.
RYAN: I do social work for a crust. Apart from that, bugger all.
DEON: Watch other people play music and graphic design.
MITCH: I love cooking in my spare time, when I’m not doing that I’m listening to music while knocking cabinets and furniture up.
What does the rest of the year look like for you?
MAWSON: Stiff Richards and Jackson Reid Briggs both have Europe tours over July followed by some well needed holidays for everyone. After some time off we will be coming into September/October ready to go. The LP will be coming out some time in October with a stack of gigs to follow.
MITCH: I really can’t wait for the LP to come out and play some shows, the record is something I’m really proud of. The gang that is Split System are a bunch of legends and I’m stoked to be playing with them, bring on the tours!!
What’s making you happy right now?
JACKSON: Family and having some drinks!
RYAN: The Carlton Football Club not being complete shite.
We’re excited that Billiam has a new 7 inch release out today 8 Hours In Billiamville. It’s a lo-fi, punky dream. The release was written and recorded in 8 hours and has all of the spontaneity, energy and pure unbridled passion that you could hope for. We chatted with Billiam to explore it’s recording and all of the other projects he has in the works—a new Disco Junk record, TOR album, new project Verminator, releases from his label (he does with friend Lachy) Under Heat, some international releases and more Billiam. You’re going to hear and see a whole lot more of Billiam this year. We’re in awe of his creativity and productivity. Go Billiam!
How are you? What’s been happening in your world?
BILLIAM: I’m doing pretty good, there’s been some ups and downs but overall I’m good. I’ve just been finishing off another album for Billiam, just trying to get a few more songs down. I’m finishing off recording the Disco Junk album too. I’ve been playing shows and just working, nothing insanely exciting, but I have a few things coming up.
How long have been making music for now?
B: The most barebones example of me making music, was when I first got my guitar and I was recording videos on my iPad of songs and saving them to a folder on my desktop. That was when I was around 2014. That eventually graduated into doing stuff with GarageBand, which is how all of the early Disco Junk stuff was done. I’d just point my iPad at an amp or the electronic drum kit and record like that. I started releasing that stuff in late-2018. I’ve been making music ever since. Next year it will be 5 years of doing it.
Awesome. Was there anything that influenced you to make your own music?
B: I’ve always liked the idea of making my own music, but I never viewed it as me having the resources to make it. I liked a lot of the bigger acts when I first started to get into music, like Green Day and Blink-182. I would make music trying to sound like them, I had no idea how to do that; I always thought it was about having a lot of money to buy resources.
In 2018, I met my best friend Lachy, who I do record label Under Heat Records with. He showed me a lot of bands. I was also discovering a lot of bands through the internet that were recording stuff and writing songs that sounded like my songs. The Living Eyes was a big one for me, and hearing artists like Daniel Johnston. Also, a lot of early lo-fi progenitors like Weird Paul. It made me think, ‘I can make that. It’s something doable.’ I studied the techniques that they used and did my own screwy version of it and made something that I was proud enough to release.
It’s not that hard to make music yourself. You can do it for very cheap. I eventually got a digital 8-track and stopped using my iPad, but I felt like I had a pretty good sound just recording off of an iPhone.
Ruben, the drummer from Disco Junk, his solo stuff for a long time was record off his phone and that sounds incredible. I would highly recommend listening to Nystagmus. Even though Ruben now hates it, I think it’s a fucking amazing album.
You could spend all day wishing you had something better or you could spend your time making the best thing you can with what you’ve got. Even if it ends up being something that you don’t want to release, at least you have it down in a medium that you could use later or rework.
I know you have a lot of different musical projects, a label and zine; what do you have on the go at the moment?
B: I’ll narrow it down to the main ones. There’s Disco Junk. I’ve been doing that the longest. We’re recording our album that will hopefully be released late this year or early next year.
I have band TOR that’s really starting to ramp up now. We’re starting to gig now and we’re going to record, which is something that I am extremely excited about. Where basically just trying to be Bis 2! Bis is the band that we worship. Bis is our everything. We’re trying to be a more new wave version of Bis. All praise be to Bis! [laughs].
I have a new band called Verminator (it’s named after a character from Over The Hedge). Two of the members are classically trained musicians and are really vocally talented, there’s an extremely talented bassist, and then there’s me and my friend Jack that try to play hardcore beats on our guitars and it forms into a somewhat cohesive mess of noise. Hopefully we’ll get some recordings out soon.
Then of course there is the Billiam project. It’s the project I’ve been able to get the furtherest with. I’ve recorded a lot of stuff for it and am doing lots of little releases that will hopefully be put out soon.
Is it easiest to get stuff happening with Billiam because it’s just you?
B: In some ways. To make something that I’m happy with though, I think it’s the hardest project to do, because I am the only person working on it and I’m way more critical of it. When I’m in a project with other people it’s way easier to seperate yourself from the music and just enjoy it. In terms of recording, producing and getting stuff out, it is the easiest because I can just do it in my front room here and I do get final say; I don’t have to deal with the rest of the crowd, crowding around me.
What type of songs do you like writing the most at the moment?
B: It’s been changing, recently I’ve been getting into writing extremely poppy stuff. I’ve been listening to a lot of power-pop or that has a poppy style like Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys and Woollen Kits. I love the strong, catchy melodies and tiptoeing between major and minor keys.
Although, I feel like I’m going to start recording stuff in a different style. I want to start writing more angler, punky stuff. Have you heard of the artist Print Head? I’ve been really inspired by his work, it’s very direct, short, fast songs with a good sense of melody to them.
It’s exciting that you have so much on the go and that you’re always trying something new.
B: If I don’t do something new or interesting I’m going to lose interest in any given musical project extremely quickly and will have to put it on pause and do something new. I like to keep a basket case of different things that I can pick up at any time, so I’m always active in music.
The new release for Billiam that’s coming out and EP called 8 Hours In Billiamville because it was written and recorded in 8 hours!
B: It wasn’t originally the concept when I made it. It’s the concept that formed when I was putting it together. Before I recorded it I hadn’t really recorded a proper song in 6 months, I’d recorded and released a few little things, but in 2021 I barely released anything. I released two new pieces of music, total. That’s standard for a most artists but not for me. I didn’t consider it to be a very productive year.
Right before I started recording, got a job doing online shopping for Coles. Having that retail boredom kicked me into this weird creative spiral. Over the course of a 3-day weekend and a total of 8 hours work I had the EP done and five other songs.
I’ve had retail, office and hospitality jobs in the past that were pretty mundane and I’d always find myself day dreaming on the job about what creative things I was going to do when I get home. Working for someone else all day not doing the things I really wanted to be doing made me value my free time and gave me a drive to use every moment not at work to do the things I love.
B: Absolutely. At my job I can spend the whole day thinking about a song or idea and then go home and immediately execute that and finish it off. Something that also helps (I hate that this helps but it does) the Coles Radio is completely unbearable at times! There’s a few songs they play on Coles Radio that when I hear them I have to walk outside when they come on because they shit me so much [laughs].
What’s one of those songs?
B: I have a playlist I can said you! [laughs]. The biggest one for me that shits me the most is ‘Jessie’s Girl’ by Rick Springfield. That song has always driven me up the fucking wall! Just, ugh. I walk out and no-one questions, I think everyone in the store has that one song that they do just walk out on; it’s an online store so you can leave whenever you want.
That’s funny. When we shop at our local Coles I noticed that they play a lot of Gwen Stefani, which I’m more than fine with. I love Gwen.
B: They play some good stuff. Gwen Stefani, hell yeah! It’s when they go into the modern country and sometimes weird Christian stuff—I just check the fuck out! [laughs].
When you recorded you mentioned it was just at your home?
B: Yeah. Over the course of last year I worked the front room into a studio space. It’s not perfect but I am able to get a sound that at the very least is good for demos, even releasable. I’m very lucky that my next-door neighbour is a drummer, he doesn’t care about the drum noise. I see him out on the street and he goes, “Oh, I see you’re getting a little bit better at the tom fills.” Which is something that I get really embarrassed about [laughs]. I’m very lucky I have a space to record in at a reasonable hour. I’m very lucky to have a very supportive family and most importantly supportive next-door neighbour.
When you record guitars do you standing up like if you were playing live or sit down?
B: It depends. 90% of the time I sit down because I’m doing it direct input and there’s no amp involved. Sometimes I have found that standing up can help, it adds pressure to what your’e doing. I do find that I’m a lot less precise when I stand up. When I’m recording I do try and showoff a little but and do guitar-filly bits that I would struggle to do standing up, so I sit down. Vocals I have to stand up to get the best out of my voice, whatever limited voice that I have.
Any challenges doing this project over 8 hours?
B: It was almost like an out-of-body experience. I didn’t even intend to make it, I just sat there on the drums and recorded some stuff and wanted to try and come up with things. The first thing I did was song ‘Prune’. It was instant. It felt like nothing was holding me back. I just went into this frenzied state.
On the final song ‘131’ I got extremely into it and completely blew out my voice. You hear that towards the end, my voice is really shrill. I felt like someone was possessing me to make this record, to finish it and just get it done. There was no time to wait. There was no time to spend mixing or trying to get a perfect tone or some idealised thing that doesn’t exist, I just needed to do it. There was no stopping. I think that ultimately was a big benefit to the record. It helped me learn a lot about how I work creatively and how I can get the best out of myself creatively.
What’s something that you learnt?
B: To not question myself in the moment and to just be ok if something doesn’t work. If I’m making something and it turns out to be crap I shouldn’t take that as an insult to myself I should take it as lesson. Why don’t I like this? What can work about this? Is there anything that I can salvage?
There was a song I did recently called ‘Barbie Doll Brains’ that I recorded but wasn’t happy with. I listened back to it and figured what parts worked and what parts didn’t. I really liked the guitar but I didn’t like the bass at all. I think the drums can sound better. It would be way better if the vocal line had a better melody to follow. I redid it and did one of the best songs I think I’ve written so far this year. It’s a song that I’m really proud of.
Is it for Billiam or a different project?
B: I reckon Billiam. I’m not sure though, songs tend to flip in and out of projects. A bunch of Billiam songs I’ve written recently I’ve found will work really well for TOR with Mary-Lou and Floyd’s vocals. You never know though, it could end up as a Disco Junk song or a new band song. It will come out eventually.
What track are you loving the most off of the new EP?
B: It changes. I go through phases of absolutely loving the EP then hating everything off it. Right now my favourites are ‘Leisure’ and ‘Lunchbreak’. They’re nice, fun, fast, direct punk songs. If you ask me tomorrow it’ll be a different song [laughs]. ‘Lunchbreak’ is a good taster for what’s on the record
Your songs are predominately written from your own experiences…
B: Yeah. I’m not good at writing about things I haven’t experienced or that aren’t right in front of me. I could never write a song about getting drunk and partying or heartbreak, because I don’t drink and I don’t’ date people. I write about what I can, that ends up usually being quite personally about mental health, stupid things things that happen in my every day life or sometimes I might write about a movie. I often write about a thing that I saw that was funny.
Are there any songs on this EP that are about mental health?
B: Definitely ‘Metal Bed’. I was very hesitant about putting that song on the 7 inch. Initially I’d written a two minute closer that was meant to be a replacement for the song that was more refined, I wasn’t happy with it though. I realised that ‘Metal Bed’ said it more succinctly and better. It’s about feeling like you can’t leave your bed and that the sheets that are on your bed are made of steel and you can’t lift them.
‘Clive’ is about mental health, but it’s more about being driven to the point of insanity by political advertising, which is pretty fucking relevant right now. I am not having a good time with the election so far. I’m super worried about this election.
They day after the last election when I probably felt at my worst, Disco Junk ended up opening for Amyl and the Sniffers at Record Paradise, which ended up being one of the best shows I’ve ever played. Hopefully this election can inspire another performance similar to that. I’m just taking it one day at a time. You can focus on trying to future proof everything but you can never predict the future.
There is so much in the world that we can’t control. We make art and put that out in the world to balance all the crap things, express what we’re feeling, to come together…
B: That’s a great way of putting it and at the very least, we’ve finally got a copy of Scomo Goes To Hawaii/While Aus Burns on vinyl, which I’ve been begging Dougal [from Dr Sure’s Unusual Practice] to make since it was first released. I fucking love that EP, it’s so good!
We’ve excited for it too! The song ‘10 Million Acres’ on it, is one of my favourite songs that Dougal has ever written. It’s a really powerful song.
B: Yeah. It’s an EP I struggle to listen to though because it was so emotionally impactful and I was doing that charity tape when the bushfires happened. I had to listen to a lot of those songs a lot when I was putting together the tape and a lot of other songs that were about the bushfires. It was a strange time mentally. It’s strange to me that it wasn’t so far away, it feels like it happened 10 years ago, but it really happened 2 years ago. I’ll just keep on making rock n roll and keep on rockin’!
What can yo tell us about ‘Lunchbreak’?
B: I’m kind of mad because of that one Hot Tubs Time Machine song about being your co-workers hedging what your lunch is, because that’s literally what my song is about! I was in the break room at work and people were literally looking at me while I was eating cereal and I was just like, ‘Fuck off!’ I was really annoyed and angry. I think I had just written down the line that I’m on my lunch break and I need some space, and the song just went from there. The song is about being judged at work for your eating habits. Hot Tubs Time Machine this is a call-out, we need to fight to see who can have the rights to this song. I’ll see you in the streets!
Great minds think alike!
B: Ok, listen, you can call me a great mind, but Marcus [Hot Tubs Time Machine] is on another planet. He’s a genius. I don’t know how he does it, but he is a philosopher that we will not appreciate the brilliance of until 10,000 years in the future. He’s like Plato or Aristotle. He’s on another playing field.
Let’s talk about some of the other songs on the EP. Tell us about ‘B Beat’.
B: [Laughs] I don’t know if that barely counts as a song. Lulu’s [Records] were posting a bit about D-Beat and I was like, ‘I’m going to try and understand D-Beat.’ I posted on my story: send me all of your D-Beat recommendations. I was going to go through the whole catalogue of best songs and figure out what this genre is. I just didn’t get it. Either it was literally the same song or it was hardcore punk. D-Beat is a good warm up for me on drums, because it gets me to work the foot pedal. I was warming up to record something and I Just recorded a 10 second drum beat, not even intending to use it for anything, but then I was like, ‘Wouldn’t this be funny if this was the song and I made a song about, I don’t get D-Beat.’ That was the only lyrics [laughs].
I feel like someone at some point will probably get mad at me for that song, just know that I don’t hate D-Beat, I just don’t get it. I’ve listened to too much Green Day to ever get D-Beat. If I ever get a Billiam band started I want to write a D-Beat song at some point and then transition that into B Beat. Open with a song that says, “I don’t get D-Beat” then immediately after into a D-Beat song.
You mentioned that ‘Leisure’ was a favourite song.
B: I was trying to write something kind of like the Screamers. I feel like it makes sense for the Screamers to write a song being angry at people for having leisure time; that sounds like a Screamers-y concept. I don’t think it sounds like the Screamers but it’s a bit synth-y and sounds weird. I do a Tomata du Plenty-style vocal.
Was there a point during the process where you had to take a break and walk away for a bit?
B: I don’t really think so. I started recording at 12 noon and stopped around six or so. I didn’t even stop for lunch. Throughout the period I was recording for it, I put my phone in the other room and submerged myself in trying to make music. I felt a compulsion to do it. Generally, I like to seperate myself from my phone and the outside world and just make something. I don’t know if I could do it again as intensely as I did with this one. I really went bang into it. I had the drive to make anything.
How cool is the artwork for it!
B: I’m really happy with the art. It’s funny how I found the artist, one night I was with Ada from The Vovos on a Zoom call talking during one of the lockdowns and we were looking at a Spotify playlist that The Vovos were on (artists can see what playlists they’ve been added to). I decided to have a look at the ones that Disco Junk have been added to and I saw this playlist with insane artwork. I was like, ‘Holy shit! This is awesome.’ I went to the dudes account and all these playlists had this insane art. I thought he was so talented. I couldn’t find any information about him, he didn’t have an instagram or Facebook; I was complexly stumped. It drove me a little insane trying to find the artist. I thought, ‘Fuck! They would be so great to get to do an EP cover.’ I ended up finding a super old instagram post that mentioned his Tumblr. I eventually found his page where he’s uploaded his comics. From there I found his twitter and then sent him a message. He was thrilled to do it!
His name is Theo Johannesson, right?
B: Yeah. He’s a fucking insanely talented artist that is really good at doing a cartoon-y style.
Do you feel the cover is reflective of how you felt during the process?
B: Oh absolutely! [laughs]. It was a perfect representation; being grabbed, smashed and attacked by a bunch of clocks and I’m flinging around an instrument like I don’t know what I’m doing.
How did you feel at the end of the process?
B: I was like, ok, next thing! I immediately recorded the next thing, which is an EP coming out on Goodbye Boozy. It was all just, let’s go, go, go, go, go! Evert from Under the Gun Records said he’d do a Billiam 7 inch. I’m so grateful.
I get so much done, I guess, because I always prefer the stuff I’m making and once something is done I get quite critical and want to make something better. I do take breaks. I haven’t done that much this week, I only recorded two songs. I do try to take breaks because I don’t ever want to burn myself out or force myself to make art. If I’m not feeling creative in a certain medium, I view that as something natural. No one is going to be making great music 100% of the time. You need to find something that inspires you or you need to take a breather and step back and look at things to be able to see where to go next. I’m just a creative little guy.
I love how in the album insert that you wrote about how you got the different sounds and what instruments you used.
B: It’s something more bands should do. I’ve seen a few do it, I was just listen to Ausmuteants’ Order Of Operation and they list the exact gear. I hope someone that gets my record and wanted to make music can see the list and realise not only is it not that hard but it’s not that expensive. The average person can afford to make really good music and you don’t have to go hunting for fancy analogue gear, you can get what you have and learn methods that can create the same sound.
I like how you mentioned the Korg sound and you are honest and like, “I don’t even know how I got this.”
B: [Laughs]. I got that Korg secondhand and it hd a bunch of things programmed into already and I thought it sounded so cool, and just used that. I have no idea who made ‘em. If someone really wants to know about the sound they’re welcomed to come to my house and look at the synth, I’m sure they could work it out. I know nothing about synths. I know the one that I have makes sound when I press it, that is it. Floyd from TOR has a proper synth that’s adjustable and you can create different sounds every time. I have no fucking clue how to do it. He’s the smart one, maybe ask Floyd, he’s the fucking genius.
In the album, insert there is also a photo of you and a dog called Moose. Who’s Moose?
B: Mid last year the dog we had, Russell, passed away. He was extremely sad. He lived a very long and good life. He was a rescue. One day I came home and my mum called to me and said, “We got a new dog! He’s a Jug. A Jack Russell x Pug. His name is Moose.” He was starring at me for a solid minute and then came up to me and started barking. That’s been our relationship ever since. I think he does love me in some aspect, but he really is ok with letting me know he doesn’t really want to interact with me. I try to pet him but he’ll just start growling. Sometimes he does come in my room and he demands that I give him my full attention for an hour. He’s a very strange and needy dog, but I love him. I wanted to give him a shoutout in the record. You got to shout out the Moose.
What music and bands have you been listening to lately?
B: I’ve been trying to expanded out my musical tastes into different areas. I’ve been listening to a lot of Harry Belafonte, a calypso artist. On the complete opposite end of the Spectrum that new Erupt 7 inch that came out on Cool Death Records, I’ve just been smashing constantly. I’ve been getting into that grimy dark sound. I absolutely adore the new Romero EP. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Woollen Kits. I’ve been listening to a lot of the Buzzcocks recently. I listened to them a lot when /I first got into punk but then put them down for a bit and now I’m able to come back and realise how much of an incredible band they are. Their albums are hit after hit after hit. They did so much innovative stuff that no other punk band at the time were doing, like incorporating krautrock and hardcore influences into a very poppy sound. It’s very relatable.
What’s been some live shows lately that you’ve been to that have be great?
B: Obviously Jerkfest was fantastic. Dragnet at Jerkfest completely blew me away. I saw Party Dozen recently and they’re one of the most insane things I’ve seen, a saxophone and a drummer, who is also controlling all the backing tracks. I saw Pinch Points a couple of days ago, I played with them, that was great. Their new album is really fantastic, they sound incredible live. Tabloid TV Darlings was another band I’ve seen recently that really impressed me; a cool 90s-style band with catchy song writing. I’m really excited to see Ada from Vovos do her solo stuff soon. I’ve helped her record some of it. It’s sort of Moody Peaches/Kimya Dawson kind of stuff. Very silly and personal. I adore it. I love Kimya Dawson so much.
Me too. I interviewed her many years ago, she’s super lovely and funny. What’s next for you?
B: There’s six Billiam releases coming out in the second half of this year. The 7 inch on Goodbye Boozy. A cassette on a few different labels Painters Tapes in the US, Dial Club in Japan and Cow Tool Records in Australia, which is a new label started by friends of mine, they have some exciting things coming. I have a Halloween release that I’m doing; it’s completely ridiculous and I’m so excited for everyone to hear it. I have a split record 7 inch with the Vovos coming up too (it may not come out until next year though because Ada is going to Europe and Vovos are taking a break). It’s already recorded though.
How many songs do you think you’ve written?
B: I’m going to say 1,500 that I’ve properly documented in some way. Recently I did a clear out of my 8-track and I’d gotten up to 500 songs in it and since then I’ve recorded another 200. I also wrote and recorded a lot of stuff before that; it was embarrassing but cute. I’ve written a lot. How much of it that I’m proud of or will ever be released is yet to be determined [laughs].