Original photo courtesy of Kosmetika / handmade mixed media collage by B.
Mysterious art pop project Kosmetika is about to gift us one of the best and brightest contenders for album of the year with new record Illustration. We’re loving the intricate drum machine bops, melodic basslines, memorable synth lines, English/Russian vocals and odd-form structures. Today Gimmie are premiering single ‘Eighty Four’ and caught up with Kosmetika’s driving creative forces Veeka Nazarova and Mikey Ellis to chat about it and the forthcoming album.
We first spoke with you three years ago when your debut album, Pop Soap, came out. Excitingly we’re premiering a single ‘Eighty Four’ from your new record, Illustration; what’s the song about?
VEEKA: ’Eighty Four’ was one of the first tracks that Mikey and I wrote for Illustration. I would say it’s about a love/hate relationship with the Internet. If you were to translate the lyrics from Russian to English it would read quite abstract, sort of like a collage – a bunch of very surrealistic images mashed together, but overall lyrically it does have this slightly creepy feel to it, despite being a very funky upbeat song.
For instance, in one of the verses I’m describing a moment of me reading a book as a kid and vividly imagining all the characters as if they were right in front of me, just this very special feeling when you are connecting with a book on a personal level. Then on the other hand there is a time when the internet becomes more advanced and takes over humanity, so in the lyrics I refer to the Internet as ‘the water cycle effect’, how it all starts from one drop and slowly turns into rain, makes up a river then evaporates and it happens all over again. Throughout the whole song there is a dialogue between one of my favourite book writers of all time Gogol and ‘the kids’ and it’s him trying to get all the kids to stand up against the Internet and stop them from looking at the screens and being miserable. In the end of the song the Internet supposedly crashes forever.
You told us last time that Pop Soap didn’t have a strong concept and was more a collection of ideas; is there a theme or thread lyrically that links these songs?
VEEKA: Yes absolutely, Illustration has a very strong concept to it. It was written within a couple of months and most of the songs were inspired by the idea of diving deep into your subconsciousness, being self-aware, thinking about yourself throughout the time and embracing who you are as an individual. A lot diving into the past and self-reflection. It’s also about dreaming big and being excited about the future in general.
I would recommend listening to Illustration when you are driving/walking through the city on a quiet night. There were a few songs on the album that were influenced by the astounding stillness of the night city in 2020. This crazy feeling when you are walking through empty streets of the night city and it feels like the most comforting place on earth.
We understand that you were unable to work on the music as the five-piece band, and that co-founders Michael and Veeka started working on Illustration as a home recording project; what were some of the best and worst bits doing things this way? Michael recorded it all, right?
VEEKA: I think a lot of bands/artists faced a similar situation when you couldn’t go out and collaborate/write music with other people. We were just lucky to be living in the same house and because we’ve written music together in the past, overall it seemed like a very natural process. The only thing we struggled with was that we couldn’t record the drums for ages, so had to wait in between lockdowns to be able to go into the studio we had at the time.
MIKEY: The best part about doing it during lockdown was that we didn’t really have any other distractions that would normally interfere with writing an album.
That left a lot of room for experimentation and arranging parts etc which has resulted in quite a strange sounding collection of songs!
The worst/hardest part about it was not getting to work through the songs together as a full band.
I think it would’ve sounded quite different if we’d all been able to work together on the songs but it’s a nice little snapshot of that moment in time – what a bizarre moment in time it was!
What’s your preferred way to write a song?
VEEKA: Usually one person comes up with a concept for the song and then we try to work on it together. Sometimes both of us would have a more solid song idea and the other person just adds a few things to it, it really depends. On this particular album I came up with a basic concept for most of the songs and Mikey shaped them into more finished ideas, doing a lot of the production and arrangement for the songs.
Unlike the previous album that had dual lead vocals, Veeka only sings on this one; are there any different things you’ve been able to explore with in relation to your voice this time?
VEEKA: There are a lot of alternations between spoken word and singing on Illustration, I definitely enjoyed focusing on the spoken word bit and getting it perfect.
Veeka, you sing in English and your native tongue of Russian; do you feel more comfortable singing in either? Why is it important for you to sing in your native language?
VEEKA: I love singing in both languages, it’s honestly a challenge to be able to do both, especially when it switches between the languages in the same song, sometimes my brain gets overloaded and I blank haha but I love the challenge.
I guess I like the idea of singing in a foreign language because it’s very unique and unusual. I believe it gives people some space to focus on the music first, yet at the same time gets the audience intrigued about the meaning of the lyrics. I like to give people the option to translate the lyrics or not, so there is more room for personal interpretation.
What is one of your favourite moments on the new record? Can you give us a little insight into it?
VEEKA: I really enjoyed experimenting with a drum machine and the new synthesisers we bought at the time.
MIKEY: One of my favourite moments on the album is the instrumental track “Institute of Kosmetika”. The song just kind of appeared out of nowhere and one of the main percussion instruments on the track is an empty wooden wine box.
I like to think of the song as a sort of intermission moment in the middle of the album. A palate cleanser perhaps?
What’s the story behind the album title, Illustration?
VEEKA: I participated in this HTRK album title competition back in 2019. They’ve asked people to come up with a name for the new album and the best three names could win tickets to their show. My name was shortlisted and in the end it was my suggested name or the other person’s name. They decided to go with someone else’s title which was ‘Venus in Leo’ instead of mine which was… sIllustration’ 🙂 – so it was sort of stuck with us and we chose to use it for our album.
We love the album’s art by Mikhail Nazarov!
VEEKA: Mikhail Nazarov is my father and he is a very talented artist. Mikhail is a huge Kosmetika fan and he asked me if he could draw an album cover for us. We love his work so much so of course we said yes! We’ve always known it’s gonna be called Illustration so having a hand drawn cover was important to us. We sent Mikhail the demos and he drew the funny robot-like face which we thought was fantastic for the Illustration cover!
What have you been listening to a lot lately? Who are some bands people should check out?
VEEKA: I have been listening to a lot of Eastern European new wave/synth wave plus some experimental Japanese synth albums from the 80s. Artists like Kate NV, Yasuaki Shimizu, Ryuichi Sakamoto ,Yellow Magic Orchestra. Oh and also Mong Tong who are from Taiwan!
MIKEY: I’ve been listening to Vera Ellens new album a lot over the last few days – it’s awesome – it came out last week I think on Flying Nun? She’s an incredible musician/songwriter from NZ and has two other amazing albums which I would highly recommend checking out.
Also been listening to a lot of the Go-Go’s and Melbourne’s magnificent Cool Sounds.
What’s the rest of the year look like for you personally and Kosmetika?
MIKEY: We are planning on playing heaps of shows around Australia and work on some new ideas of course!
VEEKA: Yeah, personally I think we just wanna get better jobs and record as much new music as we can!
Original photo by Simon Fazio. Handmade mixed-media by B.
Hot Tubs are back with their sophomore album, Double Tubble! Duo Marcus Rechsteiner (UV Race) and Daniel ‘Tubs’ Twomey (Deaf Wish) bring the goods gifting us a brilliant collection of songs with a cool sonic architecture, courtesy of Tubs, that is creative and varied. Marcus’ lyrics are hilarious, thoughtful and deep at the same time, while his delivery unique— no one else could do it like he does. Gimmie chatted with Hot Tubs to explore one of the funnest records of the year.
DANIEL We just got these today! [holds up their new record Double Tubble]. Marcus just drew on the first one.
That’s awesome! It’s so cool Marcus is hand-drawing a unique picture on each album cover.
D: It’s a good idea at the moment, we’ll see how we feel after 300 of them [laughs]. People at shows will be able to pick which one they’d like.
Where’d the title of the album Double Tubble come from?
D: It popped into my head. There was confusion about it. I said we should call it Double Tubble and Marcus said we should call our second album Double Tubble. I thought, ‘Great! This is the second album.’ But, Marcus considers this the first album because the other self-titled one wasn’t properly released.
MARCUS: There was a tape but not an LP.
D: Marcus got surprised when I was telling a group of people it was Double Tubble.
M: I thought Double Tubble was going to be the actual second LP. It’s a good name! The first album was recorded in secret, as in, I was doing the vocals and he recorded it and it didn’t feel like the usual process. It got released and nobody really picked it up and then Al [Montford] did a tape and radio stations started picking it up. It was all during Covid. We never really launched it. Because it wasn’t going through the regular process, for me it wasn’t a release… but it is.
All the songs on the first album are really great, so it totally has to count for something!
I used to get called ‘Double Trouble’ all the time; I have a twin brother. It’s something that’s always been floating around in my head. People would say it when we walked into the room.
M: It made me think of that song that came out with the Power Rangers movie. [Starts singing ‘Trouble’ by Shampoo] Uh oh we’re in trouble. Something’s come along / And it’s burst our bubble / Yeah yeah. Uh oh we’re in trouble. It’s a hit!
That song was fun! I know that when you do vocals sometimes you get nervous. Was it like that for this recording?
M: He [Dan] held my hand this time [laughs]. Last time it was like, ‘Surprise! You’ve done it.’ This time we recorded vocals at the State Library of Victoria, which is cool cos they’ve got these booths with expensive equipment. You can record podcasts there or interview someone. Because Tubs is a member, we could go there and use it. You get it for free.
D: You get a two hour slot and you can’t book back-to-back ones.
M: You can go under someone else’s name. He could book two and then I could book two.
D: We did two sessions, but most of it was done in one. We just went in to see what would happen. I just sat and laughed the whole time while Marcus delivered vocals. A lot are the first take.
What’s one of your favourite lyrics of Marcus’ on this record?
D: I love the line: what is even zitar? It’s a line from A1 Bakery.
It’s a controversial lyric from ‘Ned Kelly’ but he says: Protestant pigs.
M: I thought that maybe I shouldn’t keep that.
D: We figured it was alright because he’s in character [laughs].
M: It’s almost like I’m doing a radio play, you know, like War Of The Worlds.
D: It’s like a radio drama. I think we should do a whole album of it one day [laughs].
M: It’s very Monty Python [laughs].
Photo by Jhonny Russell.
What weird instruments did you use on this album?
M: A tiny guitar. It was donated to his school and it’s really abrasive [laughs] and obnoxious, but it’s really cool.
The music comes before lyrics?
D: Yep. I’ll cook them up at home and present them to Marcus. I love that because, you have know idea which direction it’s going. I hear what it’s gonna be about, like A1 Bakery, and I’ll think, ‘Oh, I worked a long time on this.’ He’ll start singing and I’ll be like, ‘Of course it’s about A1 Bakery.’
Do the lyrics just come to you Marcus or do write stuff down sometimes and keep it for when you might need it? I know on the first album a lot of the song ideas came from conversations you’d hear people have.
M: It’s still like that. He’ll bring me a song and I’ll say that I have an idea from a misheard conversation.
D: Often Marcus will chew through the lyrics that he has written down a third of the way into the take and then it goes wherever it goes [laughs].
M: A lot of time it’s a topic. I’ll ask him if a particular topic is ok and he’ll go, Yep.’ Especially recording Double Tubble he prodded me a bit more like, ‘And then what happened?’ to help me get more out of it.
A lot of it is stream of conciseness, my brain just goes and I see what he reacts to or when we’re playing live what people react to. Everyone is different. I could say one joke and I think it’s funny and then it falls flat and another time people will think it’s hilarious.
D: It’s amazing… we played two gigs this weekend past and played the same song, and you’re kind of bracing for people to react the same way, but then you get nothing [laughs].
M: Or something resonates with someone. You might just make a throw away line, like in our ‘Southern Christmas Hemisphere’ song there’s a line about Paddle Pops. I said that my favourite flavour is Rainbow, which is caramel. After we play a guy came up to us and was like, ‘I didn’t know Rainbow Paddle Pop was caramel flavour!’
D: We’re an educational band.
M: I was like, ‘That was two minutes ago, it must have really stuck with you!’ That’s what he took out if it.
D: There hasn’t really been anything I would say not to sing about topic.
M: He has told me not to do a song critiquing the art world, cos that’s too close to his heart.
That’s a song I would love to hear!
D: It’s true, I did turn down that one.
M: I just find it pretentious, but he studied art and understands it.
D: It’ll have to be a solo project.
M: Yeah, my dis project when I’m bitter about Hot Tubs.
Let’s talk about the songs on the album. You mentioned the song ‘Ned Kelly’; where did that idea spark from?
D: We were playing in Beechworth [Ned Kelly spent time in Beechworth Prison]. Marcus said, ‘We better play a song called Ned Kelly.’ When I first made it, I didn’t think that we were going into the outback with bushrangers, it’s quite jarring really. It was quite a departure from what I thought it was going to be.
M: A few times I’ve felt comfortable just freestyling on a song. We’re both open to just see how it goes. Our friend, Tim Stratton, runs a pub in Melbourne that we played at..
D: Some things stick, so we keep doing it.
M: We were only going to do that Strat song called ‘All The Drinks’ once and then his friends came along to our next gig and told us to play the song, so we had to bring it out again. Sometimes we think songs will be a one-off, limited edition, that we’ll only do it once. I like that because every gig is different.
The song ‘Ned Kelly’ has its own legs, we did it once in Beechworth and it just kept going.
We noticed that some of the songs you played at Nag Nag Nag that we’d never heard before are on this record, like ‘Gig Face’.
M: People resonate with that song. It’s one of those things that I think people haven’t used that term before. I hadn’t heard it before, I just came up with it. As soon as you say it people know what it is – Gig Face is someone that you always see at gigs. Everyone can have their own interpretation of what that means.
D: When we first started playing it, there’s this breakdown bit where Marcus will be like, ‘And now I want you to look at someone across the room, there might be a Gig Face in the room, why don’t you move towards them, this is an opportunity to say hi.’
M: You know how they do that thing at church, they want you to say hello to the person next to you.
D: You see some people turn their heads and be like, ‘Yes! This is my chance to say hello to that person.’ But then sometimes the other person will be like [turns head the other way] ‘You’re not a Gig Face to me.’ [laughs].
Another lyric we love is from ‘Kickin Goals’ and goes: I can’t run in real life but I can run in FIFIA.
M: I’ve been trying to run, I can jog. That’s why people like video games; you can’t go shooting people on the street but you can in Call Of Duty. Escapism, that’s what that song is about.
Tell us about ‘Street Fighter Man’; did you grow up playing Street Fighter?
M: That’s an experience that I had at a caravan park when I was six or seven. My dad didn’t like caravans so he didn’t come with us, but my uncle, his older brother had one at this park on the Mornington Peninsula. It was the start of school holidays so we we were there for a week. It was awesome, they had a video game arcade. I wanted to play Street Fighter and this other kid wanted to play Street Fighter, so we ended up fighting each other over it. It happened before I even realised it was happening. We pushed each other and other boys gathered around. It was weird.
D: That song is all of Marcus’ recollections about the Peninsula. We did it really late in the recording session. I was like, ‘Just sing about whatever’ and Marcus told me he’d just been down at the Peninsula, so he sang about it. We get people coming up to us wanting to talk about Street Fighter, we don’t really know that much about it [laughs].
M: I guess, you kind of would get that feeling about the Gold Coast, it’s beautiful but people ruin it, everyone ruins it. It’s the same with the Mornington Peninsula, everybody wants to enjoy it at the same time, so everybody ruins each others experience. Everyone is annoyed at everyone else but not themselves [laughs]. That’s what that song is about, you try to go down there to have a good time and you want to just be there by yourself, but everybody else is there and you get frustrated.
I’m a disability support worker and I took someone down there and we were on a pier, there was this teenage boy on an electric scooter hooning up and down. People had young kids and babies and were like, ‘Slow down, slow down, it’s dangerous!’ Teenagers will be teenagers and be jerks, but the vehicles just change, right? Electric scooters weren’t electric about 20 years ago. They were both trying to enjoy the same spot but they had different ways of going about it and different priorities. Pretty much every tourist place is like that.
What can you tell us about the song ‘Sizzler’?
M I went to Ballarat, which is an old gold mining town a bit outside of Melbourne near a place called Sovereign Hill. They have one of the only Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat restaurants in Victoria, if not Australia; there’s not many left. I went and it got me thinking about the 1990s, my parents never really took us to restaurants except for special occasions. Dad was a tight ass so we always ate at home; now I see kids and babies at cafes. Going to a restaurant used to be a real treat. Going to all-you-can eat at Pizza Hut, that was the highlight of my year sometimes.
D: We really bonded over it. Our family went to Sizzler, another all-you-can-eat place. They had one on Bell Street for a while, we went there so many times [laughs]. We’d stay for hours and ate as much as we could.
M: A few years ago, my friend told me about this Smorgy’s place that had a volcano. Dan’s brother worked there. We bonded over this… I told him that I took a friend there that was really into architecture, Andrew from Constant Mongrel and Taco Leg. He’s an architect, he heard they put up this volcano. It was kind of closed down then, but I took him. [Looks at Dan] Your brother used to put the stuff in the volcano?
D: Yeah. You work your way up. You start as a dish pig and then you get to be the guy that puts the smoke in the smoke machine in the volcano. They’d go into the volcano and smoke ciggies on their break [laughs].
Photo by Jhonny Russell.
The next song on the album is ‘Property Game’.
D: I gave Marcus a song to sing on and he had just bought a unit. He was always going to sing about the unit.
M: We played our first gig with Blonde Revolver and then we thought, ‘Should we keep going?’ We thought, ‘Yeah.’ And I bought a place in April last year. I was driving here when the real estate man called me and told me that I got the place.
D: It’s funny, the way a crowd receives that song is so dependent on…
M: Their age!
D: If you play it to an older crowd they are like, ‘Yes!’ There was a guy at a gig we played once and he had to be a real estate agent because no-one would have got into that song more [laughs]. We’ll play it to a younger crowd and they’re like [folds arms], ‘Why would we care?’
M: I feel like they judge me like, ‘Jerk! You bought a place, you’re part of the problem.’ [laughs].
The crowd reaction to you guys at Nag Nag Nag was great, people seemed really amazed.
M: Greg really looked after us at Nag Nag Nag.
Yeah, he’s super lovely. We’ll be at Nag Nag Nag next year and we’ll be at Jerkfest again in Melbourne too.
M: We might be in France when Jerkfest is on.
D: We’re going to France. We don’t know where we’re playing yet, but we know that we’re doing it.
M: It’s getting done! There’s only two of us and we don’t spend much band many, we don’t have rehearsals costs. We can hop in a car and just hang out.
It’ll be the first time Hot Tubs have played overseas?
M: UV Race toured America twice and Europe once. Deaf Wish did a fair amount of touring too. It’s going to be fun just hanging out for two weeks, eating cheese and croissants.
So lovely! I’ve been seeing all the instagram stories that Exek have been posting on their European tour and it looks like such a nice time. I love the European way of eating.
D: It’s going to be great. The two of us love getting up early on tour and checking out places wherever we are. With just two of us it’ll be different from previous tours, you don’t have to wait for five people to have a shower.
M: Yeah, and there’s always someone that’s hungover and grumpy.
D: That’ll just be me [laughs].
M: Sometimes. You know how I said we didn’t really launch our other album? Well, we did. We played four gigs. We busked on Bourke Street. I’ve always wanted to play Bourke Street, because I’ve seen the buskers there and I’ve thought, ‘I can do a better job then that.’ I was telling Tubs that we should try and make enough money for our breakfast. Europe is the best for town squares, we can just go there and try and busk for 20 mins.
D: Part of our setup is just going to be a simple busking setup.
M: I can sing with a megaphone. We can try and make 10 Euros for our breakfast and then go to the next city.
When we did it in Bourke Street, these guys wanted to give us a couple of bucks, but we weren’t actually busking. When Tubs was talking to this guy about his setup, he said to the busker, ‘I don’t want to make any money.’ The busker was like, ‘You don’t want to make any money?! Why are you doing this for?’
D: It was like sacrilege amongst buskers [laughs].
M: [Laughs] Is there any other reason to busk?
What’s another interesting place Hot Tubs has played?
M: We played a school fete. It was awesome!
D: It was great!
M: Luxury, the band Hot Tubs came out of…
D: Luxury was with our friend Brett.
M: We had a song called ‘Box Maze’. It’s a thing they do at the fete where they get all of these boxes and make a maze. His [Dan’s] primary school is in a pretty well to do area, there’s lots of architect and engineer dads, and one day they engineered it too hard, kids got stuck. I wrote this song about it. He said, ‘We’re playing the school fete, we have to do ‘Box Maze’.
When we did that first gig with Blonde Revolver, they asked if Luxury could play but we couldn’t because Brett is such an influential, important part of that band we didn’t feel like we could do it without him [he went overseas]. Because we were doing the fete though, we had to do ‘Box Maze.’ One of the teachers, Terry, who is also a musician, joined in. The kids absolutely loved it, they’re like, ‘I know the box maze, I went in it!’
D: The parents were a crowd that got into ‘Property Game’ [laughs].
M: We also played a live talk show. They had a house band and I went on too early. Tubs was told off for me, like she didn’t tell me off. I realised afterwards that the house band was like [sings] ‘Hot Tubs Time Maaaaachine’ but a really funk version. I was just standing there and thinking, ok finish up. They went on for about a minute [sings] ‘Hot Tuuuubs! Hot Tubsssss Time Maaaaachine!’ Then Tubs got on stage and it was a whole awkward thing.
Photo by Jhonny Russell.
D: That was a fun show!
M: It was cool because everyone was sitting down in silence. They were so well-behaved. There was no talking, usually there’s murmuring in crowds. You could hear a pin drop. There was this one woman with a really loud laugh, she was just like, ‘Blaaaaah haaha’ [laughs]. I was like, ‘Yeah! Someone’s loving it!’
D: A month ago we played a Spoilsport Records showcase at Thornbury Bowls Club. We were a late addition. Sam asked us to do the soundtrack for pass the parcel. That was another odd one.
M: It was 30 second snippets. He snuck in ‘Love is In The Air’. I’ve told him I don’t want to do that and he just put it at the end. There was a hundred people doing pass the parcel! It was massive. When we did it everyone simultaneously just went into the middle. The circle just went in and everyone was like ‘Love is in the air!’ I was like, ‘Ok, we’re doing it.’
D: It was beautiful.
M: I’m warming up to it.
D: I’ve always got covers I want to do but it’s always hard to talk Marcus into them. He’s got his unique way of doing vocals.
M: I just find it hard to learn other people’s lyrics. I have a slight learning disorder, so I’m very verbally focused. A lot of people write lyrics differently to how I do. My brain just wants to go that way and their lyrics are usually the other direction. It’s a lot of work and I’m kind of lazy about it. We’ll have to learn a Serge Gainsbourg song for France.
Let’s talk about your song ‘Lunch Envy’.
M: Another food song. It’s about my workmates judging what I eat for lunch.
D: So many people can relate to it. You’re sitting in the lunch room and people go…
M: ‘What have you got?’ and ‘Oh, you’re being good today’ – that’s my least favourite comment ever. It’s like you don’t see what I eat for breakfast or dinner. A chocolate bar for breakfast, you would judge me about that. The same people that say you’re being good, are the ones who’ll rock up at 8 o’clock with a Red Bull and ciggie (the Tradie’s breakfast of champions).
We love the video you did for ‘Street Fighter Man’. We were excited to see it on Rage.
D: Thanks. It’s been played a bunch of times. We have one for ‘A1 Bakery’ coming out by the time this interview comes out. It’s shaky, wobbly handicam -style.
M: But, very charming.
D: We’re doing one for ‘All The Drinks’ as well.
M: He wants to go all arty!
D: I played the ‘Street Fighter Man’ clip to the kids at the primary school. They were like, ‘How are you small?’
M: Tubs edited the clip and the one for ‘A1 Bakery’. It’s made on the cheap just using his time.
We have a rousing new song for you! ‘Baader Meinhof’ from Naarm band, Delivery. Their ever-evolving garage rock style with a post-punk wildness shining on this track, has us anticipating the November release of their debut full-length. We caught up with the band to ask about it, what they’re listening to, their recent tour with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen, go-to karaoke songs, and what makes them laugh.
We love knowing about what other people are listening to; what’s been on your radar of late?
DANIEL (drummer): Very excited for the new Alex G and Jockstrap records coming out this month. Locally I’ve been loving the new Garage Sale record and the latest Teether album MACHONA.
JAMES (guitar-vocals-keys): Been on a bit of an EXEK tear lately. The new Workhorse album is really great too. I’d also be lying if I didn’t say The Davinci Code by Blakey Bone – if you know, you know.
LISA (guitar-vocals): I’ve been listening a lot to The Comet is Coming in prep for Meredith and I’m hotly anticipating having my mind blown by their live set. More locally though I’ve been thrashing Cool Sounds who probably make the best music in the world?
BEC (bass-vocals): So much good music is coming out at the moment! Recently, Cool Sounds (agree with the statement made above ^ too good), Eggy, Michael Beach, Vintage Crop, Wireheads, and Ty Segall have been on heavy rotation for me.
SAM (guitar-vocals): My sister Lil and has recently put me on to Harry Nilson’s The Point, so I’ve been in a bit of an early 70’s zone lately (Emitt Rhodes is another). Also been playing a lot of NO ZU’s Afterlife and lots of Possible Humans. I’m really excited about all of the releases that our friend’s labels have been putting out this year too, as well as other people’s projects in Delivery (Blonde Revolver, Heir Traffic).
Delivery recently toured the East Coast of Australia with Tropical Fuck Storm and Party Dozen. We were stoked to finally meet you all in person when you came through Meeanjin; tell us about being on the road with such incredible bands?
LISA: It was lovely meeting you! Touring with TFS and Party Dozen was such a wild ride. We had a few very early mornings and close calls with flights but we managed to come away mostly unscathed. It was such a genuine privilege to be able to witness these incredible bands do their thing each night and we still can’t believe we got asked to join them! Everyone was so welcoming and lovely, but a definite highlight was joining TFS on stage at The Croxton for a rendition of ‘Saturday Night’ by Cold Chisel. Honourable mention to James for ungraciously yanking out Kirsty’s saxophone lead right before her solo, and to Gaz and Fi’s literal rockdogs Ralf and Foxy who definitely stole the show.
‘Baader Meinhof’ is the first single off your upcoming debut album, Forever Giving Handshakes. Baader-Meinhof phenomenon, which the song is named after, is kind of an increase in your awareness of something that leads you to believe it’s happening more; have you experienced this yourself?
BEC: Yeah for sure, I feel like this happens all the time. You meet someone new and see them everywhere or learn about a new thing then it pops up all the time. I found the term Baader Meinhof when I was actually searching for how to describe something else online, but that feeling is always quite weird and the term is kind of interesting… so why not write a song about it haha I guess.
The song is also about putting mental time into reading into the universe about things and overthinking about stuff; is this something you feel you do?
BEC: Haha ahh kinda, I try not to do that though which is kinda the point of the song. I think wondering about the deeper reasoning of why things happen in life and what it all means is something that can be easy to do, but kinda just prefer to enjoy the ride and not overthink things too much because ultimately most of the time it is just what it is … For example with the Baader Meinhof phenomenon in reality, there’s no increase in occurrence of anything, it’s just that you’ve started to notice something more haha.
What’s your personal point of view on the song or its making?
JAMES: I think ‘Baader Meinhof’ was one of the most collaborative songs to come early in the process of making this album, and I think it ties together a lot of the things we do well as a band with everyone’s own little personality too. Bec is charging from the get-go and when Lisa joins in they both do their classic slightly sassy/extra cool vocal thing, we gave Sam a fair bit of leeway of the guitar solos and Danny is hitting everything as hard as he can as per usual. And I got to play a keyboard solo, cop that.
Was there any specific sonic references points for the new collection of songs?
JAMES: This song started with a bunch of sonic reference points that we sorta tried to disguise. I think Bec and Lisa’s original idea for the song was fairly inspired by ‘Boys In The Better Land’ by Fontaines DC, and the song’s main riff was actually this guitar idea I had that sounded a lot like AC/DC haha. Had to pull out a few tricks to Delivery-ify everything though. Overall, the new record does a pretty similar thing – we’re pulling references from some favourites like The Intelligence, Yummy Fur, Lithics, Parquet Courts, and then doing our very best to make it sound like Delivery.
The single was recorded live in your rehearsal space in Brunswick, as is the majority of the new album; why did you choose to record this way?
JAMES: The first 7” was a real lockdown project, and sounded nothing like the live band with its drum machines, DI’ed guitars and synths. The next 7” was more of a group effort, but was still recorded in our garage one at a time, so still didn’t really capture the band at full force. After a year of playing together, it seemed like a good time to show people the real deal.
SAM: The space in Brunswick is covered in sound treating foam, wall to wall. It’s a really good room to record something in if you want it to sound close and in your face, which is probably the type of energy that these songs were going for. I like recording live because you’re able to get people’s communication in the room on the recording. The performance always has something a little extra, whether it be imperfections or just a great vibe.
Whose idea was it to shoot the video in a karaoke bar? What’s your go to karaoke song?
BEC: That was my idea, inspired by good friend and karaoke fiend Isobel Buckley. One morning I was watching IG stories from everyone’s weekends as you do! And saw a bunch of videos of her and a few friends at the karaoke bar and though damn this shit is so funny and entertaining, why not make it into a whole three and a half minute film clip? So a few weekends later, Delivery + Sam (Spoilsport) and James Devlin went for our very own karaoke night out and the rest is history. My go-to karaoke song always changes depending on my mood. I think me and James duetting at the Boogie club house to Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’, ending in both of us crowd surfing, is a pretty massive karaoke highlight for me so maybe let’s just say that.
DANIEL: ‘Wuthering Heights’ (singstar duet) – Kate Bush
JAMES: A little song called ‘Knights of Cydonia’ by Muse.
LISA: I like to think that I’m actually quite a good crooner, so I reckon ‘Fly Me to the Moon’ by Frank Sinatra.
SAM: Anything from Maroon 5’s Songs About Jane.
The album art work featuring the band on a roller coaster rules! What’s the story behind it?
BEC: It was all a bit of a rush getting the album together as these things usually go… haha and one of the things we left to the very last minute was the name and artwork. A few names were being thrown around and one was ‘Trying to Enjoy the Ride’, and the idea of the artwork was inspired by that name when me and Sam (Spoilsport) were joking around once. Even though the name turned out to be totally different we still backed the idea enough to roll with it.
Getting the photo was real funny actually. Luna Park is not as whimsical as you’d recall from being a kid – it is actually a bit of a hell-ish nightmare, especially if you have a fear of birds and are very hungover… both of which I may have been. We got there in the end though and I’m super stoked with it. A massive shout out to James Morris for taking the picture and waiting in the carpark for over an hour while we lined up for the Scenic Railway, and also for James Devlin for his amazing design work on Delivery’s alway tight timelines.
How did you come up with the name for the album, Forever Giving Handshakes?
JAMES: There’s a song on the album called ‘Born Second’, which features the line “forever giving handshakes”. In the context of that song, I was thinking about how whenever I have to give a handshake I’m always concerned about whether I’m shaking firmly enough or not – for some weird reason, someone once decided that was an adequate way of measuring up a person.
As an album title it seemed to nicely round out a few recurring themes – some tracks are about feeling stuck in a rut, some tracks are about the workplace, some tracks are about winning big and/or losing hard. All in all, it’s because Delivery are hustlers.
What are you most nervous about getting ready to release your debut album?
JAMES: The inevitable fame and fortune.
BEC: Selling out of the records too quickly.
DANIEL: Not winning an ARIA.
SAM: The maddening power going to everyone in Delivery’s heads.
LISA: People at work finding out about it.
What’s the last thing that made you laugh really hard?
DANIEL: Sam Lyons, Billiam and Meaghan Weiley filling in on RRR together last week had me cackling
LISA: The last thing that made me really belly laugh was playing a game of catch in the pool with my sister and friend Iso on holiday recently.
SAM: James Morris on the phone
BEC: Watching ‘Nathan for You’… Also tour antics with Crop and Stroppies, funny crew.
JAMES: Playing Truth or Dare with Vintage Crop on the weekend. Jack Cherry can handstand.
Delivery is an effortlessly cool garage-rock, post-punk combo with programmed beats from Naarm/Melbourne. Today Gimmie are premiering their debut EP Yes We Do in full. Delivery’s Bec Allan and James Lynch were kind enough to fill us in on the energetic release and give us a glimpse into the band.
What do you love about making music?
BEC ALLAN: Really just hanging out with likeminded people and friends, doing a creative thing that we’re all passionate about, nothing funner than that!
JAMES LYNCH: Yeah, just a good excuse to hang out with friends really! Also, quite cool how quick the process can be between making something up and having it out in the world.
How did you both first meet? And, when did you realise you wanted to make music with each other?
BA: We first met at this music festival Boogie in 2017 and have been going out for about four years now… haha. We never really planned to make music together per sé but I guess since we were both doing it separately and share similar musical interests it was bound to happen at one point or another. Also being locked in a room together for a few months helped push that along pretty quickly.
JL: I think we’ve also been big fans of each other’s bands for as long as we’ve known each other, so it was pretty easy to trust we’d be able to make something sorta cool together, even if it was just to pass the time.
Delivery formed in lockdown. You’re both in various other bands – Gutter Girls, Blonde Revolver, The Vacant Smiles & Kosmetika; what did you want to do differently with this new band? I know you started out just making songs up for fun.
BA: We were actually trying to figure out how and why we even started doing this project the other day, but neither of us can really remember haha. I think this band is cool because we both play pretty different music in other bands and it’s kind of a cross over between both our styles. Someone said when we first started that it’s probably the most punk band James has played in and the least punk I have. I think for me, it’s also been really cool to write lyrics for the first time and have a way bigger songwriting input than in other bands.
JL: I guess it was also a nice opportunity to play with someone else who had a pretty different musical background/set of experiences so there wasn’t really an obvious intention to begin with, we just wanted to see what might happen – I don’t think we had any specific goals other than to have some fun with it. It’s definitely forced us both to think about what our usual musical tendencies are, but to also come up with something that suits the group dynamic, which is a good challenge, and I think so far we’ve been able to meet somewhere in the middle nicely.
I love the synthesisers and programmed beats in Delivery’s music; where did your love of these stem from?
JL: To be honest, I don’t think either of us have a proper love for synth heavy or drum machine music haha, this band is my first time ever using drum machines and I know almost nothing about synthesizers. I suppose it was more a necessity to be able to make something interesting from within a bedroom, when you don’t have too many tools are your disposal and can’t really go too loud. That said, I think it’s maybe shifted my brain a bit to be a bit more curious about how bands that I like do use synths and drum machines in cool ways, there’s so many good bands doing this kind of stuff and using those instruments to mess with whatever feels like a ‘normal’ rock band setting. It’s nice to throw yourself in the deep end a bit sometimes too.
Personally, who are your biggest creative inspirations?
BA: Well, I’ve always been really into the 70’s New York punk scene but have definitely been expanding my music taste way more in last few years and that’s probably where more influences for this band came from – recently a lot of garage rock and post punk bands like Parquet Courts / The Clean / ESG / Raincoats and others have been on pretty high rotation so I use them as inspo for sure. Also, just the Melbourne music scene in general is super inspiring and being part of it always keeps me motivated, listening to new stuff coming out constantly and seeing so many sick bands all the time is so cool, so I guess to be able to work on my own things is exciting to be part of it.
J: When we started Delivery, a big reference point was The Intelligence – they’re such a good band and I think a lot of the music coming out of Melb shares a lot of qualities with their stuff but no one really talks about them! Just generally though, I think the biggest inspiration I get is from local bands and friends though, it’s so exciting being in Melbourne and being able to see an amazing band one night and then using that to prompt something in your own music, feels a bit less like you’re ripping off a band if you know them haha.
What puts you in the mood to create?
BA: Literally having any spare time haha… playing in so many bands plus work and uni keeps me busy for sure so getting a sec to relax and just fiddle around on the bass is a bit of a luxury that I try make the most out of when it comes around! And when I can come up with something cool or interesting (to me at least) I pretty much charge with it cause it’s always pretty exciting having something new to bring to the band and work on.
JL: I don’t know if I really need a mood to create either. I think I almost like the idea of having lots of songs more than I like the creative process, so actually making up songs is just a means to an end. I think I’m fairly lucky that I can just force myself to make up ideas if I really want to, so if I do get an idea, I like I’ll run with it regardless of my mood because it’s kinda nice to have another song at the end of the day.
We first heard you on the Blow Blood Records ALTA comp with song ‘Poor-to-middling Moneymaking’; how do you feel your sound has grown since that first song?
JL: A couple of the songs on Yes We Do were written at the exact same time as ‘Poor to Middling’, so that’s a bit of a hard question to answer. I guess both the 7” and that song catches us while we’re trying out different ideas of what Delivery could sound like and maybe testing out a few of our tricks all at once – although maybe the final version of the 7” songs were given a little more focus. We play that song live at the moment though and I’m really excited to do a full band version of that song, maybe once we do that it’ll be easier to compare and see how Delivery has developed. The full band help it rock a little harder I reckon.
Bec, you’ve previously said that writing lyrics is always pretty intimidating; what intimidates you about it and what helps you push through that?
BA: I guess the most intimidating thing is that people will hear what you’re saying and think about it then think it’s lame or bad haha but over time I’ve come to realise people don’t really read into lyrics that much or if you don’t want to give too much away you don’t really have too. Definitely working with our guitarist and my housemate Lisa has made me feel way more comfortable rolling with ideas or even lines of songs. We are both kind of each other’s hype person when it comes to that so it makes it a really fun positive experience and makes me feel way more confident as we go!
What’s something you love about your debut EP Yes We Do?
BA: I love the artwork by Mac Int., massive legend and she hit the nail on the head with it. Feels a bit weird saying what I like about my songs but I will say I love Delivery and everyone in it!
J: I like the drum sound. I also like that Bec and Lisa’s deadpan singing makes us sound a bit more badass than we maybe are.
Was there anything that surprised you about writing or recording this release?
BA: How quickly writing and recording 7” can be done if you want it to be haha – think we decided in April we actually wanted to do this so it all came together pretty quickly.
JL: When we started Delivery, I thought we’d be writing these wild punk songs and then when they were finished it sorta turned out that my most punk still is kinda not super punk whoops. Sam from Spoilsport actually said a nice thing along those lines, that even though we sorta do post-punk there’s still a fair bit of garage and pop smarts about it that maybe helps us stand out a bit from the real punks. If you can’t join them, beat them.
Can you give us a little insight into each song on the EP? ‘Floored’, ‘The Explainer’, ‘Rubber’ & ‘Brickwork’.
BA: ‘Floored’ literally about a stain on my carpet (Lisa and I are pretty precious about our carpet so we were devastated to find it) but also maybe it’s about some other things in life that are stuck and hard to get rid of or move on from. I dunno haha maybe just trying to place some meaning that isn’t there or maybe it is??? You can make what you want of that.
JL: ‘Explainer’ is a song about how you don’t need to hear the end of every story. I’m a sucker for wanting to know what happens next in every irrelevant anecdote, and this is a reminder that you don’t have to tell me if you don’t want to.
BA: I wrote ‘Rubber’ after a kinda shitty experience buying some things from a music store near me and I guess it’s a little diss track to some people that work at some music stores that don’t always take non-male identifying people seriously, not all stores are like this but it still gets you every now and then.
JL: ‘Brickwork’ is about how anyone who does anything good or shitty is ultimately either as celebrated or held as accountable as the people who back them up. Good to double check the people you hold up deserve your support, I guess.
Sound-wise, why was it important for you to keep some of the spirit of the sound of your early home recordings rather than really polish things up too much?
JL: Playing with the band is so good that it was very tempting to just ditch all the home recordings and make an album like we sound live. But there was lots of charm to our original production style that I thought would’ve been a shame not to share, so I guess it seemed nice to do the 7” as a little stepping stone.
After starting as a two-piece Delivery have now expanded into a five-piece; how have the songs evolved with the additions to the band and finally getting to play them live?
JL: It’s been fun making the songs sound a bit bigger, and it’s nice having a few more perspectives in the band to throw in the mix. The 7” definitely wouldn’t have come out as it did if we didn’t have the full band helping to steer the ship. All five of us are real good friends too, so it’s just a blast to play rock songs with more of your buds.
Your release is coming out on Spoilsport; what’s one release you’re loving from a fellow Spoilsport band we should check out?
BA: EGGGYYY!! My favs and besties! Bravo is just excellent but also so many friends and great music on the label… Quality Used Cars, Carpet Burn, Hooper Crescent etc. just go on the bandcamp and pick anything and there will be no disappointment.
JL: Spoilsport are the best in the biz and I love every album they’ve put out. A particularly cool one for me is Quality Used Cars album, Francis is one of my longest friends and the two of us helped each other get into making music when we were about 14, so there’s something special in coming full circle and putting out music in different bands but on the same label 13 years later.
Super-X’s debut self-titled album is full of aliveness, possibilities and risk. The Naarm/Melbourne trio walk the tightrope of balance of control and dissonance that’s beautiful and ugly at the same time. Gimmie interviewed co-vocalist-guitarist, George Ottaway.
Hi George! How are you? What did you get up to today?
GEORGE OTTAWAY: Hey Bianca! I’m pretty good, it’s the weekend, so I’m taking it pretty easy so far. My girlfriend is from Madrid so tonight we are heading to what’s meant to be one of Melbourne’s best Tapas bars. Will report more on this later!
What’s an album in your music collection that’s important for you?
GO: For me, it’s got to be Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92. It’s a really beautiful album and I find myself coming back to it again and again since first discovering it in my mid-teens. It evokes a lot of memories for me, including a really memorable solo trip I did to Iceland for All Tomorrows Parties Festival back in 2015, when I listened to it a lot. I also think it’s probably the most coherent and consistent Aphex Twin release, and maybe the only one where he isn’t intentionally trying to fuck with his audience!
How did you first get into music? Did you and your brother (Super-X’s co-vocalist-guitarist) Harrison get into music together?
GO: Growing up, music had a very important presence in our house. Our parents are both music fans and liked to fill every possible moment of silence with community radio or a CD from their collection. I remember hearing a lot of the Rolling Stones, Nirvana and Nick Cave. Our dad in particular made it his personal mission to impart his musical taste on us; by the time we hit primary school he was pumping The Stooges’ Raw Power on cassette in the car as he drove us to school! When we were teenagers, we both picked up guitar and formed garage bands with our friends. It was a pretty interesting, exciting time to be making music, websites like Myspace and programs like Garage Band were suddenly making it really easy and accessible for young kids like us to record songs and get them heard by a wider audience. This was also around the time we discovered the Melbourne underground scene! We got into bands like Kiosk, Bird Blobs, Sea Scouts, Circle Pit, Witch Hats, ECSR, Zond, the Nihilistic Orbs label and started going to a lot of shows.
When did you first know that you wanted to play music yourself?
GO: I think around the age of 13. I was pretty obsessed with music and just knew it was something I had to do. In primary school I had a pop-punk band that played to the other students in the school hall, which was pretty cute and my first taste at playing music.
What inspired you to start Super-X?
GO: I’d watched Harrison – he’s a bit older than me – play shows in different bands over the years and I was itching to get into it myself! We were both living together at home at the time and both of us playing guitar just made it easy. We were intrigued by each other’s styles – I’d say Harrison is more technically astute, while my own style is a bit more naive and abrasive. We both wanted to play in a band that was a bit grimier and more ferocious than what we had previously done, so we outlined a bunch of key influences that we both enjoyed and started jamming regularly. After a while Harrison wrote the guitar line for ‘Weapon-X’, which is where we found our sound. A little after that we recorded our first demo, with me playing drums – it’s still up on our Soundcloud!
Can you tell us a little bit about the writing process for your debut self-titled album? Do you write collaboratively?
GO: A lot of the time we just bring in a riff or even a drum idea to practice and see where it takes us. Super-X rehearsals are always really fun: we spend a lot of time just jamming and improvising together. Harrison, Kaelan [Emond ] and I have been playing together now for a while so we all know how to interact with each other, when to rise and when to tone everything down. After we have the instrumentation down then we usually work on our lyrics – often it just begins with a murmur and becomes more fully formed as the song grows.
The album was recorded over six months between August 2019 and February 2020 at Invention Studios in Footscray working with Ryan Fallis and Mathias Dowle. Ryan & Mathias are fantastic to work with – they are incredibly patient, contribute great ideas and have one of the most incredible guitar pedal collections I have ever seen, including a number of pedals from the former U.S.S.R that they let us use! They are also lovely dudes, highly recommended!
Was it intentional to take your time recording or was it a necessity because of other commitments?
GO: In 2019 we had actually hit a bit of a slump with the band. We were all beginning to lose a bit of interest and all had a lack of direction with what we wanted to do and had all considered breaking the band up. We had tried recording a year prior but were pretty disappointed with the results. With work and other musical commitments (Kaelen plays drums in Obscura Hail, and I play rhythm guitar in Future Suck) we were also struggling to find the time to devote to Super-X. It was at this stage we decided to take a gamble and head back into the studio with Ryan Fallis & Mathias Dowle at Invention Studios. We were pretty unprepared in a number of ways, a lot of songs were only 80% complete, but I think taking this risk definitely added a bit of vulnerability and excitement to the sessions. We weren’t really sure what was going to come out of it and we just dived in head first. The album was recorded as live as possible with very minimal overdubs. We’d been thinking about the structure of the album for a while: we wanted a strong narrative and a focus on ambient and sound pieces throughout. Figuring out the exact track listing and order of the album was really exciting – we experimented with it as the tracks started to take shape – and ultimately pretty satisfying.
What influenced your choice to go with a real bare-bones vocal?
GO: Harrison and I aren’t natural singers, and the focus of Super-X has always really been on instrumentation, with lyrics and vocals taking a bit of a backseat a lot of the time. I think a lot of our inspiration vocally came from a the early Iceage LP’s. We wanted a delayed sound on the vocals and to have them gritty and pretty low in the mix. I think lyrically we just wanted them to be direct and to the point as possible so they could pierce through all the distortion and effects.
The album came out right in the middle of lockdown because of the global pandemic; how did you feel about not being able to play shows for its release? Any plans to play shows soon?
GO: I was actually quite thrilled with the album coming out in 2020. It’s such an iconic year for all the wrong reasons, but with no shows on and everyone having a lot of solitude I think it enabled us to carve out our own space and get the interest of Spoilsports records and Polaks, who did a joint release for the album. I think a lot of people took the time to actually give it a spin who might not have given it the time of day in other circumstances. Friends and fans have always described our music and live shows as a bit dystopian so I think having it released in 2020 is sort of fitting funnily enough?
We’ve actually got two shows coming up! Thursday March 4th at the retreat with Crash Material and our official LP launch on Saturday March 27th at Old Bar. We will be revealing the full line-up a little further down the track for that one.
What’s the most fun you’ve ever had playing a show? Where was it? What made it a blast?
GO: I lived in a massive pretty run-down house with an enormous backyard in Caulfield from 2015-2020. A lot of the LP was written in that house and is based on that particular chapter of my life. We had a bunch of parties with my housemates and would get bands to play in the lounge room which would always go off. There’s something about seeing live bands outside of the normal constraints of a venue which gets people really fired up. We had over 100 people at one of the parties and set up smoke machines and strobes, we had a fire lit outside and a TV at the end of a dark corridor looping Clint Eastwood’s The Good, The Bad and The Ugly on high volume. Super-X played with Tony Dork (who just released a brilliant LP on Legless last year!) and it went off! Both bands played well and I’ve got some pretty memorable photos from the night. After bands we had a bunch of techno sets going well and truly into the early hours. Someone put the smoke machine on full blast and the dance floor turned into a thick, smoky nightmare scene for an hour or so with people panicking and spilling out into the backyard. My neighbours wouldn’t look me in the eyes for months after! I went to a music festival a year later and a guy I swear I had never seen before in my life came up to me and was preaching to me about how it was one of the best parties he had ever been to haha. It was loose.
Travel has been off the cards for most people for a while now because of the pandemic but if you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
GO: I had plans to go to Brazil for a 6-8 weeks on my own but COVID of course fucked everything up. I’ve always loved hot weather, good food and to be as far away from anyone who’s first language is English as possible when travelling. In 2018 I travelled through the Balkans and wound up getting a bus from Athens to Gjirokaster in Albania. Its where the dictator Hoxce was born and has a pretty fascinating history. There’s loads of old Nazi war loot that the Albanian army kept after they defeated the axis in the castle, including old tanks and captured flags, weapons and a documentation on how they defeated the retreating axis armies, which is pretty interesting. Albania was definitely a highlight of recent years, beautiful country and off the beaten track.
You did the artwork and design for the album; did you study art? How did you decide on the imagery? What made you go with a stark black & white palette?
GO: Yeah, I did! I did a fine arts course at RMIT specialising in drawing, so I was glad to put it to use for creating the imagery for the album. I’ve always been a firm believer in that the imagery and aesthetics of bands are just as important as the music. It’s got to be strong, bold and to the point. I honestly think if the Germs and Black Flag didn’t have their great aesthetics (the four bars symbol and Germ’s circle one logo) they wouldn’t be anywhere near as popular as they are today. People want to feel cool when they wear your band t-shirt or buy your record so the aesthetics have got to hold up.
Locally HTRK have incredible design for every release they do, I’m a massive fan of them. Nigel Yang is one of my favourite guitarists.
With Super-X I wanted something equally as bold so I decided on an industrial looking electrical plug image. Super-X is pretty mechanical and wild sounding at times so I think it suits what we do. I think for a debut LP classic black and white can never go wrong. I also drew a lot of inspiration from Peter Saville’s design and techno/ambient LP’s from the ‘90s like Underworlds Dubnobasswithmyheadman and Autechre LP’s. A lot of musical groups the less you see of the artists themselves sometimes the better, it creates more mystique and intrigue.
I never want Super-X LP’s to be about my Harrison, Kaelan or myself, or the way we look or whatever or to have us pictured on the front or back cover. I want the experience of listening to a Super-X LP to be like putting on a film with narrative of beginning, middle and end. With a strong emphasis on visual bold aesthetics to suit. The less focus on us as individuals the better. I’m a firm believer in that.
Have you been working on anything new?
GO: We have! We’ve got a bunch of tracks we’ve started to develop and have been working on some ideas in terms of sound and aesthetics for the next piece. It’s going to sound a little bit different.
Who are some bands you love that we should know about?
GO: I think locally Romero – shit hot band that a bunch of our buds play in. I used to play drums in the guitarist Ferg’s post-punk band Eyesores years ago when I was cutting my teeth playing my first ever shows. These guys are working on an LP that I am very much looking forward to, it’s really fun rocking power-pop. I really dug the new TOL album, Justin Fuller has influenced me a lot, he’s an amazing guitarist and always creates a very intense atmosphere. It’s like gothic tinged hardcore? I’m really enjoying Snowy Band, beautiful gentle pop and the production is excellent.
What’s something that’s been interesting you lately that you want to share with others?
GO: I recently discovered Japanese cyberpunk metamorphoses films from the early ‘90s. 964 Pinnochio (check out the trailer on YouTube for an idea) is fucking wild, I guess you could describe them as industrialist-fetish films? and the soundtracks is an absolutely incredible mix of techno and ambient selections I’ve never heard. The director Shozin Fukui also directed Rubber’s Lover which is just as twisted as 964 Pinnochio. There’s also Tetsuo The Iron Man which is more well known by Shinya Tsukamoto. These films are very confronting! Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
We’re very excited that Eggy are getting set to release new album Bravo! on November 13 on Spoilsport Records! It’s been on high rotation here at Gimmie HQ since they sent us a sneak peek a few weeks back. We loved their 2019 EP Billy. Bravo! delivers more of the garage-surrealist-pop that we’ve come to love from the free form expressionists yet takes it even further with oodles of lyrical wit, charm and musical experimentation with a water cooler, glass bottles & glockenspiel! Eggy’s debut full-length is a delight. We interviewed keyboardist-bassist-vocalist, Zo Monk to get an insight into the new LP.
What inspired Eggy to first get together?
ZO MONK: Friendship and gags.
Did you initially have an idea for how you wanted to sound? What informed the creation of your surrealist-pop sound?
ZM: It was kind of a running gag at the start that we could never figure out what kind of songs we wanted to make. We weren’t sure what we were going for, but we were going for it haha. I think over time though, we’ve all developed more as songwriters and have a better grasp on how to bring things together. I think the surrealist pop sound just comes from having more confidence in what we’re doing.
What’s one of the best things you do to get your creative juices flowing when you set out to make something?
ZM: Make a big cup of coffee.
You have a new album Bravo! coming out in November; where did the album title come from?
ZM: The title is very sarcastic and I hope people don’t think we’re serious. It conjures such an exaggerated image for me of standing ovations and rose throwing. It makes me laugh with its over the topness. One time I went to the ballet and people actually shouted bravo at the end – it was a big culture shock for a girl from Dandenong. We’re just trying to live our high art form fantasy.
What intention did you have for this record going into it? Was there things you wanted to do differently from last year’s EP Billy?
ZM: When we recorded Billy, we were all so new to recording and didn’t have a great grasp on how to actually make a record. I think with Bravo! we were a bit more confident, and had a better understanding of the process itself. So there was a lot more attention to detail with the ideas, but also just a push out of the comfort zone. Taking a few more creative risks and letting that momentum drive itself.
I’ve heard that the process for writing this album was quite varied, to give us an idea of this variance and your process; could you tell us a bit about the first song that was written and the last most recent one?
ZM: ‘Another Day In Paradise’ is the last song we recorded, which we wrote all together on the last day of recording. It started with a 5 minute piano loop, and then 3 or 4 misc percussion tracks – after that everything was pretty much just done in one take. Big improv energy. HAL 9000 is one of the first songs we ever wrote, and definitely the most senior song on the record. Dom [Moore] had his guitar part and lyrics, and then we all just jammed it in rehearsals. Actually when you remove the context, they don’t sound that different haha. I guess one was being written as it was recorded, and the other jammed out over time.
I understand that on this record you were more interested in and focused on capturing the expression of an idea rather than getting it technically perfect; what were the things that helped you in doing this?
ZM: Trusting your gut. If you hear something and it sparks joy, then roll with it.
There’s also a lot of experimentation on Bravo using things like a glockenspiel to a water cooler; how did the water cooler idea come into play? What other things did you experiment with?
ZM: The water cooler was Fabian’s idea I think! Nothing was sacred anymore. Other things we experimented with were a Space Echo, glass bottles, and sometimes too much caffeine.
Fabian Hunter recorded this album and also added additional guitar and drums; what were some of the best things working with Fabian?
ZM: He was keen to roll with whatever idea we had, always had tea and coffee, has a really cute dog, and would tell us when we weren’t quite hitting the notes haha. He’s a really kind and supportive person to work with, who makes an effort to make sure everyone in the room is comfortable. Do recommend!
What was one of the most fun moments you had while making this record?
ZM: I know it’s tragic to say, but the whole thing. Sue me.
What was the idea behind going with the minimalist, exclamation point album cover design by Ashley Goodall?
ZM: Ash is such a master. When she came up with that exclamation point design we just knew it was the one. I love that it’s all wrapped in itself, but with bold simplicity.
How has not being able to play live over the last few months due to the pandemic and lockdown affected you?
ZM: Playing live isn’t really my favourite part about being in a band or making music, so it hasn’t hit me super bad not being able to play shows. But I reallllllly miss seeing shows, and the community aspect of that. I miss cheering for my friends.
Anything else you’d like to tell us or share with us?