Tuesday, February 23, 2016
Interview :: Horror My Friend
Interview :: Horror My Friend
Here at Little Indie we have become somewhat enamoured of Australian band Horror My Friend, not just because their debut album 'Stay In, Do Nothing', released last month, is stonkingly good, but because they tweet about the Brit 'institution' that is Val Doonican with their mates in the band British India!
The following interview originally appeared in the music blog Casual Band Blogger. For this and more music profiles, you can reach their site with a click here.
Words: Genevieve Gao
Storming the Aussie music scene with a fine balance of raw power and well-crafted melodies comes a refreshing approach to shoegaze and noise rock. Gearing up for a national tour, Gen chatted with singer and guitarist Josh Battersby about playing BIGSOUND for the first time, the impact of ‘80s heavyweights Sonic Youth, and being inducted into the Robert Stigwood Fellowship.
First of all, congrats on making it to BIGSOUND and showcasing some ‘Radelaide’ talent. What were the highlights, and what was it like transitioning to a much larger crowd?
It was great playing to a bunch of people who we’ve never met before. That’s the goal when you’re playing to the state I guess. It was a great time playing with Skies and Grenadiers as well, really good friends with those guys. So I’m glad they got to do the same thing. BIGSOUND was a pretty good experience. We only got to stay for one night though ‘cause Tom and I had to go to uni the next day. I was with a friend and looked through a bunch of rad bands that I’ve already gone to see at school, so yeah, it was a great time.
Now January 22nd – clearly a huge date for you guys with your upcoming album and tour kicking off. Which tracks from the new record are you most excited to play live, and what are you expecting the energy to be like from crowds you’ve never played before?
I guess my favourite song on the album is probably the last track called ‘PB Remains’. I guess we like to put out a lot of energy live, and it’s nice to view that return, and the crowd if they like it. I just hope everyone has a good time.
Last year was a massive one for you guys – great work on hooking up with Poison City Records! How did that opportunity actually come about, and what’s a unique aspect of the label that really nurtures artists?
So we tracked our album in early January but we didn’t finish mixing and mastering it until probably July. So we got a bunch of record label emails to send the album to, and yeah we got a reply from Poison City. We were pretty surprised by that to be honest, a bunch of good bands are at that label. In terms of nurturing bands, they’re just nice guys but you know, they just encourage you to tour a lot. I guess that’s the best thing about it, they get you to tour and just play with bands on the label as well. We love bands like Postblue, and White Walls released an album through Poison City too. But yeah, I guess we were stoked with that.
So with 'Stay In, Do Nothing' you recorded it at Melbourne’s Hothouse Audio and then had Richard Bowers mix it. Was there anything about the location that helped shape the album, and how was the process different to recording 'A Million Hands'?
I guess with 'A Million Hands', we recorded it with Matt Hills in Adelaide. I think that was the third or fourth time we’d recorded with him before, and Richard mixed the EP. So this time, we got a grant for a fair bit of money, which we were super lucky to get I think. That’s another reason why the album came about in the first place. Our friends actually went to record at Hothouse and they raved about it, so we booked four days there as well. We did two days of drums at Hothouse, and then we did a week with Richard at Soundpark Studios just on bass and guitars. Soundpark was really cool, because Richard’s a big nerd and he’s got heaps of gear, so we just took all the gear from his house and set it up at Soundpark. Then we were back at Hothouse for the last two days just doing vocals.
I guess it was cool not doing it all at the one place, that’s what I liked about it. Some places give off different vibes I guess, and being able to travel and record’s pretty incredible.
One of the things that defines your sound is the crossroads between raw aggression and melodic songwriting. What have been some of the challenges in developing that?
I guess we used to be a bit more collaborative in how we wrote our songs, whereas this bunch of songs for the album was either Tom and I would go away and we’d both sing on different songs, or pretty much write songs to completion and then just do it in band practice. So that was a bit different, that’s just how the songs came out.
You guys have previously cited ‘Life Blood’ as “a big turning point” for the band in terms of honing in on a more specific sound. From where you guys are at right now, does that still stand and is it a sound that you can hear through the new record?
Yeah, that’s for sure. I guess ‘Life Blood’ is a bit more melodical than the kind of stuff we’re used to doing. So yeah, we’re just trying to get more melodies in our sound.
Now you’ve collaborated with Brett Walters to produce some great lo-fi, intimately shot clips for ‘Mazes’ and latest single ‘Stay In’. What were the creative and shooting processes like in working with Brett?
So I guess with ‘Mazes’ we just wanted to go with the lo-fi, grainy, kind of like it was shot on VHS or something like that. I think that clip was a bunch of fun, everything was in Tom’s backyard, pretty much. For the second one, Brett came up with idea to have the clouds in the background with the people just sitting around not doing all that much, which was really cool. We liked that idea, so yeah we just went for that.
We didn’t really have all that much say in how the clip went, I suppose, but that’s fine with us, ‘cause Brett’s a wizard behind the camera.
It’s awesome to see you guys get included in the Robert Stigwood Fellowship last year. How successful has the program been in promoting the South Australian music scene, and where do you reckon it’s at overall?
I think the Robert Stigwood program’s a pretty recent thing, it’s in its second year now. So what kind of happens is mentoring sessions where Dan Crannitch and Stuart catch up every month to cover where we’re at and where we want to head, and they’ll just give us ideas on anything we haven’t thought of doing yet and just help us achieve our goals. So the last event they had a bigger bunch like Tkay (Maidza), Bad//Dreems, Jesse (Davidson), all those bands are doing incredibly well. So this year’s a pretty cool bunch, Grenadiers are doing it, Skies. So it’s just a pretty good mentoring thing and everyone’s just mates and you go out and drink beers and talk about what you’ve been getting up to.
Let’s talk two of your favourite subjects: noise rock, and Sonic Youth. Why do you think Sonic has created the massive impact that it has, not just on the ‘80s era but for bands like you guys who are immersed in that sound?
That’s a good question. I guess for us, Tom and I love the guitar players Thurston Moore and Lee Ronaldo. I think also how they turned that massive sound into pop songs as well, that’s pretty incredible. It’s just very melodic and just the way they sing; Kim Gordon too, more so even. Their singing you wouldn’t official call like pop singing but they work it into a melody and I don’t know, it just all works somehow. You don’t think it would, but it does.
Finally, I couldn’t go without mentioning the great support tours you’ve had with your favourites The Cribs and Sincerely, Grizzly. Have those guys influenced you musically, and have you talked about collaborating on a single or even an album?
The really good thing is that Tom and I used to listen to them you know, when we were in high school, like before we even knew them, met the guys. But we never so much co-write I suppose, I guess ‘cause The Cribs are from the UK, so yeah when we got to play with them that was pretty incredible. They’re one of my favourite bands, like you always dream of playing with your favourite band and getting to hang with them afterwards. They were the nicest guys as well. So yeah, I guess it’d be cool to do that at some point. It’d be pretty hard to do it with The Cribs, but Grizzly for sure, that’d be pretty cool. I’d never thought about that before. We’ve gone out and done covers and stuff together but yeah, that could be on the cards one day.
See live Australia dates for Horror My Friend, which include special guests on the Grenadiers Oz tour next month.
26 Melbourne The Old Bar
27 Ballarat Karova Lounge
10 Brisbane Crowbar *
11 Sydney Brighton Up Bar *
12 Melbourne Shebeen *
18 Adelaide The Jade *
01 Adelaide Jive
* with Grenadiers
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