| Article By Cindy James on Jun 22, 2003 |
Cindy: A lot of things have happened since last we spoke last, (Been about 8 months!?) including the signing to FMR (Festival Mushroom Records). Can you tell us a little about the new label and how you’re enjoying being signed to a major??
Rob: It’s great! Obviously we were fairly nervous. It was a big step up for us, coming from an independent label, but everything has been running really smooth, everyone has been really supportive. They give us total creative control. We designed our own artwork, chose the singles we want to release off the cd, Zoch does all our artwork for us, that’s not going to be changing any time soon, which they love, the label gives us 100% encouragement. It’s great.
Cindy: The successful follow up to your highly acclaimed debut EP (Take Time) has just been released and is selling rapidly. I have to admit, it’s a fantastic disc and the rotation in my CD player hasn’t stopped. How do you feel about the outcome of the new EP ‘Midnight Express’?
Zoch: In terms of ‘Take Time’ and ‘Midnight Express’ we’ve come out really happy with both of them. They are both slightly different errors in our song writing and our experience with music. We are extremely happy with the songs on Midnight Express, the production, we’re ecstatic about. Especially this being our debut release upon a major. We’re really happy with how it’s doing, we couldn’t’ve asked for anything better. We’ve gained a hell of a lot of support in regards to rotation on the radio and television/videos as well, just touring behind the disc, it’s really good to have a product that we’re 100% happy with. Sometimes, we talk to bands who have released something and not been 100% happy with the finished product, it’s just one of those things that you have to get out there.
Cindy: What would be your favourite track, to both listen too and play live?
Brad: I’d say Midnight Express, the title track, basically the two moods the song produces. The first half of the songs’ crazy, airy sound as it cranks in… Especially when we’re playing live, the energy and vibe jumps out, we go crazy and it’s a heap of fun.
Rob & Zoch: AGREED!
Cindy: Is there a story or meaning behind the decision to title the EP after the third track off the disc?
Brad: The title was chosen for a number of reasons, firstly it was our favourite track out of the six, and I think that song in a way we feel most proud of.
Rob: Another thing is that the words, Midnight Express isn’t very specific; it can mean a few things. I’ve had a few people ask if the idea comes that most shows we play around midnight and we’re expressing ourselves at midnight or is it a train scenario or after the movie. So it just left it open, I think what we’re trying to do with our music is ensure that we don’t get boxed into anything, I think the title reflects that attitude as well.
Cindy: The new EP has demonstrated the band to has incorporated a more diverse emotionally charged, rockier style of music in comparison to Take Time. Was this a progression of influence/something you guys just punched out or an aim produce this sound?
Brad: Whenever we write, we never really aim to create a certain sound, we just write, what ever comes out, comes out. Every time we write a new batch of songs, it seems to be in six-month blocks. To listen to our really old material, you can see that it's come from a really pop punk angle. From there we branched out to more of a technical sound as apposed to now, where we’ve just gone back to the roots and said, ‘let’s just write whatever comes out’ and that’s how it happened. I think that’s what we did with M.E. We didn’t have any expectations for any song we just said whatever. However it comes out is how it’s going to be really.
Cindy: How do you feel the response has been from your fans as the progression of the bands’ new style was showcased?
Zoch: Really really good actually, the people that we have spoken to about it have all said that they appreciate what we’re doing. As we go along, we’re creating a more original sound each time, most of the fans, especially those who have been with us from the start, appreciate it. You get those one or two people who come out and tell us that they prefer our old shit better and you know, it’s up to us to enjoy our own music I guess.
Cindy: You guys have just embarked on a month long tour of the nation. Did this tour take you to places the bands has never been before or did you play most of these cities with Jedediah on your last run?
Rob: A bit of both. We went to a few cities that where we played on the Jebs tour but this time around was the first time we’ve been to Brisbane. We played four shows up there that were great. A lot of the shows we’ve been playing here in Sydney have been awesome as they’re not just the same venues, Byron Bay….. How good Brad!?
Brad: Sooo good!
Cindy: Did you’s head into Nimbin??
Zoch: Nar but we got this little flyer… Rob and I got really drunk one night and headed back to our room where we found this flyer with this guys head on it from Nimbin, funniest thing I’ve ever seen….
Rob: Some dude offered to buy Brad’s Afro for $6,000
Brad: He did!
Cindy: Hahahhah and I bet he was also wearing flares?
Rob: Close cin, close, he was wearing these bright fluro green pants. Before long he was trying to convince us that herbal tea was better for the environment than coffee…. What a dickhead!
Cindy: Where would some of the local talent that has impressed you upon your adventures be found?
Rob: Definitely After The Fall!!
Zoch: After the Fall!!!
Brad: Also, Something With Numbers!!!
Cindy: Yeah…….. Central Coast Pride!!!!! J
Cindy: Have you found a large difference in the music scene as you move from town to town?
Zoch: Yes and no, Everywhere you go, it has a different scene but in a way, it’s similar to Perth, they’re like little Perth’s all over the place, just bigger and smaller
Rob: Especially the Central Coast.
Zoch: Brisbane in particular, Melbourne and Sydney are slightly bigger and the crowds are slightly tougher I think…
Cindy: The band has just teamed up with 28 Days and After The Fall for the second leg of this tour, how have you found traveling/playing shows with these guys been? Any on or off stage antics (both with Gyro and the touring bands) you’d like to share with us?
Rob: Well there’s Scum Fighter and Knee Man, they like to break wine bottles, smash them up…
Zoch: They’re super hero’s that come out at night
Brad: They broke our cricket bat, which we brought over all the way from Perth.
Rob: I think they play in a band called 28 Days, but we can’t work out who it is because they wear masks. One man has a nickname but his sir name’s HepBurn
Brad: And the other guy, his name’s James, but they like to call him something else though.
Cindy: What’s some of the newer material the band has been listening to a lot lately?
Rob: AFI! New AFI owns!
Brad: My new favourite band is ‘The Music’
Cindy: You kind of look like the lead singer…
Rob: That’s what Matty (Manager) says
Zoch: Spewing dude!
Cindy: Narrrr it’s not a badddd thing….
Cindy: Who gets too choose what CD goes on in the tour van?
Zoch: We only have a tape player so we’ve been flogging a mix tape with At The Drive In and The Clash….
Cindy: Who gets stuck with the driving?
Brad: Usually Matt, our manager, I’m the stunt driver and Dan is our long distance driver, Matt’s just the every day getting us lost driver.
Rob: And I’m sweet f*ck all J
Cindy: During your music career, who would you say has had the biggest influence on you, and why?
Brad: ‘Nirvana’, Kurt Cobain… Dave Grol as well
Zoch: I started out in music when I was 7 years old; Guns n Roses was always the biggest influences for me. But these days I’d say Tim Rodgers from ‘You Am I’. I think he’s the ultimate performer.
Rob: ‘From a personal perspective, what really got me into music and make me want to play in a band were the ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ but on a local level, someone that I’ve looked up to and we’ve probably all looked up to would be Jebediah, being one of the first bands to come out of Perth and actually make it. They really opened our eyes and help us realize that we can do that too.
Cindy: Definitely a band that put Perth on the map.
Brad: Without a doubt.
Cindy: I remember you telling me the band used a man called Andrew Miller to produce your debut film clip ‘Save The Last Match’, (taken off the ‘Take Time’ EP) Did Andrew produce your brand new clip ‘Midnight Express’ this time around?
Zoch: No, this time around we used Matt Weston from a band called ‘The Nation Blue’. He did Fire Away and Midnight Express. We did both clips in one night, during a 12-hour hit.
Brad: ‘Fire Away’ took around 8 hours. At about 4 in the morning we started Midnight Express, which took about 2 or 3.
Zoch: You can tell as well.
Brad: When you look at the Midnight Express clip, you can tell that we’re giving it our best, on our last legs, giving it our all. I think that’s why it came out that little bit better, cuz we just wanted to get it perfect and go home to sleep…
Cindy: Can you tell us a bit about the Midnight Express film clip and the setting/story line behind it?
Zoch: Originally we had a little workshop to talk about the ideas we wanted to pursue
Brad: With Midnight Express the first thing that really comes to mind is possibly a train. We also thought about having a live aspect with a narrative placed into it, whether it be on a train or traffic, so you can see us playing live underneath the train station. It’s also intertwined with a guy and his girlfriend sitting in a car, in heavy traffic where the filming is all really fast cut. That’s the ideas we had with that and just placed them all together really.
Cindy: When the band gets back to Perth are there any plans to record for a full length CD or will you guys be taking it easy for a while?
Brad: I think the plan for us will be to get back and start writing. We’ve done two Eps now so we’re ready to take the next step and write for our full-length album.
Rob: We’ve got a lot of ideas, we ideas for about 8 songs that we just need to develop and nurture.
Brad: We’re just going to knuckle down and go in there five days a week. Treat it like a job and just write.
Rob: Looking forward to it!
Cindy: Is the band a full time thing for you guys or back home do you all have jobs?
Brad: Nar we all quit our jobs about 6 months ago, we all decided that we really want to do this and give it our best shot, you know? So we’re now all on the dole focusing full time on our music.
Cindy: What was the last CD you brought/listened too?
Brad: The Music last
Rob: AFI - Sing The Sorrow
Zoch: the new Alkaline Trio
Cindy: hell yeah!
Zoch: It’s good! It gets better every time you listen to it
Cindy: Yeah I’m really into the new A3 Cd…
Zoch: Love ya taste cin
Cindy: Where do you see the band in 12-18 months time?
Zoch: Hopefully doing similar to what we’re doing, just on a larger scale with our album out
Rob: Still traveling and doing gigs really…
Cindy: Any last words to sum up the interview?
Rob: Just thanks for the support! Having people like yourself doing interviews etc, supporting the scene, giving us a chance to do the interview, it’s all great and we really appreciate it cin!
Brad: Thanks cin
Zoch: Nice wedges, eat up!