Check out this week’s Weekly Interview with Melbourne’s Sailormouth.
1. Can you give us a rundown of your musical history and where you’re currently at?
I grew up in central-western Queensland in a musical family, and have been playing solo acoustic shows on and off since I was 15. After high school, I was accepted into the audition-entry Bachelor of Music course at QUT and fucking hated it. I ended up changing to a Bachelor of Journalism at the start of second year and ditching music completely for a couple of years, which, in hindsight, was totally what I needed.
Discovering Brisbane’s punk/hardcore/DIY scene helped me fall back in love with music - particularly local bands like The Gifthorse, Willows and The Paper and The Plane. Finding this group of people who were getting things done without worrying about the “music industry” was a revelation — I didn’t know you could have shows in living rooms, warehouses and rehearsal studios and have people just turn up!
I decided I wanted to get back into music once I finished my degree, but work took over and saw me living in a bunch of places around regional Queensland, which made trying to put together a stable line-up tricky. I recorded my first EP myself in my house in Rockhampton last year, mostly as a creative outlet to save my sanity while working a job with anti-social hours.
I moved to Melbourne a year ago, but came back to Brisbane in June to record my second EP, Arson Crafts, with James Jackson and Ben Breitenstein, who both play in We Set Sail. The idea of recording in a traditional studio makes me anxious, so Ben’s suggestion of recording at Neutral Ground (the permanent rehearsal space of We Set Sail, Inside The Whale and a bunch of other bands) was perfect. Plus, he’s a tremendous drummer. Who wouldn’t want him on their recording? The whole process was really easy — Ben, Jimmy and I all shared the same vision for the EP, and Jimmy is a master at capturing great tones and performances. I did end up tracking some of the bass guitar and all of the vocals myself back in Melbourne, but that was just due to my poor time management and it all got sorted out in the mix anyway. I’m really stoked with how it turned out.
2. Who influences you? Musically and non-musically?
Musically: my taste is all over the place, but nearly everything I listen to sits on a continuum that starts with acoustic singer-songwriters and ends with any of the zillion of sub-genres of metal. My favourite bands are Something For Kate, Mastodon, Tori Amos, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Brand New and Peaches.
Non-musically: The stuff I read (fiction and non-fiction) and the people I talk to. I work as a journalist, so I get to talk to a lot of different people and learn about stuff that I mightn’t otherwise know about, as well as keeping up with current affairs - sometimes it feels like I’ve read the entire internet before breakfast.
I’m influenced by the whole Fugazi/Dischord DIY mentality with regards to making music - just get in and do it, be good to people, have fun.
3. How do you view the current scene that you’re involved with?
I feel caught between a few different scenes, but generally the Australian punk/hardcore/generally independent guitar-based-rock music scene is excellent and full of top-quality human beings. It’s important for people not to get too self-congratulatory about being inclusive though — some events can seem a bit insular and bro-ey to people who may be new to the scene or a bit shy. Same deal with listening to criticism of the scene — it’s been disappointing to see people who offer up constructive criticism being mocked and vilified.
4. Do you feel being based in Melbourne is a positive thing or a hinderance from a musical standpoint?
It has elements of both. Living in Melbourne, you can literally see great music in so many genres seven nights a week, with multiple gigs clashing on weekend nights. International acts almost always play shows here. As someone who loves to watch live music, it’s fantastic. As someone who likes to play live music, and someone who also can’t be out seven nights a week, it’s a little frustrating. It’s also way too easy to fall into a rut where you see the same kind of bands over and over again — growing up in regional QLD and even living in Brisbane meant that shows with mixed bills happened all the time and kind of forced people into broadening their musical taste. Having too much on is a good problem to have, though.
5. What do you have planned for the rest of the year?
Finding a drummer so I can play some shows. Seriously. If you’re in Melbourne and are a drummer or know a drummer who’d be interested, get in touch.
6. Who / what have you been spinning a lot lately?
I’m listening to Fires of Waco’s Old Ghosts Never Sleep as I type this - such a shame they broke up. I love the new We Set Sail, the new Neko Case is excellent and I’m really enjoying Bad Books’ (Andy Hull and Kevin Devine’s side project) latest album, which is weird as I don’t really like Manchester Orchestra or Kevin Devine’s stuff. The two (well, one-and-a-half) Jen Buxton 7”s that have come out this year are great too, but I haven’t listened to them much as they hit me too hard in the feelings.
7. Any recommendations / shout outs?
While I’m in obnoxious self-promotion mode, I may as well mention that I write a zine called I Am Very Busy & Important, which you can buy here: http://iamverybusyandimportant.limitedrun.com/
In terms of great stuff other people are making - Music: Have/Hold, Allison Weiss, Little Scout
Magazines: Pilerats, No Cure,Paper Sea Quarterly Websites: http://rookiemag.com/, http://yourfriendshouse.com/, http://seizureonline.com/