Harkening back to two of our favorite bands, Sub Pop’s Love Battery and Creation’s Swervedriver, Australia’s Grand Atlantic make pure unabashed rock. Hooks, fuzz and the ability to shift between rawk and subtlety in a way that seems unnaturally natural (ED NOTE: whaaa?!). These are the characteristics you’d expect from a band that’s on the road to become massive. With U.S. radio stations picking up their new single and an appearance at SXSW next month, we suggest you buckle up now and jump on this train before it becomes bandwagonesque.
TDOA: First thing’s first, let’s meet the band. Please state your name and instrument, followed by your respective superpower.
Phil – Singing and guitar strumming. Superpowers – Time traveling and beer drinking.
Morgan (the lads call me Mo, or Mo-mo, or any other variation they come up with). I play the lead guitar (Burns 12-String electric for the guitar nerds). Superpower – I can move my scalp back and forth without using my hands.
Mat Von Diehm, Drums. Superpowers in order of importance-
- Bulletproof Hair
- The ability to wear womens’ jeans which are 2 sizes to tight.
- I am impervious to painkillers (not good when hung over or in pain)
- I have biting wit and sarcasm, yet not able to understand it myself should someone be witty and sarcastic towards me
- Can play drums pretty alright
Sean – Bass, Backing Vocals and Samples. Super-powers – Lifting heavy objects, common sense and sick round house kicks
TDOA: Okay, you guys write, like, big rawk songs with, like, big catchy hooks. The post-indie-glo-fi Gestapo will be most displeased. What say you? Is it wrong for a band to actively pursue world domination in this day of indie-rock self-ghettoization?
GA: The main concerns for Grand Atlantic are writing the best songs that we can, which we want to play and then tearing a hole in the stage when we play them live… We don’t really care too much for people that THINK they’re cool or whatever… The Gestapo will just change their minds once they hear us enough anyway. It’s not that we’re actively pursuing world domination, we’re just looking for a way out of the ghetto…
TDOA: NASA plans to beam one of your new tracks into outer space to teach aliens about humankind. What do they send?
GA: I’d have to say perhaps These Are The Times. It’s about the ups and downs of everyday life and the way that our lives are punctuated by both good and bad experiences which form the fabric of our existence.
TDOA: What is the significance of the title of your new record, “How We Survive”?
GA: We chose the name because it was quite symbolic of where the band was at during the process of making the record, as well as reflective of living life on earth in the 21st Century and the struggles we face in the modern age. In some ways, making this record was very easy but in others it was difficult at the same time. A lot of the themes deal with the duality that we face as humans. Life can be so amazing and tragic at the same time and we all have our own ways of dealing with things and coping on a daily basis.
TDOA: Do you have a favorite lyric on “How We Survive”?
GA: It’s hard to pick one and especially hard when you have written them yourself. I think this lyric from “These Are The Times” tends to sum up things I’ve felt over the past few years pretty well.
“where do you go when all the roads are closed
you’ve come so far but still you’re miles from home
only to find
these are the times
TDOA: What’s your favorite piece of musical gear?
GA: I’m sure each of us would have their own favourite piece of gear. Morgan’s favourite is his Wurlitzer electric piano which we use live sometimes – they’re pretty rare in Australia and nothing beats the tone of a barking wurly! Mat likes Morgan’s new cowboy boots, new cymbals when he DOESN’T break them and the sampler we use onstage to make cool sounds. Sean is very fond of his vintage Fender P bass and Phil likes to destroy whatever is placed in his path but is quite partial to the Burns electric 12 String which Mo plays in GA but he owns… He doesn’t trust himself with it.
TDOA: What are your plans to tour the States? Have you played here before?
GA: We’ll be playing San Francisco, Monterey, LA, Chicago, Toronto (Canadian Music Week), New York, Houston and Austin (SXSW). It is the first time we have toured the States. We are keen to play shows, meet people and have some fun along the way. We hear good things about the live rock scene in the US… it is about time we experienced it first hand!
TDOA: Sean, what is Home Brew? (I’m referring to your MySpace description)
GA: Home Brew is the art of brewing beer in the confines of your own home. It is a ‘do it yourself’ kind of thing… that also saves money! Why pay money to large corporations like a sucker when you can make the beer yourself? I’m out of stock at the moment though.. my production levels where not adequate for summer.
TDOA: Grand Atlantic is throwing a party. If money weren’t an option, what would we expect to see?
GA: First of all there’d be a jumping castle and giant blow-up elephant floating above the party proceedings. There’d be turntables spinning records mainly from the 60s and 70s. There’d be endless bottles of single malt whiskey and lots of Tooheys New (the staple beer diet of Grand Atlantic). It would be at some secret and exotic location which would be only divulged 30 minutes before the party and all the guests would be flown by a fleet of private jets from around the world to attend. There would be ice sculptures of all of our fallen rock heroes from the past and go-go dancers suspended above the dance floor in cages. Finally, we would put together a super-group of leftover members of our favourite bands that have either split up or become defunct and they would play versions of GA songs and other assorted material at our discretion. Oh… And there would be ice-cream cake as well…
TDOA: So, I have this “friend” who wants one of his girl-friends to become his girlfriend. What should he do?
GA: Hmmm… This is a tricky one. We’ve had a few goes at answering this and it has mostly involved scenarios that would potentially get someone arrested if they were printed or at least lead to one of the members of GA being deported from one country or another. Our resident “Agony Aunt” Dr Mat Von D suggests that he just man up and tell her how he feels and stop being such a wanker…
Mar 5 2010 Hotel Utah, San Francisco San Francisco, California
Mar 6 Jose’s Lounge Underground, Monterey Monterey, California
Mar 7 The Viper Room, LA Los Angeles, California
Mar 9 Martyrs’, Chicago Chicago, Illinois
Mar 12 The Rivoli Toronto, Ontario
Mar 13 Spike Hill, Brooklyn NY Brooklyn, NY, New York
Mar 14 The Living Room Manhattan NY, New York
Mar 16 Backroom, The Mink on Main, Houston Houston, Texas
Mar 18 Sonny’s Vintage, Austin Austin, Texas
Mar 18 Red 7, Austin Austin, Texas
Mar 20 Sounds Australia Party, SXSW Austin, Texas
Mar 21 The Joint, LA Los Angeles, California
…and because we love this band so much, here’s a bonus video.