We were wrong. Remember our frequent proclamations about the death of punk rock sometime around the formation of Blink 182? Here’s the thing; in a tiny corner of the world (Australia) there is a band, so raw, so chaotic, so sloppy, so….perfect, that they embody everything that defines the punk ideal. Eddy Current Suppression Ring formed in 2003, but have become more prominent in the few couple of years. With a North American tour scheduled for June, they could easily be planning global domination. Instead, they’ve booked a relaxed schedule that allows them to perform at their own pace, absorbing the world as they prepare to destroy it. The band talked with uber-writer Ravin (aka @BlueChandelier) kept up his busy schedule and brought their genius to you.
TDOA: For the uninitiated, please explain who you are, how you guys met, and how your musical
journey has felt thus far…
ECSR: We are Eddy Current Suppression Ring, some kinda garagey, pop, pock n roll band from inner Melbourne. Me and Danny are brothers. We started playing music together in the bedroom when I turned around 15. He was already in a band with Brad, our bass player. Us three briefly had a band with some other dudes about a year later.
We moved in and out of short lived bands over the next 10 or so years. In that time, Danny became friends with Brendan through some other friends and i got him a job at my work, Corduroy records, where he and I got exposed to tons of great records and subconsciously set us on the path to forming a band.
All we wanted to do was make a 7″ and then play one show. people really liked the show and we had a lot of fun so we continued.
Everything since then seems quite gradual but sometimes I do look back and think how the hell do did all this cool shit happen to us? We have been really lucky to have been able to experience what we have experienced.
TDOA: If I had to describe your sound to a friend, I’d say ECSR is Johnny Rotten fronting the Minutemen, with a dash of surf, kraut-rock and early sixties mod stuff thrown in the mix. Would that be a fair description?
ECSR: That’s not too bad actually. None of us listen to much Minutemen or Sex Pistols, but they aren’t offensive comparisons. Definitely the kraut and mid-sixties garage are big influences on what we do.
TDOA: What was your experience recording the new record, “Rush to Relax”?
ECSR: A really easy one. I own all the recording gear, so I just chucked the 8-track in the boot of the car and set up at the rehearsal studio we jam at. I’m pretty comfortable with my gear so it doesn’t take me long to set up and know its going to sound ok. We aren’t the type of band trying to achieve perfection; just capture some energy. So usually the first take or 2 of each song works out the best. The whole recording process took about 6 hours and when I got home, I listened to the tapes and realized we had enough good songs and takes for an album. Over the next few weeks, I mixed the recordings in my bedroom, played it to the rest of the band and we were pretty content that we had a good record.
TDOA: Relating to the previous question, what immediately drew me to you guys, among other things, was the sonic texture of your records. They have a real 80′s underground punk grit to them– An immediacy and an honesty that’s sorely lacking in a lot of music today. Was this intentional? And if so, how were you able to achieve this sound? Also, what’s your perspective on recording in general?
ECSR: I knew I wanted our records to just sound like a band in a room. I figured the less I did to it, the less chance of it sounding like it came from a certain time. I hope our records still sound fresh in 20 years because of this.
It seemed pretty easy to achieve. Actually play live in a room and record it as simply as you can. I didn’t understand how most records of bands didn’t sound like a band playing together. Surely that should be easy to capture when we first started, I hadn’t recorded many bands so through trial and error, I just kept learning the best way to do things. I don’t have a specific approach to recording, depends on the band I’m recording. But usually if its a band that i think have good songs and play well, that’s the thing I want to highlight. Keeping things simple and relaxed and fun usually brings out the best performances.
TDOA: The word that keeps popping up in my mind when I listen to your tunes is “mischief”. There’s this ecstatic energy and playfulness to your music that makes a brother want to go out and get in some trouble. Nothing too serious, just some good old-fashioned rabble-rousing… Anyways, I guess what I’m wondering is if life imitates art. Have you guys seen your fair share of mischief? Is there one particular instance that comes to mind?
ECSR: Ha, that’s great. I’m sure we’ve all had minor mischief but for a rock n roll band, we are pretty sensible dudes with no wild stories of excess.
TDOA: I promise to get back to the music, but real quick… Brendan, we want to know about the gloves. What are they? Leather? Silk? And are they symbolic of something? Or are you just expressing some kind of Darth Vader fetish?
ECSR: Brendan has a range of gloves, most are gold gloves as these seem to be the most comfortable. they are there to transform everyday Brendan in to rock n roll superstar Brendan Suppression!
TDOA: My favorite video of yours is “Which Way To Go”. Any video that opens up with a dude playing the geetar in the middle of the ocean is my kind of video… Anyways, who came up with the idea? Did you literally just set up on the beach and jam? And are the people in the vid your friends or random strangers looking to have a good time?
ECSR: Thanks! Our friend has a beach shack down the coast and we always talked about playing there. We needed a film-clip and the weather was still hot so we though we’d combine the 2 and make a day of it. We told a few close friends but not many as we didn’t want it to seem too staged and we wanted to capture the random passer-by as well. We played for about 40 minutes and it was great. We hung around and had a day at the beach with our mates and filmed it with the idea of putting it all together like some holiday home movie footage.
TDOA: You guys hail from Melbourne, Australia. For us yanks, one part of Australia sounds the same as another, but that’s probably not true. Is there a difference in music culture between, say, Melbourne and Sydney? Is one scene more fervent than the other? Where would say are the most enthusiastic crowds?
ECSR: Oh definitely. Melbourne is by far the most musically inclined city. So much more venues and bands. great place to live. We are most popular here as we live here, but we are in a good enough position where we can travel to most other states now and play to 500 or so people. Every city seems to react strangely nuts to us but Melbourne is definitely the craziest.
TDOA: You have an upcoming U.S. tour in June. Is this your first time in the States? What are you looking forward to most?
ECSR: We toured in 2007 before we had a record over there. It went well and we met really nice people. That’s the main thing we look forward to; catching up with the great bands and people we met. We keep our tours pretty lazy so we can be tourists and check out the towns and go record shopping and stuff.
Jun 12 2010 Mohawk Austin, Texas
Jun 15 2010 Hi-Tone Memphis, Tennessee
Jun 17 2010 Johnny Brenda’s Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 18 2010 The Cake Shop New York, New York
Jun 19 2010 Death By Audio Brooklyn, New York
Jun 22 2010 Gooskis Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Jun 23 2010 Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois
Jun 24 2010 8Empty Bottle Chicago, Illinois
Jun 26 2010 Funhouse Seattle, Washington
Jun 27 2010 Black Lodge Seattle, Washington
Jul 1 2010 Eagle Tavern San Francisco, California
Jul 3 2010 Serra Bowl Daly City, California