I remember the first time I heard The Pixies. Whether it was the piercing scream of Black Francis, Joey Santiago’s searing guitar riffs or Kim Deal’s simple charm, the band exuded energy and passion. A common thread amongst all the Australian bands we’ve interviewed is this sense of their sincerity and passion. While some would write them off as another 90′s influenced garage band, Thurston Moore from Sonic Youth heard the same things we have: a band whose songwriting holds up when the volume is turned down. Guitarist James Tidswell talks to Sania about grunge, Australia and Thurston Moore.
TDOA: You’re signed to Thurston Moore’s record label Ecstatic Peace! That’s so awesome. How did that happen? What was it like meeting him for the first time? What was the game plan before he approached you guys?
JT: I guess he heard of us and sent us a record deal. We are the second band from Brisbane, Australia to be signed to Ecstatic Peace (The first band was Budd and they were around in the mid 90′s) but that’s how it happened. We were sitting in Brisbane, Australia and Thurston contacted us and then sent through a record deal. We then decided it might be a good idea to go to America and see whats up, so when we got there we had a show on booked at Pianos and Thurston came along which was awesome and he stood up the front for the whole show and after we finished he was like, ” Are we going to do this?” and we were like “Yeh” and that was it and it was awesome.
The game plan before we met Thurston was to just try and play as many shows as we could with lots of our favourite bands around Australia. We never thought we would ever play in America or sign a record deal or anything like that. Eddie Current had released their first album a bit before all this happened and I think we just wanted to do what they were doing, which was recording and putting out their own records.
TDOA: A lot of the bands you are compared to style-wise, predate what would be considered music of your generation. I watched something you guys did earlier this year where it was basically said that the reason your music has such a 90′s revival sound to it is because that’s the last time you remember music being ‘real, ‘ Care to elaborate on that?
JT: Yeah, for sure. I mean we were about 8 years old when Kurt Cobain died and I never had even heard of Nirvana until I got to high school. We were from the more punk, hardcore, emo generation of music and it happened almost in that order. I mean it was all NoFx and Fat Wreckcords when I was growing up and then came hardcore, with Hatebreed, etc and after that it all turned into emo and we were playing around with a few of the hardcore bands in our area that turned into eye makeup wearing, skinny Jeans, black fringes and tattoos that look like you have been rolled around in wet comic books. Thats when we decided that punk had become pretty shit and didn’t really feel as honest as what we felt it should be. We sat around and thought about the last time when true honesty was in music and it just seened that in the late 80′s/early 90′s there was alot of bands that took a very honest approach to doing there music and we wanted to be influenced by that.
TDOA: Now that you’ve been on the road a few times with some really great names, which tour mates did you enjoy experiencing live the most?
JT: That’s pretty hard, but I would have to say The Bronx they were rad dudes and we all partyed super hard every night and I think the tour went for over a month. We watched them play twice every nighy because they were also doing Marichi el Bronx as well.
TDOA: You guys put out so much energy when you hit the stage, what has been the coolest most hardcore injury so far?
JT: There has been a few, but I think when I fell off the back of an 8-ft stage after jumping into the drum kit and had to get 6 stiches above my eye.
TDOA: Tell me about the tour mascot sausage, Tijuana Mama.
JT: It’s just a gross pickled sausage that we brought from a gas station and carried around because we thought the ingrediants were so gross. Corn Syryp solids, I think was the worst ingredient.
TDOA: What was the reason behind deciding to release ‘Jesus Stole My Girlfriend’ as the first single off the new album? Is it true that it’s based off of a real breakup over church attendance?
JT: We liked that song alot and always wanted it to be a single and yeah, it is about a real break up over church attendance. Luke Boerdam was engaged to a girl who broke it off because he didn’t like church.
TDOA: What was done differently for your new self-titled release writing and recording wise under a label versus your first self-funded album release
We Don’t Belong Here?
JT: Recording was alot different, because we had about 10 times the budget of our self funded release and Gil Norton producing it, which is just the total opposite of how we did We Don’t Belong Here. Also, we only pressed 1000 copies of We Don’t Belong Here, so there is another difference. But song writting was no different at all. We were lukcky enough that the label thought whatever we were showing them was great so they let us choose all the songs on the record and stuff.
TDOA: What’s the music scene like in your home town of Brisbane? What was it like trying to get your name out there?
The music sence here in Brisbane is the best, this is where we grew up watching alot of local bands who had massive influences on us just check out Dick Nasty, Dollarbar, Screamfeeder and you will be albe to here a little of whats going on here. But yeah it was really hard to get your name out in our city as I am sure it is in any other city. These days there is like a thousand bands to every 3 venues so yeah I mean it was pretty hard we were just lucky that we were never worried about getting our name out there, we just wanted to play shows so it never bothered us how hard it was.
TDOA: How are you liking your new home, Brooklyn? What do you think of the music scene there, and I know your hitting the road a lot, but have you managed to find any favorite hang out spots?
JT: I am proably not the right person to ask because when we get off tour I don’t leave my room. Although I don’t know about the scene there, we have seen a lot of awesome bands in Brooklyn like Pissed Jeans, Carsick Cars, Vivan Girls, The Library is on Fire, etc. I dont know so much about the Brooklyn scene, but those are some of the best bands in the world right now and I saw them all in Brooklyn. So yeah, we are loving being able to go and see rad bands, every night.
TDOA: What are you guys listening to? Any guilty pleasures you want to put out there?
JT: We are all listening to alot of different stuff. A little bit of old stuff like Drive Like Jehu. Some newer stuff like Spraynard and Shook Ones. The new Cancer Bats album has been on repeat in the tour van. I guess guilty pleasure I always put on Drake forever, the Travis Barker remix though because the beat is so good.
To learn more about the band, visit their website: http://www.violentsoho.com
Catch Violent Soho live:
Nov 25 2010 Gee Whiz (Blush) Gosford, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Nov 28 2010 The Maram Wanniassa, Canberra, ACT, AUSTRALIA
Dec 1 2010 The Area Hotel Griffith, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Dec 2 2010 Roi Bar Albury, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Dec 3 2010 Yahoo Bar Shepparton, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Dec 4 2010 Saloon Bar Traralgon, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Dec 30 2010 Pyramid Rock Phillip Island, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Dec 31 2010 NYE Ding Dong Lounge Melbourne, Vic, AUSTRALIA
Feb 4 2011 Laneway Festival Brisbane Brisbane, QLD, AUSTRALIA
Feb 5 2011 Laneway Festival Melbourne Melbourne, VIC, AUSTRALIA
Feb 6 2011 Laneway Festival Sydney Sydney, NSW, AUSTRALIA
Feb 11 2011 Laneway Festival Adelaide Adelaide, SA, AUSTRALIA
Feb 12 2011 Laneway Festival Perth Perth, WA, AUSTRALIA