At about 7:22pm last Wednesday I called Al Haddock from Whores for the interview below. After the interview I checked my email and saw a message received at 7:23pm that read “hey Shaun I’m really buggered from working wondering if we could do the interview tomorrow.”
You can read this interview with that fact planted firmly at the front of your mind. Al is a smart and accommodating guy, but he did, in retrospect, sound really tired. I’m not sure how much can be said about a band like Whores if you actually play in it, but keeping in mind Al’s wishes not to be interviewed at this particular point in time (for reasonable enough reasons) he did a fair job of conveying that Whores is very much an instinctual operation: lacking in calculation.
The first time I saw Whores back in 2009, they frightened me. This doesn’t happen very often. There are many bands that try their very hardest to be ugly, and horrible, and confronting, but Whores just kinda effortlessly are. Most bands seem like a joke when they try that, but Whores don’t. Whores capture for me the feeling of being miserable and alone and angry: they remind me of drinking port mixed with coke at lunchtime on a Tuesday. They remind me of the feeling you get sometimes when you realise you’ll never be alright. It’s not positive. It’s self-wrought misery. That’s my personal response to their music. Some of my questions, in retrospect, seemed to be trying to tease some affirmation of this feeling. The fact of the matter is, a lot of people probably love Whores just because they’re really fucking heavy.
Whores don’t really dress any part. No one in the band – Haddock, along with band mates Sarah and Chris – sound like they’re really in control of the music. Their new 7 inch is one of the most horrible recordings I’ve heard in a long time.
Al Haddock is involved with another group at the moment called Mob. Maybe I’ll interview him again regarding that group, and hopefully he’ll not be tired. The impression I got during this interview is that Whores isn’t really a priority for anyone at the moment. Which is a shame, but such is life.
Did you know there’s a band in Atlanta called Whores?
Yeah actually, we realised that when we looked it up on Facebook. I dunno, they just look pretty… [laughs] we just didn’t really care at the time. We had the name for a while before we realised there was another one. Heaps of people send us photos of them on Facebook, and photographers have taken photos of their show, then they look them up and send them to us. Now I’m getting people on Facebook adding us because they think Whores is a [Facebook] group, like sluts or something. It’s pretty dumb.
How come you called the band Whores?
I dunno, Sarah and Chris… we had a show and couldn’t think of anything and we just came up with it, and then thought fuck it and went along with it. We were going to change our name to Mob Reality, the name of the 7 inch, but I don’t know what happened to that. We probably will change it to that soon.
What’s the band’s background? Are you all Sydney locals?
Chris is from Griffith, this small country town, and Sarah is from a town called Young, which is an even smaller town. All in the south west of New South Wales. I’m just from the inner-west, Leichhardt.
The new 7 inch sounds a lot darker to me than the earliest track I heard, which was ‘Cop Scum’.
Yeah, I was listening to that track the other day, it’s pretty funny. Probably about two years ago now we started hanging out with a lot of people who were into hardcore and stuff, and I think they influenced us so much, pretty rapidly I guess as well. We probably did weirder stuff than ‘Cop Scum’ than what we’re doing now.
What kind of groups influenced you to change the sound?
You mean when we were changing or what we were into first?
When you were changing.
Our friends in the band Taipan, their music influenced us heaps. They got me into a lot of black metal and stuff, like Darkthrone. We can’t really play fast, so we kinda play a breakdown… a lot of our stuff is just a breakdown that goes on and on, kinda like Cro Mags I guess, but just without the fast stuff.
What’s Mob Reality about? Where did the phrase come from?
Nic De Jong [None Music, Naked on the Vague] came up with it. I dunno, the term mob, if you had a bad style you’d have a mob style. Nic De Jong just kinda turned the term mob reality into bad reality. The song… it’s just about a time when shit was getting pretty real. For the people around me but not necessarily to me.
What kind of shit?
Hold the interview for a second. Actually it’d be really awkward. It was about when a lot of my friends were on smack. Actually, you can put that in, it doesn’t matter.
There’s something really abject and dark about the 7 inch. Was it the intention to make something really ugly?
Yeah, I would say so. We did it with Andrew from Cured Pink and he definitely had an influence on it, and that’s why we wanted to record it with him because we knew we’d get something hectic out of it. We never used to sound like that, but the way he recorded us is the way I wish we could sound at shows. He captured a really cool sound.
Is that him playing on ‘U.B.M’?
No, that’s Nic De Jong, he’s playing clarinet. He used to play clarinet for us and a couple of months before the 7 inch came out he played synth with us as well, which was awesome because it filled the sound out and made it sound like it does on the recording. But he moved back to the coast so we don’t really play with him anymore.
Do you think you’ll recruit another instrumentalist in the future?
Yeah. If we have friends at a show we’ll just ask them to play something. It doesn’t really matter. Just to get a friend to smash a cymbal or something. If we play with Teen Ax they’ll always come and feedback a guitar or something.
The band’s sound is, like I said, very abject and rundown. Are all the emotions and sentiments in Whores your own? Is there any role playing involved?
Not really, cause I kinda just write all the songs. I’m just trying to think… there is one song where I roleplay, but most of the songs I’m just singing about something stupid that either happened to me or is happening all the time.
Is there a general outlook or philosophy that drives Whores?
Maybe there used to be, but not so much anymore. We’ve kinda all gone in separate ways. We don’t jam as much as we used to and definitely don’t play as much as we used to. The dynamics have changed I think. Everyone’s off doing their own thing.
Do you think Whores are coming to a close?
I dunno, everyone is doing different stuff so it’s hard to say. I love playing in Whores and I love when we play a show, but I dunno if we still have it in us. But at the moment we haven’t even thought about going down to Melbourne and we’ve got a 7 inch out. I guess we’ve had it for four years now.
The reason I like seeing Whores is that you’re quite scary on stage. It’s very intense. What does live performance mean to you? Why do you do it?
I dunno, the only time I ever go out now is when I go to a show. Playing live shows is such a weird thing, it can be so daunting but so much fun, but fuck, I don’t even know how much I like it anymore. It’s so weird playing a show, and then you have to walk around and be told it’s good even if it was a bad show. It’s such an awkward affair. That might sound really wanky. I guess it comes with it.
Is there anything you’d prefer to be doing outside of Whores?
There’s art stuff that I do, I enjoy that. There’s pretty much just me in the end, and music. I really like playing, it’s a bit weird of me to say that, but keeping it fresh is the key. I get so bored… even if I’m playing in a different city it’s just all these songs. Even though there’s these people who haven’t seen it before I just get sick of playing it.
Is that why Whores evolved the way it did?
Yeah, probably. Musically we’re all over the shop, really. Over the four years we’ve just kinda transgressed to what it is now. I guess we retain little bits, but I dunno. It’s a lot more refined now.
Does your visual art follow a similar aesthetic to Whores? Is it similarly themed?
I dunno man, I don’t know how to explain it. It definitely doesn’t have any themes. I don’t even think Whores has a theme.
Apart from other music, what would you say did or does inspire Whores?
I dunno man. I dunno. I could have said a while ago. I don’t even know anymore. Sorry I’m really vague, I’ve had a big day.
You have a 7 inch on Negative Guest List coming up. Is that already recorded?
Yeah we did that at the same time as the 7 with RIP, but yeah, when all that shit went down… he [the late Brendon Annesley of Negative Guest List] had so much to do, so much stuff, a huge list, Brendon did, and I don’t want to be like “we should have ours out”. It’s kinda in this weird limbo because they’re trying to sort it out, paying for it, and I don’t want those guys to pay for it. If anything we should be paying for it in tribute to him, instead of waiting for someone else. I’d really like to put it out, and put it out on Negative Guest List, but I’d like to do it on our own means.
Finally, what does ‘U.B.M’ stand for?
[laughs] “Usually Being Mobs”
That’s back to De Jong’s “mob” tag?
Nah that was just a term from a crew, it was just a pseudonym that they had, and I just took it for the title of the song. I don’t actually say Usually Being Mob in it.
Whores’ Mob Reality 7 inch is available through R.I.P Society
Live photo by Shaun Hemesley / Tenzenmen. Video by Angela Bermuda.