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Rob Bonett from Useless Children interviews Iron Lung

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This is an interview with a Seattle powerviolence band called Iron Lung, which might not mean a great deal to some readers. If that’s the case, Iron Lung Records might ring a bell. This interview was conducted by Rob Bonett from Melbourne punk band Useless Children, whose band has released music on the label, and it’s worth checking out because a) Iron Lung Records release a bunch of music by Australian bands and b) because Iron Lung is touring soon and you might want to see them.

So this is your third tour of Australia as Iron Lung. I know that affiliated projects (Walls and Artimus Pyle) have toured here as well, and I also believe one or both of you guys have been to this fine country for a romantic retreat. What is it about Australia that keeps you coming back? Koalas? Wombats? Shopping? Or our amazingly self-deprecating form of humour? Please tell us why we are so awesome and worthy of your repeated conquests…

Jensen Ward: It is my expert opinion that Australian people as a whole have a weirdly deep-rooted and subconsciously refined understanding of rock music at its fundamental core. There is something in the way most of your bands represent that understanding in their sound that I just can’t seem to get enough of. Also, I like the way y’all talk. It’s real wild shit, man.

Jon Kortland: For me it would be the ‘humour’. Definitely the ‘humour’.

Your bond with Australian music has extended beyond your tours here. You guys formed your own label and have released more Australian music than most Australian labels manage to (Total Control, Eddy Current, Straightjacket Nation, True Radical Miracle, Useless Children, Dead Boomers etc.).  You obviously have good taste and miraculous foresight, as some of these bands have made quite a splash in an international sense. Why have you chosen to gamble so much money on diverse bands that may not tour, may not sell, may not give a fuck about some yanks investing their time and effort and whose records could more than likely wind up sitting in boxes under your bed?

JW: Thank you. My taste thanks you. Apple polisher. We started this label solely to release good music that we have had a direct connection to, that most other people in the world may not get a chance to enjoy. Some of the bands we released obviously didn’t need much help being heard as they were already riding the rocket ship to super stardom (hello, True Radical Miracle!) but there are a couple that just needed that little push over the cliff. I love that we mainly release stuff that sounds nothing like what Iron Lung sounds like. There can only be so much power violence in the world right? We are always on the hunt for something new and exciting.

JK: I am more of a silent partner, but we both agree on the bands to be released on the label. Jensen and I both have an abnormal, deep-seeded, and unfading love for music and sound. We have also had the opportunity to travel and meet so many dedicated and true people all over the world. With that said, how could we not want to wind up with a few boxes sitting under our collective beds.

Iron Lung have been a band for a long time now, yet the members have never lived in the same city as each other for any extended period of time. Is this the reason you have continued be vibrant and productive? Or do you feel like this situation has hindered the prospect of Iron Lung’s international super-stardom?

JW: There was a time when we lived together in the same house and even worked at the same job. We wrote exactly one album during that period. It was cool. But wait a second, by saying “prospect of superstardom” do you mean to say we are not already famous? Weird, I thought we were massive everywhere already. My apple feels less polished now. Head deflated. Back to planet Earth. I guess my mom lied when she said I was special. Jerk.

JK: Adapt and survive.

You guys have toured extensively during your time as a band. As a two piece, you guys must be very diplomatic, as there can be no democratic vote to resolve issues. Does your relationship get easier or harder the more time you spend with each other? Are tours capped at a certain amount of time or is your love for one another so boundless that you could go on tour together forever?

JW: Do you know Rick Astley? Believe, mate.

I have had the privilege of hearing an advance copy of your new LP, White Glove Test, and I must say I wasn’t confident you could match the devastating document that was Sexless // No Sex. You guys created some pretty big shoes to fill, but I must say that you have done quite the job living up to your reputation. Was this record a long time rehearsed and thought-out prior to recording, or was it a spontaneous effort? Was there a conscious effort to better your last LP?

JW: Any band that doesn’t try to out-do themselves with every new record is garbage and a boring waste of time. I knew we could write a more exciting record than Sexless just because we wrote that record already and, with the time since releasing it, have only grown in knowledge and power. I have immense respect for people that constantly push themselves to be better. Keep it up, we are listening.

JK: Over the course of about a year, the songs were written, re-written, refined, deleted, and ultimately decided upon. Some of the songs were written spontaneously while others evolved over time. Everything about the process, from writing, rehearsing, recording, to mixing was different for us. Progression is the key. Regression is death.

Finally, I want to ask about your artwork. Over the years you have developed quite a distinct aesthetic and artwork that is incredibly striking. Who or what is Feeding and how does it or they fit into the Iron Lung family?

JK: Feeding is Nic Schmidt, member of Mutant Video and the man responsible for Self Com (aka Self Communion) and me. I guess you could say that Feeding fits into the Iron Lung family because it is one half of the band and label. Nic and I started working together around 2007 when we were both living in Seattle. Our output has slowed down a bit since I moved to San Francisco, but there will be more projects arriving in the near future.

Any last words?

JW: I am 35 today. And now, I will eat my weight in candy. I am king of the world.

JK: Thanks for asking the questions. Thanks to the seventh continent.

***

Iron Lung’s national tour begins next week. Details below:

24/01/2013:
Blackwire Records – 219 Parramatta Rd, Annandale NSW
w// Pure Evil Trio, Thorax and Hacked to Chunks
All Ages – Tickets on the door

25/01/2013:
Upstairs @199 – 199 Boundary St, West End QLD
w// Last Chaos, War Trauma & Black Deity
All Ages – Tickets on the door

26/01/2013:
Gasometer Hotel – Cnr Smith st & Alexandra Pde, Collingwood VIC
w// Straightjacket Nation, Cut Sick & Nun
18+ – Tickets on the door

27/01/2013:
Gasometer Hotel – Cnr Smith st & Alexandra Pde, Collingwood VIC
w// True Radical Miracle (Rescheduled last ever show), Useless
Children & Internal Rot
18+ – Tickets on the door

30/01/2013:
Animal House – Adelaide, SA
Bands TBA
All Ages – Tickets on the door

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