Only More Downer: Wonderfuls Interviewed

The first publicly available Wonderfuls recording was a 7 inch on Negative Guest List Records. When it was released in early 2011, I read a vaguely interesting press release about it, something about the singer having spent time in a psych ward and, most memorably, some brief discussion re: “piss fisting”, but despite it sounding right up my alley, I ignored it.

Fast forward roughly a year, and Wonderfuls’ singer Bobby Bot (aka Robert Vagg) is in town, playing drums in Kitchen’s Floor for their Bitter Defeat 7 inch tour. Bobby and I had agreed to meet at the Townie in Newtown on Sunday, and it was an interview I was very much looking forward to. Thing is, on my way to the pub I listened to Salty Town, Wonderfuls’ new LP, and it spooked me. It’s just so utterly sad. It took the wind out of my sails.

Since receiving the mp3s a fortnight ago, I’ve kinda hidden from Salty Town a bit, sneaking the odd listen now and then when I thought I could handle it. It’s light years away from the demented songs about pissfisting found on the duo’s first 7 inch, which is the most thoroughly fucked recording of 2011, probably. On Salty Town, Wonderfuls deliver quiet, confiding songs that are equal parts straightforward and bleakly impressionistic. Here, recognisable narratives derail into horrific aberrations.

Take this sample from ‘North’ for instance, which recounts an adolescent’s daily experience in a small town: “I was given an orange ticket / sent home to watch a pornographic film / with a son of a mother who was an… addict / she lived on the wrong side of the ward of this place / painting landscapes is what people done there / or was it just for you?”

Wonderfuls is cousins Bobby Bot and Danny McGirr. The Brisbane duo formed in 2004, but didn’t release anything until the 2011 7 inch. According to Bobby, the name Wonderfuls was inspired by a quote by Sebastian Hawk in the Mike Leigh film Naked. “Have you ever had smoked salmon after sex Louise? It’s rather wonderful!”, Bobby recited to me. It’s a bit odd that this innocuous quote should inspire the name of such a band, but after our interview Bobby also explained Wonderfuls is meant to evoke something “foreign-sounding”, something “strange”, something mystical. Something outside of daily existence. Something literally wonderful.

Bobby is a lovely guy. It turned out that we had actually met before, in 2009 during an Extrafoxx tour. He’d come into the 2ser studios to be interviewed as part of that group, and I remember him sitting quietly in the background. He barely muttered a word. During our current interview however, he broke into song on a couple of occasions, which seemed a bit out-of-character at first but increasingly made sense. Over time his incredibly deadpan sense of humour began to emerge, shedding new light on some of the songs on Salty Town. He said that he subscribes to a belief-system called ‘Wonderfulism’. At the time of our interview, Bobby was unsure how Salty Town would be released, but he’s currently selling a CD-R edition independently (see the bottom of this article for details), with an LP version slated for 2013.

Bobby is also a visual artist of some repute, specialising in sad monochromatic face portraits, as below:

How’s things in Brisbane?
Yeah, Brisbane’s good. I started to really enjoy it probably about two years ago. It [the music scene] was something I got involved with by being persistent and not going away. I chose not to go away and everyone had to accept that I wasn’t going anywhere [laughs].

What bands have you played in besides Wonderfuls and Kitchen’s Floor?
I did play in Extrafoxx when it was a two-piece, which was just Conwae [Burrell] and myself. We did a tour a couple of years back, in 2009. I’ve also done Sounds From The Ward, which was a more experimental noise thing, also with Danny [McGirr]. It’s had a couple of different line-ups across a couple of different shows.

Wonderfuls is your songwriting project, right?
Yeah, definitely. Well it’s the two of us. It’s been very much a personal thing between Danny and myself. We’re cousins. We both moved to Brisbane from the Gold Coast – I was living in Beenleigh, and Danny was living on the Gold Coast – and we both moved to Brisbane in 2004.

So 2004 was when it started?
Yeah. Danny was living in Paddington – at LaTrobe Terrace, which is right across the road from the infamous 116 house [depicted in several Kitchen’s Floor film clips]. It started out really as… [trails off]. I’d say I was really sick at the time. I was on a lot of medication and I couldn’t function normally. We’d sit in the bedroom and paint, and record. All that early stuff was almost unlistenable, but there were a couple of fragments that did sound okay.

And are those fragments that appeared on the first 7 inch?
Yes. I met Brendan [Annesley, of Negative Guest List] at a show. I was in a bit of a state, and I’d seen him around, so I said “hey cunt, listen to this! It’s the best fucking punk song you’ve ever fucking heard in your life”. I played it through MacBook speakers and he said “yeah that’s good, want to make a record?” Then the next day, or a week later, we met at Fat Louies to have a chat. We didn’t really say anything really, we just sat and drank. We didn’t really need to say more.

No business deals signed or anything?
Haha, nah.

So you must have recorded a fair bit of material between 2004 and when the 7 inch came out.
Well yeah, when we went through them there must have been close to a hundred recordings. Some of them went for thirty seconds, and some went for up to seven minutes. Some were bordering on being so bad they were funny. But yeah, there was quite a bit. We actually lost a lot of material as well, thanks to computers burning out, etc.

The songs on the 7 inch are pretty diverse. They definitely don’t sound like they’re from the same session.
Yeah, definitely. The songs ‘Pissfist’ and ‘Hated Man’ are both from the same period, 2004-2005, and the other two are from about 2006. Actually, ‘Young Hearts’ was from a later period and it was a very different style. We experimented a lot, but [what resulted] was mainly to do with the mood. There would be times when I’d just turn up from a bender or something and Danny wouldn’t say anything, he’d just put some headphones on me and press record, and I’d do something.

What kind of stuff were you listening to during that period?
I don’t really listen to much music nowadays. Raw Power was a big influence for a song like ‘Hated Man’. I listened to a whole array of music during that time. I was listening to a lot of Swans, but otherwise I can’t even remember what I was listening to during that period, to be honest. Raw Power was a big one though. I was going to a lot of shows and clubs as well. During that period there were still good goth bars that existed in Brisbane like Faith, the Alarm Bar. They were all on Saturday night and they were all goth. Going to them was a bit of an influence I guess.

Are the songs on Salty Town relatively new, or were they written over a period of time, like the 7 inch?
‘Relapse’ is an older song. That was from 2004, but it was just never properly recorded then. It’s quite an important song to me personally, and I thought it needed to be done justice and recorded properly. All the other songs are very new. ‘Salty Town’ was a song I wrote the lyrics down to in their entirety and took to Danny. Danny and I have been playing music together for so long that we both get this feeling – he knows exactly what the song needs. It goes vice-versa.

There’s a pretty massive shift sonically between the 7 inch and Salty Town. Salty Town sounds like a very personal record.
Well yeah, that’s a path I’ve always wanted to go down – very slow, and more to the point of telling a nice, nostalgic story. Not that they’re all complete stories. A lot of the songs, like ‘Changes’, are riffs that Danny has already got, and I’ll be listening to it, having a cigarette and listening to him play, and I’ll get this overwhelming nostalgia, and this whole story from a childhood memory will come flooding in. I could just hear it straight away, and I knew what the lyrics would be, and I knew how the lyrics would sound. I’m happy with the direction we’re moving in.

When you say nostalgia, what are you nostalgic for?
Growing up in the country, in rural New South Wales: Forbes, Parkes, West Wyalong. I moved to Queensland in about 1989. Memories of family, moving around a lot. Danny also moved around a lot with his family. We come from a pretty big family – and we spent a lot of time around farms, so the landscape of that area has influenced us. But generally the songwriting just started going that way. About five songs are about memory, but then there’s also stuff that is more recent, and then there are others that are just really mystical. I think ‘Salty Town’ is about accepting that you may not be happy, and that this may be as good as it gets.

Maybe it’s to do with getting to a certain age, but is there a reason you’re feeling nostalgic now? The older songs on the 7 inch certainly don’t show any trace of that.
No, that 7 inch was total pain [laughs]. I guess I am getting a bit older. It was a pretty wild time back then. I think it’s natural for things to mature, to become more serious. I just feel like I really have something to say and I want to take it in a serious direction.

One of the great contrasts between the 7 inch and Salty Town are the album covers. On the 7 you look utterly sick, whereas on Salty Town you look quite morose, but also quite confident and healthy. Are the covers meant to signpost these changes for the listener?
I hadn’t thought of it that way, but now that you say it it kinda looks that way. The photographs are actually from the same period. The photograph on the cover of Salty Town was taken the day we’d done ‘Young Hearts’ [from the 7 inch, the only one to be recorded near that record’s release]. It was summer and there was sweat pouring off me. But yeah, it does look that way. Probably it was a subconscious thing. The EP is complete chaos, you can just tell by looking at the cover that it’s not going to be pretty, whereas the other photograph is still quite sad but quite hopeful.

One of my favourite songs on Salty Town is ‘North’. It’s a song about a small country town, and there’s a weird tension between it being lovely on the one hand, and then very ugly on the other, especially with the references to killing pigeons and watching porn. What’s the story behind that song?
[Laughs] Well a lot of the stuff in that song did happen. The parts at the school fete, I have quite vivid memories of that. I did really enjoy that primary school, the clay tennis courts, the witchetty grubs. But then there are other parts that are purely made up, for other reasons. I’m not sure what they are. In a way I think it’s exaggerated, but I did go to a kid’s place back then where it was just a mum and her son, and I’d go there after school sometimes. There’s a line where it says that the mother was an addict, and that she was on the wrong side of the ward. I like to deliver lines that don’t make sense at all: where it’s hard to hear. I like people to question whether they heard something right.

It feels like an innocence to experience song. There are all these very wholesome set pieces contrasted with some very ugly parts.
For sure. I don’t know where those [parts] came from on that part of recording. A lot of it just comes from what I think sounds right with the music.

You mentioned ‘Relapse’ before. On the press release that accompanied the first 7 inch it said you’d been in a psych ward, so I gather that song is directly related to that experience?
Yeah, exactly. The whole thing. I was there for about ten nights in 2001, and the thing is… I’ve spoken to people who have also been in [a psych ward] and they have no memory of being there, or they choose not to remember, or they were too dosed up to remember, but for me it was a very vivid experience. I can almost remember every single detail. I felt I needed to have one song about that experience. A part of it was when [afterwards] I moved back to my mum’s house, and we were living in a house in Beenleigh. I was just in the house wandering up and down the hallway, and for some reason it made me feel good.

No pressure to answer in detail, but what were the circumstances?
I don’t want to go into it. I dunno, I was just 20 or something. Something wasn’t going right. I could feel something not going right for years before that. With the songs I’m writing now, with the nostalgic songs, I feel like there are a lot of issues that I’ve never dealt with or confronted, things that should have panned out better. There are moments when I asked why is this happening. But I don’t want to go into it.

The record is very sad. It’s hard to listen to at times. Are you scared to release it, or are you worried how people will interpret it?
No. I think – like any form of art – that I want it to be seen and heard. But I can definitely understand why it’d be difficult to listen to at times.

Now that Salty Town is recorded, do you think Wonderfuls will keep going in that direction stylistically?
[Long pause] It’ll only get sadder, only more downer.

Aside from these songs reflecting the way you feel, what appeals to you sonically about sad music?
I find there’s always a part of it that makes me feel really happy. It always makes me feel really happy. I also like the experience of it, it’s a very isolated thing. You don’t put it on with ten people at your house sitting around having some beers and smokes. When you listen to a sad record you do it by yourself, or at 4am in the morning with another mate or your girlfriend. The sun’s coming up and you put the record on to help you sleep. I also want to play it up loud though.

There’s one happy song on there called ‘Change’ – it’s a more upbeat, happy song. It still sounds pretty sad though [laughs]. Actually, maybe there’s nothing happy about it at all! I think going in another direction would be more about lyrical content than the sound itself changing. But I don’t want to do things the way they’re meant to be. I don’t care about the right way to write a song or the right way to structure a song. But I’d still like to write about what’s happening now, rather than the past.


Wonderfuls has released a limited edition eleven track numbered CD-R of Salty Town, limited to fifty copies only. The CD-R comes with a printed black and white booklet with drawings and photos by the band members, as well as an A3 black and white poster. The CD-R also contains a couple of alternate track outtakes. Contact: wonderfulsmusic@gmail.com .


Degreaser – Sweaty Hands (LP)

There’s an established continuum for the type of rock ‘n roll Degreaser trade in, but cards on the table: I’ve never followed it closely. To me, Degreaser’s new record sounds like Hendrix with all the benevolent and pleasant sensibilities forcedly syphoned out. In their place, delirium and debasement is injected. There’s a blues rock and psychedelic element about Degreaser that few people would deny, but a comparison to Hendrix still feels like drawing a long bow. But draw it I proudly will, if only because it’s like a horrid monochromatic inverse to the blues, or indeed any vaguely paisley inclinations later torchbearers have contributed to that tradition.

There are lots of colours here, but none of them you’d associate with happiness. There’s an almost malevolent pursuit of satisfaction, but the way Tim Evans sings it’s like he’s always very far away from reaching it. He sounds like he’s keeling over, clutching a signpost, gasping for air. His voice doesn’t sound like it’s communicating at all, but instead making sure that it’s at least still there. The way Sweaty Hands is mixed, it kinda just glides over you like some sickly red gel: it’s a mass of phlegm-like texture, warm like a womb but impure, and frankly, not good for your health.

Sweaty Hands is a convincingly modern blues record: its neurosis isn’t borne of heartbreak or even poverty, but instead an overwhelming dread at the spectre of the Earth: everything is a silhouette, and its emergence from the shadows is a thing of horror. Imagine being so drunk on cheap spirits that all you can do is lazily struggle in the corner while it approaches you – that thing, mass or phenomenon. That’s what Degreaser sounds like: doomed. There’s not a shred of idealism or hope. An appropriate direction for the blues, then.

Label: Negative Guest List
Release Date: October 2012

New Music

Listen: Degreaser – Too Tall For Me

Following Degreaser’s debut 2011 LP, which was enchantingly titled Bottom Feeder, comes a new release on Negative Guest List called Sweaty Hands. Degreaser is a New York-based group featuring Tim Evans of Bird Blobs and Sea Scouts fame, so there’s a handful of people who will have already made up their minds about this, ie, that it’ll be awesome. I’m not so sure, as I’ve never followed the guy’s music closely (never heard a Sea Scouts record *flinches*) but this sounds debased and sordid enough to hold my attention for at least four minutes, which is… good.

This track reminds me of a time when I lived in a Bathurst sharehouse. One of the townsfolk came around and set up a bucket bong in the centre of the room. He took a massive hit and then had an epileptic fit, taking down one of my housemates’ ornamental mannikins (dressed in a dog collar but otherwise nude) in the process. After his fit he kinda just sat there with his legs crossed for a bit, and then had another bong. Get stoned at any cost, this music tells me subliminally. Full review shortly.


Dilapidated Queenslander: Kitchen’s Floor Interviewed

Kitchen’s Floor’s music has always reminded me of the house I grew up in. There was no door on the toilet. The corrugated iron roof was blood red rust. The bathroom – for some reason – was carpeted. Under the house, feral cats gathered. It was a former hospital in a hot drunken backwater.

I describe this for you because Kitchen’s Floor’s music sounds like suburban or regional decay. It sounds like depression and boredom. Despite all this, Matt Kennedy’s songwriting is a truly beautiful thing in the way that it doesn’t seek sympathy. Kennedy’s droll vocals are plain-speaking and matter-of-fact: honesty is at its core. Writers like myself have and do whittle these factors down to the group’s geography (Brisbane), but it’s pretty fair to say that this dirge can apply wherever you may mope. Fact is, Kennedy was actually born in New Zealand, but has lived most his years in Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The group – or rather, Matt Kennedy with his new recruits – have just released a new 7 inch on Negative Guest List records. So we got in touch with Matt via email to catch up. Matt is also busying himself with a show on 4ZZZ called Eternal Soundcheck, named after his blog which, for several years, traced Brisbane and the wider country’s music scene with a handheld camera.

Who’s in the band at the moment?
Besides myself, at the moment Josh Watson is on bass. Josh also plays bass in Sewers, currently one of my favourite Brisbane bands.  Playing drums is Bobby Bot. Bobby fronts the legendary band Wonderfuls and we also both played in Meat Thump together so it felt natural to bring him over to Kitchen’s Floor.  It’s also good to have a drinking buddy in the band and I’ve never met a more determined drinker than Bobby. Andrew McLellan of Cured Pink fame plays organ, though only occassionally depending on his availability.  He’s been playing on and off in KF for years.

‘Bitter Defeat’ sounds even more depressive than the last LP [Look Forward To Nothing, Siltbreeze / Bedroom Suck], in my opinion. Why?
‘Bitter Defeat’ is a simple song about losing something big and wondering what to do with yourself from there. That song and another new one ‘Down’ were planned for release on Negative Guest List as a 7 inch single in February. It was one of the last things Brendon [Annesley] and I were working on together. After he died I decided to re-record the songs as some form of therapy. It’s more depressive as it was recorded during the worst time of my life.

The clip for ‘Bitter Defeat’ takes place in the same house that’s shown on the cover of your RIP Society 7 inch. What’s the history of the house?
The house is 116, which has been my home for over six years now.  It’s over 100 years old and has never been renovated so it’s a bit of a dilapidated eyesore compared to most other houses in the affluent suburb of Paddington. It’s a very early Queenslander house design, built on ridiculously large stilts on the side of a hill. I’ve lived with more housemates than I can remember. Dozens of house shows have happened here over the years and they’ve been some of the best shows I’ve seen. One of the most memorable was in 2009 when Blank Realm, Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys and Royal Headache played in the lounge room. The house was packed with people and there was even a ‘mosh pit’, it was very exciting and surreal. The house has been in a trilogy of Kitchen’s Floor music videos – The video for ‘Left‘ from Loneliness Is A Dirty Mattress was filmed downstairs in the laundry, ‘116‘ from Look Forward To Nothing was filmed in the backyard and recently ‘Bitter Defeat’ was filmed in the lounge room.

Going back a bit, my first exposure to your song writing was with the Look! Pond CD. How old were you when you recorded that?
I had just turned 20 when that album was recorded back in 2006.  Look Pond had been a name I had been recording under since I was 18, most of the songs on that CD are re-recorded band versions of the original 4-track recordings I had done by myself a year or so earlier.

Kitchen’s Floor is also the name of an old Look! Pond song. What’s the significance of the name Kitchen’s Floor?
There’s no real significance except for the fact it’s the name of one of my old songs.  I think in late 2007 I was asked to play a solo set at Yvonne Ruve in Sydney and they needed a name for the poster and I didn’t want it to be ‘Matt Kennedy’ so I gave them ‘Kitchen’s Floor’ at the last minute.  Since then I guess the name has come to fit in well with the whole dirty domestic feel of the music.

Domestic decay seems to mark a lot of your music, or is a part of the aesthetic. I’m thinking in particular the cover for Look Forward to Nothing: there’s a certain bleakness to it, a kind of destitution almost. Why?
It’s an honest reflection of my life.  The cover for Look Forward To Nothing is a photo of me sitting on my bed in my room with a massive hangover.  The night before I had been drinking heavily and thought it would be a funny idea.  I told Joe Alexander [Bedroom Suck] the idea and the next day I had completely forgotten about it and was lying in bed feeling like absolute shit when I heard a knock on my bedroom door.  It was Joe and Sarah, who he brought over as the photographer.  They walked in and said ‘Get up Matt, we’re here to take the photo now’ and I was like ‘Arghhhhhhhhh’.  But I thought it turned out good, and I still find it funny.

How has life changed between now and those early Look! Pond years?
Not a whole lot. I still live in the same house which is fine and I still do the same things, which is fine. I’d like to think I’m a little more mature and responsible now but I’d just be deluding myself.

Your songs usually sound quite unhappy. Are there any formative experiences, or is there a particular worldview or outlook, that you think may have influenced your songwriting?
I’m generally known for my depressive qualities but I don’t want to go into detail about that. I try to be as honest as possible with Kitchen’s Floor. I keep the lyrics and music as direct and simple as possible. I think the songs speak for themselves about how I feel regarding the weird sadness of life.

I know you’re the songwriter and the name is essentially yours, but why the regularly changing line-up for Kitchen’s Floor?
I’m a very difficult person to be around, I have constant mood swings and can be really horrible at times.  I’m also a control freak when it comes to Kitchen’s Floor, I won’t have it any other way, so you can figure out why the band has such a high turnover rate.

When I spoke to Jimi Kritzler a couple of weeks ago he said he needed to leave Brisbane, for a change I guess. Do you think you’ll ever leave Brisbane?
I’ve come close many times over the years.  At the moment there’s plenty of great bands here to keep me entertained, I have some nice friends. There’s enough happening to keep me here for awhile.

How is the music scene in Brisbane faring at the moment?
There are a lot of really great bands at the moment. Sewers, Blank Realm, Sky Needle, Scraps, Fig., Muura and Cured Pink come to mind as some bands that make me get out of bed every day. Real Bad Music in Moorooka is thriving as a venue, it’s the residence of Matt Earle who runs the Breakdance The Dawn label. The Lost Domain played their final show on the weekend there and it was one of the most powerful performances I’ve ever seen.  4ZZZ is also really good, a lot of very passionate people are involved there at the moment and I feel the station is finally covering this sort of Brisbane ‘outsider’ music to the extent I think it deserves to be.

What’s next?
Kitchen’s Floor is going on tour in November to launch the new 7 inch [dates soon].  We’re playing Maggotfest in Melbourne then we’ll be doing Hobart, Newcastle, Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane so far.

Kitchen’s Floor’s Bitter Regret 7 inch is now available through Negative Guest List.


Usually Being Mob: Whores Interviewed

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.