Interview: Davey Craddock & The Spectacles

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 01.11.12 | Issue # 312

TUNNEL VISION

Curiosity spiraled into obsession, which resulted in a new EP for Davey Craddock & The SpectaclesDaniel Cribb finds out what caught the frontman’s attention.

Almost every scenario and possible location for a band photoshoot has been exhausted. That’s why, when it came time for Davey Craddock and his backing band, The Spectacles, to churn out a visual representation of their music, they headed thirty kilometers north of Perth to WA’s first railway tunnel, Swan View Tunnel, built in 1894. The resulting photos and time spent there provided more than just some fresh imagery.

“I was really struck by how eerie and beautiful the site is. It also feels really hidden and almost secret,” Craddock begins. “When I got home I casually read about it a bit on the ‘net, but once I decided that I wanted to use one of the photos in our cover artwork, learning about it became a bit of an obsession. I ended up going through old newspapers in the microfilm section of the Battye library to learn more about its history, particularly a train crash near there, and in the end I found two really beautiful images of the tunnel that the library kindly gave me permission to use in the cover art,” he explains.

But the songs for their new EP, Going Home, had already been written by this stage. Which begs the question; why is the EP now dripping in the eerie beauty that Craddock experienced during the photoshoot? “It was a case of them actually coming in right at the end; when I did learn more, though, and once I visited the site a couple of times the whole story and atmosphere there seemed to fit so perfectly with some of the ideas on the EP.“

To match that eerie atmosphere. they recorded live, directly to tape. It’s a hell of a lot more expensive than plugging directly into a computer but, as Craddock emphasises, is worth every penny.

“We think the charm of the band is that we’re a bit loose and rollicking at times, and we wanted to try and capture that. If you’re recording to a click track you can lose a lot of that. It was nice to be able to look at each other and wink, nudge and shout our way through tunes just as we would on stage,” he explains. “I think there’s a little bit of magic that can come from all recording at the same time onto tape. That said, I’m not the kind of wanky, romantic retro purist that would want to record a whole album onto a wax cylinder in the loft of a 14th century church,” he laughs. “I think most bands like us strike a balance between using a bit of old technology and a bit of new.”

Although the foundations of The Spectacles consists of drummer Todd Pickett and bassist Pete Stone (both stalwarts of the local scene), Going Home boasts a wide array of guest appearances. “Sean Pollard (Split Seconds) recorded the bass and harmonies on the EP before leaving [for Melbourne]. I have massive respect for him as a songwriter, so having someone in the band like Sean who I could bounce ideas off was fantastic. Tal Cohen also played in the studio with us and will be joining the band live for the launch. He’s a highly respected jazz player around town and recently got a four-star review in The Australian. I don’t know where he finds all them extra jazzy notes, but he does somewhere. The inimitable Luke Dux from The Floors/Timothy Nelson & The Infidels will also be joining the live line-up of the band for our launch on lead guitar. Having so many incredible local musicians wanting to help bring my songs to life live and in the studio has been the most exciting part of making this EP.”

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2012/11/01/davey-craddock/10151/

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Interview: The Living End

Published in Drum Media (WA) | 01.11.12 | Issue # 312

FROM LITTLE THINGS

Before The Living End embark on their most ambitious tour yet – playing all six albums in their discography from start to finish over seven nights in each city – frontman Chris Cheney tries to cram 15 years’ worth of history into ten minutes. Daniel Cribb frantically takes notes.

It’s lockdown for Chris Cheney, Scott Owen and Andy Strachan. The Living End have always tried to outdo their previous efforts, and on the eve of their biggest and most ambitious tour to date, the band admits they tend to bite off more than they can chew. When vocalist/guitar whiz Cheney picks up his phone from the band’s rehearsal space in South Melbourne, it’s some of the first outside interaction he’s had for days. “There’s been a little bit of homework leading up to rehearsals. Listening back to older records, God forbid, can just be a cringe-worthy exercise, you know,” Cheney laughs. “They say you should never look back as an artist or musicians, so there’s been, ‘Aw, do I really wanna be going back over old ground.’”

But there’s nothing the band should be ashamed of in their back catalogue. Over six albums, four EPs and two compilations, they’ve racked up a slew of awards and each record has produced at least one radio hit. Their self-titled debut ranked number four on triple j’s Hottest 100 Albums Of All Time last year, and in ’09, single, Prisoner Of Society, came in at number 34 on triple j’s Hottest 100 Of All Time.

They figured The Living End would probably make it into the Hottest 100 Albums Of All Time, but were blown away when it was voted so high up. That was the catalyst for a brainstorming session that spiralled out of control and turned into The Retrospective Tour.

“People really hold that record near to their hearts – people that were around at that stage. So we thought, ‘Right, we should acknowledge that and do a gig at The Corner or something, where we always used to play, and do the album start to finish.’ Then we thought, ‘Maybe we can do it in every state?’ and then – this is just sitting around a table with our manager and brainstorming – it just snowballed into this thing of ‘Why don’t we play all of our albums and make a real statement. Play all of our records, seven nights in a row? Two nights for the first record, just ‘cause we knew that would sell really well – it was a bit ambitious of us wasn’t it?” he laughs.

There’s no doubt that a performance of The Living End would sell out in every city; one of the more ambitious elements of the tour was giving every album its own night. Cheney admits that some of their latest records aren’t as popular as their first couple, but has no doubts in his mind that each album stands strong on its own. “There was a little bit of hesitance as far as ‘Well, would each night sell?’ We knew the first record would do well and maybe Roll On and probablyWhite Noise because the song did so well, but what about the other records. Then we thought about it and we thought, ‘Well, every album’s done really well on its own merit.’ We’ve managed to have a couple of radio singles, like two or three off every record that have done quite well. There’s different generations of people that got into State Of Emergency that weren’t around when the first album came out, and then there’s people that got into White Noise that were too young for Roll On. So that’s what we found. It’s one of those things – it seemed like such a challenge and such a different thing to do.

“There’s a couple on Modern Artillery that we’ve never played on stage, you know, they just got kind of recorded, mixed, that’s it. But there’s none, I can honestly say there’s no songs that we’re kind of like ‘Aw fuck, that one, we just can’t do anything with that song – it’s just a dud.’ They’ve all come up really well, and there’s a lot of variety on the albums which I’m glad about. It’s still the same band, you know; it’s not like we have our dance pop record, it’s still rock’n’roll for the most part. There’s a couple of country-tinged songs and a couple of reggae moments and some metal kind of things – there’s enough diversity there for us to not lose interest within the eight songs, or whatever it is, that we’re learning… We’re head first into now – knee deep. You don’t have to be crazy to be in this band but it fuckin’ helps,” he laughs.

Seven nights in a row in each city may seem like a huge stint, but after The Living Endkickstarted their careers, it was standard protocol. “Around the time of our second album, Roll On, it was a bit like that. I remember doing nine months straight without coming home. We were probably doing five or six nights straight a week. We definitely toured hard at that point, but the thing is, with this tour, we’re doing a different set every night. When you’re on the road and you’re just trying to get the band off the ground, you kind of fall into that thing of playing pretty much the same set the majority of the time. So if you play a gig on Friday night and it’s not very good, you can sort of fix a few of the issues on Saturday, but we’re not going to be able to do this, it’s going to be like, ‘Right, we’re moving onto album number three now.’ We’ve always toured pretty hard, so we’re not really afraid of that side of it.

“When you do tours like this people are always like, ‘Aw, yeah, here they go. They’re gonna do this farewell kind of tour,’ and it’s not that at all – this is more of an event. We just wanted to do something that was really different and probably to not worry about doing another record yet because we’re not ready to. If I write songs and it’s what the band does, then great, if I don’t then we’re not going to rush into it. There’s no real plan at this point, but I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t go in and do another record if we felt the want to. The last record, for us, was probably our favourite as a collective. I just felt like we had lots of ideas, and we felt it really played well and the songs were strong. It did really well, you know, a couple of ARIAs and that sort of thing, so it’s like ‘Fuck yeah!’ We don’t feel like we’ve used up all of our coins, our tokens yet.”

The Living End will be playing the following shows:

Thursday 1 to Friday 7 November – Rosemount Hotel, Perth WA
Wednesday 21 to Tuesday 27 November – The Hi-Fi, Sydney NSW
Saturday 1 to Friday 7 December – The Zoo, Brisbane QLD
Tuesday 11 to Monday 17 November – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC
Thursday 20 to Saturday 22 December – Corner Hotel, Melbourne VIC

Daniel Cribb

http://themusic.com.au/interviews/all/2012/11/01/the-living-end-chris-cheney/10154/

Live From Fest 11: Day Three

Gainesville, Florida – October 25, 26, 27, 28

Published on TheMusic.com.au

The Flatliners, pic by Daniel Cribb

LIVE FROM FEST 11

DANIEL CRIBB: FEST 11 DAY THREE

A cool, mid-afternoon breeze blew through Boca Fiesta when Canada’s The Flatliners graced its stage with their presence. Owned and operated by ex-Against Me! drummer Warren Oakes, the Mexican restaurant was a bit of a walk away from the chaos surrounding the main venues, a nice change of pace after three nights spent there. After a short but sweet set from the four-piece, it was over to 8 Second to check out Cheap Girls. While they executed their songs with flawless precision, they lacked stage presence. Fans of the band would have soaked up every moment with glee, but an uninitiated bystander wouldn’t have left with a shirt or the urge to follow-up.

You can’t help but think A Wilhelm Scream are just in the music industry to make other musicians feel like they’re unworthy. Every member of the band has mastered their instrument, and when their talents are combined, there are few things that could stop them. They’re the punk rock equivalent of Hurricane Sandy. In fact, their set at Florida Theatre may have been the catalyst for the storm.

While The Menzingers aren’t as technically originated, their songwriting has a way of digging its hooks into any listener and finding even the smallest things for them to relate to. Girls, cars, growing up, school, drinking, smoking – there’s something for everything.

Next door, at 8 Seconds, Andrew Jackson Jihad unleashed a whirlwind of acoustic folk punk. “If that’s what gets your dick hard!” the venue screamed along to We Didn’t Come Here To Rock, and it was clear, if that was their intension, they had failed.

After 30 days on the road and 24 shows later, The Smith Street Band played the 25th and final date on their China/US tour at Loosey’s. Despite a slew of amazing bands playing at neighbouring venues, they managed to pack out the small space and, for the third time over the weekend, did a fine job of representing Australian punk rock.

As day three of Fest was slowly coming to a close, a mammoth-sized Good Riddance banner fell behind the Florida Theatre stage. Only being back together a short while since they broke up in 2007, they showed no signs of their time apart. You’d struggle to find a better frontman than Russ Rankin. His unique voice and friendly onstage demeanor make all feel welcome.

Sure, you could have watched Propagandhi round out Fest 11 at Florida Theatre, or Frank Turner at 8 Second, but just up the road, Boca Fiesta played host to one of the more unusual acts on the bill. You might know David Liebe Hart as that crazy guy from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!, but he also has a punk rock band, David Liebe Hard Band. Having bumped into him on the street earlier that day (he was trying to sell CDs to fans, seemed confused and disoriented and had lost his phone), it was clear his odd personality on the show is no act. He’s eccentric to say the least, and knows how to write a damn good punk rock song. He packed out Boca Fiesta and went through songs off a soon-to-be-released record before grabbing a puppet and doing five or six songs solo – much like he does on The Awesome Show!. As he slowly waddled off stage and the venue cleared, it suddenly hit everyone that the weekend was over. After four nights of endless music from around the world, enough alcohol to drown a small continent and countless new friendships forged, Fest 11 was no more. People have no doubt begun counting down the days until Fest 12. Until next time, seeya later, Gainesville!

http://themusic.com.au/blog/music/2012/11/01/daniel-cribb-fest-11-day-three/