Thursday, April 24, 2014

Dreamsalon interview with Min Yee

If you remember the mind bending experience of putting on The Violent Femmes’ Hallowed Ground or Self-Titled album for the first time, those bizarre infectious sounds spilling out of the speakers defying genre and shattering any predefined notions that you had about what you were listening to, you’re in for another tasty treat some twenty years later!  Spaced out garage psych at its finest, it’s hard to believe that Thirteen Nights is a debut album when you’re listening to it, and not the work of some veteran group of musicians who’ve spent the better part of a decade or something making music together.  That’s no surprise though considering the pedigree of the Seattle supergroup, made up of veterans from such bands as the A-Frames, The Intelligence and Evening Meetings, the latter of which Dreamsalon actually morphed out of.  From the opening chords and graceful percussion, destructive bass and dreamily chanted lyrics of “Lick” or “Get To Work”, to wild rumpuses like “Twenty More Days”, and minimalist psych genius in the form of songs like “In The Air”, it’s easy to tell Thirteen Nights is going to be a wild ride from the get go!  Dreamsalon bring to mind a more Syd Barrett like Night Beats, or maybe The Violent Femmes on acid…  This is some wild and genuinely original music to put it lightly.  Combining Craig Chamber’s minimalist, reverb soaked guitar which provides these dreamy, droning sounds atop Matt Ford’s amazingly tight drum beats, channeling Moon and Krupa-esque jazz inspired garage beats that rampage along with Min Yee’s bass which seems to guide and control the music allowing Chamber to explore, speeding up and switching between infectious lead lines and tasty riffing on a whim.  Treading the lines between out and out caveman garage rock, psychedelic space rock, and some absolutely killer boarder line country and absolutely killer surf-psych Dreamsalon are unlike anything else that you’re going to find.  If you read much of my stuff you know I worship at the altar of the heavy riff and I can’t resist a good solo, and while Chamber is an undeniably bad ass guitarist it’s more about what he’s not playing than any flashy tricks or bravado here, with clever rave ups and hypnotic picked out lead lines that tumble and crash headlong into the main riff and explode in a wave of noise before retreating back into themselves.  With an announcement not long ago that they were headed into the studio to begin work on their follow up to the outsider masterpiece that is Thirteen Nights, I knew the time to talk was nigh.  Thankfully bassist Min Yee has graced up with an amazing interview, delving deep into the details of where the band came from, their early history and the recording of their albums.  It’s all here and more, so make sure you check out the link below for some music and pick up an LP before they disappear because these are some sick tunes, it is psychedelic after all baby! 
Listen while you read:

What is Dreamsalon’s current lineup?  Is this the original lineup or have there been any changes since you all started playing together? 

Matthew Ford plays drums and sings, Craig Chambers plays guitar and sings, and I play bass without singing.  There can never be any lineup changes in Dreamsalon.

I was doing a little bit of reading and looking around and I saw a post on your Facebook page about how Dreamsalon had kind of evolved out of another band Even Meetings.  Can you talk a little bit about that evolution and change?

That’s EVENING MEETINGS.  Basically, the three of us got together in 2009 and after a year we needed a name.  The working title “Street Level” was kind of funny, but not really suitable.  Matthew always liked the name Evening Meetings, but he’d used the name before when he and Craig jammed a few times with Erin Sullivan from A-Frames, and thought it wouldn’t be right to use the name without him.  So, we asked Erin to play with us and, bang!  Evening Meetings was born, a four piece.  We did that for a year and a half before Erin started to need to travel a lot for work.  He was a crucial part of that sound and irreplaceable, so we became DREAMSALON.  That was December 2011.  Evening Meetings only played about five shows, but recorded two albums.  One was released on Sweet Rot and one is still unreleased.

Are any of you in any other bands at this point?  Other than Even Meetings, have you released any material with anyone else in the past?  If so, can you tell us about it?

I play drums in Universe People and bass in Le Sang Song.  Craig also plays in Le Sang Song.  Matthew is YVES/SON/ACE.

Where are you originally from?

I grew up in Marin County, California until I was eight, and then lived in Ft. Myers, Florida until I was seventeen.  Matthew’s from Chicago and Craig is from Pullman, Washington.

What was the local music scene like there when you were growing up?  Did you see a lot of shows when you were a kid?  Do you feel like the local scene there played a large part in shaping your musical tastes or in the way that you play and perform at this point?

In Marin I would have been in 3rd grade or earlier, and in Ft. Myers I just don’t remember much of a music scene, although there were a handful of bands.  The scene was teenage punks hanging out and looking for fun; and also looking out for jocks.  My first show was KISS in San Francisco when I was maybe seven or eight and that definitely made me want to play rock and roll.  But my musical tastes were largely shaped somewhere between Ft. Myers and Seattle, when I became immersed in punk and underground music in general.

What about your house when you were growing up?  Were your parents or any of your musicians or extremely involved or interested in music?

Both my parents knew how to play guitar and had some good records.  My mom’s best records were The Beatles.  My dad’s best records were The Who and CCR.

What was your first real exposure to music?

The Who and Beatles records of my parents (Thanks Mom!  Thanks Dad!), KISS and Cheap Trick records from my older brother’s friend Matt Temple.  Thanks Matt!

If you had to pick a moment in your life, a moment that changed everything for you and opened the door to all the infinite possibilities of music to you, what would it be?

I was fourteen or fifteen when my brother Tai sent me three compilation tapes he made from Bobby Sickler that had all kinds of weird and cool music on them; punk stuff like Dead Kennedys and other stuff like Violent Femmes, Psychic TV, Bauhaus.  Up to that point I only had access to radio and MTV and thought that’s what music was.  My world was turned upside down after those tapes.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?  What brought that decision about for you?

I loved that this new world of music was raw and simple, and the best part was that it seemed anybody could do it.

What was your first instrument?  When and how did you get it?

When I was sixteen, my dad said he knew I was underachieving at school, and that if I got straight A’s on a report card, he’d get me something I wanted.  The next report card, I got a guitar and amp.

Obviously several of you had known each other previously, but how did the members of Dreamsalon meet and when was that?

I met Matthew around 1999 or 2000 at a rooftop party on the 4th of July.  We started hanging out, exchanging records.  Matthew had just split up with his girlfriend, so a lot of fun nights were happening at his place, which is where I met Craig; and Adria, and lots of other cool people.

What led to the formation of Dreamsalon and when would that have been?

It was April 2009.  Craig and Matthew had been doing Love Tan/Pyramids for at least seven years by then, and I had been doing A-Frames for even longer.  We’d talked over the years of doing stuff together, so we finally just did it.

I seriously dig the name!  Dreamsalon sounds like one of those obscure, absolutely killer psych bands that your record collector buddy would tell you about, ha-ha!  What does the name Dreamsalon actually mean or refer to?  Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it? 

Matthew came up with the name.  We had a list of possible names and it’s so hard naming a band, it’s one of the worst things that has to be done because so many words are overused, so many words are too loaded with meaning, too many are hilarious for one night and lame ever after.  Things I like about the name Dreamsalon is it isn’t funny or cutesy or clever, it’s not loaded with obvious imagery, and it doesn’t contain overused words like Big, The, any animal, any color, etcetera.

Is there any shared creed, code, ideal or mantra that the band shares or lives by?

“Do what thou wilt”, as long as you “Keep it simple”, and “Pass me a Modelo”.

Where’s Dreamsalon located at these days?


How would you describe the local music scene where all are at currently?

It’s good.  There’s a lot of diversity in Seattle, we have hip hop, rock, experimental, bluegrass, doom metal, you name it.  I don’t know anything about those mini-scenes though.  There does seem to be a ton of bands.

Are you very involved in the local scene in your opinion?  Do you book and or attend a lot of local shows or anything?

I book Dreamsalon and I help friends from other cities get a show here if they’re on tour, but I’m not a booker in the real sense.  I go to one or two shows a month.

Are you involved in recording or releasing any local music?  If you are, can you talk about that briefly?

I’ve released a handful of records and a CD over the years as Dragnet Records.  The pre-production and production of vinyl records is a lot of fun.  But after that, marketing and playing the salesman is not my thing and I don’t enjoy doing it.

Do you feel like the local scene has played an important role in shaping the music of Dreamsalon or maybe in the history of the band?  Do you think you all could be doing what you’re doing and sound like you do if you were somewhere else?

I suppose, but I don’t know.  We could be from anywhere.

Every time I do one of these interviews I inevitably have to describe how a band sounds to our readers who may or may not heard them before.  I am totally obsessed with the fact that I feel like when I listen to music I put far too much of myself and my own perception of the sound into describing it and don’t do a band any justice when I attempt it.  I especially dislike doing it when I have such an open forum like this and I can actually ask a band what they think they sound like.  So rather than my neurosis keeping me up tonight with crushing anxiety, how would you describe Dreamsalon’s sound in your own words for our readers who might not have heard you before?

Nice try!

I really dig your guys’ sound!  There’s a definite pattern to everything while it sounds like you definitely spend a good amount of time pushing the boundaries of fine-tuned, well-honed traditional songs combined with some noise and psychedelic influences from what I can tell.  Who would you cite as some major musical influences on yourself?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?

We have a lot of influences.  I guess The Fall, Pere Ubu, Gun Club, Scientists, Alan Vega, Raincoats, Velvet Underground, Stooges, La Rallizes Denudes...  The usual suspects.

Let’s talk a little bit about the songwriting process with Dreamsalon a little bit if you don’t mind.  What’s the process like?  Is there someone who usually comes to the rest of the band with a riff or more finished idea to work out and compose with the rest of the band, or is there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas that you all kick back and forth together as a unit and work into a song?

Songs get started as a result of jamming on whatever comes to mind.  Nobody shows up to practice and goes, “Hey let’s do this riff I have”.  Then when we like something we’ve made up, we keep working on it until it’s a song.

What about recording with Dreamsalon?  I mean, I think most musicians can really appreciate the end result of all the toil and trouble.  But getting stuff all worked out, sounding the way that you want it to, especially as a band can be extremely difficult!  How is it recording for Dreamsalon?

There’re usually compromises on all sides and in each step of recording, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.  We don’t have a leader and we don’t have some producer working everything out.  But we are in agreement on most of the issues that can come up in a recording, so when we diverge it’s not that big of a deal and we can talk it out so everyone comes around and understands. It’s not like one of us says, “it’s gotta be my way and that’s just the way it is.”  We’ve been friends for a long time and we get along well together.

Do you all head into the studio when you want to record and let someone else take the helm for those kinds of things, or do you all handle the recording yourself in a more DIY fashion on your own time and turf?

We can’t record ourselves, so yeah we go with people we know to record us.

Matthew Ford home studio

Is there a lot of preparation that goes into a Dreamsalon session where you all spend a bunch of time getting things to sound just the way that you want them, all the arrangements and compositions worked out?  Or do you head into the studio with a decent idea of what you want to accomplish and how a song should sound, but give them a little bit of room to change and evolve during the recording evolution?

The second way.  We can’t have everything worked out in advance; we just aren’t that kind of a band.  Things are mostly figured out and we have a good idea of where we want things to go, but there are always some songs that lend themselves to being changed, sometimes dramatically, from what we thought we had originally.  It just takes going through the recording process to find out where those things happen.  You can’t be too precious about a part because it might end up not being the best thing for the song, and you only realize it in the studio.

Matt Stegner mixing

Your first release was the 2012 Tour CD-R, hand numbered and limited to only 94 copies with a cassette tape version by Skrot Up Records limited to 60 copies.  Can you tell us a little bit about the recording of the material of that first release?  Was that a fun, pleasurable experience for you all?  Who recorded that material?  When and where would that have been?  What kind of equipment was used?

I recorded the tour CD-R/cassette on an Edirol R-09 digital recorder at the practice space (Matthew’s house).  It’s what we use to remember song ideas from jamming.  We didn’t record those for the purpose of making a CD-R; we were going on tour and needed something to sell at shows, so we went through all the recorded practice sessions and picked the best stuff to make a tour CD-R of.

You released Thirteen Nights on the ever awesome Captcha Records.  Did you all approach the songwriting or recording of the material for Thirteen Nights radically differently than your earlier work?  What was the recording of the material for Thirteen Nights like?  Who recorded it?  Where was that?  What kind of equipment was used?  When was Thirteen Nights recorded? 

Thirteen Nights was recorded by Alex Yusimov at his Portland studio, The Pool, in July 2012.  We mixed a few songs with Alex in December, and then mixed the rest with Matt Stegner in Seattle in February of 2013.  One of the unique things about recording at The Pool is the total analog experience.  24-track 2-inch tape, lots of good mics and effects and what not.  I’m fuzzy on particular names of gear we used though.  The only one I remember is called “The Distressor” because it had a nuclear option on it, which we did use.  Oh, and a Space Echo that Alex played live on the mixdown of “On the Bus”.  On top of that Alex is really experienced at this stuff, I’ve known him since 1995 or something, and his rates are super good.  The Breeders recorded there, though I don’t know if the material was released.  For recording Thirteen Nights, we did all the basic tracks together live, and did vocals and overdubs separately; the usual process.  On “New Age” Craig did five guitar tracks on the loud bit toward the end.

When I was talking with you earlier you mentioned that you were going to have a track featured on a Record Store Day compilation being released by Learning Curve Records this year (2014).  What track is that?  Was the song written or recorded specifically for the comp or had it been around for a while looking for a home?  If so can you tell us about the recording of the track?  Is it exclusive the RSD comp?  Do you know how many copies the comp is going to be limited to?

That song is “Brush Your Teeth” which is an old Love Tan song.  We recorded it during the Thirteen Nights session, but it didn’t fit on the album and was looking for a home.  It should be a single with the other unreleased song from that session but they’re both kinda short and we need another one to two songs to make a good single.  So far it’s exclusive to the comp but it really should be a single.  Other bands on the comp are Hollow Boys, Blind Shake, Gay Witch Abortion, Seawhores, Nightosaur, Pretty Please, Henry Blacker, Disasteratti and In Defence.

You all are headed into the studio at the end of this month (March 2014) to record your next album and I am totally stoked!  What can our readers expect from the upcoming album?  Are you going to try anything different with the songwriting, composition or recording of the new album?  Do you all have a name in mind for it or anything yet?  Are you planning on working with Captcha again for this record or are you going to be shopping the album around once it’s done?

The next record has the working title Soft Stab and it might be a bit more frenetic than Thirteen Nights, but it’s hard to really tell until it’s all done.  That’s the way the music sounds to me in practice.  The composition of these songs is the same.  We jam on stuff until the weaker stuff falls away, and we work on the stronger stuff until it seems like the songs are done.  The recording will be at MRX studio in Seattle with Matt Stegner.  It’s also going to be recorded on 24-track tape, but the mixing will be digital.  Mixing is so involved that doing it digitally is so much easier because when you need to fix something you don’t have to start with a blank slate, or take such detailed notes about every single effect knob and fader position and a zillion other things.  As far as labels, we don’t know yet.  I would like to be on an African label from forty years in the future, whose mission is to unearth rare, cool, old recordings from far away and forsaken lands such as Seattle.  Then all the future people of Africa could marvel at how awesome these sounds are!  And at the same time they could be proud of themselves for being multiculturally-aware bad asses digging obscure finds.

Does Dreamsalon have any music that we haven’t talked about, maybe a song on a compilation or a single that I might have missed?

To quote John from the Pelvis Wrestlies, “Nope”.

Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up your music?

Midheaven has it.  Or better yet, ask your local record store to order it from Revolver.

With the increasing international postage rate increases over the last few years I try and provide our readers with as many possibly options for picking up import releases as I can!  Where’s the best place for our international and overseas readers to buy your stuff?

I don’t think there is any European distribution.

And where’s the best place for interested readers to keep up with the latest news from Dreamsalon like upcoming shows and album releases at?

Are there any major goals or plans that Dreamsalon is looking to accomplish in 2014?

Put out Soft Stab, and go on tour.

Do you all spend a lot of time out on the road touring?  Do you enjoy touring?  What’s life like on the road for Dreamsalon?

Touring is great, but it can be brutal at times.  We called our first tour “Addicted To Shitty Tours”.  The shows ranged between small and microscopic, but we’d only played a total of five shows before going on that first tour, so we kinda expected that.  When we got to Reno, Clark Demeritt said “Your tour sucks!”  We go out once a year, for about two weeks at a time.  Any more than that seems depressing.

© Drew Gordon

Do you remember what the first song that Dreamsalon ever played live was?  When and where would that have been at?

The first show was in February of 2012 at Cairo in Seattle, with the great Feeling of Love.  The first song we played was “Lick”.  Jim the Bootlegger, aka Overdose the Katatonic, has video of it.

Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with so far?

Blind Shake, Thee Oh Sees, Pelvis Wrestlies, Diminished Men, Feeling of Love, Pony Time.  All of those bands go far above and beyond what you should expect when going to a show.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories form live shows or performances that you’d like to tell our readers?

In Eugene, we played at Tiny's Tavern, which was a real experience.  A crazy girl was storming around the parking lot screaming for someone named "Gridlock".  "WHERE THE FUCK IS GRIDLOCK!!"  We met a cool looking greasy guy who introduced himself as Gridlock, of the band Slutter.  Inside the bar, the average patron was either homeless or a transient, identified by smell.  The guy next to me at the bar was staring at the guy next to him eating a Reeser's burrito, drooling, and he said "Mmm that looks real good."  Slutter had boy/girl punk singers who both looked sixteen years old.  The boy was dressed in a long, old-lady dress from the 20's or 30s and wore bright red lipstick.  They were one of those rare experiences being so terrible that they went into that weird awesome territory.  Like Tampax.  We loved it and cheered after every song.  Halfway through our set, Slutter's boy singer was visibly agitated and got up and stood right in Craig's face while he sang.  Craig tolerated it for a moment, but then out of nowhere the boy flew into a rage and tried to strangle Craig as he sang "Brush Your Teeth".  Craig stopped playing guitar and strangled the kid back, and lifted him off the ground and eventually some bar patrons intervened.  Craig yelled to him "What the fuck!?!  I even liked your band!"  At which point the kid came in for a hug.  I don't think this guy said anything the whole time; it was all just wordless violence and then tenderness.  We thought there was some weird new drug that all the kids in town were doing.  It wasn't the usual drug reactions we’re used to seeing.  It was the first night of our first tour, and our sixth show as a band.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Eight kittens and eight puppies, with three androgynous triplet humans to clean up after them.

With all of the various mediums that are available to musicians today I’m always curious why they choose and prefer the various mediums that they do.  Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music?  If you do have a preference, can you talk a little bit about why?

I guess vinyl is the defacto preference for releases because it’s a status symbol and its cool or whatever, and it means someone likes your band enough to put up a few thousand to manufacture it on vinyl, and then pimp it.  Myself, I have a ton of vinyl partly because of the type of music I like is released that way, and partly because of my age, it’s what I grew up listening to so there’s a bit of nostalgia.  I still buy and listen to vinyl but I listen to my iPod a lot more now because it is so convenient.  I don’t get mesmerized by the magic of flipping a record over; I’m mentally strong that way.  It doesn’t make me appreciate it more.

Do you all give a lot of thought to the visual aspects that represent the band live artwork for flyers, posters, covers and shirts?  Is there any kind of message that you’re trying to convey with your art or anything?  Do you have anyone that you usually turn to in your times of need when it comes to that kind of thing?  If you do, who is that and how did you originally get hooked up with them?

Matthew is the visual and design person.  He has a good aesthetic, which Craig and I trust.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?

I haven’t counted my records, but I’d guess it’s about a thousand LPs, and a few hundred 7”s, a few hundred CDs, and a few dozen cassettes.  My oldest ones are from when I was maybe seven years old, Cheap Trick Live at Budokan and Kiss Alive!  The rest I started buying when I was around fifteen and I never stopped. I slowed down a few years ago because really, how many records do you need?  There’s too many for me to realistically listen to, and after the last time I moved I decided that I would rather sell all of them than move them one more time!  But Matthew’s record collection is unbelievable.

I grew up around a large collection of music and my father always encouraged me to dig in and enjoy it.  From a very young ago I would go up to these enormous shelves of music, pick something out, stick it in the player, kick back with a pair of headphones, read the liner notes, stare at the artwork and let the experience transport me away to another place.  Having something physical to hold in my hands and hold, something to experience along with the music always made for a more complete listening experience; at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

I had that experience as a child too, when listening to music was new.  I don’t as much anymore.  Part of it’s because I’m older and have so many records.  Part of it’s because modern releases are generally more boring as objects, in that many releases which are good musically don’t have liner notes or good artwork, or inserts to look at.

As much as I love my collection of music I have to admit that I do love my digital music collection as well.  There’s no denying the ease and portability of digital music and when you combine it with the internet, you have a revolutionary concept on your hands.  Together they’ve exposed people to a global music market that they otherwise wouldn’t have even known existed.  And of independent bands that are willing to promote a healthy online presence it seems to have levelled the playing field somewhat, allowing unparalleled communication between bands and their fan base regardless of their locale.  On the other hand, it’s destroying what little is left of the music industry and illegal music is running absolutely rampant these days.  As an artist during the reign of the digital era, what’s our opinion on digital music and distribution?

I think the technology that enables anyone to record and release music as mp3, or whatever digital format, is great in that it lets anybody do it.  It’s also terrible in that it lets anybody do it.  If you share my opinion that at any one time eighty to ninety percent of music sucks, then the fact that there’s so much more music now because of technology means there’s both more good music to discover and a shit ton of more shitty music to avoid.  The ratio of shit music to good music in the universe remains.  As far as the biz, it seems harder than ever to make any money.  Granted, I’ve always been into non-commercial/marginal music that was never going to blow up, but when I was young it seemed like you could actually aspire to have moderate success as an underground band on your own terms.  And that didn’t seem like a ludicrous concept.  It kinda does seem ludicrous these days.

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but there’s just not enough time to keep up with even one-percent of the amazing stuff that’s out there right now.  As a result I rely on tips from people such as you in hopes of hearing my next favorite band!  Is there anyone from your local scene or area that I should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?

What about nationally and internationally?

Besides all the bands I’ve mentioned before, I’d say The Plateaus, Monophonic Hillside, Dan Melchior, The Offset: Spectacles, Kitchen’s Floor, Ghastly Spats, lots of great Australian stuff.

Thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview, I know it wasn’t short and it took a while to get done but I always say, it something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right!  Before we call it a day, I’d like to open the floor up to you.  Is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d like to take this opportunity to talk to me or my readers about?

I think you pretty much covered everything!

(2012)  Dreamsalon – Tour CD-R/Cassette – digital, Cassette Tape, CD-R – Skrot Up Records/Self-Released (CD-R limited to 94 hand numbered copies, Cassette Tape Limited to 60 copies)
(2013)  Dreamsalon – Thirteen Nights – digital, Cassette Tape, 12” – Captcha Records (12” limited to 200 copies on Black Vinyl and 100 copies on Gold Vinyl, Cassette Tape limited to ? copies)
(2014)  Various Artists – Record Store Day 2014 Compilation – ? – Learning Curve Records (Limited to ? copies)

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Brian Jonestown Massacre interview with Anton Newcombe

It would take a few pages to write about everything Anton Newcombe and his band The Brian Jonestown Massacre released in the past. Anton is currently living in Berlin and working with music. He also has his own studio now. The Brian Jonestown Massacre will be performing at the notorious Austin Psych Festival in about a month from now and after that they are going on tour across Europe.  Newcombe is releasing brand new album Revelation, which is the first album that was fully recorded and produced at Anton’s recording studio in Berlin. This is the 14th full length release from the Brian Jonestown Massacre recorded from late 2012 to early 2014, with Anton Newcombe refining the 13 tracks that appear on the album. Featuring appearances from: Ricky Maymi (an original member of the band), Joachim Alhund (Les Big Byrd), Constatine Karlis (Dimmer), Ryan Van Kriedt (Asteroid #4) as well as a vocal performance in Swedish by Joachim Alhund (Les Big Byrds) on the opening track. Here's our conversation with mastermind behind BJM.

Hello Anton, thanks for taking your time for this interview. What are you currently doing?

It's my pleasure, I'm doing alright you know... just taking it easy before I have to tour and spending time with my wife and my psychedelic baby "Wolfgang" as I'll be gone for awhile.

I was hoping we could talk about your latest album "Revelation". What can you say about the process of making this upcoming album and when is the release date?

Well the album comes out on May 19th I guess and I recorded it at my studio in Berlin where I live now. The process for me is that I get up everyday, eat something with my family and ride the utah out to the studio and try and make up ideas because if i don't, then there won't be a record, and no record means there's really no reason to tour... haha.

But to be honest for me, part of the process is overcoming self doubt along the way. I can make up ten songs in a row and a week later wonder if thats it and I'll never make up anything again and give up. The truth is I love writing music... for me it is conceptual art at that point and all I am looking for is the thing that captures my spirit and holds me captive, but not so tight that I can't break free... I want it to scratch this manic itch inside my head as I listen over and over again to it... and I want it to feel like my brain is on fire... like Van Gogh felt with paints or Rodin with sculpture... I am looking for the same with sounds for myself as an artist... Then I try and turn that into performance art live.

How long have you been living in Berlin?

Since 2007 - 2008 I think.

How do you like the "underground" scene of the city?

I am a hermit really, I don't drink anymore so I don't venture too much into the underground, like I said I am raising my son... but remember I spent a hell of a lot of time with a miners cap digging around down there in my life so it's ok to be doing other things.

Do you think it had any impact on you as a musician or maybe influenced you to such an extent that we will hear the traces of urban city life in your upcoming album?

Not just yet it hasn't, I think Berlin allows me the chance to be alone, like a ghost. I don't speak german and no-one bothers me ever... I just come and go as I please wherever I like without many worries in the world focusing on my art. I want to say I am very lucky, but at the sometime I have to say I have and do work very hard and have worked very hard for a long time.

You have your home-made studio there and this is the very first album BJM, that will be recorded there. Would you like to tell us about the recording and producing process?

Well I have an engineer I work with Fabien Lesure, he's quite good and having him there every day allows me to produce myself playing all the parts or with other people and or other bands and get a consistent sound without mucking about working out troubles. We have a system. We have new and old gear and we approach everything pretty much the same way... and at the same time experiment. It's all about the song or project, but the important thing is we keep the cost down... When I was working in studios it would be 1000 a day or more... haha so we can work for a month now for the same price... or something like that. You understand... but yeah... we also produce other bands there... but it's not a commercial studio as such because that would drive me nuts.

It must have been much more relaxed recording in your own home, am I right?

I have a flat and the studio is some place else. I don't like to be confronted with my work as a living space anymore. It makes you feel like an asshole when you want to relax if you are staring at 20 guitars and keyboards getting dusty no matter how much work you do.

You have your own independent label, that formed over 10 years ago and grew into a very special place for various types of music. What's the story about the label? How did you got the idea to start it?

Well I always had an imprint - first as tangible, then The Committee To Keep Music Evil... now it's "A Recordings Ltd"... the main reason is control. I want to make records. I want the money that makes to go toward making more records, paying a small salary, and working on new projects. I don't want some asshole deciding when my "career" is over because of some mistake they made with cash-flow... at the same time, I never sold all my music so this is an option. Some other fucker would be selling my records right now and paying me nothing believe me if I would have taken the offers I would be homeless or dead by now.

The Committee To KeepMusic Evil is putting out some very quality releases for instance Christian Bland and the Revelators, The Vacant Lots, The Cult Of Dom Kellar, The Asteroid 4, Dead Skeletons, The High Dials and many more. How does the work on your own label look like? Do you get demos or do you randomly stumble across the bands, that you find interesting?

We have about 20 albums and projects out and more coming all the time with way better distribution world wide than Rob and The Committee To Keep Music Evil have. Way better. I have seven records coming out in May. Ha ha. No offence Rob, but the reason I started a new label and left the Committee is because I intend to have a label that works… and it does.

Is it hard to run such a label? Do you work on your own or do you have someone to help you out?

I have a label manager Stuart Flint that use to work for Cargo UK with me and now we try and do things to slowly grow the project right.

Are there any exciting upcoming releases from your label?

In May we have:

LES BIG BYRD from Sweden
The KBV from London
And the BLUE ANGEL LOUNGE from Hagen, Germany

All releasing albums along with the new BJM album, then we have things planned for the fall like the MAGIC CASTLES from Minnesota, they have a full length album and we are finally getting around to pressing THANK GOD FOR MENTAL ILLNESS on vinyl (one of our albums) and also, there's a group from the UK called the SLEAFORD MODS that I like, I asked them to do a 10" so yeah... it's a busy time for me.

You've listened to tons of albums. What would you say are those "less" known that had a great impact on you when you started Brian Jonestown Massacre and what are some present artists you would recommend to our readers?

See this is the point where I have to just freeze this conversation because my relationship with music is intense and can not be defined by some list that cannot do justice without the sounds to go with it and why. I have fucking great taste in music, fantastic taste and if I started spitting out song titles and group names it would be ten miles long because it's longer than that and I'm not kidding.

Austin Psych Fest is getting closer and you'll be the headliner there. Are you excited to play there? I think the festival is a great idea of getting all this psychedelic, alternative bands together...

It's an honor, I'm more than excited, I'm nervous. I want everyone to have a great time and I am thankful to be invited again.

Austin Psych Fest, 2012
© Mark Reitz 

After the festival you plan to tour Europe and maybe we can catch you somewhere… Where all will you go on your tour and what can the audience expect?

There really isn't anyway to please everyone when you play a show except to provide whatever it is that it says it is on the tin. That means if you plan to play just the new album, say that so people are not pissed about your other 16 albums. For me, and for this tour... I leave it up to the group because I write and wrote the vast majority of the music of every single era, I'm thankful to have anyone to play any of it with... We're going to play some old some new... that's the plan.

Tue        20th       Lille FR  Aeronef
Wed      21st       Paris FR Bataclan
Thu        22nd      Rouen FR            106
Fri          23rd       Caen FR               BBC
Sat         24th       Brest FR               La Carene
Sun        25th       Nantes FR           Stereolux
Tue        27th       La Rochelle FR   Sirene
Wed      28th       Barcelona ESP    Apolo
Thu        29th       Nimes FR             This Is Not A Love Song Festival
Fri          30th       Besancon FR      La Rodia
Sat         31st       Lyon FR Nuits Sonores Festival                                      
France: ticket link                                           
Mon      2nd        Bologna IT          Rock In Idrho
Wed      4th         Tours FR              Aucard Du Tours Festival
Thu        5th         Strasbourg FR    La Laiterie
Fri          6th         Nurburg DE         Rock Am Ring
Sat         7th         Nurburg DE         Rock Im Park
Sun        8th         Berlin DE             Postbanof
Mon      9th         Warsaw               Hydrozagadka
Wed      11th       Prague  Futurum Music Bar
Thu        12th       Dresden DE         Beatpol
Fri          13rd       Tyrolen, Blädinge, Småland SWE               Psykunta Festival
Sat         14th       Aarhus Denmark              Northside Festival
Mon      16th       Oslo       John Dee
Tue        17th       Stockholm SWE Debaser Media
Wed      18th       Gothenburg SWE             Pustervik
Thu        19th       Malmo SWE       babel
Fri          20th       Hamburg DE       Knust Fabrik
Sun        22nd      Matigny SWZ      Caves Du Manoire
Mon      23rd       Zurich SWZ          Komplex Klub
Tue        24th       Brussels               Orangerie
Thu        26th       Amsterdam         melkweg
Fri          27th       Beuningen Holland          Down The Rabbit Hole Festival
Sat         28th       Brighton UK        Concorde 2
Sun        29th       UK          TBA                                              
Tue        1st         London UK          Roundhouse
Wed      2nd        Norwich UK        Waterfront
Thu        3rd         Bristol UK            Anson Rooms
Fri          4th         Nottingham UK Rescue Rooms
Sat         5th         Glasgow UK        ABC
Sun        6th         Newcastle UK    Riverside
Mon      7th         Birmingham UK Academy 2
Wed      9th         Dublin Eire          Academy 2
Thu - 8  10th       Manchester UK  Ritz
Fri          11th       Leeds UK             Cockpit
Sat         12th       Liverpool UK      East Village Arts Club                                              
UK: Search Results - See Tickets

Will this be more of a presentational tour of the new album, or?

I think we'll play three or four new ones with one unreleased or something like that.

You are also working on a film. Would you like to present us your project, since we don't know much about it...

Well I have wanted for a very long time to do a soundtrack and it looks like I am going to do one for a film called "Moon Dogs". Philip John is the director and it's set in Scotland up in the Shetlands there someplace. It's about two brothers who sort of, they've grown apart after one leaves home and the other stays in the small town or whatever and they go on a trip to get to know each other and bond and all again. And one of them is a musician... and I'll be making up his stuff and the incidental music etc. and maybe working with a few other people. My goal is to have Philip John, and everybody involved end up happy with the project at the end of the day and to the end I want to work hard with him to make that happen.

Maybe you will find it odd question, but still since we are psychedelic, baby! I want to ask you what's your opinion on hallucinogens? Have you ever gone deeper into the psychedelics? I think notorious author Terence McKenna managed to express some really amazing things from his experiments. How about you? Do you think it influenced you as a musician?

I was dosed  with DMT and didn't expect that and I came through the other side. I'm not afraid of those little shits.

Well, Anton we are really glad you have taken your time. Wish you all the best with your current and future projects and also with touring, hopefully we'll catch you on the tour. Would you like to share anything else with It's Psychedelic Baby readers?

Keep the faith baby and enjoy the trip'


© Mary Martley

Interview made by Klemen Breznikar/2014
© Copyright

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Ruined Fortune interview with Nic Warnock and Angie “Bermuda” Garrick

© Mel Garrick

Mark down another win for the blistering Aussie scene!  While Ruined Fortune seems to be as much of an experiment in creating music as it does a band, an evolving orb of utter madness, there’s just enough grounding in twisted and infectious pop to keep the music moving in the right direction.  The history of the band is an interesting one and most likely showcases why the band’s sound comes off like it does, frantic, yet extremely cunningly performed.  Minimalist punk and noise elements seamlessly crash with garage rock and noise-psych a la Chrome, while also inhabiting the body of a mid-80’s club junkie; and in the best senses possible.  It’s refreshing to hear a band that’s so chaotic and crazy at times, who still rely on the strength of the, sometimes atonal but always monstrous, unholy beasts of riffs that trip blindly groping out of the anarchy about them.  Following up 2012’s Bulls Eye single on R.I.P. Society with a highly anticipated debut full-length on HoZac Records, Ruined Fortune are out to prove they’ve come to kick ass and take names!  Armed with enough fuzz, distortion, feedback and churlishness to outfit an army along with an unrelenting urge to use it, this music is for fuzz, garage, psych, head, noise and punk junkies alike.  I could spend even more time talking about how amazing the tracks that I’ve heard previewed from the Self-Titled Ruined Fortune LP on the boss HoZac Records are.  I could talk about how much they seem to have grown, how infectious and heavy the riffs are, how well the almost vocals compliment the music, even about how the production quality seems to have once again shifted to perfectly reflect the soul of the music that it helps to produce.  Instead though, I’ll just say that not only are Ruined Fortune another amazing Australian band, they’re one that isn’t afraid of breaking the mold, make an original statement and they do it all while paying homage to the greatness that’s come before them.   I guess the only thing left, is for you to click on one of the links below, read the article and eventually, for you to just cave in and buy the album…  Wait for it, the urge’s coming…

What is Ruined Fortune’s current lineup?  Is this your original lineup or have you guys gone through any changes since the band started?

Nic:  Ruined Fortune has had quite a scattered existence, lots of long silences between blurts of productivity.  Our first show was actually just the two of us and a cassette 4-track in late 2011, something we’ve returned to for a few shows recently.  Since then we’ve been joined by Sam Chilpin and John Duncan on stage, and hopefully some day on record cause they’re mad dogs.

Are any of you currently in any other bands at this point?  Have you released any music with anyone else?  If so can you tell us a little bit about that?

Nic:  I currently play in the rock group Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys, the new-wave (for lack of a better term) group Model Citizen and play solo in experimental-mode as Exotic Dog.  I’m a complex person.  I need all of these outlets to express each facet of my complex existence. 

Angie:  I make music on my own at the moment.  I don’t really have any other musical projects apart from that and Ruined Fortune.  My solo project is just me on different platforms with a revolving backing band style, similar to Circle Pit.

Where are you originally from?  How would you describe the local music scene where grew up?

Nic:  I grew up in Cairns, Far North Queensland and the music scene was poor/non-existent as far as I knew; I could have been wrong, I have since seen evidence of weird music existing in Cairns.  Once I moved away people started putting on house shows and bizarre punk bands formed, which was great to see.

Angie:  I grew up in inner-city Sydney.  The music scene was kinda boring, like bland indie music everywhere and mostly over eighteen venues that seemed kinda expensive.  I eventually gravitated towards the hardcore/punk scene here because it felt more exciting and more dangerous, full of life.  It felt like around that time there was a similar feeling from other people and it kinda exploded, and for a while there was a feeling that something was really starting and changing.  I feel a bit out of the loop now through.

Did the music scene there play a large part in your childhood, your musical tastes or how you play these days?

Nic:  Not really, but I do think the lack of any music orientated youth culture in Cairns was somewhat of a blessing.  No “scene”, meant no rules.  I got to choose my own adventure through music.  I managed to bypass pop punk or any other bland unified youth trend, so I guess that influenced how I play.

Angie:  I feel like it doesn't, but subliminally it must.

Was your household very musical growing up?  Were any of your parents or any of your relatives musicians or extremely involved/interested in music?

Nic:  I didn’t grow up in a musical household, although my Dad was involved in the making of a musical comedy cassette while in medical school under the name Doctor Funk.  I did grow up in an extremely encouraging household though, which paired with my discovery of the “it was easy, it was cheap, go and do it” ethos has given me the confidence to waste my life playing music.

Angie:  My Dad is really into rock and roll, has a great vinyl collection and would play me Credence in my cot.  I always grew up around great music, basically classic rock and then Aussie rock like Rose Tattoo, Sunnyboys, etcetera.  My dad loves ZZ Top and Blue Oyster Cult, so I got exposed to that kinda stuff as a child too.  He never played music though; he was a scientist by trade.  My cousin runs operas, and has been a concert pianist and my grandfather plays amazing piano.

What was your first real exposure to music?

Nic:  I don’t really have any fond or strong memories of music as a young child.  I’d say I had a pretty typical relationship with music as a kid.  Then as a teenager I got into hip hop, Wu-Tang, Gang Starr, Public Enemy, etcetera (note: this music was all ten years old by then) and some more current “underground” hip hop.  This was the first time I had an intense, active interest in music and I think the attitude and subversiveness of hip hop paved the way for future interest in punk, rock ‘n’ roll, all sorts of out-there experimental music and so on; in short rap rules, Geto Boys 4 life.

Angie:  I used to listen to my dad’s music all the time, heaps of Oz rock and classic rock, and then when I was a teenager I would stay up all night and watch RAGE, which exposed me to more current music that really just exploded from when I was about fifteen.  I became obsessed with learning every single song I could on guitar and incessantly playing it over and over.  My room was full of tab sheets everywhere, ha-ha!

If you had to pick on moment of music that redefined everything for you and opened up the infinite doors of possibilities, what would it be?

Nic:  I think hearing The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” was a key point.  I mean, it’s kind of made me re-assess what qualities were significant in music entirely, and then when the Funhouse album clicked the floodgates really opened.  It was rock music divorced of any attachment to a counterculture stereotype I’d ever seen on TV, or in movies or anything.  The Saints were a similar phenomenon, especially considering they were from Queensland.  I guess this lead to a fairly standard pathway of finding those groups that preempted punk, or attempted to subvert-the-punks, or music that wasn’t in the punk lineage by any means, but seemed to have a similar renegade streak.  This could be early electronic music, jazz, Beefheart, Whitehouse, lots of stuff.  Of course beyond that, I’ve developed other ways to navigate through music beyond the typical, teen-against-the-status-quo route.  I think I’m even into the group Status Quo now.

Angie:  I think it’s hard to pinpoint this exactly, but I guess I would say when I first heard bands like Beat Happening and DNA, weird American bands that made me realize, “Wow, there’s no real way to define rock music anymore, it can be whatever it wants to be”.  I wasn’t really aware of an Australian legacy like this at that point but wow, it’s good and weird too.

When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music and what brought that decision about?

Nic:  Seeing The Sex Pistols on cable TV, hearing/reading about punk, hearing The Stooges first record, somehow hearing The Electric Eels and Throbbing Gristle (although only a brief snippet).  As naive as it now sounds this was incredibly liberating, it gave me a completely new set of values as to what constituted music and sparked my curiosity in hearing more righteous, weird sounds.  Also my now band mate in Bed Wettin’ Bad Boys Joe, said we should start a band in high school.  I didn’t play anything so he said I should sing, so I said, “Ok”.

Angie:  I wrote my first song when I was about twelve.  It was called “Urinal Cake”, ha-ha.  It wasn’t too bad, actually the other day I was saying to a friend I feel like my songwriting is regressing back to that point when I wrote songs as a twelve year old.  I didn’t really make a “decision” to do it.  It just happened naturally I guess.  You can only appreciate music so much before you make that leap in creating it yourself.

When and how did you all originally meet?

Nic:  I met Angie as a fan of her previous band Kiosk.  When I moved to the outer-Sydney region of Penrith at age seventeen, they were the first Sydney band I became a fan of and ritualistically travelled the hour in on the train to see every show I could.  They were a great introduction to the Sydney music underground, a politically important band for Sydney.  She thought I was a freak because I wanted her to sign the Kiosk 7”s which I bought for two friends up North.  To my surprise I was greeted as a friend at the next Kiosk show after she researched my MySpace account and saw that I enjoyed Can, Rocket From The Tombs, etcetera.

©Mel Garrick

What led to the formation of Ruined Fortune and when was that?

Nic:  A band asked Circle Pit to play a show, Circle Pit were inactive at that point.  Angie said she had a new thing going, which was kind of a lie and we wrote the first four Ruined Fortune songs as a result.  Angie says I volunteered to play in her new rock band, although I remember her asking me if I’d like to start a new band with her.  The band nearly broke up multiple times before we even did anything.

Is there a shared creed, ideal or mantra that the band lives by?

Nic:  Drink and drive, you’re a bloody idiot.

Angie:  We don’t really agree on anything but I would say subliminally it would be to not be boring, and to cross that fine line between straight up rock and roll and the outsider, weird elements.

What does the name Ruined Fortune mean or refer to? Who came up with it and how did you go about choosing it?

Nic:  I’m not sure but I think I’m the “Ruined” bit and Angie is the “Fortune.”

Where’s the band currently located at?

Nic:  Sydney, Australia.

How would you describe the local music scene where you’re at now?

Nic:  Marginalized and mostly ignored, but kind of a healthy and interesting musical breeding ground because of it.

Are you very involved in the local music scene?  Do you book or attend a lot of local shows or help to record or release any local music?

Nic:  I work at my favourite record store Repressed Records, run the record label R.I.P Society and for the last two years have been the co-director of the Sound Summit festival.  I don’t believe in being a removed artist or expecting anything from anyone.  I love D-I-Y/outsider music culture and believe if you love a culture you should contribute in some way to the good of that culture, for the good of that culture.

Do you feel like the local scene has played a large role in the history or sound of Ruined Fortune or do you think you all could be doing what you’re doing and sound the way that you do regardless of location or surroundings?

Nic:  I think Sydney’s music scene has probably indirectly influenced the sound and approach of Ruined Fortune.  Culture and the arts aren’t really a priority here; it’s the business centre of the country.  There aren’t many established paths or ladders to climb in the “band scene”.  It’s either, be a schlub and do things in the boring/correct manner, or choose your own adventure.

I am good at a great deal many of things when it comes to interviewing bands, or at least I’d like to think so, but describing how bands sound to our readers is not one of those things.  I don’t subscribe to the fact that music can be neatly labeled or classified and as such my descriptions get quite verbose and end up being more confusing than anything else.  Rather than me making some bizarre and ultimately awkward attempt at describing Ruined Fortunes’ sound, how would you describe your sound to our readers who might not have heard you yet?

Angie:  A segment of my mind crystallized.

While we’re talking so much about the history and background of the band I’m curious to hear who you could cite as some of your major musical influences?  What about influences on the band as a whole rather than individually?

Nic:  We share a lot of favourite artists, from Blue Oyster Cult to Brian Eno but there was no real template for this band.  The idea of reference points don’t really work when collaborating with Angie; which is good!  I would say there’s some type affinity to bands like Swell Maps, Chrome and Royal Trux in the way they’re chained to rock ‘n’ roll while simultaneously trying to break those chains.  Personally, I started fooling around with a 6-string guitar a short time before we started Ruined Fortune, so I’d consider that an influence on our sound.  I’d been playing bass for years before that.  I can pin-point wanting to play guitar down to two people; Roky Erickson and Alex Chilton.  Although I’d been a fan of both for ages, hearing Radio City or The Evil One didn’t really make me think “maybe I could do this too”.  It was the footage of Roky Erickson in the graveyard, getting the Holiday Inn Tapes LP and Alex Chilton’s Like Flies On Sherbert that made me want to play guitar.

Can you tell us a little bit about Ruined Fortune’s songwriting process?  Is there someone who approaches the rest of the band with a mostly finished riff or song to work out and compose with the rest of you or is there a lot of jamming and exchange of ideas when you all get together to play that gets distilled into a song?

Nic:  Angie and I worked fairly collaboratively on most of the material for the album.  For example I’d bring a pairing of riffs, some unformed words or text and we’d make it a song together.  As the songs are quite open, almost sketches before heading into record, I think the other players on the recordings and Andrew McLellan as an engineer/producer shaped the outcome of the record immensely.  Essentially the structure and lyrics stayed the same, but Andrew in particular turned a lot of stuff upside down.  There’s was about as little jamming as possible when recording the LP.  It doesn’t feel like a band as much as a “project”.  When we record again, I would hope to be more of a unit and for more things to be grappled with and jammed on, as well as some stuff from the incredible minds of John Duncan and Sam Chiplin.

Do you all enjoy recording?  As a musician myself I don’t think that there’s a lot out there that beats holding an album in your hands, knowing all the hard work, time and effort that went into it; but mostly knowing that it’s yours and you made it and no one can ever take that away from you.  Getting that recording done though, especially when it comes to dealing with an entire band can be a little stressful and nerve-wracking to say the least.  How is it recording for you all?

Nic:  Unlike everything else I’ve been involved in, Ruined Fortune thought about its recording first, with performing live actually being a bit of an afterthought.  I loved recording the 7”.  Mixing wasn’t at all painful either; couple of beers with Owen in an afternoon and it was done.  Going into recording the album I felt uneasy, as it was much more of an experiment than anything I’d ever done and I felt some pressure from this uncertainty.  The stakes felt high and I hadn’t mulled over the material at all, I don’t really know where a lot of the ideas came from.  Song-wise the record is a lot more out-of-body and intuitive than I’m used to.  Everyone around me was highly capable though, I was just concerned about getting the most out of it.  By the end of day two I was quite confident it was going to be a good record and overall, I had a great time.  I’m always grateful for any opportunity to do something creative.

Does Ruined Fortune utilize studio environments for recording or is it more of a DIY prospect where things are done on your own time and turf?

Nic:  So far we’ve recorded in a home studio, a proper studio, and in a more DIY manner; whatever’s appropriate for the recording and within our means.  No doubt Steely Dan wouldn’t be as magical on a 4-track and Darkthrone wouldn’t have the same atmosphere if it was recorded “better”.  Funnily, the first review of our LP refers to it as “lo-fi” a few times but we actually recorded it in a professional studio.  I guess on our album hi and lo-fi meet at points, for example a cassette 4-track was used as an instrument on one track.  If we’re to make another album, I’d like to blur those lines even more.

You have a rapidly approaching album coming in 2014.  What’s the name of the album?  Was the recording of the material for the full-length album very different than the session(s) for your earlier single?  Was the recording of the album a fun pleasant experience for you all?  When and where was it recorded?  Who recorded the material for the full-length?  What kind of equipment was used?

Nic:  It’s a self-titled album.  I think we covered most of this in other questions right?

Does Ruined Fortune have any music that we haven’t talked about yet, maybe a single I missed or a song that appeared on a compilation or something?

Nic:  Nope, there was a demo CD-R floating around but I haven’t even got a copy.

With the upcoming release of the HoZac LP right around the corner, are there any other releases in the works or on the horizon at this point?

Nic:  No.

With the completely insane postage rates I try to provide people with as many options for picking up imports as I possibly can.  There’s nothing worse than knowing an albums out, being able to afford it but not being able to pay for shipping, it drives me nuts!  Where’s the best place for our US readers to pick up copies of your music?

Nic:  Your local independent record store.  If they don’t have it hit up HoZac.

What about our international readers?

Nic:  HoZac seems to have good distribution, so lots of places!

And where’s the best placer of fans to keep up with the latest news like upcoming shows and album releases from Ruined Fortune at?

Nic:  Our Facebook or Tumblr blog.  Or Google.  Sorry, we’re not that internet active. 

Are there any major goals that Ruined Fortune is looking to accomplish in 2014?

Nic:  Avoid self-destruction. 

What, if anything, do you have planned as far as touring goes for the New Year so far?

Nic:  We’ll play some shows across Australia once the album is out, that’s about it.  I can’t imagine doing any shows overseas in 2014, I have other bits of my life I’d like to sort out that have been long neglected and a full schedule for R.I.P Society.

Do you remember what the first song that Ruined Fortune ever played live was?  If so, what was it and where and when was that?

Nic:  I can’t remember, but it would definitely be one of the following: “Bulls Eye”, “Long Song” (we still don’t have a name for this one), “Hope Diamond” or “Transparent Faces”.  It was at the legendary Black Wire Record store.  Angie and I played live guitar and sang over a 4-track cassette machine containing multi-tracked synth experiments I had made years earlier.  It was quite a mess, but in hindsight I think it went quite well.

Do you all spend a lot of time touring or out on the road?  Do you enjoy touring?  What’s life like on the road for Ruined Fortune?

Nic:  We’ve done weekends away, but no real touring.  Australia’s too big and expensive, plus too many other duties holding us down.  Life, oh life.  Du, du, du, Du.

Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to share a bill with so far?

Nic:  Well the live band came together solely for the purpose of playing with Blues Control when they came to Australia.  I think they’re one of the best bands to come out of the USA in the last twenty years!  We also played with Home Blitz, another one of the USA’s finest exports.  It was really special playing with The Native Cats in Hobart, Cured Pink on a couple of occasions, Oily Boys and Total Control in Sydney and Melbourne’s finest, Constant Mongrel (Interview here). 

Do you have any funny or interesting stories from live shows or performances that you’d like to share here with our readers?

Nic:  Most are a fairly standard concert affair…  We played in an old movie theatre once, though.  That was nice.

In your dreams, who are you on tour with?

Nic:  If we had a time machine I would love to tag along on the Alternative TV tour where they played the outdoor festivals with hippy collective Gong/Here & Now.  Or The Shadow Ring and Harry Pussy “Siltbreeze presents…” tour in the early 90s.  Or some type of Blue Oyster Cult/Alice Cooper group, triple-headline tour around 1973.

With all of the various mediums available to artists today I’m always curious why they choose the various methods that they do and why. Do you have a preferred medium of release for your own music?  What about when you’re listening to and or purchasing music and if so why?

Nic:  I like records best all round.  I still buy CDs occasionally and think tapes are great for basement-spun-weirdo stuff, or punk/hardcore demos.  Music will be much worse off without the network of independent labels, stores, distros, publications, etcetera.  Even with the internet, I feel substantial music culture is still communicated via these networks in a semi-word of mouth/community manner, that’s very similar to how things operated in years past.

Do you have a music collection at all?  If so can you tell us a little bit about it?

Nic:  Yes.  In this day and age I’d probably be considered a record collector, although I just see myself as someone that likes owning and listening to records I feel are interesting.  I’m probably considered an obsessive; I think I’m just extremely curious and non-complacent.  I don’t care for coloured vinyl, or limited edition pieces, or nothing like that.

I grew up around a fairly large collection of music and there’s was always something awesome about being able to wander over to the shelves of music and pick something completely at random, pop it into the player, stare at the artwork, read the liner notes and let the music transport me off to another dimension.  As a result I developed an appreciation for physically released music pretty early on and have never really been able to shake it.  There’s something about having an album to hold in my hands, liner notes to read and artwork to look at that serves for a rare, brief glimpse in the minds of the artists that created it and make for a more complete listening experience; at least for me.  Do you have any such connection with physically released music?

Nic:  I share this connection with you Roman, although I didn’t grow up with a large collection of music at my disposal, at least music I was interested in at the time.  I would add that I believe this physical item commands a more active listening experience; the listener perseveres with the record and is likely more engaged with the recording.

As much as I love my music collection, and I do love my music collection rest assured, there’s always been one main problem with it.  I could never take it on the go with me.  Even with the advent of tapes and CDs I wasn’t able to fill a duffle bag full of enough music to keep me happy out on road trips and the like.  Digital music has taken care of that problem overnight and when you team it with the internet has become a real game changer.  It’s exposing people to a whole world of music that they otherwise would never have had the chance to experience.  On the other hand, illegal downloading is running rampant and it’s harder and harder to get noticed amongst the chocked digital jungle out there.  As an artists during the reign of the digital era what’s your opinion on digital music and distribution?

Nic:  I don’t think Ruined Fortune really has much authority to comment on such a matter.  I do have feelings on this, but it’s too much!

I try to keep up with as much good music as I possibly can but there just aren’t enough hours in the day!  I spend more time than I would like to admit searching for new music online, poring over the bins at the local shop and chatting up the store clerks looking for listening tips.  A lot of the best suggestions I get come from musicians such as yourselfers though!  Is there anyone from your local scene or area I should be listening to that I might not have heard of before?

Nic:  You could say, start at the R.I.P Society then make a family tree of the members other groups and so on.  The same could be said about many starting points in Australia.  Down here the guitar pop of Woollen Kits is only one branch away from intense synth outfit NUN.  Constant Mongrel is one branch from manic hardcore outfit Velvet Whip, Housewives is only branch away from Ghastly Spats and Teen Ax, two branches away from Pleasure Bros.  Love Chants could act as a gateway to the world of Alberts Basement or Matt Earle’s Breakdance The Dawn.  Bitch Prefect would lead you to The Friendsters and Roaming Catholics.  It’s all connected, whether they like it or not!

What about internationally?

Nic:  Neil Michael Hagerty still makes great records with his group The Howling Hex.  I think he’s now based in Colorado.  The mid-west of America is still the most fruitful region, with tons of great punk, hardcore, basement rock, trip metal and other weird musical activity.  Memphis is cool and has a strong link to Australia; I love True Sons Of Thunder a lot!  Always worth checking in with Philadelphia's Richie Records and whatever’s going on with Siltbreeze Records.  Mordecai are from Butte, Montana (ha-ha).  Dan and Letha Melchior reside in North Carolina and sure do make great records.  It’s worth keeping tabs on Graham Lambkin’s work, plus everything on his record label, KYE.  He resides in Poughkeepsie, New York.  From the UK I like the punk group Good Throb, Call Back The Giants and the trendy electronic music group, Factory Floor.  Spain seems to be one of the world’s leading producers of raging hardcore.  I’m actually uncertain of the country of origin for many of the PAN records artists, but I know the label owner is Greek and has also lived in Germany; some of that stuff is real good!

Thanks so much for taking the time to complete this thing, I know it was kind of a monster and it can’t have been easy to finish. But hey, you’re done now and hopefully it was at least a little fun to look back on everything you’ve managed to accomplish and done so far! Is there anything that I might have missed or that you’d just like to take this opportunity to talk to me or our readers about?

Nic:  Dear Sir/Madam
I am a staff of Natwest Bank London. I am writing following an oppurtunity in my office
that will be of imense benefit to both of us. In my department we discovered an abandoned
sum of $22.5million Dollars (twenty two million five hundred thousan Dollars) in an account
that belongs to one of our foreign customers Late Mr. Morris Thompson an American who
unfortunately lost his life in the plane crash of Alaska Airlines Flight 261 which crashed
on January 31th, 2000 including his wife and only daughter.
You shall read more about the crash on visiting this site.
Since we got information about his death, we have been expecting his next of kin or relatives
to come over and claim his money because we cannot release it unless somebody applies for it
as next of kin or relation to the deceased as indicated in our banking guidelines.
Unfortunately I learnt that his supposed next of kin being his only daughter died along with
him in the plane crash leaving nobody with the knowledge of this fund behind for the claim.
It is therefore upon this discovery that I and two other officials in this department now
decided to make business with you and release the money to you as the next of kin or
beneficiary of the funds for safety keeping and subsequent disbursement since nobody is
coming for it and we don't want this money to go back into Government treasury as unclaimed
bill. The banking law and guidelines here stipulates that such money remained after five
years the money will be transferred into banking treasury as unclaimed funds.
We agreed that 20% of this money will be for you as foreign partner, while the balance will
be for me and my colleagues. I will visit your country for the disbursement according to the
percentages indicated above once this money gets into your account. Please be honest to me
and my colleagues trust is our watchword in this transaction. Note this transaction is
confidential and risk free.
As soon as you receive this mail.please do your very best to get in touch with our
email at:  or 
Please note that all necessary arrangement for the smooth release of these funds has been
finalised. Our Foreign Payment Director,Dr LEWIS ALDERWOOD.will give you specific instruction
on what todo. Please in your response include your telephone number for easy communication
between us.
Best Regards!
Mr Crawford Leeds

(2012) Ruined Fortune – Demo CD-R – Self-Released
(2013) Ruined Fortune – Bulls Eye – 7” – R.I.P. Society Records
(2014) Ruined Fortune – Ruined Fortune – digital, 12” – HoZac Records (Gold Vinyl limited to 150 copies, Black Vinyl limited to 450 copies)

© Mel Garrick

Interview made by Roman Rathert/2014
© Copyright