CP: Christina Pap
AM: Al Montfort
AH: Amy Hill
CP: Hey, and welcome to the Australian Underground podcast. I'm your host, Christina Pap. I'm breaking up the routine a bit instead of the radio show today, I'll be bringing you another interview. I'm doing a bit of an overhaul of the schedule at the moment in which I'm planning on doing more interviews with still having a radio show episode once a month. I know it's also been all Melbourne conversations, but I'm working on branching out of state so bear with me. On the show today I'll be talking to Al Montfort and Amy Hill, who currently do Sleeper and Snake together, as well as playing in Terry and Constant Mongrel plus a slew of other bands across a vast variety of underground genres they've done separately over the years including Primo!, UV Race, Dick Diver, Lower Plenty, Eastlink, Total Control, School of Radiant Living, Straightjacket Nation, and the list goes on. I don't specifically remember when I met Amy or Al. I think with both of them it was just a matter of becoming familiar with each other over time from seeing each other at shows. I've been going to Straightjacket Nation shows since maybe 2007, with UV race following shortly after that, and we talked through that time period, as well as when they started getting into music, moving to Melbourne plus how they met and how music has played such a large role since it entered their lives. Plus a whole bunch of fun stories thrown in for a good laugh along the way. Sleeper and Snake’s first album "Junction and High" was released in 2019 of Aarght Records. It was followed the next year by their "Fresco Shed" LP, released by both Upset The Rhythm in the UK and Melbourne's LSD Club. This is the song “Flats” right here on the Modern Australian Underground.
CP: Why do you make music?
AH: Don't know if I ever asked myself that question in the beginning. It just was fun I guess. I don't know. You learnt at school a bit because you were so into bands and stuff.
AL: Why I love bands I think I think it's pretty fun. Good way to socialise, also a good way to be creative. Yeah. Creative, creativity rocks. No, I don't, I don't know why I make music.
AM: I think definitely for me it was it was fun. Like, the first band I was in was with, like two close friends who also couldn't really play music. Roberta could play guitar. Mel used to, she worked on like a prop shop And she used to just get like a weird sound making device from prop shop. And that would be hers for the gig. And I was supposed to be the drummer.
CP: A weird sound making device, like what?
AH: Oh, like, once she had like a violin that was like broken and pretended to play. Things like that. We were called The Sexual Emotions. That was a really sick name. But yeah, like so we were just literally like three drunks having a good time. Probably very hated in the Auckland music scene.
AM: You got, um, did you get rated highly in some in some Kiwi zine?
AH: I think that must have just been a bit of a joke though. It was like, best bands in Auckland have like a certain area and it was like us and then die die die who obviously like, check themselves. So I think that we're a bit outraged. But friends of us.
CP: How long ago was that free school of radiant living?
AH: That was in Auckland. And then I met Harriet and Auckland. Yes, Roberta sister. And we started Sleepless Nights, which is like a country band again. Also couldn't really play country music, but we really tried. And then Harriet and I both moved to Melbourne. And we kept doing that band. And then that turned into Radiant Loving. When Georgia and Marian joined. Yeah, there was some pretty odd times for Radiant Loving that's for sure. We used to like, dress up and yeah, on a bit of a hippie kind of vibe.
CP: So you went from country to hippie?
AM: You were a cult kinda thing.
AH: Yeah, that was the kind of thing was, that like beads and stuff. Very odd.
AL: Pretty fun.
CP: Is that how you met Amy, when she was wearing beads?
AM: Yeah, I was, ‘hot beads’. You had me at beads. But that's when we met.
CP: So you met when you were doing School of Radiant Living?
AM: Yeah, through Georgia.
AH: Did you come to a gig?
AH: And then there was the bus trip, UV Race, to Geelong. You were on that.
AM: We rented a double-decker bus. We had to gig in Geelong. It was like before, like bands were playing Geelong really often. Melbourne bands, before Melbourne bands were playing Geelong too often. And more like, well, nobody's going to come see us in Geelong. Yeah. Is there even a scene in Geelong? When we just didn't know.
CP: This pre, like you knew Billy or like The Living Eyes?
AM: Yeah, we would have just met maybe, Jake? Yeah. So this is probably 11. This is 11 years ago. And we just we were like, ‘Cool. Let's hire double decker bus’. And we'll bring everybody party as a party bus. And we brought everybody down from Melbourne. So there was like 60 people on the bus. I think there's like 63 players.
AH: ‘Cause did we pay for our ticket that was the bys and the show or something?
CP: Before all this being in New Zealand, talking about getting into music. Do you remember like buying your first record and like kind of the story around how that happened?
AH: I had tapes. My first record, because I have two older sisters so I probably kind of listened to music that they were into, which was kind of like a weird mix growing up. Like prodigy. We’d get like, we'd get like tapes that would listen to in the car. Middle sister was really into like Marcy and the Smiths and stuff. I had a real big Michael Jackson, dangerous period. And that's like my first tape, which I think I was like obsessed with, oh, it's all such a strange.
AM: What did your parents think about in the car when you're like cranking Morrissey and then the Prodigy?
AH: I don't want to, I don't know they just like, ‘cool, whatever.’ He used to just like buy CDs like CDs and books for Christmas every year so we get to choose a CD that we wanted which was pretty good.
AM: What did you choose?
AH: Pulp Fiction soundtrack. But yeah, and then I think when I kind of got into my teens and stuff or was really into like grunge then kind of got into more like rock ‘n’ roll and punk and stuff and then later than that really into country music. So that was kind of the mix. Auckland in like, kind of early 2000s, I think like a lot of my friends were art students and stuff so it was that kind of vibe as well that kind of alternative music and there was different like nights that you'd go to what they call it Kiss Makeup Club or something, you know, we'd go and they'd be like, you could be playing like, god knows what. It was really fun.
AM: Did they have bands as well?
AH: There was always bands playing. Yeah, maybe not that night, but there were like different venues where you go and see bands and then they'd be DJs and stuff. The usual.
AM: The usual. Who were playing, the Coolies? Die Die Die? No, was that too early?
AH: I don't know if I could remember all about I think I could probably only remember. Yeah, like the Coolies and Die Die Die because they just played together all the time. And we're friends. Yeah. So we pretty much just go to their gigs.
CP: That’s nice though. That's what it's kind of like, in any scene though.
AH: Yeah. Just go out to see your mates.
CP: Yeah. What about you? Al? Do you remember what um, record?
AM: I can't remember if I got a E-17 CD single, or Diggin On You by TLC. I remember what one of them is the first CD single, but I think Green Day or Dukey or what's the story Morning Glory by Oasis was the first.
AH: See I was more into Blur. That’s probably a controversial thing to say these days. At the time, I was more Blur. Well, I think they were seen as like Oasis was kind of like the working class band and below like the kind of tough toffee.
CP: What was New Zealand missing that made you want to come over to Australia?
AH: I don't think it was actually missing anything. It was just that Harriet moved here. And she convinced me she wanted to have friends. And me and Mel were like, ‘yeah, cool move to Melbourne’. Like it just seemed like a kind of fun thing to do. And then we came here and Mel left like quite quickly because she'd met the guy in Auckland just before he left. Classic. So she left and then I was just here and I just had to kind of work it out like a lift in like Abbotsford and less like rundown house with this hippie that just like drank red wine on the couch, like a cask. And there was like a stain of where he would like pour it. And so you know, you just like move into places because you just don't know what you're doing .
CP: What about Harriet though?
AH: Well she was living with her partner at the time and I really overstayed my welcome. It was a one bedroom apartment and I was like on my couch. And then I moved and stayed with some other friends from New Zealand for a little while and also kind of overstayed my welcome with them. So had to move in with the hippie.
CP: So a School of Radiant Living the first band you did here?
AH: We did Sleepless Night first. Which was just the two of us. And to be honest, I pretty weird gigs. Like we thought we were playing country music, but like, in retrospect, it was pretty like I would almost. I had a computer that we did heaps of stuff on, but my house when I was living in Clifton Hill, got robbed, and I lost that laptop, which had like all of our early stuff and like on it. Which was a real bummer. But to be honest maybe it was a good thing, Like, there was like one gig that we did at the Post Office Hotel and for the life with me, I cannot really understand why we would decided that this was a good idea. Just like I was playing bass probably quite badly. And Harriet was playing, what's the one that you blow into and it's got the keys? I can never remember what this is called. Okay, yeah. And then like I was saying, like in that kind of like acapella. But with hardly any instrumentation, thinking that we were doing a country set.
CP: Isn’t country like punk, it's like whatever you make of it, right?
AH: Glad you said that. Well, Dana just happened to be at that gig and he loved it. So, you know, I must be an original weirdo.
AM: Before like, you have anything connect to the punk scene, did you tell me that you played a big party that Sean Southard asked you to play it as well?
AH: Yeah, we played, ended up being in his kitchen. But they might be there was like a warehouse over the road from this house on, what's that, Barkley Street? Yeah. And they had that I don't know if they just like broken in illegally or they were allowed to go in there or if it was just anyway, squatted or whatever. They tried to have a party there but ended up getting shut down and they turned off all the power and stuff. So we played, I actually don't know how we got that gig. I thin Harriet was friends with Harriet Morgan and Sean's.
CP: I remember that house. It was a weird time.
AH: But it was fun. Everyone would have been just so confused at what we were doing.
AM: The nihilistic orbs country record that never was.
AH: I don’t know if you would have really been able to hear anything. It just sounded like punk music was so blown out.
CP: You're not from Melbourne either, are you?
AM: No. I'm from Yarragen.
CP: Where’s Yarragen?
AM: It’s like um little tri-valley kind of West Gippsland. Born in Melbourne though. And then moved there for the teenage years.
CP: Was there a punk scene up there?
AM: No, there's few kids from Maui into hardcore. And Marcus is from Warragul. And Moses. Also so, three of UV rays.
AH: The only punks in Warragul?
CP: Did you mean DX up there? Or was that a thing down here?
AM: No, that was only through Straitjacket when we started. Well, when we started.
CP: It's interesting that you met him through Straitjacket, and then you went on to do so many bands together.
AM: Yeah. I'd seen The Plague before. I think they were straight edge. Like straight edge anarchist. Yeah, they were really good. Really aggressive.
AH: What was his role, like a front person?
AM: Yeah. I think we're good. Political dietribes trade songs. Yeah, I quite enjoyed it as a 16 year old.
AH: Where would you see them play?
AM: I think I saw them at RMIT. There was a venue. It was like a room that people used to hire out and put on gigs.
CP: Near CFM?
AM: Yeah Ii was kinda near enough. It was like closer to Swanston Street. Between CFM and Swanston Street.
CP: Did you, who did you know to start Straitjacket?
AM: I think we just talked to Em and David Giggs. Yeah, he's going to hardcore gigs for a while. And then tell her ‘Oh, we're starting a band, do you play an instrument?’ and I was like ‘yeah I play bass’, and they were like ‘sweet, we think we’ve got this singer in Wollongong. DX from The Plague’. And I was like ‘cool’.
CP: Didn’t the bass you play in Straitjacket only ever have three strings though?
AM: Yeah, yeah. Not much of the higher ones.
CP: Was there a reason for that?
AM: Just, it broke. So I guess I was on the dol for a really long time. And then a student on youth allowance.
AH: Is that the one Dial Toomy has now?
AM: Yeah Daniel Toomy has it now. Anthony had it for a while. But I saved to buy a bass cab on the dol which is pretty good.
CP: Couldn’t do that these days.
AM: Yeah, I've had really cheap rent $50 a week granny flat with somebody else in Clayton. So move from Yarragon to Clayton. The Big Smoke
CP: And what year was what year was this around? Like you moved to Melbourne?
CP. Because at that time, Dave and Emily were living at the Pink Palace, right? It's just cool because like, I mean, just talking to Yup. And getting that part of the conversation. It's kind of cool to like build the scene. At that time just thinking about it.
AM: Well, yeah, come down. Go to gigs at Pink Palace or wherever was holding all ages gigs at the time. And then when I met David M, just stayed on their floor. Oh no, on their couch in the pink palace. And that's where I met Yup and Timmy and Jimmy and everyone. Tristan, Sarah Hayward who are playing Lower Plenty with later.
CP: Yeah, well, actually speaking about houses and speaking about Lower Plenty. I was going to cause there was that house that was on the cover of Hard Rubbish. And I remember like, I think it was on the I only went there once or twice, but they used to be like, shows there and stuff. And then everyone got evicted. And I think it got demolished. Were you living there?
AM: Yeah it got demolished. And yeah, it was Tom, Griggs, Far Left Limit, and The Focus.
CP: Yeah he lived at pink palace too as well.
AM: Yeah. And that's where, yeah, that's where I met him as well. And I got recruited for the Focus. I put my hand up. I loved them. That was such a good band. But yeah, that house was Steph Cola, Tom, myself. And there was like that, also, speaking of cheap houses, it was crumbling. It was falling apart.
AH: It was a cool house though. You had the little rehearsal room.
AM: Yeah. I think it was twelve hundred a month for four bedrooms and a little shack, which is a jam room in Brunswick. Brunswick.
AM: Oh, yeah. Yeah, three. So that was pretty good. But yeah, we had so many rehearsals in that jam room that was there.
CP: Yeah. And, like, I think I saw the UV rays play there. Did you have a lot of shows in the backyard?
AM: A few. I think every time was someone's birthday, we'd have a little party, but it wasn't like a lot of house parties.
AH: When you moved out the demolition party, which wasn't actually a demolition party, but somehow people kind of thought that it was.
CP: It’s just assumed when you're moving out of the place.
AH: Yeah and it was that run down.
AM: Yeah, we told everyone don't tell. Don't tell anyone that's like a demolition party. But people were like, ‘oh, what's happening? You moving out?’ ‘Oh, yeah. They're knocking it down,’ and they were like, ‘Oh, whoops’. And then it just got pretty crazy. But because we had the same, we moved into another house owned by the same landlord. So we had to have some cordial.
AH: Couldn’t just leave it completely ruined.
AM: Yeah, it couldn't ruin. Yeah, completely destroyed. But what happened was, the shed got destroyed. The Jam room got destroyed. Half of the back of the house. It was like it was demolished.
AH: I wasn't there. I think I was overseas.
CP: Were you on tour or just on a holiday?
AH: Randomly in the first year of us seeing each other, I went overseas for three months, my sister had a baby. And like her partner wasn't around. He like works on like boats and stuff. So I went and like just helped her with the baby for three months. And that must have been during that whole period because yeah, I don't remember that.
AM: But yeah, cool house. Six Hope Street. Now it’s apartments. And on the bottom is a laundromat called Soap in the City. Which I think is really good.
CP: So what you was what year did that happen anyway? I feel like that long ago. Was like early 2010?
AM: Yeah, must be 2011 2012 Yeah. And then
AH: Yeah 2010.
AM: Yeah, that would make sense 2010. 2011 that it got knocked down but um, yeah, good. Good shack.
AH: Then we move into another rundown property run by the same slum lord on Nicholson Street. Which was also good. Had a few shows there as well. Backyard gigs.
CP: So at that point, you guys were seeing each other for about you said something like that. When did you actually start making music together then? Oh, like what was the situation around you guys starting to jam?
AH: It took a while I reckon because you were in heaps of bands. We started Terry in 2015. And that would have been our first band together.
CP: I do have Terry talking about Terry in 2015.
AM: There you go.
CP: But also, that was the time you went on the deep diver tour around the states and, maybe Total Control tour?
AM: Double double drop.
CP: In the states as well?
AH: There was one that I was there that Total Control played. I can’t believe he did two circuits. Psycho.
CP: Well, the two like different brands and different scenes. So at least you get a little bit of a different experience with each one.
AM: Cleveland definitely I was like, ‘cause they every other time we like we're Straightjacket or with UV Rays, Total Control would play now. That's class. With deep diver, I'm like, ‘What there's a venue that's not there in Cleveland? What the hell?!’ And then it was like we got a hot dog. And everything was so civil. I was like ‘Whoa, this is not Cleveland.’
CP: Yeah, they have like pinball machines and they have like this list, and you just tick off like all the condiments and all the like, the shit you want.
AH: What was the gig at the hotdog shop? Was it good? Did people come?
AM: There was few heads in the row. Not many. But what's his name from the other band?
CP: Do you mean Steve?
AM: Steve’s other band.
CP: Oh, Homostupids?
CP: Oh it was the Pleasure Lefters.
AM: Yes, the Pleasure Lefters.
AH: Was Greg Bailey there?
AM: Oh, yeah. He was UV Rays as spiritual leader. Him and Tim Scott.
CP: Was he the tour driver?.
AM: Um, he drove a little bit, not too much. He's kind of moved to Australia in the late 2000s. And was really into, like Aus rock, and UV Rays. And he also has a bunch of GGL and tattoos, and used to roadie for the murder junkies.
CP: So what was the first to you guys did together? This is 2015 we're talking about. But was it before that or a bit after that?
AM: We went to New Zealand as a band in maybe 2015, 2016.
AH: And I came to the states for one of the tours and met you at the end. And we went to Mexico.
CP: Ah nice.
AM: And that's kind of where Terry was born.
CP: It sounds like an exhausting year for you. Like, I mean, in terms of all the tours and stuff.
AM: Yeah, I just overdid it, which is fine. Yeah, it's like too much of a good thing.
CP: So something I wanted to ask you out in terms of just like, the range of like genres that you've played in over like the last 14 years. What did you find in hardcore and doing Straightjacket that you also found years later in doing a completely different sound? Like what was like the thing that tied it together?
AM: Um riffs maybe. Um I don’t know. Maybe just riffs.
AH: A good riff is all you need.
CP: That's a T-shirt slogan right there.
AM: I think it's like Straitjackets quite like, powerful and, you know, energetic, but I think maybe could be, you know, there's other ways to be, maybe power, you know, to express yourself, express yourself and kind of get through what you're talking about and kind of comes back to your first question, why do you do music? I think it's kind of to express something that you can't really do, because I'm too awkward at talking or, too. Yeah, not educated enough. But I think it's like, yeah, maybe that's the that's the thing that what music can break those boundaries. And it's like, I think also like, what you get from collaborating. I remember, you know, the first time I brought a riff to Straightjacket, I was only like, 17 or something. And they were like, that's cool. Oh, cool riff. And then it was like, we made a song around it and built something on it. Or like, the first time I contributed something to a Straitjacket as long as that ‘Well, that was cool’. We've just created something. We've just built something. And now people kind of maybe jump off the stage to it. Yeah. And yeah, have a mosh. That's cool. Yeah. I think that's still the same feeling of like, collaborating now, with whatever band, it's like, just get so jacked hearing somebody playing a riff and bail out as a sound and like, maybe it makes it better. But who knows. It's just like, it's pretty fun.
CP: That's a great answer. Because it totally makes sense. Would you feel the same way in the music that you make?
AH: I think as well like, making music for me, because I I've always been like a really kind of shy person. And to have to, like literally go onstage shaking. And like just do it and like, but have so much fun. But yeah, like it's, it's it's weird how it's kind of changed. Yeah, like, how I can kind of perceive myself and stuff as well. Just having fun doing all of that. And yeah, the collaborative thing. Definitely. It's just just a really good time. Isn't that when you let write a song with someone, or a bunch of people.
CP: Does it just feel like an extension of your relationship to be able to do that with each other?
AH: I think as well I'm like, sometimes I find with Terry, all the bands, but what Terry like we can get like a new song. And we can start playing and like we're just so used to each other now because we've done so many tours and stuff. Like we can just start playing so quickly and easily and it’s so effortless. It's, it's really cool to see friends out there, they moved to Sydney. They're both from there. And I think I mean, I think they're pretty settled there now, but we still want to, like keep doing stuff, but it will probably just be at a yeah, like, uh, you know, we probably won't be able to get together and play shows. I mean, to be honest, I think like if COVID hadn't have happened, we probably would have played shows because they do come down a lot. And we always love going to Sydne. Tthey were here over Christmas. And we had a couple of jams. And we've got, we've got like a bunch of songs. So like, when we can see each other a bit more when probably will have like a new record, but it was just like when that would be.
AM: We've got like 10 songs that we've jammed, yeah, and recorded demos of.
CP: Oh, you just haven't really made a plan to move ahead with them?
AH: Not enough time to like, play them. But we were sending each other demos and stuff. And then when we got together recently, we just ran through them all. But yeah, long distance bands.
AM: Yeah. I think like we'll kind of doing that at the start as well. where it's like, when the band started, we were kind of doing home demos and sending them to each other. Because I think we're all getting into just recording ourselves a little bit. So it made us you know, experiment with recording ourselves, which was fun.
CP: Why, are you good at it now do you think?
AH&AM: Haha nah.
AH: I like it.
AM: It's really fun.
AH: Yeah. Like it's a Mikey recorded the last Terry record. Down at um-
AM: Sorento Surf Club. Beach shack.
CP: Nice. Yeah, I would do that just to be able to put that on my record. There was that time like in the early 2010, where everyone was trying to get you to be like, Australian of the Year.
AH: Someone started a Facebook?
AM: Yeah, Facebook.
CP: Yeah they did. Was that just something where it was just like everyone was behind it for like a hot second, and then it kind of fizzled out?
AM: I think it was a piss-take. Well, I thought I thought at first I was like, accusing everyone around me. Like, ‘You’re such a bastard, who did this’. I was a hundred percent sure it was Rupert from Deep Diver.
CP: Was it?
AM: Nup. It was just
AH: It was just a fanm like a guy that really liked the music. Wasn’t it?
AM: Yeah, from Geelong way.
CP: Well rolling into that as well-
AM: It was really embarrassing, the Australian of the Year thing. People loved it.
AH: It was funny.
AM: Yeah it was funny.
CP: Yeah. I think it was around the same time is when the term like Dolwave started to get thrown around. Can you remember like first hearing about it like what bands you were playing in?
AH: Someone wrote a whole article about Dolwave that started with School of Rain. Hold on, we were like, ‘we’re not Dolwave’ but maybe like that they hadn't really researched that much like didn't know that me and Harriet were from New Zealand and stuff. I don't know. Anyway.
AH: Dulwave. You have lots of theories about all the different like areas of the waves. Or what do you call?
AM: Yeah waves. The Dulwave waves.
AH: Haha no no. What do you call it? Oh no.
AM: The Dulwave stage. What do I call it?
AH: Oh I can’t remember. Prodo Dolwave is like, Mark hates this but Eddie.
AM: He’s like, ‘Bullshit we are not’ and like there’s an Apple playlist, you’re number one.
CP: Is there like a Spotify playlist?
AM: Yeah there is.
AH: I can't remember but someone sent it to me recently and yeah Eddie currently right up the top. Yeah. Who else?
AM: Panel a judge is pretty influential on the dole waivers. Because I think the first ones were like that they said we're radio living. But Scott and Charlene. The Prefects. DeepDiver. Courtney Barnett's probably stadium Dolwave.
CP: No longer dolwave.
AM: But that was a funny thing. It was like when it came out. I was like, this is the first time of my life I’ve had a job. And it wasn't the band. I'm not, I'm not just on the dole. Also when it came out, Cunts, years later Mackey told me he was like, yeah, that was bullshit. Like we were on the dole, that sort of waste of hours on it should have been called Dolwave. Yeah.
CP: That and also like, I feel like, kitchens floor like Total Soundcheck kinda sound.
AM: Oh, yeah. It was just weird. It was just like, for something that I thought the sound that they were describing, I thought sounded so polished in a way. But having come from like, going to crass punk gigs, like yeah, like, oh, from 16 you know, keep on Yeah, continue to go. Yeah, it's like, I was like, This is not, this is not Dolwave what you're saying. Even though it was a bit like looking internal topics of, you know, Australian history and, you know, modern Australian identity. I guess. If that's all they're gonna call Dolwave, fine.
AH: You think like, some of the bands had lyrics that were kind of maybe a bit like that, like deep diver didn't really. Guess it's kind of like everyday life-y lyrics.
CP: Like, yeah, it's more just like Australiana as opposed to like, yeah, DolWave. But I can understand more like Scott and Charlene wedding being Dolwave because talking about being in Melbourne being upset and stuff like that makes a bit more sense for that sort of stuff.
AM: Yeah, totally. We did have a song, Deepdiver did have a song called New Start again.
CP: That's everybody's that's everybody's COVID song when they lost their job and had to go back.
AM: Job Seeker.
CP: Tell me about Idiotic. Have you done anything on idiotic recently or, like why did you start doing idiotic?
AM: WellI didn't start it. Georgia from UV Rays started it. She put out a tape, a constant mongrel tape, the first constant mongrel tape is an Idiotic release. Right? And that's when she was trying to court. What do you say?
AH: She was a court and hugh.
AM: so, so she was gonna have this up raise money to do this release. And we were like, ‘That's awesome. Yeah. And then nothing really happened for a while and then also pretty good night. Maybe we should later on I forget but the next thing are maybe in like 2014, 2013 went to New Zealand could have been 2012 let's call it 2012. Went to New Zealand.
AH: Did we go there that early?
AM: Yeah we made Meet the Fockers and went for a wedding. We met-
AH: Ohhh yeah, Ruth's wedding.
AM: Yeah we met Type- this guy named Type in Wellington, who was bass player of a great band called Terror of the Deep.
AH: My friend burnt us a CD. He was like, Oh, I love this band.
AM: But we, yeah got that CD, I was like, This is awesome. And I was like, these guys be really good in Melbourne, with the Dolwave affinity, so to speak. But I just thought, you know, this to me, they sounded like, velvety, you know, velvety influence and heavy Kiwi influence as well as like, cool.
AH: Kind of like psychedelic leaning, I don’t know. What is that?
AM: Yeah, big time. But yeah, after that we put out a tape.
CP: So you’ve just continued it on after that? And you just do it whenever there’s something you like or whenever there’s something you’ve done?
AM: Yeah. I think then did maybe did. Snake, the snake type, which was I was like, ‘This isn't? Yeah, this isn't good.’
CP: 2013 I think.
AM: I've got my timelines. All right.
CP: We've got it all here.
AM: They are thing I was like, Oh, cool. Maybe that's yeah, I'll just do it tape, don't want to impose on anyone else. And had done the terror deep type. And that was fun, knew how to press tapes. And then I thinkm, what was the next one? I can't remember what else came out. I think.
AH: I can't I literally cannot think of any band.
AM: Calamari girls. Or Primo. One of those. Yeah, it was just like, I know that maybe the other the people in that band. Besides Tom and Calamari Girls hadn't really done releases. And I'm not sure. And they were such good band. I was like, do you wanna do something? They're so good. Such a good band. But I was never like, Oh, I need this on the label.
AH: It just organically kind of happened.
CP: Yeah, it's like friends helping friends. Like friends collaborating with friends. It's another way to collaborate that’s not being in a band. Right?
AM: Yeah. Just wanted it to get out there. And as I was already going around to shops, every single weekend, you know, peddling either UV rays, Eastlink. You know? I was going around all the time. Well, let's just keep this going.
AH: You enjoyed putting the tapes together and stuff I think.
AM: Yeah. I used to make mix CDs for idiotic up until maybe two years ago. Mix CDs with two songs for each band and ake them to radios
CP: t's a smart idea.
AM: Yeah. Yeah. I thought that was pretty cool.
AH: But what do you call that, a sampler?
AM: Sampler. And I was like, I told him one time I was like, did you get the fucking CD? And he's like, well, man, everybody checks their boxes. I thought What? But then people were playing it. So some people check their boxes. Do you?
CP: I don't know if I have a box. It's been like two years, I have no idea. That's the thing. Like I feel like in the past, people would like send you stuff. And now like, I spend so much time just looking for stuff to play to make it interesting. You know, people don't send out stuff anymore. It's just like online and you just got to like, do your research. Which is fine. Just things have changed a lot.
CP: Were you in Constant Mongrel from the start? Or did you join at some point?
AH I think I joined. Because I don't think that first tape I wasn't on was I?
CP: Was that before you guys know each other this tape or?
AM: I think we knew each other. That's the that's the start blossoming.
AH: I think Georgia and Hugh we're seeing each other at that point. And he must have just asked if I joined the band. I was just like, ‘Yeah, I like being another band’. That was really fun. Like, I think the first music was really kind of garage-y and stuff. But it was kind, have fun to play because of that. And we like, oh my God, our show is always so much just fell apart. It was such a scene. Things would always go wrong. But yeah, so I think that would have been like just after the tape, because I remember listening to the tape and I was like, ‘Oh, yeah, cool’.
CP: So you were there from early on?
AH: Yeah. Early on. And then we did the first record. And then we got I think they were friends with taco leg. They went to Perht and did a show with taco leg and met Andrew that way. And then one of the songs on that first record is, has Andrew singing on it. And then he was just in the band from there. And I think I don't know, did he move here?
AM: I think he moved to Melbourne.
AH: But yeah, and then we were like, ‘We’ll just get him in the band’. And then it all came together. Beautiful. And then slowly, we started poaching other people like Tom Hardesty and got Alan on sax to make the supergroup.
CP: Is he still in the band? as like a sax player?
AH: I think he was in the band officially but you play all the shows.
CP: You're constant mongrel sidekick, So does life look a lot different from like, years of doing like these bands and these tours and stuff? And then COVID hit and now we're coming out the other side. Do things just look a lot different to like what you thought they would look like maybe two years ago, looking forward? In terms of music and stuff.
AH: I guess we were just so used to like playing so regularly. Like we would be playing like release like once a week one of us and sometimes three times a week or something. We just got so used to that, that it was almost a little bit. Like what I don't know if we would have really been able to keep that up. COVID was kind of like, in a way a nice break. For me personally. I don't know it's strange, not seeing all the people that you're so used to seeing every week and stuff. Like I don't I don't know if I ever really look ahead that far to think about what I mean, I guess we always thought that would be probably like touring once a year, like we would usually do with one of our bands or, and that kind of thing. And that's just not really in the future anymore. So not for a little while anyway.
AM: Yeah, I think with the touring stuff, it's like, we toured every year.
AH: We’ve been so lucky.
AM: So super privileged to be able to travel with music and yeah, play pretty much tour every single year, for the last 13 years. That's like insane nobody else, you know, or I guess like, musicians get to do that. But not. Yeah, not everyone. So feel really lucky for that. But it's also like you kind of go in. It becomes like a routine. Routine routine sounds drab, but it's like it becomes like-
CP: It’s just something that's like becomes expected.
AM: Exactly. Yeah. It's okay. Finish one to tour. Well, we'll you know, you did. I know we did Lightttic this year, you know what else is good? interest interest. And we're doing Dresden next year. So cool. Let's start like, arranging the new records.
CP: And your ten other bands are just like but we were going on tour. Let me just fit this in. And then we're just like, you got to work.
AH: Yeah, working all in between. But then also, I feel like you don't necessarily like change anything about your life because you kind of like, that's just, that's what you're gonna do. Like, you know that for like a month. That Yeah, like, that's what you need to save money for. You know? So it's like, I guess in a way, like COVID really kind of changed things up. And it's been a, I guess, awful for a lot of people, but I was kind of working throughout and stuff. So for me, it was just like a strange, eerie kind of break from my usual life.
AM: Then that isolation, I think was just so hard for a lot of people. For so many people. Make sense.
CP: Yeah. But like, I mean, time moves, and now we're like, almost a year up until that point, and there are shows happening again. Saying which, are you guys playing any show soon? You're playing actually, I got a ticket to your show at Max Watt.
AH: Primo, exec. Nice job. We're playing that. We played our first Sleeper and Snake gig last week at Nighthawks.
CP: Who is that with?
AH: Brickhead. That was really fun. I was kind of like, oh, be really weird because like, obviously, social distancing was not gonna be anyone up there. And it was like, it was quite squished. It felt the same.
CP: What was the capacity?
AH: 40 or something.
AM: 40 or 50. And then it was like, Well, I'm like, Well, you can't fit more than what's the capacity up there anyway? 100? And then I was like, Nah, this just feels really packed.
AH: Yeah, but people weren’t squished up the front. No. So I think it was more like, you know, how people just tend to kind of clump together or something because no one wants to be like, really close to the stage where if people just kept coming in it would have filled up if it was full capacity.
CP: You've got to tell people to move up. Like those hardcore bands, ‘Move up to the front!’
AH: I was too shocked to be alive and onstage even.
AM: Yeah, yeah. I'm always conflicted by move up the front. Yeah, cuz with straight jacket.
AH: You do it as a gag though.
AM: Yeah I do it as a gag with Terry sometimes. Yeah I don’t know. I think I say ‘there’s plenty of room up the font’ I think I see. But with straight jacket is always like, move at the front. So surely, like when people move out the front now, It's like, whoever moves up the front is gonna get knocked over. Yeah, yeah. Oh, you know, they know what they're in for.
CP: Tell me about your visa, by the way, because we're talking about it a bit before. But did you say you're actually about to get permanent residency here?
AH: Well, I kind of had been thinking about it for a while. Yeah, like, obviously, as a New Zealander, I can live here just as a resident and can have Medicare and stuff so I'm obviously like, really lucky in all those regards. But I think I just like know that I'm going to stay here permanently. And just kind of want to just have that safety net of like, actually being an Australian, I guess, and be able to vote and be part of society, not a second class kind of, like-
AM: Get deported.
AH: Could get deported if I got arrested at a protest or something. I'll just, yeah, like, I think it's just maybe like my time. So I'd looked into permanent residency, which is like heaps cheaper, but you have to earn over a certain amount of money, right? For five years, which I don't think I've quite hit that thresholds, especially like playing away a lot. Yeah, so cuz I was like, okay, that's not gonna happen. So I think I'm gonna maybe do the partner visa. Which is expensive, but it was just me now to live here. Yeah. And then, um, and I know, I've kind of always been like, sorry, everyone was like, New Zealand was good.
CP: So when you came here, there was like a plan to go back like you're like I'm here.
AH: I don’t know. I just came here. So like, I think I'd like pretty much woke up hung over and bought a ticket. Yeah, like I was no planning and yeah, that's fine. And now I'm saying I'm in a in an Agnostic Front.
AH: Yeah, no I didn't think I would stay here long term but I do really like Melbourne. I think it's just you know, you just become part of the furniture and you just Yeah.
CP: Have you ever considered moving to New Zealand? Has that been a conversation?
AH: We've talked about it.
AM: I say it all the time was that right? Let's just do it.
AH: You're like, Can I then become a New Zealand? New Zealand's awesome. The reality of moving back there? I don't know. I guess it's just that thing where you move somewhere else. And then all your friends in life are here, your whole family's here. And we usually would be able to go back to New Zealand like once a year or something. It's like relatively cheap sometimes a year and so I can see all my family. So it's not usually a problem. But this year, it's obviously been a bit of a problem.
CP: So speaking about touring, you’ve both done your fair amount of tours. Can you tell me that like whenever someone asks you about tours, what's the thing that like, you always think about? With all the tours that you've done all the places that you've been. It's like always like the memory that pops into your head about touring?
AH: I was in Geneva when we stayed on the squat and they put us in the ceiling. I don't know. I always think of just that whole tour was really funny. And there was that guy with the harmonica, but turned up. I don't know. I always think of the funny things. I never think of like, Oh, this gig was really good. I always think of like, the trauma and really uncomfortable moments. Yeah, I don't know.
AM: Yeah, I think-
AH: So many funny things happen on tour. Yeah, the Geneva sure like was the one that really flashes to my mind.
AM: I think we thought like, Switzerland. This is one of the richest countries on the earth. So-
AH: Wo we play with this band called morado who were really good. And they were like, ‘Oh my god, you’re staying at this place, It's really amazing’. Like, they were like, led me to believe like, someone's parents house that was like a mansion. Like Like, like, literally describe this place as magic. Yes, it was like a big house. It was like all they were like pretty much like chickens in the fucking living room. They like just kept taking us up like this random person was like, you know, like, a hole in the ceiling with a ladder. I don't want to go up there. Like you don't you're so tired. It's disgusting because you’ve sweated.
AM: That wasn't even bad. That was fine. It was like a mattress which is what is not there. It was. A mattress is amazing. A mattress on the floor. I was fine with that. But then when we went down this ladder to go to the toilet.
AH: Now I did in the night. And then there was a guy and he was just like, who like he didn't know who I was and got really freaked out. Like they didn't even tell them that we were staying there. They just took us there put us in the room.
AM: Yeah, I think there was just got put in someone's house. That was like, it felt like it felt like imposing.
AH: Chris who runs upset the rhythm. So he's driven us on tours because he's just like an angel. And we're always just like, you have to drive us because we don't because we impose. But um, he slept on the couch and at some point the night someone just like came and shon that there's lots of weirder ones than that. That's the one that just always comes to mind for some reason. You know when you're like at a certain point to the tour, but I must have just been at a certain point of exhaustion where it was just everything was just like so traumatising. We had lots of good times though. Like, Chris, Chris, who drove us like he's a real history buff. So he'd love to like take us places and then it'd be like, you know, take us to like an ancient burial chamber and whales or something you know, like so it was always really fun stuff. Yeah. Quite often we'd also get places like that or arrive somewhere in Spain and then like we'd have to do soundcheck and he'd go off and see all these like amazing things then he’d be come back and it'd be like oh, I just saw blah blah will be like cool.
AM: I think soundcheck is Rama fest going to cuz we don't really soundcheck that much here in Melbourne, but like, I think if you're touring you're like, you know often like the main band or whatever, so it's like they want you to soundcheck which I'm like, man so he's getting two gigs early. Yeah soundchecking is the top five things of tour: soundcheck, looking for food Oh yeah. What are we gonna eat with Terry cause three vegetarians and a celiac, we always ate really healthy.
AH: well literally every place we went had just made like a bowl of lentils like that was pretty much the vibe. Yeah, we did get fed really well. Was there was always like a lentil salad. I think that's maybe like a very French thing though. Or just like a general kind of grouel of beans. France here was get yummy cheeses and stuff.
AM: I think Greg daily sets when was that how looking forward to touring Europe and then he said what? Rice and schies?
CP: What the hell is shies?
AH: Where was the gig where the band room was like really small and there was like a toilet right there and then they like food set up like but it was like literally in the toilet? Brighton? Oh yeah. Like am I hungry enough to eat this toilet food?
AM: I think I’m a freak like.
AH: You love it.
AM: Other maniacs.
AH: You love meeting people but you and you always do the hard yards of because you know like everywhere you go. People want you to party and you're so partied out. And then you're just like, Oh, do we push on throw that you're you always take it for the team and stay up chattering to the family.
AM: I don’t think it’s even taking for the team because but this time, even if they're maniacs, at least they're maniacs. That's nice.
AH: There was a good promo tour one where it was a little bit of like that we were so taut, tired. And then some sort of, like synthetic weed or something. It wasn't spice. Nah, it was I can't remember what it was. But she like stayed up all night. And like literally like what mike got up in the morning. She was just a ghost you know, and we had to get up early and go to another gig. Yeah. And it was just like a brutal day because we did like part of a Primo tour in the UK. We caught trains. Yeah. Which were like, be fun. It was like to train. Why did we do that? I don't know. It was just like, really annoying to move gear onto trains.
CP: Yeah, just running for a train. like everyone's just like kept holding off.
AH: In some places because it suddenly just always people get on as you get closer to the city and then you like, fuck we have guitars and stuff. Tours are fun. But yeah, as you say, like, at the time, sometimes you just like a bit alarmed by things but in retrospect, it's just so funny. And I think as well because you kind of need to like, I don't know, like maybe some people don't I like would drink to be able to be social with the gigs and lighter. And so by the end of it, you're just so worn out, but then you're also quite pissfit. So you're just like having a really good time but then you just like crash it Lately when you come back to Australia. We did the I think the last territory we did was just in the UK and Ireland like we decided that I think the previous one, we did a longer tour. And that was when we got like robbed in Belgium.
CP: What happened with that?
AH: We just our van just like really mysteriously just got robbed of just our personal belongings. So like didn't take any guitars or anything like just literally just took our bags like, I lost our passport, because we were like, Oh, it's like the middle of the day. It's like on a really busy day. No one's gonna take anything. Yeah, well, like, probably worse to carry them around. So we just like left them in there. got robbed last night, just all our clothes and stuff. And then we I think we missed one gig. Because we missed Brighton because we just couldn't get back in time because we both had to get our passports. And Australia was really slow. I got my one pretty quickly, but actually came back separately on the Eurostar. We just made the London gig, which was maybe with sheer mag was that gig was sheer mega one after we got robbed?
AH: But yeah, so then the next tour, I will like this, just have a chill one. We'll just drive ourselves and we literally just got a car that could just fit everything. And then we just like drove ourselves around when on the ferry over to Dublin, Belfast. That was awesome. Yeah, but yeah, that I was driving heaps. So it wasn't so much. Yeah, like you say that you could just party and then sleep in the van, which is maybe what I've done a bit more in previous tours. But it was good. But it was the UK like nothing is that far apart. Anyway, so none of the drives were like hectic. The longest one was maybe in the end when we drove back to London or something.
CP: Did you go all the way up to like, what? Scotland, Ireland?
AM: We went to Glasgow and Edinburgh on that one. Yeah, we did a lot.
AH: We did. Well, we didn't go higher than Glasgow, to Edinburgh. Yeah.
AM: Yeah. We didn't play Wales on that trip. But we drove through it. But then we also, I think we drove there to get to Dublin tonight.
AH: You're supposed to be good at geography.
AM: We definitely did. I just didn't want to push the point.
AH: But yeah, played Belfast for the first time on that tour, which was really cool. We got a gig somehow. How did that happen with that guy? We both like bullied him. And
AM: Yeah you know, when you email someone. You're like, cool. I've put on gigs before they've been suggested by someone else.
AH: Yeah. I was like, Oh, don't do that anymore. There's no way you can play and they were just like, kept pushing.
AM: On a tweet.
AH: In the tweet, he was like are you coming to Belfast or something? Which were like, yeah, if you put on a gig, and then that's how it happened?
AM: Classic bully the promoter.
CP: What did you guys do during COVID? Considering you came into 2020, having an expectation of the year and things that you were going to do? And did you end up actually taking a break? Or did you find it a thing where you could create without kind of having the interruption of tours and gigs and like, people basically,
AM: I think at the start of last year, I was kind of like, what am I going to do this year back Zephyr ends at the have moved interstate. And I've kind of spent so much the last five years doing Terry.
AH: Georgia was having another baby. Moses had just had a baby.
CP: But UV Rays still kind of would do the odd show every now and then.
AM: I think we thought would finish UV Rays single. that suddenly we thought we like to didn't happen on that day.
AH: Yeah, it's in the works in the work. He’s still tinkering away.
AM: But I think it was like almost having Yeah, I thought it would be a break because it would be down twop bands, Terry, and-
AH: We're just finished asleep in sight record though. So we thought that would come out. But it came out during COVID. So you couldn't really do anything. Hmm.
AM: And besides that, you just worked. Yeah-
AH: We were kind of like staying up really late at night just eating lots of food. I probably started maybe drinking a little bit more when I showed up.
AM: Yeah, lucky we get along to Amy and I.
CP: So it was like you thought, you thought moving in was the test.
AM: Ready for the partner visa now. And joint bank account. But yeah, what did we do?
AH: It went so quickly. I feel like we did nothing. At some point like I set up a little space to like have as a studio. I was like all this painting and stuff. And then I was like literally it just sat there just collecting dust. Yeah, making me feel guilty you must be don't hate some music or be like, I'm not really we did a few live tours thing, some more successful than others. We did that thing that was for like the third man TV, which I don't think he ever happened.
CP: What was that?
AM: Third Man public access.
CP: Was that a Youtube channel?
AM: Yeah, it's like jack White's label.
AH: You just know the guy though. That like we literally like, maybe like another band. And then we're like, oh, but have you ever heard but never really kind of eventuated.
CP: But you did the triple R one?
AM: Triple R was good.
AH: We tried to do a live release of one of our songs, which went really pear shaped and like the whole song we didn't realise but it was overblown, so much that it sounded like some like really out there like techno song. People were like, love your new direction. And boy, let's go up and look and we're like, how was it? And they're just like, you're gonna have to
AM: Take some cocoa. Yeah, that didn't work.
CP: Hey, they could be a new direction. 2021.
AM: Also, dids also jammed a few times with Alex MacFarlane. I call five times. Got a few realms in the can. So we might do like a tape.
CP: What's the name?
CP: That’s very post-neo-band.
AM: Escape to the chateau.
AH: It’s not out in the world yet, though. Still mixing.
AM: Hobbies galore. Or idiotic.
AH: What about one side from each lable?
AM: Yeah, my, my side sounds like slightly muffled. And the photocopying is really bad.
CP: Keeping that punk aesthetic going,
AM: All idiotic are releases up to scratch.
CP: All right, well, sir, is 2021. Now things are starting to open back up. What do you guys have going on at the moment, and like for the next couple months?
AM: You've got a couple of gigs.
AH: Got a couple of gigs. But everything's kind of like, like we didn't even know, there was gonna make it down for those gigs until literally like a few days ago. So it's all a little bit like, have to wait with the borders and stuff. So tensions are a little high with that. But I think hopefully things are smoothing out now.
AM: We've got a whole Terry record to figure out. Probably a whole Total Control record do. Primo jam.
AH: Primo have got some new songs. But it's just whether we can Yeah, get together to like work on them. But yeah, beyond that, they have a really good system where they kind of like send each other things. And then we all like kind of get together and work on them. But we'll just see what happens with that.
AM: We've got one song
AH: Might play one of the new songs that these shows. Mouse and Me?
AM: The Mouse and Me. That’s a really good song.
AH: I think Theo right when she was living by herself during lockdown. There was like a mouse in the house. That's really good. I think I literally am not making any plans, hopefully go to New Zealand at some point. But that's like the only thing that I'm kind of like banking and working towards when I'm allowed.
AM: As soon as Europe gets a vaccine. I'm going to help cow frog book a tour. Because he's a bit of useless with-
CP: He wants to go to..?
AM: Other parts of Europe. Yeah, but he's stuck until then.
CP: Because you put out the tape on idiotic, right? Yeah. You coming into LouLous and dropping a couple copies?
AM: Yeah, but he's over there. So we've got a we've got to get him out in the world.
CP: I guess. Like I mean, you guys have been in a bunch of different bands over a pretty long period of time. And I'm sure in that time, you've been pretty involved with like your friends and music going on for like, starting to see younger people now coming up and making music and post COVID What do you see in like, maybe the next couple of years moving forward in terms of like the sound of music or like do you have?
AH: Because we're the older people now?
CP: DO feel like some, like things that you've done in music has like made a sound that younger people are like making in Australia as well?
AH: I think it's pondering it.
AM: I think it’s hard because it's like, we can only be inspired by, you know, the music that's that we've created. So maybe they've heard the same stuff. Maybe they've just skipped a generation or whatever.
AH: We kind of know this far, but there's so many bands everywhere. I have no clue who they are and stuff. But like we do kind of keep quiet. Until like, until I was like the people that we know and stuff. I was always like, ‘Oh, yeah, let's play with this band that’ you know, young we never heard of, and I'll just be like, Oh, I don't know. Young people. No, I think I know enough about like, I'm pretty bad with stuff like that. Like, I know, some people will maybe like keep more in touch with music scene and stuff. But I'm pretty bad.
AM: Yeah. This so much great new stuff. I can't wait to hear more. I think.
AH: Yeah, we get really good. Like Steph working for the Triple J unearthed. She always like, has these like gems of like, amazing musicians around Australia. But she would like put us onto.
AM: I look forward to hearing what's next. I I don't know, either. I feel like maybe. I know, we're saying like, oh, we're older. We're just, we're disconnected. But it's like bands, you know, where people are a bit younger than us. But when we are such good friends we see each other all the time. Yeah, we hang out. And they are a bit younger. And we played play with them all the time.
AH: I just always forget people are younger. I still think that I'm fucking 17 like I really truly never like to like.
AM: It’s like parsnip like Zach from execution. So good. Yeah, it's like, and he's like, so much younger, like 19 Yeah, hat's amazing.
AH: You'd be like oh name a band. I never know. Just like, oh, people. Were playing it. That noisy ritual gig. You were like, oh, cuz it has to be like, you're kind of quiet band. They're playing when I was trying to think of bands and then it was just like, just like, and I was just like, Oh, God, we're trying to get Oscar Perry to play with us. This new tape. Oscar Perry. Yeah, if he doesn't play.
CP: Yeah that tape is amazing. The one off hobbies galore. So good. Yeah, pretty much it. Thanks for coming in.
AM: Thanks for having us. That was pretty fun.
AH: That was really fun.
CP: I'm glad. I'm glad. A big thanks to Amy and Al for coming in chat. And a big thanks to you for listening. Additional content can be found on the episode page at Litmus dot media where you can also contact me if you have any questions or suggestions. Another interview episode is out next week. So stay tuned to the modern Australian underground.