MUSIC NEWS
Interview: Terry

Interview: Terry

By Michael McClelland / Monday 27th June, 2016 10:48AM

Melbourne foursome Terry are about to step on New Zealand soil for a two-week tour that will take them all the way from Auckland to the depths of Dunedin, stopping off in the likes of Palmerston North, Whanganui and Barrytown along the way.

Made up of Aussie underground linchpins Al Montfort (UV Race, Total Control, Dick Diver), Amy Hill (Constant Mongrel, School Of Radiant Living), Xanthe Waite (Mick Harvey Band) and Zephyr Pavey (Eastlink, Total Control, Russell Street Bombings), the group have plotted out the tour to coincide with the release their excellent debut album Terry HQ, which is seeing the light of day this Friday thanks to Upset The Rhythm Records. 

In anticipation of their travels I dropped Terry a line for a wee chat...




MM: First an easy dumb question, how old are you guys?

TERRY is an average age of 29.


Al, as you know, we met in a pool in LA. How did you find the pool in LA, and more broadly, the rest of your US tour with Total Control?

Zeph: I'm not Al but I was also in this pool. I found the pool was a little too warm and at one point, whilst swimming, I contemplated why you were washing your shirt in the pool rather than the washing machine that was also at our swank hotel. I missed some really good bands in favour of staying in that pool. The other good pools on tour were: Barton Springs in Austin, Texas, it is worth paying a few dollars to use the proper pool bit rather than swim in the creek with all the dogs and used nappies or "diapers". Someones house in Eagle Rock Los Angeles was cool too he had that great Link Wray record and a spa. Swimming in the ocean is the only real way to swim though.

Al: Great pool at a strangely fun festival we played in Orange County, California. We found the pool in the cheap hotel that had most of the musicians from the festival staying there. Have been privileged enough to play a few festivals now with various bands and glad it wasn't a camping festival. In fact it was the farthest thing from it. This was in the most suburban festival ever. This was the LA suburbs. The Hollywood (global) definition of suburbia. Rest of the tour was great.


Amy, you're from Auckland originally - when did you move to Melbourne?

Amy: I moved here in 2007. I guess I never imagined I would stay this long, but now I'm pretty settled here. It's Al's fault.


What NZ stuff are ya looking forward to seeing the most when you're back?

Amy: Catching up with family and friends mostly but I'm stoked to get to travel around New Zealand playing shows and seeing bands. I haven't been to the South Island since I was little. Have to say though, I'm pretty bummed I can't get my usual bagel spesh at Alleluya.

Xanthe: I'm not Amy, but I'm looking forward to seeing Amy's hometown and staying with the Hill's, it's high time, we have been to everyone else's hometown in Terry on multiple occasions.


Between all you guys, you have about 10 other bands at my count. Are they all still active? How do you keep them alive if you're always doing ridiculous long NZ tours and juggling jobs and whatnot?

Amy: Constant Mongrel are still going but not doing a lot at present. Our guitarist Tom moved to Darwin for a year and only just moved back recently.

The Backstabbers aren't playing cos Rupert moved to bloody Sweden last year, but we have a record coming out on Soft Abuse sometime this year.

The Sleepless Nights just finished recording an album, but generally Harriet [Stewart] and I only wheel ourselves out for a show about once a year.

Al: Dick Diver - Not active (band members overseas indefinitely)
The Uv Race - Slightly active, two more albums at mixing stage (Georgia just had a baby!)
Eastlink - Not active (Band members overseas) **
Russell Street Bombings - Ready to get rolling again**
Total Control - Recording an E.P at the moment**
Lower Plenty - Active, LP coming out before the end of the year
Snake and Friends - Lp coming out soon
Straight Jacket Nation - Lp coming out soon

The active bands stay active because people don't leave Melbourne I think.

Zeph: **Al summed up the general activity of the musicals I engage in with him so I will respond on a more personal level. I mostly forget important details and focus on the worst possible outcomes for every decision, this prompts intense self loathing and further uselessness. Occasionally I have very brief but intense moments where I write really long responses to interview questions, reply to a few weeks-old emails and write a few new songs and feel really good about myself. Then I forget about all of that, stumble across an interview and feel ashamed, but all in all this method seems to be working a treat!

Xanthe: I only have one-and-a-half other bands so I manage fine. I play in Primo, which is active! And I sing with Mick Harvey on his recent Serge Gainsbourg interpretations which is only active occasionally.


Al, your guitar playing always has such a 'chug-chug' thing about it. It's impossible to explain in writing. Do you know what I'm talking about? Probably not. Anyway, which bands 'influence' you, or whatever, as far as guitar playing goes?

Al: I don't know what you are talking about. Favourite guitarists are probably Bo Diddley, Poison Ivy, Carlos Alomar, Brix Smith-Start, Link Wray, Bert Jansch, Tommy Iomi, Douglas P, Marlene Marder, Ed Kuepper, Michael Karoli, Marc Bolan, Bob Castle, Nikki Sudden, Cheetah Chrome, Peter Laughner, Lou Reed, Sterling Morrsion, Klaus Dinger, Alastair Galbraith, Lisa Coleman, Dan Treacy...... The list goes on.


I know The Clean, the Skeptics and The Bats are among some of your favourite bands, yeah? Have you checked out some more not-strictly-Flying-Nun stuff like the AK79 comp, Shoes This High, Xpressway etc?

Zeph: That shit's played out, I rep DSM and BALANCE.

Al: The Ak79 comp is an old fav of mine. Toy Love are one of the original punk greats. Shoes this high and the Xpressway label have received a lot of coverage over here from music lovers. Australians have always really eaten up a lot of Kiwi tunes. There was a Kiwi music blog that all our mates were hammering a few years ago (can't remember the name, all the links have died). And there are some great supporters of weirdo kiwi tunes over here, Pat O'brien, Alison Bolger, Guy Blackman, Dion Nania, Harriet Stewart and more. I also used to work with Lynton (Satanic Rockers) and Jeremy (Orchestra of Spheres) who put me onto some great Kiwi tunes.


You dig OMC? Sisters Underground?

Al: 'How Bizarre' is a great song.


Your tolerance for NZ pub rock is higher than most of us here in the music scene I reckon. Can't believe you can get into early Dave Dobbyn!

Al: I love a good song! I think 'Computer Games' (Mi-Sex) is an interesting pop song. 'Blue Lady' (Hello Sailor) is not as popular over here but it's bloody great. We are exposed to a lot of Split Enz, Crowded House and so much Dragon (which is fine with me). From there Idug a little further (not far) and discovered some bangers. We picked up a Pink Flamingos record (We Never Close) in Auckland last year and it's an almost flawless record.


I should ask a bit more about Aussie stuff for NZ readers. Can somebody explain to me what the hell Dolewave is? I've read it referred to in so many articles and by so many people but never actually had it explained.

Xanthe: I did not know, I Google image searched 'Dolewave' - the first of About 2310 results was a photo of Amy's band School Of Radiant Living - Amy what is Dolewave?

Amy: Radiant Living somehow got lumped in the category of Aussie Dolewave bands. I'm not sure if I agree 100% but what can you do.

Zeph: Dolewave is just more of the usual shit; a genre/description lumped on to various mostly-unrelated rock'n'rollers by extraneous leeches. The bands copping this description often don't appear to be bankers or employed as "creatives" in an office with pinball machines, so the leeches assume they must be unemployed welfare cheats rather than the reality, which is often that these rock'n'rollers work their bums off at a job that isn't subsidised by the government (unlike the extraneous leeches). Some folks are also on the dole (benefit) as well as working a shit cash job because the cost of living has blown out beyond what many can manage; rent in Melbourne is about $700 a month for a shit room in a sharehouse. Any remaining money is then spent on $10 pints of beer to solidify this depressing situation. Competition breeds anxiety and failure.

Al: It was a term used to describe some bands like The Twerps, Dick Diver, Scott and Charlene's Wedding, Bitch Prefect, School of Radiant Living, Ocean Party, The Stevens who were doing some wordy slacker type indie basically. Dolewave, I think has some Kiwi roots actually haha. I think the bands labeled "Dolewave" were actually highly influenced by Kiwi bands like the The Clean, The Chills and The Bats. Another influence was probably The Go Betweens, Panel of Judges and Eddy Current Suppression Ring. It's all pretty silly actually.

Zeph: It was originally a few bands playing in support of organic free range beef farmers but then one year the fridges at 'The Tote TM' broke a few days before the festival and all the meat went off and therefore it was renamed MAGGOTFEST. And, all the other great festival names were taken, for example TERRY played Jerkfest, Nag Nag Nag Fest and Hootenanny #8 this summer or "festival season".

Al: Maggotfest was started by Tim Scott (Alias: Maggot). hence Maggotfest. Now the Cool Death people help out a lot with the fest and its grown heaps. It's a great fest!


And man, speaking of that fest, what's with punks over there throwing beer half-empty cans around at shows? I noticed it a lot in the US and AUS... that sorta shit would never fly here, you'd get ejected from places so damn quick. Hooligans.

Zeph: Amongst many Melbournistas there is a certain animosity towards supportive venues; it is thought that if a venue supports the artists too much they will eventually become self important wankers and lose touch with the working masses, we'd be playing at the opera house and all the squats would be empty ya know? So we must maintain a balance, and a half empty beer can is just that HALF, a fine balance, like yin and yang. Isn't it interesting that we both thought of the cans as being half-empty rather than half-full? We are privileged pessimists.


I was kinda weirded out by how many tuff-guy exteriors I saw in the Aussie punk scene (which of course was far outranked by genuine nice dudes!). But you guys aren't at all macho, which I dig! '8 Girls' is a cool topic in fact, can ya explain who the Aussie politicians in the song are, for the uninformed?

Zeph: I'll take the first part of that as a comment and respond anyway. The tuff guy exterior has developed from many things, Settler-Australian masculinities are a truly complex sad turd apocalypse. Many Settler-Australians are descended from the English and also resent them. A characteristic of the English most hated by Settler blokes is that they are perceived to be effete and neurotic. Subsequently the Settler-Australian masculinity has developed in opposition to this. Also, in more recent times Australia has been deeply affected by the cultural imperialism of the U.S.A. So Settler-Australian masculinities have incorporated many of the U.S male vibes such as the 'actions speak louder than words' soldier/cowboy schtick. One factor that can not be sufficiently addressed in this interview is the incredibly brutal invasion and settlement of this country. Most Settler-Australians are in denial that this is still a huge issue and I think this underlying tension sends us white Ozzy BBQ boys totally-fucking-mental. Basically everything in Australia was made possible by oppression. Treaty-yeah.

Xanthe: The song refers to eight female politicians who have captured the nation's hearts in one way or another for the right or wrong reasons, always Australienne.

Al: White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy (Thanks bell). That's where we live. Definitely reflected in the punk scene.

Julie Bishop - West Australian, Neo Liberal, Right Wing, Minister for Defence.
Nova Peris - Northern territorian, Indigenous advocate, Olympic gold medalist, retired from the senate 2016.
Jacquie Lambie - Tasmanian, Populist, scared of Asia, Down-to-earth, supports conscription. Senator.
Penny Wong - South Australian, Centre leftist, support the Gaybies. Labor Leader in the Senate.
Tanya Plibersek - New South Welshwoman, Left Wing, Deputy Leader of the ALP.
Kate Lundy - Canberran, Unionist, loves sport, loves the ACT, retired.
Jenny Macklin - Victorian, Centre Leftist, Said she could live on the dole, about to retire.
Pauline Hanson - Queenslander, racist, populist, independent, not a member of parliament anymore.


It's cool that your '8 Girls' seven-inch came out on Aarght, some seriously great stuff on that label. Nun is my new fav. Who're your favourite Melbourne record labels?

Al: We love Aarght! Also fans of Cool Death, Chapter Music and Bedroom Suck. Sydney labels RIP Society and Paradise Daily.

I made this playlist of sick Aussie bands. (You guys and Constant Mongrel are on there!) Any others I should add to the list? Such a shame so much amazing Aussie bands don't get heard of in NZ!

Zeph: THE SKIDS are a great new 'graveyard metal' band (I'm sorry about that description) I really love Xanthe's other band PRIMO. TOL are very powerful and Im always energised by their performance. I saw KNITTED ABYSS for the first time a few months ago and it was SO GOOOOD. Also of the singular artistes I love: GAUD, NICKY CRANE, MOON RITUALS and anything with Lucy Cliche and Matthew Hopkins is always good and I'm sad I always miss their shows.

Xanthe: I add PAPPY, SWEET WHIRL, TOMMY T & THE CLASSICAL MISHAPS and HOT TOPIC to Zeph's list. All bands/(Sweet Whirl is an individual, Esther) I have seen for the first time sort of recently, all from Melbourne and have different things going on but I love watching them all.

Al: Also love Tommy T & The Classical Mishaps! Native Cats, Drunk Elk, Blank Realm so many more.

Amy: A few more mentions... Holy Balm, Low Life, Miss Destiny, Destiny 3000, Power, The Rangoons, Theta, Stations of the Cross, Tracy.


Who's the next Aussie band that should come over here to tour?

Xanthe: I saw today that Kitchen's Floor are leaving the warmth of QLD and touring NZ in July and August!


Any NZ bands you wanna see in Australia?

Xanthe: Heaps more.

Amy: Zeph would probably be keen to see "When Pets Attack".

 

Terry are kicking off a 10-date New Zealand tour this Wednesday with a free show at Whammy Bar in Auckland with support from The Vietnam War. Head over here for more information on the full tour band to buy tickets to the other shows.





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