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Interview
Eddy Current Suppression Ring

Eddy Current Suppression Ring

date
Monday 9th August, 2010 12:22PM

Eddy Current Suppression Ring are that rarest of beasts. The Australian band have the following and critical acclaim to really allow themselves to get swept away in rock star excess. The great thing is that they don’t. They really couldn’t give a shit about any of that in fact. Under the Radar talked to guitarist Mikey Young (aka Eddy Current) very early in the morning and managed to find out a bit about why they're such a laid back bunch of guys.

For people who maybe haven’t heard a lot about your band, could you give me a bit of background to how you got started?

We didn’t really start with the idea of having a band, it was just that at my old work we had musical equipment just sitting around and everyone just used to jam there. So we just jumped on one day and recorded on a tape deck and we took it home and it was really good. But we never sat around saying “let’s form a band” or anything. I think we recorded this one thing and thought “oh god, this is oaky” and from there the only ambition we had was to write a couple of songs and maybe do a 7”. Because I used to work at a record pressing plant and it just seemed like I should take advantage of that. By the time we got that done we had like six songs so we thought we’d do one show for our friends and then that’ll be the end of it. But everything’s been pretty fun so we’ve just kept going until it’s not fun anymore. I think we’re all surprised that it’s even gone this far.

When the band started getting attention, did you notice things changing around you?

Definitely, like different types of people like you and I guess when you start out you might be flavour of the month with some bunch of hip kids and then you get to a certain level of popularity and you’re not really their thing anymore. We’ve done pretty well to not have much of a backlash, but it definitely creates a change in what people think of you over five years.

Did you feel any pressure from that?

Not really. We’re pretty sort of insular and just try not to care about anyone else. If us four are having a good time and we’re happy with the records we make, the job is done on our end.

When did the band become a full-time thing for you?

It really hasn’t. We’ve always kept it as sort of a hobby. I think we’ve been scared of making it a full-time thing in case it did start to feel like a job. Our drummer works as a tattooist and our bass player is a printer and Brendon [Huntley, vocals] does his art and has exhibitions during the year and I record other bands and stuff. So we all have different ways of making money. It’s not like we survive solely on the band at all.

Are the other guys bosses respectful of the time they need to commit to the band?

Danny [Young, drums]’s boss is really good for that kind of thing. Brad [Barry, bass] works more of a factory job and he runs his department, so it’s a bit harder for him. He really has to book in his holidays. It’s one of the reasons we can only tour ‘x’ amount of weeks a year. He’s got two kids and he’s like a family man so he needs that steady work, not just the random income of a rock ‘n’ roll band.

Is Melbourne a good place to be a musician in Australia? Is there is a strong musical community?

It’s amazing, yeah. Compared to any other city in Australia it’s just so much stronger, like the amount of venues and the amount of bands and the opportunities to play. Other cities in Australia are okay but it’s just its own thing really.

In NZ there’s a lot of focus on promoting local music. Is it like that in Australia?

Yeah, definitely, it’s pretty supportive. It seems really good over there though how there seem to be a lot of grants and stuff for bands to tour over here and the government seems really supportive. It’s quite supportive here too, there are a lot of grants to tour regionally and also to take your music to other countries and stuff.

Where did you record your new album Rush to Relax?

Just in our rehearsal studio where we jam every week. It’s nothing fancy. We just wanted to be somewhere where we were comfortable. I find with our band the best we play is almost the more relaxed we are. We didn’t want it to feel like a recording session where you’ve got to go into a recording studio and you maybe don’t play as naturally as you should. So we just had our normal band practice and took all of the gear and didn’t make a big deal out of it and we just pressed record and tried to make it as inconspicuous as possible.

You recorded the album in six hours. How much thought goes into your songs before you record them?

By the time we actually do record, most of these songs have been practiced over a few months, it’s not like we’re writing songs in a studio on the day. There’s probably one or two that we purposely left a bit open ended to allow for a bit of improvisation in the middle and stuff like that. Mainly all we’ve got to do is walk in there and play our songs well. Which if you’re in a band shouldn’t be that hard.

Is that how you’ve always approached writing and recording?

Definitely. We’ve never wanted to overly polish things or make them perfect. I think we’d rather sacrifice perfection for keeping things energetic.

For a band that gets a lot of critical attention, you all still seem pretty grounded. Why do you think that is?

Maybe because we started a bit older as people so our heads were a bit more together. Our goals are different; we’re not trying to become famous or anything. Our only goal is to have fun doing it, so we’ve never had to really deal with the industry trappings. There are things that might change who you are that we have no interest in. We’ve been lucky enough to do things at our own pace and not worry about all those other things.

So I guess it’s that thing of saying you’re doing it for yourself and then actually meaning it?

Yeah, totally. It’s strange because it’s that attitude that people like and has sort of made us more popular.

You’re heading over to the States later this year. How often do you get over there to perform?

Like I was saying before, we don’t get to travel that much. I think we went late 2007 when we’d just put out our first album, but we didn’t really have a record out there and no one really knew who we were. It still went really well and we put out a couple of 7”’s so some people were aware we were around. Since that time all three of our albums have come out in America and people are talking about us so I think this tour should be bigger. So yeah, it’s only the second time we would have played there.

Do you like that experience of trying to convert people?

Yeah, it’s good. I think in Melbourne especially we’ve really reached a point where people love us so it’s nice to go somewhere where you’ve got to work a bit hard again and prove yourself. Have a bit of a healthy uphill battle.

I had a bit of trouble finding out whether or not you’d played here in NZ before?

No, we’ve been pretty bad. We only got to Tasmania for the first time a couple of weeks ago. We’re really slow like that. We just don’t travel that much. But we have been talking about it and we’d love to.

If you woke up tomorrow and decided you wanted to be complete rock star asshole, what would you go out and buy?

What would I go out and buy? Oh man. I’m too sensible. I think we’re really bad at being rock stars. There are no zany stories of excess or anything. I can’t even think about it properly. I’d probably go on holiday.

I guess that sums you guys up pretty well.

Yeah, I wouldn’t even know how to be an excessive rock star if I tried.

Gareth Meade

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