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Lenin Lennon

Lenin Lennon

Interviewed by
Courtney Sanders
Wednesday 6th February, 2013 10:11AM

Lenin Lennon are a three piece post rock band from Newcastle (home to Australian sporting legends, apparently). They released their Hell EP last year, and are playing Camp a Low Hum this weekend before heading back to Australia to work on a full length album this year. UTR caught up with Robert Nedeljkovic to get an idea of what Lenin Lennon are all about, his preconceptions about New Zealand music and who he's looking forward to seeing at Camp a Low Hum (will Russell Crowe be there?).

How did Lenin Lennon start?

The idea of Lenin Lennon was conceived well before James and Scott knew me. As a lot of teenagers do, they aspire, and writing music/starting a band was something they both discussed with each other throughout their school days. We all met through mutual friends (roughly 8 years ago), concreted our friendship with young-drunken karaoke nights and discovered we had mutual goals/interests, but it wasn't till 2010 when we put down our microphones, stopped doing horrible vocal covers and finally picked up our own instruments and wrote our own music.

How would you describe your sound?

I'm never sure of how to ever answer this question but we've been told our music is like, “a snap-kick to the throat”, which I think is an accurate enough description of us. If I had to label us with a genre, I'd say we're, “(turbo-(p(h)unk))”...that'll do. Sorry.

You've got a EP, Hell, on your Bandcamp page. Tell us about writing and recording that one.

Generally the way we write our music starts off as an individual effort, whereby someone comes up with a riff or beat in our own time, present the idea(s) in band practice and then construct the song as a collective. Our writing process hasn't really altered from when we first started BUT the new ideas we each bring to the table are constantly changing, maturing and I think are still definably, “Lenin Lennon”. Although, sometimes we manage to stumble on a “tight-jam” and have that moment with each other where we lock eyes and know a song is coming about.
The Hell EP incorporates both writing processes but the defining difference with this release compared to our previous recordings was that it was recorded with clarity (with more than two crappy microphones) and more importantly with, Michael “Beef” Sale who is an amazing sound technician. It was recorded in July 2012 at Beef's humble holiday house (read: East Winds) in Blue Bay which is in between Newcastle and Sydney. I find recording there to be an absolute treat and recommend Michael to everyone; the house backs onto a beach, we stacked the house with snacks and drinks, recorded our parts, snacked, drank and bro'd down!
When it came to the mixing and mastering, Beef beefed the hell out of it (ALL PUNS INTENDED), he took in all of our suggestions and recommendations and produced it exactly how we wanted it...I would actually like to nominate Beef to be the number one cool guy of all time.

In regards to Hell again, was there any theme or sound you were particularly trying to achieve, or anything you've noticed overall about the EP now that it's finished?

I'd say the theme is clarity. Don't get me wrong, I love distorted lo-fi recordings as much as the next person, I still thoroughly enjoy listening to our older tracks, and I know with certain bands that the D.I.Y lo-fi aesthetic is a specific “sound” that helps define that band and makes them who they are, but this clarity shows how we have progressed. Also, it emphasises on the intricacies of each member and how all three of us are an absolute integral part of LL.

You record music under Bare Grillz as well. Tell us about having two different projects and the different things you get out of each.

Simply the main difference between the two is that I play drums in LL and play guitar in B.Gz. Both bands are similar in the sense that they're both hard-hitting and abrasive but the way I play drums is relatively different to Evan (B.Gz drummer) and the way I attack a guitar is again, different to Scott. Ultimately, what I get out of the two bands is being able to hone both musical skills, create music I want to create, travel and do all of this with friends I love and admire as people and as musicians. I'm too lucky to be a part of both.

You guys are based in Newcastle. Is there a music community there? Does where you're from influence your sound at all do you think?

In Newcastle there are multiple music communities; it's the second largest city in N.S.W and it's inevitable/fair to assume that there will be creative communities around and about but some can be very cliquey.
DISCLAIMER TO ALL NOVOCASTRIANS: it's just one man's opinion.
Newcastle (I would say) more so prides itself on the sports we participate in nationally and froth in anticipation on what Andrew/Matthew/Daniel Johns' next movements and escapades will be. What I'm trying to say is, we create our own fun to avoid the banality of the Johns' which in a sense influences us to create sounds rather than participate in the mediocrities of Newcastle. Phew.

What are you working on at the moment?

LL are always working on new tunes, jamming when we can but just recently Scott, Evan, myself and another friend have started another band called More Boner. I'm also constantly noodlin' on my guitar or doodling on paper. Basically trying to stay creative and intact.

Have you played CALH before? If you have tell us about your previous experiences, if not tell us about your pre-conceptions and what you've heard about the festival and why you wanted to play.

I was fortunate enough to play CALH last year with Bare Grillz and to be perfectly honest, it was definitely the highlight of my year. Never ever have I been to a music festival where absolutely everyone was on the same wave length. There wasn't ANY hostility or malice, everyone was there to party, listen to amazing music and combine the two. Camp Wainui perfectly suits the festivities and is a sight to behold during the day and the evening. It was fantastic! I highly advise everyone to make the journey and experience a CALH weekend.

Are there any other artists that you're particularly looking forward to seeing at CALH?

There have been a few rumours going around of who's to play and honestly, if half of the rumours are true, it'll no doubt be a 10/10 weekend but I do know a few fellow Aussies who will be playing and are *cussing* awesome! Such as Making(Syd), Mere Women(Syd) and Per Purpose(Bris)!

Do you have any pre-conceptions regarding a New Zealand 'sound' at all? Any bands over here that you particularly admire?

As far as I've known, New Zealand has always produced awesome music and I can't wait to hear the new stuff I've not been exposed to over the last year. In no particular order: Carb On Carb, Megalex, Pumice, Golden Axe, Spring Break, Cool Cult, Batrider(NZ or AU?), Cut Off Your Hands, Disasteradio, Proton Beast and etc...oh! Russell Crowe and Dragon.

What are your future plans with the Lenin Lennon project?

We've been talking about doing a full length LP at some point during 2013, so we'll be writing, practicing and try to be somewhat normal people in between.