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Cool Runnings

Cool Runnings

Interviewed by
Danielle Street
Thursday 13th March, 2014 1:40PM

Late last year Auckland punks Cool Runnings made a lot of people happy with a name-your-price (aka free) download of their three-track EP Higher Learning. The featured single 'Cool Death' got a lot of traction, and not just locally, its video was picked up by popular Chicago-based music website Pitchfork.

This weekend the group, which is comprised of members from Diamonds and Dirt, Heidi Pasadena, Raw Nerves and Perfect Hair Forever, are releasing a split 7" vinyl with pals The Admiral through 1:12 Records. One side features 'Cool Death' while The Admiral's track 'Bother Me' is on the flip side. So it seemed like a good time seemed like a good time to catch up with the dudes who reminded us all of the best underdog movie from 1993. See the end for more details about the gig...

Hey Rory, Cool Runnings is a great name for a band, how did you end up choosing it?

I was just totally obsessed with that movie when I was a kid. I remember my mum buying it for me from the supermarket and just thrashing the shit out of it. Just the name Cool Runnings brings back all these good vibes.

When choosing the name did you know there is a band called Cool Runnings in the States? Is that annoying?

Ha, we only heard about them like a month ago. I had a listen and it was totally different, kinda slow and arty. Plus they have their name all one word. Fuck 'em - it's about as annoying as having your shoelace come undone.

The four of you have really solid backgrounds playing in other bands, how did you decide to form Cool Runnings?

Basically, Clay moved back home from Melbourne and we'd been wanting to do something new for awhile. Joe and me travelled across the states together for two months a couple years ago and were still talking afterwards so playing with him didn't seem like a total stretch. And I've just had a boner for Roy's hair that's been going on way too long.

For people who wouldn’t have heard Cool Runnings before, how would you describe your sound?

It's just real blown out weirdo punk.

You use a lot of Rastafarian and marijuana motifs, ever attempted covering reggae track with your own spin?

I dunno - all the old Studio One stuff is pretty untouchable. I think if we tried to cover a reggae song it'd be horrible, but we're hopefully releasing a dub remix of one of our songs soon.

How did the split LP with The Admiral come about?

1:12 records asked if we'd been keen and we all said fuck yeah. The Admiral are our really good buddies - Matt even set up the mics and tracked our first EP in my bedroom.

Tell me about 'Cool Death'... what is it about? Who are the sonic influences?

It's just about choosing how you die and acknowledging that you can go out on your own terms. It's a pretty fucking degenerate message really. There's a Starship Troopers sample in there, so I'm gonna say that Starship Troopers is the sonic influence. I really wanna watch Starship Troopers now.

What was the recording process like?

It was all done in my bedroom over a night - we did the music live but overdubbed the vocals. Matt Rapley tracked it and then Joe mixed it.

Why did you choose that song for the 7”?

Well we only really had three songs to choose from at the time and that one had been picked up the strongest by some bNet stations so it just seemed like the logical idea at the time.

What’s the appeal of vinyl releases for you?

It's just nice having something to hold right? Plus 1:12 gets Karl Steven (The Drab Doo-Riffs) to master all their stuff and he's a total wizard, both the tracks sound killer.

The video for Cool Death was picked up by on Pitchfork, how did that happen?

I still don't really know - this one guy who writes for them has just been sharing some of our stuff. Thanks guy.

So, the video appears to be a bunch of your pals getting stoned in your garage... where did that concept come from?

Haha, that's pretty much an extension of my bedroom. We just got some people over on a Sunday and then went from there. Nobody puked so that was pretty cool.

You seem to be good at getting into the studio and blasting out short releases, any plans for an album?

We wanna put out another short EP real soon, but definitely aiming for an album in the next few months.

Favorite acts coming out of New Zealand right now?

Surf City, Doubledipp, Cheats, Las Tetas, PHF & Lorde.

Cool Runnings and The Admiral 7" Release Show
Support from Double Dipp and DJ Ange
Saturday 15th March, Whammy Bar, Auckland
$5 on the door


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