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Interview: Firing Up The Blame Thrower

Interview: Firing Up The Blame Thrower

Saturday 10th June, 2017 11:00AM

Garage punk super-duo Blame Thrower have been popping up everywhere since they first appeared on the family affair that was their split cassette with retail hardcore stalwarts Markdown, with whom the group shares a member. From rocking DIY house parties, parks and a recent appearance on bFm's Freak The Sheep, they built up a good chunk of hype leading up to their most excellent EP 63.5 which they released a couple of weeks ago. We were so stoked on their latest output that we decided to sit down with drummer/vocalist Ciara "Cosy" Bernstein and guitarist/vocalist Luke Penrose to get their insights on some of the cornerstones of the lives of young punks: tunes, philosophy and beers...

UTR: So, how did you come up with the name Blame Thrower? Are you cats renowned for flinging criticisms?

C: Blame Thrower actually comes from Matt Walrus (of Dad Jokes fame). Somebody was teasing him for getting up to trouble so in rebut he yelled “Here we go again, firing up the blame thrower!” It kinda just stuck after that. It’s WAY cooler than anything the two of us could have come up with on our own (we’re notoriously bad at coming up with names haha).

L: It was either that or The Funky Tomatoes, we chose Blame Thrower.

Your new EP is titled 63.5. What does this number mean to you?

C: 63.5 has a pretty weird explanation! We are kinda known as ‘the kids’ in Markdown and Master Blaster, but we also get teased because we are old people at heart. So we were trying to decide how old we are at heart (assuming we are the same age). We decided that the sum of our ages had to be a prime number (for no real reason), and 127 seemed the most appealing to the two of us. 127 divided by two is 63.5. In other words we are both actually 63-and-a-half years old at heart. 

A distinct cornerstone of your sound is the vocal interplay. Were there any bands in particular that inspired this?

C: Blame Thrower was born from the bones of Powercruise. Neither Luke nor I can sing to save our lives, so the compromise was gang style yelling. Quite a few of the songs on our first EP in particular have the two of us singing all of it together. The only problem with this style was that playing an instrument while singing non-stop is EXHAUSTING. The call and response style was primarily a solution to the two of us being too unfit!

On your Bandcamp drinking beers is listed as part of your “collective hopes and dreams”. Got a favourite drop?

C: As you probably know, Luke and I aren’t the biggest drinkers of all time. It has become a tradition of sorts to have a cheeky Fosters or two during band practice. Blame Thrower wouldn’t be the band we are today with ol’ mate Fosters!

L: I basically like anything that’s not Corona or Sol, that stuff is rats!

What are your thoughts on the present craft beer craze?

C: Oooooh, that’s an interesting one. Local breweries pushing the boundaries of brewing = Yes. People who think that cheap beer is for plebs = No.

L: Hahaha totally, I do like the idea of people having new hobbies, and if craft beer is your thing then that’s rad, but just don’t be a dick about it I guess.

Another interest you guys mentioned was philosophical debate. As a brooding dude and feline enthusiast I’ve been pretty stoked on the Grumpy Nietzsche Cat Facebook page for some time. Are there any philosophers that influence your day to day life?

C: In terms of my favourite philosophers, I’m currently well into existentialism, nihilism and feminism (not an uncommon combo I would assume with the state of the world). Simone De Beauvoir, Jean-Paul Sartre, Camus are my top ‘classic’ philosophers. I am currently reading a book by Yuval Noah Harari about the history of humans which is BLOWING MY MIND.

L: Oh damn great question! Obviously Marx and Engels would be number one for myself and particularly with Blame Thrower lyrics about class, inequality, power structures etc. Off the top of my head a good theorist who I think about is this guy Michael Billig and his concept of Banal Nationalism. He basically argues that we embody national things no matter how small, such as the silver fern, pavlova or whatever. People become collectivised through this shared faux nationalism to which people can start saying “we kiwis are great” “we can all agree” etc. Then you get people in positions of power using this rhetoric which misrepresents basically everyone. I think about that a lot, when I listen to politicians or hear people at the pub say “jeeze we played a good game of rugby today.” You weren’t the one playing though!!!

What are your thoughts on meme culture being used as a vehicle for philosophical ideas to reach people who may not have been exposed to or interested in them initially?

C: This is definitely one for Luke! I am far behind in the meme game and am only just starting to catch up with the rest of the world. Memes are a double-edged sword in my mind. In one way they can convey relatively complex ideas simply and humorously, which is awesome, but on the other side, they can totally convey the wrong idea or be misinterpreted really easily!

L: It’s amazing I think. I swear the amount I have learnt from Sassy Socialist Memes, and Marxist Memes after not understanding a word or whatever and then researching it is crazy. It can be dicey sometimes, just look at Pepe the Frog. But like anything there will be stuff you agree with and stuff you wont, just enjoy a cold one with the boys over some fresh memes while you can.

Catch Blame Thrower tonight at Whammy bar with Markdown, Master Blaster, Bozo and Dateless for the Smell Ya Later tour fundraiser show.


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