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Tuesday 24th May, 2011 11:29AM

With only a handful of shows tucked away, the serendipitously-matched pair that is Headaches are now making the rounds in Auckland, starting with a free show at Lucha Lounge this Friday. Jeff Bell comes from Las Vegas, bringing with him a knack for underground noise-making, which is paired with the percussive talent of Freudoids member Kerry Forde. UTR spoke to Headaches to find out how they got together and what they’re about.

What’s the backstory behind Headaches?

Kerry: (Long sigh) WELL. I was hanging around St Kevins arcade one Friday evening to get a breath of fresh air after seeing a rock concert downstairs at Whammy Bar. I saw this guy wandering around like he had lost something. He saw me looking at him and approached me. “Hey do you know how to play drums?” he said. I said, “Not really, but sure.” We talked about music we’re both interested in and exchanged numbers. We pretty much skyrocketed from there.

Jeff: For some odd reason I moved to New Zealand from the US after graduating. The summer before coming to Auckland I lived alone in a stuffy attic of this old house in Ohio where I could make noise without bothering people, so I started writing music again. I didn’t know anybody when I got here so I started making all these flyers to find a drummer, but they were all like 400 words long and I don’t think anybody read them. For a while my opening line when trying to meet people was just “are you a drummer?” and one time it worked out.

How does Headaches differ from Freudoids?

Kerry: Headaches is a lot different. We are a two-piece playing stripped-back, garage/psych/pop rock. It’s pretty straightforward. We’re mainly influenced by ‘60s garage/pop and noise rock. Freudoids is a five-piece punk band that plays heavier stuff influenced by hardcore punk, noise rock and psychedelia.

Jeff: I still don’t think I’ve properly seen Freudoids (sorry dudes) but I don’t think there’s much similarity except for the fact that Kerry is in both bands.

What’s your live approach, with only 2 members in the band?

Kerry: We aren’t really just a two-piece. We have a support team for live shows. It begins with our drivers who collect and drop off the stage gear, as well as ourselves. Then we have the set-up crew who assemble the drums and Jeff’s stack. We’d like to thank all of those people. You know who you are.

Jeff: If anything, playing live is easier because we only have to work around two people’s schedules. I’ve got more space to move around and we have less shit to plug in and set up.

Was it a conscious decision to form a duo?

Kerry: At first it wasn’t. But we ended up liking what we had going on and decided to keep it this way. It’s simple and it’s fun.

Jeff: I’m actually kind of sceptical of the whole two-piece thing and it certainly wasn’t a decision. At one point we wanted at least a bassist. Eventually it just became the case that there were only two of us and it works with our sound so we stripped the music down to the bone.

It’s hard to find Headaches anywhere on the web – when do you think there’ll be more stuff online?

Kerry: We’re quite enigmatic, aren’t we? (group laughter) I don’t think there’s a real need or hurry to throw ourselves at the world wide internets. I think what’s important now is to write songs and play more shows. I guess once we have solidified our existence in real life we can look at making a snazzy website profile page account of some sort.

Jeff: It’s mainly because we hadn’t recorded. Since recording I’ve put a few songs up on Hopefully we get some blog cred soon too. I like Bandcamp because you don’t have to have “friends” and “followers”. I’m not really into the internet social music standards, as stupid as that sounds. Maybe I’m just stubborn but I’d rather use the internet to share my music with my friends and give our music out more via live shows and tangible mediums like records.

Are you planning on getting any releases out in the near future?

Kerry: We recorded recently with Alex Bennett (Autumn Splendour, Death Valley (RIP), The Raw Nerves). He did a fantastic job using some really nice old analogue gear. It sounds great. We’re going to release a 7” EP in the not-to-distant future.

Jeff: We’re doing a Peter King acetate 7” and as soon as it comes back from the South Island we’ll sell that at gigs. I’m guessing like August. Also hoping to record with Alex again in July and do some sort of release with that session – maybe a cassette release.

How have people responded to your music so far?

Kerry: We’ve had a really positive response so far and we’re really grateful for that. It’s a nice feeling to have someone approach you after a set and say how much they liked it. In fact, this is how Alex approached us, which led him to suggest recording us.

Jeff: Positive I think but they could be all talking shit behind our backs. (group laughter)

What kind of crowd do you attract?

Kerry: We’ve had pretty mixed audiences, really… We don’t attract any one “kind of crowd”.


I think it just varies based on the show. I like to think we can fit nicely on a bill with pop bands, noise bands, punk bands, folk acts, comedy rock, country bands, math rock, blues, soul, and/or western swing. AND WE ALL KNOW THOSE WESTERN SWING KIDS ARE RUTHLESS.

What other musicians do you hang out with?

Kerry: Mostly really underground people you’ve probably never heard of.

Jeff: I hang out with Kerry sometimes and we tell people we’re in a rock ‘n’ roll band.

What’s the sort of music that inspires Headaches?

Kerry: A whole lot of stuff, really. ‘60s garage, some Flying Nun bands, psychedelia, noise rock, folk, punk, world, house, dubstep etc.

Jeff: I felt okay coming to New Zealand initially because The Clean and Chris Knox were my Beatles. I go through phases on inspiration. I like Brazilian stuff a lot, like Novos Baianos and Cartola. I like ‘60s pop and punk. As far as new music on the radio I can barely listen to anything besides things like Gucci Mane, Wiz Khalifa or Lil B. Hip hop like that is all about celebrating yourself and sometimes I need something to make me feel like God.

Influences are good but ultimately I hope we just sound like us and like something new.

What kind of venues do you prefer?

Kerry: We’ve only played a handful of shows so far, but we do really like playing in small DIY spaces. Sheds and small courtyards behind buildings are great. I’d like to play more in places like these, but there are some nice bars to play at too like Whammy Bar, Lucha Lounge and Basement Bar for example.

Jeff: We’ve only played a few shows in “legitimate venues”, but hopefully that’s changing (we have a show on 27 May at Lucha Lounge and one on 10 June at Tabac). Still, I really like playing to our drunken friends in their respective sheds. It’s just more difficult to find DIY/different spaces – we’re hoping to look at Grey Lynn Community Centre.

I also want to play a show at Las Vegas Strip Club on K Rd because I grew up in Las Vegas but that place is sleazier than anything in the real Las Vegas. It’s like a Tom Waits song, or maybe a David Lynch movie, and I felt like a depressed Hemmingway protagonist when I was in there.


What’s an underrated feature of Auckland?

Kerry: Feature? Um, how about that big old pohutukawa behind St Kevins arcade? That thing deserves a shout out. It’s a great tree to sit in.

…And overrated?

Kerry: The bFM Top Ten

What about New Zealand as a whole? What’s the state of local music?

Kerry: There’s a lot of interesting and exciting bands happening, but unfortunately a lot of these bands tend to get missed and the more radio-friendly, safer bands are hailed like gods and have hits on the indieFM radio top 10 at 5 because they convinced all their friends on the facebooks to vote for them. There’s too much shit getting more recognition than is deserved, while really great bands are almost completely overlooked. I think New Zealand is conservative and self-conscious and too scared to say or do or act on something that isn’t already socially accepted within a particular scene. Yadda yadda yadda.

Jeff: I used to hear this Kiwi hit back home by this band The Feelings(?) This song called ‘Become The Venus’ anyway. Everyone back home loved it, especially my mom. I wasn’t so sure. I think New Zealand could do better.

Michael McClelland


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