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Interviewed by
Michael McClelland
Tuesday 27th March, 2012 11:26AM

Another enticing young noise-rock combo from the South Island – Ipswich, have kicked off a prolific tenure with a corrosive sound to bounce off their sunnier counterparts in the North. Recently signed to MUZAI Records with two albums on the horizon, UTR caught up with frontman Steven Marr for a bit of background...

How long have you been a band for?

Jamie, Matt and I have been playing together since April 2010. We had been planning to get together for a while but after February I ended up going back to Timaru for all of March which developed into being the single most boring month of my life. So yeah, it's almost our birthday.

What kind of influences do you trying to channel?

We all like a lot of the same bands and over the last 6 months I think we have started developing our own sound that pulls from things like post-rock, post-punk, shoegaze, stoner rock and psychedelia. I'm hoping people will hear some of those influences in the new songs on the live album.

Who’s been recording your stuff so far?

As we are super poor we have always done everything on the cheap. The first EP we recorded in my lounge with some really shitty drums mics and an SM57 and Matt did all the mixing and mastering. The second EP was recorded at this youth centre in Papanui by a friend of ours who recorded it and Matt mixed and mastered it once again. We have just finished recording our album, which surprisingly enough is being mixed and mastered by Matt. I really enjoy having someone in the band who can actually mix, he knows what we should sound like and puts more care into that than what I think someone else would.

Is everything out working out the way you’d like?

We'll I've been guilty of writing some fairly shameful music in the past and this is going far better than how I thought it would go. Just the amount of progress we have managed to make in under a year is really nice, it's kind of surprised all of us I think. Plus Matt and Jamie are total bros so it makes putting in effort easy when you’re really good friends with the people you play music with.

How’s it been going since you signed to MUZAI Records?

Really well, nothing major as such has happened yet as we haven’t put out any releases under MUZAI quite yet, but two of them are on their way. Benjii and Martin sort us out with quite a few shows when bands are coming to Christchurch which is really nice and we are always keeping up to date with what’s going on. It's been really great having Benjii to help us stay on track and it kinda makes us a bit more motivated about getting things done.

What’s it like working with a label from another city?

Surprisingly easy, you just really have to keep communication up and you're all sorted.

Any plans to head north?

I'm wanting to come up in July in support of our album being released so I really hope that happens. I'm just assuming there is going to be a MUZAI year 3 show at some point and we would love to pop up to Auckland for that. We are just eager for us to play to new people in other cities who probably haven't heard us before.

You have two albums on the way, the first being a live album which is unusual for a relatively new band - what was the thinking behind this?

We had talked about doing a live ep before but we kinda of played awfully when we gave it a go and had heaps of issues with our gear so we scrapped and when the opportunity to do this popped up we just thought it was a really good idea and i mean why not?

Why release it before your debut album proper?

One of the key reasons was that it was ready first. Another reason was that I would rather release it closer to the date it was recorded to keep it more relevant along with the songs on it as we are constantly producing new music and so our sets always changing.

Are the tracks on the live album from previous EPs or are there news on there?

The live album has got 5 new songs on that will all be on our debut album but there are another 3 new tracks that aren't released anywhere that will be on our debut along with 1 song from each our 2 EPs.

What is your writing process?

It varies quite a bit. We have a couple of songs that we have fully written as a group, others that I've brought a couple of ideas to a practice and we have just really jammed them out into songs and other times I might write something, I'll give Matt a bassline and he will just change it up and make it more interesting and a tad more rhythm section sounding, which is great - and Jamie is like a fucking metronome who plays awesome drum beats all the time.

Do you have any one particular ambition as a band?

We haven't really talked about it to be honest. I think at the moment we have two albums coming out and we just want to see where that takes us, we plan on going around the country and all that jazz but as to what we do after that I have no idea. Whatever it is, we will keep writing/releasing music.

Is there a lot of stuff like this coming out of Christchurch at the moment?

I would say there is a lot of music coming from Christchurch at the moment but not like this. I'm not saying we sound really different or anything but more that Christchurch music is really diverse and there is a lot of it. I'm a big fan of bands like Dance Asthmatics, T54, St Eden, The River Jones, Villain, The Transistors and the new BnP album is one of the best things I have heard in ages.

What do you think of the stuff coming out of NZ as a whole?

New Zealand seems to constantly have new bands every single year popping up that are doing great things and releasing great music. It's a real community vibe and everyone seems to know everyone but I think that's a part of what makes it so great. Dunedin has to be one of my favourite places for new music from New Zealand though. There are always new bands being made there that are really interesting and don't sound boring at all. Opposite Sex is a great example, I had been listening to their album for a while and got to see them live for the first time at camp and they were fantastic, I’m hoping to catch them again in Dunedin at some point.


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