HUP caught up with one of Hamilton's most exciting bands, Landlords, ahead of their performance at The Third Annual HUP Xmas Party on Friday Dec 14th. We talked with Dylan Morgan (Drums) about how he and Andy (Guitar/Vox) and Paddy (Bass) came to form the band, their influences, and plans for the future.
How did Landlords form? I was playing drums in a local hardcore band a couple years ago and the guitarist, (Dustin), was really into New Order and similar new-wave style bands. We wanted to start something up so he asked Andy, and Andy asked Patrick. Dustin pissed off to Melbourne shortly after we began.
You guys are or were in other bands – tell us about them… Andy and Paddy were in local metal/hardcore band Dead Dreamers who were active 2012-2016, both are also ex-members of Hamilton/Melbourne hardcore band Hammertime. This past year I've played drums for a few heavier bands such as Two Heavens, Easy Off and Wakhan Corridor.
How did the name Landlords come about? “Landlord” was taken.
When you set out, what were the main intentions, either in terms of what you wanted to sound like, or what you wanted to achieve with the band. Or both! We had a few reference bands that we were all listening to a lot of, particularly; Whirr, Nothing, My Bloody Valentine, Slowdive, Deafheaven. We were all on the same page in wanting to be on the heavier end of the shoegaze spectrum.
How does the songwriting process work in the band? Andy (the songwriter) says that's top secret information.
Do you have any recordings or releases planned? We're in the recording process and it won’t be long until we have a release.
You don’t have a Facebook or Bandcamp or any other online presence. Is that intentional? We're pretty slow at getting things done. It's pretty ridiculous. It’s a bit of an ongoing joke between us, though it's kind of worked out as it’s become a talking point at the shows we play. Maybe we never will...
Catch Landlords live at The Third Annual HUP Xmas Party takes place at Nivara Lounge this coming, Friday Dec 14th, and features five Hamilton bands - Orbjks, Broadcast State, Bitter Defeat, Cartoon Villain, and Landlords. Doors open at 7pm with the first band at 8pm. It's $15 on the door but if you're quick you can grab one of the limited $9 advance tix at undertheradar.co.nz
I N T E R V I E W
No Comic-Book Superheroes: An Interview with Cartoon Villain
with Ian Duggan
Coming up on 14 December, Hamilton Underground Press celebrates the end of the year with their ‘Third Annual HUP Xmas Party’. One of the five bands appearing on the night will two-piece ‘Cartoon Villain’, who had their debut track ‘Don't Blink’ make an appearance on the HUP/The Hum 106.7FM’s Top 10 this month! We talked to Wairehu Grant and Albert Bannister about the band; who are their influences, what are the advantages of being a duo, and which cartoon villain would each of them be?
HUP: For the uninitiated, what do Cartoon Villain sound like? Are there any bands you would compare your sound to, or that have influenced your sound?
Albert: We aim for a hybrid of prog, post-hardcore and stoner rock. We were heavily inspired by some of the recent grungey New Zealand bands like Earth Tongue and Mermaidens, and post-hardcore classics such as At The Drive In and Mars Volta.
Wai: We’ve definitely got a strong influence from other kiwi indie bands both past and present. Don’t tell anybody but I’ve been stealing pedalboard ideas from Gussie’s Instagram since we started. shhh! Writing-wise, I also take a lot of cues from acts like Melvins, IDLES and Jack White. Between the two of us there’s a lot of crossover in influences but the exciting stuff kind of comes from the occasional differences in our musical backgrounds.
HUP: If I am correct, your first gig was supporting The Changing Same only in September. You have already had a number of gigs since this time, with more planned. How long had you been together before that first performance, and has the band changed in direction, focus or sound since your debut?
Albert: We formed the band about a week before the first gig. Our sound is starting to smooth out. It’s just a matter of churning out a good volume of material and then figuring out which stuff works and which doesn’t.
Wai: What he said. We basically started the band as soon as I bought a pitch shifter pedal. We’d been seeing a lot of bands like Carb on Carb, Skinny Hobos and Earth Tongue doing the two-piece thing and we thought it could be worth a shot. We’ve played together for a few years in various other acts, so we have a good level of familiarity with each other’s styles.
HUP: How did you come up with the name Cartoon Villain? And the obvious question, which cartoon villain would each of you be?
Albert: Wai looks kinda like a stereotype Anime villain. Being realistic, I’d probably be Prince Charming from Shrek.
Wai: Yeah, I can roll with generic Anime villain. Maybe James from Pokemon. The name Cartoon Villain was one I was using beforehand for a solo recording project I was working on. Given how fast our first few gigs came around we had to decide on a name quick-smart and this one just seemed to stick.
HUP: Being part a six-piece band, and finding it difficult to have everyone available for practices, let alone gigs, I can see the appeal of being in a two-piece. What advantages and disadvantages do you see in being a duo?
Albert: Pros: Churn out material quick. We’re both on the same page about what kind of music we want to be playing. Lots of bands we’ve been in have suffered from identity crises, where everyone was trying to pull the sound in different directions.
Cons: Hard to build depth and complexity into songs.
Wai: All of the above. There’s definitely a lot of things that make duo set ups logistically easier, but you really have to think outside the box to get enough development and variety in your songs with such a simple set up. But it does give me an excuse to shop around for weird effects pedals. Big plus.
HUP: I know you have already made your way into the studio and made some recordings (e.g., ‘Don't Blink’). What are your aspirations for this band?
Albert: We’re both gonna stick around for the next year or two and see where it takes us, gigging and recording as much as possible.
Wai: Definitely want to keep gigging fairly consistently and refining the set that we have. It’s exciting to think how much our sound could develop over the next year or so.
I N T E R V I E W
Forecast Sleet: An Interview with ‘Broadcast State’
with Ian Duggan
The 3rd Annual Hamilton Underground Press Xmas Party is on Friday 14 December at Nivara Lounge. Included on the bill is a new band full of familiar faces, ‘Broadcast State’. HUP caught up with Scott Newth, Andrew Newth and Gareth Schott to find out a little about the new band; who is part of it, what do they sound like and, importantly, how many pedals do they have?
HUP: The name ‘Broadcast State’, like ‘System Corporation’ – which shares several members with this band – has something of a dystopian feel to it. What is behind the name?
Scott: I could tell you a story Ian. About the name. I could say it's a statement about the current battle between governments and privately-owned media companies. I could say it's a throwback to cold war propaganda machines. I could say it's indeed dystopian, because it sometimes feels like we are living in the climate induced end times. I could go on a big political rant about lizards from 1984 blowing up the twin towers to kill the illuminati, who live in a secret underground sea somewhere under eastern Europe. But the reality is, I liked the word 'Broadcast'. But that wasn't available as a band name, so we stuck 'State' on it, and Bob's your uncle. But it does lend itself to some cool imagery, such as Gareth's poster, above. We actually wanted to be called something else – [I] can't say what. And we reserve the right to change our name without warning. By the time you print this, we might be called something completely different.
Gareth: Forecast Sleet.
HUP: So who is in the band?
Scott: We are Gareth Schott (sink \ sink, Ancient Tapes), Kent Newth (Rumpus Room), Gavin McDermott (Sora Shima), Andrew Newth (Southern Tribe) and Scott Newth (System Corporation).
HUP: How is this band different or similar to your other projects, particularly Rumpus Room, sink \ sink, Love & Violence, Southern Tribe and System Corporation, of which members of Broadcast State have been central figures in?
Andrew: One of the coolest things about playing with other people for the first time is discovering your sound. There were ideas about the sound the band would take on before we started but the reality doesn't really match any of those. I guess you could say Broadcast State sounds like an amalgamation of those bands we've come from but it's very much its own monster.
Gareth: We are still early days, but many of the associated bands mentioned are ongoing, so there is no reason for doing Rumpus Room .2, as that project still exists. I think we will attract those comparisons due to the members of Broadcast State, but I hear Scott playing bass much differently in response to Gavin’s drumming. I am playing differently to the way I did in Ancient Tapes (although the Ebow does come out for one song). I think maybe I disrupt the amazing interplay you see between Andrew and Kent in Rumpus Room, which then leads to different things. Kent has an amazing ability to just land in the song and give it its spine, so that if he’s not there for some reason the song loses something vital and we struggle to play it. Lots of pedals but people know what to do with them, and when to use them. We work really well together, complementary both in style and tone. For me there is a hint of new wave and post punk to what we have so far, but who knows where it is going?
Scott: I don't think we set out to sound like anything in particular. We wanted to just play the type of music we like, and I assume everyone bought that idea along in their own minds, and then had to adapt that to what came out of it. Of course, there are elements of all our other bands (…maybe not Southern Tribe so much), but that's to be expected I guess.
HUP: Who is playing what? Who is singing? And who is writing the songs?
Andrew: Scott is on vocals 100% of the time and bass 95% of the time. We have three guitarists, Andrew, Gareth and Kent. Andrew has picked up the bass for one song so far, which is a first, and we have Gavin on drums. Needless to say, it can be a big sound at times. Song writing is very much a collaborative thing in this band. Most songs have fallen out of jamming together. We have tons of ideas that need to be formed into songs all from recorded jams that we are working through together. Sometimes someone will come to practice with a song idea but we all treat it as a collaboration. We're not interested in getting hung up on who did what and when, that just gets complicated and boring.
Scott: In the future I think we will be working on songs people bring to the band and those might be a little more sophisticated than the raw adaptations of jams we have turned into songs so far.
HUP: How many pedals will you have between Gareth, Andrew and Kent?
Scott: I'm not sure how many pedals there are. But even I have two if you count my tuner.
Gareth: I count 30.