I N T E R V I E W
by Ian Duggan
‘Bitter Defeat’ is a local lo-fi solo recording project, that has been sporadically releasing songs via Bandcamp since mid-2016. We talked to Bitter Defeat about the project’s influences, the irregular nature of his releases, aspirations, and whether we should expect to see him playing live anytime soon.
HUP: You have released three tracks on Bandcamp to date. Your second, ‘Better’, sounds not unlike early-Pavement recordings, particularly in the way it builds in the last 30 seconds. Who are your influences on this project?
Bitter Defeat: I’ve loved that kind of sound for a long time, since first hearing Pavement on John Peel’s show somewhere around 1991. Over the years, I’ve got into a lot of similar sounding stuff that really appeals, like Guided By Voices, who I particularly enjoy, and most recently Car Seat Headrest. I don’t know why that sound sounds nice to me, but it does. So, that’s the musical influence; Stephen Malkmus and Robert Pollard are godlike in my tiny mind.
HUP: Of the tracks released to date, ‘Superior Avoidance Tactics’ was released in June 2016, ‘Better’ in January 2017, and Hummer in July 2017, which averages out at about a track every 6 months. I really enjoy these songs. Do we have to keep waiting so long between releases?
Bitter Defeat: That’s lovely to hear, thanks for passing that on! I’d like to do more, but it’s just the way it happens really. When random inspiration hits to spend a couple of hours messing round recording. It’s possible that a bolt of inspiration hits and a bunch of new stuff is out there. It doesn’t take long. I normally come up with an idea and turn it into something ‘finished’ in about 4 hours max. Sometimes it takes two visits with a break in between, but that’s about it. I love that about it. That it’s one idea, not thought about for hours, recorded quickly, imperfections left in. I like the honesty of that.
HUP: What are your aspirations for Bitter Defeat?
Bitter Defeat: Genuinely none whatsoever. I won’t push it at all. If I’m happy with it, that’s good enough. I think ‘would I like this if I found it somewhere?’ and if the answer is yes then it’s job done. Having said that, the few friends I’ve shared it with like it and that feels nice.
HUP: As a solo, home recording project, might we expect to ever see you playing live?
Bitter Defeat: Possibly. Conversations have been had with musical pals. I’d have to sing in front of other humans though, which is a scary thought. Given there’s less than 5 minutes of material to date, it’s a long way off though!
HUP: You have named your project Bitter Defeat. Did that name derive from you being a Liverpool football supporter?
Bitter Defeat: Haha! No, though that would have been possible. Arsenal in 1989 still hurts. It’s the name of a song by Kitchen’s Floor, a great Brisbane band who played here last year. Great lo fi punk. I think it fits the nature of the BD’s music quite well.