I N T E R V I E W
Jamie Hannah of Spawts
by Ian Duggan
Former Christchurch, now Auckland-based band ‘Spawts’ are playing in the final Saturday night slot of the Future City Festival… meaning they are effectively headlining the festival! I caught up with Spawts drummer Jamie Hannah to talk about the band members sport and movie interests, their move north, and their rather interesting Youtube videos!
HUP: You state in your promotional material that you were forged by your “mutual love of late night movie watching and competitive ball related human interactions”. What are your favourite movies and sports?
Jamie: Edgar Wright films sit well with me, so you can imagine how fizzed I am for ‘Baby Driver’ this year, but if I had to pick one it would be ‘Scott Pilgrim’. It’s not uncommon for Kieran [Ormandy; guitar, vocals] to suggest watching ‘Dazed & Confused’; the car scenes keep it moving and the soundtrack makes it happen. Isaac [McFarlane; bass, vocals] likes them big and dumb. What’s the biggest and dumbest? ‘Independence Day’.
As far as sports go we are all caught up in the Blackcaps home summer this season. I must admit we haven’t had much of a chance to roll the arm over except for one innings at the bottom of St Kevins Arcade and some kitchen/hallway throw-downs. We are hoping to get a game going at the Nirvara Lounge car park before we play at Future City to get a look at some new talent for our New Zealand musicians North vs South cricket extravaganza, coming soon.
I am the only rugby fan in the band and must admit being a huge Crusaders fan entering Hamilton could trigger some sort of PTSD, taking me back to the Super Rugby semi-final of 2013.
HUP: For those that haven’t heard your music, how would you describe your sound?
Jamie: We are a guitar driven band, with sounds that range from garage and punk, to the more pop end of the spectrum at times. Bands like Cloud Nothings and Sonic Youth, as well as a lot of great Kiwi bands like Rackets, Popstrangers and Die!Die!Die! are some of our biggest influences. Playing live, we like to keep a lot of energy going.
HUP: You have some pretty interesting videos on Youtube, including one for your song ‘Big Fresh’ that features ex-Funny Business guy Ian Harcourt, and a Star Wars inspired promo video called ‘The Spawt’s Awakens’, which includes Jar Jar Binks being hit by a VW combi. Where does the inspiration come from for these videos?
Jamie: We have a lot of really talented friends, and love being able to incorporate them into what we are doing. Our film-maker friends, Julia Ludbrook and Jonathan Mines, offered to make a video for us. They came to us with the vision and made it happen, including bringing the epic Ian into the project. Who would say no to an offer to make a music video about a man’s relationship with his best friend, who is a cactus, and how he deals with the loss of this companion? (continued below)
The Spawts Awakens is a 30 second clip pushing iMovie to its limits. Its main theme is change and concludes with our friend Zach of Happy Monster fame (another video you can find on our Youtube) blowing up, signifying the end of the first EP and moving into the Big Fresh Era.
I’m a huge fan of the promo videos Tommy Ill put out before releasing ‘New Hat and a Haircut’, so I wanted to do something short and sharp. This promo started as a green screen test I did at my brother’s house in Timaru, using a laundry bag as the screen and the first thing I found on his shelf. As real as it looks, I had to resort to adding almost all the FX in post-production as opposed to practical stunts. There was one more promo I never put out showcasing some more of what iMovie has on offer. Maybe I could use it for the next release or something.
HUP: You formed in Christchurch, but moved to Auckland in April 2016. Why did you make the move, and has it been worth it?
Jamie: We actually made the decision to leave Christchurch before playing a show or putting anything out. An opportunity came up to play music with more of our friends up in Auckland and we jumped at the chance. Has it been worth it? Yes, 100%. More places to play, lovely people, great dumplings and no winter! I’ve discovered some of my favourite bands since moving here. Some of them might even be playing Future City the night before us? I do miss the ‘Darkroom’ though. What other venue in New Zealand lets you play cricket in the alley while people are still sitting outside drinking and even gets you lights from the stage so you can see better?
HUP: What are the bands you are looking forward to seeing during the festival?
Jamie: Wax Chattels! I can’t stress this enough, people should totally go out of their way to see their incredible set on Friday. I’m also looking forward to seeing what The Ham has on offer.