Harry: Thanks! I think living in Palmerston North has imbued us with a kind of outsider headspace. We’re not Wellington, we’re not Auckland, we’re not rural really. Something in-between. From the provinces? In some ways its really cool, there are some incredible and way under-rated bands that have emerged from these parts, think Skeptics but also think of all the amazing hometown hero bands we saw growing up here. I feel like here we get this cool freedom to make whatever we want to and all the music community here are into it (or at least the idea of doing your own thing). Not being so worried about keeping up with the latest thing has been great for exploring music from the past and bringing the stuff we love to this band and our new songs. Fraser, Jono, and I are all interested in ‘politics’ and are cognisant of the tensions around us. There’s a continuous clash of old and new, country and town, progressive and conservative attitudes. The songs that make up Provincial Blight have been a great way to explore and express that over the last year or so.
Nicola: The first song off your EP is called 100 Percent. Using 100 characters, how would you describe First Move to the uninitiated?
Harry: We’re Aotearoa noise-rock from Palmerston North. We like big guitar sounds, tight rhythm, and space.
Nicola: You and Martin (Phillips, guitar/vox in Repairs) go back a long way, to his days in god bows to math. Is there anything about the musical direction he's taken with Repairs that surprises you?
Yeah! praise be to god bows to math (re-union tour one day please). When Martin told me he was playing with Repairs I was stoked with his description. Something along the lines of ‘gbtm but inserted some pop’. True to form everything I’ve heard since has been great and it’s been cool to see some of the old ideas and musical idioms infused with a dose of Nic’s thundering bass, healthy accent, and James’ pounding drums.
Nicola: Finally, Shellac, Bailterspace and Slint: steal riffs, steal production or steal members?
Wowee, that’s a good one. We could spin that so many ways. I reckon something like:
Bailterspace - I can’t get enough of the riffs (you can probably tell). Last night I had Capsul play through twice while driving home late.
Slint - Though their members may have slipped into a kind of obscurity since Spiderland, they played some incredible songs with an unparalleled tightness. Don’t ask me which members we’d pinch though, that’d probably change every time we talk about it (they’re all so cool).
Shellac - steal production. Do I really need to explain that any further? (actually don’t ask, the ramble would go on for weeks).
And then, it was Harry's turn to question Nicola about Repairs...
Nicola: Our songs are a mixture of approaches! Sometimes Martin will have a partially or fully formed idea of a song, sometimes James or I will start jamming on a riff and a song will just “happen”. Other songs have been more of constant work in progress, where what we started with ends up being very different in both structure and in lyrics. Playing live can be a great way of testing songs out, and developing, tweaking and improving them.
Harry: Tell us about three bands/artists you really admire and draw upon for Repairs that we might not have heard of?
Nicola: Martin has a great playlist on Spotify called “Reference” which is a good starting point for getting an idea of tracks or artists that he in particular will get inspired by. Tropical Fuck Storm is a big one at the moment, as is Bench Press who just came over from Melbourne and all three of us can’t stop raving about! Ditto with Moody Beaches, who have been a bit of a band crush of mine since they played at Whammy earlier this year.
We definitely wear a lot of influences on our chests with our band t-shirt collections though. Plus we seem to be going through a period where working titles for songs are the name of the band that influenced that song. We have one called “Shellac” that we’re hoping to try out live for the first time at Nivara!
Harry: What was the last thing that any of you repaired?
Nicola: Not sure if it counts as repairing… James recently did some much needed maintenance on our car for us that we had no idea needed doing! (thanks James, you’re the best)
Harry: I had the pleasure of listening to your latest release, a split 7” lathe with Flogging a Dead One Horse Town. Could you tell us more about the interesting concept for the split and how it all came together?
Nicola: Initially the lathe cut was thought up as a way to support Peter King. But Martin was the one who came up with the idea of each band covering one of the other’s songs without ever having heard it first. So we sent Flogging the tabs and lyrics for Boxer, and they did the same for us with Shits – it’s been really interesting to hear the similarities and differences between the versions. We’re so excited to be doing the same concept with First Move for another split later this year!
Big thanks to Nicola and Harry for the Q and A! The show takes place tomorrow night, Friday August 16th at Nivara Lounge, doors at 8pm, first band shortly afterwards. Also playing are the wonderfully named (and wonderful sounding) 'Flogging a Dead One Horse Town' and Hamilton's lo-fi indie popsters 'Bitter Defeat'.