I first met my next guest (and good friend) Ben Reader when one of my old bands was on tour. We'd just finished playing Brisbane, Gold Coast and the surrounding areas and were on our way down the coast, south of Sydney.
I don't remember how it came about but the show ended early due to someone throwing a wheelie bin through the front window of where we were playing and the show got quickly shut down. I also remember it being a charity show, so that was well weird. Basically, it was a good cause with a bunch of dickhead "rock-star" wannabe's in shit bands. And us. A band i was going to refrain from naming, but decided against it, called Either/Now, got the shits because we were the second last band on the bill and they didn't get their 4 hour soundcheck and then wanted to play after us. We didn't care and played before them, the shit hit the fan and the show got shut down before they even tuned up. Suckers. The blame, was put on our mutual friend Mitzi, (hi Mitzi!) who's house we all ended up staying at because she's a legend. We talked shit pretty much the whole night and that's how we became friends. Anyway. Ben moved interstate, i quit that band and life kept moving, as it is known to do.
It's been 15 or so years since that show but i'm stoked to say we've been able to keep in touch. I now live in Zurich and Ben is in a tight band called World Sick.
1. What was the catalyst that got you into collecting vinyl?
I had always had a few records, but never really took it seriously. Around 2010 - 11 I had just stumbled Chuck Daley's blog "Sound as Language" and was really getting into the bands he was talking about on it. Then he announced Tiny Engines and I was done for - Most of my pay was going to records coming out through that label, but I still didn't have a decent record player, nor did I see myself as a "collector".
Around the same time, a friend of mine had been bugging me about a friend of his who had just moved back to Australia from Canada and had started up a record store in North Fitzroy that would "blow me away" called Resist Records. I was pretty skeptical and didn't head out to the store for ages.
Cut to Jan 26, 2011 - Tom Jenkins had put on a huge charity gig at the Tote with some of the best Aussie punk bands of the time as well as a few record stalls... and wouldn't you know it, Resist Records had a stall. Cut to the end of the day, I'd walked away with records from Algernon Cadwallader, knapsack, Joan of Arc and Still Life - Things I just didn't think you could find in Melbourne. That's it. I was hooked.
All of my money went to my new hobby - Jackson Clarke (The owner of Resist records and guitarist of bands such as These Hands Could Separate the Sky & Urns) became a close friend of mine, I spent way too much on a new turn table / amp / speakers and luckily my very patient and supportive girlfriend didn't kick me out when the records started to outweigh everything else in the house!
2. Variants or nah?
Nah - The closest I've come to buying variants was a triple pack of Des Ark's album "Don't Rock The Boat, Sink The Fucker" but I just gave the other two variants away to close friends. Give me a nice gatefold 180g black record any day.
3. What is your "White Whale" and have you got it or are you still looking?
My white whale for the last few years has been an affordable copy of Gouge Away - ", dies". I absolutely love that band and just totally missed being able to grab a copy while they were floating around. Now they never come up on Discogs and when they do (one literally just popped up on my phone as I'm writing this for $145USD + $10,000 in shipping no doubt), I can't justify the price.... yet! I'm sure there are other records out there that I'm dying for, but I try to keep my thoughts off them - I work from home, so the lure of digital crate digging is way too easy to succumb to!
4. In no particular order, what are your 5 favourite artists or bands?
My all-time favourites? or just right now? I feel like Pat from the movie Green Room... alright - off the top of my head.
- Arrows - my all-time favourite Australian alternative band. Soul-crushingly sad and emotive. I was lucky enough to play a show with them during a very short "reunion of sorts" tour. It was life-affirming.
- Kind of Like Spitting / Blunt Mechanic (Anything with Ben Barnett at the helm) - Got into Ben's stellar music back in the dial-up and Napster days. There's a much bigger convo about this band that I could have but I'll save that for another day. My first foray into proper "alternative" music and got me into Braid and basically, everything stems from this band for me.
- Blind Girls - my current favourite Australian skramz band. Absolutely brutal, technically incredible. Cannot fault them.
- Slow Mass - their debut LP "On watch" is just a thing of beauty.
- Deafcult - easily one of the best shoegaze/dream pop bands in Australia. Their album Auras is on VERY high rotation on my turntable.
- Bonus round - The Universe. A post-rock band from Stockholm featuring members of Suffocate For Fuck Sake - They only did one album back in 2010 and I picked it up at my all time favourite store "Rundgang Records" in Malmo - I listened to it that night after buying it and loved it so much I went back and bought another copy to a friend! (https://theuniversemusic.bandcamp.com/)
5. Are there any current bands you wish more people knew about?
Current bands... so I'll mention Blind Girls again - they are just an unrelenting force, and seem to be on a never-ending tour at the moment, so lots of opportunities to catch them in Australia. Cam from To The North has a new band "Apparitions" that I've seen play a few times that's been great fun and I'm currently trying to line up a run of shows with them. It really seems like right now there is a huge uptick in Australian bands that I'm getting excited about. My band (World Sick) just went up to Queensland to play a showcase festival and the first band that played was called "Baby Shoes" - they were SO GOOD that I was starting to panic about our set. It was just the perfect mix of Jazzy guitars, emotive vocals and just... it was perfect! They don't have any music online that I can find, but I'll be keeping a very close eye on them! (https://www.facebook.com/pg/babyshoesaus). All of the bands I just mentioned are from QLD - I don't know what they are putting in the water up there, but they better keep doing it!.
One last recommendation and then I'll stop I swear - there's a band from Adelaide called No Oaths that was born from the embers of skramz band Racoon City Police Department and has some of the genuinely nicest people I've ever, EVER, come across. They just recently dropped their EP "No Country" and it is just amazing. The song "Dickhead" should be on the radio every minute of the day.