“Yeah, meerkats are pretty cool.” Tyler stands back, satisfied with his presentation. I sit watching the group of school kids milling around him as they marvel at the small African mongooses darting back and forwards in their enclosure. Aidan and Viv do their best to pass it all off as normal. Waving his class away Tyler turns to listen as we ponder his striking resemblance to the bands’ namesake.
“I think it’s a bit of a coinci-dink but he really does look like a meerkat.” Aidan pauses, looking up as he continues thoughtfully. “I think it goes a bit deeper than that but we don’t probe. He’s got a lot of similar mannerisms. One day we’re gonna take him to Africa and set him free, see how he goes back in his natural habitat.”
An African adventure. The guys could set up a recording studio on the plains of the Serengeti, take advantage of that open field sound. Aidan seems interested. “I think that would be awesome.” Viv proposes some solar powered vans to provide electricity, as Aidan assures me “it’s on the calendar.”
Not that the band hasn’t already experimented with obscure locations while recording their new EV. Viv says that at least four different locations were used just for recording the vocals. “That’s just how we work” he muses, and tells me about an impromptu session in their own kitchen.
“That was one of the best spaces. We put some heavy draping up and converted our kitchen into a recording Yurt. I think that’s where we did some of our best work. There was something cooking in the kitchen that day.”
Tyler loses interest in the conversation, darts over to the meerkat enclosure and climbs in. As their stage shows are energetic to say the least, I ask the other two how they capture their fire and brimstone, backwater bluesy sound on record.
“It is a lot calmer than our stage show,” Viv explains. “It’s definitely a different vibe because we are trying to get the idea of the song down on to the recording. I was gonna say on to the tape, but it’s all digital now.”
Aidan adds “Also, without the distraction of the audience, it’s easier to focuss. Guys like Tyler, we know he gets a bit carried away on stage so it’s good to have him in a controlled environment so to speak, where he can focus on his playing more than his posing.”
We all watch as Tyler attempts furtively to keep up with the meerkats, ridiculously burdened by age and the realisation that he is not, in fact, a small African mammal. Aidan explains more about their collaborative writing style.
“Every member of this band has just got all these ideas of what they want to do with a particular song. When we come in to do a rehearsal or something like that, generally if we’re working towards making some new music someone’s got something in their head and they have a bit of an idea and a direction in mind.”
“For some of the songs it seems like they’re all taking a different course and they all have slightly different influences. They all come out sounding relatively different to each other which is good because I think one of the things for me is that I want to be in a band that is bold.”
I wonder whether the writing is always so unplanned. Viv is quick to elaborate. “It’s not so much that that’s our modus operandi. It’s probably more that we’re so disorganised that we don’t have a vision for what we want.” Creation by disorganisation then? “Exactly. I think it’s a very necessary evil.”
“Also collaboration,” Aidan adds. “That’s the key for us. It’s really a case of each of us have our skill set in terms of composition. We all bounce off each other and we also trust each other enough to be able to let someone else take the reigns. You just have to surround yourself with good people. And that just means going out and playing. I think it’s one of the key things, just play with a lot of people. From there you’ll hit it off.”
“I get some of the greatest inspiration from those kinds of bands I go and see down at the local pub rather than say the big national acts or the ones that have record labels,” Viv tells me. “It’s those bands that can push you or drive you to go further with your music than you would otherwise”
“There’s certainly a lot more sincerity in their delivery too,” Aidan enthuses, as glint in his eye as tyler worn out lays on the ground panting between drags on his ciggarette. “When I see big bands I can’t help but feel a little bit cheated every time because so many of them are packaged. The sort of bands I’m talking about are the kind of bands that are big enough to have been on the tour trail for a long time and they’ve really honed their product so to speak. You become very aware of that fact so it’s really nice to see people out there devoting themselves in front of a crowd and that often happens in the smaller venues and the pubs.”
Having been surrounded by the meerkats, having sensed a moment of weakness in their erstwhile tormentor, Tyler is slowly backing up towards us in retreat. Sensing the end of the interview is nigh, I ask them about the upcoming Killed 2 Birds album launch, at which they will be playing.
“It’s gonna be awesome just to play alongside some of those guys,” Aidan tells me, a sincere smile on his lips. “Killed 2 Birds I’m loving and Captain Kickarse & The Awesomes I’d pick to be one of the best bands in Sydney. It’s a great line up and it’s gonna a lot of fun to play that night.”
Tyler now having broken into a full run as the meerkats swarm up his legs vaults over the fence and breaks off at top speed. Aidan and Viv, sighing in resignation follow after him, leaving me to deal with the angry guard who’s only just managed to climb the stairs, wet patches of sweat adorning his chest thighs and back.
“Hey, its the day of the meerkat today,” I say.
Day of the Meerkat will be playing The Gaelic Theatre 31st January 2009 as apart of Killed Two Birds Album Launch “Better Plan”