I must admit that when I first heard about Eddy Current Suppression Ring, I wasn’t too keen on the idea. It seemed that no matter where I turned there’d be someone waiting in a pair of overpriced vintage jeans, with just enough time to tell me about ‘this sick new band from Melbourne, they’re like Australia’s answer to The Stooges,’ before trundling off, Coopers long neck in hand, to some windowless warehouse/arts node to watch a troupe of limpid mincing art students poorly imitate a Suicide show thirty years after it was relevant.
For months just mentioning the name around me would usually invite a vitriolic diatribe against scensterism and fads, often peppered with undeserved insults and misplaced racial slurs.
Then one day I had a proper listen to Primary Colours and the next thing you know I’m standing in American Apparel telling anyone who’ll let me about Eddy Current Suppression Ring.
If you hadn’t heard, Eddy Current have had a corker of a year so far. For starters they won The Australian Music Prize, and as if that wasn’t enough have been eating up festival slots and tour supports as well as their own headline shows with a vengeance usually reserved for Bruce Willis or Steven Seagal films.
Trust me, even though mentioning the band on Oxford St is likely to result in violent exchange of indie oneupmanship over who heard them first, Eddy Current Suppression Ring are nothing but a kick arse rock band, a fucking awesome kick arse rock band.
With their follow up to Primary Colours pretty much done and waiting for release as well as recently playing Homebake and Meredith Festival, I caught up with guitarist Eddy Current to talk about the band’s success, their future and their most memorable moment of 2009.
Music Feeds: So you guys have had a massive year, you’ve played a whole bunch of festivals, won the AMP award and just generally kicked arse, do you have like a favourite memory of the year so far? Any moments that meant a lot to you that might not have been as well publicised as your other achievements like the Amp?
Eddy Current: We played a show at the Torquay football club 2 weeks ago, a fundraiser for the children’s hospital that was organised by our bass player’s buddy. It was a beautiful low key gig with local bands and heaps of tinnies and good natured drunk footy players. It was really refreshing to do a show like this. Get outta the city and play to a smaller crowd of people that have never heard of you. These sort of things sometimes feel the most rewarding.
MF: You guys are starting to become the sort of poster boys for independent music in Australia, how do you feel about that? Is it weird copping praise from people who probably never would’ve given you a second thought were it not for the exposure around Primary Colours etc?
EC: Oh I don’t pay any attention to nor do I feel like one of the poster boys for indie music. It has been strange where some of the praise has come from over the last 6 months but that’s cool. If people genuinely like the record, I don’t care who they are and where they are from.
MF: You guys have had a whole bunch of releases, what do you think it was about Primary Colours that got such a good response?
EC: Not sure, maybe good timing? It sounded a bit more palatable than the first LP too, which may have helped. I try not to analyse why people like some things of ours more than others and stuff like that too much as I don’t want to be conscious of it. I just wanna concentrate on doing what we like and if other people dig it, that’s a massive bonus.
MF: Your music has always been very raw and honest, live and on record, does putting that much energy into the music take a lot of it out of you?
EC: Not at all. I feel we get the energy by not overdoing it. We don’t overwrite or rehearse our songs, we spend bugger all time recording and we don’t play so many shows we get sick of them. So when it does come time to playing live or recording the energy is there because we are excited, not bored and burnt out.
MF: I saw an interview with Nick Cave where he was saying making an album takes so much out of him that afterwards he usually has to work on something else – a play, novel or whatever – so that he can come back to music. Do you have a similar problem/solution? Does playing with the Oooga Boogas help keep you creatively fresh for EDSR?
EC: For me, doing other stuff like the Boogas definitely keeps my mind fresh for Eddy Current. Mixing with different people and making different music helps reset my brain a bit.
MF: So the new album is ready? What can we expect? When is it going to get released?
EC: Mid February. um… expect the same but a bit different. I feel like its the closest we’ve come to capturing our energy on tape. Its a bit more varied in song length and styles but its still just the four of us in a room playing the same instruments.
MF: You guys always have a steady stream of recording going on, how do you stay inspired? Does it ever get to the point where you guys feel burnt out and need to take a break?
EC: Nah, it may seem like we have a lot going on but it’s pretty easy. We can record ourselves, sometimes just at practice so it never feels like much of a chore and effort to do these things. We do take plenty of breaks for all our other interests in life and it helps. Keeping the band as a hobby and making sure fun and good times is the most important thing we get from it. That has kept it from getting stale.
MF: We’ve spoken before about listening to music helping you to keep the ideas coming. Are there any bands in particular you’ve been flogging recently? (If not to help with ideas, just cos they rock?)
EC: Ntsamina – Spiritual Singers, Late Night – Nothing People, my two fave LPs of the year
MF: You’ve got Laneway coming up, you did Big Day Out earlier this year, Homebake last week and Meredith the other day, are there any festivals left in the country that you’d really like to play?
EC: Not really. If we get asked and the timing’s right, we’ll do em, but we don’t want to play every single festival. It would get pretty annoying.
MF: Being rooted in playing smaller venues what’s it like playing on a festival stage? Do you go through any tantric meditations to build more energy for the bigger stages?
EC: Haha. No. It’s weirdly the same in a lot of ways. We don’t play any different, our stage show doesn’t change. Its pretty easy to feed of the energy of thousands of people though, so we can sap it off the people and throw it back… or something?
MF: Also, you just played Homebake, what was that like? Any bands you saw that really stuck out?
EC: I watched tumbleweed as they were my fave teen band and they stood up pretty well.
Homebake was fun to play. We’ve played it twice now and had a real good time both times. It runs easy, the people that work there are nice and its just a smooth day, which doesn’t always happen.
MF: Also you just played with Thee Oh Sees, can you tell us about the shows, as much detail as possible if you don’t mind as I have heard their stage show is intense?
EC: They are seriously one of the best live bands I’ve ever seen. Just catchy as fuck, great people, amazing amounts of energy from the first note. A lot of their tunes are just basic one riff garage standards (which I have no problem at all with) but they have a totally individual sound that makes the most simple thing sound thick and beautiful. My vocabulary doesn’t justify the excitement I feel when I see these dudes.
MF: Outside of the new album or release or whatever what should we be keeping an eye out for Eddy Current wise?
EC: A tour in March, a 7″ of non album tracks, and a new filmclip.
Primary Colours is out now on Aarght! Records. Check out their website for more info. Eddy Current Suppression Ring have a few shows coming up. See below for full details.
Saturday 18th December
w/ Thee Oh Sees(USA), Witch Hats & The Twerps
Sunday 3rd January, 2010
SOLAR FESTIVAL – Mornington Racecourse
Mornington – Tyabb rd, Mornington Victoria,
ECSR also play the Laneway Festival in January / February 2010.