Not too many bands at this level can claim pulling 40,000 plus to a show. Even fewer bands can claim being woken up early one morning by an undercover special police unit with guns drawn. The Killgirls have really done things differently, but now with a tour of New South Wales on the cards, these Adelaidian boys have certainly done things right. I caught up with vocalist Mario Spate to better understand the madness surrounding this band.
Music Feeds: As well as recording and writing for your sophomore release Animal, you also produced it. How did this technique affect the EP?
Mario Spate: Well, the main thing was about us being in control. Therefore we had a lot more time to work on it, I guess. We weren’t looking at the clock and thinking OK, how can we get this music recorded in 5 days or whatever you normally have when you’re in a studio and under time and money restraints. It gave us the opportunity to take our time a little bit more and really give the songs a chance to percolate and time to grow on us and, you know, you go through these stages when you go about things that way. Two weeks later you might hate the track, then in another 2 weeks you’ll love them again. It’s really important to have that time I think, you know?
MF: It must have been a lot of work on your behalf; is it something you would be interested in repeating for your next release?
MS: Well, we are kind of coming to the opportunity to work with a producer in the future now; we are just building that relationship now. So chances are we will be bringing someone else in just because it never hurts to have another pair of ears in the room, especially if those ears belong to someone awesome! But I would have no problem producing again, we are going to keep demoing that way anyway.
MF: You guys have had so many experiences already, Big Day Out, sharing the stage with Die Antwoord, Crystal Castles; what’s been the highlight so far?
MS: Hmm, I’d have to say the fringe show was pretty amazing, have you ever been down to Adelaide during the Fringe month when its going on?
MF: I haven’t dude, what’s it like?
MS: It’s massive and it’s kind of the time where every person in Adelaide wants to come to town and see some art – very different to the other 11 months of the year – but during that time everyone’s out, I think there were actually almost 50,000 people in this space. We were backstage watching more and more people turn up, just more and more kept coming, we couldn’t believe it was happening. We finally got out there, and yeah it was a good show.
MF: I saw videos of that show! It was massive; there were so many people
MS: I know! It was like we had stumbled into an alternate universe and we were ACDC or something; maybe they’d probably pull a few more people though, haha.
MF: You’ve shared the stage with Die Antwoord previously, there’s so much buzz around those guys at the moment; did you get a chance to meet them?
MS: Nah, unfortunately we didn’t get to meet them. We were all a bit too shit scared…I don’t know if you’ve seen what they look like, they look very, very imposing. Yolandi Visser is quite a short girl, but they look so imposing. We just watched on from the side of the stage, but it was amazing, I really like that band – they’re doing so many different things.
MF: So you guys have recently announced you will be heading to New South Wales for a bunch of shows; what can we expect to see at these shows?
MS: We kind of make a habit of never playing the same set over and over and over; there’s always a lot of tweaking that takes place between shows. So I guess what we’ll be bringing over is, you know, two year’s worth of tweaking, including obviously the new shows and a lot of energy, that’s the main thing we try to get across when we’re playing live, we don’t want it to be this thing where it’s just a bunch of people standing there playing their instruments. We really like to get involved with what we do and I know a lot of people say that, but I guess we are just also some people who say that!
MF: Towards the end of 2011 you toured with Dead Letter Circus, which must have been a cool experience! What can you tell us about those shows?
MS: We did 4 dates with them over in Western Australia and yeah, that was the first time we’d been over there. It was a great experience; it’s so much fun playing music in the first place, but when you get to do it night after night with a band you respect and obviously everyone in that band, they’re great guys because they wouldn’t be in their situation if they weren’t good guys. It was really lovely to spend that time and watch a professional band and see how they do it night after night, it was really great, they were really welcoming.
MF: So, Mario I’ve been avoiding this question long enough, what’s this story that’s been going around about you guys finding yourselves on the wrong side of the Adelaide Special Police Force?
MS: Haha, oh yeah, that came out of this online treasure hunt kind of RPG thing we ran. We got really inspired by the publicity company that pulled those stunts for when The Dark Knight was released; did you hear about all of that?
MF: They printed a whole bunch of newspapers labeled ‘Gotham City Times’ right?
MS: Yeah! It was stuff like that. If people followed clues, they would end up at a secret advanced screening or something like that. We managed to pull it off pretty well, we managed to kidnap 5 people – they were all taking part in the hunt and they all kind of knew what was going to happen, but to people on the street, it would have just looked like people in a van wearing ski masks kidnapping people off the street. That night at about 2am we got this knock on our door and the police where out there with like, no uniforms but all the guns drawn. It was extreme. They apparently spent 5 hours tracking us down. They called the van rental company and got our address and yeah…so if you were considering kidnapping someone I would recommend against it because they’re pretty good.
MF: Which was a more imposing sight – Die Antwoord or the police pointing guns at you?
MS: Haha, shit, you know, Die Antwoord definitely had the look, but when you see dudes with guns at your door, there’s a certain amount of just natural fear that comes out. I’d have to say, the cops.
MF: So, are you worried about the world ending this year? And if it doesn’t, what can we expect to see from you guys later in 2012?
MS: Haha, good question. Yeah, look…it would be really upsetting if the world ended. I’d feel a little bit cheated out of my life, a bit cheated out of working so hard in a band. We’re actually working on another record that we’re going to try and get out before December, just in case the world does end.
MF: Well, it seems like you’ve covered all your bases then! Thanks so much for chatting, Mario; look forward to catching you guys when you’re in town!
MS: Thanks man!
The Killgirls Upcoming tour Dates
Friday 17th Feb 2012
The Fitzroy Hotel, Windsor
Saturday 18th Feb 2012
Upstairs Beresford, Surry Hills