Melbourne Art rockers TTT (formerly Tic Toc Tokyo) are touring the east coast this month in support of their debut album Lands, a dense, atmospheric record that showcases their diverse influences and fascination with the darker side of percussion-driven pop.
Produced with the support of a Music Career Building Grant from Arts Victoria in early 2009, the album combines drum machines, trumpets, clarinet and the obligatory guitar where needed to produce a unique brand of tribal art rock that draws the listener in like an anaconda as it slowly constricts its prey.
Before they hit Sydney later this week for two shows (at the Excelsior on Thursday night and MUM at World Bar on Friday) Mikey Carr channelled his inner Dadaist for a decidedly tongue-in-cheek conversation with multi-instrumentalist Simon Gibbs.
Music Feeds: So you guys are releasing your album independently, what made you want to do that?
Simon Gibbs: Mainly it was a necessity, but having said that we were supported by Arts Victoria in the promotion of the record which has been an enormous help.
MF: It seems to me like independent releases are everywhere now, how do you plan on setting yourselves apart from the crowd, other than using a clarinet of course?
SG: Really? To my mind it’s always been the case. Most of the bands I like are independent, and I think people are very supportive of local artists. Hopefully the record will stand apart from other things on its own. I feel that whilst you could compare us to other things, we see ourselves musically as being quite apart from other bands local or otherwise… and we have a clarinet.
MF: Where does or rather how did the clarinet come into it by the way? I, like a lot of the readers I’m sure, am quite frightfully ignorant of your history.
SG: It is an instrument I played when I was at school and picked up again recently. Our development as a band over the last few years has seen us experiment with sounds and ideas, and that is how it came to play a part.
MF: You changed your name from Tic Toc Tokyo to TTT, is that cos Tic Toc Tokyo was sort of lame?
SG: (laughs) There has been some confusion with other bands with similar names. This wasn’t the case when we began four years ago. In releasing the album and in keeping with the development of our music and ideas we felt we should shorten the name but still acknowledge where we’ve come from.
MF: Have I offended you yet?
SG: No, we’ve had worse things said to us (laughs again).
MF: Good. Could you describe your music, however could you do so without likening it to other bands or genres, sort of like ‘we sound like rendered brick work slowly eroding in the sun and air’, but less wanky?
SG: I once read a book. It was called ‘The Tyranny of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia’s History’. I think this describes us well.
MF: Boxers of briefs?
SG: Neither; back to front g-string, its called the ‘cock seat belt’.
MF: You recently got to support Pivot at their album preview shows, what was that like?
SG: It was awesome. A great opportunity to play to new people (such as yourself). The shows felt really visceral and free and personally I really enjoyed them
MF: Which member of Pivot would you most like to sleep with and why?
SG: What a way to thank a band, “Hey guys, thanks for letting us play your sold out Annandale show, now we are just going to screw one of you before we get back on that shit highway and drive for 10 hours”. Probably Lawrence.
MF: You guys are fans of percussion, where you raised in Africa or something? What’s the deal?
SG: That would have been a great story if we were. No, it’s nothing like that, we are all very ocker
MF: You have your album launch tour coming up, excited?
SG: Sure am, nothing like drinking for free
MF: For those of us who have seen you before should we be expecting anything special, or not expecting anything special?
SG: How do you define special? After a few drinks I’m kind of special, does that count? I think we might play ‘Shaddup Ya Face’ as an encore or maybe the Police Academy song
MF: Cats or dogs?
MF: What are the plans after the tour? World domination, start up a sperm bank?
SG: Possibly file for Bankruptcy and change our names, but hopefully get to play some more shows.
MF: Before everything gets too silly, tell me about You Don’t Love Me Yet?
SG: It’s a gig where fourteen bands play the Roky Erricson song of the same name. This was part of the Swedish artist Johanna Billing’s exhibition ‘Tiny Movements’ which was shown at ACCA in Melbourne. In every city the exhibition is shown, bands are picked to interpret the song.
MF: Why don’t you love me?
SG: Hey hey, c’mon bigfella, you are like the little brother I never wanted
MF: Ok, I understand.
TTT are currently heading down the east coast on their ‘Lands’ album launch tour. As a special treat, they’re playing MUM at World Bar this Friday 7th May. Click here for full tour dates.