Melbourne’s Reptiles are bringing back dirty Aussie punk rock. Beasts of Bourbon, The Scientists and The Gun Club are all cited as key influences for their new EP Smell My Skin, released in November and recorded during a three month break from touring.
“Before then, we pretty much just toured up and down the East Coast of Australia constantly for a good eight or nine months. So we took a bit of time off, recorded this EP with Tom Larkin who’s the drummer from Shihad and we just busted our guts pulling all-nighters in order to get it finished.”
Sweeping the land with gritty riffs and basslines to make your shins bleed, the band has been touring furiously. “You’ve really got to bust your guts. These days it seems that people are bombarded with so much stuff that you’ve really gotta put in the effort if you wanna get them to come to your shows. You’ve gotta tour the hell out of it. Lots of hours in the van. Definitely these days you’ve gotta bust a gut.”
And bust a gut they very nearly did in the most literal of senses on a recent trip to Tasmania. “In Hobart we were just having a smoke outside the venue and a guy came up to us from across the street and he said ‘I’m gonna go home and get my guns and kill you all.’ And pretty straight faced as well. I don’t wanna say anything about Tasmanians, but he was a pretty interesting looking fella! And we were just like ‘all right. that’s another thing we’ve gotta keep in mind!'”
I enquire about the band’s name because, and let’s be honest here, it’s a bit shit isn’t it? “Actually it was a very conscious thing. There were a few names buzzing round and then one day we were playing Mortal Kombat and, you know there’s that reptile character? We just said fuck it, Reptile! Perfect.” Indeed.
So do Reptiles like to bring Mortal Kombat style violence to their shows? A little face ripping perhaps? A spot of gut-busting? “Well, our guitarist Joel is infamous for just constantly breaking strings. He’s broken every string off two guitars in one gig before. And he’ll bleed all the next day from his fingers.” Which is, like, totally punk rock and stuff. “We played a show in Brisbane where I accidentally fell into the crowd and broke a girl’s foot, because I landed on her.” (Which is not so punk rock.)
“We played a show in Sydney supporting the Teenagers, which was a really bizarre combination, and these girls got up on stage, and I think they were taking the piss, dancing around. Anyway, I stepped back and didn’t realise one of them was behind me and when I looked around she was a good ten feet back into the drum kit sprawled out. I thought, oh man, this is not gonna look good.”
I’ll bet it was funny though.