March 2017 [THE BADLANDS]
We interviewed The Badlands this month, in the lead up to the release of their up-coming new E.P. 'Superstitious'.
It's the best thing we've heard for a while....
"We try to capture what the individual’s feeling to write the song, rather than let the individuals feeling get in the way of the song.”
Amidst a veranda look out point in town, with some VBs in hand, we got the chance to meet up with the Badlands boys and ask them a few questions about their sound, their influence, some Byron history, and some of their happenings for 2017. Enjoy.
BSA: What’s up boys? What do we the listeners, get with the new E.P. and how do you think your sound has evolved since the birth of the band?
B.L: PAULY: The new E.P. is a collection of songs eve been writing over the last 2 years. Some of them new and some of them older ones being repolished. Some have just been on the back burner and we’ve finally got the opportunity to capture them. We teamed up with Cameron "Spike” Porter, and recorded it all live at the cave, Studio 9 back behind Byron Music. It’s been a challenge to capture our sound over the years so we thought we should try a new process. It seems to be the best sound we’ve got in years. Self produced by The Badlands with the exception of Spike helping us produce “Superstitious”. This E.P. is more of a honest full collaboration throughout the band, rather than in the past , where Tommy and I wrote the majority of the tunes.
BSA: How many tracks?
BL: PAULY: Five.
BSA: Where do you draw your sound and story from the band?
BL: PAULY: They all derive from the riff and the lyrical content.
BSA: Any bands that influence you?
BL: PAULY: The Arctic Monkeys Am Record. Chili peppers. RATM. Wu Tang, lyrical heavy content.
BL: TOMMY: Them crooked vultures, Queens, Jack White.
BSA: You write all the lyrics?
BL: PAULY: I write most of them. Tommy and i have a nice little writing process. I’ll bring in the lyrics and he’ll spruce them up a bit and help me move them around. It’s a very collaborative process.
BL: TOMMY: Pretty much a song could be one person or another, 50/50, whatever. We just try to leave the song open to what it needs. Try to capture what the individuals feeling to write the song, rather than let the individuals feeling get in the way of the song.
BSA: Yeah, you do have to dissattach yourself from the song. Even if it hurts some peoples feeling.
BL: PAULY: That being said, I wrote every lyric from "fire in the love” lyrics into Tommy but he changed two lines in the song and it flipped my feeling on the whole thing. I then had to go home and rewrite the whole song. Which isn’t a bad thing, its actually sick, it’s really cool. To be able to write with someone who you don’t hold judgement against. We like to keep a no ego rule in the band.
BSA: Lets get a little action from the rhythm section. Alex, and Massy, you guys are definitely on the same page when you play. What are you guys thinking when you approach the songs? I trying to make it the heaviest, hardest thing you can?
BL: ALEX: We just try to fill it in as much as we possible can without feeling like there’s any empty bits.
BSA: Are you guys all singing back ups now?
BL: ALEX: Yeah.
BL: TOMMY: I think, To get back to the first question you had, one thing about this EP. is that it’s highlighting vocal parts more than ever before. We actually recorded the harmonies. Did we actually finish recording the harmonies on Shotgun?
BSA: Last night over at Studio 9 we heard a few tracks and there was definitely some solid harmonies on there.
BL: TOMMY: We’ve been working on it for the past six months in our live show which has been a fun challenge. It’s great to be able to capture it properly.
BSA: So what’s going on now and what can we expect to see from you guys over the next six months or so?
BL: PAULY: We’re dropping the single in April. Doing a small run of shows in May. We have a single and a music video for it coming out in April.
BSA: Maybe we can get you to do a little acoustic video preview of the new single for the site?
BL: PAULY: Yeah we can do that, of course.
BSA: There’s no other hard rock type of bands in Byron, we know hard rock sounds weird, maybe it’s not the write genre but its rock n roll and its hard and loud. Do you know why no one else is really doing what you guys are doing around here in Byron?
BL: TOMMY: Because no of us are born in Byron i reckon. We are just mates all coming together and sharing what we like.
BSA: But even that, you could still pop out as a four part Simon and Garfunkel quartet.
BL: PAULY: We are just best mates at the end of the day and we get excited. And whats more exiting than playing loud hard, fucking music with your buddies.
BSA: There’s the preference right there?
BL: TOMMY: As the guitarist i wanna play loud riffy guitar, thats my jam, that how i get my rocks off.
BSA: So when band practice starts, it starts at a seven rather than a three.
BL: TOMMY: Yeah, exactly.
BSA: Byron and it’s locals have a massive hard core vibe and pulse in it’s history and in it’s fiber. It appears to have had a big fighting culture beneath it all from back in the day at Byron High. Be it the sober bashing, the strait edges and the hardcore seen, who knows. We could also be completely wrong but i’ve just heard some things so we wanted to weigh in with you boys. We know you boys aren’t from here but where has that crowd and angst from back in the day gone?
BL: TOMMY: I think the thing with Byron in my opinion, since becoming such an eclectic place, i think it's different now then how it was back then. Well there is still a healthy, emerging punk scene coming around now, bands like Mini Skirt, Skegs, Elegant Shiva, i think its evolving. I think Byron has just become so mainstream that its harder to find the underground. I think when Byron blew up, it was the underground that made it mainstream, it’s what everyone fell in love with. I think now that there is so much money here, it kind of PG’s everything a bit.
BSA: We think you’re onto it there. Thank god we have some rad people, making things happen around town. People like Jodi over at The Northern who hooks bands up with some solid, big showcase shows in the back room where can say whatever you want and do whatever you want.
BL: TOMMY: I think that’s made a big difference too. Cause when i first started playing here all of the shows were at The Beachy (The Beach Hotel). It was kind of a big reggae scene.
BSA: Super PG?
BL: TOMMY: Super PG. The Northern doing punk shows and rock shows and things like that have helped keep it real.
BL: PAULY: It’s just a different era. I remember my first shows as a kid were NOFX and Pennywise. That’s all i’d listen to. The underground LA scene. The beach punk rock scene. It so hard to recreate, yet everyone try’s.
BSA: So we have Parkway drive and all the angsty grooms getting in fights and running people over at the pass back here in the day in the Byron High scene. Why do you think that side has never been marketed?
BL: PAULY: Well how much of a label and image would that be? Sex drugs and rock n roll, probably wouldn’t work too well for big business. Instead, folk music, reggae, longboards and water melons. It’s a bit more marketable. There’s more money in that.
BSA: All that is true, those things are friendlier marketing but there is a market here for the harder, high energy rock stuff.
BL: PAULY: Fuck yeah.
BSA: There is a market for the punk rock, there is market for whatever the fuck you wanna do. Because the hippie, mellow, yuppie, whatever will always be mainstream. It allows others the privilege of being weird and being different. The ability to be underground feels like a privilege or an honour at times.
BL: PAULY: I mean look at mini skirt, skeggs, waxhead, dune rats, bands like that. They’re kicking strong.
BSA: The Northern does a good job of keeping a solid rotation on.
BL: TOMMY: The northern is the underground for byron bay, Jodi is the queen.
BSA: Yeah, we could second that. She smashes it. I'm super appreciative she’s willing to work with us and give exposure to people that might otherwise not have it.
BSA: Alright, so you are heading to Mojo Burning this month, you have a debut E.P. coming out, you have a crowd funding campaign setup for that, as well as a single and music video for “Superstitious” to push everything along. Sounds like you boys are gonna be slamming. Thanks for hangin’ and sinking some of these green mangos with us.
BL: Yeah, thanks man! Cheers!