What do I get: Meet Sydney's Straight Arrows
Influenced by British punk and their own bad ideas, Straight Arrows are a band shaking up Sydney’s underground scene. Formed in 2007, the band came from DIY routes of recording material on a four track, and to this day stick to the same attitude. On an early afternoon in Bristol, we caught the band who have already caught the attention of Henry Rollins, in the back room of Rough Trade in Bristol and could dig what we heard. Fast forward to now and we’ve been chatting with the guys to see what’s been happening.
Hey guys, what’s on the table for breakfast today?
Full English… we got addicted to black pudding after daily breakfast at your fancy restaurant 'Wetherspoons'… Nah, just a coffee and a banana today. I'm in the studio every day demoing for a new Straight Arrows album, plus mixing a bunch of records for a handful of local bands too. Beats working!
Tell us a little bit about Straight Arrows. Break down the back story of the band.
The band formed about 10 years ago as a reaction to the shitty music that was happening in our home city of Sydney. It was all horrible indie rock and guys with swept black fringes playing 'disco-rock' or whatever shitty name they called it. We figured if we wanted an alternative to this horseshit then maybe someone else would too. We started putting on our own shows at non-music venues 'cause we couldn't get em anywhere else, and then somehow we ended up touring Europe and the UK a short while later. At least you guys give us food and a place to stay, eh?
We caught you guys in Bristol when you were touring the UK. How did the UK treat you?
Besides the beautiful cuisine and cheery weather, pretty good I'd say. We also got to see some castles.
You say you’re influenced by bad ideas. Tell us a particularly bad idea that the band decided to do, and the outcome of that bad idea.
Forming a band at all? Touring the UK? My health will never recover.
You guys are from Sydney, how’s it being a band in the city?
Sydney's a tough city; much of the music infrastructure is clawing back from an onslaught of rich Eastern suburban people with good skin buying up the old cheap terrace houses around the city. Then I think they are all going to bed early, just to complain about noise in the city at night. But there's a whole bunch of great venues that are ploughing through - the Lansdowne, Marrickville Bowling Club, the Chippo, and a whole handful of others. This place seems to always bounce back.
I’ve noticed when Aussie band’s play the UK there tends to be pretty good reception, and especially in Bristol all the fellow Aussie’s come out of hiding to show some support. Do you find that support follows you everywhere you go?
I've heard Australians in the UK are super well mannered, sober, and nice to hang around with, so it's a such shame none of them introduced themselves in Bristol.
You guys have a pretty ferocious, full out garage-punk sound. Where did that love of punk come from?
When I was a teen a good buddy made me a comp CD of Killed By Death choice cuts, with a bunch of UK stuff like Crisis, Crass and Kids Next Door. We've been. lucky enough to get to play with the Buzzcocks back home too...Fuck, we love that band. We learnt a cover of What Do I Get just for the latest UK/EU tour. Their first 45 with Howard Devoto is just so fucking good. But yeah, it's not like we just sit around listening to garage and psych and sniffing farts all day, that's for sure.
Do you remember any moment in growing up when you saw a band live, or heard a record, and just thought, “fuck yeah, this is it”?
Oh yeah. Billy Childish toured Australia once, played a show to about 40 people at my local pub, and seemed to hate the whole affair. It was an incredible show!
You guys have gained the attention of some top dogs, John Dwyer, Ty Segall and Henry Rollins being some of them. How does it feel grasping the support from great names like that?
It's pretty incredible when Ty Segall tells you to get in contact with Henry Rollins 'cause he's playing you on his radio show and would 'love to hear from you - he's a cool guy! Or when John Dwyer hits you up to come tour the USA with em! We've been very lucky like that.
You guys seem to have some control over your recording and have done work with some other bands. Do you think it’s important as an artist to know what you want and have that control over it?
100%! Is it your vision to make a cool sounding record, or someone else's idea to make a record to pander to people who probably have shitty taste?
You’ve got three records under your belt, what’s next for Straight Arrows?
A fourth LP, some more 45s to add to the pile, and a whole bunch more bad ideas!
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