I conducted this interview with Horsell Common bass player (and sometime vocalist) Luke Cripps in the comfy confines of “The Queensberry” pub – only a few hundred metres up the road from one of Horsell Common’s local stomping grounds, The Arthouse.
Q) Name and what you do in the band.
Luke – Bass and vocals
Q) From what I can recall, Horsell Common started as a bit of fun. A friend was putting out a compilation CD and you guys asked to include one of your tracks. Did you think you’d still be kicking 5 years later?
Ha ha, you’re pretty much spot on. It was the “Revolt Records” compilation. Snubfighter (Craigos from In Name & Blood’s previous outfit) were on that CD as well. The CD also has a Spanish band listed, but it was actually “One Last Excuse” (now defunct Melbourne hardcore act) attempting to play a Spanish style song under a different name.
I mean, we’ve (the members of HC) have been playing together in some way, shape or form for 10 years. If I was going to be in a band for 5 years, these are the only guys I’d be able to do it with.
We started Horsell Common on the grounds that every member of the band had to love every riff, every melody and every beat. It had to be 3 dudes who were happy with absolutely everything about the band. That’s half the reason it takes us so long to write songs! We even rehearsed for an entire year before we played a show. Taking all that into account, I think the band was always going to be around for a while (whether we knew it or not).
I think what’s enabled us to keep churning out music after 5 years is how gratifying it feels to be in this band. There’s no compromise when it comes to writing our music and we’re brutally honest with each other.
Looking back on it all now, it’s funny how the band got its start. We were made up of 3 dudes – one who loved hardcore, one who hated hardcore and one that just liked to rock out – yet the majority of our first shows were with hardcore bands (Shantytown R.I.P.). As strange as that combination sounds we really complimented each other and I think that’s what gave us our own identity.
Q) Over Horsell Common’s lifespan you guys have released 3 EP’s and a split with Peninsula lads “Trial Kennedy” – when are we getting a full length!?
We’re actually writing for our full length at the moment, but as I mentioned earlier, it takes us ages to write new tracks, ha ha!
Q) What direction is the new material heading in?
I’m not 100% sure to be honest with you. We’ve got one song completed and the song sounds like a natural progression from our previous EP’s. As a group I know that we want catchier melodies but heavier guitar work.
Q) The last EP (Satellite Wonderland on Boomtown) was pretty much devoid of screaming, is the full length going to be in the same vein?
Probably not – if anything it’s going to have more screaming because I think it’s going to fit the mood of the record. When we were recording Satellite Wonderland screaming had become so cliché: bands were just throwing screams into random songs which didn’t fit at all. With the last EP, we deliberately chose to omit the screaming for the sake of good songs, but as I said previously, I think the newer tracks are going to have a lot of room for heavier vocals.
Q) You guys have played some massive shows – opening for Boysetsfire, upstaging the yanks at the Melbourne leg of the Story Of The Year tour and running rampant around the country with Hawthorne Heights: What do you think has been HC’s greatest achievement thus far?
I’ll give you 2 different answers for this question.
My personal highlight would be on the Hawthorne Heights tour. Their bassist (his name escapes me, I’m sorry!!!!) threw a donut at me and it hit me right in the face. In retaliation I threw an entire water bottle at him: it made him look like he’d pissed his pants so he had to go and chance.
As for band highlights there’s so many to choose from.
I think playing at Festival Hall with Story Of The Year (USA) is just insane. It just blows me away to think that I played in a 4,000 capacity venue. Playing at The Palace on New Year’s Eve is another one. We’ve grown up seeing so many awesome bands at that venue and we got to play there!
I think in general it’s amazing that we’re a band that gets to tour and record as often as we do. Thinking about it now, we should sit down and reflect more often because we’ve had so many opportunities and done so many things maybe we take it for granted sometimes.
Q) Horsell Common have always had a loyal overage fan base, but in the last 12 months there’s been an increasing number of kids that have jumped on board the HC wagon – do you think the underage interest in the band has been heavily influenced by your signing to Boomtown Records?
To be honest, I don’t know where we are popularity wise. Most of our shows have been supports so I guess our headline tour in April will be a good indication of how people rate our band.
We’ve sold a bit over 2,000 copies of the Satellite Wonderland EP (Ed: it’s also spent 3 months in the AIR charts) which is amazing. To think that 2,000 people actually walked into a shop and wanted to spend money on our CD just blows me away.
I think the thing with Horsell Common is that we’re a band people either get, or they don’t. There’s no middle ground with our fans. It takes a little bit for our songs to stick so the people that do like our band are usually in it for the long haul.
We’ve never been the coolest band in the room but I’d like to think we’re a musician’s band – as in, people that really love and understand music dig us, or people who play in other bands like us. The plan with HC was to be catchy but interesting – which is a lot harder than it sounds!
After saying all that, I’m definitely surprised by the underage reaction to our recent shows and the Satellite Wonderland EP. It’s been great!
Q) HC recently completed a national stint supporting “Behind Crimson Eyes” – were the BCE crowd receptive to you guys?
The crowd was definitely receptive which was amazing. We didn’t expect much from the audience because we were so different to the other bands but it went really well. No heckling whatsoever and we sold plenty of merch and CD’s so yeh, it was great!
Q) What was the best show of the tour and why (keep it clean mate, kids come to this website)?
The Melbourne overage show @ The Corner Hotel! We felt we played a great set (probably the best of the tour) and the crowd was great. The Annandale (in Sydney) ruled as well.
Q) What’s your favourite city/venue and why?
The Arthouse! There’s so much history in that venue – it’s like the CBGB’s of Australia! Some of the best shows I’ve ever seen have been at The Arthouse. There’s nothing more satisfying than a local music fan seeing an Australian band blow the touring US bands of the stage! The Arthouse has defined a sound – Melbourne hardcore/punk/emo bands have become almost synonymous with the sounds coming out of that place. I love it.
Q) Horsell has some downtime in the next few months while Mark becomes a dad – have you got any other musical projects to fill in the time?
Yeh man, I’ve got a new band called “Capeside” on the go. It’s myself on bass, Leigh (Horsell drummer) on guitar, Benny (recently exited guitarist from The Getaway Plan) and some other kids.
I love playing in more than one band – it’s like a break from HC that gives me a fresh perspective on song writing when we reconvene.
Musically, Capeside is kind of like an electro pop/rock band with keys. Think Hellogoodbye without any filler – and more pop/punk bits! We’d like to think it stands on its own musically (although a lot of bands say that) but it’s just going to be a really fun band. Its music that promotes having a good time, hanging out with your friends and just enjoying yourself! We’re aiming for our first show to be sometime in Feb so keep an eye out for that one!
Q) Your first show back is the “Overcranked Festival” in Brisbane – are metal fans going to be receptive to Horsell Common’s sassy rock n roll?
I don’t care if people like us or not coz we get to play with Helmet (Ed: if you don’t know who Helmet is you are a bad human). The thing I’ve found with metal fans is that they appreciate good music, regardless of genre, so I think we’ll do OK! Plus, I’ve been working out heaps, so my guns will be enormous by then!
Q) What touring/recording plans do you guys have for the year?
We’re aiming for the length to be out by October, but like I said, we’re notoriously slow song writers so we’ll see how it goes!
We’re doing a headlining tour for Satellite Wonderland in April and we’re looking to release “You” as the 2nd single off that in March. Even though we’re not gigging at the moment we’re still rehearsing 3 times a week.
Oh yeh, and I can guarantee the full length will be incredible, ha ha.
Q) Favourite drink to keep you going on the road?
A phone call from my girlfriend is enough (awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww).
On the topic of drinking on the road though, Hot Damn in Sydney rules (shout outs to Dan Bombings)!
Q) Top 3 all time favourite albums?
Daft Punk – Discovery.
Saves The Day – Stay What You Are.
Shai Hulud – Hearts Once Nourished With Hope And Compassion.
Q) Top 3 all time shows attended?
The Dillinger Escape Plan @ The Corner Hotel (first tour).
Embodiment 12:14 @ The Arthouse (old line up, pre keyboards!).
Hatebreed @ The Metro (w/ Soulfly).
Q) Any local/Aussie bands the people out there in internet land should be checking out?
Days Worth Fighting (fucking incredible indie/emo, melodic rock).
Chase Manhattan (hot rock with metal parts).
Mourningtide (the Motley Crue of the GC).
Satellite States (indie rock by indie kids – not emo kids in disguise).
EVERY BOOMTOWN BAND.
Q) Any last words?
Go vegan and check out wait for my guns of April! Check out Capeside!!!
Thanks heaps for your time!