With Hawaiian shirts on their backs and a welcoming, non-serious attitude towards making music, Your Weight In Gold are helping to saturate the Sydney pop punk scene beneath a sea of inflatable pool toys and human pyramids. Taking an influence from the heavier side of the genre, their debut EP ‘The Worst Of Both Worlds’ blends a love of Australian hardcore bands like Word Up! with an appreciation of 90s/00s pioneers like Blink-182 and New Found Glory. Heavy vocalist Mitch Robinson recently sat down with Kill Your Stereo to talk about the band.
Tell me a bit about yourself and your role in the band?
So I’m Mitch and I yell in the band. It’s not quite singing, not quite screaming, I basically just come out and yell as loud as I possibly can for the duration of our set. I guess over time I’ve sort of developed a bit of a technique, but it’s really pretty simple and primitive what I do. I think though, because I don’t have this technical skill that I need to focus on, this allows for me to really take on the frontman role and get everyone as pumped as possible. I’ve always found that at the local shows, everyone’s so scared to move around and get crazy, so if i’m always the most stupid looking dickhead in the room, it sets the bar and no one is afraid of looking stupid. This is also why I get told by the other guys before every show "the audience need to think you’re actually a mental patient."
How did Your Weight In Gold get started?
Your Weight In Gold started because we were all friends, we didn’t start by saying "Let’s be a band!" We met through friends, Ben and myself knew Danny from school a few years earlier and Adam, Jurky and Jester all went to another school together. I’m pretty sure Jester started talking to Danny on the bus because he was wearing a Parkway Drive shirt or something.. So those guys started hanging out on Tuesday afternoons, playing Blink 182 covers and I guess me and Ben just sort of jumped on later on when we got to know the guys through Danny. I remember meeting Adam and Jurky for the first time at Soundwave 2011 during The Starting Line’s set (Which was awesome!). Jester was always that weird guy who you barely knew, but always thought you were best mates.
I rocked up to a prac after school on a Tuesday afternoon and all the instruments were taken. The guys just wanted me to be involved because we all got along really well. I had played guitar for a few years, but the band had 2 guitarists. I think I was going to play synth at one point (I’ve never touched a keyboard, nor do I know anything about writing or playing synth parts… And looking back, I’m really, really glad we never enlisted a synth player.) I remember I started yelling along to "Good Guys Win" by Worthwhile and the guys said it sounded okay, so that’s what I did and from then, the band had two vocalists. (I had a splitting headache after about 5 minutes of yelling for the first time.)
So we started practicing and writing under the name "Easy Company" until we found out that there was another Sydney band with the same name. They were sending us increasingly frustrated emails to an address that I hadn’t checked in about six months asking us to change the name. (Sorry guys!) So after playing our first show and receiving a Facebook wall post from the Easy Company dudes, we settled on the new name "Your Weight In Gold", taken from the song "No Suits, Just Shants" by In Her Own Words.
And since then, we’ve continued to write, play and build human pyramids and we haven’t stopped loving it yet.
Your music seems to follow the easycore route very closely. What are some of your main influences?
We’ve alwasy described ourselves as the lovechild of Word Up! and Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
We love Pop Punk, we love hardcore and we love it even more when the two are combined, so I guess that’s what we try to do with our music. We all actually have really different and varied tastes, but we also love some of the same stuff ie, New Found Glory, Word Up!, Chunk!, In Her Own Words, Skyway, Worthwhile, The Wonder Years, City Lights, Carousel Kings and The Bride. There’s so many more that I can’t think of right now, but these are bands that we all get into and who have been influential on our music. But yeah, easycore has always been a natural direction for us, something that hopefully will never change. It’s a genre that’s fun, immature, never ever takes itself seriously, and always brings the best (or worst) of both worlds!
How does the band approach songwriting?
Usually Jester will come to prac with a cool riff, and we go from there. It’s a really simple approach, and it doesn’t usually change. So once we have the main riff for the song, Ben will decide in which order he will hit things with his sticks. After that, we all just sort of jam on it till it comes together, tweaking and modifying here and there. Once the song structure is sorted, me and Jurky will get to work on Lyrics, this is where we stop every now and then for Ben to tell me how much my lyrics suck, and for a fistfight to follow. When we both get too tired for fighting, we have a drink of water and get back into it! There’s not much more for me to say about the writing process… It’s a really simple procedure for us and usually revolves around making the songs sound as fun as possible and easy to mosh to (srs).
Tell us about the recording process for ‘The Worst Of Both Worlds’?
We chilled with Rohan from Broken Sound for a week which was sick! The dude is a complete genius and we’re stoked on how the EP came out. We did the EP on really short notice, Rohan had some bands pull out and needed bands to fill the spots, so we jumped in. I had just started full time work, so I missed a lot of it, but from what I heard, Ben recorded drum parts for the whole thing in about two hours because he’s a freak! And Jurky actually had to have a testicle surgically removed to hit some of the notes on there! One of my fondest memories was eating an Ultimate Burger Meal, boxed and served by Colonel Sanders himself just before the recording of vocals for Never Looking Back! The combination of a stomach full of zinger and all the stomach contractions from yelling as loud as possible ended in a studio floor, a pair of shoes, a driveway and a front lawn being covered in a regurgitated mess. Despite the slight hiccup though, it went so smoothly with Rohan’s help. We had no idea what we were doing, since we didn’t have much recording experience, but he really did come through for us and I think we produced a good result for our first EP.
The band chose to release the EP for free online. Why did you choose this method of distribution rather than a paid download through iTunes or Bandcamp?
We figured, no one knows our band, or cares about us. No one is going to fork out money for music from a band that they’ve never heard about, when so much music is freely available in this era. So we gave our potential audience nothing to lose and put it up for free, and we thought if we get everyone to share a link on Facebook before they download it, that can be their payment, and more and more people will give the EP a chance. We did actually put it on BandCamp, where the audience can choose the amount they want to pay, suprisingly, some people did pay for the EP, which we appreciate so much! I really have no problem with people obtaining our music for free, and I will probably encourage it for as long as we’re a band. We’ve never been in this for money, we don’t think about money much at all. We have actually left shows before without picking up our payment because we just don’t think about it. Maybe we should, but thats not what’s really important to us.
What has the response to the band been like so far?
The response has actually been overwhelming, so far we’ve had around 1200 downloads of the EP which is completely ridiculous! Most of the response to it has been more than positive, and we’re so happy with that. No one has any idea how crazy it is when people say they dig our music. The EP has really started to get us out there beyond our hometown, beyond our circle of friends and out to people who seem to agree with what we’re doing! We are hugely grateful to anyone who’s downloaded the EP and given us a chance.
Describe a typical Your Weight In Gold show?
We just love to have fun.. We wear hawaiian shirts, we crowd surf on boogie boards, we build human pyramids and we chill with our friends.. and that’s it. That’s literally what it’s all about for us. I like to roll on the floor a lot and as I said before, the other guys want me to look like "a mental patient".. I think, people at local shows are always really self conscious about moving and having fun.. so if I look like a dumbass and set the dickhead bar quite high, everyone feels way more comfortable having fun themselves. Live shows for us need to have stage dives, human pyramids and a crowd just having fun, enjoying the music however they see fit. But seriously, if you come to a show… do a stage dive!
What has been your favourite show to play at so far and why?
We played at the Annandale a few weeks ago which was crazy. It was the first show after we released the EP and the crowd went crazy. We actually got a cheer from the crowd when we walked on. Which felt like a crazy dream and there were plenty of mic grabs, stage dives and pyramids. Someone was swinging from a projector screen mounted from the ceiling at one point which was awesome! I remember walking over to Adam during the set, and yelling in his ear, "This is completely fucking crazy, can you believe we’re here?" and I guess that really just sums up how cool the show was for us.
What’s the deal with the Hawaiian shirts?
I bought a hawaiian shirt from Lowes a few years ago to wear to a Parkway Drive show, and Ben told me I must be gay, since I’m not a big fat party animal. Since that time he’s stolen it and claimed it as his own, and there’s been many more enter the household. We always wore them from time to time, and the first time we played Annandale, we decided we’d all wear them. I guess we want our shows to look like a huge bro party and what better way than colourful, floral shirts? I think my Mum will kick me out of the house if she has to sew the buttons back on one more hawaiian shirt.
The band recently released a music video for ‘Kiber Drive’. What was it like making the music video?
It didn’t really start as a music video! We were just chilling with the guys at Scotty’s playing a few songs, and Oppy filmed it, when we were done we said "why not film some more stupid shit and make a DIY video?" So that’s what we did! It was awesome fun, and we love all of those guys to death. All of those dudes and plenty more have been with us from the very start, coming to almost all of our shows and just being the best mates in the world. We know its the kind of video that not everyone will love, and will cop some critiscism but we hope that most people that know us, and what we’re about will get it.
You guys have taken a trip to Melbourne for a one-off show with The Playbook and Soapbox Summer. How does the scene down there compare to Sydney’s?
We played one show in a bedroom sized venue (which was completely awesome) so it’s hard to guage. But we went down there with one roughly recorded demo song and no other recorded material and had a great reception. The room was pretty much packed, but I think most of the female crowd were just waiting to touch members of Forever Ends Here. A few young girls walked out as soon as they heard a breakdown but it was still a whole lot of fun. It’s a weekend I’ll never forget, our first interstate show. It was especially great spending the weekend with our friends, The Playbook, Soapbox Summer, Scream Infamy, Some Time Soon and Second Chance Exit.
What are some local bands that you’d like to recommend?
There’s so many to name but I’ll give it a go! Final Frontier (Best dudes in the world, you’ll mosh till you pass out),The Sweet Apes, The Playbook, Soapbox Summer (Get to their last show ever this month!), Forever, A Dreamer, Divide & Conquer, Wake The Giants, She’s Taken Empires, Forever Ends Here, Some Time Soon, Sunsets, Call The Shots, Lakeside, Renegade, Villa Rise (Nearly as big as BMTH in England), Above City Skies, Second Chance Exit, I, Escape, Cupid Against Venus, Obviously Your Superhero.
I’m so sorry If I’ve forgotten anyone, but check every one of these bands out!
Many people describe both Sydney and Australian pop punk as a struggling scene. What are your views on this?
It definitely is, there’s a small number of bands, there’s a small number of venues, and there’s a small number of people that are interested. But we work with what we’ve got and we still have an awesome time! We do see the number of people getting into our band increasing, which is so cool in a struggling scene, hopefully we can continue turning heads and more and more people will start to take notice.
Tell us about the craziest thing the band has ever done?
I don’t know of any times we’ve done anything completely insane.. Adam climbed up the wall and dropped from the ceiling at Liverpool PCYC once which was really cool, and he does backflips during every set which is equally as cool. Ben and myself also had a fistfight over a dropped in the middle of a road on the way to Melbourne which is pretty crazy when I look back on the video. But when it comes to crazy stuff, Adam takes the prize every time… He’s jumped off some ridiculous bridges and cliffs and hasn’t worn shoes since he was a toddler. Give him a huge rock, a tree, a bridge or a ledge to backflip off and he’ll do it every time!
Any comments you’d like to finish on?
I’d like to just encourage everyone to get out and support local live music! Whether you’re into Pop Rock or Deathcore.. just make the effort and get out to support people playing live music, because without that support, the bands simply don’t exist. Keep music fun, stage dive, mosh, crowd surf, make human pyramids, swing from things and do whatever you want because that’s what makes us want to keep putting huge amounts of time and money into this band! Big shout outs to Tree, Greg, Oppy, Keshni and to everyone who’s been around with us! Cheers for having me J-Nash, you’re a legend!