Western Australia’s The Novocaines have taken a DIY aesthetic and coupled it with an honest approach to song writing. The band launches their new singles this Sunday at RESOUND. Killyourstereo.com recently sat down with drummer Liam Young to discuss the event, the local scene and favourite metal drummers.
How are things Liam? It has been a busy period for The Novocaines.
It has. It has been real busy. Also, just thanks to you as well mate – really appreciate all the support. Super appreciate it over here. Anyway, thought I’d get that out of the way (laughs).
Yeah, we’ve been really busy just recording over the last few months and just got a chance to put that out [the single – ‘Don’t Wait’] over here. We are getting to launch that this month, which is really great. We’re putting on a festival, if you will, with a bunch of Perth bands that are putting stuff out at the moment and it’s really good. We’re just trying to expand the audience in that way. We are trying new avenues that we haven’t explored before.
Talking of being busy, you’ve been helping out playing drums in a few other bands.
Steve [Turnock] and I play in another band. We’ve been playing a few shows this year and getting our name around. I’ve been filling in for my friend’s bands for a few years. It’s no real thing, I just like to put my hand up whenever I can (laughs).
How is the time management with it all?
It’s not so bad. It was a bit daunting at first. As long as I let my work know when I’ve got gigs and all the other band members know [it’s cool] (laughs). It has been pretty good. I thought we’d have a lot of clashing dates, but it has just been really good. I’ve had so many opportunities to play some great gigs with The Novocaines and also other friend’s bands.
On the topic of playing shows, obviously the one we’re both excited for is RESOUND. Tell us about that?
We wanted to launch the single, but we didn’t want to just have another gig. We wanted to do something a little different – something we hadn’t tried before. With our friends at Teledex we’ve put on this gig. It’s outdoors, it is free entry. It has eight or nine bands, and along with yourselves, there’s a lot of great partners and sponsors getting involved. Everyone is just enthusiastic about the idea. So far, all the work has paid off pretty well. We are really looking forward to it.
How crucial is it having that point of difference? It’s cool that there’s such a good local scene with shows. The only downside is there is a lot more competition. How important is it to offer something different?
That’s exactly it man. In Perth, there are only a few reputable sized venues that you can play. You can either play in Perth or Fremantle. We don’t have as big a following in Fremantle as some of the more low-key hippie bands (laughs). If you can’t play the Bird in Northbridge [it’s tough], which is always booked out. You’ve got the Rosemount, otherwise it’s kind of struggling. You put on a launch somewhere then you don’t want to repeat yourself. I think we’re doing ok so far [though].
That’s an interesting point you make. In Melbourne, we are familiar with the Victorian shows and the East coast shows. What is it like in Perth? I’m surprised there’s a bit of divide between Perth and Fremantle.
I wouldn’t say it’s divided, but some bands have better luck pulling numbers down in Perth as opposed to Fremantle. At the same time, you try and put a gig on in Perth, in the city on weekends and there’s a bunch of things on. You’ve got to fight for people’s time. You’ve got to try and make it a little better than what someone else is doing (laughs). With that in mind, we just try and play with our friends. We’ve always wanted to play with our friend’s bands that are doing well or on their way to doing well. That’s what’s important – sharing the time with bands we appreciate.
Speaking about sharing things, you’ve just released one of your singles recently. I know it’s early days, but how has the response been from not only your peers, but also fans so far?
It has been pretty cool man. The new single ‘Don’t Wait’, I’d say is about as heavy as we’ve come out with this year. It has got a bit of a pop edge to it, but at the same time it’s pretty in your face and everyone is kind of like, “Oh wow! You guys are a heavy band.” (laughs). It wasn’t intentional, but so far everyone has been a bit surprised, but also keen to hear more. We really like to record as much as possible, and write and jam. That’s one part of that really.
Like you were saying there with heavier music, I was reading the section you had in Blunt Magazine recently. I’m not sure which member filled it out, but I remember they asked you your three favourite bands and the answer was: Trash Talk, Converge and High On Fire, which are three awesome bands. Is that the music you mainly listen to?
Yeah, that was me that answered it funnily enough (laughs). That was such a hard question because I listen to a whole lot of things. I do listen to a lot of heavy music, just as a drummer, I like listening to metal and punk drums. There are so many awesome albums coming out these days mostly produced by Kurt Ballou from Converge. When you follow that trail and producers and guys that are in those bands, it’s kind of hard not to get caught up in it all (laughs). It’s pretty inspiring to tell you the truth and I never really listened to much heavy music when I was younger. I was into 60’s and 70’s rock/pop, whatever you want to call that. That was cool, but at the moment, I absolutely love heavy shit (laughs).
What are some of the drummers you’re listening to at the moment that you dig? Heavy music definitely has some solid musicians.
He doesn’t play for them anymore, but the old drummer [Sam Bosson] from Trash Talk is huge for me. I really love metal drumming, but I don’t love it enough to want to play it. I’ve never been a double kick guy. I think if I tried to start to emulate that thing, they’ve got feet faster than my hands, so I’ll stick to what I know (laughs).
The drummer from Converge, he also plays for All Pigs Must Die as well…
Yeah, he is just insane. You hear a fill and you’re like, “Oh wow! I have never thought about that before.” I just love hearing new albums and trying to apply it.
Talks us through the balancing act. I know you like to record, but you’ve also got to be playing shows to keep the name out there so people aren’t forgetting about you.
That’s the thing for us this year. We kind of exhausted ourselves pretty early. We didn’t really have enough time to really focus on the songs we were writing. We were writing them to get them out there and get them to Triple J or whatever. Then when we took a step back and just spent time writing and writing and writing, and re-writing and not playing as many shows, everyone was like, “What are you guys doing?” We are just taking our own time and finding out what sort of songs we like to write.
What are the goals for the next 12-18 months?
I think it’s pretty much the same. You can’t expect too much especially coming from Perth. Especially being a band that is not too commercial. For me personally, we just want to keep writing songs – songs that we enjoy playing. Writing songs is the main thing. I love playing shows and would love to tour more often, but you’ve got to work your way up.
Before I let you go, would you like to pass on anything to readers?
We are really excited to explore some touring opportunities. We haven’t been over to the East Coast in a long time and that’s really where we want to be. We want to play some more shows with East Coast bands – it’s good to get a change of scenery.
Really appreciate you taking the time to chat Liam.
No problem man, thank you so much.
Fingers crossed we can get you guys down here later in the year or early next year and we’ll be able to catch up and grab a beer.
That sounds fucking awesome, thanks Kane.
Killyourstereo.com presents The Novocaines’ single launch at RESOUND this Sunday. Details here.