Look, I could go on and on about The Bennies and describe them in eloquent prose and beauty and make them sound like God’s greatest gift upon this Earth. I could do that, but instead, I’ll just say this: The Bennies are fucking cool. Listen to them. Oh, and check out my quick chat with lead singer Anty whilst you blast some tunes about bicycles and weed.
So Anty, I’ve seen you guys twice live and you all seem like such chill, down to earth guys out. So I’m keen to know what your life outside of The Bennies is like and how much it differentiates from your stage presence and image?
Well, we don’t really spend too much time away from the band. Our time outside of the band is still band things, whether it’s writing or practicing or preparing for shit or whatever. But for the most part, we are the same dudes. Obviously not as highly energetic but we’re always down to bum around the house, chill out with friends, play video games and what not [laughs].
So you don’t have a job outside of The Bennies?
I did, but I recently lost it.
Oh fuck, that sucks. Sorry to hear, man.
Yeah, but it’s alright. I was a teacher at Vic Uni in Footscray which was pretty sick. Jules [guitar] was working in a bookstore but it closed down I think, which sucked. Craig [bass] used to be a secretary and does some web programming stuff. But we’re all sort of at a crossroad where we’re finding it hard to balance work and be in a band. It’s a bit of a weird time at the moment.
Well, hopefully after this tour you’ll get launched into international stardom and can make millions off the next Bennies record.
[Laughs] Yeah hopefully. But I mean, it’s also nice to just focus on band stuff at the moment. I mean most of my life was pretty much just Bennies stuff so not much has changed but it’s nice to have that focus.
Right on. So you’ve got a pretty fucking huge Australian tour coming up that’s one of the most extensive and expansive tours I’ve seen. I’m actually sitting just outside the venue for the Bendigo show at the moment.
Ah, Music Man!
Yeah, that’s the one! So obviously you’ve been out here before but are you hitting up many “unknown” places this time around?
Yeah, there are actually quite a few in regional Victoria that we haven’t been to before like Frankston, Mulgrave, and Werribee. And we’re heading to Karratha which is really north W.A. and we’re going to Albany, that’s in like really south W.A. We’ve never been to either of those places ever. I think I’m most excited about Karratha just because I have no idea what to expect and it’s a pretty small place and is just a mining town.
Oh, that’s gonna be interesting.
Yeah! It wouldn’t surprise me if there’s absolutely no people there or heaps of people there!
— Jackknife Music (@jackknifemusic) 22 June 2016
You guys are heading out with Clowns in support, which is awesome because they’re a fucking amazing band.
[Laughs] That they are.
So how long have you guys been friends with them ‘cause I feel like both of you would just hit it off really well and be best mates?
Oh, we’ve known those guys a long time! I actually lived with the drummer, Jake, for a while. We haven’t actually played with them a lot. We’ve mainly been playing the one-off Melbourne show with them but I think we played a show in Brisbane with them too. But we’ve never actually toured together so it should be good!
It’ll be a great bill, no doubt. I do want to talk a bit about ‘Wisdom Machine’ for a bit which came out a few months ago. It was a really great record and one that actually ended up in the Top 50 ARIA Charts. How did that feel? Charting on a something that you’ve seen for your entire life.
It’s exciting. I sort of…I don’t know or fully understand what it equates too, but it’s something that’s very exciting. I am stoked that people enjoy the record and bought it, we put a lot of hard work into it and are really proud of it so it’s awesome to see that translates.
Your music is very sporadic in that it jumps from one genre and influence to the next rather than an amalgamation of it all. I was wondering if that happens organically or is more thought out? Like, do you sort of say, ‘X-verse will be reggae, and Y chorus will be punk?’
It’s hard to say really. Like, it’s actually something we can work on with our songwriting. Usually, if we have a verse that’s like ska or reggae, we have a tendency to have the chorus to step up into something a bit different and not just play the same tempo the whole way through. It’s actually kind of funny, every now and again we get a song that has the same vibe the whole way through and we get excited like, ‘Oh we managed to stay focused on one thing!’ when our tendency is to jump around a lot and we really do kind of do it naturally.
Cool! A sort of wrap up question that I like asking when we have time is what’s your history with singing? Do you have any background at all or was it born out of necessity to have a singer in the band?
[Laughs] Nup! No background, I can’t sing to save myself at all. I really did just sort of fell into it really. When we started the band I could play keys and sort of just did the vocals. We didn’t really think about it. It just naturally went that way that I do most of the vocals and play keys. I can;t really do it but its heaps of fun and I fucking love playing with my delay pedal!
‘Wisdom Machine’ is out now through Poison City Records.
The Bennies will be on tour all through the rest of June and July. Catch them in a city or mining town near you and snag your tix here.