Totally Unicorn is a band that doesn’t give a fuck when they get up on stage, or anywhere for that matter, and who just go completely crazy. From their in your face attitude to the mosh heavy riffage they serve up, every moment with this band is intense, weird, or both at the same time. But behind the chaos, they’re just a bunch of laid back guys, who enjoy alcoholic beverages by the dozen, and melting your face with their music. As we found out when we had a chat with the band’s vocalist, Drew Gardner.
So Drew, why the name Totally Unicorn?
Fuck, I don’t know, it’s weird. The whole band name thing is just such a shitty fucking thing to do, to think of a name. At the time, I’m not a 100% sure, we were just throwing names together and that kind of… matched. We were doing a lot of tie dye at the time, as you probably know, and I don’t know. I just thought of ‘Totally Unicorn’. Not a big story!
Yeah, not really! [Laughs]. What bands influenced the sound of TU? For me, there seems to be a lot of The Dillinger Escape Plan and old Norma Jean in your sound…
I reckon! The newer album definitely has taken a little bit more of a turn, more punk and stuff. We don’t really listen to that kind of stuff anymore, but, we still love it, obviously. I would definitely say like Dillinger, Converge, and Botch, that kind of stuff. There’s always a bit of that in there.
You’re known for your balls to the wall sound and stage presence. How do you prepare for going on stage to do this?
Mostly just a few beers. I just get excited when I go on stage [Laughs]. It kind of comes to the point where people expect it, so, you’ve just gotta do it, I guess. But yes, alcohol definitely helps.
Is that like a pre-show ritual now?
Well, whenever we’re on tour it’s like ‘Wew, we’re on holidays, let’s party!’. So I guess, yes, most of the time we’re drinking.
Have you ever had any really bad on-stage injuries? And if not, do you think that’s just luck?
Probably the last time, not the last time we were in Melbourne, the time before that, we played with Paper Arms on their last show at The Rev and I was running around like a dickhead. I think I had a bit of sweat or water on my head and I jumped on a couch and lifted my head up and the light hit me in the back of the head. It electrocuted me and threw me to the ground and cut all the lights off in the venue. So that was…shocking, I guess.
[Laughs] Damn! How’d the new album cover come about? It seems like you just threw a whole lot of random things together, no disrespect.
Well, that’s pretty much what it is. So all the little pictures that are on there are the different songs and their meanings and stuff like that. Basically, we got our mate Glenno to do the album art, who is a really awesome artist and kind of went “I want this, this, this and I want this”, and he just threw it all together.
So how does the writing process work for the band? Is there one driving force or do you just get in a room, have lots of Domino’s Pizza and go crazy?
It used to be, with our old guitarist Clancy, that he’d bring all these little riffs and then put it together with our drummer. With the new members, it’s pretty much getting into a room and just banging it out and playing. When we recorded it we were on a bit of a deadline because our drummer was moving to Adelaide. So we booked all this recording time and he recorded the drums and we laid down the songs and it was just like ‘These songs are not very good’ [laughs]. So our drummer, Mike, said ‘Well, I’m not re-recording the drums, we spent all this money’, so our guitarist had to pretty much go back to his drawing board and write all the guitar parts around the drums, which is crazy. But it turned out pretty good!
Crazy! How does it feel to play Yours & Ours Festival in July, with a predominant indie/hipster pop crowd? Do you guys revel in being the odd ones outs?
So we played one two years ago and it was the same kind of vibe, like real hipster Triple J stuff. I think it went really well, people were going fucking crazy, there’s always a handful of grocs at these festivals and they’re always at our gigs. Excited to play this one, this one is going to be pretty massive.
Finally, if you had to sum up Totally Unicorn in a couple of words, what would it be?
Just a bunch of fat bags, trying to put together, some heavy metal music.