Californian practitioners of neo garage-psych par excellence, Allah-Las, are about to touch down for the first time on our fair shores to play a run of shows, including Byron Bay, Brisbane, and right here on the Gold Coast at the Miami Marketta. Since 2008 the band have been steadily building a swathe of admirers off the back of three albums’ worth of harmony-laced, 60’s-inflected, guitar psych goodness. In the lead up to their eagerly anticipated tour, Anthony Gebhardt chatted with lead guitarist Pedrum Siadatian, currently holed up at home in LA.
I start out by asking Pedrum about the current political climate in the USA and how he’s finding the stark, dark reality of a Trump presidency from within a state as democratically progressive as California.
“To be honest I’ve just been zoning out the news as much as possible, because I feel like, I don’t know what to believe anymore, and it’s just too much of a bummer,” he says.
“It just seems a bit hopeless, so I try to do other things. More than ever it seems like you can’t really trust what’s going on, none of the major news channels seem to have any idea what’s going on, everyone has their own agenda..I just don’t give a fuck anymore I guess.”
Putting us back onto a musical tangent, we discuss the band’s upcoming tour, one that Aussie fans have been eagerly awaiting for quite some time. And the band too it seems.
“Well we never thought we’d get to Russia and Israel before we made it to Australia! But that’s just the way it went.”
Having read up on the band’s love of surfing, I put it to Pedrum that scheduling Bryon Bay and Gold Coast shows was in fact a pretty smart move on behalf of the band. To which Pedrum states wryly; “I’m actually the only one in the band who doesn’t surf, I’m a land man!”
As it turns out, Allah-Las have a Byron Bay connection, to a band local music fans may well be familiar with. As Pedrum explains; “We just toured with The Babe Rainbow, who are from Byron Bay. They opened for us on our US tour, which finished just a few days ago. They might also open for us on our Gold Coast and Byron Bay shows, we’ll see.”
I ask Pedrum to elaborate on the band’s embryonic days as a bunch of Amoeba record store guys who decided to make music together.
“I met Matt (drums) and Spencer (bass) working at (the massive) Amoeba record store (in LA) and they knew Miles (vocals) from high school. Me and Spencer started playing together first, we had a bedroom recording project for awhile and from there Matt figured out how to play drums, and joined. Then none of us wanted to sing, and we were like “I think Miles can sing!” So that’s kinda how the band got together.”
But with the growing profile and success of the band, their record store days are now behind them. As Pedrum explains; “We haven’t worked at Amoeba for awhile. Once we started touring the band became the main thing, and it’s been like that ever since. There not really a place that will hire us and will keep us on-board, because we’d always be leaving to go on tour!”
I ask Pedrum for his opinion on the bands most recent album, Calico Review, which came out in September 2016. “I’m happy with how it came out. I don’t really listen to our records once we’ve finished them, as I’ve heard them 100 times already by then. When it came out though I was definitely happy with it.”
And as to what we can expect from the band in the live realm. “We’ll be playing a bit from each record. We tend to feed off the energy of the crowd, it breathes new life into the songs, depending on the night. I have a feeling that, because we haven’t played Australia before, and because this tour has been a long time in coming, that the shows will be really good and really fun.”
As far as what the rest of 2017 has in store for Allah-Las, “It’s mostly touring on and off for the rest of the year. We also have an EP of covers coming out later this year!”
Allah-La’s much anticipated debut Australian tour kicks off at The Zoo in Brisbane on 12 May, before taking in The Great Northern Hotel in Byron Bay on 13 May and Miami Marketta on the Gold Coast on 14 May. Two shows in Sydney and three shows in Melbourne are also booked.