Pretty Grate, Mate

The phrase “a band that needs no introduction” is bandied-about all too often, but seriously, if you need an introduction to The Grates, reigning overlords of thrashing indie rock, we feel sorry for you. Liz Ansley spoke to Patience Hodgson shortly a few weeks ago, before their glorious return to the stage at this year’s Splendour in the Grass.

First of all, congratulations on your QMAs Rock Award win a few months back!

Thank you! That was really fun. I liked how [after their win had been announced] they were like, “Oh, they had to leave because their baby was crying”, and that was kind of un-rock and roll for the Rock Award! But I’m like, “No, that’s SUPER rock!”. Tons of rockers have babies, but because it’s dudes, you don’t ever hear about it. So that’s kind of a fun thing about being a frontwoman, is that you get to talk about it. At the same time, it’s this weird thing, whenever you start talking about maternal stuff, it makes you seem uncool.

Now that some time has passed since Dream Team’s release last year, how are you feeling about it all?

The only time I’ll hear songs from it is if I’m out somewhere or in my car – but when I hear it, it makes me feel really good. We’d planned on making it a feel-good thing, we wanted it to be the most comfortable recording experience we’d ever had. With our previous album, we worked with producers we hadn’t worked with, in the American winter, and we’d lost our drummer Alana – that was all cool but it was so out of our comfort zone. This time we wanted to do the opposite, and we didn’t want to f*ck around. We wanted to condense all the fun times you have making a record into a much shorter time frame, and it worked out. It was great because instead of second-guessing ourselves, we were like, “just do it, just choose a keyboard sound, let’s move on!”

You guys have been to Splendour a bunch of times as musicians and punters. What’s your favourite Splendour memory?

The first time we played Splendour we were opening up the day, we got onstage and there was no one there. So we were like, “Okay, we’ll just wait,” and then someone said, “You’re the first band on the stage, no one gives a shit – just play!” So we were just playing to a completely empty tent, and then like ten minutes later we saw all these people running through the festival towards us, and it was the sweetest feeling. I’ll never forget that.

Right after your Splendour set you’ll be heading out on your Team work makes the dream work tour – I hear you’ll be bringing baby Soda?

Yeah, she’ll be along with us! It was really funny, because we were going to tour in May, thinking, “She’s out in February, that’ll be okay!” Then as we got closer to it I started to feel like that would be really unfair on the baby, and on me. It’s meant to be this magical time, but we’d have been practising, and I probably would’ve had to start jogging again. It would’ve been really unfair on ticket holders too if we hadn’t pushed it back, because there’s just no way I would’ve been able to put my heart and soul into it – that’s just insanity. But now, I’m really looking forward to it. We’re doing these crazy outfits, we can work on what we want the stage to look like. We’re gonna make it the most romantic-looking rock show that you’ve ever seen.

You can catch The Grates at The Triffid on August 8.

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