To celebrate the release of their new single ‘Boondock’, The Mouldy Lovers are hitting NightQuarter in October as part of a national tour.
It is hard to listen to this unique septet – consisting of three piece horn section, drums, guitar, piano accordion and bass – without breaking into a dancing frenzy. Exploring an array of folk, punk, ska and dub, The Mouldy Lovers new single ‘Boondock’ is the perfect concoction of styles that best replicate The Mouldy Lovers widely renowned high-energy live show. The band answered a few questions ahead of their tour.
You’ve recently released your new single ‘Boondock’. What has the reaction been like so far and is it what you expected?
Kat: It’s been really great! I think because Civilised Crossfire came out over a year ago both us and our fan base were itching for some new music so the reception to the track so far has been really nice.
You have a huge arsenal of festival shows under your belt – do you feel that there is a significant difference between festival shows and your own gigs?
Louis: The best thing about festival shows is that people don’t know quite what to expect in our set, so we get much bigger reactions when Jo jumps on the mic and starts rapping, or when the horn section start jumping onto tables. At our own gigs people know exactly what to expect, which is also nice because they all know when to jump, when to yell and when to get down, etc.
Gav: Yeah, festivals are a tinder box, both the band and the crowd know something is going to happen, but exactly what they do not know. In there lies the magic I feel, into the unknown.
What excites you the most, touring or recording and why?
Kat: Touring is so much fun because we get to get out of our own backyard and play shows for new people in cities or towns we have either never visited or don’t get to play very often. And recording is great because the song always starts off in pre-production as this piece of music we all we created together, it comes out the other side as this monster. (in a good way). We went with two new producers for Boondock (Jared Adlam and Zachary Miller) and I think the direction they took with the production and recording process really brought a different sound for us – which I think we needed and benefited tenfold from.
Gav: On stage is where we belong, it can be so furious and frenetic, it goes by in a flash, we throw every ounce of us into it, to be in the moment. Something takes over, when it arrives I just feel taken by it and it’s close to bliss. In the studio it’s much much slower. We have had times, like in the Tanuki Lounge with Paulie B, where we compose on the spot, get vibing and just create, it’s a different kind of mojo, but like playing live, you have to find the place, or let it find you.
You have quite an obscure name and I’m sure this question gets asked a lot, but how did the name ‘The Mouldy Lovers’ come about?
Louis: The Modern Lovers + The Moldy Peaches (adjust for Aus spelling)…
When you’re on the road, who’s that one member that’s always late to the van.. or rather bus, considering you’re a septet?
Louis: Matty is often M.I.A. when it comes time to hit the road. Most of the time he’s just off finding snacks though and returns with the goods!
On the topic of septet, bands often find it challenging in the studio, as there is often an abundance of ideas and opinions. Is this something that The Mouldy Lovers find challenging also, or do you have your own process?
Kat: Yeah I think it is hard when there are so many of us with so many different ideas. Writing Boondock was a bit different as at least half the band were off traveling and the writing sessions for each of us never matched so we would often have a different combination of 4 or 5 of us every week at rehearsal. We started with two different songs we had written 80% of each, and then Gav came back from overseas and brought a new idea to the table which eventually formed Boondock.
Gav: One thing I’m learning is that if someone has the frame work for a song coming into practice, things move so much quicker. We can jam for ever but we get lost in the groove and before you know it, we’re writing in the studio while recording! Being in the right frame of mind is crucial, also being able to be vulnerable with oneself. Presenting a new song is scary. Learning humility is really good to, and letting go of ideas so they can be co-created, following the song.
What was your main inspiration when writing your latest single ‘Boondock’?
Gav: Musically I was listening to Timber Timbre, John Martyn, Mano Negra, Ecca Vandal, Tchavolo Schmitt, to name a few on high rotation at the time, quite a range, but elements of all of them are in ‘Boondock’, from the delayed guitar in the intro (Timber Timbre/John Martyn), the swing break down (Tchavolo Schmitt), the rocking verses and chorus (Mano Negra/Ecca Vandal) all stewing around. I had just been back home in Strathdon, the Scottish highlands, where one of my all time favourite bands the ‘Old Blind Dogs’ are also from. On their first album back in 1992 they had a tune called ‘Boondock skank’, a celtic, reggae instrumental, that I love, so I pinched the boondock idea from them, cheers lads! I wanted write a song of hope in adversity, our rapidly changing suburb of West End was the main inspiration. The idea of the trickster who selflessly shows us that change and progress is possible, is largely about Jo Sri, and also the members of the band and our community that help us to grow, for the better, with love. It’s an incomplete love song. I had the first verse for months, even singing it at a gig once to the confusion of the rest of the band. The rest of the song, well, I think I wrote at least 10 songs to get to the final edit! I’ve never tried so hard to be honest, I really wanted it to be the best, to be lean and strong.
Do you have a pre-show ritual before you go on stage?
I want to say that I should be warming up and making sure my instrument is in tune, but I’m usually out chatting to friends at the bar up until right before we play.
Gav: Poop. Whisky. Push ups. Poop. Whisky. Stay calm and listen to The Clash. Poop. Whisky.
Catch The Mouldy Lovers on their single tour when it hits NightQuarter on 13 October.
IMAGE (c) Savannah Van Der Niet