Home

Photo Beach Slut

By Joanna Pope

Photo credit to Eliza Jennings

Does anyone remember a guy who used to call himself Snotty, he was a fixture on the Canberra scene from 1990-1992 which is when I remember him being around.  He was a hard core punk, perhaps Canberra’s only punk.  He was a bit of a loser but a character nonetheless.  I wonder what ever became of him, does anyone know?’ reads a thread from last year, on the-RiotAct.com. An intriguing question, and one that is cleared up with the following frank response: ‘Moved to perth following Marty being stabbed in the neck with a screwdriver.’

Despite Snotty’s unfortunate relocation, his spirit undoubtedly lives on among the punx kicking about the Nation’s Capital today. Many of these are supported by Canberra-based label Cinnamon Records, whose delicate beige bandcamp page yields a number of lively, grin-producing and unwaveringly cool releases. One of its most recent is Teen Idle, by the brazenly named group Beach Slut. Teen Idle moves between vigourous and winning surf beats, to languid psychedelic peals that dazedly expand and contract amid a swirling whitewash of guitar and cartoon laserbeams, to a ruminating drone that implodes into a satisfying jumble of sound. Teenaged wails float and plunge all the while: indignant, vulnerable and earnest in the inevitability that ‘Life’s a beach/and I can’t swim’.

Though Teen Idle dropped at the end of July, its coming into the world wasn’t fully celebrated until last Thursday, when Beach Slut were joined by their Canberra kinfolk Sex Noises and Mornings, to throw a launch party at Transit Bar. In between soundcheck, Beach Slut – that is, Gus McGrath, Matt Madsen, Joel Neville, and Joey Duck – sat down with me at an outdoor table in the hostility of the evening wind to introduce themselves.

Beach Slut Profile

So I guess the first question is, what was the beginning, what was the genesis, what’s your story?
Gus: I just used to, like, make music, in like, my house, at like, 2am, and then I was in like… then I met these guys and we’re in sad band that we’re still in and then I made them be in a not-sad band, that’s this band.

Did you start off by drawing more from your influences? Or what were your influences, I guess?
Gus: I used to play in this really weird experimental punk band in high school, and then the guy who I was doing it with went to a different college and he got really into, like, nu-metal, and didn’t want to play punx any more, and I was just, like, sad, and I was super into surf music, so I just started making punx, goth surf, yeah. Well, its not really goth surf…

You had another release at the start of this year, do you feel your sound’s changed since then? I feel like, in that earlier release there’s less focus on the vocals – it’s maybe more noise influenced?
Gus: Yeah, well that was like… that was the first one that got put out technically, but I did a demo, and another EP, just at home. It’s really weird that that one’s the first one; that was me going off on this weird tangent and it was without these guys. It was just me recording shit at home. But the new one, that’s, like, us, even though I wrote it all, but they still helped.

What about future plans?
Matt: Okay, how many festivals are we going to play this year?
Gus: Yeah, twenty! Big Day Out, like twenty times. I don’t know, I don’t really have plans. We’re just gonna keep doing stuff. It’s hard to focus on music stuff because I’m finishing school now. I need to control my life. But, I think the plan is to keep playing music, and stay alive, and like not die.
Matt: That’s a really good aim!
Joel: Yeah, good life plan.

Do you want to talk a bit more about how you make your music?
Matt: Gus does everything, and I play moog!
Joel: Gus just kind of generally writes the stuff, and then we decide what we want to play and then he’ll send us the songs, and we’ll be like, ‘Okay, cool.’
Matt: And then I write the moog.
Gus: We wrote one song together, but we haven’t done it yet.
Matt: Oh yeah! No, don’t say that!

Oh! If it’s secret, I can just not put that down, off the record…
Gus: Nah it’s cool, you can put that in.
Matt: It’s about skating.

I want to talk about your relationship with Canberra. How long have you guys been together?
Matt: Oh, I’ve been together with Canberra for almost twenty years now.
Gus: Everyone’s really nice and we have better bands than everywhere else.
Joel: It’s very insular.
Joey: It’s like… it’s really weird, Canberra.

Yeah, I feel like there’s something there with how it’s not so obviously cool.
Joel: Yeah, in regards to other scenes, you go outside Canberra, and you can go to Melbourne or Sydney, and there’ll be like lots of individual scenes and lots of different styles, whereas in Canberra, it’s kind of one big muddle.
Gus: There’s just like one big scene and there’s just, like, the three little parts of it.

That’s pretty cool! If it’s like a big muddle, do you feel like you draw from that?
Joel: Yeah, I mean, because of that, everyone kind of listens to everything else and plays in all the other kinds of bands.
Gus: I think the official answer is like, where’s YOUR Fighting League, other cities?
Matt: That’s it, man.

Okay, I’ve just got one more question…
Gus: Go to town.

Okay, despite the lack of a beach in Canberra – (The second half of the question is ‘ – you guys still make great surf punx, why do you think that is?’ It is, however, interrupted by a collective mild uproar, through which it is gradually established that Canberra does in fact have its very own Yerra Beach, an excellent barbecue location on the western banks of Lake Ginninderra)
Gus: Well, my thing was also like, Beach Slut was going to be called ‘Beached’ because it’s this really bad joke about how Canberra is inland, but there was already a band called Beached, I’ve never listened to them.

(The interview winds down with a discussion of Canberra’s technical ownership of a beach as its naval base.)

You can listen to and purchase Teen Idle by Beach Slut here! http://cinnamonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/beach-slut-teen-idle

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “Keep playing music, stay alive, and like, not die with Beach Slut

  1. Pingback: Applications Open: Blogsite Residency | Scissors Paper Pen

  2. Pingback: Applications Open: Blogsite Residency | Scissors Paper Pen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s