Hey Tom, what do you play in Pale Heads?
I play guitar way over on the left and have a sing
Sum up Pale Heads in three words?
Big Pale Heads
What do you guys love about making music?
I have been making music since 1992 and the attraction to it for me has remained the same in all that time. I enjoy the chemistry between different people and how they approach music. That’s what is exciting for me and I love writing music to then have it transformed by the people around me.
What do you reckon people will say you sound like?
I have sounded largely the same way since I started. I spent hours in my room as a kid in Hobart figuring out what i could get out of a guitar and have used that time as a backbone for everything I have done since. I would hope that whatever I sound like is kind of identifiable as I am not interested in sounding like other people. The others are the same…they all sound like themselves and we meet somewhere in the middle of it all.
What has been one of the best punk live shows you have seen and why?
Poison Idea at the Old Bar was pretty punk…also one of my other bands played with Flipper at the Gershwin Room a few years back and it was wild. Bruce Loose was unbelievably loose.
Why did you guys decide to start a punk band together? What is the story behind it all?
I like to play match maker and spend a lot of time engineering what different combinations of people might sound like. I had wanted to play with all the people in the band for years. Xiao had just returned from China and I was a fan of his other bands (Pairs and Bang Bang Aids) and also his loose approach to life. He is the energy behind the band.
He is frantic and always operating at a million miles an hour which is essential for rock n roll. As an older human I find that infectious and it carries me when my knees start to collapse from under me. Rui, I knew from working with him during daylight hours and The Drones. I loved his ability to cut to something down to essential components and then wring gold from nothing. Rui dictates the elevation of the songs from routine to magical. He sees angles that don’t exist to regular folk and is tapped into something other worldly. Thomy is brute force. He has the best voice in Melbourne and is a relentless bass player and knows about power. When I bring something in and he nods his head I know that it’s mainlined to the most primal and gnarly of vibes. His songs are really tripped out and challenging to play. Once again it’s all chemistry.
If you guys could jam with any band/solo musician who would it be and why?
I would request to borrow Hendrix’s strat and just let it feedback. That guitar is the only evidence of divinity that I have ever born witness too. Left to it’s own devices I think it would produce better music than 90% of the rest.
What are some of your influences,outside of your own punk genre/s?
There’s little in the punk genre that particularly inspires. Most of my personal influence comes from the outer reaches. I like outsider music. People who spent inordinate amounts of time in isolation and emerged with fully formed theories and interpretations. I detest active scenes.
It creates predictability and becomes more about fitting in than creating something new. At the moment I am obsessed with Peter Ivers who was a Californian musician who hosted a cable access show called New Wave Theatre. He was given large amounts of money to make solo records that were insanely great but ultimately deemed too weird because his voice is so high he actually sounds like a woman. The arrangements are incredibly fractured in a Beefheart kind of broken down way but the songs are undeniably great.
What’s something that gets you guys motivated for a jam or songwriting session? (certain artists, art, books, food, beers)?
Calendars. We all have a million things going on so when we get together we try to do everything we can in as little time as possible. I bring my studio set up to where ever we are rehearsing and we write and record on the spot. Everyone brings something in and we average about four new songs a rehearsal. We are almost finished with album number two as we speak.
We’ve only been around for about 10 months and have had maybe 10 rehearsals in that time and have recorded at most of them. It’s a really quick way to write music. I don’t see the point in rehearsing the life out of songs. Nerves and uncertainty make you sharper and produce those golden moments that in my opinion make for interesting music.
What do you hate about the music industry?
I don’t have much to do with it really so am reasonably insulated from most of the bullshit. I have plenty of friends who work in the industry and we are all very comfortable that I am a non commodity. There’s no pressure, I do what I want.
What is one of your favourite record shops to go to in Melbourne (sorry assuming that everyone buys records now)?
My local record shop is Liquorice Pie in Windsor. I wonder in here most Saturdays and hang with Joe Brnadic who does a killer show on RRR called Astral Glamour. I fill the gaps in my collection at that joint but also love Polyester, Greville Records, Poison City…I buy a lot of records and even after so many years am completely fixated on music and preoccupied with it.
If you had too, who would you kick out of the band and why?
I would free them from my own membership. I always want to be the liability in a band but end up being the dungeon master / accountant. I am holding them back.
What’s next on the agenda?(writing,shows)
We are almost finished album two and I am about to have a baby girl so check out our shows this month or you’ll have to wait till 2016.
Finally…if you guys could organise your own Aussie line-up who would be apart of it?(5 or more,venue etc)
Pretty Easy: Tote Hotel – Spinning Rooms / Miss Destiny / Deaf Wish / Exhaustion
Cheers guys! you f*c*ing rule!