I recently interviewed Caroline and Alex from local Brisbane band GUNK, (Laura was dogsitting) who talked to me about their EP launch Sugarsoap. These guys are super-fun and inspirational. And you really should come to their launch this Friday the 18th of October at 6pm.
It’s Sugar Scope right?
Both: It’s Sugarsoap.
Sugar Soap? Oh that was a bad one. Sugarsoap, what’s that about?
Alex: Well we can talk about it.
Yeah we should talk about that.
Alex: You know what sugarsoap it right?
No I don’t know what you’re talking about. Explain?
Alex: It’s that cleaning product.
Caroline: That really intense stuff.
Alex: Yeah it’s like for washing walls.
Caroline: Like for floors and stuff, it’s quite abrasive.
Alex: I’m not sure why it’s called sugarsoap. It’s smells kind of sweet.
Caroline: Yeah I add it to my tea…
Alex: Anyway, yeah. (To Caroline) You should say it.
Caroline: Well we actually have a song of the same name, So now we can say, ‘oh this is the tittle track of our latest album Sugarsoap’. That was the main reason. *laughs* We were sort of thinking about the… I want to say dichotomy.
Alex: It’s so big
Caroline: META, talking about the idea of soap as like a cleansing agent, and then sugar y’know sweet. So there’s a bit of binary opposition in the wording itself, but we were thinking sugarsoap is that like trying to clean someone or something up to make them cleaner more acceptable to society…but you can’t do that with gunk, cause we have…
Alex: That’s not who we are
Caroline: Yeah man, like don’t oppress me man. *laughs* But yeah, basically we wanted to have a play on that idea, especially with like imagery and about women. Kind of like waxing and tanning, different beauty ideals in society.
That’s a lot of pressure to put on sugarsoap.
Caroline: Haha yeah it’s a very convoluted way of explaining…
No, no it’s great. I did listen to ‘Freshly Baked’ (GUNK’s first single) I assume you weren’t talking about potatoes?
Caroline: Nah muffins, cookies, brownies
Okay normal question: Where did you guys record this? How did it go, how much did it cost, etc?
Caroline: We recorded it at the Brisbane Conservatorium of Music.
Alex: *laughs* Yeah but with a friend, um…
Caroline: It cost us some beer probably, I don’t know.
Alex: Yeah, when I see how much money is left in the Gunk account. We might not be able to pay him.
Caroline: A case of light beer.
Did you get it done? Really quickly, was that the approach? Just get it done in a day?
Caroline: Yeah we smashed it out, got it done in like three hours.
Alex: Yeah we have a really kind of slap dash attitude to practice and recording.
Caroline: Slash that slap dash, punk rock. Yeah, I mean don’t take this the wrong way anyone, but I think you can kind of get a away with a lot more when you’re in a punk band. Just crank up the distortion.
Yeah because it’s like, ‘We’re punk’.
Caroline: We noticed on our last album especially, it was quite … clean and that is more our earlier sound. Like we did have kind of slower cleaner songs, and we’ve been evolving and playing more, just getting progressively more disaffected with this sort of thing. Just louder, more rock. We hope that comes across in this album.
Follow up question: Cassette tapes?
Alex: What about them?
Well, Alex it’s 2013.
Alex: Yeah people keep saying that
I think it’s great but I would like an explanation.
Alex: Well they’re coming back in fashion, as vinyl is.
They’re like the poor man’s vinyl aren’t they?
Alex: They are the poor bands vinyl to produce. But then, yeah, a lot of people don’t have cassette players anymore like record players, but we will have a free download.
Caroline: …With the cassette.
Alex: Yeah, with the cassette. You got to buy this like piece of junk first.
Caroline: I don’t think it’s a piece of junk, because I like that feel. CD’s have stuck around for so long that their kind of everywhere. Like it’s just this flimsy little, just another cd, but a tape it like, chunk and it’s cool and it’s still a bit novel.
Alex: Yeah exactly.
Did you have to hand do all the tapes? It sounds a bit tedious, how did you get this done?
Alex: Yep… poor man’s vinyl definitely.
Caroline: They’re made with love.
Alex: Yeah exactly.
Let’s talk about your new ep… Tell us what to expect on your new ep.
Caroline: It’s an epic journey through the psych of the modern woman, as she struggles to find her place in her… Nah fuck it. It’s different to what we’ve done before I think.
Alex: Yeah, I mean it’s more us, the sound.
Caroline: Yeah I feel sometimes it’s hard to capture the live sound of a band, Um, on a recording, but I think it’s done really well.
Alex: I think we were more comfortable, maybe because it’s like the second time we were recording, third time. Because we have been playing for ages, we were more comfortable with recording as a band. And the person we were recoding with. He was a friend.
Caroline: We felt we were more comfortable speaking up and saying, ‘no, we don’t like what you’re doing’. Just being in the studio, we’ve done it before. It still freaks me out like I don’t like it, but yeah…
Alex: I think we got the sound that we were looking for more than like last time.
Caroline: We were able to see each other when we were recording as well which I think is really important. Getting the vibe right.
That’s good, So the launch is the 18th of October? You guys are playing with these bands, tell me about them Scrabble, Bent and the Furrs, I don’t think I’ve heard of them tell me about them…are they just some tag along?
Alex: Well Scrabble has been going for a while, but they’re a really huge band, like 7 or 8 people and they keep changing the line-up. But I think, and this could be just a theory but Bec from Clag, it’s her project. They’ve been together a while. They’re kind of like experimental punk. And then Bent and the Furrs are like relatively new, and like kind of in the last three weeks they’ve played their first show.
Okay awesome, you guys are good at recruiting. I’ve noticed at all your shows there’s always someone who I haven’t really heard of before, that’s really cool.
Alex: We always try and get like a really varied line up so we can get like a lot of different people come in.
Caroline: Yeah, social mixer.
Alex: *laughs* Yeah.
Caroline: Yep, Gunk launch/social mixer.
Alex: Then they’ve all got female musicians in those bands, we kind of wanted that.
Alright last question who would you choose as an horary member of GUNK…in any moment of time?
Caroline: Tony Abbot. Love Tone.
Any last comments?
Both: Come to our launch.
Caroline: We haven’t played a gig in ages…we have all this pent up sexual energy.
By Kat Gibson