Sydney’s Regular John have returned with their second full length album. We Caught up with Caleb Goman, the band’s the bass player and backing vocalist to ask him about the band’s music.
Your last album received a lot of critical acclaim, including making the Rolling Stones’ list of best albums of 2009; did this make you feel any pressure when working on your follow up album?
Only from ourselves. We wanted to make something that would totally eclipse the first album and so we had to work hard at that.
Your music has been likened to bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Dinosaur Jr, do you think that’s a fair call?
I guess those bands were the rock and roll sound we grew up with. The thing I always liked about the Pumpkins that I think we’ve tried to do is that they could do a song in any genre and it would still sound like them. They weren’t stuck in grunge or metal or rock. I think we strive for that same sense of scope and not wanting to be lumped in with other bands. I’m a big fan of Dinosaur Jr but I don’t think they’ve influenced us as much. If we all share the same thick, fuzzy guitars and big solos, then that’s cool with me.
What does Slume mean?
It means what it means. To some, it means the the whole world, to others its means business, to me it means well.
What was the inspiration behind the Slume video clip?
Like a lot of stuff we do, the final result was accidental. We shot a lot of other footage with the idea of making a weird, creepy video and kind of freaked ourselves out with some of the stuff. Going through the footage that night we found that one take of Ryan which ended up being the video. It was really confronting and captivating. Miles wore a Sinead O’Connor shirt on the day and none of us could figure out why…but since the clip has been out lots of people are comparing it to Sinead O’Connor’s ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ video, maybe the shirt had special powers that rubbed off on Ryan.
In a lot of the tracks on the album have a long jam towards the end, where these parts of the songs planned or did you improvise as you recorded?
A bit of both. We wanted to stretch out a little bit so we didn’t have to follow the old verse chorus verse formula. With longer tracks, the listener can lose themselves or forget where they are for a minute. It wasn’t improvised as such, we had loose structures but we definitely didn’t play anything the same way twice.
According to Wikipedia you said this album would be a “motherfucker”, is this true?
Oh yeah. I wanted to make a heavy, psychedelic album that would scrap any previous ideas of what Regular John were. I think we did a good job though it’s heavy and psychedelic in ways that I couldn’t have predicted.
You’re about to tour in support of your latest album, what can fans expect from your show?
The feedback we’ve been getting lately is that things are a lot more psychedelic. That was the intention but it’s nice to know people are picking up on it. We’re still very loud and very fuzzy but a lot of the songs are expanded a bit, we like to go on a bit of musical journey while we play, hopefully the audiences will be coming with us.
What was it like to tour with Dinosaur Jr?
They were awesome. To see Mr Mascis wail through three Marshall stacks is something I would recommend to everyone. J was as strange and awkward as you’d expect. Lou was super nice, sharing his wine and watching our sets.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Only during the recording and writing process. I listened to all the different mixes obsessively while we were making Strange Flowers. Once the album is out though, it’s best to leave it on the shelf and concentrate on the live show.
What music do you listen to?
We listen to everything from prog, kraut and jazz to punk, folk, ambient and metal. We’re pretty schizophrenic when it comes to music taste. The van could be playing black metal like Emperor one minute and English 70s folk like Nick Drake the next. Someone from the band is always bringing in new discoveries and we try to be open to everything.
What do you plan on doing after the tour?
Check out the band’s Facebook page to find out more.