Team Ugly are a new Auckland based outfit that take take DIY punk to the absolute extreme. They have just released their second EP which contains songs about fucking, working, sucking, and drinking! Tomatrax caught up with Mike McClennan from the band to ask some questions!
How did the band form?
Me and Ary wanted to tour America, so we decided to start a band. Then the tour was one of the first things we did. It was a pretty big shock for two pseudo-teens from New Zealand.
Where did the name Team Ugly come from?
It came from many, many texts, Facebook chats and emails between myself and Ary deliberating on a name that didn’t feel too humiliating to wear. Team Ugly fit. I’m still not sick of it, so that’s cool.
You’ve just released your second EP, what’s it like to have it out?
Meh, fanfare is always limited in New Zealand. Nice to finally have it out there, because we recorded it a long time ago. Early 2013, with a bassist who isn’t in the band anymore.
What inspired you to release the EP on cassette?
Our label, Melted Ice Cream, had already started doing stuff in that format so we just went along with it. It’s worked quite well because CDs suck and digital releases only seem so much a token these days.
Where did the EP title Meat Prize come from?
The cover artwork comes from our friend Hana Aoake’s performance art piece with the same name.
The song on the EP cover some dark themes, what was the inspiration behind the songs’ lyrics?
I think the thing that ties it together is boredom and resentment. Most of the lyrics I wrote came about feeling suffocated and bored by my jobs, the economy, my sexuality, my drinking/spending habits and all that kinda stuff. There’s a lot of dark humour going on in there too, as you could expect from a title like ‘Meat Prize’.
What was the inspiration behind the video clip for you are what you eat?
What is the Auckland music scene like?
Sometimes really stifling and judgmental; sincerity definitely is not sleeve-worn around here. But for the most part, especially since people from other cities moved to Auckland, there’s been a lot of positive action in both the music scene and in people’s collective political consciousness. It’s inspiring! As you can appreciate, though, being from the middle of nowhere doesn’t exactly foster a great sense of ambition. A lot of people let complacency take over for that reason. There’s a lot of confusion.
Do you ever listen to your own music?
Too much. I’m kinda obsessive when I hear new mixes. I try to disable iTunes from registering it on Last.fm but it always keeps updating my Team Ugly playcount on my profile. It’s unsettling.
What other music do you listen to?
I like scrappy weirdo punk. Usually super angry stuff; often rhythm counts a lot to me. There are less and less points of intersection between the tastes of the members of the band these days, but I think that’s a good thing. You can definitely hear it in our music.
What does Team Ugly have planned for the rest of the year?
Probably a lot of time off to finally write new music. We’re all super busy with jobs and stuff. Hopefully we don’t all get bored and go crazy and die.
Check out Team Ugly’s Facebook page to find out more!