Melbourne psyceldelic garage outfit, the Demon Parade, are back with another trippy collection of sounds and a tour round Australia in support. Tomatrax caught up with Michael Badger, the band’s lead singer, to ask a few questions.
You’re about to put out your latest EP, what’s it like to have it finished and ready to go?
A huge relief! There was a time last year when I thought I might not have it in me to do this again. I had some things going on that took up a lot of brain space so it was hard to see myself getting the time to write, record, rehearse, tour, take care of all the management and all of that. But things change and going through all that last year fuelled me with a lot of writing material and I really started to feel the hunger to keep going. There’s no feeling like working your butt off on something and then walking out of the mastering studio straight to into your labels office and playing it to them and it sounding great.
The music on this EP has much less production and more psychedelic jamming, what made you decide to take the EP in this direction?
The fact that we hadn’t played too much last year meant that we had to come back together into the rehearsal room and nearly start from scratch again. There was a fresh feeling at these rehearsals, the guys were genuinely excited about walking away from a jam with a bunch of new ideas and sounds. Jarryd is back on guitar now after spending some time overseas and in the time he’s been away he’s really matured as a person and musically. While I’m usually focussed on hooks and vocals and the driving guitar sounds of the songs I leave him alone to try and find sounds that I wouldn’t have dreamt up myself and he can really help create the vibe and atmosphere without getting in the way of what I’m doing. We were working on so many new tunes that I ended up multi tracking all the rehearsals and some of the songs we were working on turned out great. So, we were actually just ‘jamming’ on parts of this EP. I think the fact we were jamming also gives the overall EP the very relaxed vibe it seems to have.
The music was inspired by ancient stone circles in Southern Africa. How did this inspiration come about?
Last year I really found myself asking a lot of questions about life. A lot of things weren’t really clicking with me. I wasn’t depressed or anything, I just had a pretty full on year with family things and it was a bit of a shock to the system. Everything I had known since I was born had basically always been the same until now, so you kind of feel safe being in an environment where everything is familiar. I really started to have that feeling that there’s a lot more going on that we’re missing. In 2001 my mum and I saw some sort of orange UFO’s flying over Melbourne from our backyard, so it’s always intrigued me as to find out what they were. I was doing a lot of searching on the internet for similar UFO sightings (which there are thousands of so we’re not crazy) and came across a South African guy called Michael Tellinger who has worked out that there are approximately 10 million of these Stone Circles across Southern Africa. The history books have always stated they are cattle enclosures or dwellings, yet they have no doors, windows or a roof, so you can’t really get in or out. After a lot of extensive research Tellinger discovered that these stone circles, which he claims date back to approximately 300,000 years ago, actually generate extremely high mind boggling sound frequencies which of course is a free energy source. There are theories that the Annunaki came to Earth to mine all the gold to save their planet and build these structures, as well as a lot of other crazy sounding stories, but once you really get into the whole thing and do a bit of research you’ll find that you start to have a lot “uh-huh” moments. You know, like “shit that’s gotta be how the pyramids were built”. I highly recommend spending a few hours googling and youtubing. It makes more sense than the holy bible. The fact that free energy can be made from resonance and sound waves shows just how important music is and why it can really affect us in many ways.
Was it hard to pick what went onto the EP?
No not at all, for a start these five tracks felt really cohesive to me, more so than any of our previous releases. Secondly they have all been written and recorded recently so this is currently where I’m at. It’s a nice feeling to have a current release of what represents you as a person RIGHT NOW! In the past we have picked what might be strongest for radio or things that have been left out for one reason or another, but I way prefer to work this way. There were some more songs from the rehearsal and recording sessions that need a bit of touching up, so Stone Circles Part II is already in the works.
You’ve put out a number of EPs and singles, are there any plans to put out an album?
We probably should have put out an album already. We had made one a few years ago but we were talked into playing it safe and spreading out the releases to get a bit of momentum. But really, the opposite happened. So these days I just go off my gut feeling for things and try not to listen to other people too much. Fuck it, it’s my thing you know? If I want to put out an EP I’ll do an EP, a single then just put it out. I want to do a follow up EP to Stone Circles this year but I imagine I’ll have a bit of time over this summer to get enough together for an album. I’ve recently built a recording studio called Labcoat Sound at Laneway rehearsal studios in Melbourne so it’s a great little hub to get creative and turn those late night song ideas into full production recordings extremely quickly.
You’ll be touring Australia in support of the EP, what can fans expect from your shows?
That’s always a hard question to answer. But we are loud, but not loud that it hurts… loud and round. Wall of sound, cosmic wig out dreamland experience. They are some words that come to mind. There’s always a lot of sweat. We aren’t like other space rock bands that are very chilled out. We fucking smash it. It’s the only way I know. I can’t walk off a stage without knowing I owned it. There’s talk of O Koppes rejoining us for most of the shows on guitar for this tour. She’s been living away from Melbourne studying so she’s not been able to be here while doing the odd gig and recording the EP. But if all works out we’ll be a five piece and most of the shows, and it’s my favourite line up with all five of us together. For musical and personality reasons. Everyone seems to gel and compliment each other.
You’ve played over 300 shows over the past 5 years, how do you keep up the energy for each show?
Even when you think you don’t have it in you to do a show – sick, no voice, vomiting 30 seconds before you start because you partied too hard the night before (O seems to make a habit of that) you just find a way. Adrenalin kicks in and nothing else matters. Physically I’ve really pushed myself on tours. Last year I actually broke my hip playing in the pub football league in Melbourne. I did a show standing up 5 days later and a few weeks after that I was jumping off guitar amps on tour again. In hindsight it was really stupid to not follow doctors orders and rest (or get operated on) but I’m completely fine now so perhaps rock n roll cures all.
Do you ever get tired of playing your songs week after week?
No, it’s age old question. “Keith, do you ever get tired of playing Satisfaction?” I actually like the songs I write and play and every show is different. We don’t play things the same twice. Things always vary. Sometimes for the better and sometimes it’s not so good. I guess that’s the great thing about playing in a real rock n roll band. Never expect things to stay the same.
Are there any plans on recording a live album?
There are no plans, but it’s not out of the question. I’ve got the gear to do it properly and it’s always good to feed you fans with more material. We actually did an unofficial live EP release when we first started way back in 2009 when I was the in house recording guy at Cherry Bar. I think we made up 100 copies and gave them out when we were supporting The Black Ryder.
When writing your music what comes first the music or the words?
Another one of “those” questions, but I like answering this one. I have absolutely no formula when I write. If I force myself to sit down and write a song on acoustic guitar I can do it, but I like to let things come to me naturally. If I’ve got a chord progression in my head, I’ll roll with that. If there’s a lyric or tag line, I’ll get some inspiration from that and build something around it. Other than guitar I play bass, drums, sitar, keyboards, mandolin etc so if I’m struggling for ideas sometimes I’ll just record some other instruments first and then it gets you thinking from a different angle and you come up with something completely out there. Sometimes just creating some trippy keyboard drones will set the vibe of a song and then all of a sudden the chords and lyrics come. But yeah, I really don’t have a set way of doing things. That would just limit me.
What was it like to play along side the Brian Jonestown Massacre?
Well before our first show with them on the tour I hadn’t met any of them personally. We were in the right place at the right time when we got the support slot for that tour. I hadn’t actually listened to them that much before then. I mainly knew their songs that would always get played at the Carlton Club when the psych scene and trippy drugs were strong back in 2008. So of course, I went out and hired Dig! It portrayed these guys as being completely mental, fucked up, crazy shit going on at every gig. I freaked myself out the night before the tour, wondering how the hell this whole thing was going to turn out. The first show was in Brisbane. Anton had just stopped drinking alcohol a few months beforehand so the whole thing I had made up in my head because of that movie didn’t exist. Everyone was super nice. Not really any dramas (apart from one small dummy spit backstage in Perth), and the whole thing was so relaxed it was like a gigging holiday. They are just a really nice big family.
What do you plan on doing after your shows?
Straight after the shows, we’ll get to the bar and see what bar tab we have left. Usually none. But once the tour is over we’ll be cracking away at Stone Circles Part II. Hopefully we’ll follow it up with another tour, get over to Adelaide and Perth at some point and I’d really like to keep gigging in Sydney where I think there’s some really cool scenes and bands going on.
Check out the Demon Parade’s facebook page to find out more!
THE DEMON PARADE
‘STONE CIRCLES’ TOUR
Thursday 13th August 2015
Southern Cross Arts Festival Lismore NSW
Friday 14th August 2015
The Northern Byron Bay NSW
Saturday 15th August 2015
Trainspotters Brisbane QLD
Friday 21st August 2015
Old Manly Boatshed Manly NSW
Saturday 22nd August 2015
The Standard Bowl Sydney NSW
Sunday 23rd August 2015
Frankies Pizza Sydney NSW
Friday 28th August 2015
Yah Yah’s Melbourne VIC
Stone Circles EP is out Friday 7th August on RiSH.