With their massive riffs, fearless vocals and relentless head-banging, Violent Soho have established a name for themselves as perhaps Australia’s best live band.
And it’s a name that’s reaching the four corners of the globe, with the Brisbane lads about to take off on another tour of the States before year’s end.
Yet they’re also known around the traps as just four Aussie legends who enjoy a beer and don’t take themselves too seriously – after all, it’s only rock ‘n’ roll.
Ahead of the band’s Amphitheatre set at Splendour in the Grass, at 7:30pm on Friday, July 22, we caught up with drummer Mikey Richards to talk album titles, the band’s debaucherous month-long party tour, and how he’s trying to grow up.
You guys have just finished an epic tour with fellow party animals Gooch Palms, Dune Rats and DZ Deathrays – what was the wildest night during that run of shows? Please do give detail.
“Jesus Christ! I can’t really give all the details mate. Honestly?! The main reason is because I just can’t remember things that well.
“I was drunk. I can endeavour to explain how we all smashed (absorbed into our own personal chemistry) whatever we could find and partied ’til the sun came up the next day. Sure, this happened once or twice, and not on any particular night of the tour, but mate, you should have been there, it was great!
“We’ve all had those really massive nights before but this tour was a month of massive nights. It’s hard to remember much of what happened after any of the shows on any night in particular, and that’s something I suppose I should be proud of.
“I promised myself I would grow up after it was all finished and I’m trying.”
After Splendour, you’re off on a tour of the States. WACO doesn’t necessarily mean a lot to Aussies (I’ve heard people pronounce it “whacko”), but in the States the Waco siege remains a hot-topic issue. What inspired the album title, and are you anticipating any backlash in the USA?
“There is a back story to the WACO title that refers to the events of the Waco siege and that seems to be something as such that has been focused on in various press releases I’ve noticed surrounding the album, however here the point is sort of missed.
“The point is that we are so isolated in our experience that titles are really not very interesting and in many ways mean little more than the object itself, the album. We specifically titled WACO in all capitals for example to further obscure the sense of what the idea is behind the title. The literal definition for the title WACO is pretty meaningless really, just like the title VIOLENT SOHO means effectively nothing when seen on its own.
“Artistically, obscure titles have the power to enable the subject to create ownership over its own definition. WACO is a dark and ambiguous title that we feel complements the overall semblance of the record itself.
“I even enjoy that many people pronounce the title incorrectly. Obviously, this is something that we realised would happen when we came up with it, and it’s something that we should remark upon. There is no right or wrong way to say it and if there is any cultural backlash, I don’t really see it as being something to feel bad about, more something to promote interesting conversation.”
You guys have had a tremendous climb to the top, growing a loyal following over ten years of dedication and following your passion. What advice would you give to frustrated aspiring artists to encourage them to fight for their dream?
“You are already living it. Life is no dream. I am sitting in my lounge room right now, typing on my computer, not living my dream, but living my life.
“My fondest memories of playing music are the ones from when I was a teenager, because when you’re a kid (even though you definitely can’t realise it at the time) life is the best it’s ever going to be. Just enjoy whatever the fuck you’re doing because you will only be living your life once and there’s no point holding that one life you get to live up to any sort of standard, especially if that standard is that of a dream.
“The best success you will have is in living your life in a way that you are passionate about. Find that thing and just bloody do it.”
Classic festival problem – band clashes. If people are torn between seeing you and someone else, what would you say to sway them your way? What can we expect at a Violent Soho show?
“I have never played a festival and thought that the band that played at the same time as we did actually put on a better show than us on the night, and mate, I have played them all. ”
Have you got any tales from times you’ve got completely lost at a festival and ended up having a great – or terrible – time?
“Henery [bass player Luke Henery] was backstage with Limp Bizkit once at a festival we played in Dallas. He has this awesome story of Fred Durst doing his vocal warm-ups and rapping to himself, which I’m sure would have been equally awe-inspiring and hilarious, as well as most definitely better than any personal story that I can think of right now.
“I did hang with Nathan Hindmarsh once at festival though and man, that was special.”
Getting away from the mainstage, which lesser-known acts are an absolute must at Splendour 2016 – those we can’t afford to miss?
“Obviously it’s such a sick line up as always. Definitely check out High Tension, Gold Class and Twinsy though.”
High Tension – ‘Bully’
Gold Class – ‘Bite Down’
Twinsy – ‘Water Bombs’